Monday, June 29, 2015

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 20/21, 2015.

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

Weeks 20/21
10 May - 23 May 2015

  • 2015.05.22
    How highly taxed is your beer? State by state map.
    —Via Tax Foundation.
    —More analysis, via YFGF.

  • 2015.05.20
    Islamic State militants swept into the historic desert city of Palmyra in central Syria. The city is home to some of the world’s most magnificent remnants of antiquity; their survival is at risk.
    —Via New York Times.

  • 2015.05.19
    'Craft' beer's pandemic of quality un-control?
    —Via YFGF.

  • 2015.05.16
    International beer conglomerate SABMiller buys London's 2nd largest brewery Meantime Brewing (a 'craft' brewery). Why did Meantime agree to this? Lack of financial resources to expand operations.
    —Via Zythophile.

  • The Raven booth
  • 2015.05.16
    "Beer that is lush and complex but paradoxically easy and approachable." The new age of 'craft' lagers.
    —Via Jeff Alworth at All About Beer.

  • 2015.05.15
    A strengthening El Niño in Pacific offers the potential for drought relief in California this winter.
    —Via Los Angeles Times.

  • 2015.05.15
    In Kentucky: a tale of stolen bourbon cases, high dollar heists, $2,259 bottles of Pappy Van Winkle whiskey, and steroids.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 2015.05.15
    Goodbye, Lucille. B.B. King, the Mississippi-born master of the blues, has died, at age 89.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 2015.05.14
    “Mild is such a rare beast that I wanted to give it it’s own moment in the spotlight.” Alistair Reece, creator of American Mild Month, May 2015.
    —Via All About Beer.

  • 2015.05.12
    Verizon to buy AOL for 4.4 billion dollars. Deal gives largest U.S. wireless carrier access to digital advertising and content-websites such as Huffington Post.
    —Via Forbes.

  • 2015.05.11
    Celebrating American 'craft' beer and its history, 1976 - 2015, during American Craft Beer Week.
    —Via YFGF.

  • 2015.05.11
    The International Trappist Association has approved Tre Fontane, in Rome, Italy, as the world's 11th Trappist brewery. There are now six Trappist breweries in Belgium, two in the Netherlands, and one each in Austria, the U.S.A. and now Italy.
    —Via Brookston.

  • 2015.05.11
    "The current growth trends in the craft beer market – more brewers, more market share, and more hoppy beers – have led some in the industry to worry about the hop supply in the future. Even with thousands of new acres going in and the now widespread usage of hop contracts by craft brewers, there is a fear that growing demand will outstrip supply, particularly in the markets for niche varieties." By 2020, U.S. brewers will need an additional 24 million pounds of hops (primarily aroma varieties).
    —Via Brewers Association.

  • 2015.05.10
    Taxes, not taxonomy: 122 years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Nix v. Hedden, declared the tomato —which is, by nature, a fruit— to be a vegetable.
    —Via Wikipedia.

  • 2015.05.10
    "Stale beer is the brewing industry’s No. 1 technical problem, costing millions of dollars every year. Staling turns beautiful freshly brewed beer into a disappointing soup of blandness punctuated by notes of cardboard, decaying apples, and other unpleasantness."
    —Via Randy Mosher at All About Beer.

  • 2015.05.10
    The term "craft beer" was first used in 1984, by Vince Cottone, a beer columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The New York Times wouldn't bother with the phrase until 1997, and then only occasionally. The history, and co-opting, of the term.
    —Via Stan Hieronymus at All About Beer.

  • 2015.05.10
    “You’re not wanted here!” Americans don't always want 'craft' beer as their neighbor. An upscale Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. blocked a brewpub from opening in its community, while, at the same time, supporting a winery there.
    —Via Washington Post.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Pic(k) of the Week: Brunch with hefeweizen.

Brunch with hefeweizen

Brunch with hefeweizen, at the Great Dane Brewpub, in Madison, Wisconsin (at its Hilldale neighborhood location). Great Dane is a venerable upper midwest 'craft' beer institution. Its original downtown location opened in 1994, and is still thriving.

Pairing food with beer really isn't complicated, and shouldn't be. Just enjoy it (although I would recommend a well-made hefeweizen (as this was) as wonderful refreshment for morning brunch).

