Top Menu

The Session #105: On holiday

The SessionWith apologies to host Mark Ciocco there will be no Session post here this month. Unless something went wrong yesterday, we’re in New Mexico with a wedding to attend, lots of green chile to track down, and maybe a bit of beer to drink.

I highly recommend you click on over to Kaedrin Beer Blog so see how everybody tackled this month’s topic: “Double Features.”

In case you forgot, here’s the premise: “So your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to drink two beers, compare and contrast. No need for slavish tasting notes, but if you want to, that’s fine too. The important part is to highlight how the two beers interact with one another during your session (pun intended!) For extra credit, pair your beers with two films to make your own Double Feature. Now, I’m a big tent kinda guy, so feel free to stretch this premise to its breaking point. The possibilities are endless!”


Ales Through the Ages, March 18-20

Ales Through The AgesA weekend of beer and history in Colonial Williamsburg, with a speaker lineup that includes Randy Mosher, Martyn Cornell, Ron Pattinson, Mitch Steele, Tom Kehoe and other people more interesting than you realize (plus me, so there’s the disclaimer).

You need to need more? “Ales through the Ages offers a journey through the history of beer with some of the world’s top beer scholars. We will explore ancient ales and indigenous beers of the past, examine the origins and consequences of industrial brewing, discover the ingredients brewers have used through time, and share a toast to brewers past.”

I’m not sure where else on earth you’ll be able to see Martyn Cornell, Mitch Steele, and Ron Pattinson give presentations on a Sunday morning. (Here’s the whole program.)

So pardon the plug for an event I’m speaking at. Even though it’s not until March 18-20 I thought you’d want to know about it. Registration is already open.


What if [fill in the beer blank] never happened?

This bit of speculation from W. Blake Gray hit my radar too late to appear in the Monday links: “The Judgment of Paris tasting was the single most important event in the history of wine. In a 1976 blind tasting, French judges chose Napa Valley wines over the best of Bordeaux and Burgundy. The repercussions still echo to this day. But what if it never happened?”

His speculation — starting from a slightly different but important perspective, that the tasting happened, but Time magazine never reported it — is both amusing and illuminating. There must be a beer doppelgänger out there, right? Maybe we’re looking at a Session topic. Even though no beer event, event, incident, development, whatever, resonates like “Judgment of Paris” there’s got to be a starting point. What would it be?

Three quick contenders . . .

What if Fritz Maytag had not bought Anchor Brewing in 1965?

What if the committee charged in 1906 with interpreting the meaning of the Pure Food and Drug Act had decided to implement some sort of legal differentiation between all malt and adjunct beer, or enacted a proposal that lager beer be required to lager at least three months? (Both were considered and rejected.)

What if the USDA had not released the Cascade hop variety in 1972? The story.


A baker’s dozen of mostly beer links


Things Fall Apart.
[Via All About Beer]
Why Do Breweries Sell Out? (Part One).
[Via St. John’s Wort]
Craft Brew Alliance and the Search for a New ‘Local’.
[Via This Is Why I’m Drunk]
Why beer mergers don’t really matter to drinkers.
[Via MarketWatch]
Yes, but…

I won’t repeat everything from this August post, only a bit: “Twenty years ago Boston Beer sales accounted for 25.1% of craft* sales and the 50 largest craft breweries for 77.5%. Ten years ago, Boston Beer’s share was 19.4% and the 50 largest sold 79.7% of craft. Last year, Boston Beer’s share was 13.2% and the 50 largest’s 68.1%.” The smallest breweries in America are holding their own. Granted, not every brewery owner is content to run a small business, and not every drinker cares about local, but apparently enough do.

* As defined by the Brewers Association at the time.

