Saturday, February 27, 2016

Pic(k) of the Week: Leaving on a jet plane

First, there was this...

Leaving on a jet plane (01)

Then, a few minutes later, there was this ...

Leaving on a jet plane (02)

It was a 'froggy' morning, that 19 November 2015, my friends, an early, drab day besotted with an insinuating damp that got deep under one's skin, like a slow driver in the fast lane, like a creamed coffee served congealed, like a skunk-stenched beer drunk warm and overpriced at a ballpark, while jet planes, on mist-begotten tarmacs, delivered anew and departed forlorn, as haze fell upon Washington National Airport, obscuring cranes stretched over Washington, D.C. —its capital monuments absent in the gloom— lurking like monstrous shadows across a swollen Potomac River, there and then gone.

Folk of a certain age still wistfully remember this airport with the name of the nation's first president (its original name), rather than that of the fortieth.

Arlington, Virginia.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Victory Brewing and the rise of 'indie' righteousness.

Victory Brewing, a 'craft' brewery in Pennsylvania, was purchased, last week, by Artisanal Brewing Ventures, a consortium consisting of 'craft' brewery Southern Tier Brewing of New York and a private investment company appropriately called Ulysses. According to the (U.S.) Brewers Association, Victory was the 29th largest 'craft' brewery in the U.S. in 2014/15, brewing 141,000 barrels; Southern Tier, the 35th.

ABV is the acronym shorthand 'craft' beer drinkers use when they mean to say alcohol percentage (standing for alcohol-by-volume). And now it's a punny acronym for this new company. With the combined output of its two brewery components, ABV will be the 15th largest 'craft' brewery in the United States, capable of producing 800,000 barrels of beer annually.

Inevitably, however, this new brewery's 'craft'-worthiness will be doubted.

'Craft,' as a tax term (but only as a tax term) means something; as a concept, it has no such certainty. The term 'indie' is now righteously bandied about as its replacement uber-category. But indie' carries no government warning, and it threatens to inflict social-media-mob blood-testing of the 100% purity of a brewing soul.

Like 'craft' before it, an 'indie' beer's marginal purity will be revoked, with 21st-century Puritanical righteousness, if one barrel dares fall past a shifting limit. Sierra Nevada Brewing, to name but one target, might be independent, but it is far too successful to be 'indie.' At least according to the poobahs. Brewery success is disqualification, whereas failure is quixotic crusade. "We salute your brewery corpse as we acclaim the next true 'indie' thing." It's beer as prepubescent hero-worship, rather than beer as (a) good. Enough already. Just say, "beer."

Here's the nub, from Bill Covaleski, co-founder of Victory Brewing, when interviewed by All About Beer:
[Covaleski] spoke about scale, the middle tier of the beer world and the importance to grow and to stay independent. “I don’t want to sound doom and gloomy, but there are big fish swimming in the little fishbowl of craft beer. [...] It’s very easy to look at this and say ‘Ron and Bill got wealthy today,’ but at Victory we are 54 shareholders and they are family and friends. Right now all they get is an annual dividend check for taxes, to look at some stainless steel, and a discount on beer. We worked on this deal to help these people who made Victory a great place have stability. That was a priority for us.”

Not 'indie'-pure? Feh! The roster of excellence at Victory is long. The gorgeous Prima Pils in a 'craft' world awash with one-note hop-bombed ales. The still astounding twenty-year hop-infused Storm King Stout. The decocted malt-depth of Fest (and how many other 'craft' brewers even bother to take the care to decoct their mashes?). And, yes: the hop wham-bams of Hop Devil and DirtWolf.

I congratulate Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski, Washington, D.C./Baltimore-area homeboys made good in Pennsylvania. I wish them well. I exult with them as they receive real reward for real craft.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Congratulations, Jeff Alworth! (and the state of beer blogging in 2016).

Jeff Alworth celebrated the 10th anniversary of his excellent beer blog, Beervana, yesterday, with an analysis of the evolution of the purpose, content, and influence of beer blogs (and blogs, in general) versus that of social media, a decade ago versus the present.
  • The nub:
    Social media does a great job of recreating a virtual water cooler; it's crap at recreating a virtual newspaper. [...] Longer pieces, more thoughtful pieces, analytical pieces--these are what people now go to blogs for.

