Top Menu

The future of hops – a graphic prediction

The Barth Report, hops 2015

There went my Friday morning. No time to read hundreds thousands of tweets hypothesizing about the implications of the Duvel Moortgat/Firestone Walker deal. The Barth Report for 2014-2015 is available to download, and to print, because the best way to make sense of all the information included about hops it is to underline the key passages using different color pens.

Some of the news isn’t as newsy in the past. These days, the US June acreage report gets quickly publicized and dissected and the Barth-Haas Group, the world’s largest hop broker, issues a similar world update even before its annual report is out. But this is the one published since the nineteenth century, with reports going back to 1909 available online. Each year it collects statistics about the businesses of brewing and hops everywhere, and over time that provides important context.

Meanwhile, the cover (pictured above) says something about right now. “A Firework of Hop Varieties” occupies the space at the end of the report reserved to look at current issues (for instance, organic hop farming in the 2010-2011 report). Depending how deeply you have already descended into the hops rabbit hole this could look very 2012 to you, but for many in the beer world it is still uncharted territory:

“From a state of insignificance in regard to taste and appreciated mostly for their bitterness, hops have worked their way to the gustatory core of most craft beer recipes. Today, brewers exchange opinions on the sensory impressions of a wide range of hop varieties in a depth and with emotions which until recently only wine connoisseurs were known. Demand for new hop varieties is showing no sign of abating and is inspiring hop breeders all over the world. Regardless of the time-consuming process of traditional hop breeding (8 – 10 years until a new variety is ready for the market), in the past five years, many new hop varieties have been brought to market at shorter intervals. A common feature of virtually all the new varieties is that they are able to offer particularly sought-after fruity notes.”


Craft bier – it’s everywhere

From All About Beer (and to quote myself), Vince Cottone did not envision in 1984 “that his terminology would work its way so deeply into American beer culture, that craft beer would be used both as a marketing term and an anti-marketing term, or that some would still embrace at least parts of his rather specific definition, and others would find their own entirely different one.”

Oh, and spread around the world.

Craft - Magazine Fur Bierkulture

h/T @BarMas


Loose ends, beery and otherwise

Some short items that don’t fit neatly into Monday beer links or that, oops, I overlooked.

  • When I pointed to Ron Pattinson’s “The Haight” last week and suggested you might find his travel books of interest I had no idea a new one was in the works. “Tour!” chronicles his travels through the United States during the last year-plus. I sure hope somebody at the Beer Bloggers Conference later week this points to the book (or the posts it represents) as the kind of blogging it would be nice to see more of. Because Pattison combines an actual point of view with clever writing.
  • The downside to “hands on” brewing: brewers get hurt. Kerry Thomas, the brewmaster at Edge Brewing Company in Boise, Idaho, suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 30 percent of her body while brewing Friday. Her friends and family have set up a relief fund at GoFundMe. Accidents involving burns are more common that most drinkers realize. Teri Fahrendorf has written about her own experience, an accident that occurred in 1989. (h/T @scratchbeer)
  • Lagunitas founder Tony Magee is now blogging. Longer posts from a guy already adept at raising a ruckus 140 characters at a time.
  • Jamie Goode has done the math and it works out that the grapes in a bottle of wine that sells for £3328 (about $5,154) cost £5.32 each (about $8.24). I tried to come up with some analogy that included hops or bourbon barrels or something and beer, but there really isn’t one that makes sense. Which is a good thing.
  • Ingredients of the month: Cattails and rhubarb.
  • Overlooked: pricenomics analyzed the beer listings of 6,000 bars and restaurants across the country and lists which beers predominate menus in which states. All this data must have left Bryan Roth in tears. Shocked Top Belgian White No. 1 in Idaho? Sierra Nevada Pale Ale tops in New Mexico but not California (Stella Artois instead)? And why does the PBR distributor in Houston still have a job?

