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The Session #125: SMaSH beer

The Session
Host Mark Linder has announced the top for the 125th gathering of The Session will be simple and singular: SMaSH beers. For those of you who may not not know the term, SMaSH is code for single malt, single hop. I always though they should be call SHSAM, because a) I am inclined to put hops first, b) I might not be a great speller, and c) sounds like magic to me.

Mark offers plenty of options. Even though I’ll be in South Africa July 7, I plan to partcipate, so you should as well.

The announcement also gives me an opportunity to suggest you sign up for Hop Queries, my free monthly hop-focused newsletter. It will ship shortly after Homebrew Con, because I’ll be in both hop talking and hop information collecting mode in Minneapolis later this week.

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Session #124: Remembering that Belgian lemonade

Joe's Gueuze

Where have you gone, Joe’s Gueuze
Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you
Wu wu wu

               – With apologies to Paul Simon

There was the time, just after last call went out on a Friday night, that I was standing at the bar at Joe’s Brewery in Champaign, Illinois, and the young person in front of me—who may or may not have using a legal ID card— threw up all over the nicely polished wood surface. So some times were better to visit than others.

Like Tuesday afternoons. We did not witness this ourselves, but John Isenhour, who brewed the gueuze Michael Jackson gave three stars (out of four) in the sixth edition of his Pocket Guide to Beer, said that is when farmers from the surrounding rural area would come in to try what they called “Belgian lemonade.”

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The Session #123: All along the information superhighway

Four Corners

The topic for The Session #123 is Cyberbrew – Is the Internet Helping or Hurting Craft Beer?

That’s a pretty easy question to answer. But I’ll leave it to Steve Hindy in The Craft Beer Revolution.

The internet has arguably been the greatest ally of the craft beer revolution. Daniel Bradford, the former marketing director of the Association of Brewers (AOB), and now publisher of All About Beer magazine, recalls surveying Zymurgy readers in 1986.

“I sent out a survey to try to figure out, other than homebrewing, what books did I have—how could I talk to these people, how can I find more people like them to read Zymurgy,” he said. “And other than [that the overwhelming majority were] white, middle-aged guys, twenty-five to forty-five [the sruvey showed] almost 100 percent had a personal computer. This is in the eighties . . . . The home-brew revolution was simultaneous with the personal computer revolution, and I’m convinced it continues to this day with all these bloggers and social media.”

Host Josh Weikert expects more of an answer (for instance to questions like, “How are beer reviews affecting what gets brewed and drank?”) so head to his blog to read more responses.

Or if you want to take it very seriously read this. You’ll need a beer by the time you finish get halfway through.

The internet doesn’t coddle you in a comforting information bubble. It imprisons you in an information cell and closes the walls in on you by a few microns every day. It works with your friends and the major media on the outside to make a study of your worst suspicions about the world and the society you live in. Then it finds the living embodiments of these fears and turns them into your cell mates. And good heavens it is efficient.

Myself, I’m simply going to provide a year, a “Halt and Catch Fire” moment, and let you fill in the beer blanks. As in, “1982, Bert Grant opened Yakima Brewing and Malting Company.” Now I’m going for a walk. I won’t be checking my phone.

1971 – Email
1977 – PC Modem
1978 – Bulletin Board System
1979 – Usenet
1982 – Commodore computer
1985 – Virtual communities
1991 – First web page created
1993 – Mosaic, 1st graphical browser (the photo at the top was taken in 1993)

2003 – My Space
2004 – Facebook
2006 – Twitter
2010 – Instagram
2011 – Snapchat

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