Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pic(k) of the week: Brewers Walt Dickinson & Nathan Zeender (and ...)

Brewers Walt Dickinson & Nathan Zeender

Mixed fermentation of wild and sour beers was the topic of a discussion "between two [three] powerhouses of funk": * Brewpub Right Proper hosted the seminar on 11 April 2017, during the week that the [U.S.] Brewers Association had travelled to Washington, D.C, to host its Craft Brewers Conference in Washington, D.C.

Almost one month later, to the day, Wicked Weed was purchased by Anheuser-Busch InBev. And many 'craft' drinkers (and brewers) cried foul. Did they believe that all that had been discussed that evening now had been transmuted into "alternative facts"?

A more thoughtful reaction was this from a brewer, said recently to me over beers: "It makes me sad."


Monday, May 15, 2017

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 17/18, 2017.

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

Weeks 17/18
23 April- 6 May 2017

  • 5 May 2017
    Anheuser-Busch InBev is buying 'craft' breweries in order to reduce Budweiser's "impairment charge," that is, reduce the price-on-shelf difference between its Budweiser brands and 'craft' beers.
    —Via Good Beer Hunting.

  • 5 May 2017
    Once again, U.S. 'craft' brewers toss a b*tt-load of hops into a European beer style, and claim kinship. No! It's not a pilsner; it IS a hoppy lager.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 3 May 2017
    The story of how Georgia's oldest extant brewpub, Max Lager (1998), is reviving the state's first 'craft' beer, brewed by Helenbock Brewery (1990-1997).
    —Via Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

  • 4 May 2017
    In 2015, Heineken N.V. purchased 50% of California 'craft' brewery Lagunitas Brewing Company. On 4 May 2017, Heineken completed the aquisition, buying all of the remaining shares. Tony Magee, the founder of Lagunitas, will remain as Executive Chairman of the brewery, which will continue to operate as an independent entity within the Heineken Americas Region.
    —Via Heineken.

  • 3 May 2017
    MegaBrew still hungry. Anheuser-Busch InBev purchases Asheville, North Carolina-based 'craft' brewery Wicked Weed Brewing. The brewery joins the other formerly independent 'craft' brewery members of ABIB's "The High End" division: Goose Island Brewery (purchased 2011), Blue Point (2014), 10 Barrel (2014), Elysian (2015), Golden Road (2015)g, Four Peaks (2015), Breckenridge (2015), Devils Backbone (2016), and Karbach Brewing Company (2016).
    —Via BeerPulse.

  • Craft brewing produced 128,768 jobs in 2016
  • 1 May 2017
    Happy May Day to all those Americans —all 128,768 of them— who work daily to make 'craft' beer.
    —Via Brewers Association (minus the May Day message).

  • 1 May 2017
    Throughout the United States, throughout the month of May, it's the third annual American Mild Month.
    —Via American Mild Month.

  • 1 May 2017
    President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue remove healthy nutritional standards for 31 million school children's lunches, breakfasts.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 26 April 2017
    Rather than complaining about A-B and other big brewers buying up their craft brethren, more consolidation actually needs to occur. The industry -- and Boston Beer -- is a victim of its own success. The growth and proliferation has attracted even more brewers to the space, and that's diluting everyone's results, big or small. Instead of having a shakeout occur where large numbers of small brewers fail, allowing them to be purchased by bigger ones would be better. Boston Beer might do better for itself and the industry if it began acquiring small craft brewers instead of saying the government ought to make it harder for Anheuser-Busch to do so.
    —Via Motley Fool.

  • 29 April 2017
    President Trump and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt scrub mention of climate change from EPA website.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 27 April 2017
    The American Malting Barley Association (AMBA) has concerns regarding an article appearing in Politico about a possible US withdrawal from NAFTA. Of the $285 million (2012-2016 average) in exports of barley, malt, and other processed products, approximately 63% goes to Mexico and with another 21% to Canada. This is in addition to all the beer and distilled beverages that are traded between the countries. There are also imports of malting barley and malt from Canada that could be impacted. Whether or not this is a bluff, such rhetoric in itself can be damaging to our supply chain.
    —Via YFGF (Facebook)
    As posted to the Brewers Association Brewers Forum (but not necessarily the view of the Brewers Association).

