Saturday, May 18, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Refreshed by jazz

Refreshed by jazz

That's the ticket! A cold draught beer and a hot big band seemed to be just the refreshment this gentleman required.

Listening to the Joe Gransden Big Band perform, in black-and-white, at the Inman Park Festival, Atlanta, Georgia, on 28 April 2019.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Draught Beer Quality in the U.S.?

Foamy draught

The number one problem affecting 'craft' beer in the United States is not the beer itself. It's not the infantilization of beer flavors (Ninkasi: make it stop!). It's not even shelf-stability, although beer staling within days of receipt in a store is indeed a problem.

The biggest fault in 'craft' beer is the much-too-often-encountered poor condition of draught beer, as it is poured at pubs and at breweries themselves. Dumping pints of foam down a bar drain, repeatedly, is a gross loss of profit; it's an alteration to the carbonated quality of the beer itself. If a brewery cannot understand the basics of draught technology sufficiently enough to pour a good pint in its own taproom, how can it expect or demand that a commercial account do better?

To that end —even though it wouldn't couch it in those terms— the [U.S.] Brewers Association released the 4th edition of its Draught Beer Quality Manual, in April of this year. The new edition has been expanded from the 87 pages of the 3rd edition to 117, adding an index, among other things.

Draught Beer Quality Manual 2019
Prepared by the Technical Committee of the Brewers Association, the Draught Beer Quality Manual presents well-researched, detailed information on draught line cleaning, system components and design, pressure and gas balance, proper pouring technique, glassware sanitation, and other valuable advice from the experts. Also included is information on both direct- and long-draw draught systems, important safety tips, and helpful visuals for easy reference.

The manual even contains four pages —as one of four extensive appendices— on serving cask ale. Taproom managers would be well-served to read those before simply tossing (ugh!) a firkin onto a bartop.

The Brewers Association Draught Beer Quality Working Group began focusing on draught beer quality at retail in 2007. Under the guidance of Ken Grossman, Founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and 2008 Chair of the Brewers Association Technical Committee, the brewing community came together to develop a set of best practices and standards to help brewers, wholesalers, retailers, and draught system installers improve and maintain the quality of available draught beer. The Draught Beer Quality Manual continues to evolve through collaborative efforts within the brewing community.

The information on how to serve a good —if not perfect— pint is out there; it's been so for years. There simply is no good excuse for bartenders (and brewery taprooms, for #$%!@! sake) to claim ignorance and serve bad draught beer. It's their product. They should take pride in it.

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Saturday, May 11, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Garden vine blossoms

Garden vine blossoms

Mom always loved weeding her flower beds 'best,' more so than planting them. She took delight, she would say, in "the creative destruction."

Here's a blossoming vine I saw climbing near a front door, in Decatur, Georgia, 10 May 2019. No creative destruction needed.

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Friday, May 10, 2019

A Rocksteady American Mild Month

Rock Steady Mild at the brewery

As far as I can determine, Rocksteady 'English Mild' is the only Georgia, USA-brewed Mild Ale * currently available during American Mild Month in May.

And it's a good one, on draught at its creator, Good Word Brewing, a brewpub in Duluth, Georgia.
This Mild clocks in at 3.4% and has hints of leather, chocolate, and slight menthol from the E.K.G. and Fuggles hops we used in this beer.

Rocksteady is a year-round mainstay, there. But there's a bonus. During American Mild Month in May, the brewpub is also serving the mild cask-conditioned via beer engine. But that's only on Thursdays (or until the cask runs out) and only after 5 pm.

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

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Saturday, May 04, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Rosebud glory

Rosebud glory

Georgia's May Day's rosebud's glory.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
— William Shakespeare (Sonnet 18)

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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: What color do brewsters dream in?

Lauter tun (02)

What color do brewsters dream in?

Stainless!

