Monday, September 30, 2013

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 37/38, 2013.

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

Weeks 37/38
8 September - 21 September 2013

  • 2013.09.19
    September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

  • 2013.09.17
    September 17th is Constitution Day. The U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution on this day in 1787.

  • 2013.09.16
    Mekong Restaurant in Richmond, Virginia, is voted best craft beer bar in America, in an informal poll conducted by the Brewers Association at

  • 2013.09.16
    Twelve people were killed by a former Navy reservist at Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. Via ABC News.

  • 2013.09.16
    Why aren't there more people of color in 'craft' brewing? Via NPR.

  • 2013.09.16
    Legionnaire's Disease bacteria discovered at Warsteiner Brewery in Germany, not in in the beer, but in the brewery's waste-water. The brewery is not believed to be the source of the outbreak. Via Beverage Daily.

  • 2013.09.15
    The 7 best NFL stadiums for 'craft' beer, as ranked by the Daily Meal.

  • 2013.09.15
    Death toll in Colorado flooding rises to 8. Via Fox News.

  • 2013.09.15
    Colorado floods affected breweries such as Oskar Blues and Left Hand. Via Denver Post.

  • 2013.09.12
    Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 has become the first human object to leave the solar system. Via National Geographic.

    Barrels & mural
    DC Brau Brewing Company (Washington, D.C.) had the 5th fastest growth.
  • 2013.09.11
    The 10 'craft' breweries that grew the fastest in 2012. Via The Street.

  • 2013.09.09
    Jim Koch of Boston Beer Company (maker of Samuel Adams beers) becomes a billionaire, the first owner of a 'craft' brewery to do so. Via NPR.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pic(k) of the Week: Max's bank of Beer Engines

Max's bank of beer engines
A beer engine, also known as a hand pump, is a uniquely British dispensing device that is specifically appropriate for traditional cask-conditioned ales. The beer engine is a piston pump that allows the casks to be kept in cooler cellar below the bar and the beer to be pulled or drawn up to the bar. <...> A simple gravity tap is suitable for a cask-conditioned ale if the proper cask temperature can be maintained, but a beer engine is imperative if the cask is in a remote location.
The Oxford Companion to Beer

A beautiful bank of five beer engines (and, in the foreground, the fruits of a pull), as seen at...

Max's TapHouse
Baltimore, Maryland.
29 June 2013.


Friday, September 27, 2013

It's a Mad Fox Hoppy Oktoberfest!

I'm a homer for the home team. Be strong, Washington Nationals. There's always next year.

Likewise, I should be, and I am, a homer for the home brewery. For YFGF, that's Mad Fox Brewing Company, the only brewpub or brewery ever to operate within the city limits of Falls Church, Virginia.

Not only is there 'next year' there, there's here and now' there.

Tomorrow, Saturday, 28 September, Mad Fox celebrates Germany's Oktoberfest, American-style ... or would that be Mad-style?

By the numbers

15 Oktoberfest, Maärzen, and Vienna-style lagers, and 2 altbiers.

For the American 'craft' beer palate: 18 IPAs including a couple of double-IPAs.

15 local breweries participating (from Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, but not Washington, D.C.), including host Mad Fox, and one brewery from Vermont.

And, 5 beers from host Mad Fox Brewery:
  • Hitzig Frau Oktoberfest, on draft - 5.6% ABV
  • Two Hemispheres IPA, on draft - 7.0% ABV / 70 IBUs
  • Altbier, cask-conditioned - 5.5% ABV
  • H. Street Belgo IPA, on draft - 7.8% ABV / 28 IBUs
  • Defender APA, cask-conditioned - 5.2% ABV / 60 IBUs
  • Leonidas Batch 300 DIPA, on draft - 8.0% ABV / 100 IBUs
Be thirsty, be hungry, but bring cash. You need to buy tickets for beer and food, and there is no money-machine on-site. More details: here.

Another festival

Of course, there's no real need for me to be a homer for Mad Fox. Its cask ales are spot-on; its beers win many awards. For the third year since opening, the brewery will be participating at the Great American Beer Festival, 10-12 October. This is the premier competition and festival for American beer, held annually in Denver, Colorado. This year 580 breweries are participating (out of approximately 2,538 in the U.S.) with 2,700 beers in 79 beer categories.