  • A bigger cut:
    Social media changed the way beer news flows, but not entirely as I expected. It does some things far better than blogs, but--critically--it does some things far, far worse. People no longer go the blogs for discussion. They were never a great medium for that anyway; without a relationship to other commenters, the discussions were often rude or snide, and they often didn't go anywhere.

    With Facebook, we select our discussion partners in advance, so the discussions are more cordial and usually lead somewhere.

    But social media is a terrible place to post longer pieces, especially ones that you want to have lasting valence in the conversation of beer. Something goes on Twitter or Facebook, and it's gone in hours, lost in the miasma of words. Social media does a great job of recreating a virtual water cooler; it's crap at recreating a virtual newspaper.

    So over time blog content has begun to shift. Those who are doing durable, interesting stuff (current faves are folks like Boak and Bailey, Bryan Roth, Kendall Jones, and Good Beer Hunting) are getting eyeballs because we're not finding this on social media.

    (We are also enjoying a new golden age in professional media, though this time in the form of magazines like All About Beer, BeerAdvocate, and Draft Magazine.)

    Social media, desperate for something to discuss, devours good pieces. Three or four years ago, traffic here was nosediving, and I thought social media would destroy blogging. Now my traffic is far higher than its ever been, and it's clear the symbiosis between blogs and social media feeds each. It has meant that content has had to change, though.

    Longer pieces, more thoughtful pieces, analytical pieces--these are what people now go to blogs for.

The Beer Bible (front cover)
Read the entire (longer, more thoughtful, analytical) post at Beervana.

Not only the creator of Beervana, Mr. Alworth is the author of 2015's The Beer Bible, available at Amazon and, as Mr. Alworth suggests, "Your Local Indie" bookseller.

Happy 10th, Mr. Alworth. And best wishes (for you and for us, your readers) for at least ten more years of Beervana.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 5/6, 2016.

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

Weeks 5/6
31 January - 13 February 2016

  • 13 February 2016
    Antonin Scalia, justice on the Supreme Court, whose transformative legal theories, vivid writing, and outsize personality made him a leader of a conservative intellectual renaissance in his three decades on the Supreme Court, dies at 79.
    —Via New York Times.

  • 11 February 2016
    Albert Einstein proven right? Researchers, who make up the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration, detect gravitational waves, coming from two distant black holes merging 1.3 billion years ago. Gravitational waves were predicted by Albert Einstein in 1918, as part of his theory of general relativity. Finding them would confirm a big part of that theory.
    —Via Yahoo News.

  • United States Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
  • 11 February 2016
    The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has, de facto, ruled against grocery retailer giant Kroger. Its proposed Planogram of Excellence scheme would have required any beer and wine supplier that wished to have its products sold in Kroger stores to essentially pay an 'independent' company run by Southern Distribution for the privilege. The TTB's ruling prohibits suppliers from assuming, in whole or in part, any retailer’s purchasing decisions, pricing decisions, and/or shelf stocking decisions that involve a competitor’s products. The ruling raises new questions about what is and isn't permitted.

  • 10 February 2016
    Only two states in the United States still explicitly forbid production breweries from selling beer at their breweries: Georgia and Mississippi.
    —Via YFGF.

  • 10 February 2016
    The launch of the Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa, fifty years ago, in 1966, heralded the onset of the 'boutique' winery era in Napa, California, and the U.S.
    —Via Steve Heimoff.

  • 9 February 2016
    Japan's Asahi Brewery to buy Netherland's Grolsch, Italy's Peroni, and England's Meantime breweries from Anheuser-Busch InBev for $2.87 billion.
    —Via Just Drinks.

  • 9 February 2016
    The Supreme Court temporarily stays the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan to limit carbon emissions. A ruling on the consitutionality of the regulations may not be handed down until 2017.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • CIDER Act passed.
  • 9 February 2016
    Good laws for good apples. Congress passes tax relief for the cider industry: CIDER Act (Cider Industry Deserves Equal Regulation).
    —Via YFGF.

  • 8 February 2016
    Television restaurant consultant, Jon Taffer, says
    Craft beer has created a culture, not a trend. A trend grabs market share and then disappears and gives it back. A culture grabs market share and then keeps it. The craft-beer culture isn’t going anywhere in America. [Then adds] I think that about 60% of craft beer basically sucks. I’ve been to a lot of the facilities. They’re not exactly clean. They’re rookie-run. The problem is that people are now looking at craft beer as an investment opportunity. [...] Over the next two years, half of the craft breweries are going to disappear.
    —Via Cheers Magazine.

