Monday, January 29, 2018

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 1/2, 2018.

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

Weeks 1/2
1 January- 13 January 2018

  • 11 January 2018
    Overt or covert, unintended or disregarded. Misogyny and racism: the fetid under-beer-belly of craftbeer.
    “Everybody has a diversity committee. That's the trendy thing to do,” said the big bearded white guy, one of four members of "The Brewsroom," a live Twitch-cast originating in the St. Louis, Missouri-area.
    — Via YFGF.

  • Reuben Brown, jazz pianist & composer (1939-2018)
  • 10 January 2018
    Reuben Brown (1939-2018) —one of America's great jazz pianist/composers, relatively unknown to the general public, but renowned and highly regarded among musicians— has died. He lived and performed for most his life in the Washington, D.C.-area.
    — Via YFGF.

  • 9 January 2018
    "Cans and bottles: craft beer packaging trends in 2017," from Bart Watson, chief economist for the [U.S.] Brewers Association.
    • Although bottles remain the majority of craft beer packaging, craft continued to see share shift toward cans.
    • This shift has been driven partially by shifting package mix from brewers, but has been equally driven by growth dynamics wherein (smaller) brewers that use cans more are growing faster.
    • In fact, most brewers didn’t change their packaging at all.”
    • Based on the 2016 Brewery Operations and Benchmarking Survey, craft brewer production volumes are roughly 41.4% draught (either kegged or via brite tank) versus 58.6% packaged. Cans rose to 16.7% of total craft production, against 41.9% for bottles, meaning that cans are 28.5% of packaged production.
    — Via [U.S.] Brewers Association.

  • 9 January 2018
    In an otherwise shrill piece on the detrimental health aspects of the 'craft' beer tax cut (e.g., 'it will cause many alcohol-related deaths'), a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution offers an economic non-trickle-down analysis of the (temporary) excise tax cut:
    For every $20 in excise tax cuts, $1 will actually accrue to a craft brewer or distiller. The rest goes to importers or large domestic producers. The biggest changes in the bill are low excise tax rates on small production amounts," Looney says. "On the face, it looks like it will only benefit small producers. ... But there are new technical changes to how beer can be distributed and sold, which allow large producers to essentially pass off their products as craft, and get the low rate.The overwhelming benefit actually goes to large producers. In some ways, it increases the competition that true craft brewers will face.
    — Via National Public Radio.

  • 9 January 2018
    The [U.S.] Brewers Association awards seventeen grants totaling $432,658 for U.S. research into barley and hops.
    — Via [U.S.] Brewers Association.

  • 8 January 2018
    Mitch Steele —past brewmaster for Stone Brewing in California (and Richmond, Virginia and Berlin, Germany)— opens New Realm Brewing, his own production brewery/restaurant, in partnership, in Atlanta, Georgia.
    I want to brew a lot of IPAs and do a lot of fun things with hops, but I looked at this also as a chance to get back into brewing some classic styles.
    — Via Bob Townsend, at Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

  • 8 January 2018
    What is 'craft' beer? From a piece on the relative perniciousness of ownership by conglomerate or venture capitalist, one writer's definition:
    Profit maximization be damned. To me, that’s craft.
    — Via Jacob Berg, at DC Beer.

  • 7 January 2018
    By the maths, Bryan D. Roth identifies the 'best' beers of 2017. [Spoiler alert: the 'best' were very hoppy and very alcoholic ales, aka DIPAs. And very rare and limited-release beers, too.]
    Since 2014, I’ve been pulling together a compilation of 'best beer' lists from writers and publications across the U.S., taking subjective choices of what is 'best' and trying to add some layers of objectivity on top. The goal of compiling these lists into one conglomeration allows for some consensus – or at least clearer focus – of what pleased the palate of 'taste makers' from around the country.
    — Via [U.S.] This is Why I'm Drunk.

  • Graham Wheeler, homebrew guru, R.I.P.
  • 6 January 2018
    Graham Wheeler, co-author of home brewing books for the Campaign for Real Ale, died in late November 2017. His several books instructed generations of budding homebrewers, British and over here.
    — An appreciation, via Ed's Beer Site.

