Saturday, November 24, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Pink Grass

Pink grass (02)

It's pink; it's prolific; it's native to the southeastern U.S. It's pink muhly grass.

Scientifically Muhlenbergia capillaris and also called hair-awn muhly or pink hairgrass ...
this southeastern native grass is found in both the Piedmont and the Coastal Plain regions but in different environments. According to the Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States (May 2015), in the Piedmont it is found “primarily in clayey or thin rocky soils (especially in areas which formerly burned and were prairie-like) and in open woodlands.” In the Coastal Plain, the habitat description is “in savannas, dry woodlands, and coastal grasslands (where sometimes in close proximity with M. sericea), in the Mountains around calcareous rock outcrops.”
Using Georgia Native Plants

In the photo above, pink muhly grass is extensively planted about a two-acre pond in Atlanta, Georgia's Historic Fourth Ward Park where (until 2011) ...
stood little more than cracked asphalt and trash-strewn fields [but that now] provides not only an arresting visual and natural gathering place, but also serves in a functional capacity as a stormwater detention basin. In this role, the lake increases the sewer capacity, reduces the burden on aging city infrastructure, and minimizes downstream flooding and property damage. The use of native plants helps reduce the cost of maintaining the 17-acre park, and organic land-care with dynamic soil biology helps reduce the need for irrigation, minimize storm water runoff, and curtail the likelihood of disease.
Historic Fourth Ward Park Conservancy

Pond at Historic Fourth Ward Park (02)

Top photo: 18 November 2018. Bottom photo: 31 October 2018.


Thursday, November 22, 2018

Laiminga Padėkos Diena!

Beer for Thanksgiving? Yes!

But as to what beer to drink with which dish, let the curators drink alone. There are no rules, but only enthusiastic suggestions.

Be that as it may, maybe a non-dank pilsner, or a spicy, dry (that's the key) saison or dubbel, or, if you're so blessed, a cask-conditioned bitter: sip, pull, and repeat. (Or, okay, a dry IPA.) Beer drunk with cheese; with everything else, don't make beer the star, just the pal. Maybe with sweets, it should be sweeter. Over-hoppy-ed examples? They belong in long special-release queues; over-alcohol-ed, with postprandial digestive stupors.

Heck, maybe even a wine, like a cider. But, above all, this should be fun. It's all been done before.

To conclude, in Lithuanian *:

Laiminga Padėkos Diena!

Beer on bench (02)


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Camp Fire relief: Sierra Nevada's Resilience Butte County Proud IPA

Resilience Butte County Proud IPA
Many of you have asked if we will be brewing a fundraiser beer to support #CampFire relief efforts. The answer is a resounding “yes.”

We are proud to announce that we’ll be brewing Resilience Butte County Proud IPA and donating 100% of sales to Camp Fire relief.

In addition, we are also asking every brewery in America to brew Resilience and do the same. I’m sending a letter to brewers across the country, inviting them to join us in a collaboration brew day on Tuesday, November 27.

We are working with malt and hop suppliers to provide raw ingredient donations to all participating breweries and are asking those breweries to donate 100 percent of their sales, as well.

We know that the rebuilding process will take time, but we’re in this for the long haul. Our hope is to get Resilience IPA in taprooms all over the country to create a solid start for our community’s future.

Thank you to each and every one of you for your support. We're right here with you and we’ll get through this together.
— Ken Grossman
Sierra Nevada Brewing (Instagram)
17 November 2018.


Other ways to help

As of this morning (17 November 2018), the death toll has risen to 71 in California. The Camp Fire has consumed more than 140,000 acres and destroyed more than 12,000 houses and structures.

☞ List of participating breweries: here.
☞ How you can help Camp Fire victims:
Camp Fire approaches Sierra Nevada Brewing
Chico, California: 9 November 2018.
The fire approached (but did not damage) Sierra Nevada Brewing.


Pic(k) of the Week: When it's apple time, down south in Georgia.

When it's apple time, down south in Georgia

Literally and figuratively, it's a pick of the week today.
Billed as a better version of Honeycrisp, the CrimsonCrisp has roots in Golden Delicious, Red Rome, and Jonathan apples, among others. While Honeycrisp has a three-week picking window and is prone to falling off the tree, these deep red apples can be picked for five weeks, grow slowly with little need for pruning, and aren't prone to falling, according to the farmer. “This is more attractive, crisper, more high coloring, you can pick it over a longer time, it doesn't have a tendency to drop, it doesn’t bruise,” he says. “So everything about it is better.” And while Honeycrisp’s extreme juiciness makes it perfect for snacking, it’s not an ideal baking apple, but the CrimsonCrisp can be used for both.
Food & Wine

On 3 November 2018, Mercier Orchards (of Blue Ridge, Georgia) brought a bushel load to the Freedom Farmers Market, in Atlanta, Georgia (at the Carter Center).