  • 25 April 2017
    For the first quarter of 2017, tax-paid shipments from all U.S. breweries were down 3.4% over the same period in 2016: 1,393,534 fewer barrels shipped this year than in the first quarter of 2016. To illustrate further: If U.S. breweries had shipped all of that only as cases of twenty-four 12-ounce bottles or cans, they would have shipped NINETEEN MILLION, ninety-one thousand, four hundred and sixteen FEWER cases out of their loading docks than during January through March of last year.

    In defense of 2017, there was one fewer day in the first quarter of this year than last year, a leap year. Thus, this February was comprised of 28 days rather than the 29 of 2016. Doing the math, that means that 1.1% (-15,329 barrels) of 2017's first-quarter shortfall could be blamed on the shorter month. Adjusting for that, the shortfall between the first quarter of 2017 and 2016 would be 1,378,205 barrels. Still, a not insubstantial shortfall.
    —Commentary via YFGF, at Facebook.
    —Data via Beer Institute.

  • 25 April 2017
    Is sour beer too…sour?
    A lot of people bring us samples of sour beer, and it’s tough to drink some of them. I think we’re at the point with sour beers like we were 10 years ago with IPAs, where people were just trying to make the most bitter beer.

    For me, too sour is this: If I can’t comfortably drink a full 13-ounce pour of a beer, and the acidity is at a level where I’m not enjoying it by the end, that’s too much.
    —Via DRAFT Magazine.

  • 24 April 2017
    An Oregon hops grower/supplier finds that U.S. craft breweries are gravitating away from the American craft mainstay hop, Cascade.
    —Via Craft Brewing Business.


Pay it forward during American Craft Beer Week

Beer It Forward: American Craft Beer Week 2017

"Beer it forward," the [U.S.] Brewers Association is encouraging 'craft' beer drinkers this week.

Today through Sunday, from 15-21 May 2017, it's American Craft Beer Week, and the BA —the organization which represents "small and independent" American breweries— is urging Americans to double-support those breweries this week. That is, buy a 'craft' beer for oneself and another for someone else.

For the twelfth consecutive year, small and independent brewers across all 50 states will be participating in American Craft Beer Week (ACBW), May 15-21. In the spirit of America’s craft beer culture, camaraderie, and collaboration, beer lovers everywhere are encouraged to #beeritforward and share a craft beer.

Presented by—the beer lover site published by the [U.S.] Brewers Association—American Craft Beer Week celebrates America’s 5,300 small and independent brewers through a host of events encouraging beer enthusiasts everywhere to engage in simple acts of craft beer kindness.

“Small, independent brewers are known for their commitment to their communities. They beer it forward year-round through grassroots initiatives and charity work that in turn have a significant impact on our local economies,” said Julia Herz, publisher of and craft beer program director at the Brewers Association. “This American Craft Beer Week, we invite the beer-loving public to embrace the theme, and find ways to ‘beer it forward’ as part of the fun.”

American Craft Beer Week 2017

To help beer lovers make the right sharing choices, put together a handy chart to guide them through the expansive selection process. has you covered, simplifying the decision making into a few easy to follow steps.

New this year, will team up with Geeks Who Drink, a pub trivia organization, to incorporate ACBW into trivia at more than 800 locations across the country. Do not be intimidated to play, Geeks Who Drink is for all levels of beer knowledge and enjoyment. From Monday to Thursday, there will be one round of Pub Trivia dedicated to ACBW. Participating locations can be found on the Quiz Schedule.

Find a brewery to celebrate near you with’s Brewery Finder, join the conversation on Twitter with #beeritforward and #ACBW and look for updates on the Facebook page and find ways to celebrate on the official ACBW calendar.

The cynic in me could see a ploy to double the sales of member breweries this week, however well-intentioned. So, to 'beer it forward,' I suggest that a 'craft' beer drinker go ahead and purchase the beer(s) of a local brewery (or breweries) this week (and maybe even for the stranger sitting at the next barstool) but then, instead, 'pay it forward.' Donate a dollar or more to charity for every beer she does buy.

I choose option B.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: Child & mother.

Child & mother

Tomorrow is "Mother's Day," observed due to the efforts of a 19th and 20th-century social reformer and peace advocate.
Anna Reeves Jarvis (1864-1948) was a social activist of the 19th and early 20th centuries. A close friend of Julia Ward Howe, Jarvis was the first female literary and advertising editor for Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company.

