Wednesday, July 31, 2013

At the GABF 2013: Who's in, in the DMV?

Tickets for the Great American Beer Festival (10-12 October in Denver, Colorado) went on sale today at 12 noon ET. Nineteen minutes later, they had been sold out.

Think only good-beer drinkers had it bad?

Earlier in July, during brewery registration for the GABF, many U.S. breweries experienced great difficulties in getting their beers into the Festival. And many didn't.

The Brewers Association has just released a list of those who will be making it to the big show. Unfortunately, there is a lengthy waiting list of those breweries who didn't make it. Here is a list of the eighteen breweries in the tri-state area of Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia (YFGF's home turf), who will be participating.

  • Washington, D.C.
    • 3 Stars Brewing

  • Maryland
    • Evolution Craft Brewing (Salisbury)
    • Flying Dog (Frederick)
    • Full Tilt (Baltimore)
    • Heavy Seas (Halethorpe)
    • Union Craft (Baltimore)

  • Virginia
    • Blue Mountain (Afton)
    • Bull & Bones (Blacksburg)
    • Capitol City (Arlington)
    • Corcoran Brewing (Leesburg)
    • Devils Backbone (Roseland and Lexington)
    • Great American Restaurants (Sweetwater Tavern)
    • Lost Rhino (Ashburn)
    • Mad Fox (Falls Church)
    • Port City (Alexandria)
    • Smartmouth (Norfolk)
    • Starr Hill (Crozet)

And, if national chain brewpubs Gordon-Biersch and Rock Bottom are included, the area can count at least two more participants.

Congratulations to all, and good luck to all in the national competition.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 27/28, 2013.

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

Weeks 27/28
30 June- 13 July 2013
  • 2013.07.13
    Eight feet tall and emitting the aroma of rotting meat. Native to the tropical rain-forests of Indonesia, a titan arum or 'corpse flower' is blooming at U.S. Botanical Garden.

  • 2013.07.12
    Pressured by the Mexican government, Anheuser-Busch InBev Modelo agrees to limit its sales exclusivity contracts with corner stores, bars and restaurants, allowing more room for craft brewers and other players. Via Brookston Beer Bulletin.

    Chophouse welcome
  • 2013.07.12
    In writing in defense of Washington, D.C. food culture, the Washington City Paper ignores the city's brewpubs. Via YFGF.

  • 2013.07.11
    Many breweries denied Great American Beer Festival registration due to computer server issues and limited festival space. Via Beer Pulse. The Brewers Association responds, is considering future changes to the Great American Beer Festival. Via Beer Pulse.

  • 2013.07.10
    World-wide hop acreage has declined over the last 100 years, although hop production has increased. Via Ron Pattinson at Shut Up About About Barclay Perkins.

  • 2013.07.09
    Jeff Alworth, at Beervana, disputes Time Magazine's assertion that the craft beer market has become saturated.

  • 2013.07.09
    Consolidation a-go-go. Supermarket chain Kroger purchases Harris Teeter chain for $2.5 billion. Via Yahoo Finance.

  • 2013.07.09
    Washington, D.C. brewery museum, Heurich House, enlists local brewery, DC Brau, to recreate namesake Pre-Prohibition beer: Heurich's Lager.

  • 2013.07.08
    Independence Day is top holiday for beer sales in U.S. North Dakota is top state for per-capita beer consumption. Via YFGF.

    Beers for celebration
  • 2013.07.08
    Maryland's Montgomery County allows shops to sell draught beer in refillable 'growlers.' Via WTOP Radio.

  • 2013.07.08
    Virginia brewery Starr Hill to brew Hard Times Craft Lager for Washington, D.C.-area chili restaurant chain. Via Washington Business Journal.

  • 2013.07.08
    For Champagne in the aughts, 2002 was "the vintage of a generation.” A rundown of each vintage, via The Drinks Business.

  • 2013.07.06
    Bars in Pennsylvania (and soon, New York City) receive Cask Marque accreditation for serving cask ale properly. Via Yahoo.

    Virginia Craft Brewers Fest 2013
  • 2013.07.06
    The 2013 Virginia Craft Beer Festival has been scheduled for 24 August at Devils Backbone Brewery, in Nelson County, Virginia.

  • 2013.07.05
    When sport website Deadspin rated Natty Boh as one of the worst of all cheap American beers, the Baltimore City Paper replied: It's not from Baltimore, hon!

  • 2013.07.04
    "WE HOLD THESE truths to be sacred and undeniable." The original draft of the Declaration of Independence, and it relevance to the Battle of Gettysburg and now. Via Washington Post.

  • 2013.07.03
    Egyptian military ousts President Morsi. Via NBC News.

  • 2013.07.03
    'Craft' breweries marketing foods made with their beers. Via Washington Post.

  • 2013.07.02
    Douglas Engelbart, inventor of computer mouse (in 1968), dies at 88. Early on, envisioned what would later become the world-wide-web. Via Reuters.

  • 2013.07.02
    Agents of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control mistake bottled water for beer, pull their weapons, and incarcerate a University of Virginia student. Via Musings Over A Pint.

  • 2013.07.01
    Mississippi legalizes homebrewing. The hobby is now legal in all 50 states. Via American Homebrew Association.

  • 2013.06.30
    How not to serve cask ale. Via YFGF.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Joe Sixpack says, "Labas, Lithuania."

Having the Lithuanian surname of Cizauskas, I was intrigued by this bit of international beer news. Don Russell —aka Joe Sixpack of the Philadelphia Daily News— is heading to Lithuania as the bearer of good beer and world peace.

Where in the world is Lithuania?

Don will be conducting guided tastings, and talking about American 'craft' beer, at the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania's capital city.
Joe Sixpack goes to Lithuania

I'll be following Don's six-pack diplomacy on his Tumbler, but I couldn't help wonder: was the name "Russell" once 'Ellis Islanded' from, say, "Ruskauskas"?

UPDATE: Russell's recap of his trip: World Peace: One Beer at a Time.

Cizauskas & RussellThat's Joe Russell on the right, me on the left.

Į sveikatą, Joe!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Pic(k) of the Week: Beer Checkers [or Draught with Draughts]

Beer checkers (02)

Bottle caps —from employee-owned Full Sail Brewing Company (of Hood River, Oregon)— double as pieces for a game of checkers.

Max's Taphouse
Baltimore, Maryland.
13 July 2013.

If this were England, I might have captioned the photo "Draught with Draughts," where our 'checkers' would be their 'draughts.'

  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, often posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always, with a good fermentable as a subject. Camera: Olympus Pen E-PL1.
  • Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.