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Pictured: a lauter tun [pronounced like 'louder' but with a 't' in place of the 'd'; 'tun' like 'ton']: one of the several pieces of stainless-steel kit in a brewhouse.
a stainless-steel vessel that receives the entire mash from the mixer [or mash tun] after the suitable conversion time has passed [barley malt starch enzymatically converted into sugars]. It has a slotted false bottom with 'valleys' arranged in concentric circles. The mash bed sits on the false bottom. To enable wort runoff to the brew kettle, rakes with knives rotate slowly, cutting the mash. The bed is sparged [washed with hot water] during the runoff.
— Christine P. Rhodes, Tom Bedell, et. al
The Encyclopedia of Beer, 1995.

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Thursday, April 25, 2019

VeggieDag Thursday: A few craft brewers fight to protect their principal ingredient — water.

How to clean a river?

"You can’t make great beer without clean water."


Four ingredients comprise most of beer: water, barley malt, hops, and yeast. Of those, water holds the greatest share by far, 95% of beer's makeup, give or take a few percentage points.
Not only is clean water critical for our health and our economy—it’s essential to making a great-tasting pint. That’s why almost 100 breweries have joined the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to work to protect the Clean Water Act of 1972. Brewers for Clean Water (BFCW) advocate for measures that safeguard their water sources from upstream pollution and keep waterways clean for their downstream neighbors.

One major fight of the BFCW campaign is to save the 2015 Clean Water Rule, which clarifies the scope of the 1972 Clean Water Act and protects vulnerable waterways from pollution and destruction. Brewers for Clean Water members were instrumental in persuading the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to adopt this important rule. Now they’re working hard to counter efforts to repeal it.
National Resources Defense Council

In March, a group of 59 'craft' breweries, partners in NRDC’s Brewers for Clean Water campaign, sent a letter to both the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opposing the agencies’ 'Dirty Water Rule' proposal to slash clean water protections for waterways around the country.
Mr. Andrew Wheeler, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency
Mr. R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army, Civil Works, U.S. Department of the Army

Dear Administrator Wheeler and Assistant Secretary James:

We oppose your proposal to substantially limit the number of waterways receiving protection under the Clean Water Act. This rule would endanger critical wetlands and streams across the country—waterways that our craft breweries depend on to provide the clean water we use to brew our beer.

Beer is mostly water, so the quality of our source water significantly affects our finished product. Compounds present in brewing water can affect pH, color, aroma, and taste. Sulfates make hops taste astringent, while chlorine can create a medicinal off-flavor. The presence of bacteria can spoil a batch of beer. Even small chemical disruptions in our water supply can influence factors like shelf life and foam pattern.

Unexpected changes in water quality—due to pollution in our source water, or a change in the treatment process at our local drinking water plant—can threaten our brewing process and our bottom line. We need reliable sources of clean water to consistently produce the great beer that is key to our success. It is thanks in part to this important natural resource that the craft brewing industry contributes about $76.2 billion to the U.S. economy each year, along with more than 500,000 jobs.

For years, craft brewers have been asking for more clean water protections, not fewer. We supported the 2015 Clean Water Rule because it helped protect the sources of drinking water for 117 million Americans from pollution and destruction, providing certainty that we would continue to have access to the clean water on which our livelihoods depend. Importantly, that rule was based on sound science. The record showed that the waters it protected had biological, chemical, and physical connections to larger downstream waterways.

This proposed rule, to the contrary, ignores the overwhelming scientific evidence that protecting small streams and wetlands is essential to ensuring the quality of America’s water sources. It would prohibit applying federal pollution-control safeguards to rain-dependent streams and exclude wetlands that do not have a surface connection to other protected waters. It also invites polluters to ask for even greater rollbacks, such as eliminating protections for seasonally-flowing streams.

We strongly oppose these proposed changes, which would affect millions of miles of streams and most of the nation’s wetlands. Science shows that protecting these waters is important to downstream water quality. We must maintain clear protections for the vulnerable waterways that provide our most important ingredient.

We are depending on you not to roll back the safeguards established under the Clean Water Act. Protecting clean water is central to our long-term business success. Moreover, it is vital to the health and the economy of the communities where we live and work.

Thank you for considering our views on this important matter.
The 59 brewery signatories to this letter.

Kudos to these brewers.

