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Monday beer links: Luther, Tachtigers and koduõlu (oh my)

MONDAY BEER & WINE LINKS, 11.07.17

Alworth’s 9.5 Theses is not just another listicle (which, if you recall my aversion to such things, is more than begrudging praise). As commenters suggest there are contradictions within, but that’s what you get when you think about things.

– The story of East-Indian Haantjesbier was not a contribution to this month’s Session (“missing local beer styles”), but it could have been. This reads like the beginning of an historical novel, doesn’t it? “The Tachtigers, as many Dutch people vaguely remember from Dutch class in high school, were a group of young, rebellious writers and artists who wanted to resist the complacency of the Dutch bourgeoisie of that time. And Haantjesbier is what was served at the Karseboom café in the Kalverstraat in Amsterdam, where the Tachtigers met in 1881. In fact drinking Haantjesbier was an act of resistance in itself, because the actual fashion of the day in the Netherlands was Bavarian beer.”

Seto kingdom day (and koduõlu).

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Session #129: When local isn’t a style

The SessionGose. Check (at least in season).
Pale ale. Check.
Pumpkin beer. Check.
Cask pale ale. Check.
ESB. Check.
Brown ale. Check.
Rauchbier. Check.
Barley wine. Check.
Hefeweizen. Check.
Stout. Check.
Cask stout. Check.
American stout. Check.
Foreign stout. Check.
Imperial stout. Check.
Milk stout. Check.
Peanut butter milk stout. Check.
Barrel-aged imperial stout. Check.
Barrel-aged imperial stout you stand in line to buy. Check.
Saison. Check.
Mixed fermentation saison. Check.
Barrel-aged wild beer. Check. Check. Check.
American lager. Check.
American light lager. Check.
Zwickel. Check.
German pils. Check.
Czech pils. Czech.

This list, which could go on as long as the Great American Beer Festival awards ceremony because I haven’t even start in on IPAs, is brought to you by The Session #129. Host Eoghan Walsh has asked participants to write about “Missing local beer styles.” He suggested several variations, but still put this as the basic question: “What beer style would you like to see being brewed in your local market that is not yet being brewed?”

And the answer to that question is: Anything that exists in a style guideline somewhere that I can’t buy from a local brewery I probably will end up judging in a homebrew contest soon enough.

But when I think of “what next” and local beer I don’t think in terms of styles. I think about what brewers can do to give their beers “taste of place.” This is not new. I’ve quoted this 1854 story from Daily Missouri Republican about the “last days of lager” before, but it is constantly relevant.

‘The last days of Pompeii’ is a romance of Belwer [Edward Bulwer-Lytton], known to the world; but ‘the last days of Lager Beer in St. Louis,’ is a romance yet to be written. We certainly will not pretend to write it, for we claim no merit as a novelist; but we will give facts, plain facts, and if any one feels interest enough in them to use them for a theme of romantic literature, we most cordially allow him the privilege of doing so.

“With last Sunday, September 17th, the last drop of Lager Beer in St. Louis went down to – posterity. It was, and is no more. During the past extremely hot summer, it must have been some sort of gratification to our German population to have resorted to a good glass of Lager Beer, and freely did they make use of it. At places where, as we are told, the best of that article was kept, scarcely enough hands could be procured to serve the daily increasing number of consumers. But the extraordinary demand, occasioned by the extraordinary heat, soon exhausted the supply. One house after the other announced to its customers, that next day ‘the last barrel of Lager Beer’ would be tapped. This direful news brought grief unto many, and not a few were this person: stopped at street corners by inquisitive friend, with the often-repeated query ‘Where is good Lager Beer yet to be had?’ At last, two places only remained where the needful could be got – one, a spacious bar room, was the Mecca, during the day; the other, being a garden, in the evening. But days hurried on. The demand, having been concentrated to these two places, was too great for their supply, and finally, the bar room gave out. Matter now seemed to wear a gloomy appearance. ‘Mr. K. has shut his house,’ was sad tiding indeed. However, the consolation remained. The delicious fluid could yet be obtained at the garden, as so it went on for a few days. But, alas, only for a few days. One fine morning, as a social company were gathered under the beautiful acacia trees in that garden, the otherwise very kind and affable host, with one glass full of Lager Beer, in his left ‘fist,’ advanced toward the company, and handing, it to one of them, pronounced it to be positively, ‘the last drop of our last barrel!’ Great consternation followed this announcement, because it then became evident that the days of Lager Beer in St. Louis for this summer were numbered. But soon a report was spread, that a certain Mr. G. had two kegs of needful yet left for his particular friends. It did not take long for that report to make the round of the particular friends of this benevolent gentleman, numerous as they are, but it embraced even foes, and the two kegs had only a bare existence, for soon after they were tapped a deep, hollow sound, in answer to a nick at the bottom, gave satisfactory evidence that they were empty.

“In the afternoon of that very same day it was discovered – how we cannot tell – that at a certain brewery downtown, a few barrels were still left to satisfy the wishes of our German community; and, in pursuance of this information, a perfect migration of our German citizens took place to the popular spot. But there, as we are informed, the Lager Beer is also gone! and so we have recorded ‘the last days of Lager Beer in St. Louis.’”

I’d like to have a taste of that beer, because history and local and all that. Maybe I’d even end up missing it when it was gone. I suspect not.

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Monday beer links, with sake and wine on the side

MONDAY BEER & ALCOHOL LINKS, 10.30.17

– I fear this train has already left the station, but it would be nice if we all agreed what we are talking about when discussing kveik.

– What do you do after you have brewed with home made malt and had a go at chicha de muko? Make sake, if you are Ed Wray, and even if you have to use risotto rice.

– Once you get past the reality that Bill Coveleski even has a favorite Rush song, the Victory Brewing co-founder makes a powerful argument for “fortifying at home.”
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When Ron Pattinson makes a point it stays made

Ron Pattinson - the one and onlySomehow, Uwe Kalms occasionally managed to get a word in edgewise during an evening at Krossbar Bellavista in Santiago, Chile. They hosted judges and speakers for Copa Cervezas de América last week when they debuted their newest beer — you guessed it, an NEIPA.

Ron will be posting plenty of details about the trip, the competition, the conference, and whatever else crosses his mind. In an email exchange yesterday he said he had already written 5,000 words. Expect it to be entertaining.

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Miracle Brew: Continuing beer education

Miracle Brew by Pete BrownBeer writer Pete Brown was conducting a tasting of IPAs when a woman in the audience raised her hand to ask a question.

“If these beers have got so many hops in, are they still suitable for celiacs?”

He replied that hops don’t contain any glutens.

“Ah, so they’re not barley hops then?”

He offers this story as a footnote in his latest book, Miracle Brew, writing that “ironically, she could only misunderstand beer so dramatically because, compared to most people she was better informed and more engaged.”

Brown is currently visiting the American northeast in support of Miracle Brew and he’ll likely get similar questions. Plenty of beer consumers are playing catch up, keen on learning the basics but also something that goes beyond. Consider a recent story from NPR about “how sour beer is driving a microbial gold rush.” That’s a conversation several steps removed from barstool discussions about if bock is really just beer left over from the bottom of the barrel (a myth, but it lives on).
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