  • 6 January 2018
    Trump to permit drilling in ALL U.S. waters, including protected areas of the Arctic and Atlantic, even though the action is opposed by governors, attorneys general, U.S. lawmakers, and the Defense Department.(UPDATE: Interior Zinke grants exemption to Florida.]
    — Via Washington Post.

  • 6 January 2018
    Congratulations to Ray Daniels. His Cicerone Certification Program, an international program to improve beer service, administered its first exams, ten years ago, today, on 3 January 2008.
    The question that most people ask me about the founding of the program is, “Why?” Specifically: why did I decide to start a beer sommelier program? I always say that the answer is simple: Bad beer.
    — Via Cicerone Certification Program.

  • 5 January 2018
    "Brown ales may be unfashionable, but the style is timeless."
    Current American beer culture seems to revolve around a couple of styles: sour beers, which can be altogether wonderful and fascinating, and American India pale ales, which have dominated the craft beer market for so long that it’s a wonder they have not yet fallen out of fashion. ¶ Brown ales and like-minded styles — including straightforward lagers, pilsners and porters — to name a few, are very different sorts of beers. They occupy subtler realms, quenching thirst with pure flavors and perhaps a snappy zestiness in the case of pilsner and a rich depth in the case of porter. They are not flamboyant styles that wow with complexity or make themselves the centers of attention. They simply satisfy.
    — Via Eric Asimov, at New York Times.

  • 5 January 2018
    It’s baffling to me that people are trying to make sessionable versions of other beers, when there are already milds out there. Even more mystifying is that American brewers have found that if they call their beer a 'mild,' no one will buy it. If they give it a name without mild in it, people will order it. But I love milds, if only more people made them.
    — Via Jay Brooks, for Beer Blogging Friday: The Session, at Brookston Beer Bulletin.

  • 2 January 2018
    "A grassroots industry struggles to find leadership on social issues.
    "[Craft] breweries, almost exclusively run by white people, who serve beer to a predominantly white audience, don’t exactly align with what would feel like an 'authentic' sell should they show up with a case of IPA in a majority black neighborhood."
    — Via Bryan D. Roth, at Good Beer Hunting.

  • 7 January 2018
    Since 2015, the number of breweries in just the state of Georgia alone [HQ to YFGF] has increased by 70%.
    — Via Beer Guys Radio.

  • 2 January 2018
    A customer at Dystopian State, a 'craft' brewery in Tacoma, Washington, did not like a beer he had tasted there. He really didn't. He posted a negative, graphic review on the brewery's Facebook page: the “only place I have spit beer back into a glass.” In response, the head brewer and co-owner sent him several homophobic and violence-threatening messages (pictured below). There was immediate opprobrium. Soon thereafter, the head brewer was suspended. The brewery apologized on its Facebook page and removed its Twitter account.
    — Via Seattle Magazine.

  • Supermoon rising (+1)
  • 1 January 2018
    It's the Wolf Moon on the evening of 1 January, which will not only be the second full moon of a two-month trilogy of supermoons (when the full moon occurs at the moon's closest approach to earth) but the first of two supermoons in January. And that supermoon will be full during a lunar eclipse and, thus, be a 'blood' moon. Astronomical!
    — Via


Saturday, January 27, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Cask ale pourer

Cask ale pourer

On 20 January 2018, the East Coast cold snap snapped; it was a glorious winter's day for real ales.

Fifty-three cask beers would be poured for a full house of festival go-ers during the Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting, held at 5 Seasons Brewpub in the westside Midtown district of Atlanta, Georgia. Above, a volunteer pours one of those beers from a firkin (a 10.8 U.S.-gallon cask).

