MONDAY BEER LINKS, MUSING 1.25.16
Can Big Beer Really Make Great Beer?
Meet The Brewer Who Could Create the Next Bud Light.
[Via Wall Street Journal]
Bud Sour Ale Must Be Stopped.
Lisa Derus, who does PR for Anheuser-Busch, had a really good week. Both Punch and The Wall Street Journal profiled Research Pilot Brewery brewmaster Rob Naylor. So I guess he had a pretty good week as well. On the other hand, Adam Clark Estes, who wrote the opinion piece for Gizmodo, seemed to be in genuine pain.
In the Punch article, Aaron Goldfarb asks the bar stool topic question that’s been around forever. It requires defining “great” and it seems he and I would not agree. He writes, “Great beer is bold, it’s risky, and it’s usually challenging. It takes drinkers places they’ve never been before—it’s not just a facsimile of something that has already been proven ‘great.'” Arguably this is just me choosing a beer that is not “great,” but I don’t always wants a beer that is bold, risky or challenging. More important, though, part of what makes a beer great is not that it takes me some place I’ve never been before but that is comes from a place (where I may well have been).
However, not just a facsimile of something that has already been proven “great” rings true for me. By chance, Thursday (the day both articles popped up online) the monthly meeting of the St. Louis chapter of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas was at Anheuser-Busch. As the stories note, the Biergarten at the brewery now has a single tap for one of the Underground Beers. We were in a separate room where Naylor, who is the outgoing president of the chapter, had six Underground Beers on tap along with Shock Top, Bud, Bud Light and other familiar choices. One was an IPA, and chances are pretty good there won’t be an A-B IPA soon — they own plenty of breweries already selling lots of IPA. None of the other five tasted like a gimmick. And, back to important, none of them was derivative. I’m lousy at predictions, so I will leave it at that observation.
America now has more breweries than ever. And that might be a problem.
Also last week, Jeff Alworth pointed out that in 2005 breweries that produced 15,000 barrels or more made 64% of what’s classified as craft beer and in 2014 they made 79%. That doesn’t look all that great for smaller breweries, does it? But Alan McLeod offered an ugly diagram (his words, but I don’t disagree) and concluded, “Craft as they describe it might well be over. It’s certainly not rising. The small and confident are. The macro industrial buyers of big craft are.” [Via The Washington Post]
Golden Road Brewery founder on why the brand was sold and what’s next.
“We didn’t have a single conversation about selling the brewery before August ,” said founding partner Tony Yanow. “There was not a thought about selling until then.” [Via Los Angeles Times]
BEER PEOPLE AND BEER DRINKING
Inside the world of beer league hockey.
Beer league hockey is a real thing. And it turns out St. Louis is getting a hockey-themed brewery, Center Ice Brewing Co. [Via DRAFT]
Humulone for the Soul — Cloudwater Brew Co. in Manchester, UK.
“This semi-large startup brewery model that’s fairly common in the U.S. is practically unheard of in the UK. And the trouble with us Brits is that as soon as we see one poppy growing taller than the rest of the crop, we want to cut it down to size.” [Via Good Beer Hunting]
The Bermondsey Beer Mile.
“With lots more beer to come I decided not to finish this one, which did lead to the idea of using a scientific system for scoring the breweries. As with pubs, it would be a binary system, with 1 for if the beer was finished, and 0 if it wasn’t.” [Via Ed’s Beer Site]
AND FROM TWITTER
Twitter has also told me Jeff Alworth has an article in the current All About Beer magazine about the Reinheitsgebot, which you’ll hear lots more about in 2016 because its 500th anniversary is a big deal. But the mailman hasn’t delivered by copy. (Click on the time stamp to read more of the thread.)
— The Beer Nut (@thebeernut) January 22, 2016