Beer of the Week again comes from the Archive. This time, I grabbed a growler-full of Stillwater Artisanal Folklore, a Belgian dark ale or foreign stout, depending on which resource you use for your beer taxonomy. To me, it was very much in the mould of the latter, a richer and, yes, smoother (i.e. less varnishy) version of the well-known Guinness edition.
To the Tweet(s) of the Week!
@frozensummers was on fire last week. I don’t think I’ve handed out that many favourites to one person in a week. Well worth a follow – especially as I’m not explaining all of those jokes.
To the best from last week:
250 Beers – Sniff & Sip Session No.10: The 250 Beers Sesh
You see I’m coming up to another milestone in my beer journey. My 1,250th unique beer is fast approaching (1,224 at the time of writing) so instead of the session being restricted to beers from one particular brewery, I’ll be sharing five beers that have stood out from the rest during the past few years. Some stand-out beers are stupidly rare so I’ve submitted a shortlist of 12 beers to the Brewhouse for them to execute their procurement prowess.
It’ll be different to the usual format of the sessions but equally as fun and let’s not forget the delicious food by chef Chris Wright! Hopefully, the thought of my grotty London accent making an appearance after a few beers won’t deter people from attending. Tickets are just $49 and are available here.
We’ve got ours.
Craig Heap – Beer: The Basis of Civilisation
A question which bothers some archaeologists is, apparently, why man opted to take up civilisation in the first place. Few people today would be willing to go without their warm homes, constant internet access and pulled-pork sandwiches, all products of civilisation, but it seems some archaeologists are concerned with what made early man give up a life of hunter-gathering and turn his hand to the backbreaking task of tilling the field, yoking the animal and constructing shelters.
The answer could be beer, an answer supported by the theory of the horse shoe mounds.
drinkdrank – The State of Beer (As I See It)
Even more unfortunate, is that the idea of self-important clever “craftiness” is fueled by places like Stone, Rogue, Dogfish Head—hell, even Ommegang—who were at one time pretty good microbreweries, but have turned to pulling off crowd-sourcing gimmicks, überbeers, and so-called collaboration beers that are, quite frankly, pretty bad—but succeed due to their marketability. It’s becoming a vicious cycle of new, next, better, barrel-aged, stronger, hoppier, and weirder—perpetuated by fanboys, beer snobs, and brewers who fancy themselves artistic rock stars. All said and done, “good” basically becomes secondary, and specialty, one-off or limited run $30 a bottle beers have become the new norm, doing nothing more than raising the price of beer—all beer. I’m going to be perfectly honest with you. If you spend $30 on a bottle of beer—then you’re nuts.
That Stone chose Berlin is not a surprise when you start looking just a smidgen below the surface. Berlin is a European capital where property prices are much below similar cities in Europe. After 40 years of isolation behind the Berlin Wall, Berlin has been blossoming politically and culturally for the last 25 years since the fall of the Wall in November of 1989. Berlin is a center for music, the arts and progressive lifestyles. A lot of criticism comes to Berlin as being terribly hipster, but the city backs it up with its cultural output.
Another reason is outlined by the blog Hops Hysteria, which explains that “a further interesting factor is the still young world of craft beer in Berlin. The boom is just getting started here. People are just now learning how to appreciate and love the ‘other’ beer. A large brewery like Stone can seize the day and provide the necessary enlightenment in such a setting.”
beer is your friend – The worst beer glass ever
Yeah, he took ideas from various beer glasses that already worked and smooshed them altogether into a design that is really, really ugly. And functionally faulty. For instance, did you notice that this is actually two glasses? Yep, there’s the one with the lid, which is shown right-side up in the photo. But on the bottom is a small tumbler style glass, which I assume you access by turning the glass over. Which surely means that lid on the big glass must just hang down, looking unsightly and making it quite difficult to put the glass on a table.
I saw this pop up on my Facebook feed:
I wanted to suggest that it be called the “Facepalm” because that’s what it was going to be (I would have commented but I reserve being a douche online for my blog and Twitter). I was right. I guess it never occurred to anyone involved in this marketing exercise that beer glasses are the shape they are for a reason.
Australian Brews News – It’s International Beer Day, drink OUR beer
According to the official website, it was founded by a couple of San Franciscans in 2007 and is now a “global celebration of beer”. While it does seem to be spreading slowly, it seems to be have primarily adopted by unimaginative marketers as something to hang a branding campaign off rather than a true grassroots celebration of beer.
In my experience, based on a survey of my inbox over the last few years, celebration of it pretty much involves either or both of the two major brewing companies sending out a media release in which a PR flack has spent 15 minutes collecting beer trivia or commissioning a dodgy survey about beer, and then folding that into a media release saying ‘drink our beer on International Brewers Day’. No harm really, but hardly an international uprising celebrating the miracle of fermentation of grain.
A Ph.D in Beer – Beer Pendantry #1: What is a “lambic”?
Aside from the procedural requirements of traditional lambic, there is a sense that the geography of the production matters as well. This is the biggest point of contention in the beer geek world. You see, lambic, true lambic, can only be produced in Belgium. Not just any region in Belgium though….it has be made in Pajottenland, more specifically in the Zenne valley where Brussels is located. This means that breweries doing “lambic style” beers in countries such as the United States are not producing lambics…or at least that’s the argument. The justification of this dimension to the definition comes from the belief that in the coolship step (#3 from the above list), the beer is inoculated with “wild” bacteria and yeast that is specific to the region. While this is a nice fairy tale about the micro-flora of the Zenne valley, the science doesn’t support this.
Crafty Pint – Band of Brewers
It was only a matter of time before something like Band of Brewers happened in Brisbane. There’s an unfathomable amount of beer love around town so it should be no real surprise that local craft brewers have taken the community spirit one step further and come together as one. Spearheaded by Fortitude Brewing Co’s national sales manager Dan Rawlings, the Band of Brewers is a new collective of brewers from South East Queensland that plans to release a collaboration beer every few months. And it’s one that will evolve too because the representative craft breweries – and their brewers – will diversify every so often.
Other highlights were:
- Beervana – Cantillon Adds New Building; Will Double Production
- Beer Blog Feed – BA: US craft beer production grew 18 percent so far this year
- The Shout – Stockade beer success won’t affect our contract brewers: Brewpack
- back of the ferry has had their usual great run of beery travel stories, this time in the US
Anything I missed?