Monday, September 25, 2017

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 35/36, 2017.

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundup
A bi-weekly, non-comprehensive roundup
of news of beer and other things.

Weeks 35/36
27 August - 9 September 2017

    Roger Protz
  • 9 September 2017
    Roger Protz, the long-time editor of CAMRA's Good Beer Guide, retires at 78.
    He edited the [Campaign for Real Ale] annual guide from 1978 to 1983 and from 2000 to 2018. And he has traveled the world writing about beer. But his proudest achievement is helping to save traditional British beers from extinction. [...] Roger says nothing beats a pint of cask ale, which he calls “the champagne of the beer world.”
    —Via Daily Mirror.

  • 7 September 2017
    It was a bad day for four hundred of Anheuser-Busch InBev's American employees who sell its "High End" products (formerly independent 'craft' breweries Goose Island, Blue Point, 10 Barrel, Elysian, Golden Road, Four Peaks, Breckenridge, Devils Backbone, Karbach, and Wicked Weed). The world's lagest international beverage conglomerate fired them.
    —Via Brewbound.

  • 7 September 2017
    If one ignores the sales slumps of the top two 'faux-craft' brands —Blue Moon (Molson Coors) and Shock Top (Anheuser-Busch InBev)— and of the top two 'craft' breweries (as defined by the [U.S.] Brewers Association) —Boston Beer/Samuel Adams and Sierra Nevada— the year-to-date dollar sales for 'craft' beer have actually jumped from a growth of 5.5% last year to 11.3% this year (rather than the reported 6%). That might be having fun with statistics, but, then again, those four brands do comprise roughly a quarter of all 'craft' dollars, "which tells us that nearly three-quarters of the craft segment is still collectively displaying double-digit growth."
    —Via Bump Williams in Beer Business Daily, as quoted by YFGF (on Facebook).

  • 5 September 2017
    Attorney General Jeff Sessions says Justice Department will begin deportation of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) so-called "Dreamers" —nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children— in six months. Anyone who has a DACA permit expiring between now and 5 March 2018 has until 5 October 2017 to apply for a two-year renewal.
    —Via The Atlantic.

  • Craft brewing produced 128,768 jobs in 2016
  • 4 September 2017
    Cheers to hard-working brewers on Labor Day.
    “I often comment that there's a lot of money in beer, and there is ... for some owners. The folks who actually work in the breweries--not so much. Brewing is having its moment as a high-status job, but the work itself is blue-collar, lift-and-sweat labor. Even at small breweries, where new-recipe creation happens each week (the glamorous part), for the people who must put water to malt and make those beers, the days are long and hard.”
    —Jeff Alworth, Beervana

    “Labor issues are the Achilles heel of the craft beer movement. We need to become an industry that provides our brewers with career-satisfying wages, or craft beer businesses won’t be sustainable.”
    —Ben Edmunds, Breakside Brewing
    —Via Beervana.

  • 4 September 2017
    On Labor Day, looking back on Curt Flood: How one man changed Major League baseball, affording players contract rights held by most other American workers, and, in the process, ruined his career.
    —Via SB Nation.

  • 3 September 2017
    [Louis] Pasteur was already a scientific icon when he decided to work on brewer's yeast [in the 1870s]. He had done revolutionary work on wine-making, dairy production, silkworms, and important theoretical work in chemistry and biology. His reason for taking up work on beer was rather surprising: he wanted national revenge over Germany. Germany attacked France in July 1870, causing his only son to enlist and interrupting construction of Pasteur's laboratory. [From that starting point, Pasteur identified yeast as the agent of fermentation and demonstrated how brewers] could use the tools and methods of microbiologists to get better control over and understanding of their own brewing.
    —Via Larsblog.

  • Portrait of Thelonious Monk, Minton's Playhouse, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947 [by photographer William P. Gottlieb]
  • 1 September 2017
    Ugly Beauty. Son of jazz giant Thelonious Monk sues craft brewery North Coast (in Fort Bragg, California) for exploiting his father’s name.
    —Via The Drinks Business.

  • 1 September 2017
    How 'craft' breweries in Texas fared during Hurricane Harvey; how they and other 'craft' breweries asssisted victims of the Category 5 hurricane.
    —Via [U.S.] Brewers Association.

  • Georgia Brewery Liberation Day
  • 1 September 2017
    Beginning September 1, 2017, Georgia breweries will be granted the ability to sell their product directly to their customers. This comes after a long and collaborative effort by Georgia’s breweries and distributors creating and recreating proposals for the state in the form of State Bills to be approved by the state’s House and Senate and eventually signed into law by the Governor.
    —Via Porch Drinking.

