Monday, May 29, 2017

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 19/20, 2017.

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

Weeks 19/20
7 May- 20 May 2017

  • 18 May 2017
    Consolidation of traditional "twiggy brown bitter" breweries continues apace in the UK, as Marston's purchases Charles Wells.
    Marston’s is acquiring the Charles Wells Brewing and Beer Business for £55 million [$70.4 million dollars] and loose change (or “working capital adjustments”), at a pretty conservative 5.5 times EBITDA, adds another five historic old brewery names, Courage, McEwans, Young’s, William Younger’s, and Wells, to a portfolio that already reads like the line-up at a quite good small beer festival circa 1990: Marston’s itself, Banks’s, Jennings, Thwaites, Ringwood, Wychwood, Brakspear, Mansfield, Mitchells (with Lancaster Bomber), and, if you include beers Marston’s brews under licence, Bass and Tetley.
    —Via Martyn Cornell, at Zythophile.

  • 18 May 2017
    Chris Cornell, a key figure in the grunge rock movement as the lead singer in the seminal Seattle, Washington-band Soundgarden, died in Detroit, Michigan, after a concert, at age 52.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • Peter Bouckaert signs book
  • 18 May 2017
    Peter Bouckaert —for 21 years the brewmaster for New Belgium Brewing in Colorado, USA, and, before that, for Rodenbach in Belgium— is leaving New Belgium to open Purpose Brewing and Cellars, a brewery and coffee-house in Colorado. While at New Belgium, Bouckaert launched its sour barrel-aging program well before the current 'sour' movement in 'craft' beer. He is the co-author (with Dick Cantwell) of "Wood & Beer: A Brewer's Guide." In 2013, the [U.S.] Brewers Association awarded him its "Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Craft Brewing" in recognition of his achievements in and contributions to the art and science of 'craft' brewing.
    —Via Porch Drinking.

  • 17 May 2017
    The Department of Justice's Deputy Attorney General, Rod J. Rosenstein, appoints Robert S. Mueller III, a former F.B.I. director, as special counsel to oversee the investigation into ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials and whether and how Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. A special counsel can only be fired for cause. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself.
    —Via New York Times.

  • 17 May 2017
    The [U.S.] Brewers Association has released the 2017 edition of its Beer Style Guidelines (which it first created in 1979).
    The Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines are compiled for the Brewers Association (BA) by Charlie Papazian, copyright 1993 through and including 2017, with Style Guideline Committee assistance and review by Paul Gatza, Chuck Skypeck, Chris Swersey and suggestions from Great American Beer Festival® and World Beer Cup℠ judges. [...] It is very difficult to consistently align analytical data with perceived character. It is also very difficult to consistently align written beer descriptions with analytical data and perceived character.
    —Via [U.S.] Brewers Association.

  • American Craft Beer Week 2017
  • 15 May 2017
    American Craft Beer Week —organized by the [U.S.] Brewers Association for the twelth consecutive year— runs 15-21 May 2017.
    —Via YFGF.

  • 15 May 2017
    The U.S. State Department has accused the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad of torturing and executing between 5,000 and 13,000 people in its Sednaya prison from 2011 to 2015. Many of the bodies are then burned in the crematorium "to cover up the extent of mass murders taking place," said Stuart Jones, the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East, accusing President Bashar Assad's government of sinking "to a new level of depravity."
    —Via New York Times.

  • 14 May 2017
    The Moving Pictures Experts Group Audio Layer III —aka mp3— is dead. The Fraunhofer Institute —in Germany— which has held the patents announced in April that it was ending its licensing program. mp3 —developed by the Moving Pictures Group consortium in 1991— is a technology that allows a music or audio file to be compressed down into a very small amount of space but with consequent loss of musical information. So, long live vinyl, or, at the very least, Advanced Audio Coding, aka the AAC format.
    —Via Gizmodo.

  • 12 May 2017
    Georgina "George" Young became head brewer for Fuller's Brewery, in London, England, in 1999, the first female head brewer in Fuller’s 172-year history.
    We have a saying here at Fullers: You don’t really appreciate how good London Pride is until you’re on about your third pint.
    —Via Washington City Paper.

