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Did people really smoke while brewing in the 1950s?


Ed Reisch of Reisch Brewing in Springfield, Illinois

A ‘good mixer.’
The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Illinois, occasionally hauls out photos from its archives. This one is from December 1953. It shows Ed Reisch, the fourth generation of his family to run Reisch Brewing, at a brew kettle. The brewery closed in 1966 and Reisch went to work at Pabst Brewing in Milwaukee. His son, George (his tweet led me to this photo), became a corporate brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch (now AB InBev). His grandson, Patrick, is a brewer at Goose Island Beer Co. in Chicago. I’m pretty sure Reisch was not manning the kettles that day. The shirt and bow-tie are one giveaway; the cigarette in his left hand another. And on a historic note, it seems that Reisch Brewing still had oak fermentation vessels in the 1950s. [Via The State Journal-Register]

Beers from my past-Pt 1: The Anheuser-Busch American Originals.
Mitch Steele — you know, the guy who once brewed at Anheuser-Busch, now oversees brewing at Stone, and who wrote a book about IPA — digs into his garage and his memory to start a series about when he worked in new products at A-B (mid- to late-90s). He plans to include details about Faust, which has been getting new attention recently, in the next one. [Via The Hop Tripper]

Black-Market Brews: Inside the Super-Secret World of Beer Muling.
Who needs lions and tiger and bears when you’ve got whales and mules, oh my? Just when you thought the New Beer World couldn’t get any stranger there’s a story like this. It would have broken my spirit to spend any time reading discussions that followed at Rate Beer and Beer Advocate, but I particularly like this comment on the STL Hops forum: “I feel that actual mules would think that this term is derogatory to them and possibly to farmers and whatnot who actually use mules.” [Via First We Feast]

The King has left the building.
h/T to Roger Baylor for pointing to this. He put it better than I can (not the first time I’ve written those words about his blog): “Writing well is very, very hard, and the best way to approach it is to tell the truth and write what you know. Sometimes, what you know is awfully hard to write with honesty.” [Via Louisville Beer]

Big Beer: Is Consolidation Limiting Your Drink Selection?
Beer family treesSkip to the end for the dire warning: “If the consolidation trend continues to absorb more and more of the world’s brewing market, we could see the same product sold under different brand names in an attempt to give consumers the illusion of choice.” Obviously not happening in our small world. But the real reason I’m pointing to this is it uses a great graphic first posted at Quartz at the beginning of October and until Saturday overlooked by me. Of course, it is already out of date. There’s a Blue Point branch on the AB InBev tree but no 10-Barrel. [Via Business CheatSheet]

Fear Beer? Sometimes the Best Wine is a Beer (or a Cider).
Mike Veseth writes, “I spoke about the trends I have observed traveling the world in the past year and one of them is the rise of craft beer and cider and their growing incursion into the wine space. I see it everywhere and the people I meet are often surprised that it is a widespread phenomenon. I thought it was just something that’s happening here is a common response.” Read that last sentence again. [Via The Wine Economist]

Urban spelunking: Leinenkugel’s 10th Street Brewery.
A reminder that an “ultramodern” and “highly automated” brewery meant something different in 1985, when G. Heileman Brewing built this facility. Today? “At best I would call 10th Street a partially automated brewhouse, some of the temperature controls of the mash and some of the brews vessel to vessel movements are automated – with the brewer pressing a button to start and stop the processes – but that would be it.” [Via]

New brewery in Thibodaux to offer King Cake Ale.
Cinnamon, vanilla and lactose aren’t ingredients that constitute something specifically local to south Louisiana, so it’s probably a stretch to call King Cake Ale a place-based beer, but it’s probably worth a trip to Thibodaux just to make sure. [Via]


On the demise of beer, & your weekly ‘place’ updates


The great beer abandonment: America’s young drinkers are increasingly drinking wine and hard alcohol instead.
“Even the beer world’s coveted corner, craft beers, which has been gaining market share for many years now, might be on the verge of hitting their peak. ‘While we’re not there yet, we’re definitely approaching bubble territory,’ Spiros Malandrakis, an industry analyst at Euromonitor, said this past summer.”
[Via Washington Post]

Craft Beer Report Card: Have We ‘Failed Our Female Fan Base’?
The Sexist Nightmare That is Being a ‘Barmaid.
Jessica Miller, who was one of the one of the women surveyed for the “How Craft Beer Fails Its Female Fan Base” story in the 11.24.14 links, offers indepth perspective on the issue. The next two links provide a different sort of persective.
[Via Hey, Brewtiful; Hipster Brewfus; The Vagenda'; h/T Boak & Bailey’s Beer Blog]

Learning to love constraint in brewing, or, Globalization and the terroirs of music, soccer formations, and local beer.
Truly local beer requires a beer culture.
The first was written for Boak & Bailey’s call to “go long” but I didn’t spot it until Monday. It begins with a series of digressions (“I swear this eventually has to with beer”) but they turn into a fine way to introduce the idea of “commitment to restraint.” And it ties directly into what Lars Marius Garshol has to say in the second. You know you should take the time to read something that includes this thought: “Strong forces are pulling the other way, toward drowning everything in the soup of sameness.”
[Via The Brewolero and Larsblog]

Indigenous ingredient of the week.
[Via Richmond-Times Dispatch]

Fourteen rules concerning wine blogging.
They work just as well for beer.
[Via Via Steve Heimoff]


How to avoid ‘the sameness of craft beer’


The sameness of craft beer. SPOILER ALERT, it is better to start at the beginning, but I’m cutting directly to the conclusion: “So are we necessarily headed for a world where beers taste the same everywhere? Probably we are, at least to some degree, because I don’t really see how anyone today can develop a genuinely local beer culture.”

