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‘Craft’ trees in a beer forest

MONDAY BEER LINKS, MUSING 08.25.14

Widmer Brothers Rejection Ale

Of Pints and Prices. Oliver Gray examines the dollars and cents in the price of a pint of beer. The numbers will vary, and I don’t see packaging and marketing costs in there, but he assembles a perfect graphic reminder that there’s more to making a beer than the ingredients. And practically speaking, look at the cost of hops in a pint: 6 cents. There’s been some saber rattling of late, suggesting that higher hop prices will drive up the cost of beer. Even if they doubled, and they won’t, that doesn’t add much to production cost, does it?
[via Literature & Libation]

Kentucky hops farmers are tapping into the craft beer market. Speaking of hops . . . I don’t mean to come off as a curmudgeon when discussing efforts to revive hop growing outside the Northwest (yes, even Kentucky farmers once grew hops; “five or six bales” in 1873). I’m more optimistic about the future of local hops than I was a couple of years ago. But the fact is that farmers closer to the equator (like in Kentucky and North Carolina) have additional disadvantages — hops may grow there but the yields will be lower. One reason I’m more optimistic is meeting farmers who understand what they are up against and have adjusted accordingly. I’m not impressed to read about a farmer who has planted an acre of hops and there is a suggestion he could be harvesting 6,000 pounds before long. That would be a world record, by a lot.
[Via Lexington Herald-Leader]

The world on your sofa. Home drinking.
[Via Boak Bailey's Beer Blog]

Mexican microbreweries confront beer giants. Confront might seem like a strong word, but consider this: “It took three and a half years but last year they ruled that Modelo and Cuauhtemoc-Moctezuma could no longer exclude craft beers from bars and restaurants.”
[Via Aljazerra]

Does ‘craft’ really matter? The comments following what DRAFT beer editor Chris Staten has to say about Widmer Brothers Rejection Ale (the label at the top, via mybeerbuzz.com) and this screed, “DRAFT magazine does craft beer huge disservice with “Does ‘craft’ really matter,” illustrate how emotional some people still get about “craft versus crafty.” I’m in the midst of researching a related story for a print article, and left to wonder if what in the interest of brevity we’ll call “craft beer” has grown large enough that in some instances we’re talking about “beer trees in a craft forest,” or if it is still small enough that “craft trees in a beer forest” is more appropriate.

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What makes a beer American?

United States Brewing Company, Chicago

Well, she was an American girl
Raised on promises
She couldn’t help thinkin’
That there was a little more to life somewhere else

                - From American Girl by Tom Petty

We come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age’s most uncertain hour
and sing an American tune
But it’s all right, it’s all right

                - From American Tune by Paul Simon

A couple of days ago, Stephen Beaumont spotted a few kids on his lawn and wandered outside, holding a goblet hand blown in Belgium. He chased those rascals off, yelling: “It’s NOT Belgian or Even Belgian-Style. It’s NOT Belgian or Even Belgian-Style. It’s NOT Belgian or Even Belgian-Style.” He then proceeded to quote something he wrote on Facebook.

After my personal déjà vu moment passed (on Sunday I sent this text message to a homebrewer, “You mean an American beer fermented with a Belgian-sourced yeast.”) I got to thinking about how much sense it would be to replace Belgian and Belgium in this sentence:

“Belgian beer is beer that is brewed and fermented in Belgium. Period.”

German beer is beer that is brewed and fermented in Germany. Period.
American beer is beer that is brewed and fermented in America. Period.
Kansas City beer is beer that is brewed and fermented in Kansas City. Period.

That does not leave me feeling satisfied. Just to be clear, I’m not arguing that Mr. Beaumont was wrong. I would have chased those rowdy kids off my lawn, too. But I’m left thinking there’s more to what makes a beer Belgian or Polish or Floridian than if it qualifies for a passport by birthright.

Certainly what it means to be an American beer these days.

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‘It’s at the centre of everything’

MONDAY BEER LINKS, MUSING 08.18.14

Anglers Rest pub sign

The villagers who bought their beloved local pub to save it from closure. Reading this story might make you feel as good as you will all week, no matter how great your week is. (No, really, I hope you have a wonderful week.)

“It’s much more than a pub, it’s the hub of our village,” says John Soady, who is one of the Anglers Rest’s new board of directors.

“It’s at the centre of everything, for families with young children right up to older people in their 80s. It’s an informal atmosphere where people meet and talk rather than just being nameless faces.”

