Top Menu

A hop blast from the past, and UK champion

I originally intended to include a few paragraphs about this in the next volume of Hop Queries but it grew a bit longer. The free newsletter will mail Friday.

“Too bitter, rank and slightly unpleasant” in 1935. The winner in judging for the British Hop Awards for 2017.

Can you name that hop?

A hint. Her sister is 19 percent of the pedigree of Citra.
Continue Reading →


Monday links: Balance, in commerce & community, as well as beer


The Craft of Balance.
This feels like a Noah’s Ark issue of beer links, with many related stories, mostly in pairs. But before getting to those, in my favorite of the week Pete Brown writes about balance.

My wife Liz has much lower tolerance for chill heat than me. She had a tiny spoonful of it, and just managed to say ‘That’s gorgeous” before the screaming started. ‘Never bring that near me again,” she said between gulps of water. But a couple of days later, when I heated up the last of it for my dinner, she couldn’t resist having another taste. She knew it was going to hurt, but she was compelled to try the incredible depth and layering of flavour once more.’

Ale better: how craft beer found its mission.
The Business of Inclusion — Beer’s Unique Intersection of Community and Commerce.
Craft brewers seek to involve more African Americans.
The headline from Good Beer Hunting (second link) states what seems so obvious that you wonder why more breweries aren’t more proactive about making their businesses more diverse for simple economic reasons. Their responsibilities to communities they expect to support them should be equally obvious.

Continue Reading →


Different Days

We saw Jason Isbell (and The 400 Unit, with James McMurtry opening; pretty good deal) in concert last week. The playlist included his song, “Different Days,” and although the lyrics have next to nothing to do with what follows I heard his voice singing “Those were different days” when I came across this passage today.

It appeared in the May/June 1998 issue of The New Brewer magazine, at the time the journal of the Institute of Brewing Studies, the predecessor of the Brewers Association. The “Industry in Review” included a few paragraphs titled “Running Out of Novelty Flavors.”

This seems to be the case, and maybe it’s not such a bad situation. The short history of U.S. craft brewing contains an incredibly long list of different, non-traditional grains, herbs spices, fruits and a few vegetables that commercial brewers have put in their beer. Sometimes it’s more for fun and excitement—to create a special or novelty beer—and other times it’s more for profit—to participate in a growing category. Alternatively, it gives a brewery the distinction of being the “first” to brew with a particular ingredient, a claim to fame that usually far outlast the product itself. A notable example is the story of McMenamins Mars Bar Ale, which has achieved industry folk legend status, even though it was one batch of beer more than a decade ago.

In a market full of porters, stouts, bocks and wheat beers, brewers are still trying hard to come up with new beers to distinguish themselves from other competitors and crave out their own niche. In 1997 a few brewers made beer using hemp seeds and a few others made the first vanilla beers. Now that the list of all conceivable ingredients being in drinkable beer—within reason—seems close to being exhausted, the trend of trying to invent the new novelty may be ending.

That notwithstanding, craft brewing will continue to be a safe realm for creating new flavors and experimenting with different grains, different yeast, and new combinations of ingredients never before attempted. In addition, the whole world of indigenous beer styles brewed by different cultures still awaits the more adventurous micro- and pubbrewers.

No, I did not find this while researching pastry stouts.


Monday links: Real pubs, Southern Beer & under the influence


Roger Baylor is returning to the publican game. And he is bringing his opinions.

To be honest, I don’t care how much a customer thinks he or she knows following a quick electronic glance at the empty mental calories on Thrillist. Remember: miles wide, millimeters deep. The customer might yet be right, though not until I’m finished framing the options. No single person can know everything, but it is the obligation of all involved in the sale of better beer to possess an ability to explain and conceptualize.

In a story at Insider Louisville Baylor’s partner, Joe Phillips, says, “We’re going to resurrect the spirit of what a real pub is.”
Continue Reading →


Monday beer links: Diversity, more diversity, and supertasters


Diversity doesn’t happen by accident. If you somehow missed this terrific post from Melissa Cole, read it now. Think about how to support change, and the people who have been in the trenches for year. Think about how to initiate change. Nieman Labs points out that a lot of publications are paying lip service to inclusiveness and diversity. Outside is actually doing it.

Continue Reading →


Powered by WordPress