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The Session #111 recapped, #112 announced

The SessionHost Oliver Gray has recapped The Session #111 (part one, and awaiting part two), and in the process noted that rather than calling what he was experiencing a mid-life crisis perhaps it should be called a mid-hobby crisis.

And host Carla Jean Lauter has announced the topic for The Session #112 on June 3 will be “The Other Beer Economy.”

Growing alongside of the boom of breweries are many small businesses that are supporting, or supported by the craft beer industry. Maine is now home to a malt processing facility, and several hop farms. There are multiple beer tourism-focused businesses that help connect visitors to the state’s best beer offerings. There are companies that create beer-related apparel for beer fans, some that have designed unique bottle openers and manufacture them in-state. Maine is also home to a company that manufactures and installs brewing equipment, and another whose sole mission is to clean the lines that serve up that beer to thirsty beer fans.

I would suggest that Ben Keene, managing editor at Beer Advocate, might be mining Session #112 for ideas. BA has an occasional “Will Work for Beer” feature (disclosure: I’ve written a couple) that covers basically the same territory.


Monday beer links: History and dive bars


Mega-merger? How About No?
As the headline suggests, Lew Bryson makes his position clear. “One company. Thirty percent of world beer sales. About half of world beer profits.” [Via All About Beer]

Budweiser and the Selling of America.
About those cans labeled “America” … “Today the difference (you might call it an innovation) is that this newer imaginative product sells us—some of us—to ourselves, not to the rest of the world, and is maybe, in this way, evidence of an increasing confusion over our national identity.” [Via The New Yorker]

Remembering the forgotten (and then drinking it).
A Beer Museum Could Open In Chicago With A Brewpub & Rooftop Bar.
[Via Eater]
The Sensible Regulation Of Beer In New Netherlands.
[Via A Good Beer Blog]
History. Lots of it in the first link. The second link is to a project that will “launch a fundraising campaign this year” so some skepticism
is OK. And the third is an example of history done right. To return to the first and re-configure one of Joe Stange’s sentences: “Many (amateur historians) are shedding light on primary sources and questioning the validity of others—and, I believe, that’s what historians are supposed to do,” but “their rigor varies widely.” I apologize for coming across as a curmudgeon. However, even though there is arguably more well-documented research into the past being posted on blogs than in print publications (“Journal of the Brewery History Society” excluded) there’s something to be said for peer and technical review. Been there, made those mistakes.

What’s Happened to the Great American Dive Bar?

Walking through any city center, however, residents might be led to believe that dive bars are still alive. These faux-dive bars, where imbibers have the option of sipping on a $6 Lagunitas draft, can easily deceive transplants and tourists looking for a real down-and-out drinking experience. From a visual appraisal, they have the cliché signs: neon Budweiser signs, an LCD electronic jukebox on the wall, and maybe some specials for $2 PBRs. But Jeremiah Moss, author of the blog “Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York,” describes them as harbingers of fabricated cookie cutter sameness that derives from the neo-liberal, winner-take-all mindset permeating cities (see: yuppies shrieking with glee at the opening of an artisanal coffee shop, cocktail lounges playing Top 40 hits, kitschy diners serving $13 alcoholic milkshakes).

[Via Easter]

The Bar Where Nobody Knows Your Name.
Related. [Via Punch]


If you click on the date you’ll see a longer thread. I pass this along for two reasons. First, as a bit of disclosure. I was one of the journalists who attended at the expense of the Carlsberg Foundation (a plane flight, two nights lodging, a fancy dinner that the crown prince attended).

Second, Joe Stange asks an interesting question. Is have this little calculator in my head. In this case, the foundation conducts research in all aspects of brewing. Much of this is shared. I know how expensive it would be for a laboratory to do research about the biotransformations of various hop compounds that result from different yeast strains. (In other words, what different hop aromas occur in beer fermented with a yeast used at Fuller’s than one used at Lagunitas? And what changes when you replace Centennial with Mosaic?) I doubt I can find out the total cost of the project, but I will ask. Because I am pretty sure it would pay for a chunk of hop/yeast research.

We all have our priorities.


Monday beer links: The beverage may be race-less, but what about the community?


