Yes, there are craft beers made with testicles, Peeps, and, um, poop

When ground-control_bottle-boxyou write about beer, it’s amazing how often your friends stop by for an impromptu visit. Usually my buddies leave pretty happy – but their most recent stopover may have them rethinking whether I’m worth the bother.

Craft brewers have a freedom to experiment that macro brewers can only dream about. It’s often a hit or miss affair, with most of the misses being chalked up as a learning experience. But when you get into the world of novelty beers – or stunt beers – it’s a whole different ball game.

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You won’t find these special craft beers just anyplace

The pliny-the-elder1Lagunitas Brewing Company is a brand even casual craft fans are familiar with – and it’s one that could expand into pretty much any market it wants to.

But Ron Lindenbusch, Lagunitas’ beer weasel (a job that any other company would call chief marketing officer), prefers a more mellow pace. In fact, he says, the reason the company has grown as big as it has is it never rushed its expansion.

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Tapped In: A visit with the craft beer kings of San Francisco

The hell-or-high-watermelonAnchor Brewing Company, opened in 1896, had fallen on hard times when it was bought in 1965 by Frederick Louis “Fritz” Maytag III. Rather than compete with the macro breweries of the time, he decided to try something different, offering his flagship product at a higher price — and discovered there was a market for more expensive beer.

“Certainly Steam beer is responsible for starting [interest in craft beers] because every other beer in the U.S. at the time was a yellow beer,” says Mark Carpenter, Anchor’s brewmaster.

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Craft beer hops for the Final Four’s hoops

While there’s nothing like attending the NCAA finals in person, your couch does have one big advantage over the seats occupied by fans in Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium: You can enjoy a beer with the game.

Sales of beer — or any other alcohol — are prohibited in the general seating areas of NCAA-sponsored events (though big spenders in the luxury boxes often get an exception to that rule).

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Spring is Saison season for craft brewers

In the craft beer hierarchy, Saison beers don’t hold a candle to IPAs – but that hasn’t stopped them from amassing a loyal following.

In raw numbers, the production difference between the two is staggering. IPAs make up more than 21% of all craft beers on the market. Saisons only account for 0.13%, according to market research firm The IRI Group.

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Foreign markets thirsty for America’s craft beer

America’s craft beer industry isn’t just taking away market share from Budweiser, Miller and Coors. It’s starting to impact brewers in other countries as well.

Craft beer export volume was up by 35.7% in 2014 for a total of $99.7 million, according to the Brewers Association, the trade group for American independent craft brewers.

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Tapped In: The state of craft beer in Austin

For attendees at this year’s South by Southwest festival, there was no easier beer to find than Miller Lite. As one of the show’s major sponsors, it was everywhere – and being freely offered every few feet by one company or another.

But savvy beer drinkers at the interactive, film and music festival were sampling — or, in many cases, re-discovering — some of the local brews.

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Here are the best beers from the birthplace of the next big thing in craft

It’s brewvivalonly been around for six years, but Charleston, S.C.’s Brewvival craft beer festival has quickly become a must-attend event for beer lovers and beer brewers around the country – if you can get a ticket.

With over 50 breweries and more than 200 beers on tap, it’s a gathering that has made its mark by offering a bounty of varieties you won’t find at any other festival. Brewvival’s not about simply bringing your standard kegs, you see. It’s a place where brewers typically try something different – and pull out all the stops.

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Tapped In: Craft beer — A farmer’s salvation?

Craft Florida Lawmakers Pass Bill That Bans State Breweries From Selling 64 Ounce Growlersbrewers aren’t just changing the beer industry, they’re having a noticeable impact on the nation’s farmers as well.

Craft breweries tend to use a lot more of the key brewing components per batch than large competitors like Budweiser and Coors. How much? A recent research report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture notes that the average craft style beer uses between three and seven times as much malt per barrel as a mass market lager.

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Where can Amazon legally fly its drones?

The bezosFederal Aviation Administration’s proposed drone rules clip the wings of Amazon’s Prime Air delivery service in the United States, but the online retailer could be eyeing other countries for testing to keep momentum going.

Amazon, in its sole statement regarding the FAA proposal, said it remains “prepared to deploy [Prime Air] where we have the regulatory support we need.” Translation: We’re willing to move our operations elsewhere.

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