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Monday beer links: Whose mid-life beer crisis is it, anyway?


The Session #111: Are you there Beer? It’s me, Oliver.
[Via Literature & Libation]
Session 111: You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.
[Via A Good Beer Blog]
Session #111: A Beer Mid-Life Crisis?
[Via Boak & Bailey’s Beer Blog}
Surviving a Beer Midlife Crisis — The Session #111.
[Via Good Beer Hunting]
The premise behind The Session is, or at least was, that the host recap the various posts, so I generally don’t point to them on Monday. But I’ll break with tradition because although I did not chime on Friday — a) I was in information collecting mode at the Craft Brewers Conference, and b) am more interested in writing about various aspects of beer and brewing than my relationship with beer — it is so interesting to read how those more generous about revealing their motivations think about their relationship with beer. In addition, Michael Kiser calls out what he refers to as “an old guard in craft beer.”

There are 6,000 active TTB licenses in the US right now, according to the BA. That means in the next couple of years, we could see 1-2k more breweries. Instead of applause, that line got a collective groan from an audience of craft brewers. For those people, more breweries means more competition, or noise, depending on how you look at it, that they have to fight through every day to sell their beer. And the assumption seems to be that these new people are either getting in to it for the wrong reasons (money) or they’re young and dumb and they’re going to screw everything up with low quality beer.

That sounds like a form of mid-life crisis to me. And fuck that.

I’ll be borrowing from these and other Session #111 posts when I speak at The Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference in July. Because writers should be as concerned about remaining relevant as companies/brands/brewers are.

Smithsonian Announces New Initiative To Document Brewing History.
This was announced at the Craft Brewers Conference. Brewers who won medals in the World Beer Cup competition might disagree, but it looks like the biggest news of the week to me. [Via Smithsonian]

Will Big Lager one day go the same way as Big Porter?
And a related question from Ron Pattinson: Why do beer styles disappear? [Via Zythophile]

America’s New Beer Test.
“In craft beer, you’re dealing with voters of the whole spectrum, from 21 until they’re cold. Our beer drinkers are left, right, Independent. Beer is the x-factor. People might not agree politically, but they can agree that this beer is great.”

When James Schirmer drew my attention to this via Twitter the headline said: “How Craft Beer Became the Budweiser of America.” That certainly could be taken to mean many different things. [Via Atlantic]

An American beer snob in Munich.
As you will see if you read the replies to Joe Stange’s tweet (“Confused sad American person goes to Munich in search of IPA”) some people didn’t think much of this story. [Via Boston Globe]



Monday beer links: Millennials, hops, ‘True Craft’ & other delights


The big news of last week (at about the 17-minute mark) may well generate the same flood of comments that we used to see when Anheuser-Busch bought another brewer, but occurred Friday evening so I haven’t drowned yet. Expect the aftershocks related to “True Craft” to be felt at the Craft Brewers Conference this week in Philadelphia. By chance — or maybe it wasn’t chance, only he can tell us — Greg Koch, who is at the center of this news, is speaking Saturday at a North American Guild of Beer Writers symposium. Keep end up being a sort of press conference. Short term, I put a couple of items related to the announcement at the end, because expanding the Twitter links makes this post very long.

Is Moderate Drinking Even Moderately Good For Us?
Every comment I come up with seems to include a bad pun, so just read it (please). [Via National Geographic, h/T Maureen Ogle]

Millennials Love Craft Beer, But Will A Hops Shortage Leave Them Thirsty?
[Via Forbes ]
2016 Hop Stocks Report – looking forward to a great year for hops.
[Via Washington Beer Blog]
The Forbes story, or a version of it, keeps reappearing in my Twitter feed. Up to date information about the overall hop supply and indications that water rationing should be less of a problem in the Yakima Valley than last year suggest the sky is not falling. Of course, at this time last year it looked like 2015 production would be higher than it turned out to be. In addition, hard-to-get varieties are going to continue to be hard to get, probably for years. Brewers Supply Group has begun keeping a very current list of hops it has for sale at the moment (for instance, Huell Melon was on the list early in the week and gone on Friday). I plan to spend a lot more time this week in Philadelphia asking questions related to hops than I do talking about “True Craft.”

