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Loading up the Beer Ark with this week’s links


Two by two …

Highland Park Brewery brews Yard Beer from backyard ingredients.
On terroir, and the vine’s microbiome.
Foraging for brewing ingredients in southern Illinois or in the middle of North Carolina is relatively easy to imagine. But in Los Angeles? That’s why Bob Kunz at highland Park Brewery offers a lineup of “predictable” and “unpredictable” beers. I think there’s more to the notion of place-based beers than how terroir may affect the flavor of hops, peaches or cucumbers grown in California versus Missouri, but the new study by the American Society for Microbiology (as described by Steve Heimoff) surely has implications for beer. [Via Los Angeles Times and Steve Heimoff]

This New Feminist Beer Is Waging A Battle Against Sexism In Advertising.
Does craft beer have a sexism problem? Binny’s rejects Happy Ending.
The “big picture” story of the week. Still important. Still not going away. [Via Fast Company and Chicago Tribune]

Going Blind with Pliny the Elder.
Pliny The Elder And Blind Pig: Trophy Beers Within Everyone’s Grasp.
Tasting blind — be it beer, wine or smoked meat — tells us something we may not know about what we are tasting and also about ourselves. However, most of the time when I drink beer knowing where it was brewed and who brewed it enhances the experience. That may be true if you are pursuing the rare and exotic or if you are content with the familiar. [Via All About Beer and The Concourse]

How to Beer Blog.
The Secrets of Book Publishing.
Inside baseball, and well done. Your mileage may vary. You don’t really have to be as focused to blog as Boak & Baley suggest — at least I hope not, because I’m not — but it helps. And, thankfully, my experience with book publishing has been less stressful than Jeff Alworth’s.
[Via Boak & Bailey, and Beervana]

How to Make Your First Commercial Batch of Beer in 75 Easy Steps.
“56: Why did it just shut off? Why did it just stop and shut off?”
The second list here could be any of several “best” compilations published last week. I might have come to peace with the fact these lists exist but it doesn’t mean I am inclined to link to one. [Via Beer Flavored Ales]


Hop links, news & myths

- “It’s wonderful that hops have become the subject of so much writing and discussion. It’s just unfortunate that in the process so many (false) myths are being passed on – in countless forums and blogs, on Facebook and even in conversations. So let’s do some spring cleaning and do away with some of these myths.”

The Barth-Haas Group plans to update its new Hop Flavour Blog each Monday. The quote above is from a post about hop myths. Not the sort of historical ones Martyn Cornell tries to rid us of in the appendix to “Beer: The Story of the Pint.” Instead, these set the record straight on brewing matters. For instance, “Myth No. 4: Hop varieties are easily interchangeable. Hop oil contains more than 400 aroma compounds in different concentrations and combinations, and these substances additionally produce synergistic effects. It is therefore very difficult to swap hop varieties.” Indeed.

– ADHA483 (Azacca), ADHA881 (Jarrylo), ADHA871 (Pekko), ADHA527, ADHA529, and ADHA484, oh my! I suspect it will be possible to drink a beer brewed with a relatively new hop or an experimental one (probably only with a number as a name) about every five minutes for three straight days during the upcoming Craft Brewers Conference in Portland. But the most public tasting will be one featuring varieties from the American Dwarf Hop Association’s breeding program at Apex Bar April 17. Among the breweries that made beers using the ADHA hops are Bagby Brewing, Alagash Brewing, Bear Republic Brewing, Three Floyds Brewing, Founders Brewing, you get the idea. First beers will be tapped at 2 p.m.

Hallertau Mittelfruh

– A crew from Simply Hops (part of the English branch of Barth Haas) tweeted their away across Germany last week. Interesting tour, including a stop inside of the -35° C chamber where Type 45 pellets are processed. But I was struck more than anything by this description of Hallertau Mittelfrüh: “Full of grapefruit!”

– It sure looks like 2015 will be a breakout year for German-grown Mandarina Bavaria, introduced in 2012 (in time to be described in “For the Love of Hops” although there was little available for brewing). German farmers harvested 100 metric tons (a metric ton is about 2,200 pounds) of Mandaria Bavaria in 2014, compared to 19 in 2013. That crop is sold out, but acreage will double this year. Mandarina is prominent in Firestone Walker’s Easy Jack, which is one reason that brewmaster Matt Brynildson spent a chunk of time in Bavaria during the 2014 harvest. He writes about it in travelogue Firestone Walker has created and included plenty of photos (aka hop porn).

– Jeff Alworth writes about brewing with Latir, one of the hops Todd Bates bred in New Mexico from different neomexicanus plants collected in the wild and now grown by the monks at Christ in the Desert monastery north of Abiquiu, N.M. He promised to save me a bottle, so I will report back after CBC.


When the circus and shuckers come to town

Schlafly Stout and Oysters Festival, St. Louis

Call it A Snapshot of Middle America or Things That Happen in the Shadow of the Eagle.

Friday and Saturday at Schlafly’s Tap Room in St. Louis: The Stout and Oyster Festival.

Saturday at 4 Hands Brewing (2 miles away, an easy walk, and you can even swing by Busch Stadium): Lupulin Carnival.

Schlafly (officially The Saint Louis Brewery) flies in 50,000 oysters and shuckers from both coasts. No tickets are necessary — but a willingness to stand in line helps. There will be lines. Schlafly will be serving five different stouts as well as oysters in different combinations. The shuckers are fun to talk to, and for some reason they seem particularly keen on trying Imo’s Pizza, a local specialty made with Provel processed cheese.