  • 8 February 2016
    The American Homebrewers Association takes umbrage with a Budweiser commercial aired during Super Bowl 50. "Relax. Don't worry. Have a homebrew."?
    —Via AHA.

  • 7 February 2016
    189 million Americans watched Super Bowl 50. Sales of beer during the U.S. football championship equalled $583 million.
    —Via YFGF.

  • 4 February 2016
    Edgar D. Mitchell, who became the 6th human to walk on the Moon, during the mission of Apollo 14 in 1971, has died at age 85.
    —Via New York Times.

  • 4 February 2016
    Oregon State University acquires the archives of the late Fred Eckhardt, beer author and "a founding father" of American 'craft' beer.
    —Via Craft Brewing Business.

  • Draft Quality Program (NYSBA)
  • 1 February 2016
    The New York Small Brewers Association implements a Draft Quality Program, the only such statewide 'craft' beer draft quality accreditation program in the United States.
    —Via New York Small Brewers Association.

  • 1 February 2016
    Doctors report that the mosquito-borne Zika virus can also be spread through sexual contact, a troubling new dimension to a once-obscure disease that is spreading explosively in the Americas and is suspected of being linked to thousands of cases of babies born with microcephaly. The term refers to a rare neurological condition in which children have unusually small heads. In many cases, it also means a baby's brain is smaller and may not have developed properly.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 31 January 2016
    Suds-gate. The owner of 'craft' brewery, Ocean City Brewing, in Ocean City, Maryland, has pleaded guilty to a sports memorabilia fraud of $2.5 million.
    —Via The Dagger.

  • Best Beers of 2015 (RateBeer)
  • 31 January 2016
    Online beer rating site, RateBeer, has released its annual tabulation of the 100 best beers, breweries, bars, brewpubs, and beer retailers, worldwide, based upon readers' submissions. For 2015, "more than 300,000 beers from over 18,500 brewers worldwide were tallied."
    —Via RateBeer.


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Pic(k) of the Week: Hop Slam on deck.

Hop Slam on deck

"You call this Hop Slam? You should call it Malt Slam," beer tickers and tsk-tskers jave been indignantly Untappd-tweeting over the brief return visit of the "Double India Pale Ale" from Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

So, what does the 2016 edition Hop Slam taste like?

I tasted aromas and flavors of peach, mango, and tangerine (from, yes, a slam of hops); with a strong honey character (from, yes, honey) and an unctuous body (from, yes, malt); with a long, off-dry, and hopfull (spelling intended) finish; and a lingering buzz (pun intended).

If Larry Bell were to rename the beer Mighty Taste Slam, would that satisfy them?

No? Well, then, they can leave their Hop Slams for me. There aren't many to be had.

Pictured, served on draught, outside, upstairs on a pub deck, during a 60s °F winter afternoon in Atlanta (Little 5 Points), Georgia, on 18 February 2016. The circumstance augmented the experience.
Six different hop varietals added to the brew kettle & culminating with a massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops, Bell's Hopslam Ale possesses the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell's repertoire. Selected specifically because of their aromatic qualities, these Pacific Northwest varieties contribute a pungent blend of grapefruit, stone fruit, and floral notes. A generous malt bill and a solid dollop of honey provide just enough body to keep the balance in check, resulting in a remarkably drinkable rendition of the Double India Pale Ale style.
  • 10% alcohol-by-volume (abv)
  • 70 International Bittering Units (IBUs)
Bell's Brewery


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Pic(k) of the Week: Cheese plate with beer.

Cheese plate with beer

In the foreground:
  • Ossau-Iraty (sheep's milk: Spain)
    Me: Firm paté; grassy and nutty.
  • Cherokee Rose (raw cow's milk: Georgia)
    Me: slightly tangy.
  • Pierre Robert (cow's milk: France)
    Me: luscious triple-crème with hint of mushrooms.
In the background:
  • Pernicious IPA
    (from Wicked Weed Brewing, in Asheville, North Carolina).
    • 7.5% alcohol-by-volume (abv)
    • ?? IBUs (International Bittering Units), but assuming many. *
    • Me: Excellent clarity and good conditioning; juicy, sharply-etched hops; alliaceous hint.
Enjoyed at Porter Beer Bar, in Atlanta, Georgia's Little 5 Points neighborhood, on 11 February 2016.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Stokes' Law!

