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645 residents; 2 breweries

It turns out Ava, Illinois, population 645 in 2013, really isn’t big enough for two breweries. Too bad, because when a town has one brewery per 322 and a half residents that pretty well ends the breweries per population discussion (Asheville would need 270 to keep up, Portland, Oregon, 1,890).

Carbondale Craft Beer Makers of Little Egypt

Alas, two bits of truth here. First, neither Scratch Brewing nor Carbondale Craft Beer, Makers of Little Egypt is located in Ava. Second, Little Egypt is moving to West Frankfurt. It was fun while it lasted.

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Ava on Saturday; Denver on Oct. 4

Alas, I’ll be elsewhere on those dates, but I’m sure you’ll be happy if you make it to Scratch Brewing’s book release party Saturday in Ava, Illinois, or to Beers Made by Walking’s now annual gathering Oct. 4 in Denver. The basics:

The Homebrewer’s Almanac release party begins at noon in Ava. You should own this book, and in addition they’ve got quite a party planned.

The day will be filled with free events, including book signings, garden and foraging tours, home brew demos. We’ll also have a raffle with tons of great prizes, including tickets to our Oktoberfest (and two handmade Scratch steins); a crate of four of our bottled beers (one which is yet to be released); a beer book pack; a special Chanterelle Biere de Garde home brew kit (with chanterelles!) put together by Windy Hill Hops; and a grand prize SS Brewtech 7 gal Brew Bucket conical stainless fermenter. This is a fantastic opportunity to pick the minds of owner-brewers Marika and Aaron, grab a signed book for yourself or the brewer in your life, and walk away with some great beer prizes. The event is free and will run all day from noon to 10 p.m.

Beers Made by Walking will be held at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science this year.

Over 25 of the beers were made specifically for this event by Colorado breweries that have collaborated with us. Each beer is inspired by landscapes in an area of the brewer’s choosing. Brewers have hiked up 14,000 foot mountains, trekked through lush canyons, camped in national parks, and strolled through community gardens to find inspiration. Additionally, Scratch Brewing (Ava) and Fonta Flora (Morganton, NC) will serve a few specialty offerings from their respective portfolios that include beers with foraged ingredients.

Tickets are $35 and the best deal in Denver during Great American Beer Festival week.

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Don’t these people understand the term ‘craft beer’ has no meaning?

And these are just the headlines.

Beer on demand: Craft breweries like Piece, Half Acre start delivery service
Bordeaux wine for craft beer drinkers
What’s it like when your startup craft brewery gets bought by Anheuser-Busch?
Hopsteiner picks its top hops for craft brewing professionals
Hopping mad about craft beer
Illegal Alcohol: Where to Drink Thai Craft Beer in Bangkok
10 California Craft Beers That Cost a Bundle on the Black Market

This is not an argument about the validity of whatever definition of “craft beer” you want to use. I find it generally easy to simply use the word beer myself. When I write a story for one of the Brewers Association publications (Zymurgy or New Brewer) I use the term because it is defined within that context of the magazine. I just wrote a sentence in a story for All About Beer magazine where it would have been easier to use the term than not. But I found a way not to, because that’s the AABM philosophy.

But, and you knew that was coming, as the headlines that took me litttletime to collect indicate the term must mean something to somebody (even though you can easily strike the word craft from most of them).

pH is the new IBU

Wicked Weed Funkatorium

This beer menu board at Wicked Weed Funkatorium in Asheville, N.C., should look familiar, but not quite the same. That number following the alcohol by volume is the pH, not the IBUs (International Bitterness Units) you see elsewhere. A useful bit of information for beer drinkers, one indicator of how sour a beer might taste.

What might the downside be? Brewers pushing pH levels lower just so they can (or maybe because they don’t know any better). Kinda like previous IBU wars. (See New Beer Rule #2.)

American Sour Beers author Michael Tonsmeire made the danger clear Saturday during the Asheville Homebrewers Conference when he made it clear he said brewing a beer with the lowest pH is like making an IPA with the most IBUs.

The Session #114: A St. Louis pilsner

The SessionWe Changed The World … For This?
[Via All About Beer]
An American Story.
IPAs as National Tradition.
[Both via Beervana]

Whoa! What’s all of this have to do with The Session #114, given that Alistair Reece has asked us to write about pilsners? But what Jeff Alworth has to say about the use of American hops and about how American brewers, and now brewers around the world who are mimicking them, is relevant.

Urban Chestnut Brewing Forest Park PilsnerThere is such a thing as an Americanized pilsner out there that has nothing to do with Miller Lite. Who You Callin’ Wussie from Arrogant Brewing* is an example. It is a well made flavorful beer, brimming with lots of aromas and flavors, some of which you won’t find in an old world pilsner. Basically, it’s kind of loud and it bangs into the furniture. That’s OK, as long as it is adding diversity, not eliminating choice. These are the sorts of things you should be thinking about when you read Lew Bryson’s column in All About Beer.

*Yes, this is the same brewery as Stone, although I find the explanation exhausting.

I’m not sure any beer can get inside your bones like certain music — let’s say just about any song from Son Volt’s Trace — but one like Stammtisch from Urban Chestnut Brewing just up the road from us, or Live Oak Pilz, or Marble Pils, has a better chance than any IPA I can think of. Or a pilsner like Wussie, which ranked seventh in a blind tasting of pilsners conducted by Paste magazine. Stammtisch was first, and Pilz and Pils apparently were not tasted.

Paste praises Urban Chestnut for brewing “superlative German beer styles.” I understand this, but maybe because I’ve been in St. Louis almost as long as Urban Chestnut (and Daria has been here longer) I figure I’m drinking St. Louis beer, not German beer. Part of the attraction of Stammtisch is that it has become a familiar flavor, just as Trace is familiar. Oh, and that drinking a liter isn’t a challenge. It’s more like humming along when Jay Farrar sings, “Ste. Genevieve can hold back the water, but saints don’t bother with a tear stained eye.”

*****

The beer in the photo is Urban Chestnut’s Forest Park Pilsner, which is brewed with six-row barley malt, corn, and Cluster hops. I wrote about in the August/September issue of Craft Beer & Brewing.

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