Go, Mad Fox!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

VeggieDag Thursday: Quick Links for September 2013

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

Quick links for September 2013:
  • September 2013 is Vegan MoFo, the Vegan Month of Food.

  • "Stand by your ingredients," say a chef and a winemaker. Via YFGF.

  • FDA finds rice to contain arsenic, at very low levels. As does water. Via WIRED.

  • Chef Lucy Saunders creates Kickstarter campaign to publish new beer-cookbook: Dinner in the Beer Garden. Via YFGF.

  • The United Nation's Fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that there is a 95 percent likelihood that human created heat-trapping gases — rather than natural variability — are the main cause of climate change. Via The Atlantic.

  • While PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) supports a strict adherence to veganism, it draws the line at boycotting products that are 'only' 99.9 percent vegan. More, via PETA.

  • Chile-infused Beet Sliders with Avocado Dressing. From Gatsby's Diner, in Sacramento, California. Via Lucy Saunders in Mother Nature Network.
  • Vegan 'cheese' from kale and sunflower seeds. Via Food For The Soul.
  • Quick fresh tomato sauce, pickled vegetables, marinated tofu, grilled fruit. Via America' Test Kitchen on Fresh Air.
  • What makes whole-grain bread so hard to bake? (And how to prepare it well). Via Smithsonian Magazine.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Baltimore, Maryland's Oliver Ales announces major expansion

In case you hadn't heard the news announced via Twitter over the weekend: Baltimore, Maryland's venerable Oliver Ales will be opening a new, much larger, production facility elsewhere in its home-city, in 2014. The original, successful, Pratt Street Alehouse —at present the home-site of Oliver Ales, located across Pratt Street from the Baltimore Convention Center— will remain open as a non-brewing restaurant, featuring, of course, the brewery's English-styled ales and cask-ales.

Oliver's Brewhouse (02)

There are many details still to be worked out, but here's what Brewmaster Steve Jones had to say:
The ink is still wet on the lease but it is signed on a 12,000 sq ft building in the Clifton Park area of Baltimore: 4216 Shannon Drive. We have hired a brewery consultant and are wading through a number of system quotes. We are looking at a 20-barrel system with a mix of 20-barrel and 40-barrel tanks, predominantly open fermentation but some closed. Initially we will be kegging [and casking], but will be looking to add packaging in the second year. We're leaving the basement, and hoping to be brewing Spring '14!

New home for Oliver Ales, in 2014.
Before build-out: the back view at the new location.

This is a lot of expansion for Baltimore's oldest continuously-operating brewpub.

Opened originally by Baltimore 'craft' beer pioneer Bill Oliver in 1994 as the Wharf Rat, the brewpub was purchased in 2008 by a team headed by local businessman Justin Dvorkin, and re-named the Pratt Street Alehouse.

The restaurant was (and is) spacious, but the basement brewing facilities are not. Jones brews with a small 8-bbl kit into open fermenters, and heads must be ducked when walking through his subterranean brewery. Despite that, the beers are sold not only at the brewpub but elsewhere in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia. According to the Baltimore Business Journal, the move will increase production capacity from a current maximum of 2,000 barrels to nearly 10,000.

Jones & Dvorkin
Brewmaster Steve Jones (l); owner Justin Dvorkin (r)

In December 2012, Dvorkin opened a second non-brewing location, the Alehouse at Columbia, in Columbia, Maryland. And, now, he has plans for this much larger brewery. These are heady times indeed for good beer in Maryland (and Virginia and the District of Columbia). Congratulations to Dvorkin, Jones, assistant brewer J. Derick Davis, and the entire Oliver Ales gang.


Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 35/36, 2013.

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

Weeks 35/36
25 August - 7 September 2013

  • 2013.09.05
    Chef Lucy Saunders announces Kickstarter campaign for new cookbook: "Dinner in the Beer Garden." Via YFGF.

  • 2013.09.05
    Jeff Alworth of Beervana categorizes 'wild ales.'