This was Melanie Krautstrunk's Igneous IPA (6.3% alcohol-by-volume), on draught in the taproom at Hutton & Smith Brewing, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on 30 January 2016.

Stoke's Law!

Me: "How did you get this beer so clear?"

Ms. Krautstrunk: "Time and gravity."

Me: "No filtration?

Ms. Krautstrunk: "No; no filtration. I was patient."

Stokes Law

The rate of sedimentation of an idealized spherical particle in a liquid is directly proportional to the difference in the density of the particle and the liquid medium, the acceleration due to gravity, and the square of the radius of the particle, and inversely proportional to the viscosity of the liquid.

In other words, particles in a liquid settle naturally under the influence of gravity. Left alone for a sufficient amount of time, beer will clarify itself.

Murky is the recourse of the impatient. Beauty is the craft of the brewster.

Hutton & Smith taproom

  • More photos of Hutton & Smith Brewery: here.
  • Description of Stokes Law paraphrased from a Wort & Beer Clarificaton Manual provided by BSG Craft Brewing.
  • For poetic license, I redacted the penultimate sentence after I had first uploaded. ("Murky is the defense of the impatient.") The intent remains the same.

  • For more from YFGF:

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Cider Industry Deserves Equal Regulation! Good laws for good apples.

Due to tax legislation that Congress passed in December 2015 (amending Section 5041(b)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code), cider —of modest alcoholic strength and bubbles— will soon be taxed at low rates similar to beer. Previously, cider could be taxed at much higher rates, at or exceeding those of wine.

Mt. Defiance "Farmhouse Style Hard Cider"

These changes were contained in the CIDER Act, which had been originally introduced in the House of Representatives in 2013 by Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Chris Collins (as the Cider Industry Deserves Equal Regulation Act) as well as in the Senate by Senators Charles Schumer and Patrick Leahy (as the Cider Investment and Development through Excise Tax Reduction Act).
  • Any cider with 7 percent alcohol-by-volume (abv) or up had been taxed at $1.17 per gallon, while any cider at 6.9 percent abv or lower had been taxed at $0.22. Now, with the passage of the CIDER Act, the upper abv limit, for the lower tax rate, will be 8.5%.

  • Any cider containing 6.4 grams per liter of carbon dioxide or fewer (equivalent to 3.25 volumes of CO2, in other words, like a highly carbonated wheat beer or a lightly carbonated champagne) will now NOT be additionally taxed (which had been a nonsensical situation). Above that carbon dioxide level, however, cider will be taxed at $3.30 per gallon. (The prior limit had been much lower, 3.92 grams of CO2 per liter, equivalent to 2.0 volumes, in other words, like a lightly carbonated cask-conditioned ale.)

  • As long as the abv of a pear cider (known as perry), is 8.5% or less, its tax rate will also be decreased, from the wine rate of $1.07 per gallon to the apple cider level of $0.226 per gallon. Above 8.5% abv: $1.17 per gallon. Carbonation will be untaxed, like cider, at or below a level of 6.4 grams CO2 per liter.
The changes take effect in December 2016.

CIDER Act passed.


Monday, February 08, 2016

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 3/4, 2016.

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

Weeks 3/4
17 - 30 January 2016

  • 30 January 2016
    Dram disaster. A single malt scotch shortage is looming, the industry a victim of its own success.
    —Via Wall Street Journal.

  • 28 January 2016
    Paul Kantner, founding member and guitarist for Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship, has died at age 74.
    —Via Rolling Stone.

  • 28 January 2016
    'Session IPA' is NOT 'session' beer.
    • Needed: low-alcohol, layers of flavour, balance, reasonably priced.
      —Via Fuggled.
    • "A simplicity to these beers that belies their depth and balance and makes their drinkability somehow increase as you go from pint to pint during your drinking session."
      —Via Mark Dredge at Pencil and Spoon.

  • 28 January 2016
    Beer production in the United States, 2015 vs. 1980: 94 times as many breweries, producing 7.3% less beer.
    —Via YFGF (on Facebook).