  • 12 May 2017
    French vs. U.S. oak in wine:
    The finish is the memory of the wine. American oak is aggressive and has a large impact on the wine. It adds coconut and dill flavors, which can mask underripe, vegetal flavors in the wine. If the finish is rough and bitter, that’s what you remember. French oak knits the fruit together, orchestrating the flavor statement so it is round and soft, and the finish is supple.
    —Via Rob Davis, winemaker, Jordan Vineyard & Winery, (at Washington Post).

  • 10 May 2017
    How could Anheuser Busch's takeover of SABMiller affect 'craft' brewers? Squeeze hop supply, as it's doing with South African hops.
    —Via DRAFT.

  • 10 May 2017
    Standards of good service —and instruction in them— are badly needed at many of America's brewpubs and 'craft' beer bars. [For an anecdote, see the embedded tweet below.]
    The Brewers Association (BA) is pleased to announce that Tim Brady of Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery [Brattleboro, Vermont] has been appointed as the first Beer Server Training Manual instructor. Brady will work with BA staff to create a training program based on techniques from the Brewpubs committee’s Beer Server Training Manual, with a goal of highlighting the free resource and the importance of staff training. [...] Brady is an active member of the [BA's] Brewpubs Committee, a strategist with a Vermont marketing firm, and an instructor for the University of Vermont Business of Craft Beer program."
    —Via U.S. Brewers Association.

  • 10 May 2017
    More pay-to-play discovered in Massachusetts beer industry. Last time, it was a craft beer distributor. Now, it's (surprise?) an Anheuser-Busch wholesaler.
    A 14-month investigation by the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) into a wholly owned Anheuser-Busch wholesaler has resulted in charges that the beer distribution company illegally provided nearly $1 million in free equipment to retailers, according to the Boston Globe, who first reported the story.
    —Via Brewbound.

  • 9 May 2017
    President Trump fires FBI Director James B. Comey, citing the recommendation of senior Justice Department officials who said he had treated Hillary Clinton unfairly and in doing so damaged the credibility of the FBI and the Justice Department.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • What is quality beer?
  • 9 May 2017
    What is a 'quality' beer? Here's how the [U.S.] Brewers Association defined it, during a panel discussion by its Quality Subcommittee at the 2017 Craft Brewers Conference.
    A beer that is responsibly produced using wholesome ingredients, consistent brewing techniques, and good manufacturing practices, which exhibits flavor characteristics that are consistently aligned with both the brewer's and beer drinker's expectations.
    —Via YFGF.

  • 8 May 2017
    The Governor of Georgia signs Georgia Senate Bill 85 into law. Among other things, the bill allows Georgia breweries and distilleries to sell their products directly to consumers in their taprooms. The law won't take effect until 1 September. A similar law in Mississippi takes effect 1 July.
    —Via Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

  • 7 May 2017
    Emmanuel Macron, a thirty-nine-year-old former investment banker who had never held elected office, wins France’s presidential election, defeating the staunch nationalist Marine Le Pen by a margin of 66 to 34 percent; his call for centrist change preferred by French voters to Le Pen's far-right and nationalist messages.
    —Via CNN.


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: ASBC Hot Steep Malt Sensory Method

ASBC Hot Steep Malt Sensory Method (demonstrated by Craft Maltsters Guild)

The Craft Maltsters Guild was there at the recent Craft Brewers Conference in Washington, D.C., demonstrating the new Hot Steep Malt Sensory Method of the American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC).

At the Guild's booth, Jessica Johnstone of Grouse Malting (of Colorado) was kind enough to explain the process to me.
This is a demo of the ASBC Hot Steep Malt Sensory Method. It was published about a year ago. A lot of our malthouses have found it very beneficial for a multitude of purposes including brand development or quality control. Essentially, it's a hot steeped malt tea, filtered. Maltsters use it to identify aromas, tastes, flavors, and mouthfeel. Brewers can as well. We're looking for each batch of malt to taste the same, so we can market it as the same product. If there's an outlier, it's something we have to address.

A valuable test —developed by scientists Cassie Liscomb of Briess Malt & Ingredients and Lindsay Barr of New Belgium Brewing, it's a surprisingly uncomplicated procedure, using a coffee grinder and Thermos bottle, filter paper and jars. No expensive equipment needed, 'craft' brewers and maltsters.

"May I taste the samples," I asked Johnstone. "They're grainy and malty," she forewarned me.