How to brew like an 18th century Virginian.
[Via Zythophile]
Who Will Debunk The Debunkers?
[Via FiveThirtyEight]
Martyn Cornell nicely summarizes the fun we all had during Ales Through the Ages in Williamsburg, Virginia. The last evening before we all headed home there was a certain amount of conversation about similar events in the future, and I’ve been involved in related email exchanges with still more people since. I’m not certain what might result. We are often tugged in multiple directions. I want to see more research like Travis Rupp is doing, but I also know an awful lot of energy is being expended refuting bad history. The second link here has no apparent tie to beer — don’t read to the end expecting some beer payoff. Instead, there is this: “Is there any way to escape this endless, maddening recursion? How might a skeptic keep his sanity? I had to know what Sutton thought. ‘I think the solution is to stay out of rabbit holes,’ he told me. Then he added, ‘Which is not particularly helpful advice.'” Beer can be one big ole rabbit hole.

Mrs Mullis on Types of Pub Customer, 1972.
This made me smile more than any other beer thing — OK, the possible exception would be of Martyn Cornell’s answer to a question I asked on Twitter — I read last week. [Via Boak & Bailey’s Beer Blog]

‘Craft’ Beer Sabermetrics: the BCQ (Brewery Capacity Quotient).
Creative. [Via Yours In Good Fermentables]

Firm joins with iconic brewer to become a big player in craft beer business.
Warning: Includes a discussion of “exit windows.” Which leads us to the story of the week. [Via Boston Globe]

Greg Koch’s Answer to “Big Beer” is a New Platform Called “True Craft.
To get you up the speed before you read … [Via Brewbound]

This Is Reasonable Proof That Big Craft Is Losing It.
… Alan McLeod’s take. [Via a Good Beer Blog]


Click on “29 Apr” to expand and for complete context.


Second ‘Craft Writing’ conference Sept. 30

If you are interested in beer and writing, and maybe a little bourbon on the side, you might want to figure out a way to be in Lexington, Kentucky, the last day of September.

Organizer Jeff Rice has announced the University of Kentucky will host Craft Writing: Beer, the Digital and Craft Culture for a second time, and it is still free. Beyond the list of speakers, the web site is a little short information. However you can reserve a spot.

Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso of Evil Twin Brewing is the keynote speaker. Other speakers include Joe Tucker of Rate Beer, freelance writer Heather Vandenengel, All About Beer editor John Holl, Boulevard Brewing ambassador brewer Jeremy Danner, and Julia Herz, Brewers Association craft beer program director.

Craft Writing: Beer, the Digital and Craft Culture I was great fun back in February of 2014. I wrote about it here (links to other coverage included).


What would a hop named Elvis smell like?

Yesterday I asked this question on Twitter: Which one of this is not a hop variety?


Sadly, voter turnout was low, but curiously the oldest variety here was the one selected most often as the invention and it took a while before Joshua David Hicks came up with the correct answer. Best I can tell, nobody has trademarked Elvis as the name of a hop variety.

I asked the question because this week a) Saint Arnold Brewing in Texas released a beer made with Ariana and has invited drinkers to provide feedback, and b) Sierra Nevada Brewing announced this year’s German Oktoberfest partner will be Mahrs Bräu and the beer will be made with the “nearly forgotten Record hop varietal.”

Saint Arnold calls its new beer Icon Green – 7220 Pale Ale, in part because the Germans only named the variety Ariana a few of weeks ago. German hop growers will be serving samples of beers made with this hop (its full name until last month was 2010/72/020) as well as 2010/08/033 next week at the Craft Brewers Conference in Philadelphia. Evaluating the hops raw members of a German panel found 2010/72/020 “pleasant and mild with slight nuances of berries like blackcurrant (cassis) and sweet fruits (peach, pear, tropical) and slightly resinous.” And they described 2010/08/033 as “hoppy, sweet fruit impressions like apricot and passion fruit. These are joined by one or two spicy and vegetable-like notes (bell peppers, olives).”

Texans who drink Icon Green can make up their own mind and provide feedback online. There are five essay questions:

– How would you describe the aroma of Hop 2010/72/20?
– How would you describe the taste of Hop 2010/72/20?
– Is there another hop you would describe as having a similar profile?
– For which beer styles would this hop be appropriate?
– What are your overall feelings toward this hop?