  • 30 August 2017
    The great beer writer Michael Jackson (1942-2007) —the Beer Hunter— died ten years ago today. British-born, world-beloved, Jackson was the prime promulgator, in several books, of the concept of beer 'type' or 'beer style,' based on geography and tradition, but also ingredient and process. A novel idea in 1977, 'beer style' is now well-established, if often twisted beyond Jackson's original premise. Earlier this year, British beer writers Jessica Boak and Ray Bailey looked at his legacy:
    The Beer Hunter was a persona. Michael Jackson, on the other hand, was a complex person, with all of his faults, foibles, and doubts in tow.
    —Via Beer Advocate.

  • 28 September 2017
    The Anheuser-Busch InBev brewing plant in Cartersville, Georgia sends more than 500,000 cans of water to Harvey victims in Texas.
    —Via WSB-TV (Atlanta).

  • Malt in beer

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 37/38, 2017.

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundup
A bi-weekly, non-comprehensive roundup
of news of beer and other things.

Weeks 37/38
10 - 23 September 2017

  • 23 September 2017
    There's good off-the-premises sales news for 'craft' beer, as compiled by IRI (which tracks beer sales at supermarkets, chain stores, and convenience-store chains):
    Craft has come on strong lately. In the latest IRI, to September 10, the segment's dollars are up 5.9% and volume up 4% YTD in the multi-outlet and convenience channel. Those trends improved in the latest 12-week period with dollars up 6.9% and volume up 5.1%. And things got even better in the latest four weeks, with dollars up 8.3% and volume up 6.2%. That's among its best showing of the year.
    —Via Craft Business Daily, at YFGF (at Facebook).

  • 23 September 2017
    Anheuser-Busch InBev goes down under to expand its hegemony, buys 4 Pines Brewery, a 'craft' brewery in New South Wales, Australia.
    —Via MillerCoors Behind the Beer.

  • 22 September 2017
    We’re going to get into this category and we’re going to kill it.
    Two past employees of Anheuser-Busch reveal how the company regarded 'craft' beer in the mid-1990s (when A-B was still American-owned) and how it reacted toward it. The murderous comment above was one reaction of several.
    —Via Jeff Alworth at Beervana.

  • 21 September 2017
    National Cask Ale Week is an eleven-day week "only in Britain, only in pubs. Celebrating Britain's national drink." Organized by Cask Marque (a real ale pub accreditation service), the celebration runs 21 September through 1 October in the U.K.
    Cask Ale Week's main objective is to get more people trying real ale and encourage more pubs to organise real ale events throughout the week.
    • Encourage non-real ale drinkers to try real ale for the first time.
    • Encourage experienced real ale drinkers to visit real ale pubs throughout the week.
    • Encourage non-real ale pubs to stock real ale for the first time.
    • Encourage pubs to organise a number of real ale events to increase trial and improve their trade.
    —Via Cask Marque.

  • 20 September 2017
    A direct hit by Hurricane Maria leaves Puerto Rico an "island destroyed." It was the first Category 4 storm to strike the island directly since 1932.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 19 September 2017
    An archaeological team from the Universidad Catolica de Temuco in Chile has found traces of S. eubayanus —the cold-resistant parent of lager yeast parents (the other being Saccharomyces cerevisiae, ale yeast)— in 1,000-year-old ceramic pottery at Lake Melinquina in Argentina (near the Chilean border).
    Perez’s find suggests that the group who made the ceramic vessels were probably using them to make a fermented drink from plant products, similar to the 'chicha' or 'mudai' beverage drunk in the region today. That might mean they were doing so using the yeast S. eubayanus to make alcohol more than 200 years before lager production began in Bavaria in the 1400s.
    —Via NBC News.

  • 17 September 2017
    Bourbon, rye, and gin: different daughters of the same mother? The lineage tree of genever, gin, bourbon, and rye in America.
    —Via Gary Gillman, at Beer et seq..

  • 16 September 2017
    What's new is old. In 1679, English Enlightenment philosopher John Locke was categorizing English beer (what we now would beer styles): home-made, for sale, and compound.
    —Via Alan McLeod at A Good Beer Blog.