"I've known only one brewer only who didn't like the taste of wort," I replied. "These samples are delicious."


Thursday, May 25, 2017

"Ice cold beer lacks the exhilarating effect."

The Wahl-Henius Institute was a brewing research laboratory and school in Chicago that operated between 1886 and 1921. Founded in 1886 by Dr Robert Wahl and Dr Max Henius as the Wahl & Henius, the name was changed to the Scientific Station for Brewing of Chicago and then to the Institute of Fermentology before becoming the Wahl-Henius Institute. Its educational division, the American Brewing Academy, was created in 1891. The school and laboratory operated successfully until Prohibition, when the near dissolution of the brewing trade forced its closure and sale to the American Institute of Baking, which retains the nucleus of the Wahl-Henius library.

The Wahl-Henius Handy Book of Brewing, Malting and the Auxillary Trades, coauthored by Wahl and Henius [in 1901], is a comprehensive and wide-ranging view into American brewing [of the time]. It also contains basic chemical analyses of many contemporary American and European beers, providing an unusually valuable window into the brewing past.
—Randy Mosher ( Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine).

After the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, Robert Wahl and his son, Arnold Spencer Wahl, re-opened the school, but without Max Henius. In 1937, they published Beer From the Expert's Viewpoint, "the first book of what was intended to be a four-volume set designed to educate a new generation of American brewmasters." The elder Wahl died later that year and the school would close soon thereafter.

In 2014, BeerBooks (of Cleveland, Ohio) reprinted Beer From the Expert's Viewpoint. The copyright remains in the family, held now by Roger Wahl.

Beer From the Expert's Viewpoint


Ice cold beer has no flavor or taste.

Among much that is fascinating (and much still valid) in the Wahls' book, here is some "exhilarating" wisdom it imparted. Eighty years on, this advice is often disdained.
Ice cold beer has no flavor or taste. The intense cold does not permit the natural flavor of the beer to become volatile and only what is volatile can be discerned as a flavor. The intense cold benumbs the taste nerves and consequently, the taste of such beer is insipid.

When a stein of beer is taken in one gulp, as is often done, it lies in the stomach like ice, chilling the nerves of the stomach that control digestion. The beer remains ice cold in the stomach until it is gradually warmed up sufficiently so that the digestive processes can begin.

The brewer, in order to have his beer effervesce properly even though ice cold, charges the beer too heavily with carbonic gas, so that, when the beer finally warms up in the stomach, it gives off this surplus gas rapidly, causing bloating or belching. Of course, this beer lacks the exhilarating effect.

Heed that advice. Protect yourself and your beer. Prevent bloating and belching. Don't drink beer ice-cold. Don't be insipid. Be exhilarated.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pic(k) of the week: Brewers Walt Dickinson & Nathan Zeender (and ...)

Brewers Walt Dickinson & Nathan Zeender

Mixed fermentation of wild and sour beers was the topic of a discussion "between two [three] powerhouses of funk": * Brewpub Right Proper hosted the seminar on 11 April 2017, during the week that the [U.S.] Brewers Association had travelled to Washington, D.C, to host its Craft Brewers Conference in Washington, D.C.

Almost one month later, to the day, Wicked Weed was purchased by Anheuser-Busch InBev. And many 'craft' drinkers (and brewers) cried foul. Did they believe that all that had been discussed that evening now had been transmuted into "alternative facts"?

A more thoughtful reaction was this from a brewer, said recently to me over beers: "It makes me sad."


Monday, May 15, 2017

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 17/18, 2017.

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

Weeks 17/18
23 April- 6 May 2017

  • 5 May 2017
    Anheuser-Busch InBev is buying 'craft' breweries in order to reduce Budweiser's "impairment charge," that is, reduce the price-on-shelf difference between its Budweiser brands and 'craft' beers.
    —Via Good Beer Hunting.

  • 5 May 2017
    Once again, U.S. 'craft' brewers toss a b*tt-load of hops into a European beer style, and claim kinship. No! It's not a pilsner; it IS a hoppy lager.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 3 May 2017
    The story of how Georgia's oldest extant brewpub, Max Lager (1998), is reviving the state's first 'craft' beer, brewed by Helenbock Brewery (1990-1997).
    —Via Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

  • 4 May 2017
    In 2015, Heineken N.V. purchased 50% of California 'craft' brewery Lagunitas Brewing Company. On 4 May 2017, Heineken completed the aquisition, buying all of the remaining shares. Tony Magee, the founder of Lagunitas, will remain as Executive Chairman of the brewery, which will continue to operate as an independent entity within the Heineken Americas Region.
    —Via Heineken.

