Here are the first Five Articles of the week. I’ve been taking time off the last couple of weeks to catch up on sleep and figure out how to get my writing more consistent and better while trying to manage a bar. The solution I’ve come up with is that Sunday and Monday will be all about writing. Here we go.
Yeast is interesting to me. Yeast was the last ingredient in beer to be discovered and it is also the least known and analyzed of the four ingredients. Beer drinkers have a general idea of what yeast does and tastes like, but if you go into a craft beer bar you are much more likely to hear some beer geek pontificating about hops instead of yeast. Bright Brewer in Canada has apparently created some new strains. I have no idea how that will effect anything, but it is interesting.
I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about crowdfunding. On one hand, I am a huge supporter of small and local businesses. I have been known to buy things on Etsy, making sure the businesses I buy from are people hand making things and selling them by themselves and not some corporation using the veneer of Etsy to gain cred. Crowdfunding is investing and instead of getting a piece of the company, I get a t-shirt. That doesn’t seem too equal to me. This is a little different. This is an actual investment site that allows you the investor to get equity in small businesses looking to expand.
It’s Wednesday. It’s downhill towards the weekend and two days off. The sun is out in the Southeast part of the country after almost two weeks of rain and tropical storms. Also, another edition of Gravity Magazine is in the final stages of prep for a November 1 release. Today is a great day, here is some beer news.
It is hard to brew beer, even bad beer. It is also hard to run a beer business, especially if it is a gigantic multinational which makes bad beer. For those businesses, it must be strange to be the dominant force in the global beer market, yet seem to be getting eaten to death by thousands of angry gnats. So, on one hand, the proposed ABInbev/SABMiller merger makes sense, it girds both against the coming hordes of small brewers in North America and Europe. On the other hand the market is fragmenting and I believe the market in North America and Europe will be bifurcated between either very large and very small (small local breweries making just enough for its immediate area). I don’t know if this merger helps these companies survive that.
Why am I linking to a liver mush burger recipe? Because the town of my birth, Shelby, NC, is hosting the Mush, Music, and Mutts Festival this weekend and part of the festival will be the North Carolina Brew Fest and Chili Cook-off. The thing that interests me is it is only in my lifetime that Shelby has allowed alcohol sales and has used changing alcohol laws to create a nice downtown area and a tourism economy. This is why I talk about these laws changing around the country. I’ve seen how changing those laws benefit small towns navigating a changing economic world.
“All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again.” Ronald D. Moore created one of my favorite shows of all time, Battlestar Galactica, with this as a guiding principal to the direction of the show. Session beers have happened before and are a return to the heart of beer culture, the pub. In Europe, the idea of going down to the pub or beer hall and drinking for a few hours was the norm. Men, because women weren’t exactly welcome in pubs at that time, would go down after work and drink low-alcohol beers and hang out never getting too terribly drunk. These session beers are a welcome return to that idea.
Another week has passed and now you are resting on Sunday. Let’s be honest, however, you are thinking about your NFL fantasy draft and waiting for the next 2 weeks to pass so you can settle in and watch football for 12 hours. On to beer.
If the internet loves anything, besides endless arguments and being pointlessly offended, it is a list. So, here is a list of what someone thinks are the 15 best craft beers in the US. It looks a lot like all the lists of the best beers in the US since they “scoured the internet” to come up with the list. Instead of actually drinking beer. In about a month, a group of judges will do a bunch of blind taste tests in Denver at the GABF and that will give us a real sense of the best beers in the US.
I started home brewing to learn more about beer. It is amazing how much I learned about how each ingredient and each step in the brewing process affects the taste of beer. Home brewing makes you consider everything that goes into the beer from the ingredients selected (it is amazing how different hops change the taste of a beer recipe), to chilling the wort before pitching the yeast, to the temperature you ferment the beer at. After my first brewing session a few years ago, the respect I have for brewers increased tenfold.
The USDA hops report is out (somewhere there is a Trading Places joke to be had). This is some deep beer geekery, but it is important for two reasons. The first it shows continued growth in the craft beer industry as the amount of hop bines strung for harvest increased 16% this last year. However, there is the worry that the drought affecting Washington will mean a reduced overall yield of hops produced. The second reason this is important is that it shows what hops are being produced. There has been an increase in aroma hop production for IPAs. This is a pure demand driving supply scenario as IPAs continue to outpace all other styles as far as sales.