Still talking beer terrior and watermelon wheat


Can Craft Beer Truly Express a Sense of Place?
Of course the answer it yes. That doesn’t mean I expect every beer will, or even that I think it should. Nonetheless, I’m delighted to see more people joing the conversation. As a whimsical aside, the other day the Wall Street Journal reported that Fox will begin selling Duff beer. And the thought occurred to me that if they are going to claim it tastes of Springfield, The Simpsons will finally have to reveal where Springfield actually is located. [Via Punch}

What do protected origin labels mean to consumers?
There are 1,310 Protected Order of Designation, Protected Geographical Indication, and Traditional Specialty Guaranteed products in EU. No surprise the designations are turning into marketing tools. [Via Food Navigator]

“Faux craft” – a good thing?
Not a new question, but it provoked interesting comments, including this from StringersBeer: “Choice has to be about more than what yr beverage is flavoured with, or what it wears on the label. A choice of who we get to deal with – of what kind of organisations, with what ethos – that’s a good thing.” Indeed. You are not required to care if a beer is locally brewed or if it comes from a conglomorate, but you should be allowed to. [Via Stonch’s Beer Blog]

Critical Drinking with Dave Engbers of Founders Brewing Co.
A long one, so I suggest Pocket-ing it. Interesting fact: they’ve not got 4,700 bourbon barrels filled with various beers deep inside an old gypsum mine that has been turned into a storage facility (for multiple Grand Rapids businesses). And to return to a question that runs through all of the stories above, Engbers says, “The biggest challenge our sales crew has is ‘local.'” That doesn’t mean that you can taste local, but it sure indicates it matters. [Via Good Beer Hunting]

20 tradicních ceských hospod, kde se psala historie. Basically “20 traditional Czech pubs with history.” It is in Czech, but Google will volunteer to translate you. Check out the stuff on the wall at Klášterní pivovar Strahov (Praha). [h/T Max Bahnson]

Israeli Craft Beer.
Hebrew has no word for “brewery.” Who knew? Anyway, “There is something mystical about walking through the market after hours, when it is closed and the piles of post-market trash are being carried away, the yelling has stopped, the crowds are gone, and turning the corner into a side street you find Beer Bazaar open.” [Via Make Mine Potato]


When this showed up on my Twitter feed Friday I went looking for a photo (below) taken at the Oregon Brewers Festival last year. It shows the line for Hell or High Water Watermelon Wheat brewed by 21st Amendment. (Taking a picture of a line at a beer festival is a losing proposition. Too hard to show. But I wanted to send it to Shaun O’Sullivan, the 21st Amendment brewmaster, who didn’t stick around for the Saturday session. So I put my glass down, took the photo and sent it to him via a DM. When I turned around I discovered somebody had stolen my glass. Who the heck steals a glass at a beer festival?)

By the time I found the photo it was apparent how ill advised the Budweiser tweet was. Click on the date (or here) and you will see the responses just keep coming.

Line for 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat at the Oregon Brewers Festival


Postmodern beer, *that* root beer & The Murky


The Good, the Bad & the Murky — Brew Britannia: One Year On.
Boak & Bailey are taking off the rest of July after posting this epic (11,000 words) look at the British beer world since their wonderful book, “Brew Britannia,” came out last year. If you find sentences like this seductive (I do) you need to set aside some time: “When we can buy a bottle of London murky brewed in Berlin, Barcelona or San Diego, then we’ll know for sure it has become ‘a thing’, as London porter did centuries before.” [Via Boak & Baley’s Beer Blog]

Toward sincere beer.
I wish I’d written this. The first chapter of the book that was going to be called “Indigenous Beer” and now might be called “Brewing Local” will be about place and, ahem, terroir. That means trying to sort out post-industrial, postmodern, and post-Fordist beer. This really smart writing from Joe Stange increases the chance I might make sense. [Via DRAFT]

It was going to be a long night at U Fleku…
Here’s the first chapter of a beer book “that would fuse travel, history and beer” Adrian Tierney-Jones was thinking he’d like to write. The book is on hold for now, and it might take on a radically different form should it spring back to life, so Tierney-Jones writes we should consider this a first draft. In any event, another one for Pocket. [Via Called to the Bar]

The story behind Not Your Father’s Root Beer.
Geez, this alcoholic beverage sure pisses off some people on my Twitter feed. I’ve succeeded so far in paying a minimum of attention, but this story from Don Russell is too interesting to pass on. [Via Joe Sixpack]

Is New York in Danger of Losing Its Most Interesting Beer Boutiques?
If so, why? [Via Grub Street]

The Haight.
Ron Pattinson was in California last month, among other things selling what he calls his “proper” book— “Home Brewer’s Guide to Vintage Beer.” But he has many more to choose from. Reading about adventures in and about The Haight reminded me of some of the travel-oriented ones, of which “Trips (South)” is my favorite. [Via Shut Up About Barclay Perkins]

Seventeen Go To Berlin And Have A Really Good Time.
Road trip. [Via Total Ales]

Powered by WordPress