Thursday, October 19, 2017

#VeggieDag Thursday: Beer! It's what's for vegan dinner!

Vegan Month of Food 2017

October 2017 is Vegan MoFo, the Vegan Month of Food. Throughout the month, bloggers, Tweeters, and Instagrammers write on vegan food and lifestyle.

On 17 October, the topic was:
Time to get boozy! What do you do with hooch? Beer batter? Red wine braise? Vodka sauce? Tell us about it!

To which, I answered:
Barley (grain) + hops (flowers of a plant) + yeast (fungus) + water. Together, it's beer! It's what's for vegan dinner!

P.S. Saying beer isn't vegan because some brewers (such as Guinness) have used animal products is like saying food isn't vegan because some people eat animal flesh.

#veganmofo17 #veganmofo #vgnmf17 #vegancommunity #veganchallenge #whatveganseat #vegetarian #veganfood #BeerIsVegan

"Opening Soon Bittersweet" IPA


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Take Craft Back ... Alive!

It only seems impossible if you really think about it.

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 appears that this campaign is a followup to the Certified Independent Craft Beer Seal that the BA launched in June (2017). But it also raises 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.

In order for the BA to reach its 'goal' of $213,000,000,000, every American would have to contribute $655 dollars apiece. As of today, supporters have 'pledged' $1,591,390 (at 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.


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.
    • Santa Rita 120 Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Maule Valley, Chile
    • Woodbridge, by Robert Mondavi 2016, California.
    • 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..."

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.


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.


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.

Monday, October 02, 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.

  • 18 September 2017
    Roy ‘Speedy’ Tolliver, an Arlington, Virginia-based bluegrass fiddler and ‘professional hillbilly,’ who performed at local folk festivals for 65 years and was an inaugural recipient of the Virginia Heritage Award in 2009, has died at 99.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 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.
    [Compare with data showing craft beer faring much better, at top of page.]

  • 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
    Launched in 1997, Cassini was the first probe to orbit Saturn, beginning. in 2004. The spacecraft revealed the structure of Saturn's rings and, by delivering the Huygens probe to the moon Titan, executed the first landing of a spacecraft in the outer solar system. It also exposed two moons — Titan, a land of methane lakes, and Enceladus, which has jets of water streaming from its southern pole — as prime targets in the search for life beyond Earth. Once the spacecraft ran out of fuel, NASA would not risk letting it remain aloft, where it might be knocked into Titan or Enceladus. In April, Cassini began 22 close-in orbits that took it between and behind Saturn's rings. NASA flew Cassini past Titan one last time, taking advantage of the moon's gravitational pull to slingshot the spacecraft toward Saturn, before it plunged into the planet's surface early Friday morning, 15 September. —Via Washington Post.

  • 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.


Sunday, October 01, 2017

More "drinkers' beer," please.

In the latter aughts, the glory days of beer blogs, Jeffrey John Bell was a much-admired British beer blogger and publican, pseudonomically known as Stonch. He took a sabbatical from blogging, but now he's returned, if somewhat stealthily (or, at least, relatively concealed by the noise of the manic social media world).

To the point, he calls his blog, Stonch's Beer Blog. In his most recent update, he quotes the tweet of a small brewery's brewer, who asks for the return of "drinkers' beer."

I'm a brewer, but I struggle to find the appetite for more than half a can of DIPA. Can we all get back to making drinkers beer please?

Drinkers' beer! What a poetic and logical construction where the unfortunate 'drinkable' is neither. Or the pedestrian 'session beer' and its unseemly companion, 'sessionable.'

Of course, the brewer in question could merely have been dissing DIPAs as 'not beer' and, thus, I've altered his meaning, leaving my previous paragraph for naught. But, you know what? I'll go with the first, less snarky interpretation (and, in fact, I've added an apostrophe to indicate possession). And, then, let's have more drinkers' beer, please.

Stonch, himself, is no slouch as a wordsmith, a 'craft' that was in his kit a decade ago and remains so now. Here, from the same blog post:
In case you aren't up with the lingo, a 'DIPA' is a 'Double IPA', and invariably refers to a madly strong beer that's supposed to be really hoppy but ends up tasting like a sweet, sticky mess. Before all this nonsense took hold we'd probably have called most of them barley wines.

The small brewery, lauded above, is the Summer Wine Brewing Company *, of Yorkshire, in the U.K. According to its website, SWB produces cask ales, but hopped 'New World'-style —as well as in bottles and kegs— and all, as it appears from the descriptions, being drinkers' beer in alcohol levels and construction.

Another recent tweet from the brewery encapsulates its cask 'process' (and art). American 'weekend' cask brewers: look!