  • 2013.09.04
    Recipes for foodies and 'craft' beer lovers: "The American Craft Beer Cookbook" by John Holl, reviewed by Carla Companion, aka The Beer Babe.

  • 2013.09.04
    Josh Burdette, the longtime doorman and head of security at Washington D.C.'s venerable 930 Club, has died at age 36. Via Washington Post.

  • 2013.09.03
    September 3, 1783: 230 years ago today, the day Britain first recognized the independence of the United States of America. Via Musings Over a Pint.

  • 2013.09.03
    Whisky Advocate Magazine announces beer and whiskey writer Lew Bryson as new full-time managing editor.

  • 2013.09.02
    "Today, honor those 108,440 laborers who work at the 2,483 American-owned 'craft' breweries." Labor Day and 'craft' beer. Via YFGF.

  • 2013.09.02
    "The Pocket Beer Guide" by Stephen Beaumont and Tim Webb gets its U.S. release today.

  • 2013.09.02
    Atlas Brew Works is Washington, D.C.'s newest brewery. Via DC Beer.

  • 2013.09.01
    'India Session Ales:' are they India, are they 'sessionable,' are they oxymoronic? Martyn Cornell of Zythophile examines the trend.

  • 2013.09.01
    If it's September, it's Vegan MoFo: Vegan Month of Food.

  • 2013.08.31
    Oktoberfests are traditionally lagers. Is Munich brewery Hofbräu producing an Oktoberfest Ale? Via YFGF.

  • 2013.08.31
    Experiment at University of Washington allows one person to use his mind to control another person’s movements. Via Washington Post.

  • 2013.08.30
    Washington D.C.'s 3 Stars Brewing is one year old. Via Eater DC.

  • 2013.08.30
    Virginia's newest brewery Three Notchd Brewery opened today in Charlottesville.

  • 2013.08.30
    Know your beer gods & goddesses: a list of over 100 beer deities, via Brookston Beer Bulletin.

  • 2013.08.30
    Seasonal beer calendar creep? Deschutes Brewing releases is Jubelale Winter Ale at the start of September. Via Beer Pulse.

  • 2013.08.28
    Alexandria, Virginia's Del Ray Pizzeria opening a brewpub/drafthouse south of the city of Alexandria, in 2014. Via Washington Business Journal.

  • 2013.08.28
    Long-time Washington D.C. craft beer bar, The Reef, closes. Via Washington Post.

  • 2013.08.28
    Maryland hops industry has become robust enough that state breweries can be choosy. Via The Full Pint.

  • 2013.08.27
    Excessive use of preservative sulfur dioxide may cause more problems in white wine than the compound solves. Via The Drinks Business.

  • 2013.08.27
    Sour German-style ales find a new homeland in America (including the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland, area). Via Washington Post.

  • 2013.08.27
    Trademark lawsuits accelerate in 'craft' beer industry. A Virginia vs. Massachusetts example, via Richmond Biz Sense

  • 2013.08.27
    Whole Foods supermarket chain to open a brewpub. Planned for 2014 in San Jose, California. Via Brookston Beer Bulletin.

  • 2013.08.25
    Iraq war veterans opening Young Veterans Brewing in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in September 2013. Via AP News

  • 2013.08.25
    A panda cub is born at Washington D.C.'s National Zoo 4.8 ounces, healthy, and nicknamed "butter stick." Via WAMU Radio.

  • 2013.08.25
    Why are pumpkin beers available before pumpkin harvest. NPR investigates.

  • 2013.08.25
    Brewery worker at Stone Brewing killed during forklift accident. Via UT San Diego.

  • 2013.08.25
    Bad beer was why Ray Daniels began Cicerone —beer server certification program— 5 years ago. Via NPR.

  • 2013.08.25
    The bite of a beer is derived not only from its bubbles but from carbonic acid. Via NBC News.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pic(k) of the Week: Pumpkin-Lentil Salad

Pumpkin Lentil Salad (01)

Pumpkin-lentil salad served with tapenade of green peppercorn and garlic, surrounded by feta-cheese sauce. Each discrete part of the appetizer: gorgeous and tasty.

