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Monday beer briefing: Is the beer world starting to look like the real world?


1) Fresh Fest so much more than a beer fest.
2) Fresh Fest 2019: The Ultimate Family Reunion.
3) Drinking Partners Podcast| Garrett Oliver | Live from Fresh Fest
4) Drinking Partners Podcast #220 – FRESH FEST.
After the festival, Garrett Oliver tweeted: “A beer festival that actually LOOKED LIKE AMERICA. Black folks, white folks, all kindsa folks, queer folks, straight folks, womenfolk, menfolk. Folk folk.” He repeated the thought and added plenty more during a podcast that was recorded live during the festival, and thus immediately became part of what looks like history in the making. When somebody gets around to writing the next big history of craft beer they should not overlook that Dames + Dregs and Beers With(out) Beards also attracted enthusiastic drinkers on Aug. 10, 2019.

5) Brewers Association Report Shows Lack of Diversity in Hires, Offers Path Forward.
It’s going to take more than one festival, or three.
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Monday beer briefing: Last gasp for craft? Then why did ABI buy another brewery?


1) Why Craft Beer Is Dying.
Simon Nielsen, a brewer in Wisconsin, writes, “To me, that—the loss of originality—is what is killing the heart of our movement. Where have the artists gone? Where have the brewers with something to say gone?” This mirrors the comment from Karl Ockert — “The priority is not to innovate but rather to profiteer. This is not why we started all this.” — that received a lot of attention a couple weeks ago. A tweet pointing to Nielsen’s post seems to have attracted little attention (I’ll admit, sometimes I lose track of threads). But a) sales by breweries the Brewers Association categorizes as craft increased about 4 percent in the first half of 2019; and b) there were plenty of “what is craft?” threads on Twitter. Here is one that went on and on.

2) AB InBev back at it.
Bryan Roth provides analysis of AB InBev’s first American brewery acquisition in, gee, two whole years. I only took a quick look at various social media outlets, but this does not seem to have stirred the emotional pot (and cries about selling out) that previous purchases have. Not sure if that suggests general weariness or lack of love for Platform Brewing. There was a comment on Reddit about how much more painful it would be had Jackie O’s or Urban Artifact been involved.
Related: Breckenridge Brewery Founder Wants to Return Original Pub “to the People”
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Monday beer briefing: Pivotal years, kveik & good or shite?


1) Our idea of luxury has changed dramatically over the last 15 years.
It begins: “Look around. We live in the age of gilded minimalism. In the Bay Area in the year 2019, pop-ups in unmarked buildings draw hours-long lines. Our hottest restaurants are spare, open temples to natural light. We want our butter house-cultured, our grains ancient, our wild ales spontaneously fermented — and we’re happy to pay the premium markup.” The premise is that 2004 was a pivotal year for California wine. What would the pivotal year for American beer be?

2) Of Mad Scientists and Liquid Cocaine — Modern Beer Finds a Way in Budapest.
More thinking about authenticity.
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Monday beer briefing: Exit through the comments


1) Authenticity and automation.
2) We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Pack, Pt. 2 — How 15-Packs Changed the Game for AB InBev’s Craft Segment.
3) The Macro-ization of Craft.
4) Watch the Hands, Not the Cards — The Magic of Megabrew.
Deep into 1), Alan McLeod quotes a clothing blog and provides context for much that was written last week. Here’s where the words took me. McLeod follows Permanent Style’s riff on authenticity, heritage and craft with this thought: ”Interesting. Given most ‘craft’ beer is made on computerized set ups that manage much of the process automatically, the comparison may well be a useful one.

2) is one of four relevant posts at Good Beer Hunting last week (read them all). In 3), Jeff Alworth concludes something of a recap of those by writing, “More and more, customers are going to think of ‘craft beer’ as just beer, and expect to see it priced accordingly. And guess who’s positioned best to take advantage of that?”

When he posted those words on Twitter it led to conversations about price and access that are still going on (and include @agoodbeerblog). I added 4) to the conversation, but the smartest reply, I thought, was from Mike Kallenberger’s: “Or will craft split into quasi-macro and hyper-local (which will carry on some but not all craft values as we’ve known them)? Seven thousand+ breweries can’t all be macro-ized.”
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Coming in September: Kveik Fest, Kveikstokk

Yes, back-to-back posts related to Nordic farmhouse brewing. (The first.)

Events are planned in Chicago and Toronto showcasing beers brewed with kveik (which is a yeast, not a beer style) and author and beer anthropologist Lars Garshol, who has introduced brewers previously influenced by German/Czech/Belgian/English traditions to one they barely knew existed.

Lars Garshol talks about kviek in Bergen, Norway
Lars Garshol points out where kveik belongs on the family tree of yeast during a talk at the Bergen Ølfestival last September.

Burnt City Brewing in Chicago will host the Inaugural Kveik Fest Sept. 7. Three days later, Garshol will appear at Kveikstokk in Toronto.

Appropriately, Kveik Fest is sponsored by Omega Yeast, which made kveik strains available in the U.S. more than two years ago. The one-day invitational will include traditional and experimental beers fermented with kveik from 30 Chicago-area and national brewers. Tickets are $75.

“Kveik is particularly exciting to so many brewers because it contributes great combinations of flavors to beer and is extremely versatile when it comes to brewing different styles,” Ben Saller, head brewer at Burnt City, said for a press release. “Once we started experimenting with the Norwegian yeast strains available from Omega Yeast in the past couple of years, we soon had this idea to design an event around highlighting yeast as an ingredient. Creatively, there’s so much that can be done with kveik and the range of citrus and tropical flavors and aromas it can bring to the table.”

Escarpment Labs, which funded sequencing of kveik strains and helped establish that they are genetically distinct, and Burdock Brewery will host Kveikstokk. Garshol will be talk about his travels in Norway, documenting the living farmhouse brewing traditions as well as some of the special ingredients in use. There will be kveik-fermented beers on tap brewed by Burdock, Escarpment Labs and friends. Tickets are $25.


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