[Via the Mirror]

Why the Micropub Association should be furious with Camra. Perhaps more about the British pub than you think you need to know, but there’s a reason the post has drawn 30 comments (maybe more by now).
[Via Martyn Cornell's Zythophile]

Craft beer: Tastes great, fewer taxes. About those tax deals cities, counties and states across the country are handing out to either get, or stay, in the brewing game … are they really such a great idea?
[Via Politico]

Meet the Tuppers, D.C.’s Original Beer Geeks. This story is part of the Washington City Paper’s Beer Issue. I pointed to another storty one Twitter last week, the monstrously long, “What Matters More: The Quest for New Beer, or the Beer?” Worth your time, but you need to set aside a little. An interesting pair, the second about the endless search for “whales” and the first about the search for something else.
[Via Washington City Paper]

How Much is Too Much? This must be the topic on everybody’s lips, because it keeps coming up. I understand that it’s inside baseball and it has been talked to death, but this commentary from Harry Schuhmacher includes original thinking.
[Via Beer Business Daily]

2

Because what would life be without petty debates?

MONDAY BEER LINKS, MUSING 08.11.14

EVERYTHING wrong with Beer at this moment. It’s a list. That would be more obvious if each item had a number in front of it. But it’s a list, and proof that (contrary to the impression I might sometimes toss about here) not all lists are bad. A comment from Pete Brown provides a bit of balance, “But the petty debates only matter if you pay attention to them: the momentum behind beer is now bigger and more powerful than a bunch of bloggers and hopheads can have any control over.” (Thanks to Roger Baylor for mentioning the comment — one disadvantage to saving things in Pocket and not revisiting posts.)
[Via Beer Compurgation]

The Belgian brewery: fifty shades of grey
Carl Kins — pro tip: a go-to source for information about Belgian beer — did not write this to help bloggers prep for the next Session, although anybody posting about their “First Belgian” might start by considering just what “Belgian beer” means.
[Via Belgian Beer Specialist]

Why Does Craft Beer Suddenly Seem to Have a Problem With Women? Not exactly suddenly, but evidence that things are no better in 2014 than they were in 2012 (Honest Pint: Sexist Shouldn’t Sell)
[Via Guys Drinking Beer]

Thanks to anonymous supporters Stone Brewing reached goal of Groundbreaking campaign! The campaign received plenty of negative attention but blasted right through its one million dollar target. Lots of large contributions. “But it looks like that some retailers and some ‘anonymous’ friends helped out and bought huge amounts of cases of beer in the last weeks…. I bet that retailers and wholesalers from all over the world bought the beers to resell it to their customers for a higher price.”
[Via Lieblingbier]

The Wine Blogging Community Is A Joke (But It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way). Is this true? “Because we (wine bloggers) are a joke of a community online, particularly when compared to our beer and spirits counterparts.”
[Via 1 Wine Dude]

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Write about beer; win prizes

- North American Guild of Beer Writers Awards

The deadline to enter is Aug. 25, and the whole process happens on line – right here.

“The NAGBW Awards honor the best beer and brewing industry coverage in eight categories. Journalism, feature writing, freelance authors, blogs and broadcast, published in print or online, are eligible.” For beer writing/broadcasts published between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014.

Those of us judging would really appreciate some top notch entries. Don’t be shy.

- British Guild of Beer Writers’ Awards

The deadline ot enter is Sept. 5 and involves the post office, so you might want to get those entries off early. Details are here.

“The competition is open to writers, broadcasters, photographers, poets, illustrators, designers, webmasters and bloggers whose work has broadened the public’s knowledge of beer and pubs over the past year. You do NOT have to be a member of the Guild of Beer Writers to enter and we welcome nominations by third parties – so if you have been impressed by a press article, book or blog about beer, please think about entering it.” For work published or broacast between Sept. 1, 2013 and Aug., 31 2014.

- The Geoffrey Ballard Essay Award

The first two are for published work. This one is for work you’d like to see published in Brewery History, the Journal of the Brewery History Society. Entries will be evaluated using the journal’s standard criteria for selection (i.e. excellence and interest to a wide audience) and will be published in the journal. The deadline is Jan. 31, 2015, and the details are here.

The winning essay will be published in Brewery History and also earns a £250 prize. “The unpublished essay, based on original research, should fall within the remit of Brewery History, i.e. it should be concerned with the history of beer and/or its ingredients; histories of existing and/or closed breweries; research on associated industries (e.g. malting, hops, retailing, &c.); or studies into the social, political and economic impact of beer and/or the brewing industry.”

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