MONDAY BEER LINKS, MUSING 12.14.15
Craft beer – have the big brewers nailed it?
[Via Morning Advertiser]
Gerrymandering the Beer Aisle.
[Via Literature and Libation]
ABInBev Doesn’t Hate You – It Just Wants Sales.
[Via A Good Beer Blog]
There’s some big concept thinking going on in these three links, too big for me to summarize succinctly. I suggest reading them in order. Knowing that you may not, here are the last paragraphs of each one, unfairly presented without context.
I can see why this might cause some consternation for craft brewers and their hardcore fans, for whom craft is a movement, a stand against the corporate dominance of everything. But from a drinker’s point of view, if the big guys are now making better beer, that has to be good news.
As a fine patina sets in and the youthful exuberance fades, I have a sneaking suspicion that the game of beers will start to look a lot less like a righteous war or crusade, and a lot more like the classic Red vs Blue, mudslinging, carpetbagging mess that is our political system. Such is the nature of modern capitalism, and probably why, as they say on the internet, “we can’t have nice things.”
In 2016 as more and more big craft sells out to big beer, organized independent craft will need to catch up with the politics of adapting to market demand, catch up with big beer if it wants to avoid being a blip in history. And it might take as brazen an approach as big beer took in 2015. Not sure craft has what it takes.
The thing about big picture thinking is figuring out where all the little pictures fit in. When the number of breweries in the country doubles in such a short amount of time it is hard to take the pulse of all the new participants. Maybe they are lying, but an awful lot of these people seem to have no interest in becoming the next Golden Road or Ballast Point. They want to make a comfortable living. Some would simply consider themselves brewers, other artisans, some even artists.
Ian Rankin on the perfect pub: The Rebus author tells how pub culture has inspired his novels.
A different sort of little picture. [Via Independent]
Hop tidbit of the week
Oooooo…look at that: pic.twitter.com/9FeOey2E9i
— Ed Wray (@TheBeerFather) December 2, 2015
The conversation started the week before, but continued last week (click on the date to see it all), among other things raising questions about where Fuggle fits in on any hop family tree. The chart pictured also appeared in “For the Love of Hops” and shows the results of molecular studies that indicate the distance between certain varieties. The scientists used AFLP fingerprinting.
Researchers at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart employed that same technology to analyze the similarity of Tettnanger hop plants to other varieties in 2002, reaffirming other surveys that concluded that Tettnanger, Spalt Spalter, and Saaz hops are so closely related they may be grouped together as “Saazer hops.”
Among the hops studied at Stuttgart where multiple Osvald Saaz clones, plants chosen from the field because they looked and smelled like the original Saaz, and brewed similar beer, but perhaps yielded more cones per plant or were more disease resistant. Various farmers grew and sold these varieties as Saaz, and happy customers brewed with them as Saaz.
All the Osvald Saaz clones studied at Stuttgart could be more clearly distinguished from each other than the original Saaz could from Tettnanger and Spalter. Three of the clones were quite similar to the landrace Saaz, but Osvald clone 126 was much closer to Fuggle. Nonetheless, all Osvald clones grown in the region around Žatek exhibited very similar morphological traits and aroma components.
Just to be clear, grown in Žatek a plant genetically closer to Fuggle than Saaz passed for Saaz.