Nevertheless, there are over 7,300 'craft' breweries in the United States. One wonders why only fifty-nine were concerned enough about their prime ingredient that they would sign this letter. Or why the signature of their industry representative, the [U.S.] Brewers Association, is absent.

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

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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Rosebush, refreshed

Rose bush, refreshed

They say to spray water droplets on flowers when shooting close-ups. I prefer to wait for nature to provide the raindrops. Waiting for a breeze to subside: that's another thing.

Here, a spring rain refreshes a fledgling rosebush, in a garden in DeKalb County, Georgia, on 12 April 2019.

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Drinking, again! Euphonia Pilsner

Euphonia, posed

It was during the 2013 Craft Brewers Conference that I took my first whiffs of hops Ariana, Calista, Hallertau Blanc, Hüll Melon, Mandarina, Saphir, and Smaragd, the new German harvest of American-esque hop varieties (although the Germans would NOT like that characterization!). Aromas of melon and mulberries, and even foxy tones.

I revere German brewers' traditional, 'noble' hops such as Hallertau Hallertauer Mittelfrüh, but I was impressed by these new kids, bold yet elegantly restrained. During the six years since, those hops have caught on with brewers in the States.

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Euphonia Pilsner

Here's one such beer, American-brewed, paying homage back to that. It's Euphonia Pilsner, brewed by New Realm Brewing, of Virginia Beach, Virginia (and Atlanta, Georgia).

I enjoyed it al fresco and 'still life'd,' in Decatur, Georgia, on 14 April 2019.
  • The brewery's website states:
    German-style pilsner combines tradition with modern hopping techniques for a nice floral hop character. Brewed with German Pilsner malt, and late addition hops to provide a soft bitterness and vibrant hop aroma. 5% abv [alcohol-by-volume].

  • The can states:
    • "Hersbrucker, Huell Melon, Saphir, & Sterling" hops.
    • 5.8% as the abv rather than the website's lower claim of 5%.
    • The provenance, "Brewed in Georgia," whereas the punt of the can is clearly stamped with the words, "Brewed in VA,"
    • The packaging date: 14 March 2019 (also inked on the punt, under the can).

  • Now, my turn:
    Restrained use of new-age fruity lager hops overlays classic spicy/floral hops. There's a hint of classic lager sulfur but NO hint of the brunchy —egg and apple— foul of many 'craft' lagers. In the background, there's firm shortbread malt.

  • Conclusion:
    Overall, Euphonia Pilsner is bright and crisp, and overtly, if not bluntly, aromatic, with a sustained finish. It's proof that New Realm's brewmaster co/owner, Mitch Steele —the 2014 recipient of the [U.S.] Brewers Association's Award for Innovation in Craft Brewing, the former head brewer for Stone Brewing and, before that, a brewer for Anheuser-Busch, and the man who literally wrote the book on IPA — knows how to brew a pilsner, by Groll! That the beer tasted 'born-on fresh' a full month after it was packaged is a further testament to his brewing chops.


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

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Saturday, April 13, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Doggin' Dogwood

Doggin' Dogwood

It's early April in Georgia, and many of the dogwood blossoms are already past peak. But not these guys.
The four showy flower petals of the flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) aren’t actually petals as botanists define them. The dogwood petals instead are modified leaves called bracts that surround a cluster of about 20 tiny yellow flowers. As the flowers bloom, the showy bracts expand to attract pollinating insects. Each bract has a dark red-brown indentation at its tip. Depending on location, dogwood trees may bloom in March, April or May for about two weeks. When pollinated, the flowers produce red berries relished by wildlife.
SFGate.

As seen in Sycamore Park, in Decatur, Georgia, on 11 April 2019.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

What's 'craft' beer worth? Try $27.6 Billion.

This week, a plenitude of American 'craft' brewers are in Denver, Colorado, attending the Craft Brewers Conference/BrewExpo, the industry's annual confabulation, hosted and organized by the [U.S.] Brewers Association in different U.S. cities each year.

