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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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Outlaw beer and other random thoughts

One silly thought to get out of the way, then a few links related to “What did AB InBev buy most recently and what does it mean?” so Monday links can be focus on other matters.

I think Dogfish Head Craft Brewery founder gets credit for coming up with the term “indie craft beer,” an obvious play on “indie music.” But watching this made me think we could use more categories, starting with “outlaw beer.”


Does anybody know who should get credit for coming up with the hashtag?

A craft beer backlash is brewing against RateBeer following AB InBev investment. [Via SFFATE]

AB InBev Buys Stakes in Craft Beer Sites, Provoking a Backlash. [Via Advertising Age]

RATEBEER and InBev. [Via Make Mine a Half; h/T @BoakandBailey]
and Why i Love RateBeer. [More from Make Mine a Half]

This from the first article: “We’ve created an API through which other brewers, industry watchers, journalists and others can view the same ratings information that ZX Ventures does,” (Joe) Tucker told SFGATE. And there’s more details in Rate Beer Weekly.

So what is ZX Ventures buying if even us lowly journalists can access the information we want? According to Rate Beer Weekly, “ZX gains access to insights around consumer trends, a better understanding of the beer consumer and beer markets around the world, which enables them to keep a finger on the pulse. They believe RateBeer is the tool to help beer drinkers best navigate the sometimes overwhelming beer market, better informing them of all the beer selections so they can make the best choice for their tastes.” I’m still confused.

Anyway, I’ve heard stories like Craig tells (last two links) dozens of times. He writes, “It’s been a part of my Life for Over 10 Years and despite recent developments i hope it can continue to bring me many more years of joy.”

Rate Beer has provided the landscape/architecture and like-minded people have created communities (plural). It does not appear that ZX Ventures will be getting the loyalty of those various communities. Obviously, that would be more valuable than the data, no matter how Big.

Before Oberon was Oberon; a Larry Bell story

You might have overlooked this bit of news yesterday from Molson Coors: “Molson Coors and Heineken announced today that MillerCoors later this year will start distributing, marketing and selling the Mexican import Sol in the United States.”

Shrug, be excited whatever. For me this provdes an excuse to tell a Larry Bell story. And Larry Bell stories are the best kind of beer stories. It comes from 2009 and appears in Brewing with Wheat.

About five years after Bell began brewing a wheat beer called Solsun he discovered the cloudy summer seasonal had taken on a life beyond the glass. The sororities at Western Michigan, also in Kalamazoo, used the beer’s logo on 600 T-shirts for fall rush.

“I realized I better get some trademark protection,” Bell said. When he filed the papers Mexican brewing company Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma, which brewed a beer called El Sol (the Sun), opposed the application. Since Moctezuma had been around since 1890 Bell’s lawyer suggested he could spend a million dollars fighting for the name and still lose. The good news was Moctezuma would let Bell keep the distinctive logo.

He picked Oberon as the new name in 1996 because, in part, it also has six letters and the label was easy to change. “Oberon was sort of goofy, had some connotations,” Bell said. “If you look at the Latin root it means they wander or go astray. That seemed appropriate.”

Additionally, when Bell was a sixth grader in Park Forest, Illinois, he played the part of Oberon, the fairy king, in Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

“I still have dinner with Queen Titania. She’s looking pretty good,” Bell said.

Bell's Eccentric Cafe

License plates at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo.

Is it big beer data or beer big data? Either way a big deal


Brewing Records and Why They Matter.
This proposal from Mitch Steele may appear simple. “I’m wondering right now if a concerted effort could be made by the industry to preserve some brewing logs from early craft brewers in a safe place, like a library or a museum, where researchers in the future could go back and learn about the techniques and ingredients being used today.” It is not simple. No surprise, I love the idea and agree how important it is. But I sleep with an archivist, so I understand how difficult finding the right home, then collecting, organizing, and maintaining those records would be. Perhaps an alternative is to remember the local connections beer creates and support regional archives like OHBA. Fact is I think the simple solution might be to clone Tiah Edmundson-Morton. [Via The Hop Tripper]

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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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