  • Thursday, July 25, 2013

    Beer Wars: The Calumny of The Food Babe.

    I'm angry. If you're a drinker of good beer, or a brewer of such, you should be too.

    A food blogger, who demurely refers to herself as the Food Babe, recently posted a piece —which she breathlessly called The Shocking Ingredients in Beer— about what she believed to be the unhealthy, unlisted, and unpalatable ingredients in beer. It was a typical attack piece, half-right and misleading, and researched just enough to prove a point, rather than to find fact.

    In reading it, I was reminded of the South Beach Diet, which once famously declared beer a horrible food product because it contained maltose. Well, yes, unfermented beer contains maltose, the sugar in barley. But there is no, zero, maltose in finished beer. Maltose is exactly what yeast ferments (consumes) to produce beer. Called out on that inconvenient truth, the authors still refused to correct the record.

    This Food Babe seems to have read from that same playbook of pernicious misinformation. Called out on her half-truths, she refuses to backtrack. On her website, she can be seen posing, holding a glass of wine. Should we tell her that wine is a terrible beverage choice? All that concentrated fructose? Should we tell her that the U.S. government allows over 60 additives in wine, including dimethyl dicarbonate, a rather nasty chemical, that is used to forestall spoilage? By her own logic (?), if such additives are allowed, they are, ipso facto, therefore always used. Well, then: drink up, Babe!

    Even those farmers who employ organic methods, themselves spray their crops with chemicals, such as sulfur and copper. These are not pesticides, but they do take a toll on the environment. Should we tar these farmers as well, Babe? Et tu Brute?

    What I found almost as appalling as the Food Babe's beer-McCarthyisms were the actions of several national 'craft beer' advocates, who, non-disapprovingly, linked to this tomfoolery via Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. Had they actually read this manure or had they merely re-posted it simply in a rush to gain readership? Had they assumed that the Babe could not possibly be referring to 'craft' beer? And, if so, did they really believe that 'craft' beer has complete control over its ingredient chain, that it uses no chemicals or additives, and that it flows virginally from the fountains of Ninkasi? In making this falderol viral, they lent horribly unfortunate credence to it.

    As was put to me, in a more measured tone, by Maureen Ogle, author of Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer: "I'd hate to see a 'your beer is more pure than mine' war start over this."

    In my ire, I turned to one of America's premier brewers and brewing instructors for a rebuttal. Steve Parkes possesses a brilliant zymurgical curriculum vitae, and is the owner of the American Brewers Guild, one of the three major U.S. brewing academies training our current and future 'craft' brewers. It would be safe to say that Mr. Parkes knows beer.

    Here's what he had to say:

    In order to write this piece, I have had to endure repeated readings of The Shocking Ingredients in Beer written by an internet character who calls herself The Food Babe. Trawling through the bad grammar and typos was painful enough, but putting that aside, and dealing with the innuendo, misrepresentation, and blatant falsehoods made it doubly so.

    The Food Babe doesn’t drink beer, but she’s concerned for those of us who do. She’s right about the effects alcohol has on weight gain and on our general health but she didn’t leave it there. Armed with a list supplied by the Center For Science in the Public Interest, a group whose stated aim is to prevent people from drinking, and a quote from an anti alcohol campaigner, she sets about listing all of the ‘shocking” ingredients brewers are allowed to make beer with, and to not disclose on their labels.

    The main thrust appears to be that beer can be made using corn, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and dextrose, and that the brewers cannot provide proof that they are GMO [genetically modified organism] free. The problem with that is that no supplier of any food made from corn can prove no GMOs are present because no effort has been made to segregate GMO corn from the food supply. It’s unlikely to contain GMO material, but it’s impossible to say for certain it doesn’t.

    And, if it were brewed with GMO corn —as Pabst Blue Ribbon might be according to the author’s wild speculation— the brewer is forbidden to put "contains GMO ingredients" on the label, thanks to the lobbying efforts of the food industry.

    Anheuser-Busch is cited for being “caught using experimental food made in a laboratory,” referring to traces of an experimental rice found in the beer. Plots of experimental crops are planted right next to regular crops all the time and in this case the rice was simply contamination from rice in the field.

    She moves on to talk about isinglass, which is solubilized swim bladders of subtropical fish, that has been used as a traditional clarification aid in beer for two centuries. It is widely used in the manufacture of English cask ales and many North American brewpubs use it to avoid the expense of a filter.

    The author describes the use of isinglass by Guinness like this: “The sneaky thing this beer company does like many of the companies mentioned here today is create an illusion of using the best ingredients when in actuality what they tell you publicly on their websites is a complete farce.” (I didn’t leave out the punctuation … there wasn’t any).

    Guinness does in fact use the best isinglass it can buy; the reason it’s not listed as an ingredient is because it’s not in the finished product. It is added to cause the yeast to clump together and sink more quickly to the bottom of the tank. The isinglass stays behind in the tank with the yeast.

    The rest of the article lists, in unflattering and vague terms, a whole group of items that brewers are allowed to use if they want to, along with suggestions as to the illnesses they may or may not cause in some cases. The natural flavoring that may be derived from beaver anal glands is my favorite.

    Many ingredients on that list date back generations, and while I can’t say for certain that they may have been added to a brewery product at some point in the past, I’m pretty sure that none are regular ingredients in beers today. Remember that brewers make a lot of flavored malt beverages today, so a lot of the flavorings, colorings, and preservatives end up in those. (I don’t advocate drinking those either.)

    The writer has written an article filled with innuendo, is startlingly ignorant of the laws governing labeling, and is naïve about food science and brewing science in particular. She assumes the worst motives from beer manufacturers and makes wild unsubstantiated claims against some well-known brands. In her world, only foods derived from plants are to be trusted, and animal derived ingredients and process aids are forbidden, as are chemically derived ones. These are made against a backdrop of drinking beer for good health. I’m glad she didn’t research further and discover all of the unhealthy plant life that can creep into our beers if the brewers in this country weren’t so committed to making a safe and healthy product.

    Beers: drunk and undrunk

    After this post was written, Steve Parkes submitted a few more things. Here:
    The article is misleading at best. Her main sources other than brewers are organizations that want to ban alcohol. The brewers are naturally a little defensive when questioned about their processes from the public. Presumably those brewery PR departments checked out the Food Babe...perhaps even read her article on microwaves where she claims water exposed to microwaves resembles water that has been exposed to the words "satan" and "Hitler". So they were understandably reticent to engage her knowing what was coming.