Of the scheduled fifty-six beers:
  • Thirty-four were adulterated with some manner of gallimaufry, including, but not limited to Tang, bacon, and eggnog, all of which demean the very raison d'etre of cask-conditioning.
  • Six were sour or saison-ish beers, which misses the point.
  • One cask had gone completely off, which was unfortunate.
  • Another was a lager, which, of course, is not cask-conditioned ALE at all. Ditto a mead and a cider, neither beer.
  • Three British cask ales, unadulterated, failed to appear because of inclement weather over the importer's warehouse, which was aggravating.
  • But ten were, indeed, *just* cask-conditioned real ales, showcasing themselves in fresh form, which is the point.
Of those, some were delights; and one delightfully so.

In my estimation, Fourteen Twenty Dark Mild was the star of the show, a balanced beauty of a beer at 4.5% alcohol-by-volume (abv) and 20 International Bittering Units (IBU), brewed and conditioned by Mitch Steele, brewmaster and co-owner of New Realm Brewing, his recently-opened Atlanta production brewery and restaurant. There could be a touch of irony in that. After all, it was Steele —who wrote the book, literally, on IPA when he was brewmaster for Stone Brewing —who brought that gently hopped 'session' beer to the festival. The judges —whoever they were— agreed, awarding his Dark Mild first place.

Dark Mild wins! (02)

In addition to the hospitality of 5 Seasons, kudos and thanks should be given to Owen Ogletree, the festival's organizer, who arranged things ably, as he has done for fourteen years.


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Ninkasi-speed, Charlie Papazian!

Charlie Papazian meets fans


Yesterday, on his 70th birthday, Charlie Papazian —the 'godfather' of American 'craft' brewing and American homebrewing— announced that, after his more than forty-year career, he is retiring from the [U.S.] Brewers Association —the advocacy group for small and independent American breweries— that he founded in 1979 (or more properly, its predecessor, the Association of Brewers).

Educated as a nuclear engineer, a homebrewer by hobby, Mr. Papazian, has an extensive curriculum cerevisiae.
  • He founded the American Homebrewers Association in 1978, when homebrewing in the U.S. was still technically illegal. Today, the hobby is legal in all 50 states. Papazian's efforts were a crucial part of that evolution.
  • In 1982, he organized (with Daniel Bradford) the first-ever Great American Beer Festival —since held annually, and considered the premier annual national competition for American breweries.
  • In 1996, he organized the first, now bi-annual, World Beer Cup.
  • In 1976, he self-published his seminal how-to, The Joy of Homebrew, formally published in 1984 as The Complete Joy of Home Brewing. He is the author of several more influential books on homebrewing, beer, and mead.
The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing (1991)

In December, Mr. Papazian donated his "charismatic" wooden spoon —the 'high-tech' instrument with which he has brewed and taught homebrewing to several generations of hobbyists and professionals— to the Smithsonian's American History Museum for its American Brewing History Initiative.

Mr. Papazian's advocacy was in no small measure instrumental in shepherding the successful revival of good beer in America. His books inspired and educated successive generations of homebrewers, many of whom would later convert their avocations into 'craft' beer professions (including the author of this blog).

Ninkasi-speed, Charlie! Thank you for all you've done —and continue to do. And, now, as you have long admonished us in your books and in person:

"Relax. Don't worry. Have a homebrew."

...or two!


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Good to the last drip!

Good to the last drip

A thirsty bartender found the cask ale to be ... good to the last drop. But, hey, dude! That's ... the drip pan.

It's a blast from the past, a throwback Pic(k) of the Week. On 29 June 2007, Clipper City Brewing tapped a firkin of Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA, at Barleys Taproom & Pizzeria, in Greenville, South Carolina. It was, in fact, the first cask the pub had ever served.


Monday, January 15, 2018

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 51/52, 2017.