  • 3 May 2017
    MegaBrew still hungry. Anheuser-Busch InBev purchases Asheville, North Carolina-based 'craft' brewery Wicked Weed Brewing. The brewery joins the other formerly independent 'craft' brewery members of ABIB's "The High End" division: Goose Island Brewery (purchased 2011), Blue Point (2014), 10 Barrel (2014), Elysian (2015), Golden Road (2015), Four Peaks (2015), Breckenridge (2015), Devils Backbone (2016), and Karbach Brewing Company (2016).
    —Via BeerPulse.

  • Craft brewing produced 128,768 jobs in 2016
  • 1 May 2017
    Happy May Day to all those Americans —all 128,768 of them— who work daily to make 'craft' beer.
    —Via Brewers Association (minus the May Day message).

  • 1 May 2017
    Throughout the United States, throughout the month of May, it's the third annual American Mild Month.
    —Via American Mild Month.

  • 1 May 2017
    President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue remove healthy nutritional standards for 31 million school children's lunches, breakfasts.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 29 April 2017
    The thawing of the Arctic is occurring faster than once expected, threatening environmental catastrophe.
    Atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has now reached 400 parts per million (ppm), up from 280ppm three centuries ago; the Earth is on average 1 ºC hotter than in pre-industrial times. [...] Even if the Paris agreement is implemented in full, the Arctic will warm by between 5ºC and 9ºC above the 1986-2005 average over the Arctic ocean in winter. [...] The thaw is happening far faster than once expected. Over the past three decades the area of sea ice in the Arctic has fallen by more than half and its volume has plummeted by three-quarters. SWIPA [“Snow, Water, Ice, Permafrost in the Arctic,” a report produced under the auspices of the Arctic Council] estimates that the Arctic will be free of sea ice in the summer by 2040. Scientists previously suggested this would not occur until 2070. [...] The dead plants and animals in Arctic permafrost hold about half the world’s carbon stored in soil. As this organic matter thaws it decays, releasing carbon dioxide and methane, another powerful greenhouse gas, and insulating the planet still further.
    —Via The Economist.

  • 26 April 2017
    To survive, Boston Beer Company (brewer of Samuel Adams beers, etc.) must begin to aggressively acquire other, smaller 'craft' breweries.
    Rather than complaining about A-B and other big brewers buying up their craft brethren, more consolidation actually needs to occur. The industry -- and Boston Beer -- is a victim of its own success. The growth and proliferation has attracted even more brewers to the space, and that's diluting everyone's results, big or small. Instead of having a shakeout occur where large numbers of small brewers fail, allowing them to be purchased by bigger ones would be better. Boston Beer might do better for itself and the industry if it began acquiring small craft brewers instead of saying the government ought to make it harder for Anheuser-Busch to do so.
    —Via Motley Fool.

  • 29 April 2017
    President Trump and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt scrub mention of climate change from EPA website.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 27 April 2017
    The American Malting Barley Association (AMBA) has concerns regarding an article appearing in Politico about a possible US withdrawal from NAFTA. Of the $285 million (2012-2016 average) in exports of barley, malt, and other processed products, approximately 63% goes to Mexico and with another 21% to Canada. This is in addition to all the beer and distilled beverages that are traded between the countries. There are also imports of malting barley and malt from Canada that could be impacted. Whether or not this is a bluff, such rhetoric in itself can be damaging to our supply chain.
    —Via YFGF (Facebook)
    As posted to the Brewers Association Brewers Forum (but not necessarily the view of the Brewers Association).

  • 25 April 2017
    For the first quarter of 2017, tax-paid shipments from all U.S. breweries were down 3.4% over the same period in 2016: 1,393,534 fewer barrels shipped this year than in the first quarter of 2016. To illustrate further: If U.S. breweries had shipped all of that only as cases of twenty-four 12-ounce bottles or cans, they would have shipped NINETEEN MILLION, ninety-one thousand, four hundred and sixteen FEWER cases out of their loading docks than during January through March of last year.

