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Rhino poop

White rhino midden at Rietvlei Nature Reserve

In the week between talking about the intricacies of brewing at Beer Boot Camp, first in Johannesburg and then in Cape Town, our traveling band of presenters had time for some sightseeing. Urban Soweto one day and definitely not urban Rietvlei Nature Reserve were equally stunning.

This isn’t the place for photos of shacks with TV dishes attached or white rhinoceroses. However, I thought about this picture of a rhino midden while I was catching up with what I had stashed in Pocket during the long trip home. From a distance I see a lot of marking of territory in beer. Beer brewing, beer drinking, beer writing, beer services.

Delightfully enough, it turns out that white rhinos are not simply marking territory. They “Use Poop Piles Like a Social Network.” I will leave it to you to make the beer analogy analogies. I’m packing for the next trip.


beer wrestling. beer wrestling. beer wrestling. please.


George Carlin, beer judge
George Carlin, beer rater (see below)

Administrative note: There will be no more weekly links here until August. Not a complaint about upcoming travel, but there simply won’t be time to collect and organize them, and my body likely will have no idea what time zone it is in by the time I link again. As an aside, I hope that when posting does resume I can link to a story about “beer wrestling.”

Finally, a Low-ABV-Themed Beer Bar With Bidets in Every Gender-Neutral Bathroom.
Headline of the year. [Via Willamette Week, h/T @Beervana]

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Beer stuff I’m making time to read


Because a good time was had by all last week at Homebrew Con, the annual gathering of members of the American Homebrewers Assocition, in Minneapolis I am a bit short time heading into the week. So are some of the things I’ve been reading or plan to read when I get caught up. I leave the musing to you.

Historic–or Just Old? This is important enough that I will add a comment that, if you haven’t been paying attention, Jeff Alworth nicely summarizes why it is important.

Craft beer’s big impact on small towns and forgotten neighborhoods.

“Bourdain HATES craft beer!”

The Future of Blogging in a Social Media World.

Why Aren’t Other Big Beer Corps Vilified Like AB-InBev?

Hieronymus, Commentary on Isaiah 7.19-5-11.


Making wine Instagram-mable again.

Canned Wine Is the Drink of Summer 2017. Passed along because last week I heard about a brewery ready to sell its very expensive bottling line because when consumers have a choice they pick cans. They’re cool.

Goldilocks and hop acres – what is just right?

New trellis going in at Perrault Farms in the Yakima Valley
The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service last week released its forecast for acres of hops strung for harvest in the American Northwest. Lots of numbers and plenty of fun comparisons that illustrate how much has changed in five years or ten. The number of acres under wire is up, as expected, but maybe not as much as growers, literally from around the world, feared.

The USDA/NASS forecast is only for the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, because until just a few years ago farmers in the rest of the country did not grow enough hops to bother tallying. That’s changed. Totaling up what’s going on elsewhere has been a challenge for Hop Growers of America, simply because there are so many small hop operations (often an acre or less, on an existing farm or literally in a large backyard). But if estimates are correct, farmers outside the Northwest will tend to about 7% of American hop acreage this year.

I’ve droned on here enough about how hard it is for the global hop market to find equilibrium. (And here and here at Beer Advocate.) Based upon inventory available after the 2016 harvest and projected beer production in 2017 it appears farmers could meet demand without planting any additional acre of hops in 2017.

So what does it mean that Northwest farmers planted about 3,300 additional acres in 2017 and growers elsewhere at least 1,000 more? That Citra will suddenly be easier to get and cheaper? Likely “no” on either count. That the next time you read a story about hop shortages inhibiting the growth of a particular brewery you should be skeptical? You bet. That there will be deals to be made for Cascade? Appears so. That farmers counting on higher prices will crash and burn? That’s the real concern. Because if they go out of business, or rip out hops to plant hazelnuts, then a few years down the road brewers will be facing a hop shortage. Yep, that whole equilibrium thing.

“You have to ask yourself, ‘Do I have the right acreage and the right varieties?'” Patrick Smith of Loftus Farms said in April at the Craft Brewers Conference. Vendors from Germany, the Czech Republic, New Zealand, Australia, England, and France all made it clear at CBC that what happens in the United States affects them as well — at home and in the states. This all provides an interesting backdrop to the upcoming International Brewers Symposium on Hop Flavor and Aroma in Beer (early registration ends tomorrow). I’ll be there in information accumulation mode and likely summarize some of what I learn in my Hop Queries newsletter (sign up at the bottom, if you haven’t already).

Meanwhile, to the numbers.

Northwest acreage grew from 50,857 to 54,135. Most of the growth is in Idaho, which boosted acreage from 5,648 to 7,169.

Top 5 varieties 2017
Cascade 7157 acres
Centennial 5534
Citra 5284
Simcoe 4498
Zeus* 3539

Same 5 varieties 2012
Cascade 3226
Centennial 1736
Citra 538
Simcoe 940
CTZ* ~5676

*Columbus, Tomahawk and Zeus are genetically identical and often sold as CTZ, but they grown under three different names. In 2017, production of Columbus and Tomahawk shrunk enough they are now simply listed with “other” (so CTZ is understated). The 2012 figure is a estimate because at the time Idaho did not publish figures for individual varieties.

Top 5 varieties 2007*
CTZ 8079
Willamette 6858
Galena 3030
Nugget 2768
Cascade 1303**

* Totals are for Washington only and Oregon because Idaho did not publish figure for individual varieties.
** Oregon did not provide a total for Cascade, which was combined with “other” and likely less than 70 acres.
Note: Washington farmers listed Centennial and Simcoe under “other” in 2007. They reported 253 acres of Centennial in 2008 and 129 of Simcoe.

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We need more adjectives for smells & other things you may not know


And the themes this week are . . .


Talking About Talking About Taste And Smell With Linguist Ilja Croijmans.
“The Jahai, a hunter-gatherer community in Thailand, have about 12 words for smells that can be compared to our words for colors. Those words are short, abstract, used very often, and can be applied to many different smells. For example, ‘the smell of bat droppings, smoke, ginger root, and petroleum are all described with the word cnes.’ Those are missing in Western cultures. [Via Sprunge]

Vaping Hops With Lagunitas.
The lessons learned here (which is what you’ll care about) are new, but the idea of collecting hop vapor it not. In 1788 in England, William Kerr patented a device that used a pipe to collect vapor leaving the kettle, then cooled the vapor before brewers separated the hop oil and water. They returned the oil to the boiling wort. [Via October]

Rocky three.
They may have been past their prime. “I think I can see the gap where the bright and banging citrus hops are meant to go, but they’re gone.” [Via The Beer Nut]

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