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While I was gone: ‘Craft’ and ‘IPA’ redux

MONDAY BEER LINKS, MUSING 06.23.14 & 6.30.14

OK, it’s Wednesday, not Monday, but I have some catching up to do.

First, a quick combination from print. In the July issue of Beer Advocate magazine Andy Crouch writes “We are unquestionably in the Age of IPA” and suggests that there is “some hazard in letting a single style define craft beer so completely.” I don’t think that’s going to be a problem, in part because of what he hits on at the end. Flavor is driving escalating sales of beers with flavor. That reads a little simplistic, I know, but the point is we’re talking about new flavors, not just hop aromas and flavors. Meanwhile, Josh Bernstein writes about the evolution of IPA in Imbibe magazine (linked because it is online, but you might want to buy the magazine to get the nice timeline that accompanies the story).

Now, two weeks worth of links and a minimum of musing.

Is Sam Adams Too Big to Be Craft Beer? I missed the press release while we were in Poland, but apparently Tony Magee of Lagunitas is now in charge of determining what constitutes “craft beer.” From the article: “Magee said that Sam Adams has ‘so little to do with what beer is doing today.’ In other words, Sam Adams may have once been craft, but its size and lack of innovation mean it can no longer qualify.” Enos Sarris, who wrote the article, apparently agrees, concluding, “It started a craft beer revolution, and then craft beer’s evolution passed it by.” Musing: Bullshit. [Via FiveThirtyEight]

When Craft Beer Becomes a Commodity and Big Brewers Making Specialty Beer: Lessons from MillerCoors. A combination from Jeff Alworth meant to be read in combination. Musing: Sierra Nevada Brewing will make more than one million barrels (as much as the entire “craft” segment minus contract-brewed Samuel Adams and Pete’s Wicked Ales just 20 years ago) this year. Friday night at The Second City in Chicago I expect to have a hard choice to make between drinking Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and locally brewed Half Acre Daisy Cutter Pale Ale. They are not interchangeable. [Via Beervana]

Is Sierra Nevada Overvalued? The Curious Case of the “Boring” Beer. Musing: See above. [Via This Is Why I’m Drunk]

Style from Adrian Tierney-Jones provokes What Are the Elements of Style? from Alan McLeod. Musing: Strunk and White would be proud. [Via A Good Beer Blog]

Rising Hops Prices Make Craft Brewers Jumpy and The real value of hops. The first one is behind a firewall, so if the link doesn’t work be creative. The second provides perspective. Musing: Things are just starting to get interesting. [Via Wall Street Journal and Brewer’s Guardian]

Your Favorite Local Brewery is Not Selling Out. Musing: I expected more after seeing the headline, but the comments add another layer of persepctive. [Via The Full Pint]

Blind Tasting: Unreliable but Necessary. “That is one of the most useful features of blind tasting: to be disturbed. To ask yourself, do I really like what I like? Or do I like it because I think I should?” Musing: I drink plenty of beer “blind” because I judge beer, and I usually don’t end up knowing what those beers were. I find myself less interested these days in learning what I might in a blind tasting than I will seeing, and learning about, just what I am drinking. [Via Palate Press]

3 Responses to While I was gone: ‘Craft’ and ‘IPA’ redux

  1. Alan July 2, 2014 at 7:17 am #

    Can you elaborate on this, please:

    “…I find myself less interested these days in learning what I might in a blind tasting than I will seeing, and learning about, just what I am drinking.”

    Do you mean life itself is now presenting such an array that the formal study / assessment is less valuable or attractive than it was?

    • Stan Hieronymus July 2, 2014 at 7:59 am #

      It is a function of my own particular interest. What makes the beer here different than the beer there, and why?

  2. Alan July 2, 2014 at 10:24 am #


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