19 February 2016:
Orchid Daze, at Atlanta Botanical Garden, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Thoughts and support for the victims and families of Tuesday's terror horror in Brussels, Belgium. More on how to help: here.
For much of the first half of the 20th century, the largest employer and largest property owner in Washington, D.C. —not called the United States government— was ... a brewery. But few D.C.-area 'craft' beer fans, today, know about this.
That may soon change. Here's how a homebrewer, a Washington, D.C. brewery, and a museum have resurrected a long-lost beer.
A lot of people are getting over the idea that if the other person drinks an IPA, I should drink it as well. Pilsner will have a big renaissance, in my opinion.
The NBWA (National Beer Wholesalers Association) has released its initial analysis of the state of the United States beer industry in 2015, as prepared by its chief economist, Lester Jones.
By the numbers, here's a short summary:
—Via Jeff Alworth, commenting on a decade of blogging at Beervana.Social media does a great job of recreating a virtual water cool; it's crap at recreating a virtual newspaper. Longer pieces, more thoughtful pieces, analytical pieces--these are what people now go to blogs for.
—Via San Francisco Gate.The first in Napa to introduce French oak barrels for wine aging, in 1963, and the first to employ cold sterile filtration to prevent wine spoilage. His work with cold fermentation made it possible for Napa vintners to produce crisp white wines that wouldn’t oxidize. His acquisition of 800 acres of vineyard land in the 1960s and 1970s helped to usher in a new standard for estate-grown wines in Napa. He was among the first to recognize Napa’s Carneros region — formerly dominated by dairy cows — as a prime spot for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
—Via Bart Watson, economist for [U.S.] Brewers Association.Smaller brewpubs (fewer than 1,000 barrels) derived 26.8 percent of their sales from house beers, and larger brewpubs (more than 1,000 barrels) derived 46.3 percent of their sales from house beers. Roughly a third of sales stems from a product that averages gross margins that can reach more than $800 per barrel depending on the business model and beer style.
From an analysis of Boston Beer’s fourth quarter of 2015, which showed a net revenue decrease of $2.7 million or 1 percent, to $215.1 million, versus the fourth quarter of 2014. (Boston Beer's net revenue for all of 2015, however, was up 6% over 2014.)Craft drinkers are more likely to try new products than Budweiser drinkers. If the competition grows at a 10% clip per year and drinkers have no loyalty to any brands, this is a recipe for market share losses.
—Via The Spectator.34 prospective epidemiological studies collected data on how much people drank over a period of years with a view to seeing if they die and what they died of. The risk of death declines substantially at low levels of alcohol consumption and then rises, but it does not reach the level of a teetotaller until the person is consuming somewhere between 40 and 60 grams of alcohol a day, which is to say between 35 and 50 units a week.
The commission suspends the distributor's business license for 90 days, and also charges five bars with violating pay-to-play regulations for improperly accepting payments.approximately $120,000 to pay kickbacks to 12 retail licensees throughout the Boston area, and went to great lengths to hide its knowingly unlawful conduct.
—Via Representative Peter DeFazio.The House Small Brewers Caucus primary concern is ABI’s increased leverage on all aspects of the U.S. beer industry, particularly distribution. If the merger proceeds, the combined new company would represent 58 percent of global beer profits. The deal would make ABI the major supplier to independent distributors. If ABI were to pressure independent distributors to abandon the distribution of non-ABI brands—including a significant number of craft brands—those brewers will have only one viable distribution option in those markets, further limiting many U.S. markets that are currently only served by two major beer distributors. Small brewers also fear that the ABI acquisition of SABMiller would affect the pricing and availability of supplies needed to make their product, such as hops and barley.
A Pic(k) of the Week only a brewer could love.
The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community, begun in March of 2007 by Stan Hieronymus of Appellation Beer and Jay Brooks of the Brookston Beer Bulletin.
On the first Friday of every month, a pre-determined beer blogger hosts The Session: Beer Blogging Friday. He or she chooses a specific, beer-related topic, invites all bloggers to write on it, and posts a roundup of all the responses received. For more information, or to ask to host, go to the home page.
For The Session: Beer Blogging Friday #109, Mark Lindner —of By the Barrel: The Bend Beer Librarian— is the host.
For The Session 109—my first as host—I would like us to discuss porter. It seems that this highly variable style has not been done in The Session before.
“The history of porter and the men who made it is fascinating, for it deals with the part that beer has played in the development of Western Culture. Conversely, of course, much of porter’s growth was the result of profound changes in the nature of British society. It is also a microcosm of how our industries have developed; events in porter’s history explain the structure of the modern brewing industry, not only in Britain, but in the other major Western countries.
Porter is intimately tied in with the Industrial Revolution, in which Britain led the world. Through the growth it enabled the brewers to achieve, it was instrumental in the development and technological application of a number of important scientific advances.” (Foster, Terry. Porter. Brewers Publications. P. 17).
I am not talking about your long dead relative’s porter—although you might be—but about all of the variations currently and previously available. Hey, feel free to write about the porter of the future or some as-yet-unrecognized sub-style of porter.
Part travelogue, part city guide, and part reference book, Mark takes you on a journey around the globe through great beers, bars, and brewer, immersing you in the best stories along the way.
- 1. The original American IPA
Toffee-like malt in the background with a burst of floral, grapefruity hops in the aroma and the flavor. The moderately high bitterness is balanced against the malt sweetness, though still punches hard. These are the early defining American IPAs, and still stand up today.