  • 15 September 2017
    After five years of consistent growth (driven primarily by 'craft' beer), the active number of individual beer items sold at U.S. retailers is in decline. The number of SKUs — an acronym for stock-keeping unit, a measure used to track unique items available for sale — available on retailers’ shelves stood at 12,786 on the end of August 2017, down 3.4 percent at the end of 2016, according to a report from Brett Cooper at Consumer Edge Research. While that is nearly double the 6,388 active SKUs at the beginning of 2011, the retreat this year shows the craft segment may be in a period of "rationalization." 'Craft' beer SKUs dropped to 9,021, down 5.7 percent.
    —Via The Guardian.

  • 15 September 2017
    Harry Dean Stanton, the veteran American actor who "ballasted generations of independent and cult films," such as Paris, Texas, Alien, Repo Man and The Straight Story, has died aged 91.
    —Via The Guardian.

  • 15 September 2017
    Harry Dean Stanton, the veteran American actor who "ballasted generations of independent and cult films," such as Paris, Texas, Alien, Repo Man and The Straight Story, has died aged 91.
    —Via The Guardian.

  • 14 September 2017
    A New Jersey man was severely gastrointestinally burned when a bar in Atlantic City served him a draft beer tainted with caustic that had been used to clean the beer lines, but not rinsed.
    —Via WPIX-TV (New York).

  • 14 September 2017
    Craft brewery pioneer Widmer Brothers now generates 100% of the carbon dioxide it needs to carbonte its beer by capturing it during fermentation, cleaning it, and re-using it. (As of a decade ago, the [U.S.] Brewers Association no longer considers Widmer to be a craft brewery.)
    —Via Craft Brweing Business.

  • 12 September 2017
    The seven essential cocktails every drinker should know how to make: Daiquiri, Gin and Tonic, Manhattan, Margarita, Martini, Negroni, and Old-Fashioned.
    —Via M. Carrie Allan, at The Washington Post.

  • 10 September 2017
    Hurricane Irma was the most intense Atlantic hurricane to strike the United States since Katrina in 2005, and the first major hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005. Irma caused widespread and catastrophic damage, particularly in parts of the northeastern Caribbean and the Florida Keys.
    —Via Wikipedia.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: Pumpkins on a sill

Pumpkins on a sill (02)

Cook 'em and serve 'em with a beer. Just don't put 'em in a beer. Thank you.

A gorgeous cornucopia of gourds sits on a bench, in a pub, at the end of summer, on 20 September 2017, in the Little 5 Points neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia.


Friday, September 22, 2017

Wistful, like summer departed.

Summer dies today. A monody for the occasion:

And now the purple dusk of twilight time
Steals across the meadows of my heart.
High up in the sky, the little stars climb,
Always reminding me that we're apart.

You wander down the lane and far away,
Leaving me a song that will not die.
Love is now the stardust of yesterday,
The music of the years gone by.

Sometimes I wonder why I spend
The lonely night dreaming of a song.
The melody haunts my reverie,
And I am once again with you,
When our love was new,
And each kiss an inspiration.
But that was long ago.
Now my consolation
Is in the stardust of a song.

Beside a garden wall,
When stars are bright,
You are in my arms.
The nightingale tells his fairy tale,
A paradise where roses bloom.
Though I dream in vain,
In my heart, it will remain,
My stardust melody,
The memory of love's refrain.

—"Stardust" was composed in 1927 by Hoagy Carmichael; two years later, Mitchell Parish added lyrics. In 2004, Carmichael's original recording of the song was one of 50 recordings chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.

The great Lester Young on tenor saxophone, in 1954 —with Oscar Peterson, piano; Barney Kessel, guitar; Ray Brown, bass; J. C. Heard, drums.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Drinking, again! San Diego comes to Atlanta.

San Diego comes to Atlanta

AleSmith (of San Diego, California) only recently began shipping its beers to Atlanta, Georgia. And, on 20 September 2017, the Porter Beer Bar (in Atlanta's Little 5 Points neighborhood) was pouring AleSmith's "IPA" on draught.
  • About the beer, the brewery says:
    Aromas of grapefruit and tangerine lead into an abundance of fresh pine and tropical fruit notes followed by a crisp, resinous bitterness. The complex hop profile is supported by a firm malt presence...
    • Alcohol-by-volume (ABV): 7.25%
    • Bitterness: 73 IBUs (International Bittering Units)
  • YFGF says:
    Compared to many latter-day IPAs, this one is positively restrained in its tropical fruit-candy hop essence. There's even some cracker malt evident. It all finishes with a bracing slug of piney, drying bitterness; there's no tug-of-war between sweet and dry. At that alcohol level, one pint is good 'n' plenty. Bonus points for the simple, non-fanciful name.

Drinking, again! is a series of occasional reviews of beer (and wine and spirits). No scores; only descriptions.