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Author Archive | Stan Hieronymus

Monday beer briefing: rhetoric and craft beer morality

04.15.19, BEER LINKS

Travel plans during the next two months mean transmission of Monday beer links may be erratic for a while. When dispatches do arrive they may be late and they will be, let us say, succinct.

“Hand-Raised Wolverines” is the most terrific song on Tom Russell’s latest, October in the Railroad Earth. And there is a beer connection. He uses craft beer to provide context in a story that includes change, pop culture, fear and more.

Now it’s snowing down there in Florida
And Niagara Falls is frozen
And all the rhetoric and craft beer morality
Is coming at us line to line

– Another study documenting gender bias in beer.

– London pubs from a woman’s perspective (1964).

– 17 years later, Skip Virgilio is brewing again in San Diego.

– Ed Wray wonders about the moment that keg beer becomes evil. Pray for his soul.

– What happened to calling a beer bitter?

Phoney Peroni.

How Greg Higgins made beer “visible” in Portland’s best restaurants.

– Beer writers guild announces diversity in beer writing grant recipients.

– You’re either on the bus or off the bus. Out of the loop or in.

– An argument that terroir comes at a price.


Everything you always wanted to know about “hop creep.”


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

Experiencing beer out of (historic) order

What if we tasted beer in some sort of historic reverse? That is, starting with a particular type of beer as it is brewed today, and following it with previous episodes of the same beer.

I ask this, and ask it this way, because the Game of Thrones returns Sunday, and like Zak Jason I didn’t start watching the series when it debuted in 2011 and haven’t since. This has saved some time, not just hours that would have been spent watching 67 episodes broadcast so far, but still more for reading (think The Wire or Breaking Bad). And in recent weeks there has been plenty to read, including an intriguing article Jason wrote in Wired about binge-watching GoT backward. He wanted to experience it spoiler first, then learn what caused what he was seeing.

This “is much closer to how we encounter people in adult life,” he writes. “We don’t meet new colleagues or acquaintances via origin stories with swelling violins or rumbling timpani telling us how to feel about them. We meet them as testy, anxious, or guarded humans with many other quirks tied to unknown histories that require patience to uncover.”

In the process, he found he began “to pick up on things other viewers may not.”

Beers are not people, and I couldn’t tell you what episode of beer history we are on, or which one would feature Albany Ale, or Geronimo’s favorite fermented grain drink, tiswin, or whatever. But I do think it is relevant that origin stories have been an important part of beer marketing (be it Budweiser or Anchor Steam), and may not matter for a beer like Rhinegeist Cobstopper (a gose brewed with peach, vanilla and lactose and packaged in a can with nitrogen gas).

I met gose, so to speak, at Bayerischer Bahnhof Gasthaus and Gose Brauerei in Leipzig in 2008, and the next day had Döllnitzer Ritterguts Gose at a nearby cafe. There is an origin story. In 2010, Tiny Bubbles, a gose from Hollister Brewing in California, won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival. There were other goses out and about by then, some of which tasted more like Ritterguts and Tiny Bubbles than others. Fal Allen chronicles the evolution that followed, one he helped instigate with beers at Anderson Valley Brewing, in Gose: Brewing a Classic German Beer For The Modern Era.

The path from Bahnhof Gose to (potentially, should I encounter it) Cobstopper, with several stops along the way, is different than the path from Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose to Cobstopper with various beers between. And the experience of drinking Cobstopper first, then Perennial Suburban Beverage is different than starting with Westbrook Gose and moving on to Creature Comforts Tritonia with pineapple and lemon. Change the order, change the experience and the understanding.

Just think of the fun you could have with IPA.


There must be a variation of this game that includes several different types of beers from an era, similar types (call them styles if you must) from another, and from another, and so on. I’ll leave it to you to write the rules. It might also be fun to, if you can find the beers hiding in cellars somewhere, to mix and match the officially sanctioned Game of Thrones beers. Brewery Ommegang began collaborating with GoT to produce these 2013.

Monday beer briefing: worthiness, consolidation and Baas Becking


Bill Wesselink, Dovetail Brewery
I spent about 21 hours during two days midweek at Dovetail Brewery in Chicago. It was quite noisy as times — I understood that the brewery sat next to the city’s Brown Line, but I didn’t know it had built a nest between two train tracks. Yet, when trains aren’t running it can be flat out quiet, particularly in the coolship room, looking at wort sometimes produced using decoction, and other times with a turbid mash. The turbid mash itself is less peaceful; co-founder Bill Wesselink raised an ugly looking blister doing some of the mixing by hand. Not until I was catching up Friday did I realize what a noisy week I had happily missed much of, one with many stories that intersected. So a different format today, and here goes . . .
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Monday beer briefing: My favorite story is the first one


ADVERTISEMENT: If you haven’t offered an opinion about the most influential hops ever, please leave a comment or drop me an email.

Picking hops in nineteenth-century Wisconsin.
This is such a delightful discovery, and not the first Jennifer Jordan has found in Wisconsin. Maybe wishful thinking, but there must be dozens more diaries like this waiting to be discovered, particularly in New York.

Hear Me Roar — With Magic Rock Purchase, Lion Acquires Second U.K. Brewery in as Many Years.
Boak & Bailey noted, “It’s interesting that of the four breweries involved in the founding of United Craft Brewers in 2015, three have now been bought by multinationals.” I was a bit surprised to see that Magic Rock would be classified as a microbrewery were it selling beer in the United States. The brewery produced 15,500 hectoliters in 2018, comparable to 13,208 U.S. barrels. That’s almost exactly the same size as KC Bier Company in Kansas City, which produces wonderful beer although most beer fans from more than a few miles away have never heard of it. Better known breweries such as Jackie O’s, Reuben’s Brews, Other Half and Port Brewing/Lost Abbey are of similar size, but it is hard to imagine a multinational purchasing them.
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What is the most important hop ever?

It was not long after John Henning at the U.S. Department of Agriculture explained the science behind terroir to me.

We were sitting in his office on the Oregon State University campus eight years ago and I had more questions to ask than we had time for. This one wasn’t even on my list. It was a frivolous passing thought.

“Is BB1 the most influential hop ever?”

He paused for a moment. I don’t recall his exact words and they aren’t in my notes. But he said that might just be true, because the release of Brewer’s Gold (a daughter of BB1*) set hop breeding in the direction it would take from early in the twentieth century into the twenty first century.

I think I’ve only asked a variation on that question one other time — in this case the more open ended, “What is the most important hop ever?” — and Jason Perrault of Select Botanicals and Perrault Farms said to give him a little time to think about it. I haven’t pressed him on it since, but now might be time.
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