Try: Lagunitas IPA; Bear Republic Racer 5.
- 2. West Coast IPA: the early years
The hugest of hop hits, resinous, pithy, citrusy, with a very high bitterness, often completely unbalanced. The use of caramel and crystal malts bulks out the body but you probably won't notice more than the brutal hops. Try: Green Flash Palate Wrecker; Stone IPA
- 3. West Coast IPA: the less-bitter middle years
The huge hop aroma remains, it still gives all the qualities you expect, with lots of dank pine and citrus pitch, only now, there's some balance in the beers, even at the extreme top end —less bitterness, less malt, but still some toasty sweetness.
Try: Ballast Point Sculpin IPA; Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA
- 4. West Coast IPA: the next years
Seemingly the hops have shifted from being the bittering addition and have instead been added as late or dry-hops. Bodies have slimmed, bitterness reduced, aromas use more recent hop varieties (Mosaic, Citra, etc.) than the classic C-hops [Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, etc.], but flavors are still big and bold.
Try: Stone Enjoy By IPA; Societe The Pupil
- 5. East Coast IPA
An early form of the style, but still around today. These are maltier than the West, some caramel and toasty depth, less of the harsher malts, more floral and grapefruity instead of resinous and juicy (maybe from British hops), rounder mouthfeel, and less pronounced bitterness.
Try: Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA; Brooklyn East India IPA
- 6. Northwest IPA
These are all about the hop aroma and flavor where the beers are top-heavy with fruity, citrusy, piney hops. Importantly, they are alos often unfiltered which adds to the simple grain bill and gives body and a general malt richness without sweetness.
Try: Deschutes Freshly Squeezed; Gigantic IPA
- 7. Midwest IPA
Think oranges, marmalade, orange soda, and floral, where a sweetness of malt gives a caramel richness to the brew and balances the bitterness. These likely use the classic American C-hops rather than newer varieties.
Try: Bell's Two Hearted IPA; Goose Island IPA
- 8. Colorado IPA
Lots of caramel malts pack the body with a lip-sticking sweetness and a toasty, toffee-ish flavor, while the hops aggressively come in to balance that bitterness and then throw out some dank, pithy aroma.
Try: Oskar Blues Gubna; SKA Modus Operandi
- 9. Vermont IPA
Similar to Northwest IPAs, these are very aromatic, fruity with citrus and tropical, lots of floral aroma, and the hop flavor is loaded throughout. Expect a hazy and relatively full body because they're unfiltered, where there's a juicy mix of hop and malt to balance the brews.
Try: The Alchemist Heady Topper; Fiddlehead IPA
- 10. Russian River IPA
This arguably stands alone as one brewery's defining impact on the style. Loads of hop aroma, zesty and fresh, piney and floral, citrus, then a very dry, pale, clean body of malt. In many ways, this type of beer is becoming the standard of American IPA today and reflects back to the current West Coast IPA.
Try: Russian River Blind Pig; Russian River Pliny the Elder
These new IPAs are unfiltered (sometimes hazy, sometimes properly murky) and very pale in colour. The intensity bitterness is low and character malts are non-existent. The time of them being super-dry and bitter has shifted towards softer, rounder bodies with some residual sweetness, though you don’t immediately notice that texture because the hop aroma is so dominant, so powerfully wowing, with the aroma sticking to the subtle sweetness in the beer, and giving the unmistakable qualities of fresh fruit juice – pineapple, mango, peaches, melon, papaya, lychee. There’s also a new focus on freshness to capture those aromas at their very juicy best – two weeks old is becoming too old (don’t underestimate this and it's not like these enjoy before they die IPAs: the draft-only, local-only – perhaps brewery-bar-only – hyper fresh IPA is nearby).
One thing this change is doing is re-focusing on the American IPA. In the last five years we’ve seen the IPA-ification of all beers ...
At the Mid-Atlantic Beer and Food Festival, at least 40% of the attendees were women. This a proportion that had been growing at this festival since its inception five years earlier. For the most part, these women were bucking the conventional wisdom that women only drink sweet, flavored, or fruit beers. They were sampling all of the beers. (This illogic, unfortunately being practiced by some craft breweries, of pandering to the least common denominator, is similar to the process that led the big American brewers to dumb down their offerings.)
Particularly intriguing was a conversation between two women who appeared to be just past the minimum age. They were standing in line, eagerly waiting to receive refills of Hop Devil Ale, an India Pale Ale, brewed in Pennsylvania by the Victory Brewing Company, that is big, bold, very bitter, and very aromatic. These women, however, were not remarking upon the bitterness of the beer, but, rather, upon its hoppiness, that is, its fresh herbal aromatics.
Too often, many of us refer only to bitterness when we talk of hop quality, as in the macho muscling in of as much 'hair-on-your-chest' bittering as possible. We forget about the appealing bouquet that hops impart to beer. Hops are herbs, after all. In cooking, spices such as allspice or cinnamon are thought of as sweet spices. They aren't sweet, per se, but, rather, confer a sweet character to the foods in which they used. Similarly, the aromatic character of hops lends a fruity, herbal character to a beer quite distinct from maltiness. This is especially true when dry-hopping with fresh hop blossoms. Compare this process to adding fresh herbs to a meal, after cooking.
Elections can have grave consequences. Shall I say, beer purchases can, as well? During the recent political season and presidential ...
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