Pizzeria Orso
Falls Church, Virginia.
18 September 2013.

  • 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.

  • Monday, September 16, 2013

    Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 33/34, 2013.

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

    Weeks 33/34
    11 August - 24 August 2013

    • 2013.08.24
      Thousands gather in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. Via Washington Post.

    • 2013.08.24
      The 2nd annual Virginia Craft Brewers Fest (and Virginia Brewers Cup) at Devils Backbone Brewery, in Roseland, Virginia.

    • 2013.08.23
      Virginia brewery Starr Hill wins best American cask ale at the Great British Beer Festival for its Bourbon Barrel Cryptical. Via All About Beer.

    • 2013.08.23
      Maryland beer to again be poured at Baltimore Ravens' M&T Stadium: Flying Dog Brewing, of Frederick, Maryland.

    • 2013.08.22
      World-wide, how long the average worker needs to work to earn enough for a beer. From The Economist, via YFGF.

    • 2013.08.22
      Jack Daniels to undergo 2-year $100 million expansion to its Tennessee distillery, the largest expansion in its history. Via WTOP News.

    • 2013.08.22
      Bluejacket —the Neighborhood Restaurant Group's long-awaited brewpub— scheduled to open in October near Nationals Ballpark in southeast Washington, D.C. Via WTOP News. Another look via DC Eater.

    • 2013.08.22
      "Craft brewers are among the worst offenders of beer freshness." Mitch Steele, brewmaster for Stone Brewery muses on beer quality or lack thereof.

    • 2013.08.21
      21 August 2013 would have been the 200th birthday of the father of Pilsner beer: Josef Groll. Via Brookston Beer Bulletin.

    • 2013.08.21
      A blue moon is really not the 2nd full moon in one month. Via Sky & Telescope.

    • 2013.08.21
      Jazz pianist Marian McPartland, NPR's 'Piano Jazz' host, has died at 95. Via NPR.

    • 2013.08.20
      The great American crime novelist, Elmore Leonard, has died at age 87. Via CBS News.

    • 2013.08.19
      U.S. craft brewers refute false charges about ingredients. Via Maureen Ogle.

    • 2013.08.18
      Toward an American-style of cask-conditioned ale. Via YFGF.

      Lost Rhino found @Shirlington
    • 2013.08.16
      Virginia brewery Lost Rhino produces first all-Virginian-ingredient beer of modern era. Via DC Beer.

    • 2013.08.16
      Contract brewing and alternating proprietorships. Does it matter where your beer is made? Via Adrienne So on Slate.

    • 2013.08.14
      In eloquent praise of small beer. Via Beervana's Jeff Alworth at YFGF.

    • 2013.08.13
      Is beer falling to wine as America's favorite beverage? No, says Julia Herz of Brewers Association, reexamining a Gallup poll. Via Huffington Post.

    • 2013.08.12
      A 2nd mobile beer canning service to open in mid-Atlantic area, in 2014. Via Brewbound.

      Russell & Brooks
      Don Russell (r) with Jay Brooks of Brookston Beer Bulletin
    • 2013.08.11
      "Just call me U.S. Ambassador Sixpack." Joe Russell aka Joe Six Pack of the Philadelphia Daily News visits Lithuania.


    Sunday, September 15, 2013

    Sunday music

    Off-topic, but, in my book, one of the more under-appreciated movie scores is Jerry Goldsmith's truncated composition for Ridley Scott's film Alien.

    Listen to this clip of the score's conclusion. The first four minutes are brilliantly terrifying, as befits a horror movie, but the final three are exquisitely beautiful.

    As might be life.

    More beautiful American music. A segment of American composer Howard Hanson's Second Symphony, "The Romantic Symphony", is played over Alien's closing credits. You should listen to the entire thing. It's one of the great symphonies of American music.

