Monday, February 26, 2018

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 3/4/5, 2018.

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

Weeks 3/4/5
14 January - 3 February 2018

    Catching up on (waaay) overdue Clamps & Gaskets!

  • 1 February 2018
    In a longterm severe drought, Capetown —South Africa's second most populous city, at 3.7 million people— to literally run out of water by the middle of April, a day dubbed Zero Day. The government has limited citizens to fifty liters of water per day (a bit more than 13 gallons).
    — Via MSN.

  • 1 February 2018
    Happy Brewsters' Day! The Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of Saint Brigid of Kildare (c. 451 – 525 AD) —one of three patron saints of Ireland (with Patrick and Columba)— on 1 February. A patron saint of brewers, Brigid herself was a brewer; one miracle attributed to her was turning water into beer.
    — Via Wikipedia.

  • 1 February 2018
    U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam has rejected a request by North Coast —a northern California 'craft' brewery— to dismiss a lawsuit by the son of late jazz great Thelonious Monk, who claimed that the brewery ha exploited his father's name and image without permission to sell beer-themed merchandise, such as cups, hoodies, mouse pads, soap and other items, that might appear associated with the musician. Without ruling on the merits, the judge found that it was "more than plausible" that Thelonious Monk, Jr. had a right to control the commercial value of his father's persona.
    — Via Reuters.

  • 29 January 2018
    When 'selling out' isn't necessarily selling out. To meet demand, the seven-year-old ,craft' brewery Reaver Beach Brewing, husband-and-wife-owned in Virginia Beach, sells a majority stake to a private Texas investor ... who is a fan of the brewery's Hoptopus 'double' IPA.
    — Via The Virginia-Pilot.

  • 29 January 2018
    U.S. brewers shipped 3.8 million fewer barrels of beer in 2017 versus 2016, a 2.2 percent drop, the largest percentage decrease in sixty-three years, according to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s (TTB) unofficial estimate of domestic tax paid shipments.
    — Via Brewbound.

  • Georgia Brewery Growth 2015-2017

  • 29 January 2018
    2017 was a great year for Georgia beer, and 2018 looks to continue on that trend.

    • 75 breweries and brewpubs active in Georgia, as of 31 December 2017 (38.9% growth over 2016).
    • 54 breweries and brewpubs active in Georgia as of 31 December 2016 (22.7% growth over 2015).
    • 44 breweries and brewpubs active in 2015.
    • That works out to 70% growth since 2015.
    • On 1 September 2017, Georgia became the 51st (that is, the last) of all 50 states and Washington, D.C. to permit its breweries to sell their own beers in their own taprooms to their own customers. (The penultimate laggard, Mississippi, enabled its permission on 1 July 2017.
    — More, via Beer Guys Radio.

  • 26 January 2018
    Between 2012 and 2017, U.S. hop acreage grew 95.8% to a record 53,200 acres. Now, there's a glut and (as some 'craft' breweries fail to honor their orders), some hop farmers and brokers are facing a crunch.
    — Via Tara Nurin, at Forbes.

  • 24 January 2018
    Willamette, Mt. Hood, Liberty, Sterling, Cluster, Cascades, and other hops, integral to U.S. 'craft' beer business: all of those are, to no small extent, the handiwork of one U.S. government hop breeder, Dr. Al Haunold.
    — His story, via Gary Gillman, at Beer et seq.

  • 24 January 2018
    The New Yorker laments the slow death of blogs. Beer writer Jeff Alworth disagrees, about blogs in general and beer blogs in particular:
    Years ago, when social media became ascendant, blogs did seem doomed. But then the limitations of social media presented themselves: conversations were siloed, information was lost after a few days, and longer, nuanced points were all but impossible. Blogs are faster and more interactive than magazines, but more thoughtful and permanent than social media. Beer blogs are far from dead; in fact, one could argue they’re more indispensable than ever.
    — Via Beervana.

  • Charlie Papazian meets fans
  • 23 January 2018
    The 'godfather' of American homebrewing and 'craft' beer, Charlie Papazian, announces his pending retirement from the [U.S.] Brewers Association, the organization he founded (along with American Homebrewers Association and Great American Beer Festival), effective January 2019.
    — Via American Homebrewers Association.