Marty Nachel, author of Beer For Dummies, recently wrote a useful guide to beer-with-food-pairing, online at Jollity Magazine (Part I and Part II).
The all-important “Four C’s” of pairing:
  • Calm. To soothe or diminish spicy heat or intense flavors.
  • Cut. To mitigate or minimize richness or fattiness.
  • Contrast. To emphasize dissimilarities such as sweet-and-sour or sweet-and-salty.
  • Complement. To marry common or similar flavors.
There is also a lesser-known “Fifth C” that is somewhat unique to beer (it’s a benefit wine can’t provide): Cleansing plays a default role in beer and food pairing because beer is carbonated. The tingly carbon dioxide bubbles help to scrub the palate of heavy or cloying flavors and keep your taste buds lively.

The photo itself is a blast from the (2009) past.

It was taken on 9 August 2009, the morning after that year's Great Taste of The Midwest. The GTMW is North America's second longest-running 'craft' beer festival, held annually in Madison. This year's iteration is scheduled for 8 August 2015, but has already sold out, as it has every year.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 18/19, 2015.

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

Weeks 18/19
26 April - 9 May 2015

  • 2015.05.08
    Mild Ales are disappearing in the U.K., the land of their birth; but are re-appearing in the U.S.
    —Via Tony Naylor at The Guardian.

  • 2015.05.08
    Remembering VE Day (Victory in Europe). Nazi Germany surrendered to the Allies, today, 70 years ago.
    —Via Wikipedia.

  • 2015.05.08
    Remember the Lusitania! A German U-boat sank the passenger liner 100 years ago today, while the U.S. was still officially neutral. 1,195 died.
    —Via Smithsonian.

  • OCB_spine
  • 2015.05.06
    Since its publication in 2012, the "The Oxford Companion to Beer," has been recognized as a standard reference on beer. For a list of errata (and corrections), go to A Good Beer Blog, compiled there by beer writer, Alan McLeod.

  • 2015.05.05
    Cinco de Mayo: not celebrated much in Mexico, but an excuse for beer-drinking (beer-selling) in the United States. Mexico celebrates its actual Independence Day on 16 September.
    —Via Long Beach Post.

  • 2015.05.01
    He stood by us. Famed R&B singer, Ben E. King, has died at 76.
    —Via The Guardian.

  • 2015.05.01
    After city riots, Baltimore, Maryland's chief prosecutor charged six police officers with a range of crimes including murder and manslaughter in the arrest and fatal injury of unarmed civilian, Freddie Gray.
    —Via New York Times.

  • 2015.04.29
    After a Massachusetts 'craft' brewery complained, the state investigated a Massachusetts 'craft beer' wholesaler, and fined it for illegal 'pay-to-play' practices.
    —Via Boston Globe.

  • 2015.04.29
    Developer ordered to recreate and rebuild historic London pub, the Carlton Tavern, after illegally demolishing it.
    —Via London Evening Standard.

  • Palisade barrels
  • 2015.04.28
    'Craft' breweries find the cost of whiskey barrels has jumped 34% in one year.
    —Via Bryan D. Roth at This Is Why I'm Drunk.

  • 2015.04.28
    One more departing of the before-'craft beer' and early-'craft beer' era. Maurice Coja, erstwhile proprietor of Washington D.C.'s internationally renowned Brickskeller, an emporium that once boasted a menu of over one thousand beers, has died at 83.

  • 2015.04.27
    American 'craft' brewery, Brooklyn Brewing, to operate Norwegian brewery, E.C. Dahls, in collaboration with Denmark-based Carlsberg, fifth largest brewery group in the world.
    —Via Brookston Beer Bulletin.

  • 2015.04.26
    Others have joked about a 'session' Double IPA, an oxymoron. Shmaltz Brewing, of New York, has actually brewed one. It designates its beer "Wishbone," tongue-in-cheek, a "Session Double IPA" ... at 8% alcohol.
    —Via My Beer Buzz.

  • Murky beer
  • 2014.04.26
    "While a little haziness might be forgiven, there is no excuse for beers that look like 'chicken soup.' "
    —Via U.C. Davis Professor Charlie Bamforth, at Tandleman's Beer Blog.


Drinking in the Culture: Tuppers' Guide to Exploring Great Beers in Europe.