    Among brewers, the companies listed are quite open about their ingredients and processes. I've read long papers in technical journals describing how Guinness optimize their use of use isinglass. I've met with Anheuser Busch and Miller brewers and talked about their processes at length. There's no scandal there.... The process at Anheuser Busch is quite natural and traditional in fact, and AB have a line of gluten free and organic beers made in the same facilities as their other products.

    In Conclusion
    In the interest of transparency, I should stipulate that I do indeed drink beer ... as a wholesome food. I've been in the beer business for twenty years, as a brewer, brewpub owner, and a beer salesman. I'm also a vegetarian, but I do not, and, now, will not, read the Food Babe's blog.

    In posting this rebuttal, I, of course, have added additional viewers for her site. That's unfortunate, but, to correct the record, necessary. It's sad that someone who professes a search for the truth about food would feel the need to distort the record to fit her perceived truth. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan once wrote: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”

    I'm on the same bandwagon as 'The Babe' about health and food (and somewhat about GMOs), but I reject outright her phony fellowship. I denounce her calumny.


    VeggieDag Thursday: Quick Links for July 2013

    VeggieDag Thursday
    VeggieDag is an occasional Thursday post on an animal-free diet and its issues.

    Quick links for July 2013:
    • "Understanding Your Taste Buds": Supertasters and the science of taste. Via Kojo Nnamdi Show.

    • This is your brain on kale: arguments for kale as a 'superfood.' Via Drew Ramsey, M.D., co-author of 50 Shades of Kale (at Huffington Post).

    • Quinoa —a low-calorie, gluten-free, high-protein grain— "should be taking over the world." This is why it isn’t: agribusiness, escalating demand, and native agriculture. Via Washington Post.

    • Pop rocks, lavender, and cheese! The 2013 U.S. Cheesemonger Invitational. Via Specialty Food.

    • What's really in a hot dog? Via Notions Capital.

    • Study of Seventh-day Adventists links vegetarian diets with longevity. Via JAMA Internal Medicine.

      Eat Fresh Produce - Live Longer

      • How to make the perfect tabbouleh? It's all about (flat-leaf) parsley, says The Guardian.
      • "How to make the perfect cucumber sandwich." Via The Guardian.
      • "How to make perfect watercress soup." Via The Guardian. [In summer, serve it chilled!]
      • A simple summer meal: Gazpacho and kitchen-grilled corn. Via YFGF.
      • Recipe for a Classic Caesar Salad, but vegan, with avocados and chickpeas. Via Isa Chandra at Post Punk Kitchen.
      • How to make sorbet without an ice cream machine. Via Busy In Brooklyn.

  • Why the name VeggieDag? Here. Follow on Twitter: #VeggieDag.
  • Suggestions and submissions from chefs and homecooks welcomed! Here.

  • Tuesday, July 23, 2013

    It's 100 °F. Time for an Oktoberfestbier?

    For over five and a half days this month in Washington, D.C., the temperature never fell below 80 degrees. That is, the lowest temperature during the day, overnight, never was below 80°F. The days were even better, near 100 °F, near 90% humidity. According to the Capital Weather Gang at the Washington Post, this 138-hour hot streak was the longest in recorded meteorological D.C. history.

    Ah, summer in the nation's capital!

    So, why are six-packs of Boston Beer Company's Samuel Adams Oktoberfest hitting the store shelves this week? And why did the Munich brewery Paulaner (owned by Heineken) ship its Oktoberfest beer to the U.S. in ... June?

    Sam Adams, so early

    According to The Oxford Companion to Beer, it was another Munich brewery, Spaten, which first used the name Oktoberfestbier, for its märzenbier, in 1872. The brewery also was the first to officially brew a beer called märzen, in 1841, at Munich's Oktoberfest: a relatively full-bodied lager, amber in color, with a moderate bitterness. Spaten is now owned by Anheusher-Busch InBev.
    The historical origins of märzen lie in a decree issued in 1553 by the Bavarian ruler Duke Albrecht V, in which he forbade all brewing between April 23 and September 29. The decree was to prevent brewing during the warm season, when, unbeknown to microbially ignorant medievals, ambient bacteria would often infect the Bavarians' beers and quickly spoil them.

    With the lack of modern refrigeration, many brewers would lager (German for "to store, keep") their beers in caves or cool cellars from March until October. Hence the beer-style monikers Marzen and Oktoberfest. So why Oktoberfest beer now? After all, beers can be brewed year-round now. Would it be because there's a big, very big, party hosted by city of Munich mid September through early October? Would it be because Oktoberfest beer suggests the taking the edge off summer heat? Sure, and maybe, it's just to honor tradition.

    But why Oktoberfest beers in July? That's marketing. The first Okto-beer out of the blocks sells more before the pack becomes crowded in late summer/early autumn. Then, there's the All Souls Day expiration dread. Consumers assume the worst of a beer the instant the calendar says November. If a brewery has not shipped all of its Oktoberfest, and if a store has not sold all of its stock, discounts ensue.

    It may be beastly hot and drippingly humid where you are. It is here in the Washington, D.C. area. A cool amber lager would be refreshing right now, even if the calendar disagrees.

    Sunday, July 21, 2013

    Nats strike out, but hometown beer a hit.

    Washington D.C.'s baseball team, the Nationals, may be striking out, but at least, now, the beer at their ballpark is a hit. Their hometown beer!

    Nats by water

    Since the team's move to the District in 2005, and since the opening of Nationals Park, three years later, much of the beer the team has offered to its fans has been macro international-style lager. An exception has been at the Red Porch Lounge in left centerfield, where a few 'craft' beers (such as regionals Heavy Seas, Flying Dog, and Dogfish Head) have been made available on draft.

    But now, FINALLY, after nine years of fan grumbling (including from this fan), the Nationals are pouring beers that have been brewed within only a few miles of the park.

    District Drafts at Nats Park (01)

    Behind the Nationals bullpen (keeping the pitchers hydrated?), along the concourse in section 139, at a concession stand called District Drafts, a fan can now find beers from four Washington, D.C. metropolitan area breweries, on draft.

    Nationals Park: good beer chart

    Here's how put it:
    Behind only complaints about the up-and-down performance of the home team, perhaps no fan concern at Nationals Park is as great as the one about the total lack of locally produced beers.

    Well, that deficit ends Saturday [20 July 2013]. With the Nationals heading into the second half of their season, fans will be able to quench the sweltering summer weather with brews by 3 Stars Brewing and DC Brau [of Washington, D.C.], Port City Brewing [of Alexandria, Virginia], and Mad Fox Brewing [of Falls Church, Virginia].