  • 23 January 2018
    Grazing with the greats. South African trumpeter, singer, and activist, Hugh Masekela, whose music became symbolic of that country’s anti-apartheid movement, has died at 78.
    — Via The Guardian.

  • Euphonia Pilsner @ New Realm & Beltline (01)
  • 21 January 2018
    A stunning opening shot: a lager from the man who wrote the book on IPA: Euphonia Pilsner, from Mitch Steele, at his not-yet-three-weeks-old New Realm Brewing.
    — Via YFGF.

  • 20 January 2018
    CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) is a U.K.-based consumer organization, with over 190,000 members, that promotes 'real ale,' 'real cider,' and 'traditional' British pubs. It has released its long-awaited "revitalisation" proposals:
    • CAMRA’s representation widens to include all pub goers and drinkers of quality beer
    • CAMRA’s scope widens to include quality beer of all types
    • CAMRA will campaign for and promote all on-trade venues where quality beer, cider and perry is sold, not just traditional pubs and clubs
    • CAMRA will not extend its current support of the off-trade.
    Quality beer is vaguely synonymous with craft beer and as good a term as any for this conversation. These proposals will now need to be accepted at the annual general meeting in April.
    — Via Boak & Bailey.

  • 18 January 2018
    Smuttynose Brewing Company, founded in New Hampshire in 1994, is seeking an immediate buyer prior to a planned March 9th auction of all of its assets. Smuttynose employs 68 people and generates $10 million dollars in annual revenue. Over the past year, the brewery has been operating at 50% of its 75,000 barrel a year capacity. Smuttynose owner Peter Egelston said:
    The company’s financial models were based on 20 years of consistent growth but the explosion of microbreweries has led to changing dynamics in the marketplace. This dramatic shift occurred just as Smuttynose committed to a major infrastructure investment with the construction of the new production facility. As the turmoil in the marketplace stabilizes, Smuttynose, a trusted brand with strong consumer loyalty, can regain its footing with a major infusion of capital.
    — Via Beer Street Journal.

  • 18 January 2018
    Incroyable! For the first time in 950 years, the Bayeux Tapestry —the 70 yard-long tapestry that tells in pictures the story of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, a pivotal historical event for Britain —returns to Britain, on temporary loan from France.
    — Via Washington Post.

  • 18 January 2018
    Beer rating social-media app UnTappd has released its list of the top ten 'checked-in' beers during 2017. Seven were IPAs, including the most 'checked-in,' All Day IPA, a so-called 'session IPA,' from Founders Brewing of Grand Rapids, Michigan. In second was Bells Two-Hearted Ale, also an IPA.
    — Via Beer Street Journal.

  • 18 January 2018
    NASA data show that the years 2015, 2016, and 2017 were the three hottest years ever recorded. Furthermore, 17 of the 18 hottest years recorded since 1850 have occurred since 2000.
    — Via The Guardian.

  • 17 January 2018
    Nearly all the members of the National Park System Advisory Board —which designates national historic and natural landmarks— resign after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke refuses to convene the board's meetings.
    — Via Washington Post.

  • 16 January 2018
    When a nuclear engineer's avocation becomes part of American history. The "charismatic" wooden spoon that Charlie Papazian —founder of the American Homebrewers Association (among many other 'craft' firsts)— has used to brew homebrew for more than forty years— is being displayed by the Smithsonian's American History Museum in its American Brewing History Initiative.
    — Via [U.S.] Brewers Association.

  • 15 January 2018
    Green Flash Brewing (of San Diego and Virginia Beach) suddenly cuts its workforce by 15%; pulls distributon from thirty-three states (comprising 18% of its total sales). Is this yet another 'canary in a coal mine' warning for 'craft' beer? Is it a 1990s redux? Or is it merely solid business readjustment?
    — Via Craft Brewing Business.


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Blues through the balustrade

Blues through the balustrade

As seen through the balcony balustrade, concert-goers (and beer drinkers) gather round Cincinnati, Ohio-born blues guitarist/vocalist Stacy Mitchhart during his performance at Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar, in the Printer's Alley district of Nashville, Tennessee, on 2 February 2018.