    Saturday, September 14, 2013

    Pic(k) of the Week: The Grant at Anchor Brewing

    The grant at Anchor Brewing

    A grant is a small wort collection vessel, open to the air, placed between the lautering vessel (where the barley-sugar solution, or wort, is strained from the mash) and the wort kettle. The traditional purpose of a grant was threefold: (a) to avoid a potential vacuum in the lauter or mash tun ... thus creating turbid worts or stuck mashes; (b) to allow the brewer to assess wort clarity and wort flow; and (c) to determine whether all parts of the grain bed flow sufficiently well.
    Oxford Companion to Beer

    Now, that's 'craft brewing.' And, beautiful to behold.

    Anchor Brewing Company
    San Francisco, California.
    July 2000.


    Thursday, September 12, 2013

    VeggieDag Thursday: Stand By Your Ingredients.

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

    A post I wrote on a wine dinner in September 2008 has recently garnered a lot of reads. I don't know why all the attention now, but Chef Will Artley's message then is still relevant today: allow the ingredients themselves to be the stars of the plate. The dinner was not vegetarian, but those dishes that were, were delicious illustrations of his thesis.

    Artley has since moved on from the site of the dinner. In 2012, he became the chef at Pizzeria Orso, in Falls Church, Virginia. Here's my 2008 post, re-posted in its entirety.

    "Stand by your ingredients," said Chef Will Artley. Not quite a country and western lyric, it's his philosophy of cooking.

    Chef Will Artley

    Artley was addressing diners on 5 September at Planet Wine Shop which adjoins the Evening Star Restaurant, in the Del Ray neighborhood of north Alexandria. The occasion was a five-course dinner pairing Artley's food to the wines of Martin Mittelbach, the 9th generation winemaker of Weingut Tegernseerhof in Austria. The setting was the Farm Table, a private table for fourteen in the wine shop.

    His preparation, Artley said, reflects "the purity, provenance, and absolute quality of ingredients, rather than on fanciful technique." And, he buys local.

    Located in the Austrian wine district of Wachau, northwest of Vienna, the Tegernseerhof estate slopes sharply down to the banks of the River Danube. The majority of its wine is Grüner Veltliner (also the grape varietal), a spicy, peppery, white wine with nuances of fruits such as honeydew melon and peach. Mittelbach also produces Riesling and a small volume of Chardonnay, and two red varieties: Blauer Zweigelt and Blauburgur.

    The estate's main stone house was built in 1166. But in the 1960s, Martin's father, alone among area winemakers at the time, switched to all stainless steel fermentation. This more modern technique ironically allowed the traditional character of the grapes to show their varietal character, unencumbered by oaky flavors.

    Spring Rolls

    The Menu
    • Black Diamond Cheddar & Fried Dragon Creek Oyster Biscuit
      Wild Mushroom & Braised Spinach Spring Rolls
      served with
      Tegernseerhof Zweigelt Rosé 2007
      Tegernseerhof Riesling 2006

    • Heirloom Tomato Carpaccio
      Smoked Shallot and Arugula Salad
      Shaved Pecorino and Vibrant Summer Vinaigrette
      served with
      Tegernseerhof T26 Grüner Veltliner 2007

      Wild Mushroom Succotash
    • Amish Goat Cheese and Basil Gnocchi
      Wild Mushroom Succotash & Truffle Froth
      served with
      Tegernseerhof Bergdistel Grüner Veltliner 2006

    • Seared Day Boat Scallops
      Virginia Sweet Corn Risotto & Pea Shot Salad
      served with
      Tegernseerhof Hohereck Grüner Veltliner 2006

    • Indian Summer Fruit Pie
      Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
      served with
      Tegernseerhof Creation Grüner Veltliner 2003

    Winemaker Martin and friends
    Winemaker Martin Mittelbach and friends

    Lessons for 'craft' brewers?

    These days, many craft beer makers are experimenting with oak and other extraneous ingredients. Could Mittelbach's reliance on the grape itself, the prime ingredient of his wine, be an object lesson of sorts for these craft brewers? Likewise, Artley's reliance on fresh ingredients rather than process?

    For centuries, barley malt, hops, pure water, and yeast —that sublime quadrumvirate— served, unencumbered, as the recipe for fine beer. Indeed, there is recent beer scholarship asserting that brewers historically took great lengths to forestall wood flavor in their beers. Not so much today for many U.S. craft brewers who are tossing all sorts of things in their kettles and tanks, and emphasizing oaky flavors.

