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Archive | January, 2009

Saint Somewhere on Good Morning America

I’m not sure why I watched the clip of DRAFT magazine publisher Austin Wilson’s Good Morning America appearance all the way to the end, but what a pleasant surprise.

The last beer they get to is from Saint Elsewhere Brewing Co. in Tarpon Springs, just north of Tampa.

The contrast between this tiny brewery and everything, beer billboards included, around the Super Bowl stadium is stunning.

Tuesday at the brewery founder Bob Sylvester motioned to his mash tun and brewing kettle in one corner, then three fermenters in the other. “You’ve had the tour,” he said, chuckling quietly and smiling.

I figure he’s smiling more after Friday’s GMA, so I posted a picture and a little bit more at Brew Like a Monk.


Can craft brewers actually duck hard times?

A canary in a coal mine?

Jeff Alworth has been trying to figure out how the recession is influencing craft beer sales. My gut feeling is that he’s on to something.

Look, I’m not predicting that a bunch of craft breweries are going to go out of business, but stories like this one, “Craft brew sales on the rise as more offbeat beer flavors hit Superbowl coolers,” seem a little too good to be true.

When you look at all the things people aren’t buying these days it would hardly be surprising to see a luxury, affordable or not, like craft beer on the list.

Yes, I’ve seen the reports from many brewers who say they are still in expansion mode, who are having trouble keeping up with orders. Is this, in economist-speak, a leading indicator or a lagging indicator?

Guess we’ll find out soon enough.

Were those really the good old days?

I really shouldn’t admit how fascinating I find most of the numbers Ron Pattinson assembles.

The particular series that has me on the edge of my seat right now are the posts like these: assessing beer quality and Barclay Perkins Porter and Stout quality in the 1920’s.

These provide some hint if quality was a reason some styles, and some specific brands, survived at various points in time and why some didn’t.

I just wish somebody could find tasting notes to go with them. (Isn’t going to happen.)

How strong is a standard beer? Not 8% abv

In some of the many discussions about Session Beers (like here and here) the fact that Utah brewers make a range of great beers containing less than 4 percent alcohol by volume usually comes up.

So it’s nice to see them get a little credit in Sunday’s New York Times: “Brew Pubs Gain an Unlikely Following in Utah.” But — whoa! &#151 when I read this paragraph I don’t know if somebody got confused converting alcohol by volume to alcohol by weight (4% abv equals 3.2% abw) or perhaps had a few beers first.

Utah still has quirky alcohol laws, including one that sets a limit of 3.2 percent alcohol — a little more than half the amount standard in most beers around the world — for beer sold on tap.

Does this mean that Vanessa Chang figures a standard beer contains almost 8% abv?

And how strong would a Session Beer be? Six percent? Lew, there’s work to be done.


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