In the photo, the CrimsonCrisp apples are second from the bottom. "Rich, sweet-tart flavor; extremely crisp." was the orchard's description. I concur.

But can't something be done to excise that damnable punctuation-challenged marketers' spelling?


Friday, November 16, 2018

The beer blog is dead. Long live the beer blog.

The Session: Beer Blogging Friday

Earlier this month, within one day of each other:

  • Jay Brooks announced the impending demise, after 11 years, of the monthly communal beer bloggers' jam session, "The Session: Beer Blogging Friday."

  • Jonathan Surratt announced the creation of ReadBeer, an aggregator of beer blogs (in non-jargon parlance: a list that updates the latest posts of beer blogs).

Jay Brooks is a beer author and the amazingly prolific publisher of the beer blog, the Brookston Beer Bulletin. He posts daily about beer birthdays (historical and current), historic beer ads, beer art, and current beer-related topics. And, of course, he co-founded "The Session" (with fellow beer writer, Stan Hieronymous).

The penultimate Session, the 141st overall, he titled: "Second-To-Last Session: The Future Of Beer Blogging" and wrote:
Fast forward a decade and there are many more ways that people interact online, and blogs, I think, lost their vaunted place in the discussion. Now there’s also Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and countless other ways to communicate online. This has meant blogging, I believe, has lost its place at the top, or in the middle, or wherever it was. That’s how it feels to me, at least. I think one incident that confirmed this for me is that recently the Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference changed its name to the "Beer Now Conference," a seeming acknowledgment that the landscape has changed.


Jonathan Surratt, among several beery things, is the web guru for the Cicerone Certification Program. Way back in 2005, he launched the (still viable) crowd-sourced brewery/beer store locator, the Beer Mapping Project.

A few days after ReadBeer went live, Suratt tweeted:
We just hit 988 posts in less than a week. That's from 63 different beer news/blog sources. Since we launched (last Friday), we've sent more than 4,500 clicks outgoing to these sources.

The beer blog is dead. Long live the beer blog. Or, at least, long live the beer journal, public or private, online or pen-and-paper.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

100 years later: peace on Earth, goodwill toward mankind?

Armistice Day, Paris, 11 November 1918.

Ten million soldiers dead.

One-hundred years ago, today, at the 11th hour (Paris, France time) of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice went into effect and World War I —the "War to End All Wars"— ended. War, not.

One year later, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson commemorated the first observance of Armistice Day (which, in years to come, in the U.S. would be honored as Veterans Day).
A year ago today our enemies laid down their arms in accordance with an armistice which rendered them impotent to renew hostilities, and gave to the world an assured opportunity to reconstruct its shattered order and to work out in peace a new and juster set of international relations. The soldiers and people of the European Allies had fought and endured for more than four years to uphold the barrier of civilization against the aggressions of armed force. We ourselves had been in the conflict something more than a year and a half.

With splendid forgetfulness of mere personal concerns, we remodeled our industries, concentrated our financial resources, increased our agricultural output, and assembled a great army, so that at the last our power was a decisive factor in the victory. We were able to bring the vast resources, material and moral, of a great and free people to the assistance of our associates in Europe who had suffered and sacrificed without limit in the cause for which we fought.

Out of this victory there arose new possibilities of political freedom and economic concert. The war showed us the strength of great nations acting together for high purposes, and the victory of arms foretells the enduring conquests which can be made in peace when nations act justly and in furtherance of the common interests of men.

To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.

The photo, from the British Imperial War Museum depicts an American sailor, an American Red Cross Nurse, and two British soldiers, standing near the Paris Gate at Vincennes, Paris, all celebrating the signing of the Armistice on 11 November 1918. It may not be a beer photo, but —in memory of those who fought and died, and in the ever hope of real peace on Earth, goodwill toward mankind— it marks an occasion that is, at the very least, more than worthy of a toast with a good beer.


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Fallen allée

Fallen allée

It was only an afterthought.

Mucked from rains the day before, the unfinished Peavine Creek trail was a side-creek of mud. I climbed from the narrow woodland to a neighborhood street in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia. I turned around and saw the scene: an allée of trees and fallen aureate leaves waiting to be framed.

What I snapped then was, by far, my best shot of that hike. Sometimes, I think I'm getting a bit closer to getting it — the photography thing, that is. I have my older brother —a real photographer— to thank for that.

Slow down for the trees.

Photo: City of Atlanta (Druid Hills), Georgia. 7 November 2018.


Friday, November 09, 2018

The first autobiography in English was written by a brewster.