A Czech Influence on Belgian Brewing.
Evan Rail goes digging though the remaining archives of a number of Belgian beer makers and discovers “how Czech brewing has impacted the beer culture in other countries — without being recognized for doing so.” [Via Beer Culture]

What Is the Brewers Association Doing to Address Gender and Race?
What *Should* the Brewers Association Do to Address Gender and Race?
I will only add that we are talking about an association of independent breweries. Shouldn’t some of them have their own programs to recruit minorities? [Via This Is Why I’m Drunk]

The “Reputation” of Beer.
“As a community, we need to stay on offense. The craft beer drinker is a much more diverse group than many know; we need to embrace our diversity. Beer is a gender-less beverage. Beer is a race-less beverage.” [Via Stouts & Stilettos]

Beer to Fish Food: Nonprofit Finds New Use for Spent Grain.
A couple of quick additions to the story, to illustrate how a small brewery can connect with its community. West Sixth Brewing resurrected a 90,000-square foot 1890s building that is called the Bread Box because it used to be a Rainbow Bread factory. As well as FoodChain Lexington (featured in this story) it houses artist studios, a non-profit community bicycle shop, the seafood restaurant mentioned, a distiller, and a coffee roaster. [Via All About Beer]


Historic brewing names Pabst, MillerCoors locked in legal battle.
This story flew under the radar, coming to life while the Craft Brewers Conference was in full swing: “Pabst and its owner, Los Angeles-based Blue Ribbon Intermediate Holdings LLC, claim in a lawsuit filed in circuit court that MillerCoors has breached without warning a long-term agreement to brew Pabst products, after repeated assurances that MillerCoors had sufficient capacity to honor the deal into the next decade.” [Via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

Budweiser Renames Its Beer “America.”
a quick Google search will lead you to plenty of related commentary, most of it not particularly positive. Budweiser has indeed gone to “to potentially ingenious, potentially absurd branding extremes.” [Via Fast Company]


The wine tasting that shocked the world — and forever changed what we drink.
[Via The Washington Post]
Would California wine have succeeded without the 1976 Paris Tasting?
[Via Steve Heimhoff]
Fifteen years ago American brewers asked when they’d have their own “Judgment of Paris.” I don’t know that there is a single historic moment to point to, but most would agree that American beer now occupires a “lofty position.”



Monday beer links: Whose mid-life beer crisis is it, anyway?


The Session #111: Are you there Beer? It’s me, Oliver.
[Via Literature & Libation]
Session 111: You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.
[Via A Good Beer Blog]
Session #111: A Beer Mid-Life Crisis?
[Via Boak & Bailey’s Beer Blog}
Surviving a Beer Midlife Crisis — The Session #111.
[Via Good Beer Hunting]
The premise behind The Session is, or at least was, that the host recap the various posts, so I generally don’t point to them on Monday. But I’ll break with tradition because although I did not chime on Friday — a) I was in information collecting mode at the Craft Brewers Conference, and b) am more interested in writing about various aspects of beer and brewing than my relationship with beer — it is so interesting to read how those more generous about revealing their motivations think about their relationship with beer. In addition, Michael Kiser calls out what he refers to as “an old guard in craft beer.”

There are 6,000 active TTB licenses in the US right now, according to the BA. That means in the next couple of years, we could see 1-2k more breweries. Instead of applause, that line got a collective groan from an audience of craft brewers. For those people, more breweries means more competition, or noise, depending on how you look at it, that they have to fight through every day to sell their beer. And the assumption seems to be that these new people are either getting in to it for the wrong reasons (money) or they’re young and dumb and they’re going to screw everything up with low quality beer.

That sounds like a form of mid-life crisis to me. And fuck that.

I’ll be borrowing from these and other Session #111 posts when I speak at The Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference in July. Because writers should be as concerned about remaining relevant as companies/brands/brewers are.

Smithsonian Announces New Initiative To Document Brewing History.
This was announced at the Craft Brewers Conference. Brewers who won medals in the World Beer Cup competition might disagree, but it looks like the biggest news of the week to me. [Via Smithsonian]

Will Big Lager one day go the same way as Big Porter?
And a related question from Ron Pattinson: Why do beer styles disappear? [Via Zythophile]

America’s New Beer Test.
“In craft beer, you’re dealing with voters of the whole spectrum, from 21 until they’re cold. Our beer drinkers are left, right, Independent. Beer is the x-factor. People might not agree politically, but they can agree that this beer is great.”

When James Schirmer drew my attention to this via Twitter the headline said: “How Craft Beer Became the Budweiser of America.” That certainly could be taken to mean many different things. [Via Atlantic]

An American beer snob in Munich.
As you will see if you read the replies to Joe Stange’s tweet (“Confused sad American person goes to Munich in search of IPA”) some people didn’t think much of this story. [Via Boston Globe]



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