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

Weeks 51/52
17 December - 31 December 2017

  • 31 December 2017
    The Wine Spectator's 2017's wine of the year:
    Of the nearly 17,000 wines under review this year, more than 5,600 rated 90 points or higher on Wine Spectator's 100-point scale. From that starting point, we looked for wines that excelled in four criteria: quality (based on score), value (based on price), availability (based on cases either made or imported into the U.S. and, most importantly, a compelling story behind the wine. This year's Top 100 features a strong showing of wines from the United States: nearly 25 percent are from California. Overall, domestic wines account for one-third of our class of 2017, including the Wine of the Year: [...] Duckhorn Merlot Napa Valley Three Palms Vineyard 2014, representing a comeback story starring a grape much maligned over the last decade.
    — Via Wine Spectator.

  • 30 December 2017
    The dumbest beer-exec statement of 2017?
    From the guy responsible for marketing [Bud Light] the largest beer brand in the country, a brand that continues to post sales declines of 5-6%--a staggering (!) 1.9 million barrels of beer volume lost in the current year alone--comes this: “...(the) Bud Light veep... said Dilly Dilly is 'creating such a fun buzz' and the 'creative team is having a blast.' ”

    Ad-agency creative people are paid handsome salaries to create advertising that sells beer. "Having a blast" is what they do after work, over alcohol beverages (although rarely beer) and banned substances. But maybe, in this case, they should be giddy. They have a client so clueless as to spend millions and, rather than hold them accountable for sales results, he celebrates their... celebrating.
    — Via past Coors advertising executive Dan Fox.

  • Bombogenesis, January 2018
  • 28 December 2017
    A near historic cold-snap, that some meteorologists have called "bombogenesis" or "bomb cyclone" hits the U.S. midwest and east coast.
    — Via Earther.

  • 27 December 2017
    Mike Hastings, past head brewer for national 'craft brewing company Oskar Blues at its plant in North Carolina, assumes the same position for Lost Rhino Brewery in Ashburn, Virginia.
    — Via Lost Rhino Brewery. [Instagram]

  • 23 December 2017
    "Carole" was an Old French word referring to a round of dancers, singing and holding hands. It came to mean a song or hymn related to Christmas.
    — The etymology of "carole," via British Library.

  • 21 December 2017
    With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, craft breweries will receive a tax cut. Beer writer Jeff Alworth asks: "Is it good policy?"
    • Small brewery making 2,000 barrels of beer: $7,000 tax cut.
    • Large regional brewery making a million barrels: $2,090,000 tax cut
    • Large regional brewery making 2 m barrels: $4,090,000 tax cut
    • Large industrial brewery making six million barrels: $12,000,000 tax cut.
    These tax cuts are still the best deal, per barrel, to the small brewery. But as with the Trump tax cut in general, the serious cash accrues to the already-successful. The vast majority of beer excise taxes cut by Congress will go to the largest breweries. They pay the most in taxes, so you may feel like this is only fair. On balance, given the short window and puny benefit small breweries will actually realize, the whole thing looks a lot like another way to transfer federal dollars to giant corporations. Your mileage may vary, but I see no public policy good served by this wealth transfer.
    — Via Beervana.

  • Session double
  • 22 December 2017
    A brewer in Virginia posts a dark lament to Facebook.
    IPA, IPA, IPA! I think it's time that 'real beer' drinkers and brewers (not the Instagrammers and Untappd abusers) take beer back. When was the last time anyone saw a brown ale or a porter or stout that wasn't flavored or imperial? There is nothing quite like a nice, unflavored porter. DARK BEERS MATTER!
    — That and porter's demise in Ireland in 1973, via YFGF.

  • 21 December 2017
    DRAFT Magazine online chooses its top 25 "the most interesting, innovative and well-executed" beers of 2017. [Beers from brewpubs and non-packaging breweries are MIA.]
    — Via DRAFT.

  • 20 December 2017
    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act contains a non-tax provision to permit drilling for oil in the until-now environmentally protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
    — Via The Hill.

  • 20 December 2017
    The 115th United States Congress has passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Included in the legislation is the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA) that lowers the federal excise tax for breweries, wineries and distilled spirits producers. The provisions become effective 1 January 2018.
    — Via [U.S.] Brewers Association.