Today’s links have an international flavor. By the way, this is the second version of the links this morning, the first was lost due to a little user error, but we persevere.
If you asked most Americans what the difference between an Australian and a New Zealander was, they might be able to tell you they are from different countries. If you’re lucky. On the beer front, just like in this country there is camaraderie among brewers at the individual level, but that doesn’t extend to the organizations representing each countries brewers. That’s especially true once you start talking about money.
Beer is healthy for you. Didn’t we beer drinkers already know this? I’ve always found health claims, particularly those of certain diets and fads interesting. Its like people want to lose weight and be healthy without having to actually do anything.
Today’s local newspaper story comes from Killeen, TX. Home brewing is a huge part of American craft beer. Almost every brewer at a craft brewery started in their kitchen cooking up a barely drinkable homebrew. But you know what, the first beer you brew is always the best beer you ever drank, no matter how bad it actually is.
Here are a few interesting articles today. You will notice that there are more than five because one is an article that has very little if anything to do with beer. Actually, it isn’t even an article. It is a Department of Justice press release.
My growing love of small town newspapers continues. This story out of Brainerd, MN shows the continued complexities of US beer/alcohol laws. I have no problem with a local municipality deciding on things like this, and as someone who doesn’t go to his own county’s fair so that he doesn’t have to deal with people, I understand the sentiment to keep the drunkenness to a minimum. The part I love most, however is the biography of the reporter at the end of the story. I’ve never seen a reporter’s bio include their high school. “She ain’t no outsider, she’s one of us.”
Nanobrewing is growing in popularity. It is driven by a consumer base always searching for something different and something new and the let’s just try some shit attitude of homebrewers. That can be good or it can be bad.
The Ontario government will now run craft beer retail stores. At first I thought this was another twist in the rather confusing Canadian beer/alcohol laws, but the more I thought about it, the less strange it is. I live in a state, North Carolina, where the state government owns all the liquor stores. It isn’t that much of a stretch to see a state government own and operate beer and wine stores as well.
I went to bed last night and the world was as it always was. FIFA was a corrupt gang of pirates plundering the soccer world at will. I wake up this morning and while this is still true, some of the pirates have been arrested. Here is the DOJ press release about the people they hope will roll over on Sepp Blatter. We are at the part of the NYPD Blue episode where the detectives have arrested all the people they can prove are involved in the crime and put them in separate rooms. Next comes the speech. You know, “There is five of you and one deal to be had. Whoever talks first walks, the rest of you go to jail. What do you want to do?”
A long weekend approaches (for most of you) and that means you will be drinking beer. Here a few links to get you started.
So the White House does straight up home brewing. When I heard about the White House beer a few years ago, I pictured something a little more sophisticated. Not the same thing I do on my home brew Saturdays. This is actually what it looks like when you and your friends brew at home. That one sous chef who does the bottling has the worst job as anyone who has ever spent an afternoon doing that can tell you.
The craft beer world eagerly awaits yet another beer from New Glarus. This is one of the great breweries in the US made even more desired by the fact that they don’t distribute very far from their Wisconsin home. I’m not linking to this for the review of this particular beer, which sounds amazing and which I’ll probably never get the chance to taste. I’m linking because this is a beer ripe for the ridiculousness of the beer trading market where third party resellers will paid ridiculous amounts of money for bottles of this very hard to get beer.
How are you feeling after the “Greatest Sports Day Ever?” I watched a good Kentucky Derby, one of the best basketball games I’ve ever seen, and saved $99 by not buying a boxing match I knew would be ugly and uneventful. On to the links.
Almost every craft brewer started out in a kitchen, basement, or garage home brewing. Most have not forgotten that which has led to many brewers allowing versions of their recipes to be sold to home brewers. I think this keeps the industry grounded, helps promote the beer, and creates the next generation of brewers. Again, the craft beer world does not have as many jerks as other segments of our world.
Apparently, I can’t stop linking to stories about this NC Legislature story. There seems to be a new story and new take on what happens every day. This is my favorite passage out of this story, “The wholesalers have long been one of the biggest spenders in state campaigns alongside trial lawyers, utilities, and banks…” If you know anything about North Carolina right now, you know those last three are not anyone’s favorite group of interests. There is a big difference between honest disagreement on the potential affects of a law and buying votes.