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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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


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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: Oktoberfest stein

Today's Pick of the Week hits four bases: Oktoberfest, beer, 'throwback,' and 'selfie.'

Oktoberfest stein

That's me (ungrammatical but colloquial) enjoying a Maßkrug (High German for liter stein) of Legend's Oktoberfest lager (redundant but didactic) outdoors at Legend Brewing Company, at its brewery in Richmond, Virginia, seven years ago, on the 4th of September, 2010. A liter comprises 33.81 U.S. ounces or more than two U.S. pints; a Maßkrug weighs about 5.5 U.S. pounds full. Despite my sober demeanor: giddy me!

The 'official' —and original Oktoberfest— begins today in Munich, the capital of the state of Bavaria in Germany. The celebration traditionally runs for sixteen days counting backward from the first Sunday in October. Since the 1990s, however, if the sixteenth day falls before 3 October (which is German Unity Day), the festival continues until and including the 3rd. Thus, Oktoberfest this year —the festival's 184th iteration— comprises a full eighteen days: 16 September through 3 October.

Munich's name, by the way, is derived from the Old German term Munichen, meaning "by the monks," after Benedictine monks who founded a monastery in what would later become the city. Trappist monks —a later, stricter, offshoot of the Benedictine order— would become known in the 20th-century Belgium for their iconic eponymous ales.

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