Usually Wednesday’s are a bountiful day for beer stories. Wednesday and Sunday are when newspapers have traditionally done their feature stories and food stories. However, this Wednesday is bereft of good content. There is a lot of stuff about the definition of craft beer that I grew tired of rehashing months ago and the silliness of the lawsuit that spawned this round of navel gazing. There are op-eds and stories about the Muslim truck drivers who won a lawsuit after being fired for not delivering beer written by people who don’t understand the concept of reasonable accommodation and the fact that public officials are exempt from the same civil rights protections. Today will be a little different.
If you want to read some really good beer and alcohol writing that gives you the sense of listening to an interesting guy you met at a bar, you should really follow Will Gordon. Here is a link to his page at Drunkspin.
Quick name the place in North Carolina with great craft beer. OK, now name another one besides Asheville. Let me save you the time: Charlotte. Fortune Magazine takes a look at Charlotte and its craft brewing scene. I will say this Charlotte-centric pride can make Charlotte a bit of a closed shop when it comes to other beers from North Carolina. I run into too many customers who can name their 4 favorite Charlotte beers and 3 favorite Asheville beers, but have not heard of Mystery Brewing or Fullsteam Brewing.
Here is the other side of some of that growth Richmond. This is an interesting question: how much should states pay individual companies to stay in the state? We in North Carolina are having this discussion now in the state legislature with many of the incentives ending. What North Carolina found in many cases was that the amount of money given away in incentives was greater than the ancillary tax revenues created (jobs, other additional industries spurred, etc.). Of course, many of the people who say that are the same ones who will tell you building a sports stadium will spur the economy when every economist will tell you that is at best a case by case argument.
We’ve come a long way. Now a public library in the South is holding home brewing classes. The changing attitudes towards alcohol in the Bible Belt South is the part of the reason the region has some of the fastest growing craft beer areas in the country. It is also why some of the biggest fights over changing alcohol laws related to craft beer are some of the fiercest as older elements fight to hold on to a quickly changing code.
The five links takes a decidedly business and law tact today.
There was no doubt this was going to be number one on the links list today. I don’t really know how having a legal tax designation for what is a craft brewer is going to effect the people inside the craft world. A lot of that discussion is already taking place. The more interesting aspect is how this effects those just entering craft beer. Will they even notice or care?
Florida craft beer has been an enigma. On one hand they produce some really great beers and they produce a lot of it. They are 5th in state rankings of production. On the other hand, they had some of the strangest beer laws in the US, notably the growler law that said you could sell 32 oz. growlers or 128 oz. growlers buy not the industry standard 64 oz. growler. That will all end on July 1 when a new set of laws goes into effect.
Will Gordon, reviews the new Red Spur Red IPA from Lonerider here in NC. We often get asked if we have any ambers on draft at Craft. I think it is because a lot of NC craft beer drinkers like Highland’s Gaelic Ale and without asking want to know if we have it on tap. I also think it is because many people here craft beer terms like IPA, amber ale, pale ale, black IPA, and have no idea what they mean. I had someone once ask me if we had any black IPAs on tap and then point to another beer description and ask, what does DIPA mean?
The links are a little late today. This will be followed by at least one growler review and probably to.
Here is another review from one of my favorite beer writers. The reason I like Will Gordon’s reviews is not solely because of his taste in beer (we have similar palates). It is mostly because he is trying to tell a story and make it interesting. He uses the reviews in a way that allows him to comment on the entire beer world. He doesn’t take this thing too seriously and he understands most people only want to know if they are going to like the beer. Building the narrative helps explain to readers why they may or may not like a beer. They don’t need a long dissertation on the ways taste is translated from your tongue to the brain.
I wish local newspapers or magazines in every area with a lot of breweries and beer businesses would run an article like this. Mostly to remind some of the men involved in beer and brewing that women are an integral part of this endeavor. The vast majority of breweries and brewers get that, but as in all things there are still strains of the “He-man Woman Haters Club” running through brewing.
Another brewery is coming, this time to Cabarrus County. I know I have seemed like a person waiting for the sky to fall with all the new breweries opening up almost on a monthly basis. However, my interest is more in what is the point at which the market is saturated. When will we hit the place where we can no longer support all the breweries and some of the breweries ambitions? Followed by, what happens next? Will it be like the 1990s when the herd is culled of the weak and unfocused leading to the explosion we have seen over the last few years? Or will it just become an absorption. By that I mean, will the larger craft brewers simply absorb the smaller failing breweries around them like amoebas?
The links go small for this Friday. Not that there are fewer links, but all but one takes a more granular look at the craft beer world. A beer review of a small beer and a few locally targeted stories from NC and Illinois fill out today’s roster.
My favorite beer reviewer to read, Will Gordon, goes small with a review of a sub-4% beer and actually likes it. He does bring up an interesting question, how do you properly price a session beer? It is made the same as a beer with more alcohol, but are people willing to pay the same for a beer that won’t hit them with the same alcohol effects?
The Oskar Blue facility in Brevard is getting an upgrade and expansion. Oskar is an interesting story to me in comparison to their new neighbors also moving into the area. Oskar’s Brevard facility sits quietly off in a little corner of Brevard while the new Sierra Nevada and New Belgium facilities are gaudy shrines to their breweries’ fans in the up and coming Asheville. Oskar has taken a more intimate approach and it is working.
We start off with my guy Will Gordon. He reviews the DC Brau Public Pale Ale. The thing I love about DC Brau is they did a collaboration beer with my DC United from MLS called The Tradition. Oh yeah, he’s right, DC should get its statehood.
The thing I’ve learned in doing this morning article list for the last couple of weeks is that there are a lot of little newspapers with websites around the country. I’ve also learned that those little newspapers are sometimes the only conduit to news and information for many of these small communities. Yes, they have cable and satellite and get their national news that way, but to find out what is happening in their backyards, they really need these local papers.
If you haven’t heard, California is in a drought. Also, craft brewing is huge in California bringing that economy about $6.5 billion. However, as anyone who has every home brewed can tell you, it takes a lot of water to make beer. That is just in the brewing process. Think about how much water it take to grow just barley and hops. This article breaks down how much water all those brewers are using.
The morning links, a tradition unlike any other. Except for all the other link dumps and listicles you get in your Twitter feeds and Facebook timelines during the day. Don’t let that full you, this is the highlight of my morning. Enjoy.
A group of friends all home brew. They get quite good at it and win a ton of awards. Then they decide to open up a brewery because they can find cheap building space in an area looking to revitalize. This is the tale of American craft beer in a nutshell. Good luck to these guys in Cary, NC.
This is my favorite group of links I’ve done so far. Every story is a really interesting read and none of them have to do with Cinco de Mayo, which translates to, “Another made up American holiday that grants people the right to get drunk in the middle of the day.” On to the links.