    In defense of 2017, there was one fewer day in the first quarter of this year than last year, a leap year. Thus, this February comprised 28 days rather than the 29 of 2016. Doing the math, that means that 1.1% (-15,329 barrels) of 2017's first-quarter shortfall could be blamed on the shorter month. Adjusting for that, the shortfall between the first quarter of 2017 and 2016 would be 1,378,205 barrels. Still, a not insubstantial shortfall.
    —Commentary via YFGF, at Facebook.
    —Data via Beer Institute.

  • 25 April 2017
    Is sour beer too…sour?
    A lot of people bring us samples of sour beer, and it’s tough to drink some of them. I think we’re at the point with sour beers like we were 10 years ago with IPAs, where people were just trying to make the most bitter beer.

    For me, too sour is this: If I can’t comfortably drink a full 13-ounce pour of a beer, and the acidity is at a level where I’m not enjoying it by the end, that’s too much.
    —Via DRAFT Magazine.

  • 24 April 2017
    An Oregon hops grower/supplier finds that U.S. craft breweries are gravitating away from the American craft mainstay hop, Cascade.
    —Via Craft Brewing Business.


Pay it forward during American Craft Beer Week

Beer It Forward: American Craft Beer Week 2017

"Beer it forward," the [U.S.] Brewers Association is encouraging 'craft' beer drinkers this week.

Today through Sunday, from 15-21 May 2017, it's American Craft Beer Week, and the BA —the organization which represents "small and independent" American breweries— is urging Americans to double-support those breweries this week. That is, buy a 'craft' beer for oneself and another for someone else.

For the twelfth consecutive year, small and independent brewers across all 50 states will be participating in American Craft Beer Week (ACBW), May 15-21. In the spirit of America’s craft beer culture, camaraderie, and collaboration, beer lovers everywhere are encouraged to #beeritforward and share a craft beer.

Presented by—the beer lover site published by the [U.S.] Brewers Association—American Craft Beer Week celebrates America’s 5,300 small and independent brewers through a host of events encouraging beer enthusiasts everywhere to engage in simple acts of craft beer kindness.

“Small, independent brewers are known for their commitment to their communities. They beer it forward year-round through grassroots initiatives and charity work that in turn have a significant impact on our local economies,” said Julia Herz, publisher of and craft beer program director at the Brewers Association. “This American Craft Beer Week, we invite the beer-loving public to embrace the theme, and find ways to ‘beer it forward’ as part of the fun.”

American Craft Beer Week 2017

To help beer lovers make the right sharing choices, put together a handy chart to guide them through the expansive selection process. has you covered, simplifying the decision making into a few easy to follow steps.

New this year, will team up with Geeks Who Drink, a pub trivia organization, to incorporate ACBW into trivia at more than 800 locations across the country. Do not be intimidated to play, Geeks Who Drink is for all levels of beer knowledge and enjoyment. From Monday to Thursday, there will be one round of Pub Trivia dedicated to ACBW. Participating locations can be found on the Quiz Schedule.

Find a brewery to celebrate near you with’s Brewery Finder, join the conversation on Twitter with #beeritforward and #ACBW and look for updates on the Facebook page and find ways to celebrate on the official ACBW calendar.

The cynic in me could see a ploy to double the sales of member breweries this week, however well-intentioned. So, to 'beer it forward,' I suggest that a 'craft' beer drinker go ahead and purchase the beer(s) of a local brewery (or breweries) this week (and maybe even for the stranger sitting at the next barstool) but then, instead, 'pay it forward.' Donate a dollar or more to charity for every beer she does buy.

I choose option B.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: Child & mother.

Child & mother

Tomorrow is "Mother's Day," observed due to the efforts of a 19th and 20th-century social reformer and peace advocate.
Anna Reeves Jarvis (1864-1948) was a social activist of the 19th and early 20th centuries. A close friend of Julia Ward Howe, Jarvis was the first female literary and advertising editor for Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company.

In 1905, after the death of her mother, Jarvis began a campaign to make Mother's Day a recognized holiday in the United States. The day was first celebrated in the U.S. in 1908, when Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew's Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia.

In 1908, the U.S. Congress rejected a proposal to make Mother's Day an official holiday. But, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother's Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers.
Wikipedia [accessed 13 May 2017].

Later in life, Jarvis became perturbed by the commercialization of the day's observance.
A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.