    The kiosk went 'live' yesterday evening, and Twitter and Facebook went loud with the news. YFGF was not there, but Gregg Wiggins —past photographer for the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News and current baseball bum— was. He reported long queues, longer than those at the mainstream light lager stands, but with fast, efficient, service. The 14-ounce pours cost $9.00, a 'bargain' versus the $10.00 cost at the Red Porch. A Twitter follower reported: "It was great to see, but some kinks need to be worked out. Kegs were 'cooled' by bags of ice. By 6th inning, all but one were warm, foamy."

    UPDATE: On Day 2, the beer from 3 Stars was pouring. And only five days later, a second "District Drafts" kiosk was added behind Section 309, per the Nationals Twitter feed.

    UPDATE: As of 10 August, the ballpark continues to serve the beer without refrigeration.

    District Drafts at Nats Park (02)

    Back to baseball:

    The Washington Nationals continue to waste good pitching with woeful situational hitting. After Saturday evening's extra-innings loss to the LA Dodgers, the team fell to third in the National League East, 6 1/2 games out of first, in a division they captured last year.

    But ... if the Nationals ballpark management was observing the District Drafts kiosk (or counting its receipts), they would have observed success. It's only one concession stand, but it's a start, and it's already a hit.

    Now if only the Nats' bats would hit.


    Saturday, July 20, 2013

    Pic(k) of the Week: Tasting room fun at Union Craft

    Tasting room fun @Union Craft

    14 July 2013: many (tall?) tales were swapped, in the tasting room at Union Craft Brewery.

    Located in the Woodberry neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland, Union Craft is the first production-only brewery to operate within the confines of the City of Baltimore since 1978, when the National Brewery closed in Highlandtown.
    • Since Union Craft began production, a second production brewery has opened in Baltimore. Peabody Heights Brewery, located in the Waverly neighborhood, opened in late January 2013.
    • Brewpub The Brewer's Art —located in the mid-town Mount Vernon neighborhood Baltimore— offers a few of its beers in 750-ml bottles and in 12-ounce cans, but these are contract-produced for it by an outside brewery. (It does brew all of its own Belgian-inspired draft beers at the pub.)
    • The brewpub Degroens had been bottling its beers on-premise in Little Italy for a few years by the time of its demise in 2005.
    • Heavy Seas Brewing has been known as a Baltimore brewery since its inception in 1995 (when it was called Clipper City Brewing). It has a Baltimore mailing address, but is actually located just south of the city's boundaries, in Halethorpe, Maryland.
    Congratulations are in order for Union Craft's co-owners Kevin Blodger and Jon Zerivitz. Their brewery celebrates its one year anniversary on 27 July 2013! Get more information and tickets: here.

    Union Craft's 1st anniversary


    Friday, July 19, 2013

    DC Beer Week is August 11 – 18, 2013.

    I've just received this press release from DC Beer Week:

    The 5th Annual DC Beer Week takes place August 11 – 18, 2013, all across the National Capital Region. Local distributor Jeff Wells and chef/beer aficionado Teddy Folkman started DC Beer Week in 2008 to celebrate the small, but enthusiastic craft beer community in the Federal City. Since then, the event has grown each year attracting thousands – from self-proclaimed beer geeks and home brewers to the casual beer drinker. In 2012, the event included nearly 200 different events throughout the District and surrounding area.

    [This year's DC Beer Week] is shaping up to be the biggest one yet, with sponsor-driven flagship events taking place at different venues around the region throughout the week of August 11 – 18, 2013. The official calendar of events, which will continue to grow as the week gets closer, went live on the rebranded website this week.

    DC Beer Week 2013 “This year’s festival is going to be epic, and it’s thanks in large part to the local beer community and organizations around the region that are fans of good beer,” says DCBW Director and Managing Partner of Smith Commons Miles Gray. “In addition to restaurants, bars, breweries and distributors participating in this year’s DC Beer Week, we have an outrageous line up of sponsors who have come out in support of the event, including several heavy hitters, like Destination DC, Evian, Uber and the Washington Nationals, who you might not naturally think of when you think of beer.”

    As part of a Gold-level DCBW sponsorship, organizations were able to reserve a day to host a flagship event at their venue or a location of their choice. Some of the planned flagship events include:

    • Sunday, August 11 – Brewery Ommegang & Washington City Paper present “HOP CHEF: SPECIAL EDITION” – Because Great Beer deserves Great Food made by Great Chefs, Brewery Ommegang is bringing its popular beer-pairing chef competition back to the District on Sunday night to officially kick off the 5th Annual DC Beer Week. Brewery Ommegang and the Washington City Paper have invited eight of the area's most talented chefs to cook with and pair a unique dish with the brewery’s beers to earn the title of Hop Chef DC. The event will be held at the Longview Gallery, located at 1234 9th Street, NW, starting at 6:30 PM. Tickets are $55 per person (21+ only), and will go on sale soon.

    • Monday, August 12 – DC Heritage Night at the Howard Theater – Spend Monday night celebrating the rich heritage that makes DC so special! We'll have music from local artists like ACME, Drop Electric, Urban Cartel, Watermelon and others, craft beer and whisky tastings, and much more. The final music line-up and ticket information will be available soon.

    • Tuesday, August 13 – Gordon Biersch English Summer Ale Tasting – Gordon Biersch presents a special English Summer Ale Tasting at their downtown DC location on 9th Street, NW, starting at 6:00 PM. The $15 entry fee (available at the door) comes with a commemorative tasting glass and sample pours of all nine Summer Ales participating in the event, including the Gordon Biersch Navy Yard and 9th Street locations, DC Brau, 3 Stars Brewing Co., District ChopHouse and Brewery, Mad Fox Brewing, Capitol City Brewing Co., Chocolate City and Rock Bottom, Bethesda. Traditional English snacks will be available for purchase all night.

    • Wednesday, August 14 – RFD’s Coast to Coast Tap Takeover – RFD in Chinatown is throwing an epic regional tap takeover, featuring $5 pints from more than 20 American craft breweries on all 45 of their draft lines that night starting at 3:00 PM. Breweries from all five of the country’s beer regions will be represented, including Abita, Sam Adams, Flying Dog, Lagunitas, Great Lakes, Victory, Goose Island, Boulevard, Sierra Nevada, Ommegang, and Firestone, to name a few. Proceeds from the $5 cover charge go to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

    • Thursday, August 15 – Beer Night at Nationals Stadium – Several DC Beer Week sponsors, including the Washington Nationals, Premium Distributors, Destination DC and the Beer Institute, are taking over the Red Porch and the adjoining concourse at Nationals Stadium as the hometown team takes on the visiting San Francisco Giants. The team is offering a special DCBW ticket package, which includes food, beer, tickets to the game and access to the after party with live music. The ticket package goes on sale soon.