I can guarantee you German hop growers are looking forward to seeing the answers.

This is the second year that Sierra Nevada has collaborated with a Germany brewery to make an Oktoberfest beer. Last year’s partnership with Brauhaus Riegele resulted in one of my favorite Oktoberests of 2015. It was a malt forward beer, and the 2016 will be as well. So I’m not sure what mentioning the hop variety in the press release means. I’d like to know, and have already dashed off email enquiries, about why Record was chosen and where it is being grown now.

The variety resulted from breeding in Belgium — a Northern Brewer mother was open pollinated by a Saazer male — in the 1960s, intended to create a higher alpha hop that was relatively disease resistant. It was a high alpha hop in its day, about 6.2% alpha acids in 1981, and grown in what was then West Germany (almost 1,000 acres in 1978) as well as Belgium.

In case you are wondering, Denali is a variety from Hopsteiner first known as experimental variety No. 06277 (and unofficially as Nuggetzilla). Monroe is a relatively new hop from Germany (although its heritage is “American wild”) named after Marylin Monroe. The description from hop broker Barth-Haas suggests, “When you add the hop to a beer, then she shows her true colors: exactly like everyone remembers Marilyn Monroe in a red dress. A guise full of red aromas. In the nose, there are wonderful raspberry notes supplimented with orange syrup and added to this in the taste is the sweet taste that reminds one of summer and cherries.” I did not experience that at the 2015 Craft Brewers Conference when I had a beer brewed with Monroe, but I’ll seek out another sample next week at CBC in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, I am left wondering what we would expect a hop named Elvis to bring to a beer.

What are spruce, dandelions and hibiscus doing in Monday beer links?


The Reinheitsgebot – A Personal Voyage.
“Let the brewing traditions of Germany open and grow, to give the beer-drinking public what they want, and see a rejuvenation of German beer culture at a time when the trend has been away from beer.” [Via The Bitten Bullet]


A short history of spruce beer part one: the Danzig connection.
A short history of spruce beer part two: the North American connection.
[Via Zythophile]
Foraging for Fonta Flora’s Appalachian Wild Ales.
[Via Serious Eats]
9 New Floral Beers That Don’t Remind You of Your Great Aunt Esther.
[Via bon appétit]
Spot a theme?


The True Story Of Milton Glaser’s Best Client
“In the initial consultation, Steve Hindy had a couple ideas of what he wanted the brand to evoke. ‘I said Milton (Glaser), I want the Brooklyn Bridge, I want the Dodgers, I want every guy in Brooklyn to want to get this tattooed on his arm,’ Hindy says. ‘And Milton said, ‘Save something for me to do!”” [Via Fast Company]

Great Story, Shame It’s Not True.
It’s this simple: “Lots of pubs have fascinating stories attached to them but it’s a shame so few of them seem to be true.” [Via Boak & Bailey’s Beer Blog]

The deal that shook craft beer five years ago is still reverberating.
The deal is the sale of Goose Island Beer Co. to Anhueser-Busch InBev and founder John Hall says, among other things: “That’s one reason why there’s the High End today. That’s really equipped to sell a specific product, tell more stories and connect on-premise rather than in an off-premise way. Also, I think the biggest portion was the PR thing. When we said, ‘Trust us, it’s all about the beer,’ it is all about the beer — and the beer is as good [as], if not better than, it’s ever been. There’s more of it, there’s more creativity, and then, if you look at the employees, they’ve done better professionally and financially, those who have stayed. Those who didn’t? That’s their choice.” [Via MarketWatch]

Blogunitas: When Big Gets BIGGAR.
Greg Nagel has lots of pictures from the newest Lagunitas brewery. Meanwhile the story he posted last week (it got squeezed out of links here because there were so many) about what might be a new brewery in LA or might be fiction kept getting stranger. [Via OCBeerBlog]

Genesee becomes local craft’s big brother.
Genesee Brewery invites local (non-Genesee) brewers to sit in on its sensory panel and also opens its laboratory for outside use. Area brewers have borrowed equipment, been trained to count yeast, for instance, and Genny has provided analysis of beers.[Via Democrat & Chronicle]


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