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Values, memories, ideals

Flag at Craftsman Brewing, Pasadena, California

This flag appears in black and white on page 22 of Brewing Local. It seems like a good day to think about it in color, or simply to think about it.

It was hanging high on the back wall at Craftsman Brewing in Pasadena when I visited in March of 2014. It used to belong to Craftsman founder Mark Jilg’s grandfather. “He grew up in St. Louis. His father died when he was six years old. Very do-it-yourself kind of guy,” Jilg said. “Like any flag it is a symbol; a placeholder for values, memories, ideals.”

Conversation about authenticity, as elusive as it might be, comes easily when looking up at the flag. “It’s all about being genuine, tied to a place. It can be inspired by the place you live, by the people around here. It can be conceptually about place, not physically about place,” Jilg said. He talked about the symbiotic relationship that develops when beer is consumed locally. Brewers care about what their friends will be drinking, and consumers take pride in consuming beer made by people they know.

“Once you have that genuineness, it fends off the evils of the twentieth century,” Jilg said.

Would you open this bottle of beer?

E&J Burke Guinness Foreign StoutSo if your wife gave you this bottle of Guinness Foreign Stout that obviously is quite old for Christmas would you open it to see what the beer inside it tasted like?

How old might it be?

E&J Burke had the rights to import Guinness going back to 1864, and the “Cat” trademark is almost as old. The Burke family was one of the biggest bottlers of Guinness for export and in the 1930s opened a brewery on Long Island, which they later sold to Guinness.

Martyn Cornell — the first book of his I bought was Beer Memorabilia — was kind enough to compare the label here with those in A Bottle of Guinness Please (a book I don’t have) but couldn’t find an exact match. It is similar to some from more than 100 years ago.

I asked him the same question as at the top. He tactfully pointed out the amount of beer the angels have claimed over the years, but was not altogether discouraging. “If any Brett survived alive you could be lucky.”

So would you?

E&J Burke Guinness Foreign Stout

Time in a bottle

Joe Stange wrote about Baltic Porter and Poland last week at DRAFT. Which is a good enough excuse to show you a few photos from the Zywiec Brewery in Zywiec and Bracki Browar Zamkowy in nearby Cieszyn, which is owned by the Zywiec group (and therefore Heineken, which owns Zywiec — got it?).

Near the end of a tour at Zywiec visitors may sample Zywiec Porter and see how malt used in the beer is roasted. Zywiec actually buys most of its roasted barley because the old way is not particularly effecient. And its porter is made in the much smaller Cieszyn brewery because production is modest — about 30,000 hectoliters (25,500 barrels) a year.

Malt roaster at Zywiec Brewery in Zywiec, Poland

Roasting malt at Zywiec Brewery in Poland

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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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