    • Friday, August 16 – Friday Night Under the Lights at Union Market: A Celebration of Craft Beer & Craftsmen – 3 Stars Brewing Company and Union Market present a celebration of craft beer and craftsmen as the market vendors bring their wares outside to join 3 Stars for a craft beer street party to kick off the weekend. The event will include live music, DJ's, local chefs and restaurants, tons of craft beer, entertainment and shenanigans. A nominal cover charge ($10-$20) gets you in the gates, and will go on sale soon.

    • Saturday, August 17 – Old Ebbitt Grill’s Craft BrewHaHa – The atrium at DC’s landmark Old Ebbitt Grill will be hopping on Saturday night from 8 PM to 11 PM for a celebration of local craft beer, food and music. DC Brau, Heavy Seas, Flying Dog, Evolution, Devils Backbone, Starr Hill, Lost Rhino, Port City and Mad Fox will provide the beer along with food from some of the DC area’s best restaurants and music by the 19th Street Band. The $50 ticket includes all the beer, food and music you can handle, and may be purchased online in advance at

    • Sunday, August 18 – The Bluejacket Sneak Preview BBQ – To cap off the week, Bluejacket will host its first-ever soiree from 3 PM to 7 PM at the soon-to-open brewery, slated to officially open in early September. The Bluejacket team invites you to join them for a good ol' fashion Sunday backyard BBQ, an intimate gathering, hosted by Beer Director Greg Engert and Brewmaster Megan Parisi, that will feature a number of Bluejacket brews, a selection of backyard BBQ eats by Executive Chef Kyle Bailey, plus a guided tour of the three-vessel brewhouse, barrel-aging platforms and 19 different fermentation vessels, all encompassed within the multi-leveled 11,000 square-foot space. Tickets are priced at $65 per person and include all food and beverage. Tickets go on sale on Monday, July 22 at 12 noon through Eventbrite.

    More information about each flagship event, including links to all ticket sites, as well as the growing number of beer dinners, trivia nights, tap takeovers and happy hours on the calendar that will be taking place throughout the region at participating restaurants and bars during the week, is available at

    For more information about DC Beer Week, visit Also be sure to “Like” the DCBW Facebook page, and to follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@dcbeerweek), for the latest updates. The official hashtag for DCBW is #DCBW2013.

    I'm crossing my fingers here, folks! Compared to Philly Beer Week and Baltimore Beer Week, DC Beer Week, in the past, has been less Homerically 'epic' than just plain disappointing. Despite good people, good intentions, and some good events, there's been disorganization, too many self-congratulatory back slaps, little reach-out to non-craft beer venues, and pig-headed (no porcine offense meant) exclusion of the greater metropolitan area.

    This year, there may be a paradigm shift: notice the first sentence in the press release above which includes the phrase: "all across the National Capital Region."

    I attended the Craft Brewers Conference in Washington D.C., this March. The crazy cornucopia of events —each evening after the day's official speeches, symposia, and trade show had concluded— seemed to comprise a spectacular, if unofficial, DC Beer Week. Here's hoping that that same spirit of celebration —throughout the D.C. metro region— of beer culture and of local breweries will be the signature of the real DC Beer Week 2013.

    Thursday, July 18, 2013

    To whom is a brewster to pray?

    To whom is a brewster to pray?

    Maybe, it's St. Arnold of Metz.

    Today, 18 July, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the feast day St. Arnulf of Metz, also known as Arnold, who lived from 580-640 A.D., in the Merovingian kingdom of what is now northern France and the Benelux nations.

    While he served as Bishop of Metz, there were several outbreaks of the plague. Arnulf would cajole many of his countrymen and women to drink beer rather than (what was contaminated) water. “From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world,” he admonished them. Many survived because of his holy perspicacity.

    During his funeral in the hot summer of July 620 A.D., the pallbearers and a large crowd of mourners were thirsty during their 120-mile long procession of his body from the town of Remiremont to Metz. They passed around one small mug of beer to drink from. Miraculously, it never emptied. The Church now venerates Arnold as a patron saint of brewers.

    In deference to Arnold's posthumous feat, I would include beer drinkers as those who should be thankful to him.

    Earlier this month, on 8 July, the Church celebrated the feast day of another St. Arnold, this one of Soissons (a town now located in Belgium). He is not only a patron saint of brewers, but of hop pickers. A progressive thinker, Arnold encouraged the drinking of beer for health reasons. (The drinking water of his 11th century was only infrequently potable.)

    A more universally famous patron saint of brewers is St. Nicholas of Myra, who lived in the 4th century (in what is now Turkey). Nicholas was the inspiration for the modern-day Santa Claus. His feast day is celebrated on 6 December. (More from Wikipedia: here.)

    Columbanus, an Irish monk of the 7th century, is not considered a patron saint of brewers, but he gets my bid of honor for beery sanctification, based upon his proposed epitaph:
    It is my design to die in the brewhouse; let ale be placed to my mouth when expiring, that when the choirs of angels come, they may say, "Be God propitious to this drinker."

    For some reason, Columbanus is considered the patron saint of motorcyclists, unusual if only that their conveyance remained un-invented until some twelve-hundred years after his death. The feast day of St. Columbanus is celebrated on 21 November (24 November, in Ireland).

    So, to whom is a brewster to pray?

    Maybe, it's Hildegard von Bingen (1098 - 1179), a saint and Doctor of the Church —one of only a few women out of a small percentage of saints even given that honor. A Benedictine Abbess, in what is now Germany, Hildegard wrote voluminously. One of her writings includes the earliest known reference to brewing with hops: "(Hops) when put in beer, stops putrification and lends longer durability." Hildegard was only granted sainthood by the Catholic Church in 2012, which now celebrates her feast day on 17 September.

    Or maybe it's Gambrinus, King of Flanders (1251-1294), who was reputed to have invented hopped beer. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church doesn't revere him as an actual saint.

    There are more saints associated with beer. The 21st-century Maryland-based beer-writing team known as The Brews Brothers —aka Steve Frank and Arnold Meltzer— wrote an article a few years ago for the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News on Catholic saints of beer. They entitled it Saints of Suds (When The Saints Go Malting In).

    With their permission, I've re-printed it, in its entirety, below the 'jump.' Hopefully, with the consent of the saints, we pardon them of their pun.


    Wednesday, July 17, 2013

    What happened five years ago in beer history, and why it's important today.

    Five years ago, on 13 July 2008, Belgian beer and beverage conglomerate InBev purchased America's largest brewery, Anheuser-Busch, for $52 billion dollars.

