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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?”

Feel free to replace “Charlotte” with the beer destination of your choice. [Via Creative Loafing Charlotte]

Shaun Hill of Hill Farmstead on brewing beer to capture the imagination.
Shaun Hill has a lot to say here — tossing out enough ideas for several months of blog posts. Of course I am drawn to the part where he discusses being rooted in a place. He points out that the ruralness of his brewery adds to the already complicated question of what it means to be part of a community. “I’m still trying to figure what the best way is to build community, or interact with the local area,” he says.

I was already thinking about Hill’s questions Wednesday morning when I read the stories from Charlotte, which is why I pulled Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone from one of our bookshelves. Written in 2000, it documented how Americans had become recently disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and social structures, such at PTA, church, or bowling leagues. Pardon the length, but this is from the first chapter:

     “Before october 29, 1997, John Lambert and Andy Boschman knew each other only through their local bowlingleague at the Ypsi-Arbor Lanes in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Lambert, a sixty-four-year-old retired employee of the University of Michigan Hospital, had been on a kidney transplant waiting list for three years when Boschman, a thirty-three-year-old accountant, learned casually of Lambert’s need and unexpectedly approached him to offer to donate one of his kidneys.
     “‘Andy saw something in me that others didn’t,” said Lambert. “When we were in the hospital Andy said to me, ‘John, I really like you and have a lot of respect for you. I wouldn’t hesitate to do this all over again.’ I got choaked up.” Boschman returned the feeling. ‘I obviously had a kinship [with Lambert]. I cared about him before, but now I’m really rooting for him.” This moving story spoke for itself, but the photograph that accompanied this report in the Ann Arbor News reveals than in addition to their differences in profession and generation, Boschman is white and Lambert is an American American. That they bowled together made all the difference. In small ways like this — and in larger ways, too &3151; we Americans need to reconnect with one another. That is the simple argument of this book.”

To return what Hill said next: “. . . things are not the same as they were even 20 years ago. It’s almost like people don’t crave or demand or need that social hub in the same way.” What role might beer, and the places people drink beer, play in changing that? Well, that’s quite a question, isn’t it? [Via Rob Hopkins]

Why I’m Not Reviewing Noma Mexico.
There is no mention of beer in this story, but I hope you can see the connection. And that you consider the question asked, “But can a restaurant really be of its place if it doesn’t bend and sway to the breezes of local tastes and local demands?” [Via New York Times]

Who will be next for the axe after Wells?
No rose-colored glasses were harmed by Roger Protz in his commentary on the sale of Charles Wells brewery and brands to Martson’s. So spoiler alert, the conclusion: “After Charles Wells, who is next for the chop? In many ways, the family brewers have only themselves to blame for their decline. Their future is in their hands. Innovate or Die.” [Via Protz on Beer]

The Hazy Science of Day Drinking.
More about mimosas than beer, but you can extrapolate. [Via New York Magazine]

People had to be given refunds after a Reigate beer festival ran out of beer.
Now we know what happens when a festival runs out of beer. [Via Surry Mirror]

How the East Coast Won the Battle for the IPA.
Before you click, care to guess where the writer lives? I’ll give you a hint: Not the Midwest, where I live. Because once again we have a story about IPA that does not mention Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. That’s just wrong. [Via Punch]


The Emperor Falls.
When “Emperor of Wine” was published in 2005 Robert Parker was one powerful guy. That’s changed. “A proliferation of point scores and wine publications has greatly reduced Parker’s influence, making the Wine Advocate just one player among many.” [Via Finger Lakes Wine]


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2 Responses to Diversity, local, imagination; maybe they are related

  1. Mattias May 29, 2017 at 5:47 pm #

    Sean implying that nobody tried making great beer before him, and denouncing the brewers that came after him as imitators of no value is possibly the most arrogant and deluded thing I have ever read.

  2. Christopher Shepard May 30, 2017 at 10:52 am #

    Aww, thanks for the Twitter-link, Stan. Appreciate. Those Charlotte stories caught my eye too. I could read so much more local reporting about these kinds of difficult negotiations, which I end up thinking about on a much bigger scale most of the time. Most change is small, after all.

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