  • NO Beer to Go
  • 27 January 2016
    The Orwellian nature of Georgia beer laws. The state's Department of Revenue agrees to abide by the original intent of legislation, to allow state breweries to sell brewery tours at variable prices based on the kind of beer offered. In return, state breweries agree not to seek redress from the legislature. Georgia and Mississippi remain the only two states in the U.S. that forbid breweries from selling beers to customers in their taprooms
    —Via Georgia Craft Brew Lawyer.

  • 26 January 2016
    Actor Abe Vigoda, known for roles in 'The Godfather' and 'Barney Miller,' has died at 94.
    —Via CNN.

  • 26 January 2016
    A British wine writer interviews a brewer, claims that the ancient Greeks invented barleywine ales.
    —Via Wilson On Wine.

  • 23 January 2016
    Twenty Virginia breweries collaborate in fight against the cancer of a fellow brewery owner, with Kerri's Cure Belgian-style Pale Ale.
    —Via Fritz Hahn at Washington Post.

  • 23 January 2016
    Unseasonably cool weather in California and Arizona causes cauliflower shortage and price spikes.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • NASA map of temperature anomalies in 2015
    compared to the long-term average.
  • 21 January 2016
    2015 is the Earth's hottest year since reporting began in 1850, hotter than 2014, itself a record.
    —Via Guardian.

  • 21 January 2016
    Total U.S. beer production fell by 1.4% in 2015 to 174,721,000 barrels (from (from 177,131,992 barrels in 2014).
    —Via Beer Institute.

  • 20 January 2016
    How many calories in your beer? Four pints of a 6.5% beer would be 1,040 calories, by the way.
    —Via Joe Stange at DRAFT Magazine.

  • 20 January 2016
    In national surveys conducted by the Brewers Association, 67 percent of craft beer drinkers said it was important to them that their beer be locally made, while 61 percent said it was important that the brewery was independent. Meanwhile, the craft category is growing faster than the total beer market, and in 2014 reached a double-digit (11 percent) share of the marketplace by volume.
    —Via [U.S.] Brewers Association at Washington Post.

  • 20 January 2016
    Are 'craft' brewers co-opting 'crafty' methods? Or is it just good business?
    Brew Hub’s founders saw a hole in the craft brewing world five years ago and quickly moved to fill it, building a production facility to help popular small brewers increase their capacity without having to make the capital investment in equipment.
    —Via Fortune Magazine.

  • 18 January 2016
    Oskar Blues (brewer of Dales Pale Ale) packaged and shipped 50,000 cans of filtered, fresh water to residents of Flint, Michigan, who were unable to drink the city's lead-contaminated tap water. The water came from the brewery's new Brevard, North Carolina, location (its original brewery is in Colorado); the cans themselves were donated by the Ball Corporation.
    —Via Denver Post.

  • 18 January 2016
    On Martin Luther King Day, five myths about Martin Luther King, Jr.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 18 January 2016
    Glenn Frey, a founding member and guitarist of the Eagles, one of the most popular and commercially successful artists of the 1970s, dies at age 67.
    —Via Billboard (at Yahoo Music).

  • Sunnyside Farm & Orchard
  • 17 January 2016
    Congress passes the CIDER Act, decreasing excise tax rates on cider and perry, from levels similar to wine to rates closer to beer.
    —Via YFGF.

  • 17 January 2016
    Is it possible to have too many breweries in a given market? Yes, of course, it is possible but I don’t think we have reached that point in even the most mature markets like San Diego and Portland. The main reason for this is the fact that it is not just the supply of craft beer that is growing, the demand itself that is growing dramatically and this growth shows no sign of slowing down.

    —Via Beeronomics.


Don't be a pillock!

Who would've thunk it? Budweiser and the incomparable Dame Helen Mirren collaborating on a brilliant anti-drunk-driving spot aired during Super Bowl 50.

Don't be a pillock!

The commercial opens with Mirren sitting at a table in a restaurant, a burger and fries in front of her. (That's chips for you non-Yanks.) A waiter brings her a bottle of Budweiser, the label turned somewhat from the camera. "Oh, my beer. Lovely," she thanks him. Mirren looks directly toward the camera and says:

Hello. I'm Helen Mirren, a notoriously frank and uncensored British lady.

The collective we are dumbfounded that people still drive drunk. So, I'll sum it up like this.

