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Monday beer links: News, terroir & finding new paths


– Front and center because the “underbelly of misogyny” still lurks. Related: Good Beer Hunting followed up its “What Boyz Like” post with several supporting essays last week, and in addition Austin Ray provided to link to this one with serious “questions of privilege, whiteness, power, and masculinity.”

– Sobering details about the “craft beverage” tax cut. “For every $20 of alcohol tax cuts in the legislation, only about $1 actually goes to the true craft brewers or small distillers.” (I should have spotted this for last week’s links, but important enough to suggest reading anyway.)

– New Zealand has added craft beer to the basket of goods it monitors to measure inflation. Meanwhile DVD players and sewing machines were among items removed from the Consumers Price Index.
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Exit through the bottle shop

Altes Mädchen Braugasthaus

If a beer writer falls down in a bar and there’s no one there to hear it, do they make a sound? Or do they just Instagram it instead?

– Pete Brown

Craft Beer Store, Hamburg, GermanyThe photo at the top was taken at Altes Mädchen Braugasthaus, a sprawling brewery, bakery, restaurant, biergarten and bottle shop in Hamburg. (Customers pass through the Craft Beer Store entering and leaving.) As well as Ratsherrn beers brewed on site, there’s plenty of other beer from small and larger breweries inside and outside of Germany. It is a fine place to land after a day or two of Christmas markets and other Hamburg experiences, such as the sobering St. Nikolai Memorial and museum.

The evening and the beer were different than at Banana Jam Cafe in Cape Town, South Africa, at Brewberry in Paris, at Turtle’s Bar & Grill in Shakopee, Minn., at Cervejaria Unika on a Brazilian hillside, or at scores of locations I somehow ended up in last year. And that is how it should be. It’s not like I didn’t already know how big and diverse the beer world is, or that sharing time over beer shouldn’t be just about the beer.
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Monday beer links: In search of the new(s)


South Dakota badlands

Rather than finishing with something from Twitter this week start with this (click on the date to see the full exchange).

Then consider Boak & Bailey’s suggestion to “Refresh You Feeds.” They write, “It’s easy to get stuck in a rut following the same few people you’ve always engaged with since year dot and thus get the idea that Beer Blogging is Dead when some or all of them give up the game. Meanwhile, whole new waves of blogs have come, and maybe gone, and probably been replaced by yet more.”

All true, and it is also fair to consider the comment in the Twitter thread that “these people are starting to sound like my dad reacting to Cobain.” Even if I am not sure if who these people are (or if I might be one of them). I’m not prepared to embrace every new beer “innovation” but I think it would be stupid if we didn’t recognize the need for change or that some people today may view beer differently than just about anybody did in 1957, 1987, or even early in 2017.

But like Boak & Bailey (“we sometimes end up featuring the same names time and again for various reasons”) I know that when I spot something new from particulary people in my RSS feeds I am more likely to end up showing you a link the following Monday. For instance, last week I didn’t even wait to suggest reading Martyn Cornell’s post about Norwegian farmhouse brewing, instead tweeting about it as soon as I saw it. There’s a good chance that when Cornell writes something I will point to it, just as I often end up linking to posts by Lars Garshol, who is prominent in this particular story.

But, no surprise, I’m a lot better keeping track of the topics that interest me — and kveik punches a bunch of buttons, even before I read “landrace yeast” for the first time last week — than I am finding new voices. Typing that, of course, does not excuse me from being open to listening for and to them.

However, to return to the top, I don’t expect you’ll be seeing a lot of links to “more brewers writing.” I follow plenty of brewers on Twitter, but a) I understand they have agendas*, and b) I prefer them 140 chaaracters (I know, stuck in the past) as a time.

– The biggest news of the week was Lefthand Brewing in Colorado suing White Labs for $2 million dollars. The Small Business Administration defines companies with up to $35.5 million in sales and 1,500 employees as “small businesses” and the amount of the suit isn’t the most important thing in the story, but $2 million just doesn’t sound “mom and pop” to me. What is important is quality and taking responsibility for quality.

