The Session #90: The gloves come off

The SessionJake at Hipster Brewfus has posted marching orders for The Session #90: Beer Fight Club. Because? For one thing, he writes, “a lot of the topics on The Session lately have been pretty unimaginative, uninspired, and uninteresting.”

Although this matter comes up from time to time in the beer blogosphere, there’s also “my growing frustration with the general acceptance that all craft beer is good beer, and that any hint of negativity will do damage to our burgeoning scene.”

So the premise:

Have you ever drank a beer that became a battle, more than an enjoyable experience? Maybe a beer that was far bigger than you had anticipated? Something you felt determined to drink, just so you can say you conquered that son of a bitch, and you are all that is powerful. Or perhaps it is something that is just so bad, all you want to do is slap it around a bit. Or maybe you were on the verge of passing out, but you just wanted that one last beer, and the valiant struggle between taste bud fulfillment and the velvety embrace of sleep that ensued.

You picking up what I’m putting down?

It’s time put down whatever praise you were about to dole out, and serve up a nice can of ass whupping.

Should be an interesting challenge.

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Friday beer: Two Jokers Double-Wit

Boulevard Two Jokers Double-WitSo you bought the first edition of “1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die” and worked your way through the first 1,000 before you realized that blankety-blanket so and so Stan Hieronymus* suggested a beer you couldn’t find. Now you can die in peace — Two Jokers Double-Wit is back.

It would seem not everybody was as impressed with Two Jokers as I was when it was released in 2009. As a result, Boulevard Brewing did not brew it beer in 2012, or 2013. It’s back now, as a seasonal, familiar and convivial. At the risk of repeating myself, here’s what I wrote in 2009:

“It makes sense that Boulevard Brewing, located in America’s bread basket, would include wheat as a major ingredient in seventy percent of the beers it brews. Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat, a 4.4 percent beer perfect for humid nights in Boulevard’s home of Kansas City, accounts for most of that, but the brewery makes a full spectrum of wheat-based beers, including Two Jokers Double Wit. ‘The beer and the name are based on duality,’ said Boulevard brewmaster Steven Pauwels. ‘On one side you have the old-school way of making a tart white beer while on the other side you have the U.S. craft beer movement to make everything bigger, more complex. This beer is an approach to overcome these differences.’

“He uses what brewers call a ‘sour mash’ to create much of the tartness in this beer, a method employed in Belgium at the beginning of the twentieth century instead of using ‘wild’ yeast. ‘I like the idea of tartness in white beers,’ said Pauwels, who is Belgian-born and trained. ‘Nowadays we tend to over spice these beer to reach that goal, while they were pretty simple beers at that time (in the nineteenth century).’ The recipe for Two Jokers includes both malted and unmalted wheat and a bit of oats. It is spiced with coriander, orange peel, lavender, cardamom and grains of paradise, but none in quantities that make them easy to pick out.

Pours hazy orange with an off-white head. Citrus and spices jump from the glass, followed by sweet notes of cotton candy. Tart on the tongue, pleasantly grainy, with refreshing orange and lemon zest flavors. Complex and lively.”


* Full disclosure: I was paid to contribute 51 entries to the book. So Two Jokers and I have a working relationship, even following each other on Twitter.

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Kufle i Kapsle

Another example of beer from a place.

Kufle i Kapsle

Kufle i Kapsle

Kufle i Kapsle

Kufle i Kapsle
Nowogrodzka 25
00-511 Śródmieście, Warszawa

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The Session #89 wrapped up

The SessionBill Kostkas has posted the roundup for The Session #89: Beer in History.

His own contribution to The Session left me thinking about our recent travels in Poland.

Battlefield Brew Works just up the York Road outside of Gettysburg proper is one of my favorite brewpubs in the entire Commonwealth. The bar inside is crafted from trees that were grown on the farm’s property when it actually used to be a farm. The establishment itself is completely inside an 1860′s style Pennsylvania Dutch barn.

The Brew Works sits on what once was (or kind of still is) the Monfort Farm just outside of Gettysburg. At one point during and for some time after the Battle of Gettysburg the barn was used as a field hospital and is designated as such by a plate on a fireplace inside. I can honestly say that in my two plus years of doing things and recording some of them on this blog that this one was the most excited I have ever been to combine both beer and history. I can’t wait to return next month.

We’re kind of hit and miss in the United States about preserving the past (or conserving the present, but that’s another discussion). But at least the continent hasn’t had to host a world war. It is a delight to stroll through Warsaw’s Old Town, which was established in the thirteenth century, and point to this or that cool bit of architecture. Except, of course, the one-time city center had to be rebuilt after World War II. Nazi troops leveled 85 percent of it during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944.

Considering history from time to time can help keep beer in perspective. Feel free to resume drinking.

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‘England’s Franconia’ – Is there a better endorsement for a beer drinking region?


England’s Franconia. Add Dudley and the Black Country to the list of must visit destinations in England. Next time somebody asks for an example of beer from a place I’m pointing to this URL.

[Via I Might Have a Glass of Beer]

Why Beer History? Tom Cizauskas turned his blog over to historian Maureen O’Prey for The Session (it was Friday; I lose blogging karma points because things were silent here). She sets the bar high, “As a historian, my mandate is to unearth the accounts of these brewers and share them with the world. Every brewer’s story should be documented, however grand, or seemingly inconsequential.”

[Via Yours for Good Fermentables]

The Art of Craft Beer. Who is Art Larrance (other than the buy who started the Oregon Brewers Festival)? A profile.

[Via Oregon Beer Growler]

Cal Poly Pomona to offer new beer brewing class, build microbrewery on campus. I’m passing this along mostly because I didn’t know that California was considering a “sip and spit” law that allows students younger than 21 to taste beer (and wine) when they take particular college course. But it also reminds me of a question that Dr. Michael Lewis (who started the brewing program at UC-Davis before Sierra Nevada Brewing was even open) asked at the Craft Brewers Conference: Who will be accrediting the institutions that are accrediting the brewers?

[Via San Gabriel Valley Tribune]

Anthony Bourdain’s Theory on the Foodie Revolution. What if you replaced the words food, cooking and eating with beer, brewing and drinking in the first paragraph? “It won’t be surprising if cultural historians look back on the first two decades of this century as The Era of Crazed Oral Gratification. I’m speaking of the fetishization of food, of cooking and eating, of watching other people cooking and eating, that has become omnipresent across all platforms, all media, all screens and all palates in our great nation.”

And that’s before Bourdain cuts loose.

[Via Smithsonian magazine]

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