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The Session #118 roundup

Muddy Waters, Delta Blues Museum, Clarksdale, Mississippi

The SessionI was not kidding Friday when I tweeted that The Session would give me a chance to post a picture of the cabin outside Clarksdale, Mississippi, that Muddy Waters left behind when he moved to Chicago. Here it is, preserved in the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale.

I might have been a bit giddy, but with good reason. You’ll recall marching orders for The 118th gathering of The Session went like this: If you could invite four people dead or alive to a beer dinner who would they be? What four beers would you serve?

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Monday beer links: Beer & weed, The Beer Monopoly, and ‘enter the chairs’


Legal marijuana is affecting the beer industry’s memory.
Killer lead from Jason Notte: “Marijuana’s disruption of short-term memory apparently applies to the argument about its effects on the beer industry. Folks are still saying weed is bad for beer, but nobody seems to remember any of the evidence to the contrary.” And it is followed by a solid takedown of “this purple haze of half-truths” and a report from investment bank Cowen and Co. maintaining that legal marijuana is driving down beer sales. Notte concludes, “It isn’t marijuana harshing the beer industry’s mellow: It’s some harsh truths about where the industry is headed.” [Via MarketWatch]

London’s next beer revolution has begun.
[Via Craft Beer London]
Texas’ Deep Ellum Sells Stake to Storied Craft Breweries.
[Via Brewbound]
The Riddle of Scarcity in New England.
[Via All About Beer]
In the first story, Will Hawkes concludes, “The implications for independent London breweries are obvious. The advantage from being local only goes so far: those who will thrive over the next few years will do so because their beer is consistently good.” In the second, a Dallas brewery intent on growing apparently much larger, sells majority interest in the operation to an investment group. In the third, Jeff Alworth examines the choices breweries that brew passionately loved beers make related to producing and selling those beers. You may parse all this information differently. But it seems to me that stories about how many breweries is too many breweries overlook that a fundamental shift. Some owners — well, lots of them — have written a business plan based on ongoing growth. But the way some others measure success has changed, and there is room for plenty more local breweries whose founders have realistic expectations.

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Session #118: Who’s coming to dinner and what are we drinking?

The SessionWelcome to The Session #118. I’ll be the host today, inviting a few guests and picking some beers. As you may recall the theme is pretty simple:

If you could invite four people dead or alive to a beer dinner who would they be? What four beers would you serve?

We played this game here in a slightly different way almost exactly nine years ago. I think the results made for some interesting, even educational, reading, which is one of the reasons The Session has been around for 118 months, right? The choices certainly were diverse, with more musicians picked than brewers. Only three guests were invited to more than one dinner — Michael Jackson, William Shakespeare, and Martin Luther.

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Time in a bottle

Joe Stange wrote about Baltic Porter and Poland last week at DRAFT. Which is a good enough excuse to show you a few photos from the Zywiec Brewery in Zywiec and Bracki Browar Zamkowy in nearby Cieszyn, which is owned by the Zywiec group (and therefore Heineken, which owns Zywiec — got it?).

Near the end of a tour at Zywiec visitors may sample Zywiec Porter and see how malt used in the beer is roasted. Zywiec actually buys most of its roasted barley because the old way is not particularly effecient. And its porter is made in the much smaller Cieszyn brewery because production is modest — about 30,000 hectoliters (25,500 barrels) a year.

Malt roaster at Zywiec Brewery in Zywiec, Poland

Roasting malt at Zywiec Brewery in Poland

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Meet me in Kansas City Saturday

We’re headed to Kansas City this weekend. We’ll be eating smoked meat, drinking beer, meeting up with friends, and I am told there might be some shopping.

I might miss most of that shopping stuff to hang out with brewing friends. Feel free to join us.

Stop No. 1 will be at Glass to Grain Grain to Glass at 1 p.m. I’ll talk a little bit about essential oils, including some new discoveries related to hops and how other plants may be used to create hop-like aromas and flavors (with an assist from yeast). Stop by, listen, ask questions, bring any books (preferably ones I’ve written) you’d like signed. There will be books for sale, but that part is strictly optional.

Round No. 2 begins at 3 p.m. at Crane Brewing in Raytown. The brewery was under construction when I was there in the summer of 2015, so I’m looking forward to a tour from Michael Crane.

Under construction - Crane Brewing Co., Raytown, Mo.

I think everybody will be welcome to join in. After that Michael and I will talk about foraging for yeast and brewing with local yeast. We should be around there until about 6 p.m. Once again, bring questions as well as books to be signed. And there will be books for sale — holiday shopping made fun.


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