If you drive drunk, you — simply put — are a shortsighted, utterly useless, oxygen-wasting, human form of pollution, a Darwin award-deserving, selfish coward. If your brain was donated to science, science would return it.

So, stop it.

Now, the chances are you are a fun, solid, respectable human being. Don't be a pillock. Your friends and family thank you; the friends and families of other drivers thank you; your future self thanks you.

This is supposed to be fun. Cheers!

Mirren finishes by holding up a bottle of Budweiser, and slyly whispering: "Nice and cold."

Witty, powerfully direct, and succinct. Mirren did a public service announcement; she did a product placement; she got paid.

But, ah, Dame Mirren! What of Britain's culinary gift to the world? What of 'real ale'? Making fun of 'warm,' 'flat' beer? You know it isn't! And Anheuser-Busch? I saw what you did there. Making fun of less-than-ice-cold 'craft' beer? Clever bastards!


Saturday, February 06, 2016

Pic(k) of the Week: She makes Budweiser here. Maybe.

Anheuser-Busch InBev in Cartersville (01)

There is an Anheuser-Busch InBev beer plant in Cartersville, Georgia, one of twelve Budweiser breweries that the international conglomerate operates in the United States.

Opened in 1993, the site comprises 1,700 acres, with a total plant floor area of 900,000 square feet. Its annual capacity is eight million barrels per year.

A barrel is not a keg. It's a unit of volume measurement equal to exactly 31 gallons or approximately 13.78 cases of beer. In one year, therefore, the Cartersville plant puts out the equivalent of one hundred ten million, two hundred twenty-two thousand, two hundred twenty-two cases of beer (110,222,222).

To take pictures, I only made it as close as Busch Drive in front of the brewery. Anheuser-Busch InBev says that it does not offer public tours here (but does so at five other of its plants). Or maybe it does.

According to The Chattanoogan, A-B did indeed offer limited public tours at Cartersville in 2015, the first time ever at that plant. And, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution stated in a February 2016 story that tours will again be offered this year, although its reporter only offered a link to a story from 2015 about a series of tours which apparently were conducted at different days than the Chattanoogan had reported. Byzantine Budweiser!

Who makes the beer there? Depending on which link you access, the plant's current brewmaster is either Dan Kahn, Travis Moore, or Sarah Schilling.

I'll go with Sarah.

Budweiser Cartersville plant (panoramic view)

As seen on 31 January 2016, near exit 296 (Cassville-White Road) off Interstate 75, outside of Cartersville, Georgia.


Friday, February 05, 2016

The Session: Beer Blogging Friday. Barleywine, for when it snows.

Session 108: Snowed In! The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community, begun in March of 2007 by Stan Hieronymus of Appellation Beer and Jay Brooks of the Brookston Beer Bulletin.

On the first Friday of every month, a pre-determined beer blogger hosts The Session: Beer Blogging Friday. He or she chooses a specific, beer-related topic, invites all bloggers to write on it, and posts a roundup of all the responses received. For more information, or to sign up as a host, go to the home page.

Jon Abernathy is the author of Bend Beer: A History of Brewing in Central Oregon, and the writer of The Brew Site, a blog on "all things beer and brewing. Based in Bend, Oregon, there is of course a strong Oregon beer focus."

For the 108th iteration of The Session: Beer Blogging Friday, Mr. Abernathy is the host. He has asked bloggers to blog on "Snowed In!":

  • What style(s) of beer do you prefer for this cold weather? Open one up and write about it.
  • Do you dip into the stash or cellar, and drink something special? Does the occasion warrant it? Why, or why not?
  • When you know the weather’s coming, do you stock up on a favorite or go-to beer? What makes you pick this particular beer?
  • Are you a homebrewer? Maybe this is the perfect time for a brew day—what would you brew? Have you brewed in the snow before?
  • Alternatively, perhaps you have a hodge-podge of brewing ingredients lying around but nothing definitive—could you MacGyver up a homebrewed beer from only what you have on hand?
  • Imagine you were snowed in at a cabin in the mountains for the winter. What one beer would you want with you, and why? (Think “desert island beer” but colder.)
  • There’s plenty of time to catch up on reading; what beer book(s) would you read? If not a beer book, what would you be reading—and what beer would you pair with it?

I don't remember now if it were snowing that evening in November 1993 in Arlington, Virginia. But it might as well have been. It was a very cold night.

