Sorry, I missed the Five Articles this weekend. I was in Richmond, enjoying a lot of good local beer, but we were also without power. No power meant no Wi-Fi. Richmond was awesome. My favorite place was The Answer a small brewery attached to the Mekong restaurant. Also, the new Stone brewery will be awesome when it is finished. We managed to go six different breweries and restaurants starting at noon on Saturday and wrapped up around 11 and didn’t get hung over on Sunday morning. That is some professional drinking right there.
Some beers actually do get better with age, see almost every bourbon barrel aged beer, but for brewers, this technology could be very useful. The need for the smartphone app is gratuitous which suggests this part of the technology is being geared toward the beer geek.
Goose Island picked a bad time to release infected beer. Even worse their best known and just plain best beers are the ones with the problems. This is a case where if they are contrite and proactive in dealing with these infections. This is not the reason people outside of Chicago will continue to turn on Goose Island, but it is another straw added to the pile.
Today is Bloomsday. It is June 16, the day Leopold Bloom walked through Dublin in James Joyce novel Ulysses. Once again, I will begin my quest to start and finish the book. I’ve made it pretty much half way through on my last attempt. Anyway, on to the Five Articles.
If beer weren’t a business brewers wouldn’t care about providing food and a good experience for their customers. You provide food in order to get people to hang around and drink more. It’s not just the owners being nice. The rise of the food truck experience has been a boon for breweries. It allows breweries to provide food without having to worry about all the business and regulatory hoops running a restaurant cause
Here is a good Q and A with Greg Koch of Stone Brewing by Jason Notte. Mixed in with all the hippy, New Age stuff (just answer the question about who is running Arrogant Bastard) are the ideas of a very good businessman and visionary. Koch has a very clear vision of where he wants his company and the beer industry to go. It is just that is covered in this layer of stuff that makes the average consumer continue to think of this industry as a bunch of hippies hanging out making beer in their backyard for shits and giggles.
There was a bounty of good articles today. Here are the five that I like best.
The closing of the Eden, NC brewing facility has become something of a thorn in the side of the ABInbev-MillerCoors merger. The announcement of the closure was just before the announcement of the merger. The facility produces 4% of all the MillerCoors in the United States but is being closed for reasons that maybe don’t exist. The reason most people think it is being closed is that it would be redundant to a Budweiser facility that is very close in Virginia. The other problem surrounding the facility is it was built very recently and is one of the major employers in the small city of Eden. Unfortunately, I don’t think all of that shadiness will keep the facility open or even provide a speed bump for the merger.
The state of New York actually did alcohol regulation reform right. They took their time and created a comprehensive reform from top to bottom, instead of doing all the regulation piecemeal and having to fight for each proposal individually. This approach has one major advantage in a legislative sense: It brings everyone to the table at once. That allows for everyone to see how the whole system will work for everyone. Compare this to what happens in other states when old and established alcohol laws are being overturned.
Fourteen craft brewers in Colorado are leaving the Colorado Brewers Guild after the Guild’s failure to stop the grocery store full strength beer law. The fourteen insurrectionists want a more proactive advocacy group that will keep laws like this from coming up for a vote they were always going to be on the wrong side of once consumers get involved. I understand the brewer’s frustrations with the new law as it changes the way breweries have always done business. After reading a bit on this law, the idea of changing to law to allow grocery stores to sell full-strength beer has been around for longer than the Brewers Guild has existed. This was just finally the year when it broke through. This rebellion seems a bit more complicated than just this one instance.
Tuesday has arrived. Today’s articles have a lot of food. Also, there is a new beer review coming up in the next couple of days.
This is a short article that tries to delve into craft beer and food. The article does the same thing many in the craft community and certainly those outside the community do. It treats craft beer like a hobby or fad instead of the business it is by diminishing it with the phrase “craft beer craze” to describe its subject matter. We in the craft beer business have to get over apologizing for what we do and the success that has come with it. Yes, brewers do what they do for the love of beer, however, what they do is also how they pay rent and put food on their families’ table. Thinking about beer as a business should not be left to the province of ABInbev and their ilk.
This is a celebration of beer and cheese from England. It is a bit of paid content in the Lifestyle section of the Telegraph from the Britain Beer Alliance. It breaks down why beer and cheese work so well together and gives a few suggestions for pairings. I’ve read many pieces on the Brewers Association website craftbeer.com that are very similar. There seems to be more of a distaste and distrust of paid content in the US than in Britain. However, is that worse than a newspaper/news website just reprinting a press release as a news article? I’ve read a lot of those also. At least with paid content the news organization gets some money out of it.
I still don’t understand why they are dragging this out over 20 years. Most of the Colorado liquor stores that will fail will do so because they offer no added value for consumers. If you provide consumers with a knowledgeable staff (sommeliers and/or Cicerones) or just a cool place to hang out, you will probably survive. Those that don’t do that will not survive. That’s how a free market economy works.
Every couple of years a story like this pops up. Some rich guy with too much time on his hands goes out and finds a shipwreck. He salvages as much as he can to sell so he can make more money and finds a sealed bottle at the bottom that is pretty well preserved. He brings in a scientist and/or a brewer who pull out the contents and try to create a reasonable facsimile of what was in the bottle. This particular version of the story comes from Australia.
This is a nice primer on sour beers from USA Today. The writer breaks down kettle-souring, Berliner Weisse, and gose. I really liked the kettle-souring section. It did a great job of breaking down why kettle souring came about. The best part of the Berliner Weisse section is the entrance of Napoleon. This is a good read for those just entering into the world of sours.
USA! USA! I’ve seen every match of the US Men’s National Team since the Trinidad and Tobago match that sent the US to the 1990 World Cup. John Brooks performance last night was maybe the best defensive performance (non-goalkeeper category) that I’ve seen. Onto Sunday’s Five Articles.
It’s Friday and your week is almost over. Have a beer.
Flying Dog fought the state of Michigan and won. In order to celebrate they have started a nonprofit named the 1st Amendment Society which teams with the Frederick County Public Library to highlight banned books. This is a short article on the first of those events.
Beer styles are at best a snapshot in time. As brewers evolve their recipes and consumers tastes change, so do the styles evolve and change. Along with taste, aroma and appearance also change and shift. For instance, though not a separate style (yet?) Northeast/Vermont style IPAs have a distinctive almost orange juice appearance. At some point, this will be added to the IPA canon or will be spun off into its own category.
Thursday is here and the week is almost done. This is my Wednesday because my days off are shifted a day off of everyone else’s.
Let’s start with pairing food and beer. When I try to come up with content for this blog (which I’m in the midst of doing going into the second half of the year) I start with what interests me and what do I want to write about consistently. What I know I will do is write more reviews (at least one a week). I have been really thinking about what the second weekly post will be and I keep coming around to beer and food pairings (or something).
Advertising for people not male and not white is hard for people who are white and male to figure out sometimes. The key is to respect your audience. Don’t talk about “the minorities” or “the women” and treat them like fully developed human who are slightly different from you.
I like taxes. Taxes are how we pay for stuff like roads, schools, hospitals, police, firefighters, EMTs, etc. So I have no problem with governments charging taxes on luxury items such as beer. However, I also know that if you want to spur growth in an industry you cut the taxes to make it easier for businesses to expand. The British government may not have gotten that memo when it comes to beer. The writer of this piece makes the point that in the US the tax on a pint is 3 cents and in the UK it is 70 cents. It is important to point out that is the US federal excise tax and does not include all the state and local taxes brewers have to pay, but the point is still well made. For British brewers to continue to grow, the taxes must be shaved a little.