Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Take Craft Back ... Alive!

#TakeCraftBack
It only seems impossible if you really think about it.

When the [U.S.] Brewers Association (BA) —the not-for-profit organization that “represents America’s small and independent brewers”— proposed, yesterday, tongue-in-cheek, a crowd-sourced campaign to #TakeCraftBack from Anheuser-Busch InBev —the international beer behemoth that has been busy acquiring small breweries across the country and the world— by purchasing the conglomerate itself for a cool $213 billion ...

...it unintentionally raised an uncomfortable question: when was 'craft' beer lost? Take 'craft' back to where/when? Take 'craft' back to when it was 'craft'?

All fun and games aside, THAT's a can of bad beer that the [U.S.] Brewers Association might not want to pop open.

To reach the goal of $213,000,000,000, every American would have to contribute $655 dollars apiece. As of today, $1,591,390 has been 'pledged' (at takecraftback.com). Although the BA says it doesn’t intend to collect from donors, it does promise swag for each.
We have no doubt that your pledge, and all the others like it, has Big Beer quaking in their [sic] custom-made Italian loafers.


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Monday, October 16, 2017

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 39/40, 2017.

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

Weeks 39/40
24 September - 7 October 2017


  • 7 October 2017
    The 2017 Great American Beer Festival was held 5-7 October 2017, in Denver Colorado, organized by the [U.S.] Brewers Association. There were 800 breweries represented on the exhibition floor, pouring over 3,000 different beers from 7,100 kegs. In the competition, 7,923 beers (from 2,217 breweries in 50 states plus Washington, D.C.) were judged in 98 categories with gold, silver, and bronze awarded in each (except for the Fruited American-Style Sour Ale category, for which no gold was given). As a comparison, in 2016, there were 7,301 entries from 1,783 breweries, itself, record participation at the time. IPA had 498 entries, making it the GABF's most subscribed category ever. (Hailstorm Brewing, of Chicago, Illinois, won the gold.)
    —Via YFGF (Facebook).

  • 6 October 2017
    At the GABF, the North American Guild of Beer Writers announced the best beer writers, bloggers, and podcasters of the year. Winning for best beer book was Jeff Alworth for his "Secrets of Master Brewers: Techniques, Traditions, and Homebrew Recipes for 26 of the World’s Classic Beer Styles, from Czech Pilsner to English Old Ale." The Guild awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in eleven categories.
    —Via YFGF (Facebook).

  • 6 October 2017
    The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has been awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to advance the negotiations that led to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was preliminarily signed by 128 nations in July at the United Nations, not including the United States.
    —Via New York Times.

  • 5 October 2017
    As of 1 September 2017, there were 1,467 new breweries in the U.S. (per U.S. government TTB permits).
    —Via Lester Jones, chief economist for National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA).

  • 4 October 2017
    "Rå øl" (raw ale) and "gårdsøl" (farm ale): the second year of the Norsk Kornøl Festival (Norwegian Farmhouse Ales Festival) "in Hornindal, in beautiful remotest Western Norway."
    The Lithuanians brought their own brewery with them, in the back of a van, and put on a demonstration in the hall of Lithuanian-style farm brewing, including mashing with hot rocks (filling the air with steam and gorgeous smells), and brewing with a super-fast yeast that produced a drinkable 5.2 per cent abv beer in 15 hours. Go back and read that again: 15 hours from raw wort to drinkable beer. It was still warm as cow’s milk when we tried it the next day, orange and cloudy, slightly tart, but delicious. The Norwegians boggled. The Poles boggled. I boggled.
    —Via Martyn Cornell, at Zythophile.

  • 4 October 2017
    IPAs are what people want from me, you kind of have to give them what they want.
    —Via Bryan D. Roth, at Good Beer Hunting.

  • 4 October 2017
    Judge upholds $2.6 million fine against Massachusetts 'craft' beer distributor, Craft Beer Guild, for 'pay-to-play' violations.
    —Via Brewbound.

  • 3 October 2017
    The Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Rainer Weiss, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, both of the California Institute of Technology —"architects and leaders of LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory"— for their discovery of ripples in space-time known as gravitational waves, predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago but never before directly seen. In 2016, the scientists were able to 'hear' the chirp of the collision of a pair of massive black holes which had occurred 1.3 billion years ago.
    —Via New York Times.

  • 2 October 2017
    General Motors has announced its plans for an "all-electric future" for its car and truck fleet; to introduce 20 new all-electric models between now and 2023.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 2 October 2017
    Hugh Hefner, who created Playboy magazine and spun it into a media and entertainment-industry giant —derided over the years as vulgar, adolescent, exploitative, and, finally, as anachronistic— died at his home, the Playboy Mansion, in Los Angeles. He was 91.
    —Via New York Times.

