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Monday beer briefing: Workplace culture, buying rounds & hops as grapes

Brauerei Spezial, Bamberg


Ballast Point Dulling.
This was the culture at Ballast Point Brewing: “We built camaraderie among employees and just had a phenomenal culture of showing up to work, kicking serious ass, having a couple of beers with each other, and repeating the next day. We all felt very blessed to be able to do this for a living.” Sounds great, doesn’t it? When a business — any business, not just a brewery — considers what it means to be sustainable, and how that relates to sustain its company culture, things get more complicated.

The unwritten rules of round-buying.
“In practice, of course, all of these rules or customs are understood without being spoken, and possibly completely unconsciously. We moderate our behaviour based on the group we’re with, our knowledge of people’s financial situations, or their capacity for alcohol.” I thought about how this bit of culture is different than elsewhere when I read David Berg’s comment on Twitter that “It’s probably too much to ask, but maybe someday beer will once again be about this” with this being, “I honestly don’t care what beer you drink. It’s just good to be around friends.” In traveling recently from Munich to Poznan and back I was reminded how different all things related to beer look in the wild than the do on Beer Twitter. The picture at the top was taken on a Sunday at Brauerei Spezial in Bamberg. A few moments later the man on the left turned his empty ceramic mug on the side and rather quickly a server appeared with another round. No words were needed.
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Pop-up beer links

Welcome to Berlin

06.03.19 BEER & WINE LINKS

I had not planned to post links today, but this first story says so much about objects of our affection and how things can get strange that I wanted to pass it long. Here it is with some others I’ve collected for reading once I return home from Germany. Meanwhile, hops await.

1) Truffle fraud.

2) A beer for every one of Pittsburgh’s 90 neighborhoods.

3) For the malt freak in all of us.

4) For the non-hipster Pabst fans.

5) Several stories in October about women and beer. This may not be all of them.
- The future?
- An overview.
- Women of color in the beer industry.
- They were women—lesbians!—who wanted to make beer.
- Reinventing the look.

6) Beer isn’t the only drink with a diversity problem.



ReadBeer, every day.
Alan McLeod, most Thursdays.
Good Beer Hunting’s Read Look Drink, most Fridays.
Boak & Bailey, most Saturdays.


Monday beer briefing: Isn’t always about the future?

05.20.19 BEER & WINE LINKS

Administrative note: Another hiatus (and not the last of the summer) the next two weeks. This one you can blame, at least partially, on @Thirsty_Pilgrim. Briefings will return June 10.

1) Jeff Alworth wonders why more startups don’t use the Other Half/Great Notion model — “bright cans of hazy IPAs and pastry beers, the long lines of young people.” He concludes “brewers start them because they have a vision for the beer they want to make, not because they want to print money.”

I agree, but would another clause. These brewers do have a vision for what they want to create, but they also have enough of an ego to think that they are making beer that will appeal to an audience broad enough to support a thriving business. They may not want to print money, but many like ending up on something of a stage and more look forward to feeling money in their pockets.

2) Before helping establish a union at Anchor Brewing Company, Brace Belden volunteered to fight with Kurdish leftists in Syria. When he was younger, Belden said communism “was just another way to be bad.” Later, he began thinking more seriously about class consciousness, and today he is a firm believer in the Marxist notion of a global class war.

3) Josh Noel adds to what he already wrote in “Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out” about the lack of transparency about where Anheuser-Busch products are brewed. I guess I should start to look the labels on bottles of Elysian Space Dust and see what they say whenever I visit stores these days, because when we were in Phoenix a few months ago we heard Four Peaks Brewing is now among the breweries making Space Dust.

4) If Carlsberg’s new lager is not the future of beer, and Martyn Cornell makes it pretty clear he doesn’t think so, what is? He suggests, “You don’t have to stare too deeply into a beer-filled crystal ball to predict that there will be a constant flow of launches of floral/fruity lagers.”

5) A rant, in German. Basically, “craft beer” is “totally overpriced and tastes of soap.” Google will translate it all for you. “Wäre Bier ein Kaiser, müsste man sagen, Craftbier ist nackt.”

6) Gaming Untappd.

7) Ever wonder why there was no Gary Vaynerchuk in beer?

8) Before there was Gary Vaynerchuk there was Robert Parker, and now he is retiring.


Warning: You may get sucked in.


ReadBeer, every day.
Alan McLeod, most Thursdays.
Good Beer Hunting’s Read Look Drink, most Fridays.
Boak & Bailey, most Saturdays.


Monday beer briefing: Waking up with stout, porter & coffee

05.06.19 BEER & WINE LINKS

Greetings from Cartagena, Colombia. I’m here to judge beer and talk about beer. Before boarding a plane Sunday, I slapped together a few things, including plenty of tweets, for you to read.

– The strange dominance of Irish stout in West Africa.

– A porter story, for history nerds and pedants.

– You knew this. “People like the way coffee and alcohol make them feel.”

– Check out the titles of these term papers.

– Is it beer, wine or cider?

– On writing. ”Question everything” and “do not mistake your own opinions for facts.”




ReadBeer, every day.
Alan McLeod, most Thursdays.
Good Beer Hunting’s Read Look Drink, most Fridays.
Boak & Bailey, most Saturdays.

#FlagshipFriday #2: Alaskan Smoked Porter

Glacier field, AlaskaSmoked Porter is the first beer from Alaskan Brewing Company that I ever drank.

In Twilight of the Gods, author Steven Hyden writes, “The experience of discovering an artist after he’s built a body of work is much different than following an artist as that work is created in real time. For people who grew up with (Paul) McCartney, it’s the hits that matter, because those are the songs that soundtracked your life. But if you come to an artist later, after all that music is released and initially assessed, the perspective often skews away from hits, which seem overfamiliar, and toward the lesser-heralded gems, which are fresher.”

The other day, I thought about these things in the context of considering flagship beers while looking over the pretty decent beer selection at our local Kroger grocery store (in Atlanta). We all come to a brewery’s beers at a different time in their history and a different time in our own histories. Our Kroger sells just one Victory Brewing Co. beer, Golden Monkey, a 9.5% ABV Belgian tripel. If I hadn’t read Bryan Roth’s story last year I would not have known that for several years Golden Monkey, not HopDevil IPA, has been the brewery flagship, the best-selling beer that introduces new customers to Victory.
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