In conjunction with that, the BA has released its annual compilation of annual growth data for the U.S. 'craft' brewing industry. Such as:

Craft Beer Production, 2018
In 2018, small and independent brewers collectively produced 25.9 million barrels and realized 4 percent total growth, increasing craft’s overall beer market share by volume to 13.2 percent.

Retail dollar value was estimated at $27.6 billion, representing 24.1 percent market share and 7 percent growth over 2017. Growth for small and independent brewers occurred in an overall down beer market, which dropped 1 percent by volume in 2018. The 50 fastest growing breweries delivered 10 percent of craft brewer growth. Craft brewers provided more than 150,000 jobs, an increase of 11 percent over 2017.
[...]

There were 7,346 craft breweries operating in 2018, including 4,521 microbreweries, 2,594 brewpubs, and 231 regional craft breweries. Throughout the year, there were 1,049 new brewery openings and 219 closings—a closing rate of 3 percent.
[...]

Craft Breweries, 2018

[These] numbers are preliminary. [...] A more extensive analysis will be released during the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America® in Denver, Colorado from April 8 – 11, 2019. The full 2018 industry analysis will be published in the May/June 2019 issue of The New Brewer, highlighting regional trends and production by individual breweries.

— [U.S.] Brewers Association
2 April 2019

And while I'm at it, here's the BA's super-duper definition of its member breweries, that is, its definition of what a 'craft' brewery is. Note, however, that the BA does not define what a 'craft' beer is.
An American craft brewer is a small and independent brewer.
  • Small:
    Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships.
  • Independent:
    Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.
  • Brewer:
    Has a TTB Brewer’s Notice [Federal license to brew beer commercially] and makes beer.


Trailer for the short, "For the Love of Craft," produced by [U.S.] Brewers Association founder Charlie Papaziaan. The film is to be premiered at the CBC.

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Saturday, April 06, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Friday afternoon Contrast

Friday afternoon Contrast

Garage-style doors opened, April spring let in, and Artifice Pale V2 served on draught. It's a Friday afternoon in the taproom at Contrast Artisan Ales, on 5 April 2019.

The brewery is new. Contrast opened to the public —in the city of Chamblee, Georgia, population 29,000, a few miles north of Atlanta— only three months earlier, in December 2018. It's owned and operated by Chase Medlin, the past head brewer at Twains Brewpub and Billiards in nearby Decatur.

Contrast's taproom is cozy and spartan —a converted auto-repair shop— with local artwork on the walls and a wrap-around white granite bar-top. Wooden barrels double as tabletops in the stool-less small outdoor front patio.

The two-vessel seven-barrel brewhouse can be seen in the background. Beers are served from finishing tanks located in a cold room directly behind the bar (to the left in the photo).

The pictured beer, Artifice Pale, is a not a hazy or juicy-fruit pale ale but a bright and crisp one with a citrusy aroma and dry finish, at an alcohol level of 5.6% (by volume). I would surmise that an apparent 11% alcohol decrease from the recipe for version 1 decreased the sweetness but increased the perkiness in this, version 2.

And increased —gulp— its 'drinkability.'

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  • Neither Contrast's website nor its Facebook page lists the brewery's address (or current beer list). It's: 5504 Peachtree Road, Chamblee, Georgia 30341, just east of the intersection with Broad Street.

  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of photos, posted on Saturdays, and occasionally, but not always, with a good fermentable as the subject.
  • See the photo on Flickr: here.
  • Camera: Olympus Pen E-PL1. Lens: Canon 50mm ƒ/1.4 FD.
  • Settings: 20 mm | 1/100 | ISO 200 | f/4.0
  • Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.

  • For more from YFGF:

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Bridge over calm waters

Bridge over Calm Waters (02)

Dredged by folk, 
It's really a pond. 
But still, 
It's chill. 
Avondale Lake.

Wooden trestles span this bridge over calm waters, located in the city of Avondale Estates, Georgia. Photo taken 27 March 2019.