It's been over thirty-five years in the making. Bob & Ellie Tupper —long-time observers of the good beer scene in the Washington, D.C. area, reviewers of nearly thirty-thousand beers, and veteran beer-travelers— have just self-published their first book:

Drinking in the Culture:
Tuppers' Guide to Exploring Great Beers in Europe

Bob & Ellie Tupper: "Drinking in the Culture" (02)

Here's how the husband-and-wife describe their three-hundred twenty-four page book:
Drinking in the Culture is the first-ever guide to finding, not just good beer, but good beer places in two dozen of the best cities in the world to drink local beer. Here are gardens, cellars, plazas, and ancient halls, all featuring unique and superb local brews amid the rich history and culture of Europe.

For each of the 24 cities, this versatile guide offers:
  • A quick orientation to the city as you arrive.
  • The history and culture of that city, and how they have affected the local beer culture.
  • A "sixpack," or more, of the best places —brewpubs, gardens, festivals, and breweries— to experience the beer culture of that city and region.
  • Suggestions for hotels and out-of-the-ordinary sights.
  • Day trips and excursions for more good beer.
  • Plus local advice, travel strategies, and tips on getting there, getting around, and staying safe.
Bob Tupper has taught high school history and government for 45 years; Ellie Tupper is a writer and editor for an international scientific society. Since they started taking notes on beers in 1979, their database has grown to over 26,000 entries, and their quest for new brews has taken them all over Europe and the U.S.

The books' website, CultureAlePress, is 'live,' but currently without bells and whistles, and missing an ability to order teh book there. Such will appear soon, the Tuppers tell me, including errata and updates. In the meantime, the book can be purchased on-line, at Amazon, for example, where you should disregard the "Temporarily out of stock". At present, each book is printed to order.

I've just begun reading Drinking in the Culture, and taking a vicarious European beer vacation. A review to follow.

Drinking in the Culture (front cover)


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Pic(k) of the Week: Hermione

Hermione (01)

The French tall sailing ship Hermione visited the Washington, D.C. area, 9-14 June 2015. It is a working full-scale replica of the French 18th century frigate warship that once transported ...
Gilbert du Motier the Marquis de Lafayette to the newly independent United States to meet General George Washington with news of French military aid in 1780 during the American Revolutionary War. It was a Concorde class 32 gun frigate, and participated in the naval blockade of the British, contributing to the defeat of General Cornwallis by Washington and [French Admiral] Rochambeau in the siege of Yorktown, Virginia.

The British captured the Hermione’s sister ship, La Concorde, in 1783. Before putting it into their service, they made a study of the ship, making drawings and plans. These plans were preserved, and formed the basis for the Hermione replica.
Potomac River Sailing Association.

The photo was taken from a vantage point at National Colonial Farm, in Accokeek, Maryland, looking across the Potomac River toward Mount Vernon, Virginia, George Washington's family home.

9 June 2015.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Pic(k) of the Week: The view from the brewhouse (at Key Brewing).

The view from the brewhouse (03)

Key Brewing has been a 5-year project of long-time Baltimore, Maryland, brewer Mike McDonald and restaurant-consultant Spike Owen. Now, their brewery is nearly operational, waiting in a 100,00 square foot building, located near Sparrows Point, just outside of Baltimore.

The view above is from the brewhouse, behind the camera, looking past the fermentation tanks on the left. The brewery occupies only a small portion of the entire building, but has the option to expand into it, when and where needed.

Notice that patriotic color scheme.

Red Brick Station @RFD

And, here's a photo of McDonald, on the left on a dais with emcee Bob Tupper, during a beer tasting in 2012 (December, of course), in Washington, D.C.


Saturday, June 06, 2015

Pic(k) of the Week: Ocelot brewhouse

Ocelot brewhouse

Like shiny steel sentinels, fermentation and maturation tanks line the path to the brewhouse at Ocelot Brewing Company, a production-brewery (that is, not a brewpub) in Sterling, Virginia (a suburb of Washington, D.C.)

The brewhouse is sized at twenty barrels. But in an interesting variation, the mash tun is sized larger, at 25-barrels, to allow for larger malt bills when brewing 'bigger' beers. And Ocelot's beers are indeed 'big' (higher alcohol) and but well-made, especially considering the brewery only recently opened to the public, on 9 April 2015.

But why the name Ocelot Brewing Company? Ocelots are feral cats native to Central and South America, not to Virginia.

The brewery is named not for the animal but for a song of the same name by the band Phish, a favorite of the owner/brewer Adrien Widman. Indeed, the names of the brewery's beers are other song titles or lyrics, such as Lemon Yellow Sun, Tangerine Trees, and My Only Friend, all three of which were on tap the day I visited, 12 April 2015.

Ocelot Brewing Company (facade)