  • 20 December 2017
    Parti-gyling is NOT the production of several beers from different runnings of the same mash, as is often stated in beer writing. Beer historian Ron Pattinson set the record 2010.
    • Real party-gyling is where you blend 3 or 4 worts of different strengths in differing proportion in different fermenting vessels to make worts of different gravities in order to create several beers. The important point is that even the weakest beer will get some of the strongest wort.
    • Despite what many homebrewers believe, parti-gyling is not using each separate running to make a different beer. That method of brewing disappeared about 1762.
    • And, despite what many beer writers have claimed, party-gyling didn't pretty much die out by 1800. It's a common feature of all the brewing records I've looked at from 1805 to 1965.
    — Via Shut Up about Barclay Perkins.

  • 19 December 2017
    The U.S. government has publicly acknowledged that North Korea was behind the WannaCry computer worm that affected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries earlier this year.
    — Via MSN News.

  • Christmas sprites (01)
  • 19 December 2017
    Not quite the Twelve Beers of Christmas but nine beers of winter: "Classic craft, "International flavor," and Georgia-brewed "Local cheer."
    — Via Bob Townsend, Beer Town writer for Atlanta Journal Constitution.

  • 19 December 2017
    British beer writers Jessica Boak and Ray Bailey select their favorite web-scribblings on beer from around the world-wide-web in 2017.
    — Via Boak & Bailey's Beer Blog.

  • 18 December 2017
    The TTB —the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau— is the primary federal regulatory agency responsible for the brewing industry.
    • In 2017, through August, the TTB had received 31,396 applications for beer label approval, a 15.4% over 2016. The vast majority of those applications (97.5 percent) are now electronically submitted.
    • In mid-2016, label approval processing times were averaging 24 days for malt beverages. With additional resources and staffing, the goal for label approval turnaround was 10 days by the end of FY 2017. As of September 11, processing time had dropped to two days.
    • Advocacy efforts led to success when an additional $5 million was added to TTB’s FY 2016 appropriations to accelerate processing of formula and label applications [and] allowing [TTB] to hire 13 additional labeling and formulation specialists. Ten were working as of June 28.
    • Although the 53-day average processing time in August 2017 was a sharp improvement from the average processing time of 178 days in August 2016, the TTB recognizes the need for additional improvements.
    — Via [U.S.] Brewers Association.


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Graham Wheeler, homebrew guru, R.I.P.

Graham Wheeler, homebrew guru, R.I.P.

Sad news.

Graham Wheeler —the author of several editions of a seminal homebrewing guide published by U.K.-based CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale)— died in late November 2017. His books provided instruction for several generations of budding homebrewers, British and stateside. Many of those amateur brewers —it would be safe to surmise— went on to brew professionally.

I already had been brewing when Wheeler first wrote Brew Your Own Real Ale at Home in 1993, but the book wet my whistle for Bitters. And I haven't lost that since.

Thank you, Mr. Wheeler.

Brew Your Own Real Ale at Home (1993)


Thursday, January 11, 2018

The fetid under-beer-belly of 'craft.'

Everybody has a diversity committee. That's the trendy thing to do,” said the big bearded white guy, one of four members of "The Brewsroom," a live Twitch-cast originating in the St. Louis, Missouri-area.

The group was grilling Michael Kiser —founder of website Good Beer Hunting— and writer Bryan D. Roth about the latter's article for the website, "I Know What Boyz Like: A Grassroots Industry Struggles to Find Leadership on Social Issues."

In his 2 January piece, Roth had examined misogyny and racism in the 'craft' beer business. The boys of The Brewsroom took great umbrage with that. They were displeased that breweries they knew had been singled-out without being given fair time to comment.

The group implied that misogyny and racism did not even exist in 'craft' beer. If women and minorities were under-represented in 'craft' beer, it was, one said, because of a deficit of unqualified minorities and women as opposed to available Siebel-trained white males. Or, even if there were unintended exclusion, why should they care? Their market is, after all, “middle-aged white men” And what was Roth, a white male, even doing making these claims, they asked.

