Tuesday has arrived. Yesterday was my first day since moving that I just got to chill in my new space. It felt great to be home and not have to worry about packing, moving, or unpacking. I still have a lot of stuff to do, but until I get the rest of my furniture there is no need. Onto the Five Articles.
This is an interesting business take on what is happening to Boston Beer Company as the revolution that it helped start eclipses it. Boston Beer reminds me of many of the leaders of the French Revolution. They created a thing that they can’t control and don’t understand. This thing has passed them by and they are in the difficult position of trying to figure out their place in the world they have created before this new world destroys them.
Here is a nice history of the craft beer scene in Japan. I like the way this piece is written. It is a kind of classic in how it uses a specific anecdote at the top to represent the larger point of the piece. It does have me wondering, how do you get a job brewing beer when you have never brewed beer? This story also highlights my belief that most beer and alcohol laws are passed in order for the government to increase tax revenue.
Today, I feel much better. I restarted my meditation practice last week and it is starting to have an effect on my life. My mind is gaining clarity and I am little more relaxed. I’ve also started The Artist’s Way, but before I start my first week of work with it, I am doing the 3 pages. That has also helped me warm up and clear out all the clutter before I start writing. I also plan to move by the end of May which will make my commute easier and give me back at least an hour a day. I love days when it is easy to find five articles that interest me. Here they are.
Ohio is seeking to increase the ABV limit on beer. I agree with Kevin Loftis of Mother Stewart’s Brewing how is quoted in this article. Increase it if you want to, most brewers won’t brew anything over 12% because it is rarely worth drinking. Too much of a booze taste. Also, for a brewer anything that big is expensive as hell to make and would only be some kind of special one-off. No one is going to put into regular production a 12% beer much less a 15% beer.
There is actual science behind why certain foods work with certain beers. You don’t need to know the science if you are just a person trying to find a good beer to pair with your chipotle black bean burger. However, the chef at the craft beer-centric restaurant you want to go to has to know it when he is putting together his menu. Knowing not only what tastes work together is important, but knowing why is important because it lets the chef surprise you with a pairing that you wouldn’t expect.
I awoke this morning thinking today was any day other than Saturday. Mostly, I just wake up, make a spot of tea, write the Five Articles and go to work. Saturday’s are broken up because I watch soccer while I work on the Five Articles. On to today’s five.
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery is going to Germany. It would be interesting to get a good critical take on their German style beer from actual German brewers. To my pallet, their beers are high-quality interpretations of German style beers.
Any article that lists the brown ale as an overlooked beer style is good in my book. Also, Belgian-style beers are some of the best beers to pair with almost any food. I want to focus more of my reviews on food pairing recommendations. Making beer and food pairing a more prominent part of the craft beer discussion is another important step in pushing craft beer onto the same plane as wine. The breadth of beer pairing possibilities is awesome. Some beer fits with burgers, pizza and wings and some beer works with high-end culinary experiences.
This will be quick. I have another blog post that was supposed to be up yesterday to finish editing and post before I leave for work.
We’ll start with food and beer pairings. This is one of many articles like this I’ve read in the last few days. I’m highlighting this one just because I need to highlight an article on food and beer pairings from a slightly different perspective than the one I’m used to from the US.
I’ve neglected the Five Articles for the past week. It isn’t that I haven’t been reading articles and thinking about beer. It seems to be more that I want to do something different with the articles, I just can’t figure out what that difference is.
Anyway, the first article today is about the crowded growler market in Atlanta. My interest has little to do with beer as much as it has to do with this as a case study in how economics works. A new business market segment becomes available; people rush in to fill it; the market gets oversaturated; the market corrects itself by weeding out the weak. This is something that is going to happen in all the different segments of the beer market. All the new breweries that have come out of the woodwork in the last two to three years will not survive. The ones with bad beer and bad business models will fail.
There is not a lot of news out today. Here is what I’ve found that interests me.
Ballast Point, they used to make actual beer. Look, I’m not a believer in the Reinheitsgebot. I think you should be able to make beer with whatever ingredients you want, but I want it to be beer and not some flavor infused alcoholic drink. There is a whole section of the alcohol industry dedicated to vodka that doesn’t taste like vodka. I don’t want beer to fall in the same rabbit hole.
I have had my issues with some of the rhetoric used on the side of the brewers in this debate, but I essentially agree with them. The self-distribution limit should be raised and brewers should be able to choose whether they want to use a distributor. Some brewers will want to control where they sell their beer and how they sell their beer. Some will choose to let someone else handle it. At the core of this story, for me, is what really worries me about the big brewers. If the distribution laws aren’t fully and faithfully enforced, then big beer will crush craft. However, that enforcement is meaningless if the laws don’t make sense are not fair for everyone.
On my return to the Five Articles, let me just say, sleep isn’t overrated. I needed a break for two reasons. One, I’m not getting enough sleep to get up a write like I need to. Two, I got tired of reading the same articles over and over. I’m going to be making some changes to make sure I get up early enough to get all the writing done I need to get done to keep myself sane.
Cities often do this for sports arenas, which is a bad idea. Sports arenas are only used for finite days of the year, they eat everyday municipal capital like M&M’s, and most importantly don’t actually produce anything. To me as a city councilman or mayor or governor, my first question in a situation like this would be, “What do they make?” If the company doesn’t actually make something physical that can be sold and therefore taxed, I would be more then hesitant to give out tax breaks. That’s the great thing about breweries. They make stuff that people want that you can tax.
The news for a July Friday is here. Good stories abound today. Here are the five I liked the most.
Sweetwater is apparently making plans to go public. This is not really news as they have been making moves in this direction for the last few years. I am not a huge fan of their beers. I find nothing really interesting in what they make. It will be fascinating to see how this is received both from and investment perspective and from a craft beer drinkers perspective.
One of the best things about being into craft beer right now is the growing appreciation of what beer provides to the culinary experience that wine doesn’t. Beer being more complex with more varieties has the ability to match up with pretty much any food made. Its carbonation also helps cleanse the palate making enjoying the food easier. One of my favorite things to do is go get a nice sharp and/or aged cheddar and a big imperial IPA and enjoy the pairing. Here are 10 spots that will let you do that.
The funny thing is, there are similar laws to one being challenged in Canada in the US that are routinely ignored. I can understand having laws like this governing bringing alcohol across the borders of a country, but it seems a law that restricts how much alcohol you bring across province or state lines has only one function: to protect the tax monopolies of each province/state. In the end the provinces and states don’t care that you are buying alcohol, they care that you are providing tax revenue to a bordering province/state. That is a bad reason to create a law.
Watching beer laws evolve in real time throughout the South is fast becoming a real past time for me. Georgia, like most of the states in the South, is making progress in a piecemeal fashion. The same can be said of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, etc. All the laws are going to change eventually. It is just a matter of time because, as I keep reiterating, in these tight economic times, states need as much tax revenue as they can get, and more and more lawmakers see the revenue potential of craft beer and breweries in their communities.