Drunken Speculation

MR | Third Edition, March 2014 – Tuesday Reading / Brewsvegas Plans

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALast week on Drunken Speculation, ammo reviewed a single-hop English import and I discussed the shifting goalposts of hoppiness on the palate.

For the first time in fifty-three editions, this Monday Reading actually comes a day late. The details aren’t interesting but you, the reader, has my apologies.

Part of my time was consumed at last night’s gathering of Brisbane bloggers, plus special appearances from beerbarband and Soaked in Beer (a blog which now seems to be lost to the ages), to taste the last five litres of what’s left of our Bacchus Beer Bloggers’ Series. Our own Eau Rouge is starting to smell a lot like berry yoghurt despite never having been near lactobacillus. Interesting what happens to beer that’s spent a few months in a can. Our thanks again to Bacchus Brewing Co for brewing our beer and The Scratch for hosting last night.

To Tweet of the Week!

Fan-effing-tastic. I haven’t worked my way through all of the events yet but there’s a mindblowing array available. We’ll be there from Thursday through to Sunday arvo. GABS is a must but we’re also considering the Mega Dega II and we’ll definitely be hitting up a few Pint of Origin venues.

But let’s not forget about our own good beer week in the north, Brewsvegas. ammo will be out of town on work but my own loose timetable is starting to come together:

I reckon the key to surviving the week is to attend just the selected events and not go on a boozey pub crawl after. One serious hangover will throw out my week entirely, not to mention ensuring productivity at work will be very low.

So what did others have to say last week?

This is Why I’m Drunk – What This Maple Bacon Ice Cream Stout Taught Me About Our Expectations of Beer

During the BrewDog shoot, James and Martin encouraged interacting with the beer to properly sense aromas and tastes. They specifically asked the audience to turn to each other and openly discuss impressions of the beer. They wanted eyeballs to move from cell phone screens and make contact with other human beings.

But that didn’t last long and the group was back to taking selfies, hoisting the new beer toward the sky like a trophy.

This came off the back of the disastrous Hunahpu’s Day. Florida’s Cigar City Brewing puts out an annual, very limited release, coveted by American beer nerds. On the day, CCB ran out early and those who missed out tried to start a riot. The cops were called. Hunahpu’s Day won’t be happening again in future and who could blame them?

Brew Drink Run (RIP Hunahpu’s Day and Hunahpu’s Day: Loved to Death), Make Mine Potato and the Pittsburgh Beer Snob all put together some thoughtful prose on the topic. Although, I think the whole thing is stupid because there’s nothing limiting how much CCB can actually make. They choose the volume and intentionally make their beer rare, which for some reason, ramps up the beer nerd anxiety about getting it.

I, for one, hope we won’t be seeing that in Australia. However I do remember that at last year’s GABS, the beer nerds were getting antsy and narky at being delayed entry for fifteen minutes at the first session. Pump those guys full of booze and make them line up for hours and they would probably start a riot too.

Speaking of GABS,

beerisyourfriend – What’s at GABS this year?

Starting tomorrow, we have our annual Q&As with GABS brewers, where they talk about the special beers they’re brewing for GABS.

But today, GABS co-creator Steve Jeffares lets the readers of Beer is Your Friend know what to expect at this year’s event. Hint – it includes beer-flavoured ice cream…

We’re still finalising numbers but we expect almost 120 new Festival Beers with about 75 per cent Australian. There are another 100+ beers at the Dan Murphy’s Market Place exhibitor stands.

Also check out Glen’s series with individual brewers about their GABS beer (something I was going to do as well…)

BeerGraphs – On Beer Writing

In case you didn’t notice, the industry is doing fine. Jacob McKean of Modern Times Brewing recently noted that craft beer “is an industry with an almost total absence of real journalism” and that “cheerleading is virtually indistinguishable from ‘reporting’.” Hieronymous echoed those sentiments in his talk, saying that what beer writing needs (and, incidentally, what publishers and editors of beer writing place an ever-higher premium on) is thoughtful, long form work that does more than flatter brewers or describe their beers. We need writing that interrogates, that has both narrative and perspective. Beer writing, as Julie Johnson of All About Beer noted, needs to be held to a higher standard. “Don’t retweet crap,” she said.

Sounds like a perfect topic for The Session.

Baltimore Bistros & Beer – Experimenting with Freshness

With that question in mind, I set out to Heavy Seas Brewery with Deana and Oliver Gray of Literature & Libation to see if we could determine a difference between fresh beer and a beer nearing the end of its “best by” window. The new beer was Heavy Seas Loose Canon, kegged on February 17th and sampled 5 days later on February 22nd. The older bottle of Loose Canon was purchased on November 12th, 2013 and stored in my basement until the February 22nd tasting. The idea was simple. We’d look at each beer, sniff ‘em, and then taste the beers noting any differences. Oliver and I were to act as the experienced drinker and Deana represented the casual drinker in our attempt to discern if it took an experienced palate to pull out differences between the old and new beer.

Serious Eats – So You Think You Want to Open a Brewery…

Curious about what it takes to go pro and start a brewery? Looking for advice? I’ve got some. A lot of it, in fact. The bad news is that what I’m about to say may not make opening a brewery sound like that much fun.

I’ve come to a general theory of brewery work: it’s not what you think it is. None of the jobs I’ve had in the brewing industry have been close to what I expected they’d be. Is life working in a brewery—or opening your own—for you? Read on.

Brookston Beer Bulletin – Stop Defending Cheap American Beer

Where she really loses me, is when she lists her “[f]ive good reasons why it’s perfectly acceptable to drink plain old yellow lager” or “five good reasons you shouldn’t feel bad the next time you sheepishly choose a Stella when your friends are insisting you should drink Swamp Ape.” None of them are actually “good” reasons and a few of them are downright wrong. And the overall idea that this is reasonable at all, especially when she characterizes herself as a “craft-beer drinker,” just doesn’t jibe with me. You hear it from time to time, as if drinking beer with flavor is too much work, and sometimes you want to go back to a time when all beer had no flavor. Who develops a taste for filet mignon, but from time to time craves spam?

Booze, Beats & Bites – Good Honest Craft Beer

My focus is on the word ‘craft’ when attached to beer. See, I like beers from many breweries who call themselves ‘craft’ but it can get too much. You see, it’s one thing to say “We are brewing great craft beer” and another to be rubbing the fact that you are most definitely a craft brewery and nobody can say otherwise in my face.

The latter, to me, is a massive turn off.

Recently, Bateman’s Brewery has gone through a dramatic rebrand in line with the current ‘craft beer’ market trends. They’ve swapped their comfortable and traditional style ‘Good Honest Ales’ branding which gives you the image of sitting by the fire in a nice village pub, on a cold winter’s evening with what I believe to be a complete mess.

Technomic – Brewers’ Great Expectations: Craft Beer at 20% by ’20

In recognizing that adjunct brewing has been the tradition, the Brewers Association is finally catching up with the reality of the craft brewing industry. Whether the organization will face the reality that larger entities will continue snapping up craft brewers remains to be seen. The 20%-by-’20 goal will undoubtedly further motivate the craft industry to up its game on efficient operations, strategic go-to-market programs, product innovation, and engagement of the trade and the most important element, consumers. In other words, craft brewers may just start acting more like the big brewers. Let the games begin.

Other highlights:

Anything I missed?

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