Child & Mother
Small sculpture by Klara Sever, ~1990s.
Klara Sever was born in 1935 in Slovakia, Czechoslovakia (neé Klara Klein). She studied at the School of Art and Design and at the Comenius University in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia [now Slovakia]. She worked as a sculptor and restorer on some of Czechoslovakia’s most beautiful baroque castles, and also designed new architectural sculpture for the interior of the National Theater.

She and her family were able to gain release from a Nazi concentration camp during WWII, remaining in hiding for the remainder of the war. During the Soviet occupation of the late 1960s, she and her husband were able to escape to Austria.

Since immigrating to the United States, Mrs. Sever has dedicated all her time to sculpting.She has exhibited in Washington at the Marlboro Gallery, the Art Barn, the Gallery House and the George Meany Center. She has received awards at the National Small Sculpture Competition.

In New York, she exhibited with the Jack Gallery in Soho, Best of Woman art and at juried shows at Pen & Brush. Her originals, as well as her reproductions, can be found in numerous private collections in Europe and the United States. Her bronze relief of one of the founders of the Czechoslovak Republic hangs in the American Embassy in Prague.
National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library.


Saturday, May 06, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: Hydrangea begins to bloom.

Hydrangea begins to bloom

Saturdays, here, it's usually a photo of a beer or a brewery (or wine, whiskey, but not song). Today, on the other hand, the Pic(k) of the Week is of a blooming hydrangea.

Hydrangea (or hortensia) is a genus of 70–75 species of flowering plants native to southern and eastern Asia (China, Japan, Korea, the Himalayas, and Indonesia) and the Americas. By far the greatest species diversity is in eastern Asia, notably China, Japan, and Korea. Most are shrubs 1 to 3 meters tall, but some are small trees, and others lianas reaching up to 30 m (98 ft) by climbing up trees. They can be either deciduous or evergreen, though the widely cultivated temperate species are all deciduous.

And, here, from the website of the United States National Arboretum (that is, before budget cuts take it down):
While there are approximately 23 species of Hydrangea, only five are widely cultivated in the U.S. The most popular species is Hydrangea macrophylla, which is commonly known as bigleaf, French, garden or florist’s hydrangea. This Japanese native is rated as hardy to USDA cold-hardiness zone 6. It produces large inflorescences of white, pink or blue flowers in early summer. As with most other Hydrangea species, the inflorescence is composed of a combination of large, showy and small, inconspicuous flowers. In mophead, or Hortensia, (H. macrophylla var. macrophylla) cultivars, many showy flowers are arranged on the outside of the rounded inflorescence. On the interior of the inflorescence, a few small flowers are present; these are the flowers that produce seed.

And, finally, here, from The Farmer's Almanac:
With immense flower heads, hydrangeas flaunt an old-fashioned charm that is hard to resist. Colors also beguile with clear blues, vibrant pinks, frosty whites, lavender, and rose—sometimes all blooming on the same plant! The colors of some hydrangeas—especially mophead and lacecap—can change color based on the soil pH, which affects relative availability of aluminum ions. Acidic soils with a pH of less than 5.5 produce blue flowers; soils with a pH greater than 5.5 produce pink flowers. White flowers are not affected by pH. Unrivaled in the shrub world, these elegant ladies are easy to cultivate, tolerate almost any soil, and produce flowers in mid-summer through fall (when little else may be in bloom). Hydrangeas are excellent for a range of garden sites from group plantings to shrub borders to containers.

I took this image at 5:53 pm, on 30 April 2017, in the garden of a house in southeast Atlanta, Georgia, using a 'fast lens' on a Micro Four Thirds-format mirrorless digital camera.
  • Camera: Olympus Pen E-PL1
  • Lens: Olympus M.45mm F1.8
  • ISO: 200
  • Shutter speed: 1/400
  • Aperture: f/2.0
  • Focal length: 45 mm
    (equivalent to DSLR range of 90 mm)

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

May is Mild.

American Mild Month

Throughout the United States, throughout the month of May, it's American Mild Month.

An American Mild Ale is NOT over-alcohol'd; nor spiced or sour; nor an IPA.

It IS "a restrained, darkish ale, with gentle hopping and a clean finish so that the malt and what hops are present, shine through," 4.5% alcohol-by-volume or less.