In 1905, after the death of her mother, Jarvis began a campaign to make Mother's Day a recognized holiday in the United States. The day was first celebrated in the U.S. in 1908, when Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew's Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia.

In 1908, the U.S. Congress rejected a proposal to make Mother's Day an official holiday. But, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother's Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers.
Wikipedia [accessed 13 May 2017].

Later in life, Jarvis became perturbed by the commercialization of the day's observance.
A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.

Child & Mother
Small sculpture by Klara Sever, ~1990s.
Klara Sever was born in 1935 in Slovakia, Czechoslovakia (neé Klara Klein). She studied at the School of Art and Design and at the Comenius University in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia [now Slovakia]. She worked as a sculptor and restorer on some of Czechoslovakia’s most beautiful baroque castles, and also designed new architectural sculpture for the interior of the National Theater.

She and her family were able to gain release from a Nazi concentration camp during WWII, remaining in hiding for the remainder of the war. During the Soviet occupation of the late 1960s, she and her husband were able to escape to Austria.

Since immigrating to the United States, Mrs. Sever has dedicated all her time to sculpting.She has exhibited in Washington at the Marlboro Gallery, the Art Barn, the Gallery House and the George Meany Center. She has received awards at the National Small Sculpture Competition.

In New York, she exhibited with the Jack Gallery in Soho, Best of Woman art and at juried shows at Pen & Brush. Her originals, as well as her reproductions, can be found in numerous private collections in Europe and the United States. Her bronze relief of one of the founders of the Czechoslovak Republic hangs in the American Embassy in Prague.
National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library.


Saturday, May 06, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: Hydrangea begins to bloom.

Hydrangea begins to bloom

Saturdays, here, it's usually a photo of a beer or a brewery (or wine, whiskey, but not song). Today, on the other hand, the Pic(k) of the Week is of a blooming hydrangea.

Hydrangea (or hortensia) is a genus of 70–75 species of flowering plants native to southern and eastern Asia (China, Japan, Korea, the Himalayas, and Indonesia) and the Americas. By far the greatest species diversity is in eastern Asia, notably China, Japan, and Korea. Most are shrubs 1 to 3 meters tall, but some are small trees, and others lianas reaching up to 30 m (98 ft) by climbing up trees. They can be either deciduous or evergreen, though the widely cultivated temperate species are all deciduous.

And, here, from the website of the United States National Arboretum (that is, before budget cuts take it down):
While there are approximately 23 species of Hydrangea, only five are widely cultivated in the U.S. The most popular species is Hydrangea macrophylla, which is commonly known as bigleaf, French, garden or florist’s hydrangea. This Japanese native is rated as hardy to USDA cold-hardiness zone 6. It produces large inflorescences of white, pink or blue flowers in early summer. As with most other Hydrangea species, the inflorescence is composed of a combination of large, showy and small, inconspicuous flowers. In mophead, or Hortensia, (H. macrophylla var. macrophylla) cultivars, many showy flowers are arranged on the outside of the rounded inflorescence. On the interior of the inflorescence, a few small flowers are present; these are the flowers that produce seed.

And, finally, here, from The Farmer's Almanac:
With immense flower heads, hydrangeas flaunt an old-fashioned charm that is hard to resist. Colors also beguile with clear blues, vibrant pinks, frosty whites, lavender, and rose—sometimes all blooming on the same plant! The colors of some hydrangeas—especially mophead and lacecap—can change color based on the soil pH, which affects relative availability of aluminum ions. Acidic soils with a pH of less than 5.5 produce blue flowers; soils with a pH greater than 5.5 produce pink flowers. White flowers are not affected by pH. Unrivaled in the shrub world, these elegant ladies are easy to cultivate, tolerate almost any soil, and produce flowers in mid-summer through fall (when little else may be in bloom). Hydrangeas are excellent for a range of garden sites from group plantings to shrub borders to containers.

I took this image at 5:53 pm, on 30 April 2017, in the garden of a house in southeast Atlanta, Georgia, using a 'fast lens' on a Micro Four Thirds-format mirrorless digital camera.
  • Camera: Olympus Pen E-PL1
  • Lens: Olympus M.45mm F1.8
  • ISO: 200
  • Shutter speed: 1/400
  • Aperture: f/2.0
  • Focal length: 45 mm
    (equivalent to DSLR range of 90 mm)