    Are extraneous ingredients fun? Yes. Are they interesting? Yes. Can they be flavorful? yes. But, as Mittelbach does with winemaking and Artley does with cooking, maybe make them the exception not the rule.

    Stand by your (prime) ingredients.


    Wednesday, September 11, 2013

    Never forget

    9-11-11_Moment of silence

    The 10-year 9/11 commemorations in New York City, as seen on national television, two years ago, 11 September 2011.

    Saturday, September 07, 2013

    Pic(k) of the Week: Grilling Corn with George Foreman

    Grilling Corn with George Foreman (04)

    Not really grilling, more akin to cooking on a griddle: two ears of corn get caramelized on a George Foreman Grill. The corn will taste sweeter than if steamed.
    • Step 1. Remove from husk. De-silk.
    • Step 2. Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and cracked black pepper.
    • Step 3. Set grill to 375 °F. Cover (as tightly as possible, even though the grill will not close entirely), and grill ears for 5 minutes, horizontally (that is, at 90° to the griddle ridges).
    • Step 4. Rotate the ears, turning them vertically aligned with the grill's grooves. Grill another 3 to 5 minutes.
    Sometimes the simplest things are best.


    Thursday, September 05, 2013

    VeggieDag Thursday: Help publish Lucy Saunder's "Dinner in the Beer Garden."

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

    Beer cookbooks usually come in one of two flavors: a collection of recipes that should be served with beer (but don't have to be) and a compendium of recipes using beer as an integral ingredient. Combining both approaches, four of the possibly best beer cookbooks, currently in-print, have been written by one person, Lucy Saunders.

    Now, Chef Saunders has gone and written a fifth. And, she's asking for our help to get it published.

    Dinner in the Beer Garden is my new cookbook about pairing craft beer with plant-based recipes, enjoyed outdoors in gardens and other social spaces. This isn't about traditional biergarten food like ham hocks and bratwurst. It's a cookbook for people who like carrots and kale - as well as butter, fish, cheese and chocolate! Profiles of gorgeous brewery gardens, a chapter on the history and design of beer gardens, and juicy color photographs of recipes turn the book into a tasty read. Recipes are both original and contributed by home cooks and chefs in the craft brewing community.

    Ms. Saunders, to be honest, likes her grilled meats and her barbeque. But she also likes her fresh fruits, herbs, and vegetables. And it's those flora that are the main ingredients of this, her fifth book, Dinner in the Beer Garden.

    It's taken Ms. Saunders 3 years to write this book. For me, a non-animal eater of twenty-two years, Dinner in the Beer Garden sounds as if it'll be quite worth the anticipation. After all, beer isn't just for pizza and schnitzel anymore. As Ms. Saunders writes on her website,, beer itself is food: "in cooking, at the table, and in the glass."

    But the feast isn't quite ready; the book hasn't yet been published. To raise the funds necessary for publication, Ms. Saunders has opened a Kickstarter account. I'm supporting Lucy, and I'm asking you to consider doing so as well. Remember, that, with Kickstarter, even a small donation can make a big difference ... if enough of us contribute.

    Lucy Saunders promises that Dinner in the Beer Garden will be a cookbook for people who love craft beer, who love cooking with fresh produce, and who love sharing meals in sociable garden spaces. She explains that more than 50 recipe testers in home and professional kitchens across the country have tested every one of the more than 100 recipes. She teases with a few titles of the contents: butternut squash and beets salad, roasted corn with chile and Cotija sauce, fresh beet gnocchi, hop-infused grilled cheese and heirloom tomatoes, millet flatbread with Manchego and rosemary, summer rolls with coconut-Sriracha dipping sauce.

    So ... What's not to like? Click on that green button.

    UPDATE: 8 September 2013.
    While I was sleeping, the dream came true - overnight, the cookbook project achieved 101 percent funding! Huzza! Thank you!! I'm thrilled and excited to share Dinner in the Beer Garden both in print and as an ebook. From here on, any extra funding will go toward creating short videos to illustrate techniques and recipes. The wonderful team at Trillium Productions in Evanston will work with me (they produced the video for this kickstarter). Many thanks to all the backers, and look for a personal note from me later today.