And, by the way ...
The land that makes up present-day Georgia had few natural lakes before European settlement, and most impoundments, formed by beavers and debris dams from high flows, were relatively small. The lack of glacial retreat, land slope, and local geology provided conditions for large and small rivers and streams but not for lakes. The natural water bodies that occur in Georgia are primarily located in the southern part of the state in the Coastal Plain, where sinkhole lakes and isolated wetlands in natural shallow depressions largely fed by rain and shallow groundwater, called Carolina bays, form. Hence, the majority of lakes in Georgia that are now enjoyed for recreational, industrial, municipal, and federal government uses are made by people.
New Georgia Encyclopedia

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Saturday, March 23, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Pink Spring!

Sycamore Pink (02)

On 17 March 2019, these magnificent dogwoods —in the Sycamore Street neighborhood of Decatur, Georgia— were in the pink, seemingly celebrating the start of spring. They were three days early.

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Vernal Equinox

The actual Vernal Equinox —when winter became spring, astronomically— occurred Wednesday at 5:58 pm Eastern Daylight Saving Time. (That's Atlanta, Georgia time. Your time may vary.) At that moment, the Sun crossed, from south to north, directly above the equator. In other words, at that moment there was no tilt of the Earth's axis in regard to the Sun. For our friends south of the equator, the March Equinox marks the end of summer and start of autumn.

Super Worm Full Moon

The moon also rose that evening of the Equinox, full (aka the Worm Moon) and 'super' (its closest approach to the Earth). That's a phenomenon that last occurred in spring 1905 and won’t occur again until 2144.

Not half and half

Year to year, due to the inexactness of the modern calendar and because Earth's elliptical orbit is continually changing its orientation relative to the Sun, the date varies from 19 through 21 March. And, it isn't true that on that day, there are equal amounts of daylight and dark. It's close, but not quite.

Vernal Equinox and Easter

In A.D. 325, the Roman Catholic Council of Nicaea set the date of Easter as the Sunday following the paschal full moon, which is the full moon that falls after the Vernal Equinox. (A full moon —the Worm Moon— did occur Wednesday night, but since it occurred on the same date, it's not technically the first full moon after the Equinox.)

In practice, that means that Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon that falls after March 21. Thus, Easter can occur as early as 22 March or as late as 25 April, depending on when the paschal full moon falls.

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Malt for U.S. beer in 2019.

The Craft Maltsters' Handbook (front)

Hops are an herb, but without a fermentable starch, you ain't got beer.
Each year, the American Malting Barley Association (AMBA) releases its list of recommended malting barley varieties to US growers. AMBA is a nonprofit trade association of 76 brewing, distilling and malting companies that are end users of US malting barley. The list is meant to inform US producers which malting barley varieties the industry intends to use in the upcoming year. Some varieties will be used in large quantities and others are only utilized in niche markets, so producers are encouraged to contact their local elevator, grain handler or processor to gauge market demand for any variety grown in their region prior to seeding.

There are several changes from the 2018 list. The two-row varieties Harrington and Propino are being dropped from the list and four two-row varieties are being added. These additions include ABI Growler, Bill Coors 100, Moravian 165, and Thunder. ABI Growler is a two-rowed, midseason, spring barley developed by Busch Agricultural Resources, Ft. Collins, Colorado. Bill Coors 100 and Moravian 165 are two-rowed, spring varieties bred by Molson Coors in Burley, ID. Bill Coors 100 was released in 2016 in celebration of Mr. Bill Coors 100th birthday. Thunder is a two-rowed, winter variety released by Oregon State University and has performed very well in the Pacific Northwest.
Craft Malting Guild

Related pondering:
With the midwest, especially Nebraska, devastated by the flooding caused by the recent so-called 'cyclone bomb,' will barley farmers in other areas convert their fields to produce feed barley or other feed grains to fill the void, driving up the cost of malt?

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Tree at night in fog

Tree at night in fog

Long exposure: a froggy, froggy night in Avondale Estates, Georgia, on 17 February 2019.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The 50 biggest breweries and craft breweries in the U.S.

On 12 March 2019, the [U.S.] Brewers Association released its annual lists of the top fifty biggest U.S. 'craft' beer companies and the top fifty biggest overall brewing companies in the U.S. ... both ranked based upon sales volumes.