To “some degree” leaves wiggle room, so I can’t say I simply disagree with this. There is much truth in it, but I see something else happening as well. Friday we were in a newish place in western New Jersey located in a building in which more than one restaurant venture has failed, the last being an “Asian fusion” concept. It was packed. Presumably because it has 40 beers on tap, most of which would be labeled craft, and about as many televisions, all of which were showing various football games. The draft menu included cultish San Diego-style hop-centric beers such as Ballast Point Sculpin IPA and Port Brewing Wipeout IPA (so from 2,700 miles away). There was a handle for Coors Light, a beer I saw plenty of people in their mid-20s drinking. If you wanted a Budweiser you had to buy it by the bottle (and people did). There were also, thank goodness, plenty of regional choices, although none from tiny breweries or beers you’d label “place based.”

So I don’t see beers tasting the same everywhere. Brewers in the Midwest who like hop-centric beers similar to those found on the West Coast are making beers that taste much the same, but there is a difference between exactly the same and broadly the same. The former has a better chance of being boring. One things that struck me at the Beers Made by Walking Festival last October in Denver was the connection attendees seem to make immediately with the beers being served. Granted, people who paid to attend were already predisposed to appreciate these beers. Some were from small breweries, but some were from larger ones. They were delightfully not the same, and most were not scalable. Granted, I’m a cockeyed optimist, but it sure looks like this not-scalable trend has legs.
[Via Larsblog]

Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. Read it for a measured report on The Brewers Project at Guinness. Or read it for sentences like this: “St. James’s Gate is a totally sterile plant, no beer leaves alive, not even the made-for-destruction test batches.”
[Via The Beer Nut]

What do beer writers think of beer certifications? Chad Polenz polled people who write about beer about the “expect their brethren to have a certification in order to have credibility.” He also posted a link on his own Facebook page and one on the Beer Judge Certification Program page, and between the two there are almost 200 comments. Exhausting reading.
[Via Times Union and Facebook]

Photo Contest 2014: The What, The How And The Why. Here’s another two-for-one set of links. Alan McLeod rambles a bit about Photo Contest 2014 and blogging in general, with enough length to qualify as a #BeerLongRead — the occasional gathering of bloggers hosted by Boak & Bailey. Lots there to add to Pocket.
[Via A Good Beer Blog and Boak & Bailey’s Beer Blog]

Rethinking the tasting note. If it is time to change the way “we” talk about wine, as is suggested here, then maybe it makes sense to reconsider how “we” describe the aromas and flavors in beer.
[Via Grape Collective]


Place-based beer, a global roundup


Place-based beer, a world-wide local movement and Place-based beers and 13-year-old Special Brew. The first link is to the transcript of a talk about “beer and terroir from an international perspective” Martyn Cornell gave in Denmark, and the second is about what he found while he was there. They are both about beer from a place, beer terroir, indigenous beers. Like I wasn’t going to make these the top links for the week. I sure as heck want to try some of this “Hay Ale.”

Mark Hø Øl (“Hay Ale”) from the Herslev bryghus. Made with hay from the field at the back of the brewery: hay goes in after the wort is boiled, and fermentation using yeasts and other micro-organisms in the hay is allowed to take place for two days. The ale is then boiled again, and a “combinational yeast” added – and more hay. The result is a sharp, pale, flat beer with a taste of what I can only call “fruity feet” – but in a good way.

[Via Zythophile]

Now on tap: Beer brewed with zebra mussels and milfoil right from Lake Minnetonka. I can’t start linking to every story about beer made with local ingredients, but this is a perfect companion for the two from Cornell.
[Via StarTribune]

How Craft Beer Fails Its Female Fan Base. Listen up, people, this is important.
[Via First We Feast]

The Belly of the Beast: A Trip to Anheuser’s Research Pilot Brewery and The Man Who Dumps More Beer Than Most Brewers Produce. Two different, but not entirely different takes, on a press trip to the Anheuser-Busch pilot brewery in St. Louis. Notice the additional attention lifestyle publications are giving beer? A few years ago, when Paste magazine was something you looked for in print because online there wasn’t much, they briefly hired Stephen Beaumont for a series of authorative articles. Then they didn’t, presumably because their audience wasn’t ready. Now it must be, because there have been seven new beer-related stories in little more than a week. My favorite is the carefully researched history of craft (and crafty) beer by Daniel Hartis.
[Via Paste and Men’s Journal]

Beer Advocate and the United States of Beer: The Complete Series! Bryan Roth consolidates links to series of posts thick with numbers, but with words that help make sense of them. I think he’s wrong about the Dakotas.
[Via This Is Why I’m Drunk]

Free State & Boulevard Newspaper Clipping from 1989. A newspaper article, old school style (a pdf rather than a link). It’s pretty obvious Boulevard Brewing founder John McDonald never expected this brewery to grow to the size it has (and will). He says, “We feel like we have to establish a local market. We don’t do that we don’t have any business shipping beer outside the city.”
[Via KC Beer Blog]

How Climate Change Will End Wine As We Know It. How the wine industry is — and isn’t — reacting says a lot about the future of agriculture. And beer is an agricultural product.
[Via BuzzFeed]

The 2014 Xmas Photo Contest Is On!!! The deadline to enter is Dec. 12. The rules might be the same as last year.
[Via a Good Beer Blog]


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