    Pat's Budweiser truck

    With that sale, A-B joined the legacy ranks of Miller, Schlitz, Shaefer, Coors, and the other great names of 150-plus years of pre-'craft' American brewing history, all no more independent American-owned breweries. Pabst remained American-owned but it brews none of its own beer, and owns no brewing facilities. (It's a large 'gypsy' brewery, to borrow an annoying neoligism.) The mantle of largest American-owned brewery fell from A-B and its 160 million barrels to Boston Beer Company (maker of Sam Adams) and its 2 million barrels.

    Why does this matter? During a seminar on wholesaler-brewery relations at the 2013 Craft Brewers Conference, the owner of a soon-to-open brewery asked a version of this question that was so naive, that my jaw, if it could have, would have dropped.

    So, why? Because beyond history, jingoism or national pride, it's all about business power, sometimes raw and crude, sometimes insidious.

    As the number of small, independent U.S. breweries continues to grow —over 2,500, according to a recent count by the Brewers Association— they will increasingly be fighting each other for shelf space —protestations of craft brewers are nice people notwithstanding— and with international behemoths. Likewise in bars in restaurants, where the number of craft-only establishments is still a tiny percentage, and in 'regular' establishments, where the fights for taps and bottle-inclusion will only become fiercer.

    'Craft' breweries will increasingly compete with each and the international behemoths for raw ingredients (Citra hops, anyone?). Micro-malsters and micro-hopyards won't be large enough in the foreseeable future to take up the slack. Who has the financial means to influence growers' decisions and corner the results? Hint: not the small and independent breweries.

    The consolidation of beer distributors nationwide is creating increasingly adverse pressure on small breweries. There are some mega-wholesalers who are combining legal restrictions, political muscle, and brute force to restrict marketplace access and influence breweries' beer-making decisions. Ironically, the three-tier system was originally legislated, in part, to protect small wholesalers from large breweries, not vice-versa.

    Brewpubs might not have to deal with struggles over other restaurant tap choices and store-shelf squeeze, but they do face the exact same ingredient pressures as production breweries, and will also face difficulties if they choose to sell elsewhere, via self-distribution (often restricted or prohibited) or via existing wholesaler networks. The saturation point of brewpubs is probably not an issue in the short-term.

    The 'craft' beer boom may not yet have reached its zenith, but its pace and size is creating new pressures. The "King" may be dead, but not the evil empires. To imagine not is to risk a brewery's health.

    Tuesday, July 16, 2013

    Lupulin Threshold Shift

    A friend reminded me of how funny this video is.

    "Shit Beer Geeks Say" might be from the land down under, but, without the accent, it could easily have been recorded at the next U.S. bar-stool over. Admit it: if you're into good beer, you've said silly beer things like these, sober or jolly.

    There are several hilarious lines, but listen for "This brewery's really gone downhill since they've added the extra capacity" and "That is hideous infected. Unless it's a lambic; in that case, it's awesome!" All said with that universal beer-geeky, lip-smacking, squinty-eyed, secret-knowledge, nodding look. I'll be adding the phrase "lupulin threshold shift" into my beer-bar lexicon.

    Monday, July 15, 2013

    Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 25/26, 2013.

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

    Weeks 25/26
    16 June- 29 June 2013

    • 2013.06.29
      The world’s top 10 beer brands, and Budweiser is only #1. Snow, from China, at top position. Via Brookston Beer Bulletin.

    • 2013.06.29
      Scientists Seyffert, Tullo, and Claussen, and their discovery of brettanomyces yeast in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Via Ron Pattinson.

      Open window
    • 2013.06.27
      Craft beer guru Charlie Papazian finds Washington, D.C. to be an emerging beer city destination. Via Examiner.

    • 2013.06.26
      Supreme Court strikes down parts of Defense of Marriage Act. Via Washington Post.

    • 2013.06.26
      California wine-makers re-discovering "elegance, subtlety, and freshness over power." Via Dave McIntyre in Washington Post.

    • 2013.06.26
      Why wine judging is wildly inconsistent. How higher-order information impacts sense of taste. Via Priceonomics.

    • 2013.06.25
      A map of U.S. beer consumption, state-by-state. Via Brookston Beer Bulletin.

    • 2013.06.24
      On 31 May 2013, the number of American breweries reached 2,514, as reported by the Brewers Association.

    • 2013.06.23
      Great American bluesman Bobby 'Blue' Bland dies at 83. Via eMusic.

    • 2013.06.22
      The 'Super' Moon of 2013. A photo over Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C. What it is, via Capital Weather Gang.

      Buffalo Trace Water Tower
    • 2013.06.21
      Beer is malt, hops, yeast, and ... and (don't forget the) water. Via NPR Food.

    • 2013.06.21
      "Malt is the quiet soul and foundation of beer." Malt varieties for craft brewers, via Beer West Magazine.

    • 2013.06.20
      June Solstice: sun's zenith is at its furthest point from equator. Via Time and Date.

    • 2013.06.19
      19th of June also known as "Juneteeth." On this day in 1865, American slavery was eradicated. Via Smithsonian Magazine.

    • 2013.06.19
      Blogger predicts that seasonals and one-off beers will replace brewery 'flagships.' Via Top Fermented.

    • 2013.06.17
      Members of the American Homebrew Association vote for best commercial beers in U.S. All but one of top 10 are IPAs. Via American Homebrew Association. More analysis by Andy Sparhawk at

    • 2013.06.17
      Is knowledge of a beer (style, production, yeast, brewer, etc.) necessary for enjoying it? Not necessarily, writes Czech blogger Pivni Filosof.
    • Clamps and Gaskets is a weekly wrap-up of stories, many of which deal with beer (or wine, or whisky). Most are re-posts from Twitter @Cizauskas.
    • The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.

    Saturday, July 13, 2013

    Pic(k) of the Week: Uber Pils, illuminated

    Uber Pils, illuminated

    A glass of draught Small Craft Warning Uber Pils —from the Heavy Seas Brewing Company of Baltimore, Maryland— is back-lit by the late afternoon summer sun at ...

    Rustico Restaurant
    Alexandria, Virginia.
    25 June 2013.

    Here's how the brewery describes its beer:
    Small Craft exemplifies a robust pilsner—crisp, well-carbonated, and slightly sweet. The beer is characterized by a firm malt backbone and a pronounced hop character from an array of hops.