The rankings do not mention the actual sales volume numbers. The BA will publish those in May 2019.

2018 Top 50 U.S Craft Brewing Companies (map)

Taking a quick look ...
  • The Nos. 1 through 4 'craft breweries are Yuengling, Sam Adams (Boston Beer), Sierra Nevada, and New Belgium.
  • Nos. 1 through 4 overall largest are Anheuser-Busch, Inc. (When did the conglomerate drop the full Anheuser-Busch InBev name?), MillerCoors, Constellation (Corona, etc.), and Heineken (Lagunitas, etc.). On that list, the highest position for a [U.S.] Brewers Association-approved 'craft' brewery is 6th, for Yuengling.
  • One Georgia 'craft' brewery is on the lists. SweetWater Brewing, of Atlanta, is at no. 14 on the 'craft' list and no. 23 overall. (YFGF is based in Georgia.)
  • Keep in mind that the BA does not define 'craft' beer.It does, however, define its membership as 'craft' breweries.
    An American craft brewer is a small and independent brewer.
    • Small Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to a brewer according to rules of alternating proprietorships.
    • Independent Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.
    • Brewer Has a TTB Brewer’s Notice and makes beer.

    It's interesting to note that, in this iteration of its definition, the BA's decades-old requirement of "traditional" is no longer in the triad, instead replaced by the anodyne, "makes beer."
2018 Top 50 U.S Overall Brewing Companies

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Saturday, March 09, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: 'Lion's tooth' parachute

'Lion's tooth' parachute

Of yellow rosettes and white blowballs,
It's Taraxacum officinale-y.
You say weed; I say wildflower.
But it's dandelion, naturally.

Avondale Estates, Georgia.
2 March 2019.

Dandelions function as early-spring nectar sources for pollinators and as ruderal re-colonizers of compromised land. Taxonomically 'Taraxacum officianale, the dandelion's common name comes from the French, 'dent-de-lion,' meaning 'lion's tooth. Spare the RoundUp.
Wikipedia.

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Saturday, March 02, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Upcoming brewery

Upcoming brewery?

A construction banner heralds a planned 'craft' brewery in Avondale Estates, Georgia. 17 February 2019.

Photo 9 of 52.

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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: High ceilings at Bluejacket

High ceilings at Bluejacket

The photo almost appears as if I had shot it in black-and-white, but not.

High ceilings and tall windows dramatically frame a re-purposed factory that, a century ago, produced boilers for Naval ships. In 2013, this historic Washington, D.C. boilermaker building was re-purposed ... as brewery/restaurant Bluejacket.

It's a beery blast-from-my-past: I last visited Bluejacket in 2014.

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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Riparian tree in winter

Riparian tree in winter

Roots stretched down the bank;
Arms twisted up, some yet frocked. 
Calm tenacity. 

Winter of 2018/2019, on Sugar Creek, in the Kirkwood neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia.

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Saturday, February 09, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Dead end for tiny park

Dead end for tiny park

Lanier Gardens Park, Decatur, Georgia. 4 February 2019.

Not much of a park, at a fifth of a mile long and a few yards wide, and this ignominious end along the side of a road. Not quite a garden(s) either, unless a few shrubberies comprise such.

That being said, the bricked sidewalk and pleasant landscaping were suffused with the warm glow of a winter 'golden hour.'

As the late, great Hall of Famer Frank Robinson (1935-2019) once said:
When you come to the end of the road and it looks like there's an obstacle there to stop you, just take the time to look on the other side. There're better things there.

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  • In this shot, I experimented, just a bit, with HDR (high dynamic range), a photographic look currently in vogue. Thus, after the fact, I brought the sky highlights 'down' while bringing the foreground shadows 'up.' That was not exactly what my camera 'saw,' but, as is the idea with HDR, it was more to what my eyes actually saw.

  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of photos taken (or noted) by me, posted on Saturdays, and occasionally, but not always (as is the case today), with a good fermentable as the subject.
  • See the photo on Flickr: here.
  • Camera: Olympus Pen E-PL1. Lens: Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II R (w/ wide converter).
  • Settings: 22 mm | 1/320 | ISO 200 | f/5.0
  • Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.

