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Monday beer links: Dark secrets, dive bars (again), styles (again), bubbles (again)


Yesterday Alan McLeod commented, “there is not much out there to read.” I cannot agree. Certainly many of the links that follow lead to topics already discussed at length, but that does not mean there is not new thinking or that there are not new things to think about.

definition of craft (beer)

How The Hipster Somms Could Get Away With Murder And How We Can Stop Them.
[Via Grape Collective]
When it comes to cocktails, is it time to kill the word craft?
[Via Charleston City Paper]
Last Friday I collected a bunch of headlines that use the term craft beer to illustrate people are not going to quit using the word no matter how useless some people find it. As frustrating and repetitive that some of the discussions can be (such as when we dig into various definitions of craft, like the entry from ORIGINS: A short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English, shown above) maybe they are good because they have us talking about what is in the glass, and sometime more. Stuart Pigott’s amusing rant in Grape Collective may not seem directly related, but give it some thought.

You Can’t ‘Open’ a Dive Bar.
Yes, it was just a couple of weeks ago that the topic of dive bars came up. But here’s a view from a different angle. There’s this: “What are you going to do, open a brand-new bar with a busted urinal?” And plenty more. Including a question you might want to ask yourself. “(Owner Dave) Meinert describes the clientele of the 5 Point as prostitutes and politicians, drug dealers and Amazon employees: ‘A mix of people you don’t see at most places … a mix most places don’t try to appeal to.” When you are waxing romantic about dive bars consider if they are places you really want to hang out. [Via CityLab]

Death of a Brewery Salesman.
Just in case you’ve been thinking selling beer is a “dream job.” [Via DC Beer]

Craft Beer’s Dark Secrets, According to an Insider.
I abhor stories with anonymous sources, but this one that will get talked about. Many of the points are valid. That some are less valid does not invalidate the story. [Via Thrillist]

All Styles Evolve: The Guinness Example.
[Via All About Beer]
When the Original is the Outlier.
[Via Jeff Alworth]
Talking about styles. A rabbit hole. Take a flashlight.

Let’s Talk Doom, Gloom and Craft Beer Bubbles.
Because you always want to start off your week thinking about gloom and doom. Before you panic, “Just remember, we’ve been sounding this alarm for some time.” [Via This Is Why I’m Drunk]

Grapevine Brewery Ceases Distribution of Its Beer, Will No Longer Be Sold in Stores or Bars.
Maybe we should blame all the bubble talk. A Texas beer store announced on Twitter that Grapevine was shutting its doors, although it isn’t. It’s getting weird out there folks. [Via Dallas Observer]

‘Nobody asks for a chalice here.’
Wait, the chalice was not already the standard glass for Stella everywhere? [Via I might have a glass of beer]

A love story and cliffhanger from Ron Pattinson. [Via Shut Up About Barclay Perkins]

Detroit-made Stroh’s returns with throwback brew that rivals craft beer.
Unfortunately it appears this beer will be sold only in Michigan. I gotta hope Pabst brings some to the Great American Beer Festival. I’m trying to wrap my head around the idea it will be an all-malt beer. I don’t think the Stroh’s I drank before I might have been 21 was all malt, but it did have more flavor than most of what we could get in central Illinois. And you could usually find a case of returnables on sale for $1.99 ($13.80, accounting for inflation, but $1.99 has a cooler ring to it). [Via Detroit Free Press]

Why yeast is craft beer’s ‘God particle’
An interview about many things with Dave Logsdon, a man of many things. In which he says, “Actually, home brewers were more experimental and courageous to take leaps of faith and have fun doing it. Commercial brewers, for the most part, were a little more staid, more at-risk, were more educated and took a more pragmatic approach toward their beers and their production process.” [Via MarketWatch]

Highland Park’s bar boom not sitting well with some residents.
The northeast L.A. neighborhood covers less than four square miles, but is home to over 60 of the city’s alcohol licenses, about a third of which were issued in the past three years alone. These are not dive bars, but as the headline indicates not everybody thinks this is a good idea. Do read the comments. [Via 89.3KPCC]

Breckenridge Brewery owner opens up about life under Anheuser-Busch
Several different members of the Business Journal family broadcast this story. AB InBev can’t control the conversations around these breweries, but they aren’t sitting silent. [Via Denver Business Journal]


The Wine Show Is So Bizarre It Almost Can’t Help But Be Charming.
Attention fans of The Americans (the best show on television), Matthew Rhys stars along with Matthew Goode. [Via VOGUE]

Are we overdo for a paradigm shift in wine?
It may have already happened in beer. [Via Steve Heimoff]


You’ll need to click on the date to see what Mike is referring to.


Session #115 announced: The role of beer books

The SessionHost Joan Villar-i-Martí has announced that the topic for The Session #115 will be “Role of beer books.”

He writes, “Participants can talk about that first book that caught their attention, which brought them to get interested in beer; or maybe about books that helped developing their local beer scene. There’s also the – bad – role of books that regrettably misinform readers because their authors did not do their work properly. There are many different ways to tackle this topic.”

So read a new book or revisit an old friend and post on the topic Sept. 2.


Don’t these people understand the term ‘craft beer’ has no meaning?

And these are just the headlines.

Beer on demand: Craft breweries like Piece, Half Acre start delivery service
Bordeaux wine for craft beer drinkers
What’s it like when your startup craft brewery gets bought by Anheuser-Busch?
Hopsteiner picks its top hops for craft brewing professionals
Hopping mad about craft beer
Illegal Alcohol: Where to Drink Thai Craft Beer in Bangkok
10 California Craft Beers That Cost a Bundle on the Black Market

This is not an argument about the validity of whatever definition of “craft beer” you want to use. I find it generally easy to simply use the word beer myself. When I write a story for one of the Brewers Association publications (Zymurgy or New Brewer) I use the term because it is defined within that context of the magazine. I just wrote a sentence in a story for All About Beer magazine where it would have been easier to use the term than not. But I found a way not to, because that’s the AABM philosophy.

But, and you knew that was coming, as the headlines that took me litttletime to collect indicate the term must mean something to somebody (even though you can easily strike the word craft from most of them).


pH is the new IBU

Wicked Weed Funkatorium

This beer menu board at Wicked Weed Funkatorium in Asheville, N.C., should look familiar, but not quite the same. That number following the alcohol by volume is the pH, not the IBUs (International Bitterness Units) you see elsewhere. A useful bit of information for beer drinkers, one indicator of how sour a beer might taste.

What might the downside be? Brewers pushing pH levels lower just so they can (or maybe because they don’t know any better). Kinda like previous IBU wars. (See New Beer Rule #2.)

American Sour Beers author Michael Tonsmeire made the danger clear Saturday during the Asheville Homebrewers Conference when he made it clear he said brewing a beer with the lowest pH is like making an IPA with the most IBUs.


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