In a tweet about his participation in the broadcast, Good Beer Hunting's Kiser wrote: “It was a challenging convo. Some good moments, some very bad. Ended with 'Buy him a brown ale for diversity.' Baby steps.

Yes, you read correctly. As the broadcast concluded, one of the group, who had just been informed that Roth would soon be visiting St. Louis for beer business, actually did say, with a smirk: “Buy him a brown ale for diversity.

And there's the problem. The boys of The Brewsroom were clear that they were there to brew and drink, and not to be social crusaders. This was a 'convo' that had fallen on deaf ears and souls, not one leavened by the kind spin that Kiser and Roth had put on it.

I don't know the members of The Brewsroom. Maybe their home turf indeed had been unfairly impugned. But the excuse that good ol' boy behavior is just good fun is an unacceptable retread.

During 'craft' beer's infancy (1965-1980) and adolescence (I of the latter), minorities and women were woefully underrepresented. We in the industry were not called out for that. How we would have responded is an open question.

But years later, well after the civil rights tumult of the later 20th century, racism and misogyny, whether overt or covert, unintended or disregarded, remain alive and unwell in segments of the 'craft' beer industry and culture. Not by everyone; not everywhere; not all the time; but present. For some, 'craft' beer has become merely the occasion to get drunk, belch, fart, and screw. Someone could write a song. But it's not funny.

As 'craft' beer makers and drinkers, it should be our duty to not allow prejudice to remain as 'craft' beer's foul flavor for our sisters and brothers, our daughters and sons. Drink on it.


Monday, January 08, 2018

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 49/50, 2017.

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

Weeks 49/50
3 December - 16 December 2017

  • 16 December 2017
    We've lost another songstress: "smokey balladeer" Keely Smith, who came to prominence singing with bandleader Louis Prima.
    — Via Washington Post.

  • 15 December 2017
    Trump forbids the Centers for Disease Control from using seven words/phrases: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based,” and “science-based.”
    — Via Washington Post.

  • 15 December 2017
    Mundell Lowe, a jazz guitarist whose versatility and understated elegance led to assignments accompanying such performers as Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Frank Sinatra and even Marilyn Monroe, died Dec. 2 at his home in San Diego. He was 95.
    — Via Washington Post.

  • 13 December 2017
    The [U.S.] Brewers Association releases its review of 'Craft' Beer in 2017; omits data for sales and production.
    • There were 6,000 breweries in operation during 2017—with 98 percent of them small and independent 'craft' brewers.
    • At present, 83 percent of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a local brewery.
    • 'Craft' breweries contributed $67.8 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016, a 21.7 percent increase from 2014. [2017?]
    • In 2016, 'craft' breweries were responsible for more than 456,373 full-time equivalent jobs, a 7.5 percent increase from 2014, with 128,768 of those jobs directly at breweries and brewpubs. [2017?]
    • More than 2,700 small and independent 'craft' brewing companies, representing more than 75 percent of domestic volume, have signed on to use the "Independent Craft Brewer Seal," informing beer lovers they are choosing a beer from a brewery that is independently owned. [But how many breweries?]
    • There are currently an estimated 1.1 million homebrewers in the U.S. In 2017, they produced more than 1.4 million barrels of beer—equaling one percent of total U.S. beer production. The National Homebrew Competition, hosted by the American Homebrewers Association, continues to be the world’s largest beer competition with 8,618 entries from 3,530 homebrewers worldwide.
    • The average 'craft' beer drinker visits 3.5 breweries near their homes and 2.5 breweries within two hours’ driving distance.
    • American 'craft' breweries donated an estimated $73.4 million to charitable causes in 2016, up from $71 million in 2014. [2017?]
    — Via [U.S.] Brewers Association.

  • 13 December 2017
    The Federal Communications Commission votes 3 to 2 to repeal net neutrality protections.
    The decision is a blow for consumers and a win for internet service companies like Verizon and Comcast, which gain the power to dramatically reshape—and limit—the way Americans access the internet. Net neutrality, a series of Obama-era protections, require internet service providers to treat all data equally, preventing ISPs from charging more for certain services, or restricting access to certain content.
    — Via Daily Beast.

