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Meet me in Kansas City Saturday

We’re headed to Kansas City this weekend. We’ll be eating smoked meat, drinking beer, meeting up with friends, and I am told there might be some shopping.

I might miss most of that shopping stuff to hang out with brewing friends. Feel free to join us.

Stop No. 1 will be at Glass to Grain Grain to Glass at 1 p.m. I’ll talk a little bit about essential oils, including some new discoveries related to hops and how other plants may be used to create hop-like aromas and flavors (with an assist from yeast). Stop by, listen, ask questions, bring any books (preferably ones I’ve written) you’d like signed. There will be books for sale, but that part is strictly optional.

Round No. 2 begins at 3 p.m. at Crane Brewing in Raytown. The brewery was under construction when I was there in the summer of 2015, so I’m looking forward to a tour from Michael Crane.

Under construction - Crane Brewing Co., Raytown, Mo.

I think everybody will be welcome to join in. After that Michael and I will talk about foraging for yeast and brewing with local yeast. We should be around there until about 6 p.m. Once again, bring questions as well as books to be signed. And there will be books for sale — holiday shopping made fun.

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Just in case Florida isn’t the next hop powerhouse

Conveniently enough yesterday @BeerAdvocate tweeted to a link to a story I wrote for the magazine not quite two years ago. It began, “The American hop market seldom finds a comfortable equilibrium for very long, simply because as essential as hops are in brewing beer, they serve almost no other commercial purpose.”

Business was booming then and it is booming now. Last week I revisited one of the reasons why, and Bryan Roth is posting about hops every day this week. In addition, last week Good Beer Hunting took notice of how acreage outside the Northwest is growing and All About Beer had a story about an attempt to grow hops in Florida.

Continue Reading →

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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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Session #115: 12 really good beer books

The SessionClosing on seven years ago I posted a list of 10 really good beer books. As opposed to, say, the Ten Best Beer Books EVER! Of course, many readers missed the disclaimers (why there were no beer and food books and no technical/brewing/homebrewing books), so I know what I may be getting into by bringing it up and adding two books to that list for The Session No. 115 (“The role of beer books”).

The newcomers are The Beer Bible, by Jeff Alworth, and Triplebock: Three Beer Stories by Evan Rail. The latter is intential fiction (as opposed to the unintential beer fiction that far too often finds its way into print). There is some fiction in The Bedside Book of Beer on my original list, but more quality beer fiction sure would be nice. Yes, the former is a resource, a book you can pull off the shelf to find an answer that settles a bar bet. But it is also a book to read from start to finish, to be considered as a whole, because that’s the way Alworth presents the beers within it.

For those who don’t want the short version, here is the original list:

– The Beer Companion.
– Three Sheets to the Wind.
– Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer.
– Beer: The Story of the Pint.
– Travels with Barley: A Journey Through the Beer Culture in America.
– Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink.
– Origin and History of Beer and Brewing.
– The Book of Beer Knowledge.
– The Bedside Book of Beer.
– Faces Along the Bar: Lore and Order in the Workingman’s Saloon, 1870-1920.

Or you can read more.

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Session #115 announced: The role of beer books

The SessionHost Joan Villar-i-Martí has announced that the topic for The Session #115 will be “Role of beer books.”

He writes, “Participants can talk about that first book that caught their attention, which brought them to get interested in beer; or maybe about books that helped developing their local beer scene. There’s also the – bad – role of books that regrettably misinform readers because their authors did not do their work properly. There are many different ways to tackle this topic.”

So read a new book or revisit an old friend and post on the topic Sept. 2.

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