  • 1 October 2017
    A gunman in a high-rise hotel opened fire on concertgoers at a country music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, killing 58 people (and himself) and injuring more than 500, in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
    —Via Wikipedia.

  • 30 September 2017
    An interactive timeline of the acquisitions of craft and independent breweries —by large brewing corporations, venture funds and fellow 'craft' breweries— from 1988 to 2017.
    —Via VinePair.

  • 30 September 2017
    Colorado-headquartered craft brewery, Oskar Blues, is sending 91,200 cans of drinking water (8,550 gallons) to Puerto Rico, which is suffering from a severe lack of potable water following Hurricane Maria.
    —Via Brewbound.

  • The Cask Report 2017/2018
  • 27 September 2017
    For some cask is pinnacle of brewing. For others, an unwelcome distraction.
    In conjunction with Cask Ale Week in Britain, Cask Marque —a cask ale accreditation organization— has released The Cask Report 2017/2018, its annual report on the role and state of cask-conditioned 'real ale' in the U.K., in pubs. Summary:

  • 30 September 2017
    Twenty-nine of America’s favorite "cheap" wines, ranked, red and white.
    Best:
    • Santa Rita 120 Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Maule Valley, Chile
    • Woodbridge, by Robert Mondavi 2016, California.
    Worst:
    • Tire rubber. Aged in inner tubes. Like a gym accident when you get strangled by a resistance cord.
    • Smells of sewer gas and is simply unpleasant... “poopy.”
    —Via Dave McIntyre, at Washington Post.

  • 30 September 2017
    The [U.S.] Brewers Association has released the 2016 edition of its Economic Impact Report, a biennial analysis featuring the economic contribution of 'craft' brewing for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
    Small and independent American craft brewers contributed $67.8 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016. The figure is derived from the total impact of beer brewed by craft brewers as it moves through the three-tier system (breweries, wholesalers, and retailers), as well as all non-beer products like food and merchandise that brewpub restaurants and brewery taprooms sell. The industry also provided more than 456,000 full-time equivalent jobs, with more than 128,000 jobs directly at breweries and brewpubs, including serving staff at brewpubs.

  • 27 September 2017
    Don't scorn the corn. Praise the maize. The brewmaster at August Schell Brewing —family-owned brewery founded in 1840 in New Ulm, Minnesota— argues that brewing with adjuncts, such as corn, is traditional to U.S. brewing and was/is done so for valid agronomic and organoleptic reasons, contrary to 'craft' definitions.
    The debate about craft and independence will rage on. But it’s time we put the myths about adjunct brewing to bed. Our focus as brewers and beer lovers should be on the end result, not on the types of ingredients or traditions. Is the beer good? Can it be better? Those are the most important questions moving forward. They were also the most important questions in the past. It’s unfortunate we’ve taken a detour to argue about things that don’t answer either of them.
    —Via David Berg, at Good Beer Hunting.

  • 24 September 2017
    Craft Beer Business is reporting good year-to-date results for the 'craft' beer industry, based on data from IRI, which tracks beer sales at supermarkets, chain stores, and convenience-store chains. (Craft Beer Business publishes behind a paywall, but the web-reader service Feedly provided this short summary.)
    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 YFGF (Facebook).

  • 6 October 2017
    "Best quote of the week from @SamuelAdamsBeer's Jim Koch on Big Beer's acquisition of craft brands and calling them partnerships..."
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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: Brewster Fashion

Brewster fashion

Brewery still life.

Boots and shoes of a brewster, as seen at Heavy Seas Brewing, in Halethorpe, Maryland, on 30 July 2013.

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Half Street Blues

Half Street Blues

Beer, after all...

In the wee morning hours of Friday the 13th, when asked what he planned to do now that he and his team, the Washington Nationals —Major League Baseball's National League East Division champions— had lost an ugly, heartbreaking, wacky 9-8 game to the Chicago Cubs —the National League Central champions— in Game 5 of the National League Division Series and, thus, were eliminated from the post-season, Jayson Werth —after what may have been the final game of his ten-year career with the team, never having advanced in the playoffs, after four attempts (in 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2017)— said ...

... he would have a couple of beers.

A couple of Bard’s Tale Beer Company beers. A couple of sorghum —non-barley-malt— beers.

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Saturday, October 07, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: Priming casks (cellarman couture)

Priming casks

In February 2004, YFGF's Thomas Cizauskas was invited to add priming gyle* to freshly-racked firkins at Brewer's Alley, a brewpub in Frederick, Maryland.

Four observations:
  • Now, that's a blast from the past.
  • Now, that's some high hair.
  • Now, that's some cellarman couture.
  • I'm Thomas Cizauskas.
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