4 Hands’ Carnival really is a carnival (photographic proof) and also will have beer from about 50 breweries. Tickets are for sale here or if you hurry (deadline looms) you can enter the STL Hops contest to win two tickets. All you need to know:

“We’re going to once again pick the most creative hop-based clown name or hop-based carnival ride. For example: Citra the Clown or the Calypso Cyclone. Only, don’t use those, because they suck.”


Working with a living beer community

Tiah Edmunson-Morton, Oregon Hops & Brewing ArchivesThe March/April edition of DRAFT magazine has a lovely little story about Tiah Edmunson-Morton and the Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives. (Full disclosure: I wrote it.)

I’ve pointed to her Tumblr blog on several occasions, first because I thought you might be interested, and second, perhaps selfishly, because we need to encourage this sort of activity. In one sense it is easier to collect history as it is happening; in another it is harder because you don’t know necessarily know what is going to be important.

Yesterday Alan McLeod wrote, “The interesting thing about the early bits of anything is how little data there is to work with.” Indeed.

So a couple of quotes from Edmunson-Morton (in case your copy of DRAFT hasn’t arrive in the mail):

“The ultimate irony is you can digitize it all, but how to you make sense out of it?”

“You are no longer dealing with people how have died and left their nice box of stuff. You are working with a living community. The power is not just records, but people’s memories. One person fills in a blank here, another person there.”

As I wrote in the story, OHBA makes too much sense to be one of a kind. But, to repeat myself, we need to encourage this sort of activity. Edmunson-Morton is already practicing what Paul Eisloeffel of the Nebraska State Historical Society calls holistic collecting, “thinking outside of the archives box” and gathering artifacts as well as historical documents. This doesn’t necessarily come naturally.

“Dealing with artifacts has always been a problem for standalone archives,” he said. He’s a proponent of the sort of proactive collecting Edmunson-Morton has begun. “It is important for archivists to be able to look at what’s happening in a culture and start collecting now. I really applaud her.”


The many sides of the Budweiser story


Perhaps I may have missed something that would totally change my life during 8 mostly Internet-free days before Saturday. But it’s one thing to wade through hundreds of Feedly headlines; it would another to consider reaching that far back in Twitter (is “in” even the right preposition?) to feel really caught up. Instead, I found a series of links that somehow seem related.

Lagers Enjoy a Renaissance.
Remember when The New York Times reviewed a ranked a bunch of beers in a particular “style” that a bunch of commentary followed in the online beer space? (“Craft beer in the New York Times! Craft beer in the New York Times! They’ve noticed!”) Perhaps this happened a week-and-plus back and I just missed it because I was packing and then, in fact, gone, but it barely registered in the places I was looking as I was playing catch up. Granted, the premise was a bit confusing; “sunshine, baseball, beer” – lagers, but not pilsners, and not beers made with cereal adjuncts. [Via The New York Times}

Don’t call it a Renaissance; we’ve been here for years.
I might have missed the Times article were it not for email from Anheuser-Busch about Peter Wolfe’s post in what it calls its “newsroom.” This is an A-B blog and Wolfe works for A-B. But once in a while it is refreshing to read the straight up A-B side of the story, not sugar-coated by some pretense of balance. Speaking of balance, consider something Michael Kiser of Good Beer Hunting said in an interview last week: “I’m also someone who believes that bias exists in every expression, including the most objective pieces of journalism.” Anyway, what follows will make more sense if you take the time to read what Wolfe writes. [Via Anheuser-Busch]

Why Macro Beers Suck So Much.
This is the other side of the story. Quite frankly, not told as well. For instance, these two statements seem to be in conflict:

– “(AB InBev equips) these folks with the most expensive equipment and technology, and they probably have the best quality control of any food manufacturer in the world.”
– “Generally, high gravity brewing makes a weaker tasting and smelling beer with more off-flavors, and has a high potential for quality problems.”

I am not a fan of high gravity brewing, but not because I think the result is more fusel alcohols and excessive ester production (see statement #1). I’m also not a fan of several other blankets statements here, but the 1,400 or so words illustrate how a lot of people who take the time to think about Budweiser think about the beer. [Via KC Beer Blog]

Beer Flavors Are Not That Subtle.
Both the email I received from A-B and Wolfe’s blog post included a link to Budweiser’s Blind Taste Test video. Jeff Alworth has a different view of what was basically a commercial (that part, that it was a commercial, we agree on) than I. He writes, “The ad is structured to suggest that these are sophisticated drinkers who would normally be ordering Dogfish Head, Sixpoint, or Brooklyn Brewery’s beers, and that merely recontectualizing Bud is enough to put it in their camp.” I didn’t get any feel for what these people usually drink. The video pretty obviously was not shot with my senses in mind and I’m simply not prepared to watch it a third time to get to know these people better. I am prepared to believe that if you tell people you are giving them a special beer and don’t tell them the name they might like Budweiser. Particularly if their previous pale lager experience is based on Bud Light or Miller Lite or Coors Light (and it increasingly is — don’t forget, 44 percent of 21- to 27-year-old drinkers today have never tried Bud). It has more flavor. Not as much as anything from Dogfish Head or even as much as Budweiser not long ago. But there are subtle aromas and flavors. Telling a drinker a beer is special provides an invitation to go looking for those. [Via Beervana]

The lager picture.
This map of the world showing each country’s favorite beer does not paint a pretty picture. And it leads in nicely to the question in the next link.[Via The Economist]

What should our national beer be?
Here “our” is Britain. But I think somebody — not me — should organize a poll to determine the U.S. National Beer. [Via The Beer Cast]


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