  • Anchor Christmas 2017
  • 13 December 2017
    Forty-three years of Anchor Brewing's Our Special Ale.
    — Via Tom Bedell.

  • 13 December 2017
    "No barley, no beer." Climate change is threatening the barley crop in Montana, especially barley grown for malting, and, thus, for beer. Extended drought and higher than previously normal summer temperatures are desiccating the crop, while extreme storms are physically harming and rotting it. Many Montana farmers are being forced to sell the resultant inferior malting barley as feed grain, at a much lower price. In 2017, Montana farmers planted 770,000 acres of malt barley for the beer market, down from nearly a million acres in 2016.
    — Via Food & Environment Reporting Network.

  • 12 December 2017
    Contemporary brewers use the term IPA rather loosely to describe virtually any hoppy beer. But hey, if you brewed it, you can call it whatever the hell you want.
    — Via George Rivers, at Beer Strength Matters.

  • 11 December 2017
    Boston Beer to become only the nation's second 'craft' brewery to enter into a partnership with a Major League Baseball team. In 2018, Samuel Adams will be the official beer of the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. In 2017, the Kansas City Royals selected Boulevard Beer as its official 'craft' beer (if not its official beer, per se).
    — Via The Full Pint.

  • 11 December 2017
    Celebrity chef Mario Batali to step away from his restaurants and businesses amid allegations of sexual misconduct raised against him.
    — Via New York Times.

  • 11 December 2017
    After Trump slashes U.S. government science budgets, French President Emmanuel Macron to pay U.S. climate scientists to work in France, to "make our planet great again."
    — Via Washington Post.

  • 11 December 2017
    Is the popularity of the so-called 'New England'-style IPA (NEIPA) here to stay? Yes, says Bryan D. Roth. “The hop war is over, and the bitter side lost.”
    Within industry context, NE IPA’s nascent presence makes it fair to wonder what kind of staying power the style may have, but unlike other creations that have seasonal or specialty lifespans (Pastry Stout, anyone?), New England IPA has found a footing on many levels, from an exciting, new process in which brewers can play, to providing preferred experiences for drinkers and, for better or worse, creating new business models for companies. Indeed, there’s more to NE IPA’s success than a bunch of beer geeks posting photos on Instagram.
    — Via Roth, at Good Beer Hunting.

  • 10 December 2017
    All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
    Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by United Nations, on this date, 10 December, in 1948.

  • 10 December 2017
    Simeon Booker —the dean of Washington D.C.'s black press corps, the first African-American reporter hired at the Washington Post, who took the 1955 story of Emmit Till's torture and murder to a national audience, white and black— has died at 99.
    — Via National Public Radio.

  • 7 December 2017
    What constitutes a 'good' draft beer list?
    • While pub customers come to retail establishments for various occasions, 69% of them prefer roughly the same number of rotating and standard taps. That means, that for many accounts, balance will be key.
    • Quality is more important than price in driving the decision to drink 'craft' (44% versus 33%).
    • Once a consumer has decided on a 'craft' beer, quality of product (59%), style (48%), and brand reputation (31%) are the three most important influencers in brand choice for craft beer drinkers.
    • For those without a drink category preference, the price is the No. 1 purchase driver, with 43% of those who don’t know which category they will drink saying price is their decider.
    • Trial declines with age. Too many choices and a lack of consistent offerings can discourage older consumers.
    — Via Nielsen and CGA Strategy, at the [U.S.] Brewers Association.

  • Big Blue Marble
  • 7 December 2017
    On this date, 45 years ago, on 7 December 1972, the crew of Apollo 17 took its soon-to-become-famous "Blue Marble" photograph of Earth ... from 18,000 miles away in space.
    — Via Charles Bergquist (Director, Science Friday radio program).

