Drunken Speculation

MR | Fourth Edition, January 2014

535px-Johannes_Vermeer_-_Het_melkmeisje_-_Google_Art_ProjectLast week on Drunken Speculation, we told you how we voted in the Local Taphouse’s Hottest 100 Australian Craft Beer 2013 Poll and ammo took a closer look at one of the top beer from last year, Feral’s Hop Hog.

The 2013 poll results are now available in full on Crafty Pint with Hop Hog taking out honours again and the top three being the same as last year.

ammo’s votes picked up fifth, sixth, ninth with Burleigh’s Hef (!) and the Brew Cult Acid Freaks missing out. Because I’m such a hipster, my votes only came in at sixth, thirty-first and fiftieth. Of our six 5-star beers, four made it into the top 100 (Feral’s Hop Hog at 1, Little Creatures Pale at 3, McLaren Vale/Ale at 9 and Holgate Mt Macedon at 31), and we have positive reviews for eight of the top nine beers (we’re missing one for 4 Pines Pale), which all confirms that we have impeccable taste, although Aurora Borealis’ popularity continues to confound me.

I was going to do an analysis of the results but ABN does it every year, and much faster than I can get to it, so it seems kind of redundant. TheWestbender’s #voteyastrebov campaign seemed to be a success with the extremely rare beer, normally only found around Brisbane coming in at number 50, which begs a number of questions, mostly along the lines of “I’ve never heard of that brewery. Why is their beer so popular and how can I get some?” (e.g. Thirsty Crow at number 10).

To the Tweet of the Week!

In what will probably be the last time we address alcohol related violence, I think this is good food for thought. What’s interesting is not the drop but the rather large variation. It’s almost as if policy-makers need to slow down and think about root causes rather than knee-jerk reacting to a spate of, admittedly horrible, incidents. I suspect a bit of consideration will yield better long-term outcomes.

In other news:

ABC – Beer taps dominated by big brands as small brewers cry foul

The competition watchdog is investigating whether contracts between major beer companies and pubs are unfairly blocking smaller brewers from the market.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has sent a letter to small brewers asking if “certain conduct may be affecting competition”.

The language used around this announcement in the number of places I’ve read about it (also try The Shout) suggests that if anyone is excited by the prospect of being legally able to break their tap contracts any time soon (Brewski and Embassy Bar spring to mind), they better rein in expectations. When the ACCC talks about a probe in this context, I’m imagining a tongue dispenser compared to the alien anal probe that they regularly (try to) give to the supermarket duopoly. Of course, the stir caused by federal government bodies investigating beer industry practice didn’t seem to send Twitter into quite as much of a spin as:

Crafty Pint – Two Birds are Brewing

One of the most popular brewing teams in Australia is bringing brewing to Melbourne’s Inner West. Two Birds Brewing, which was formed by former Mountain Goat head brewer Jayne Lewis and longstanding friend Danielle Allen in 2011, is set to open its own facility in Spotswood and hopes to put a first beer through its brand new setup later this year.

Good for them. Maybe they can hire these guys:

Newcastle Herald – Jobs to go as Bluetongue Brewery closes

SIXTY-FOUR workers at the Bluetongue Brewery on the Central Coast are set to lose their jobs after Carlton & United Breweries confirmed yesterday it was shutting the $120million facility… Blaming the decision on ‘‘excess brewing capacity and duplication’’ in its network, CUB said it would relocate the brewing equipment to its Yatala brewery in Queensland and sell remaining assets.

Australian Brews News – Yeastie Boys receive rare invite to real ale festival

Innovative New Zealand brewers – the Yeastie Boys – have received one of only ten worldwide invites to brew at the world’s largest ale festival. The invitation will see them flying to England in late February to brew their offbeat Gunnamatta earl grey India Pale Ale for the JD Wetherspoon’s International Real Ale Festival.

(When can we start claiming these guys as Australians?)

The BeerCast – Brewery names; will social media defy convention?

On the face of it, there is no real connection between the transatlantic villages of Abbots Bromley in Staffordshire, and Buchanan, New York. They do, according to Wikipedia, have similar population sizes; only 431 more people call the latter home than the former (neither being particularly large; Buchanan tops the scales at a mere 2,230 souls). Other than that, there are precious few parallels between the two hamlets. Apart from one, that is. They both have a local brewery called Freedom. Or rather, one does and one…almost does.

Seeing the Lizards – Hoppier than Hopfuck

I think it all started when a local barman told me about this beer he had at another pub in town. It was, he said, a complete “hopfuck”. So off I went to the place and asked for the requisite name I was told. Stone Ruination IPA it was called. I handed over my £9 and was given in return a green bottle with tiny writing and a BrewDog half-pint glass.

And yes, reader, I was well and truly fucked by hops.

Despairing of ever being able to taste anything else for the rest of the day, I ordered a Fentiman’s Vicky Lemonade, usually a desperate measure when I feel myself getting too pissed to order another beer. I could barely taste a bloody thing.

Back of the Ferry – Washable, Writable, Reusable Homebrew Beer Bottle Labels

If you have ever homebrewed your own beer, or know someone that has, you understand the very specific nightmare that is marking them. Writing on the bare bottles isn’t effective. Paper gets destroyed. Labels don’t stick right. You could try heavy-duty tape like we did, but even that gets gnarly after a while. When it does, you also have all the tape residue on your bottles.

Other highlights:

Anything I missed?

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