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Monday beer links, musing 02.03.14

Camden Hells, perhaps brewed in Camden Town

Not as local as it looks. The curious case of Camden Hells. Long story, but go read it. Basically, sometimes the beer is brewed at Camden Town brewery (in London) and sometimes not. Lots of reporting by Boak & Bailey and a survey about if, and how much, consumers care about this question: Do you think it is important for a brewery to declare where a beer is made? (I was one of 125 who marked “essential”) Again, go read it, and if you don’t come back I’ll understand.

That’s a glass of Camden Hells in the photo at the top, taken last March in London. The beer was good, but not as crisp as I remembering it being the previous time I had a half pint in 2011. That time I was in England doing research for the hops book, heading on to Germany a few days later. Visiting Private Landbrauerei Schönram in the south of Bavaria I commented to brewmaster Eric Toft that Camden Hells reminded me of Schönramer Hell. It should have, he said, because his brewery had just sold a batch to Camden. That’s why I was drinking it in March, pretty sure it had been brewed in Camden Town and maybe it didn’t taste as crisp to me because I expected it would be less Bavarian. Such are the tricks expectations can play with our senses.

My lack of mental discipline aside, if you head for the comments section of the post you’ll see some people care about place, some don’t, and when the conversation turns to contract brewing there’s a bit of rudeness. Look, I don’t really have a dog in this hunt. This would matter to me if I drank in London more often than every two or three years. And although the tagline here reads “celebrating beer from a place” I recognize not everybody tastes that or cares about it.

Transparency, on the other hand, I do care about all the time. And Camden Town seems to be failing there.

[Via Boak & Bailey’s Beer Blog]

Hops farming grows slowly despite brewers’ demand. Just noticed this one. Working on a story for Zymurgy magazine I’ve been talking to people in a position to assess the quality of hops grown outside the American Northwest and they are impressed. But success is not a done deal. These newly minted hop farmers cannot compete on the basis of price, and perhaps they never will. [Via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

Craft No More? Largest Norwegian Craft Brewery Sells Out. News that Hansa Borg bought a 54% share of Nøgne Ø is a couple of months old. What’s interesting is the German take on the story and that this question seems to get asked everywhere: “The dilemma of craft beer gone mainstream seems to hinge upon one question: Is there a place in my mind where I can accept the idea of a huge company bringing me excellent beer?” [Via Brew Berlin]

You’re Only as Old as You Taste: That Time I Ruined Bottles of Hopslam Because SCIENCE! Passed along because I so enjoy reminding you that hop aroma and flavor are delicate. [Via This Is Why I’m Drunk]

Hoarding beer in Clintonville leaves some hopping mad. Hopslam, Part II. [Via The Columbus Dispatch]

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