  • For more from YFGF:

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Farewell, hydrangea

Farewell, hydrangea

Farewell, hydrangea,
Erstwhile companion.
Dead in winter,
Your corymbs tattered
Yet hanging on.

Atlanta (Edgewood), Georgia. 20 January 2019.

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Friday, February 01, 2019

Happy Brewsters' Day!

Happy Brewsters' Day! (1 February)
I should like a great lake of ale, for the King of the Kings. I should like the family of Heaven to be drinking it through time eternal.
— Opening line of a poem attributed to Saint Brigid of Kildare

On 1 February, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of Saint Brigid of Kildare (c. 451 – 525 AD): a patron saint of brewers and one of three patron saints of Ireland (in league with Saints Patrick and Columba). Brigid herself was a brewer: one miracle attributed to her was turning (bath) water into beer, a gift she has since bequeathed to many brewsters and brewers alike (if without that spritz of sitz).
"Probably the best known Irish saint after Patrick is Saint Brigid (b. 457, d. 525). Known as 'the Mary of the Gael,' Brigid founded the monastery of Kildare, in Ireland. She was a generous, beer-loving woman, known for her spirituality, charity, and compassion.

Brigid worked in a leper colony which once found itself without beer. "For when the lepers she nursed implored her for beer, and there was none to be had, she changed the water, which was used for the bath, into an excellent beer, by the sheer strength of her blessing and dealt it out to the thirsty in plenty."

She also is reputed to have supplied beer out of one barrel to eighteen churches, which sufficed from Maundy Thursday [Holy Thursday] to the end of paschal time [52 days]. Obviously, this trait would endear her to many a beer-lover.
— Via the Brews Brothers: "Saints of Suds (When The Saints Go Malting In)."

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Thursday, January 31, 2019

VeggieDag Thursday: Lynda's Mock 'Tuna' Salad Sandwich


In communion with the fine people of Ghent, Belgium, VeggieDag Thursday (DonderDag) is a series of occasional Thursday posts on an animal-free diet and the ecology. Today, the former.

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Lynda's Mock 'Tuna' Salad Sandwich

  • 15 ounces canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed, fork-smashed. (Save that aquafaba!)
  • 1 celery stalk, diced or grated
  • 2 tbsp dill pickle, diced
  • 1 spring onion (or ramp), diced
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegan 'mayonnaise'
  • 1 tsp kelp powder (optional)
  • ½ tsp dry mustard powder
  • ½ tsp onion flakes
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice, or more to taste.
  • S&P, to taste
Assemble. Eat. Enjoy.

— Recipe via Lynda Howard
(with adaptations from Happy Herbivore).

VeggieDag Thursday

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Saturday, January 26, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Hexopus

Hexopus

Walking out of the store, the sun peeked out from the clouds and I took the shot. Really? The sun walked out of the store?

Illogically misplaced modifiers: a scourge of writers. (The second clause, a hackneyed idiom, I'll keep, though.)

But, indeed, a brief moment of bright sunlight, on an otherwise overcast day, did highlight this six-valve manifold with shadow and saturation. And just long enough for me to grab my camera. (Yes, I rarely leave home without it.)

Here's the same 'hexopus' but rendered monochrome and cropped Instagram-style.

Hexopus (02)

Both images: a circular 6-valve manifold (hexopus?), stationed on a brick wall outside of a big-box store, in Atlanta (Edgewood), Georgia, on 22 January 2019.

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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Rust in the forest

Rust in the forest
I wish we could all have good luck, all the time. I wish we had wings.
I wish rainwater was beer. But it isn't. *

A rusting bucket sits abandoned in Cascade Springs Nature Preserve, Atlanta, Georgia. 9 January 2018.

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Saturday, January 12, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: As Cascade Falls

As Cascade Falls

It's what you don't hear. Once the site of a Civil War battle, Utoy Creek's cascade now masks the sound of automobiles above: an urban aural illusion.