14th century brewer Margery Kempe: the English language's first autobiographer

On this day (9 November) the Anglican Community honors Margery Kempe (c. 1373 – 1438): a brewster *, grain-miller, Christian mystic, and the English language's first autobiographer.

Kempe wrote the "The Book of Margery Kempe," chronicling her domestic tribulations, her extensive pilgrimages to holy sites in Europe and the Holy Land, and her mystical conversations with God. The book is generally considered to be the first autobiography written in the English language.

Although the Church of England honors Margery Kempe today, the U.S. Episcopal Church does so earlier in the year, on 28 September. And the Catholic Church has never designated her a saint.


Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Beer! Reason enough for all craft beer brewsters, brewers, and drinkers to vote, today.

Today, November 6, 2018, for one short minute
— you, 'craft' beer brewster, brewer, or drinker —
you can be the most powerful person in the nation.


Think issues don’t impact you? You’d be shocked to know the number of people I encounter who think beer and politics don’t intersect. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, alcohol and beer are overwhelmingly political. How many other industries have not just one, but two amendments to the U.S. Constitution? The 18th and 21st amendments are specifically about alcohol. From the taverns of the 1700s to the tasting rooms of today, our country has a long and complicated history with booze, and it is very much intertwined with politics.

Need a Reason to Vote?

Below are some of the issues that your state and federal legislators and regulators have a say in that could impact small and independent breweries.
  • 1. Tasting Room Laws:
    • Not being able to sell beer to go.
    • Restrictive growler sales laws.
    • Limiting how much beer you can sell from your tasting room.
    • Not being able to host trivia, show football games, or have food trucks.
    • Not being allowed to have children in your brewery.

  • 2. When and Where Beer Can Be Sold:
    There are still states that impose restrictions on retail sales. *

  • 3. Blue Laws:
    There are many counties across the country where it is still illegal to sell alcohol.

  • 4. Federal and State Excise Taxes:
    • Federal excise taxes for breweries are currently lower, but only for a period from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2019. Congress will decide whether to extend or make this legislation permanent.
    • State excise taxes fluctuate more often than federal excise taxes. Most recently, Delaware’s excise tax on beer increased by 2¢ per 12-ounce can.

  • 5. FDA, USDA, and TTB Regulations:
    From farm to table, everything about your beer is regulated. The administration and Congress have a say in a broad amount of regulations. Remember the spent grain debacle? Your legislators helped solve that.

  • 6. Tariffs and Trade:
    Tariffs on steel and aluminum, tariffs against products from China, and the new NAFTA all have the potential to impact breweries. Your elected officials are influential in some of these issues. Both the Farm Bill and the United States, Mexico, and Canada agreement still need to be voted on.

  • 7. Shipping Laws:
    While wineries are able to ship direct to consumers in most states, breweries are not. Homebrewers also face severe restrictions when shipping beer to competitions. These issues have both state and federal implications.

  • 8. New Members of Congress:
    In the 115th Congress, the House Small Brewers Caucus has 234 members, and the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act has 303 co-sponsors in the House and 55 in the Senate (more than half the U.S. Congress). Eighty members of this Congress are either retiring, have retired, are running for a different office, or have passed away. That doesn’t account for the members who will lose their re-elections. With 535 members, there is a chance that one-fifth of the U.S. Congress will be new members. We want to work with people who understand and support the needs of breweries.

    Voting Isn’t Just a Right, It’s a Responsibility

    People rely on our businesses to survive. There are close to 7,000 breweries in the United States, employing more than 135,000 people. Small and independent breweries in the U.S. are valued at $26 billion. We also support a multitude of industries including manufacturing, agriculture, and retail.

    Many breweries have already started to take responsibility. Allagash Brewing Company in Portland, Maine; New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colo.; and IMBIB Custom Brews in Reno, Nev. have joined with Patagonia, Walmart, and other companies on the non-partisan “Time to Vote” campaign, which aims to increase awareness about the steps employers can take to give their employees time to vote. They understand that an active and engaged electorate is good for the brewing industry. You can follow in their footsteps by voting and by giving your staff time to vote, too.

    Activism is just as important to the longevity of the brewing community as quality, safety, and authenticity. Please make sure to vote!
Katie Marisic
Federal affairs manager at the [U.S.] Brewers Association. Based in Washington, D.C. she plans and executes legislative, regulatory, and political strategies to drive the Association's federal affairs presence on Capitol Hill.


Saturday, November 03, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Bridge over Hardee Creek

Bridge over Hardee Creek

It's only a small pedestrian bridge over Hardee Creek in the Kirkwood Urban Forest Preserve, in Atlanta, Georgia, but walking over it, the (intrepid) explorer could (almost) forget she is within the city limits.

Perspective. It's how you look at it (excluding the quantum level, of course).

1 November 2018.