‘Beer Gets the Connoisseur Treatment’, 1968.
“There are some other interesting general observations: beer, the wine-taster noted, is fundamentally sweet-tasting, despite its reputation for bitterness. The tea-taster was surprised by the importance of ‘nose’ in beer having apparently never taken a moment to give it a sniff before Cyril Ray asked him to.” [Via Boak & Bailey’s Beer Blog]

Top Brewery Road Trip, Routed Algorithmically.
Because there are things like genetic algorithms and the Google Maps API. [Via Flowing Data]

Reclaiming beer snobbery.
Some well made points, but you can’t simply type “a snob is not dogmatic” and have it be true. Sometimes it is not a word that needs to be rehabilitated but people exhibiting boorish behavior. [Via DRAFT Magazine]

Beer merger bets Africans will abandon home brew, switch to bottled beer as they grow richer.
The headline tells most a story that nicely outlines just why AB InBev is willing to pay so much to takeover SABMiller. [Via Associated Press]

Bread is broken.
The premise is pretty simple: Industrial production destroyed both the taste and the nutritional value of wheat, and Stephen Jones intends to fix that. It’s a magazine piece, long and worth the time. I wish I had been able to read it before I wrote “Brewing With Wheat.” Lots of interesting stuff worth stealing footnoting. [Via The New York Times]

‘Craft beer is still a big-city thing – that’s why I’m glad I live in London!’
John Keeling, head brewer at Fuller’s in London, begins a column for Craft Beer London. “Is it a golden age? Perhaps for London, but it isn’t when you’re out in the middle of the country and your local pub has just closed.” [Via Craft Beer London]

If video killed the radio star the internet is killing the writing star — Richard Siddle.
“Why would you think you need to know about wine in order to write about it, but not think you need to know how to write to make a living out of it?”
[Via Richard Siddle]

The Barry Smith interview: what is the nature of wine perception, and is wine flavour objective?
“Philosophers might be interested in whether liking was an intrinsic part of tasting. Is it that whenever you taste something, you can’t separate how it tastes from whether you like it. That is, if you like it, it would taste different from if you didn’t like it. As a philosopher I am interested in that separation. If you can’t separate them, how can you acquire a taste for something?” [Via jamie goode’s wine blog]

Equity for Punks Revisited.
“Equally, now that I have my own brewery, and BrewDog has grown beyond any projections even I would have believed, they are on the verge of being a multinational monolithic conglomerate they rail against. I’ve felt that there is now a tension between us that is barely tangible, but clearly we are viewed as a threat, rather than an ally.” [Via Hardknot Dave]

Beer & review links, including how to write a 1-star review


I’m not sure if this is a bit of cheat, pointing to my own Twitter feed, but I am — because there’s more here than a dispense gimmick. The beer is equally striking.

Returning for Another Sip of Terroir.
“Part I: Beer is not the expression of a single terroir, but rather, by the very nature of its ingredients and production processes, a mélange of terroirs” and “Part II: Even if we decide, ultimately, that terroir is a red herring for brewers, drinkers, and writers, the issue of craft beer and its relationship to place is still worthy of debate, as complex an issue as it is.” I continue to feel that using the word “terrior” gets in the way when trying to talk about “beer from a place.” This is something I care about a lot, but even I sometimes feel like walking away from the conversation because it is so dang complicated to sort out. [Via A Tempest in a Tankard]

Forget InBev. Here Are the Markets Where Local Beers Rule.
Local (or at least regional)? Yes. But you’ll notice there is something very similar about the beers mentioned. [Via BloombergBusiness]

Boring Brewing : Bland Brewpubs Are Invading.
“My point to this ongoing rant is that as a small brewery I think there’s two ways to fall in the ‘good’ category. First be really good at what you do … everything you brew can be a legit beer that is satisfying regardless of when or who is ordering the beer. The second way is to be independently creative and have every beer you make demonstrate your passion for brewing. In other words make me think about the beer in my glass.” [Via SommBeer]

Now You Can 3D Print Things Using Beer.
And within an answer to why you would want to. [Via From Quarks to Quasars]

A Simple Graph Explains the Complex Logic of the Big Beer Merger.
AB InBev’s takeover of SABMiller viewed through the lens of business rather than beer, so a brand can be distinctive even if a beer is not. [Via Harvard Business Review]

Message in a Bottle.
Or How to Write a 1-Star Review
A sommelier writes about a perfume book, but the payoff is the 1-star reviews. Like this one: “If you drive a Moscow taxi at night, this one’s for you.” Or this: “Powerfully cloying and nauseating. Trails for miles. Frightens horses. Gets worse.” [Via Tim Gaiser]

Powered by WordPress