A long-exposure at Cascade Springs Nature Preserve, in Atlanta (Cascade Heights), Georgia, on 9 January 2018.

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Friday, January 11, 2019

Fair winds and following seas, Mr. Jones.

Casey Jones, owner of Fair Winds

It was sad news, yesterday evening, from Fair Winds Brewing in Lorton, Virginia.
It is with great sadness we inform you of the passing of Casey Jones, our owner and CEO. Casey’s vision, dedication, and commitment has been integral to our business from day one. He will be dearly missed.

We ask for privacy for his family and co-workers in this difficult time and will provide further information as it becomes available.


Mr. Jones, a veteran of the Coast Guard, opened Fair Winds in March, 2015. Only a few months later, he and the brewery team won their first medal —gold for saison at the Great American Beer Festival, no less.

Fair winds and following seas, Mr. Jones.

"May you always have fair winds and following seas."

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Saturday, January 05, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Broken Windows

Broken windows

By documenting an unexpected (to the photographer and/or the observer) element in a larger picture, a photographer can create a visually incongruous juxtaposition. One might call that photographic irony. One might also state that any irony presupposes a photographer's prejudices. (One might also laugh at the hubris of anyone who calls themself a photographer.)

So ...

Broken windows, in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee, on 28 December 2018.

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52 Pic(k) Up in 2018.

Hummus and (strong) Lager

Since 29 August 2009, on four-hundred and eighty-four consecutive Saturdays, I have done this, here at YFGF:
Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of photos taken (or noted) by me, posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always, with a good fermentable as the subject.

The photo above, of a beer and hummus, was the first I duly mentioned. Since then, a plurality of the selections has been of beer, breweries, brewers, and that ilk. Recently, however, that emphasis has evolved to more of a photographic bent, often now not necessarily of a "good fermentable."

Here's a quick look at how my selections have changed since three years ago, in 2015.

2018201720162015
Beer12283434
Brewery581620
Cask ale25010
Wine0103
Whiskey/Liquor1002
Food3485

The figures don't sum 52 per year, as a category may be a subset of another: such as breweries also under beer, food also under brewpub/brewery, etc. But the trend has unmistakenly been away from one of soley fermentables.

Arlington Crepuscule

Since 12 April 2012, beginning with "Arlington Crepuscule," I have also been uploading to Instagram. All above provisos apply.

But enough of this photographic solipsism. Here is a recapitulation of the fifty-two images I chose as Pic(k)s of the Week in 2018. Clicking on any of the thumbnails will get you to the image and its story.

Later today, Pic(k) of the Week refreshes for 2019. And so it goes.

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January
Deepdene polypore (02) Graham Wheeler, homebrew guru, R.I.P. Good to the last drip Cask ale pourer
February
Shadows and light, angles and straight lines. A porter at the brewhouse Tree in winter's afternoon Blues through the balustrade
March
Krog Street swatch Pullman Yard (from the Pullman Trail) 02 Proper topper on St. Patrick's Day Blossoms, crimson & white 1990s Easter
April
Oldest (continuously operating) franchise in baseball! Spooky levitation Close encounter of the leonine kind Beer patio bijou
May
Sunday afternoon brewery patio-ing (02) Hydrangea blooms blue Bokeh rose Rocksteady Mild
June
Still life (at the moment). TKR Pilsner Rowboat ruin (02) Vista Grove Butterfly Bush Forgotten kicks
July
Butterfly & blossom A light in the forest YFGF's Evolution of Photography Dog koozie
August
Full moon; Mars perihelion opposition IPA at the beach Sunrise at St. Augustine Beach (03) The ArtLot arrow
September
Stone bridge 'keyhole' Maggie reclines Summer vegetable grilling Clouds on the hills (02) Pub prisms
October
Dahlia in black & white Whole Note Autumn magenta Hairy Potter
November
Bridge over Hardee Creek Fallen allée When it's apple time, down south in Georgia Pink grass (02)
December
Mist on the fen Krampus Christmas trees? Bird on a rail Lullwater weir (02) Midtown crepuscule

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