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Miracle Brew: Continuing beer education

Miracle Brew by Pete BrownBeer writer Pete Brown was conducting a tasting of IPAs when a woman in the audience raised her hand to ask a question.

“If these beers have got so many hops in, are they still suitable for celiacs?”

He replied that hops don’t contain any glutens.

“Ah, so they’re not barley hops then?”

He offers this story as a footnote in his latest book, Miracle Brew, writing that “ironically, she could only misunderstand beer so dramatically because, compared to most people she was better informed and more engaged.”

Brown is currently visiting the American northeast in support of Miracle Brew and he’ll likely get similar questions. Plenty of beer consumers are playing catch up, keen on learning the basics but also something that goes beyond. Consider a recent story from NPR about “how sour beer is driving a microbial gold rush.” That’s a conversation several steps removed from barstool discussions about if bock is really just beer left over from the bottom of the barrel (a myth, but it lives on).
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It’s not Monday, but here are a few beer links

Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn BreweryGarrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewer deep into a conversation during Great American Beer Festival.

Bryan Roth and Jeff Alworth both do a bit of GABF by the numbers. Among other topics, Roth digs into coffee beers and “German-style Koelsch.” Just for fun, look back 15 years at the 2002 results. Kölsch (39 entries versus 154 in 2017) was one of the more popular categories, but there were only 15 coffee entries (compared to 203 in 2017).

– Matthew Curtis (@totalcurtis) and Alan McLeod (@agoodbeerblog) both use Twitter to broadcast primers on beer blogging. (Blogging lessons from Twitter? Did I just type that sentence?)

– Here’s my story about bees that won first for Best Technical Writing in the North American Guild of Beer Writers annual competition. (Best technical writing? Another sentence I don’t believe I typed.)

– Ernie Banks hit a home run in the first major league baseball game I attended. So of course I am a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan and am delighted with the outcome of last night’s game in Washington. But as a lifelong Cubs fan I feel for Nationals fans (and most of their players). The odds of what happened in what will likely become known as the Scherzer Inning cannot be comprehended. 1 in 2,183,406,113?

Session #129 announced: Missing local beer styles

The SessionHost Eoghan Walsh has announced the topic for The Session #129 is Missing Local Beer Styles.

Which means?

Essentially: what beer style would you like to see being brewed in your local market that is not yet being brewed?

Don’t everybody type “NEIPA” all at once.

(The Session #129 meets Nov. 3 – sends links to comments on the announcement page or share it on Twitter via #thesessions or @BruBeerCity.)

Monday beer links: Tradition, lambic wars, and meaning of local


Administrative note: There will be no more weekly links here until November. As in July, because of travel there simply won’t be time to collect and organize them.

– Hop harvest is not over everywhere yet, and even after the last bines are stripped of cones there is plenty to be done on farms and in processing plants. So more like the end of a chapter than the whole story.

– Dave Berg at August Schell Co. digs deep into the history of brewing with adjuncts, inspiring Brian Alberts to expand the conversation. If you want to know even more about the history and why American brewers came to use adjuncts then I recommend the third chapter of Brewing Local (full disclosure – I wrote the book). How that history relates to what we call traditional is at the center of both of these posts.

– And defining what is traditional can lead to war.

– Wait. You can buy a brewery in Denver for $225,000? Could it double as an Airbnb? Appears a several Colorado breweries are available for the right price.

– On the other hand, you can open one in New Orleans with $80,000. Of course, “We have to grow, because we’re killing ourselves,” says Courtyard Brewery founder Scott Wood. “There’s just too much work for how much money we make.”

How Gose got salty. Not exactly definitive, but a starting place.

– And the question I ask myself every day (and should address here more often). What does it mean to “drink locally”?


– Can the wine industry replicate the success breweries have had getting consumers to line up for special releases?

The Evolution of American Oak.


Monday beer links: Business & craft; technology & craft


– I expect that this already fascinating conversation with the co-founders of Scofflaw Brewing (yeah, the middle finger guys) may be equally fascinating to look back on in one, three, maybe five, years.

– In explaining the evolution of buyouts Jeff Alworth concludes that “in buying minority stakes in Redhook and Widmer, AB got a front row seat at the craft show.” That would be true, but I’d suggest what they learned after buying Goose Island had a greater impact. It is important to remember AB InBev bought GI after InBev took over AB, bringing with it quite a bit of, shall we say, acquisition history. AB InBev acquired Goose Island in March of 2011 and it was almost three years before it bought Blue Point Brewing, then 10 Barrel Brewing, Elysian Brewing, and so on.

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