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Will blogs go the way of Miller Chill?

Stuff recently noticed, perhaps because a press release headed my way or I was goofing off.

  • Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter (NY Times) – No mention of beer or wine or cucumber blogs, but this gets my obligatory bit of navel gazing out of the way early this week.
  • Saint Arnold Brewing had made Saint Arnold Farmer Brown’s Ale the third release in its “Movable Yeast” series: Saint Arnold Farmer Brown’s Ale. It is an alternate version of Saint Arnold Brown Ale made with saison yeast. A limited supply of 60 barrels of Saint Arnold Farmer Brown’s Ale is being released today and will be available on tap at the brewery (for weekday tours only) and at select bars and restaurants throughout Texas. This release was created by brewing a regular batch of Saint Arnold Brown Ale and splitting the wort into two 60 barrel fermenters. One fermenter was pitched with the usual Saint Arnold yeast to make Saint Arnold Brown Ale and the second fermenter was pitched with saison yeast to create Saint Arnold Farmer Brown’s Ale. (From a press release)
  • More love for the Cicerone program (NY Times) – A headline that reads “A Quest to Add Sophistication to Beer’s Appeal” only scares me a little bit. Impressive fact: 3,500 people have passed the beer server exam, which means there are more Cicerones of some rank than there are active BJCP judges . . . and the number of Cicerones is growing much faster. I would have put this story at the top, but I didn’t want Ray Daniels’ head to get any bigger.
  • Summit Brewing in St. Paul, Minn., is swtiching from twist-off caps to pry-off caps. Pry-off caps offer a much tighter seal to prevent oxygen from entering the bottle, which means beer may stay fresher longer. A subject I’m not done ragging about. (From a press release)
  • “It’s the coolest thing, the beer business.” “It’s the coolest industry on the planet. Doesn’t everybody want to be in the beer business?” Love that quote from John Stroh III. On Feb. 8, 1985, Detroit’s Stroh Brewing Co. announced it was closing its brewery after 135 years. At the time, it was the third-largest beermaker in the U.S., with a capacity of 7 million barrels. That was just seven months after Larry Bell sold his first beer, made in a 15-gallon soup pot at his small brewery in Kalamazoo. The story is part of a package at about Michigan’s “beer boom.”
  • 11 Responses to Will blogs go the way of Miller Chill?

    1. Steve February 21, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

      Summit Brewing in St. Paul, Minn., is swtiching from twist-off caps to pry-off caps.

      I’ll be interested to see how this may change their beer. I’ve often bought Summit six packs that start out tasting good, but by the last one or two beers the flavor seems to have staled.

      Just me? Dunno, but the flavor takes on a “musty” character that makes me think oxidation.

    2. Stan Hieronymus February 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

      The press release really stresses the convenience aspect of the change, making me think they are worried about the reaction from twist-off fans who find using an opener a pain. Clearly can better for the beer.

    3. FlagonofAle February 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

      I hate the poncey, arrogant, cicerone crap. If there has ever been a greater crime committed in the name of wine-ifying beer, I don’t know what it is.

    4. Darren February 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

      @FlagonofAle – go easy on the cicerone idea, can’t say I’ve experienced it personaly but anything that gets people taking better care of beer and making it all round a more enjoyable experience for all is a good thing.
      I agree its probably not for everyone and if you want to neck cans of cheap lager then its probably not for you but it does have a place. Wish we had it in Australia.

    5. Stan Hieronymus February 21, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

      @FlagonofAle – The disclaimer is that Ray is a friend of mine, from a time when we both had hair.

      However, one of my New Beer Rules is that beer is not the new wine. I’m comfortable with the Cicerone program because the No. 1 concern is the integrity of the beer, not wine-ifying beer.

    6. Steve February 22, 2011 at 7:14 am #

      Having known Ray and his “work” for over 20 years, I know that he has only good intentions of promoting good beer.

      From what I’ve seen of the Cicerone program it’s all about educating the participants on the true characters of beer and not trying to make it something it’s not.

      Here’s a great article on Ray and the program from the Chicago tribune — hope it transfers:,0,7352555.story

    7. Alexander D. Mitchell IV February 22, 2011 at 8:38 am #

      As for the NY Times article on the “death of blogging,” should you not be suspicious of the pronouncements of a commercial enterprise that has a financial stake in blogging actually going away, so it can once again set the tone of media coverage and be authoritative rather than the joke it has increasingly become? “Don’t pay any attention to the dog pulling back the curtain!!” the Wizard howls…….

      Other blogs had the idea right:

    8. Joe Stange February 22, 2011 at 11:21 am #

      Watch for Ray and the Cicerones (great name for a 1950s doo-wop group, by the way) in an upcoming DRAFT article. Before talking to Ray I was as skeptical as FlagonofAle and came away sold on the idea.

    9. FlagonofAle February 22, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

      I’ll keep an eye out for that article, Joe. For the record, I’m a fan of Ray Daniels. Designing Great Beers is a great resource of a book. I’ll keep my thoughts on the Cicerone program to a minimum on this blog, though.

    10. Jeff Alworth February 22, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

      Beer is not the next wine, but I’d love it if Americans embraced it as a worthy accompaniment to our finest food. If Cicerone gets us there, I’m all for it.

      One random thing on your first item, too. Blogs are obviously old hat, but they’re hardly replaceable by Twitter and Facebook. The kids may well now think of a blog like they think of their old CD players (both date to BI–before iPod)–but that’s a stupid metric.

      Blogs are responsible for seriously damaging print publications, and their continued market share growth (measured by traffic) is evidence. Different media, different objectives.

    11. jeremy March 6, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

      Has Ray ever considered getting a job?

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