Last week on Drunken Speculation, I punished myself a little beer with a mixture of less good beers, some uncommon adjuncts (e.g. mustard) and a coffee plunger.
The problem with the wordy, research and detail intensive posts that I’ve been focussing on lately is that they require a fair bit of concentration to put together so while I had a crappy week, it was difficult to get something together. And sometimes you just want to drink the damn beer, amirite? It didn’t help that I scrapped my planned post the night before and couldn’t get the post I wanted to replace it with together in time. I might try and get that out this week.
Beer of the Week is a bit of a classic in the shape of Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale. I haven’t had it in ages and cracked the last bottle in the fridge at work (who knows how long it’s been there). Still got that refreshing hop bitterness about it and, if you haven’t had it in a while, I recommend reacquainting yourself with this exemplary beer.
To the Tweet(s) of the Week!
Fun fact: Germany is the world leader in hop production.
To the best from last week:
Boak & Bailey – Pop Star Brewers
As a result, the bar has been raised for serious geeks. Where they might once have been happy name-dropping, they now expect to be able to hang out with and interrogate those who make their favourite beers.
This is a culture which disadvantages those who aren’t natural performers, even if they’re demons in the brewhouse. On our recent book tour, we heard more than one story of awkward meet-the-brewer events — “He’s obviously cripplingly shy and there were lots of long awkward pauses. He didn’t want to be there.” But (massive generalisation) aren’t those are just the kind of people who are really good at focusing their attention, managing processes and achieving consistency?
Echoing my own thoughts on the matter. Saves me from writing this exact post.
Thirsty Boys – Beer Histories: The ‘six o’clock swill’
Until then, six o’clock closing dominated New Zealand’s social life. Drinking at the pub was mainly a male affair, with workers drinking as fast as they could on the way home from work between 5 and 6pm. Beer, the most favoured drink, was dispensed from plastic hoses (connected to a tank in the cellar) to speed up the process. Patrons could either drink at the bar, where their glasses were refilled by hose, or they could fill a jug and retreat to a standing table for a more leisurely intake. Pubs had little furniture in order to fit more drinkers in, and were lined with linoleum floors for easier cleaning which was often no more than a hose-down after patrons went home. Windows were frosted so that passers-by couldn’t see in and be tempted to drink. In practice, women could drink upstairs in more respectable private bars.
Tandleman’s Beer Blog – Ice Cold in Munich
In addition to his duties in the Ice Factory, he has the responsibility nowadays of overseeing all of Paulaner’s 30 odd breweries abroad and has to visit them to ensure quality. A tough job, but someone has to do it I suppose. He is a big hop fan and of course we asked him, among many other things, about whether he’d like to brew an IPA. “Well” he said, “I have in fact done so, here in this brewery, just to show others we can do it”. But he added you won’t likely ever see a Paulaner IPA released on general sale from Paulaner- HackerPschorr, as the aim of the Ice Factory is quite different. He again paused and thought for a second. “Would you like to try my IPA?” Er. “Yes please” we chorused. So we did.
Beer Battered – The endless grind of the craft beer hype machine
To clarify, I don’t have anything against the can itself – it’s perfectly pleasant as far as beer receptacles go – but rather the PR onslaught that has surrounded its greater prevalence.
Of course, this has largely been fuelled by brewers and retailers and I don’t blame them for that. They’re doing their job and doing it well by generating interest, intrigue and, ultimately, sales of their beers.
But every time I log onto Twitter to see a post proclaiming ‘Look at this beer, it’s in cans’ accompanied by a picture of cans containing beer, it makes me want to eat my own head.
The hype machine has gone into overdrive cranking out this sort of stuff on a daily basis and drinkers have happily joined the party, flooding social media with similar pictures of aluminium tins and joyous proclamations of their brilliance.
My intention isn’t to piss on their parade, although admittedly I’m about to piss on their parade.
Seeing the Lizards – The Community Doesn’t Care
As I’ve said before, in ye olden days (up to 1990 or so), people HAD to go to the pub for entertainment as there was very little else to do. Other humans, amazing as it may seem today, were the most interesting thing available. And what better place to encounter them than at the pub, where copious amounts of alcohol would make even the most tedious bore tolerable.
Nowadays, the average young (and even not-so-young) male has Sky Sports, Spotify and streaming internet porn. He doesn’t have to deal with god damn people to avoid the crushing boredom of post-work existence. A few cans in front of the TV and computer suits him fine. So now the out of town local without a decent food option is deserted. Sad. But thems the times we live in. Sorry, Barbara Streisand, but people don’t need people any more.
A Good Beer Blog – Isn’t The Problem Price Point Not Brewery Numbers?
I know, we still like to pretend that (i) this is not business and (ii) the breweries are run by benevolent elves who only have the buyers interest at heart… but that is foolishness. Honestly, if beer didn’t have alcohol in it do you think any buyers would believe this stuff? If you have doubts, note that in the recent crowd sourcing fiasco, the price dropped from $50 to $30 within a blink of an eye. How could that be? I think of all these things as falling under the same lesson the single preciously boxed beer teaches us. Adds nothing to the taste but 15% to the price.
Looking back on his surprise attack, the dude speculates that something about the mountain’s higher elevation caused the bottle to go off like a grenade. Other people joined in with their own tales of beery mayhem. “I was at my local beer store and I was told that Swill had to be pulled off the floor, because some bottles had started to explode, causing a big mess and shards of glass everywhere,” says one, who guesses that it might have been to due with them sitting in the sun.
BeerGraphs – My Affair with Saison
Simcoe popped out of the hallway with Citra and Chinook in tow. Citra was always the light, gregarious one of the bunch. When he wasn’t wearing his customary smile, I knew this was not going to end well. Chinook, on the other hand, looked exactly the same as always; a little pissed off. Simcoe was the down-to-earth one of the bunch, leaving me, temporarily, to wonder where I fit in in this whole puzzle. Somehow, I knew I’d have plenty of time to think about it later.
Simcoe and Citra took a seat on the couch to my right while Chinook pulled up a chair of his own. Citra flashed me a look of good-natured kindness, but it was spotted by Chinook and he shot it down with a furrowing of his brow.
Larsblog – A brief stop in Stranda
During the course of the evening I gradually piece together a picture of what’s been going on. They all started brewing traditionally. Originally, they would use local malts, pharmacy hops, and kveik, and they would make raw ale. That is, the kind of ale where the wort is never boiled. As they tell us, raw ale is a very different type of beer. They can tell immediately from the flavour if it’s a raw ale.
Other highlights were:
- Mould’s Beer Blog – What is Right With Beer in America Today
- Ed’s Beer Site – Are you worthy of craft beer?
- Belgian Smaak – Announcement for The Session #91: My First Belgian
- Australian Brews News – Lion H1 Trading Update
- The Shout – New SABMiller chair, CUB marketer resigns
- Brian Stechschulte – Hop Anatomy
Anything I missed?