An American Mild Ale is a 'session' 'craft' ale, thank you. And I think I'd like another, please.


If you'd like to learn more...

Follow the jump.

"Just The Tip of The Cap" Mild (02)
Mild Ale served cask-conditioned, pulled via handpump, during American Mild Month, at Wrecking Bar Brewpub, Atlanta (Little 5 Points), Georgia. *


Monday, May 01, 2017

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 15/16, 2017.

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

Weeks 15/16
9 April- 22 April 2017

  • 22 April 2017
    Thousands of people joined a global March for Science with Washington, D.C. the epicenter of a movement to fight against "assault on facts" by populist politicians. The movement was echoed in hundreds of events across the United States and around the world.
    Science avoids bias, personal ideologies, and political interests. But, politics cannot avoid science. March in support of policy-making based on facts, uncensored communication between scientists, and preventing the dismantling of regulations that exist to protect our society and improve public health. Scientific research is being ignored and undermined. Democracy requires active participation.
    —Via Yahoo News.

  • 18 April 2017
    The [U.S.] Brewers Association has empanelled a Diversity Committee to identify "issues related to maximizing the diversity and inclusiveness of Brewers Association membership" and updated its Advertising and Marketing Code "to address beer marketing with sexually explicit, lewd, or demeaning brand names, language, text, graphics, photos, video, or other images."
    —Via Brewers Association.

  • 17 April 2017
    In 2016, microbreweries (i.e., breweries producing fewer than 15,000 barrels per year) with tasting rooms grew faster than microbreweries without tasting rooms. 9.4% of sales from small and independent brewers occurred at the brewery—up from 7% in 2015.
    —Via Bart Watson, chief economist at Brewers Association.

  • 17 April 2017
    New research suggests dry-hopping does increase bitterness in beer, particularly via the oxidation of the hop compound, humulinone.
    —Via Jeff Alworth, at Beervana.

  • Craft Brewers Conference begins
  • 15 April 2017
    The 34th edition of the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America (CBC) was held in Washington, D.C., 10-13 April.
    As the largest industry gathering, CBC brought together some 13,300 brewing professionals and more than 900 exhibitors for discussion and dialogue around America’s craft brewing business and culture. CBC was last in the nation’s capital in 2013, with 6,400 attendees and 440 exhibiting companies.
    —Via [U.S.] Brewers Association, at YFGF.

  • 13 April 2017
    Scott Pruitt —adminstrator of the Environmental Protection Agency— calls for the United States to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.
    —Via The Oregonian.

  • "Slower growth is the new normal"
  • 12 April 2017
    Slower growth is the new normal, said Bart Watson —chief economist for the [U.S.] Brewers Association— during the State of The Craft Beer Industry presentation to the Craft Brewers Conference.
    —Via Drink Up Columbus.

  • 12 April 2017
    During Craft Brewers Conference in Washington, D.C., the [U.S.] Brewers Association recognized four recipients for 'craft' brewing business achievement:
    • Brewers Association Recognition Award: Vinnie & Natalie Cilurzo, Russian River Brewing Co.
    • F.X. Matt Defense of the Craft Brewing Industry Award: Matt McLaughlin, McLaughlin, PC/Mississippi Brewers Guild
    • Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Craft Brewing: Will Meyers, Cambridge Brewing Co.
    • Brewers Association Craft Beer Wholesaler of the Year: Elite Brands of Colorado – Denver, CO
    —Via Brewers Association.

  • Chairman Tod makes his point
  • 10 April 2017
    Rob Tod, chair of the Board of Directors of the [U.S.] Brewers Association, addresses the General Session of the Craft Brewers Conference in Washington, D.C.
    We should be gravely concerned when we hear themes like 'independent does not matter to the beer drinker' or themes like 'the beer lover should only care about the beer not who makes the beer.' These are misleading themes and I've been hearing them rear their heads more and more lately. So, here's where our work comes in. We need to take the same passion that we have for talking about our beer to the task of talking about the value of small and independent [brewers].
    —Via YFGF.

  • 10 April 2017
    Maryland legislature increases upper limit of brewery taproom sales from five hundred to two thousand barrels, but, as "compromise," limits taproom operating hours and allows additional one-thousand barrels of sales, but only if purchased from a wholesaler.
    —Via Maryland Business Journal.