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Peachy keen, & not so peachy, Monday beer links


Warning: The first several links may leave you with the impression that not everything is peachy keen in the world of alternative beer.

The Big Issue: Exploitation.
Perhaps coincidentally there was other chatter, not altogether pleasant, this week about the phrase “beer people are good people.” Feel free to pursue that discussion elsewhere. Granted, this reads a little sensational: “Yet, for some who try to build a life in the craft beer industry, that narrative is quickly lost as they find themselves at the will of employers cutting corners, underpaying staff or intimidating them into staying quiet about unethical or even illegal treatment of employees.” But this is an in-depth report (3,500 words or so) from Australia. Don’t think it is confined to that continent. Further reading: “Labor of Love” in Beer Advocate. [Via The Crafty Pint]

Sierra Nevada Talks Uphill Battles and the “Dying Art” of Brewing Beer.
[Via Good Beer Hunting]
Insiders sound off on pet peeves in Bay Area beer scene.
[Via San Francisco Chronicle]
New generation of Bay Area brewers tap into craft movement.
[Via San Francisco Chronicle]
I’m going talk about this a little bit here this evening. Even within the context (“There’s a lot of people getting into our industry that don’t invest the time and the effort that it takes to really master the craft”) I can’t get behind the idea that “We all know it’s a dying art.” The pursuit of art and science is apparent in the second of the Chronicle articles. Removing scale from the equation, by finding a business plan that allows a brewery to remain small, changes so much.

Are Thornbridge’s 330ml Bottles a Con?
Boak & Bailey have done the math: “…but it does seem that the price-per-litre of Thornbridge Jaipur at Waitrose has been on the climb fairly steadily since 2012, going up by about 6 per cent each time. With the switch to 330ml, though, the increase was sharper at about 15 per cent, even though the absolute price of a bottle dipped back under £2. So, some sort of price rise was probably due, but the numbers certainly do seem fishy.” [Via Boak & Bailey’s Beer Blog]

“To swindle, cheat, hoodwink, or hoax.” Craft?
More math. “By the way, a 19.1-ounce bag of Oreos costs $3.56; a 6-pack of a good milk stout, say Left Hand, costs $9.99-$10.99. Four bottles of this Hornswaggler will set you back $17. Hornswaggle: ‘To swindle, cheat, hoodwink, or hoax.'” [Via Yours for Good Fermentables]

This Is What New York Tastes Like in Beer Form.
If you’ve heard me talk about fermentation recently you know I seldom pass on an opportunity to quote Lourens Bass Becking. “Alles in overra: maar het milieu selecteerf.” (“Everything is everywhere, but the environment selects.”) [Via Munchies]

11-Hour Lines for a New Ale? Fans Wait, Breweries Worry.
[Via The New York Times]
Don’t Wait in Line for Beer – A Case Against Pliny-Hunting.
[Via The Full Pint]
a) Choices. b) If this happens for pale lagers I am screwed.

How Michigan’s first craft brewer returned, 32 years after failure.
Ted Badgerow founded the Real Ale Company, Michigan first microbrewery, in 1982. It went out of business in 1984. He’s back brewing at Ypsi Alehouse. But not with the pitch, “Hey, I’m the guy who got this started 25 years ago.” That would be the easy way to do it. Instead “he made 500 batches of beer, 4½ gallons at a time, testing recipes. He threw backyard parties, where he’d poll people on what beers they liked most.” He built his lineup of 10 beers based on the feedback. [Via Detroit Free Press]

Hugh Johnson: Do we need a natural wine alternative?
Tired of the debates about seemingly everything related to the term craft beer? Spend a little time reading about natural wine. Hugh Johnson has his reservations, but writes, “There’s too much vitriol spraying around on the subject of what’s ‘natural’ already. I don’t want to add to the shindig.” So he suggests “‘alternative’ as an alternative.” I doubt Vince Cottone considered alternative beer an alternative for craft beer thirty or so years ago, but thinking of all the trees and bandwidth it might have saved. [Via Decanter]


I’ll See Your Wild Ferment and Raise You Another.
Spontaneous ales are not this spontaneous. [Via Vinography]


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