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Session #120 roundup posted

The SessionThis is what happens when you are not distracted by the Super Bowl, Super Bowl commercials or Lady Gaga.

Host Joe Tindall did not mess around getting a roundup posted for The Session 120: Brown Beer.

As I suspected, he was not able to resist posting the picture of Audrey Hepburn in a brown hat. And he passed along my favorite sentences of The Session (from Boak & Bailey): “Back in the 1990s Sean Franklin of Rosster’s ditched brown in favour of pale because he wanted a blank canvas on which hops could shine. If pale is blank, is brown noise? Or texture? Texture can be good. Noise too.”

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The Session #120: There will be brown

The SessionSo are we talking #964B00 or #8B4513?

In his post announcing the topic for the final episode of The Session’s 10th season would be “brown beer,” host Joe Tindall wrote, “to refer to a traditional bitter as ‘brown’ seems to suggest it belongs to a bygone corduroy-trousered era.” An American would not write that. The last time traditional* brown bitter beers roamed these parts the Republicans were the party championing civil rights. In case you hadn’t noticed The Session has become more international than when it began 10 years ago, and contributions from across the Atlantic a) give us a different perspective and b) often arrive along with the sun here.

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Significant beer digits

This is not new. The numbers get tossed into conversations every once in a while, a reminder that when we talk about small breweries we really are discussing small businesses.

@Josh Noel ran this up the flag poll today on Twitter: “We think of craft as having grown so large. It has. But there’s some stat out there: 90% make less than 3k bbls — or something like that.” Then he suggested it would be better if he could quote a number a little more authoratively.

Brewers Association economist Bart Watson replied rather rapidly:

– “Just looked up the 2015 TTB data. 91.8% (of brewers who made at least 1 bbl) made less than 7,500.”
– “They don’t break out between 1K-7.5K, but our figures have 90% around 5K, which makes sense with that TTB data.”
– “The smallest 3,000 breweries in country made less than Sierra Nevada in 2015 & Sierra Nevada makes ~1% of what AB makes in the US.”
– “That’s all 3,000 collectively. So 3,000 breweries together make less than 1% of AB’s US production. Small breweries are small.”

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Diversity, St. Louis style

Yesterday Jeff Alworth filed a dispatch from Bend, Oregon, headlined “American Palates: 82% IPA.” He reported a definite lack of diversity at the brewery taprooms he visited, leading him to write, “The point of all this? Hoppy ales have taken over American brewing, and we’re never going back.” And, “When a country develops its own beer culture, diversity declines.”

Perhaps this means Oregon is more advanced than we are here in the Midwest, because we have not yet developed a similar beer monoculture. (The caveat being, as Alworth points otu, that we are talking about everything outside of industrial pale lagers.) To make reassure myself I’ve rounded up what’s on offer at six of the seven breweries within two and a half miles of our house.

I’m not saying where we live (near that small green park left of central on the map) is typical of St. Louis, Missouri, the Midwest, whatever; just telling you what’s nearby. That Twitter asks if it should translate the menu board at Side Project Brewing from French or tweets from Urban Chestnut Brewing from German may be a sign we don’t fit in quite anywhere.

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Monday beer links: Because this is why we came out of the trees

MONDAY BEER AND WINE LINKS, MUSING, 01.30.17

Our 9,000-Year Love Affair With Booze.
So question No. 1. If “people were imbibing alcohol long before they invented writing” how the heck did they blog about it? This is a long one, so set aside some time. Should you not be convinced, consider this, “You could say we came out of the trees to get a beer.” [Via National Geographic]

Three Notable Breweries of the Wasteland.
Fiction. How ’bout that? Perhaps made more relevant because this “post-apocalyptic future, where civilization has been destroyed and is currently in the process of being rebuilt” feels far too imminent. [Via The Thirsty Wench, h/T @totalcurtis]

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