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Monday beer links, musing 12.23.13

- Terroir and the Making of Beer into Wine. I commented on the original post (leaving a typo; sigh) because it is a topic obviously dear to me. However, and I might wear you out with this, using the word terroir when talking about beer from a place just confuses the conversation. To cite Jamie Goode for the second week in a row, he once described the concept of terroir in wine as “blindingly obvious and hotly controversial.”

Find a word to use other than terroir and the conversation may change. Read the other comments and also head over to a discussion that popped up at Beer Advocate with that in mind. And particularly this post from VitisVinifera, which takes things in another direction.

until a brewer:
-grows their barley/wheat/whatever right there
-grows their hops right there
-gets their water on-site
-completes all of this with a contiguous on-site brewery

I will consider this an unanswered question

My argument would be that a beer can taste of a place, represent a place, and be unique to a place without every damn ingredient being from that place.

- Does beer need editing? Boak and Bailey ask that question and more: “Who is there to stop a brewer releasing a bad beer? To say, before it reaches the public, that it is simply not good enough?”

- International Gruit Day. Circle the date on your calendar: Feb. 1. But celebrate responsibly, because there’s little nastier than a Ground Hog Day hangover.

- There are at least two different “wine communities” – and they don’t talk to each other. Arguably at least three beer communities. Can you name them?

- Best Beer Writing Contest. Sponsored by the Beer Bloggers Conference and the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA). Twenty-five entrants receive free registration to the 2014 Beer Bloggers Conference and the overall winner gets a free trip for two to attend NBWA’s 77th Annual Convention in New Orleans. A new blog post, dated after Dec. 19, is required, one that discusses the topic of “America’s Beer Renaissance: Consumer Choice and Variety in the U.S. Beer Market.” One of the suggested topics — and if you want to win you should consider their agenda — is, “How can beer writers partner with brewers, beer distributors and retailers to promote beer in their communities?”

10 Responses to Monday beer links, musing 12.23.13

  1. Alan December 23, 2013 at 9:53 am #

    So by…

    “How can beer writers partner with brewers, beer distributors and retailers to promote beer in their communities?”

    …one might assume that by “writing contest” they mean something more like “fawning contest”?

    Terroir: I think you do need another word and not terroir. Place may well have a role in good beer but it might be better to analogize to fine cheese – micro floral, hand of the cheese maker, etc. The more really local wine I drink from Prince Edward Co to my west, the more I get that the soils of the cracked limestone lomes alone are key ingredient in the best Rieslings and Pinot Noirs. It is not really that they are from that place in a general sense but that they are from that geology. Terroir is not analogous to appellation in that appellation takes into account many factors, only one of which may be terroir.

  2. Alan December 23, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    …loams…

  3. Stephen Beaumont December 23, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    Dear lord, I agree with Alan!

  4. Alan December 23, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    It’s a Christmas miracle!!

  5. SteveH December 23, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    “- There are at least two different “wine communities” – and they don’t talk to each other. Arguably at least three beer communities. Can you name them?”

    • Fogeys
    • Geeks
    • Tickers

    Happy to be a Fogey. ;)

  6. Bill December 24, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    Maybe you should attempt a definition of “place”? As a faithful reader of years, I still don’t get how you distinguish “beer from a place” from “house style” in the U.S. Still not sure what makes a beer unique to a place in the States in your mind. I get from your comment that “industrial beer” strives NOT to be from a place, but still fail to get a sense of place in many many brews from tiny breweries.

    I’d guess that, whatever the three beer communities are, they probably talk to each other. The wine poster is trying too hard to separate the 1% and the 99% — James Suckling, to use his example of a 1% writer, would happily write and (presumably) praise (or critique) his $45 and $50 examples.

    Thanks for all you do — best wishes for the new year!

  7. Matt December 27, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    Given three unmarked glasses of beer, can you taste them and determine which ones are from a place?

  8. Stan Hieronymus December 27, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

    Bill – I don’t know that I’ll ever have definition you can take to the beer store with you, but I am into the research that ultimately should be a book that explores the idea from several different angles.

    One thing one know: Not every small brewery makes an effort to brew beers that reflect place. In fact, they try as hard as industrial brewers to obliterate place.

    Matt – It depends on the beers. Some are designed not to reflect place. But sometimes, yes, definitely.

  9. SteveH December 31, 2013 at 6:47 am #

    “Arguably at least three beer communities. Can you name them?”

    No payoff?

    • Stan Hieronymus December 31, 2013 at 6:50 am #

      Sorry, Steve. I didn’t post the question with the idea I have a specific answer. Yours is a good start.

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