  • 5 December 2017
    • The Congressional Tax Cut and Jobs Act contains the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act —lowering the beer excise tax— in both the House and Senate versions
      — Statement from the [U.S.] Brewers Association.
    • Comment from Bob Pease, President of [U.S.] Brewers Association:
      Will the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act result in less expensive beer for the consumer. The answer is no.
      — Via DC Beer.

  • 4 December 2017
    Trump shrinks Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah by 1.1 million acres and 800,000 acres, respectively, the largest reduction of public lands protection in U.S. history.
    — Via Washington Post.


Saturday, January 06, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Deepdene polypore

Deepdene polypore (02)

Polypores —fungi growing on a dead tree trunk— seen in Deepdene Park, in the Druid Hills neighborhood of the city of Atlanta and DeKalb County, Georgia, on 30 December 2017.

Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. (1822-1903) is the acknowledged founder of American landscape architecture. The term "landscape architecture" was coined to describe his work in creating Central Park in New York City. The success of that historic commission launched Olmsted into a career designing public spaces.

In Atlanta, his most visible legacy is a linear park system along Ponce de Leon Avenue, which he designed in the late 19th century. The six parks of what is now known as Olmsted Linear Park form the backbone of Druid Hills, the last suburb to be designed before his retirement. Within that system, Deepdene Park is a 22-acre woodland which Olmsted intended to provide Atlanta's growing urban population with access to a Piedmont forest.

Urban stream


Friday, January 05, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: 2017's 52-pic rotogravure

There has been no year-end bloggy navel-gazing here at YFGF. Until today.

The blog feature, Pic(k) of the Week, is a weekly series of photos, taken (or noted) by me, that I post every Saturday, that often, but not always, have a good fermentable as the subject. Pictured below are the fifty-two images that I featured during 2017. Click on a thumbnail to view the image in its full glory, accompanied by its backstory.

Of the fifty-two images, twenty-nine concerned beer in some fashion; nine were photos of an actual beer; four were taken at a brewery; two were selfies (although beer-centric); three were of cask ale; and one was of a glass of wine. For comparison, in 2016, thirty-two of the fifty-two photos I selected were of beer, of which ten were photos taken at breweries.

All of my 19,774 public photographs and images * can be seen at Flickr. Additionally, I have an Instagram account, under my name: tcizauskas/. There, it's a photo a day, but fewer are good-fermentable-focused than here.

Tomorrow, the first Saturday of 2018, there'll be a new Pic(k) of the Week and the series will begin anew.


Farewell, 44. The Breweries of Great Britain & Ireland (1958) Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter "This American carnage stops right here and stops right now."
The 1981 live Great American Taste Test (Super Bowl XV) Lithuanian Cross Three for cask Snow Moon eclipse (@ 8:30 pm ET)
Outside at Monday Night on Saturday afternoon Georgia Archives demolition (03) Flavor Enhancing Floaties? (01) Where in the world is the original Waffle House? Vin Scully in Brooklyn
Pint & torch 2nd rosé of spring Easter egg in tree Brewers queue for Welcome Reception (02) Barreling
Hydrangea begins to bloom Child & mother Brewers Walt Dickinson & Nathan Zeender ASBC Hot Steep Malt Sensory Method (demonstrated by Craft Maltsters Guild)
Technicolor idyll Wahl-Henius (01) Donald the Plumber Warhol in Atlanta
Gazpacho & witbier Pipework Drinking Budweiser & Heineken? Keep Hate Out of ATL Hop lights at Brewmaster's Cottage (04)
Earth Goddess in summer (04) Street scene al fresco Draft Pilsner in Sam Adams glass Totality -minus 5 minutes
One Blue Pussy Oktoberfest stein Pumpkins on a sill (02) Bug in a yard
Priming casks Brewster fashion Trumpeting, at Porchfest Small ceramic beer steins
Wooden cask, deconstructed Dr. Morten Christian Meilgaard (1928 - 2009) Mssrs. Beaumont & Webb (03) Beagle & the carrot
Canopy Walk, by night (01) Sartorial Charlie Tannenbaum topper Santa's Cheer Beer New Year's Poinsettia