    ABV: 7%
    IBUs: 35
    Hops: Warrior, Palisade, French Strisselspalt, Saaz, Simcoe, Cascade
    Malts: 2-row, Munich, Caramalt

    The effect of the light on the beer was so striking, that I ignored the other not-so-good effect of that sunlight on my beer. You shouldn't.
    Certain compounds in hops are light-sensitive, and when exposed to strong light, a photo-oxidation reaction takes place, creating the intensely flavor-active compound 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol. MBT is one of the most powerful flavor substances known to man. Commonly referred to as "skunky," the pungent odor compound resembles that of the famously malodorous defense spray deployed by skunks.
    Oxford Companion to Beer

    Beware: this reaction occurs both in sunlight AND florescent light, and it happens very, very quickly.
    Green or clear glass offers little to no protection against this reaction, but brown glass is highly effective, at least against short-term or low-intensity exposure. Aluminum cans or beer stored in kegs offers the best protection against exposure to light.

    The term 'skunking' is often applied cavalierly to any beer gone off. To be precise, skunky smells like, well, skunk, and is caused from exposure, not to warmth, but to sunlight, as explained above. On the other hand, the off-flavor and aroma of a beer that has staled —such as one exposed to very warm temperatures (in the trunk of a car in the summer) or one just kept sitting around for a long time— can be described as "cardboardy". Two VERY different, but bad, effects.

    The moral of the story is to be good to your beer and it will be good to you —except, maybe, when it's the star of your camera shot.

    Friday, July 12, 2013

    Washington City Paper 'disappears' our brewpubs

    It appears to be a time of self-congratulation in Washington, D.C. (not that that is uncommon).

    Fritz Hahn, in the Washington Post, writes of three reasons why Washington D.C.'s beer scene is close to greatness, and provides examples. (If only DC Beer Week —this August 11-18— would finally live up to its potential.)

    Also in the Washington Post, long-time area food entrepreneur Mark H. Furstenberg examines the local food culture, but in the negative: What’s missing from D.C.’s food scene? A lot.

    In rebuttal, a writer for Washington City Paper, Jessica Sidman, writes: What’s So Great About D.C.’s Food Scene? A Lot.

    I like what she has to say. But then, there's this: after praising D.C.'s restaurant situation, she postscripts:

    Furstenberg's piece also conveniently excludes any mention of Washington's burgeoning beer scene. We've got three new production breweries—DC Brau, Chocolate City Beer, 3 Stars Brewing Company—plus a couple more on the way. (Not to mention brewpubs like Bluejacket, Right Proper, and Bardo.)

    Fine ... except that NONE of those three brewpubs is actually open (though they will be soon). Why no mention of brewpubs that are actually brewing RIGHT NOW, such as the two Gordon-Biersch's —with masterful brewers Scott Lassiter, downtown, and Travis Tedrow at Navy Yard— and the District Chophouse, with long-time brewmaster Barrett Lauer?

    In writing about Washington, D.C.'s food culture, Ms. Sidman, to use her own words, has "conveniently" excluded any mention of Washington's extant brewpubs. In the process, she has weakened her own arguments and 'dissed' the brewers of the city. For shame.

    Monday, July 08, 2013

    July 4th tops for beer sales; North Dakota #1 for year.

    What's the top beer holiday in the U.S.?

    According to Nielsen —a consumer information and measurement company— it's the 4th of July ... or maybe not.

    In 2012, U.S. beer sales for the Independence Day holiday period were $1.36 billion, the most of any food category the company measures. Nielsen determines the metric based on sales not solely for that day but over a period of about two weeks before and after.

    But, pick your stat. The year before, Nielsen had ranked Labor Day —in terms of CASES of beer sold— at number one, with Independence Day as only the fourth highest. The Super Bowl, by the way? It came in at the seventh spot.


    According to the Brewers Association —a trade association for U.S. 'craft' breweries with annual output of 6 million barrels of beer or fewer— the United States is now home to over 2,500 breweries. The New Yorker Magazine has posted an interactive map on-line showing state-by-state the total number of 'craft' breweries, each state's annual beer production, production growth (2012 vs. 2011), and breweries per 500,000 people, and, then nationwide in the U.S.: the fifty largest 'craft' breweries, the fastest growing breweries, and those breweries which opened in 2012.

    The Beer Institute —a trade association for larger breweries and beer wholesalers in the U.S.— has released figures for 2012 that show that total U.S. beer consumption —'craft' and macro— rose, for the first time in several years, by 1.5 percent in 2012. The Beer Institute credits that to an improving economy and above normal winter and spring temperatures.

    By contrast, the Brewers Association reports that 'craft' beer, in 2012, grew 15% by volume and 17% by dollars, accounting for 6.5% of the total U.S. beer market.


    The Beer Institute also reported on the amount of beer purchased and consumed state-by-state in 2012.

    The number-one beer drinkingest state in the U.S. is ...

    ... North Dakota, whose citizens consumed 45.8 gallons of beer per person during the year. That's the equivalent of 488.5 12-ounce bottles of beer.

    Rounding out the top 5 beer-loving states were:
    • 2. New Hampshire (at 43.9 gallons per person, falling from no. 1)
    • 3. Montana (41.0 gallons)
    • 4. South Dakota (38.9 gallon )
    • 5. Wisconsin (36.2 gallons)


    In the YFGF drinking area (of Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia):
    • Maryland, with a population of 3.2 million, was 25th in total national consumption at 99.7 million gallons, but only 47th per capita at 23.2 gallons (247 bottles) of beer.
    • Virginia, with a population 5.1 million, was 11th in the nation with 159.4 million gallons of beer consumed in 2012, and 37th in per capita consumption, at 26.7 gallons (284 bottles).
    • Thirsty Washington, D.C., with a population of 445,508, was 50th nationwide in terms of total beer consumption, at 13.8 million gallons in 2012, but was tops in the tri-state area in beer per person per year, at 28.3 gallons (that's 301.8 bottles per person), 32nd nationwide.


    Coming in last, 51st out of 51, for total beer consumed, nationwide, was Wyoming, at 13.7 million gallons total, but 15th per capita, at 33.0 gallons.

    And, the most sober state in the Union?

    That would be Utah, whose citizens consumed only 20.2 gallons of beer per capita in 2012, the equivalent of 215 bottles of beer per person.

    That's more for the rest of us.

    Sunday, July 07, 2013

    2 Untap r not 2

    Okay, I've given in. Late to the game, I've begun posting beer reviews to Untappd.