– Somebody in Colorado is going to consider this news because Peter Bouckaert’s nephew is involved. It is a big deal in Georgia because it is the first brewery in the state not to rely on distributed beer as its primary source of revenue; this was impossible before a recent change in Georgia laws. And in Atlanta itself, it is about the beer. Some days I get up in St. Louis and go to bed in Atlanta, or vice versa. But eventually I’ll be registered to vote in Georgia, so I’m focused on what’s behind the third door. And this may influence what you see showing up here from time to time.

– Following up on last week’s idea for a book: Rural Beer. More fodder. As an aside, we once spent an afternoon in Valentine, Neb., getting our minivan made drivable. It was the summer of 1991. I do not recall beer being involved, but the guy who fixed our car was very friendly. We were on our way home from South Dakota, both the Black Hills and the Badlands (pictured at the top).

– The focus of In Defense of ‘Craft’ is on craft cocktails, but the conversation about becoming a master craftsman, compared to being an artist, is relevant across many categories of food and drink. Full of sound bites, like this one: “There is an art form in our business, but it’s about being the impresario, choosing and creating the experience. That’s art. The chef and bartender enact that experience. That’s craft.”

This week’s terroir sighting. With field blends, vine growers and wine makers blend not to obfuscate the taste of a place but to intensify it.

– It’s been more than 10 years since I posted the first of 10 “New Beer Rules” and more than seven since I came to my senses and quit making them up. So I’m OK with the notion that rules are for suckers, and certainly hope that nobody sees the book “The New Wine Rules” and decides to do something similar to beer.

– Rather than finishing with a tweet, as is usual at the end here, a comment about social media.

Diversity, local, imagination; maybe they are related


It’s Memorial Day in America, so time to crank up James McMurtry and choose you beer wisely.

Local Brewers Defy the Lily-White Craft Beer Scene.
Cultivating Black Brew Culture Through Hip-Hop.
– This, “On May 12, a diverse crowd of around 100 people gather in Goodyear Arts for an exhibit called Mood: BLACK featuring visual art, live music and free drinks. In a back corner, folks gather around a table to try cups of Dat Dere or the Stokely Stout, two beers from Black Star Line Brewing, a black-owned brewing company based in Hendersonville.
     “Cut ahead by a few hours, on the afternoon of May 13, as people pour into a block on Louise Avenue for the opening of a new Catawba Brewing Co. location in the Belmont neighborhood between Plaza Midwood and NoDa. . . . While everyone seems to be enjoying themselves at each scene, there’s one striking difference between the two: despite Catawba’s location in a historically black neighborhood, there’s not a single black person to be seen among the hundreds of people there at around 5 p.m.”
– And this, “So what can Charlotte’s current brewery owners and regular patrons do to help change these preconceived cultural notions attached to Charlotte’s brewery culture? How can they help both budding and long-time black beer enthusiasts see breweries as a space of true leisure and relaxation for all?”
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A few beers no longer lost nor forgotten

Zebulon Artison Ales Biere Blanche du Lovain The most interesting beer (not just in a freak of nature way) I’ve tasted so far this year was Biere Blanche du Louvain from Zebulon Artisan Ales outside of Asheville, N.C. It wasn’t from a full-size batch nor was it packaged, so not a commercial release. But Mike Karnowski sent a couple of bottles, because he used Brewing With Wheat as a starting point for his recipe (which was about process as much as ingredients). I took some to share at lunch during a homebrew competition, and confirmed I’m not the only one amazed how much flavor a beer with 2% alcohol by volume can have. There’s more to say about it, but that’s another time.

Friday Karnowski rolls out what he describes as Zebulon’s most ambitious release yet, which given what he’s made in the first 15 months the brewery has been open and those bottles of Biere Blance du Louvain is setting the bar pretty high. The four pack is called “RELICS! Lost and Forgotten Beer Styles” and is dedicated to the musical “relics” that Ron Pattinson saw play live in the 1970s (Ramones, The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Damned).

Ron wrote about four styles included in a booklet that comes with each of the 400 hand-numbered box sets. He’ll be at the brewery in Weaverville on Sunday to talk about, you guessed it, lost and forgotten beer styles. It may be sold out by the time you read this (and linking to Facebook can be a challenge, but here goes). The four packs will be available at the brewery Friday and Saturday. The beers are:

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