    Please continue to share and let people know about this cookbook - and you can learn more about the inspiration for the cookbook by listening to my interview with Lisa Morrison, the Beer Goddess, who hosts the Beer O'Clock radio show on Portland's KXL-FM.

    Thank you! Heading back to work in the beer garden,
    Lucy @lucybeercook


    Monday, September 02, 2013

    Labor Day and 'craft' beer

    Labor Day 2013

    Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

    The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883. In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

    The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday
    [with the bill signed into law by President Grover Cleveland].
    U.S. Department of Labor

    Labor Day may be our national tribute to the contributions of American workers, but it's also the nation's top beer-drinking weekend, maybe fittingly so. In 2011, more than sixty-million cases of beer were sold during the Labor Day holiday period, more than during any other. The Super Bowl, in comparison, came in at the seventh spot. 1

    Nielsen 2011

    During all of 2012, 200,028,520 barrels of beer were sold in the United States. 'Craft' breweries 2 were an important part of that, accounting for 13,235,917 barrels of beer sold, produced by 108,440 laborers. That's 6% of the total beer sold and nearly 1% of the total of 136,038,000 jobs in the U.S.

    On average, American 'craft' breweries employ 43 workers apiece. And, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses of less than 500 employees account for around half the U.S. GDP (gross domestic product) and more than half of the employment in the U.S. 3

    At Capitol: Large crowd of small brewers.

    Congress is taking notice of 'craft' beer's contributions. Mark Warner, U.S. Senator from Virginia, recently became the 32nd Senator to co-sponsor Senate Bill 917, the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act [emphasis mine], in the 113th Congress, joining the area's earlier co-sponsors, Maryland Senators Benjamin Cardin and Barbara Mikulski. 4
    Declaring that “craft beer is ultimately bipartisan,” U.S. Senator Mark Warner [D-Virginia] announced his support for the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act (Small BREW Act – S 917) at a meeting with Virginia small brewers [on 22 August 2013]. Following a tour of Richmond, Virginia's Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, the Senator sat down with a number of Virginia's small brewers to discuss business issues and the opportunities and obstacles they face in what is still a challenging economy. Although Virginia’s craft beer community has seen strong growth, the Senator’s support for the federal small brewer excise tax recalibration legislation underscores the fact that, even amid the excitement and growth in the industry, decreasing the tax burden on these small breweries will ultimately enable them to expand, hire additional employees and reinvest in their businesses to the benefit of their local communities.
    Brewers Association

    Today, take a moment to honor American labor: the engine of American capitalism. And, not to be polyannish, take a moment to consider what the American Labor movement has helped to secure for most American workers —whether unionized or not: the forty-hour work week, the eight-hour day, minimum wage standards, paid vacation, paid health insurance, paid holidays (like today), the weekend, and the abolition of child labor.

    Of course, much remains undone and much has become un-done. As past Secretary of Labor Robert Reich writes, "On Labor Day weekend we should instead be testing the nation’s resolve to provide good jobs at good wages to all Americans who need them, and measuring our credibility by the yardstick of equal opportunity."

    But, back to beer, and, more appropriately on this day, to those who make it.
    Firkin Delivery Man

    Formed in 1876, the National Union of United Brewery Workmen was one of the first unions in the United States. Later known as the International Union of United Brewery, Flour, Cereal, Soft Drink and Distillery Workers, it merged with the Teamsters in 1973. Nowadays, the majority of American 'craft' brewery employees are not union members; the majority of employees at the large foreign-owned 'American legacy' breweries (such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, MillerCoors, etc.) are.

    I was asked recently why I write this blog. My answer had 108,440 reasons: those one-hundred and eight-thousand, four-hundred and forty laborers who work at the 2,483 American-owned 'craft' breweries. Many of them are honoring Labor Day, today, by working: yeast never takes a holiday. I try to honor them by telling their stories.

    You too can honor American 'craft' brewery workers, today, and ever day. It shouldn't be too difficult. Drink a 'craft' beer.