    Cizauskas on Untappd
    Untappd is a social networking service that allows its users to check into beers as they drink them, and share these check-ins and their locations with their friends. Untappd also includes functionality that allows users to rate the beer they are consuming, earn badges, share pictures of their beers, and automatically suggest similar beverages. At present, Untappd can share check-ins with Twitter & Facebook accounts of its users, and can pull in locations from a user's foursquare account.
    Wikipedia, accessed 2013.07.06

    Untappd exists primarily as a mobile phone application, limited to brief comments, although it does have a web presence as well. I'll be using it as an on-line beer-tasting journal, a 'malty,' virtual memory aid, if you will.

    Beer diary (03)

    I recently tested the service, by automatically posting a 'checkin-in' to Twitter. That action concerned a 'follower' enough to comment:
    Oh no, Untappd check-ins?! :( It's only because I really enjoy following you! Just no tolerance for auto check-in tweets. I like originality :)

    Point taken. Not to worry!

    I promise that, going forward, you will not find me re-posting —to Twitter, Facebook, or here at the blog— 'check-ins' of what I'm drinking, when I'm drinking, where I'm drinking, and what badges I'm earning (??) for drinking. Banal and presumptuous: who really cares? (Plus, what's up with all those schwa'd vowels? Flickr, Untappd, Tumblr, etc.)

    I do maintain other on-line 'companions' to YFGF. These include Flickr (photos), Twitter (140-character posts), and Facebook (If you don't now what that is, well, I won't even try to explain. I'm not clear on it either.). Here, on the blog, the (very) occasional beer review will continue to appear under the heading "Drinking, Again."

    beer is life

    As to Google Plus, Pinterist, Instagram, or others of their e-ilk? No, thank you! As this exuberant drinker's tee-shirt expounds: "Beer is life." So, enough of all this. Off to the pub ... to drink socially.

    Saturday, July 06, 2013

    Pic(k) of the Week: Dale's Pale Ale smoker

    Dale's Pale smoker

    An empty can of Dale's Pale Ale —from Oskar Blues Brewery, of Longmont, Colorado— hangs, re-purposed, under the smoker, at ...

    Del Ray Pizzeria
    Alexandria (Del Ray neighborhood), Virginia.
    21 June 2013.

    Thursday, July 04, 2013

    “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

    Federal Hill flag

    “Well, Doctor, what have we got —a Republic or a Monarchy?”
    “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

    Benjamin Franklin —as he left Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, in September 1787, at the close of the Constitutional Convention.

    Eleven years earlier, on the 4th of July 1776, thirteen colonies in America had formally adopted a resolution of independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.

    Patriotism isn't about the superiority of one's country or the dangers lurking inside and outside its borders, about braggadocio and exclusion. True patriotism is about the responsibilities of citizenship, about the ideals that hold us together.
    Robert Reich
    Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley

    Some music for your 4th: the Third Symphony of Roy Harris, an American Symphony (1939), as conducted by Arturo Toscanini, an Italian conductor, but who was an advocate for American 'classical' music.

    Monday, July 01, 2013

    Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 23/24, 2013

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

    Weeks 23/24
    2 June- 15 June 2013

    • 2013.06.15
      Does beer's provenance matter? Rumination by Jeff Alworth at Beervana.

    • 2013.06.14
      The amazing and uplifting story of a daughter's discovery of her father, and the resurrection of America's original craft beer. Renée M. DeLuca, Jack McAuliffe, and New Albion Brewing. Via Cleveland Scene.

    • 2013.06.14
      Maryland Wine Week: 14 June through 24 June 2013 Via Maryland Wineries Association.

      Brewers take the clean water pledge
    • 2013.06.14
      Twenty craft breweries ask President Obama to take action on long-delayed safeguards of Clean Water Act. Via Natural Resources Defense Council.

    • 2013.06.13
      The U.S. produced 61.2 million pounds of hops in 2012; of those, 218,000 pounds were organic (up from 70,000). Via Jeff Alworth at Beervana.

    • 2013.06.13
      A study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology finds that sugary soft drinks increase kidney stone risk; beer, wine, and coffee reduce risk.

    • 2013.06.12
      The story of the Twitter #hashtag and its creator, Chris Messina. Via Wikipedia. Facebook has announced support of hashtags. Via Mashable.

    • 2013.06.12
      How state beer excise taxes hike six-pack prices. Via MSN.

    • 2013.06.12
      The 2013 U.S. Wine Blogger awards announced.

    • 2013.06.11
      Australian winemakers have begun to package some of their wines in 187-ml cans. Will the French be next? Via France 24.

    • 2013.06.10
      Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton joins Twitter. Via Huffington Post.

      Chris Ray on Opening Night (02)
    • 2013.06.10
      Former Baltimore Orioles closer, baseball pitcher Chris Ray finds new career as owner of a craft brewery: Center of the Universe Brewing,in Ashland, Virginia. Via Baltimore Sun.

    • 2013.06.10
      Brewmaster Garrett Oliver reflects on the 25th anniversary of Brooklyn Brewery. Via Brooklyn Magazine.

    • 2013.06.09
      Professor Patrick McGovern —of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology— finds evidence of the 2,500 year-old origins of French wine-making. Via NPR Science Friday.

    • 2013.06.08
      Canned beer accounted for 53% of all beer sold in U.S. in 2012. Via CNBC.

    • 2013.06.08
      Terrible flooding in Europe wreaking havoc on Austrian vineyards. Via Austrian Wine USA.

      Withered hops
    • 2013.06.06
      Bad news for hopheads. New Zealand 2013 hops production falls below earlier projections. Via Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer.

    • 2013.06.05
      Mid-May frost caused considerable damage to many Virginia and Maryland vineyards. Via Dave McIntyre in Washington Post.

    • 2013.06.05
      China officially recognizes the geographical origin (AOC) of France's Champagne. Via Just-Drinks.

    • 2013.06.04
      The Wine Spectator Magazine announces its list of the "40 Most Powerful People in Drink for 2013." Mostly wine folk, but some beer, including Julia Herz of the Brewers Association, whom the magazine named "the pied piper of craft beer."

    • 2013.06.04
      The world's largest brewing company just got bigger. AB Inbev now owns 95% of Mexico's Grupo Modelo (Corona). Via Just-Drinks.

    • 2013.06.04
      The U.S. government approves nutritional labeling for beer, wine, and spirits. Via YFGF.

    • 2013.06.02
      Essay on changing tastes and growing choices of beer in the United States. "In praise of American beer," by Rod Dreher in The American Conservative.

    • 2013.06.02
      Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of hard-rock band Iron Maiden, contract brews his own beer, called Trooper. Via Pete Brown.
    • Clamps and Gaskets is a weekly wrap-up of stories, many of which deal with beer (or wine, or whisky). Most are re-posts from Twitter @Cizauskas.
    • The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.