In 2003, Mitchhart received the 'Albert King Most Promising Guitarist Award' at the Blues Foundation's International Challenge, in Memphis, Tennessee and has won a Grammy and been nominated for two more, according to Wikipedia.

Don't forget the blues!


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Tree in winter's afternoon

Tree in winter's afternoon

High dynamic range on a blustery winter's afternoon. Photo taken in Walker Park, in the Edgewood neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia, on 15 February 2018.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: A porter at the brewhouse.

A porter at the brewhouse

This is the glorious, raisiny, chocolatey St. Charles Porter (without either of those ingredients added or needed) of Blackstone Brewing, in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Original Gravity (OG): 1.056
  • International Bittering Units (IBUs): 34
  • Color: 26 Lovibond
  • Alcohol-by-volume (abv): 5.8%
  • Hops: Centennial, Willamette.
  • Malts: 2-row pale, Crystal 60L, Belgian Special B, Chocolate malt, Flaked barley.
  • Yeast: Ballantine Ale (Chico)

If you were learning to brew-at-home in the U.S. back in 1988, you probably were an acolyte of one of two how-to-brew gurus: nuclear engineer Charlie Papazian or English teacher Dave Miller. Although I began with the former, I decamped to the latter, who, that year, had published "The Complete Handbook of Home Brewing."

The Complete Book of Home Brewing (Dave Miller, 1988)

Three years later, Mr. Miller turned pro, the first brewer for Schlafly Brewing in St. Louis. In the mid-1990s, he moved to Nashville, Tennesse to open Blackstone Brewing, that city's first 'craft' brewery.

Mr. Miller continued brewing at Blackstone until only a few years ago. A co-proprietor, he still returns autumnally to brew the brewery's Oktoberfest. Blackstone downsized recently, closing its brewpub, but it has maintained its large production facility, with a public taproom and a permanently visiting food truck.

Three decades ago, it was Mr. Miller's recipe and procedure for brewing Porter that hooked me on the craft. Today, Blackstone brews its award-winning St. Charles Porter, to Miller's recipe.

In early February 2018, I visited Nashville for a few days. I didn't meet Dave Miller while there, but I did meet his beer. It may have taken me thirty years, but, at long last, I was to taste his porter. At his brewery. In his taproom. On draft. Words in a book became real. Glorious.


Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Drinking, again! Euphonia Pilsner, from new New Realm Brewing, reviewed.

Not quite four-weeks-old, New Realm Brewing sits along an eastside segment of the BeltLine, the not-yet city-circumnavigating paved park of Atlanta, Georgia. There, on weekends, just beyond this brewery/brewpub's upstairs and downstairs patios, it's a constant people-and-their-dogs parade. Whereas, inside and on the patios, the beers ain't bad, either.

Euphonia Pilsner @ New Realm & Beltline (01)

Pictured is a draft pour of Euphonia Pilsner: "a brewers' beer," the brewery calls it. A local Twitter-er, relying on American-centric beer-styling, asked me if it were a German-style or Bohemian-style pilsner. I replied, "Neither." I called it a stunning first shot for a just-opened brewery.

In appearance and demeanor, Euphonia Pilsner is a bright thing, with a new-age herbal bouquet sprung from a melange of Hersbrucker, Huell Melon, Saphir, and Sterling hops, a cracker-malt backbone, and a finishing slug of those hops as drying balance. The beer contains 5% alcohol-by-volume (that's "ABV," in the accepted, lazy parlance). It contains no fruit or superfluous hoo-ha. "Just the facts, ma'am."

And the beer has a great pedigree. Euphonia Pilsner's creator, Mitch Steele, is the award-winning past brewmaster for Stone Brewing (in California, et al.), renowned there for his hoppy India Pale Ales (IPAs). Now, here, at his own brewery on the East Coast, he's brewing...a lager.

Not to 'worry,' though. Mr. Steele —the man who wrote the book on IPA, literally— is brewing several IPAs at New Realm, as well. And they're spot-on.

A series of occasional reviews of beer (and wine and spirits).
No scores; only descriptions.


Saturday, February 03, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Shadows and light, angles and straight lines

Shadows and light, angles and straight lines.

Sometimes, you should look up from your beer.

I did. Once.

As seen above the courtyard at 5 Seasons Brewing Westside, in Atlanta, Georgia. 20 January 2018.