Drunken Speculation

MR | Fourth Edition, May 2014 – Let the recovery begin

Giro d'Italia 2014, 6a tappa: Sassano-MontecassinoLast week on Drunken Speculation, I rounded out my interminable series on industrial lagers and ammo gave us a timely recipe for spiced ale apple slice using one of last year’s GABS beers.

If you’ve been following us even remotely closely, you would know we were in Melbourne for Good Beer Week and GABS. It was a great week, although we’re exhausted from over-stimulation and boozing. We’re planning our own posts to follow this week once we’ve recovered but if you can’t wait, amazingly timely coverage was provided by Pia from girl+beer and James (normally of beerbarband) writing for Australian Brews News. There’s also our Facebook page with near-daily updates.

The Beer of the Week, in a week I added seventy-plus unique check-ins, was the Renaissance Stonecutter Scotch Ale. ammo and I both gave it 5 stars on Untappd. I don’t like the style much but this was just amazing.

To the Tweets of the Week!

On behalf of ammo and myself, thanks to all the volunteers. They help turn an ordinary beer festival into Australia’s best. Also,

Congratulations to La Sirene. They make a hell of a praline beer. And,


Moving on, what did others have to say last week?

Appellation Beer – Friday beer: Cerveja Extra Tipo Pale Ale

Blumenau flaunts its German heritage, but rightly Pomerode lays claim to being the most German town in Brazil, and hence outside of Germany itself. The schools are bilingual and about 80 percent of residents still speak German. In fact, day-to-day life often takes place in German…

The restaurant was buzzing — sure enough, the hosts at the door greeted some customers in Portuguese and others in German — and platters of meat looked and tasted of the Black Forest. I had a bottle of Bierbaum Lager, a helles brewed nearby but also tasting of Bavaria. German brewing tradition is prominent in the southeast of Brazil, which is also where most of the new small breweries (they use the word “craft”) have opened, perhaps 150 in all of Brazil, 40 in the Sao Paulo area alone. American hops are as well.

beer is your friend – The art of reviewing

No, the honesty I’m talking about is being truthful about what you think of something, regardless of how it makes you seem. So, if you’re stridently opposed to supermarkets making craft beer and you taste a beer from Steamrail that is really fucking good, then you have to say so. You HAVE to.

You can’t wuss out because you’re concerned that you might lose cool points with the super-hip beer geek crowd. This honesty pays dividends in the long run because it shows the reader you’ll give them a truthful appraisal, regardless of where the chips fall. So when you go and review a craft beer and praise it heavily, they know they can trust you.

Community Beer Works – bE’er

“So what do you think of the beer?”, Ethan asked me.

“It’s pretty good,” I said, then immediately qualified the statement: you know, it’s not great, but it’s nice and drinkable, and sometimes I want something like that. And it was surprising, considering the brewery that made it isn’t generally considered to make “good” beer.

Ethan bristled a bit. What was good beer, he asked? What makes our beer better than theirs, or worse, or objectively quantifiable at all?

Beer & Whiskey Brothers – Craft or Crap? The Beer That Brad Pitt Tossed to Matthew McConaughey in New Orleans

McConaughey was hanging out on the balcony of Saints quarterback Drew Brees, which just happens to be across the street from Pitts’ New Orleans home.  Pitt wandered outside, and a balcony-to-balcony bromance budded, which wound up with Pitt tossing McConaughey a can of beer.

While I don’t usually get into celebrity gossip (especially when it involves pretty dudes), this story instantly caught my attention because as a beer geek I needed to know one thing – what kind of beer did Honey Bear Boy toss to the Bongo Kid?

Luke’s Beer – Hopt – Warning: May Contain Hops

On the label it says they use Columbus, Tomahawk and Zeus. My understanding is they are three different names for the same variety. This hop is also referred to as CTZ…

When I read the ingredients list I found that hops were last. And it was only “real hop extracts” (not the fake or artificial ones, haha) and at a rate so small I am surprised that they were legally required to actually list them. 0.02% – seriously? Maybe this is a company policy and they hop this beverage at the same rate as their beers.

Crafty Pint – Defining the Future

The association continues to grow in parallel with the industry, with nearly 20 breweries joining in the past six months; Dave believes almost half of the brewers in Australia are now members. As for the conference, the aim is to repeat last year’s success but “better – to do more”, while Jared Birbeck, of Birbeck’s, is continuing his work looking at excise issues.

The Motley Fool – You’d Probably Never Guess That This Is Craft Beer’s Scariest Problem

Like your typical business, brewpubs and craft brewers face a number of economic hurdles they have to overcome. These can include pricing pressure on supplies, the high cost of buying new equipment and leasing space to start a brewery or expand a business, the ability to appeal to both men and women (women are a rapidly growing component of the craft brewing industry, both as customers and brewers), and even acts of God, such as the California drought that has made access to clean water and quality hops and grain difficult for most breweries within the state.

Yet for all intents and purposes, there’s even a greater potential calamity that serves as the scariest problem for the craft beer industry. That problem is … (drumroll, please) … itself!

Other highlights were:

Anything I missed?

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