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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