My friend and I had just finished watching a screening of Tim Burton's A Nightmare Before Christmas. We stepped out of the comfort of the movie theater, and a vicious wind unwelcomingly insinuated itself despite the leather of our jackets and the tight wrap of our scarves.

"Let's duck into Bardo," my friend said.

A block from the movie theater, located within a former Chevrolet dealership, the cavernous Bardo Rodeo was the first brewpub (and, at the time, only) to operate in Arlington, a suburb of Washington, D.C.

Bardo Rodeo

Cold as we were, we knew that no brown ale, IPA, nor even a stout would suffice. Ah, but my friend did know the anodyne. "What barleywines do you have?" she asked.

"We don't have barley wines," the tattooed bartender informed us. "But," she added, with just a tincture of haughtiness, "we do have red and white wines."

Looking at the taps behind the bartender, my friend replied, "Well then, I'll have that Sierra Nevada Bigfoot BARLEYWINE you have on tap ... right there."

Nonplussed, the bartender acquiesced, and poured us two. My friend and I were soon warm and content.

Barleywine, big and boozy... for when it snows.

Street and man



Upon further consideration, as NFL officials are wont to say, maybe it was Anchor Brewing's Old Foghorn that was on tap at that night Bardo Rodeo. (Northern Virginians were fortunate to have that original 'craft' American barleywine on draft.) But the conversation at the bar, as written, did indeed occur; draft barleywine was indeed drunk. At least, I think it was. Two decades and 9% alcohol beer can have that effect.


Thursday, February 04, 2016

#VeggieDag Thursday: Superbowl 50.

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

In Santa Clara, California, this Sunday, it's a Super Bowl so momentous, that the National Football League has abandoned its Roman numeral scheme, and designated it "50." It's young quarterback, Cam Newton —probably the NFL's MVP for the 2015 season— versus Peyton Manning —the 'old guard', one of the league's all-time great quarterbacks. And, oh yes, it's the Carolina Panthers (based in Charlotte, North Carolina) of the National Football Conference versus the Denver Broncos of the American Football Conference.
The First AFL-NFL World Championship Game in professional American football, known [only] retroactively as Super Bowl I, was played on January 15, 1967, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. The National Football League (NFL) champion Green Bay Packers defeated the American Football League (AFL) champion Kansas City Chiefs by the score of 35–10.

Super Bowl 50 (logo)

The game is its own mini-economic stimulus, quantitative feasting. Nearly one hundred eighty-nine million Americans 1 are expected to watch. During the day, they will consume: 2
  • 1.3 billion chicken wings
  • 139.4 million pounds of avocados
  • 8 million pounds of popcorn 3
  • $277 million in sales of cheese 4
  • $140.2 million dollars worth of potato chips
  • $93 million dollars of crackers
  • $90.8 million of unflavored nuts
  • $20.1 million of tortilla chips
  • $5.1 million of vegetable trays
  • $4.9 million of tater tots
And beer?

It's the number one product by far, expected to generate $583 million in sales (including the week leading up to the game). 5

Happy drinking (be safe!); here's some good eating (be veggie!).

Premium Ale & vegetarian Bánh mì (02)


  • Vegan Bánh mì
    — Via Kindred Kitchen.
  • Veggie Burgers 6
  • Vegan Beer Chili with beans
    — Via YFGF.
  • Kepta Duona (Lithuanian-style fried garlic-rye-bread strips).
    — Via YFGF.
  • Dip with:
  • Vegan Cheese Stix (Daiya cheese).
    — Via Vegan Zombie.
  • Cauliflower Hot Wings
    — Via Evolve Vegan.
    You might have a problem with this. Cold weather in the growing regions of California and Arizona has caused a cauliflower supply shortage; prices have soared.
    — Via Wall Street Journal.
  • Dip with vegan ranch dressing (cashews).
    — Via Uncooked 101.
  • Go fancy; go English. (Do they watch the Super Bowl?). How to make The Perfect Tea Sandwich, with thinly sliced radishes, a light spread of curried egg salad, or the classic cucumber.
    — Via Food & Wine.
  • Curried Tofu 'Egg' Salad for the tea sandwiches.
    — Via Happy Herbivore.
UPDATE: Peyton Manning secured the second Super Bowl triumph of his legendary career, in his fourth, and probably, final appearance. The Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers, 24-10, to win Super Bowl 50.