Drunken Speculation

MR | Second Edition, September 2014

coat of arms st luciaLast week on Drunken Speculation, I wrote about the Charming Squire with a charming title.

A quieter week on the beer front with ammo out of town and me dealing with the world’s smallest cold. Armakeggon, however, is this Sunday, which I’m pretty goddamn excited about.

Beer of the Week is Swan fucking Draught. You can thank ammo for that one. She said it didn’t taste like piss which is about the highest compliment you can pay these beers. On the other hand, speaking from experience, if you’ve just finished exercising, just about everything tastes great.

To the Tweet(s) of the Week!

I couldn’t pick just one with a few interesting nuggets coming out this week. In particular, the Wig & Pen’s move to the School of Music at ANU has attracted some controversy. Actually, I say “controversy” but I really mean one person’s uninformed opinions were given oxygen in a Fairfax rag.

Speaking of:

Fairfax – Wig & Pen to close for Llewellyn Hall move

It hasn’t been the easiest of transitions for Mr McOmish and his team, who discovered getting approval to move a brewery across town into the foyer of a concert hall required a fair share of paperwork.

“The process is a lot more complex than it was when I opened here more than 20 years ago,” he said…

The new location will allow punters to see the barrel room and brewery alongside the bar, a move Mr McOmish thinks will match the “industrially brutal building” that is Llewellyn Hall.

Zythophile – Don’t tell London’s second-oldest brewery it’s London’s second-oldest

If you point out to the chaps at Meantime Brewing Company that theirs is now the second-oldest independent brewery operation in London, they won’t be thanking you. Venerability is not something that appeals to Meantime’s core demographic of 25 to 40-year-olds. But it’s a fact that of the ten or so other breweries in the capital when the company’s founder, Alastair Hook, first fired up his brewing kettle on the outskirts of Greenwich in 2000, only the positively antiquarian Fuller, Smith and Turner further up the Thames at Chiswick is still going.

Bear Flavoured – Chickens and Funk: Plan Bee Farm is Growing (Slightly Bigger) and Growing (Everything)

Evan has used a few commercial cultures in the past, mostly favoring Wyeast’s 3711 French Saison, but he’ll likely phase out commercial yeast entirely at this point. Four different wild cultures make up the majority of his repertoire now, all isolated from around the farm property: a peach tree yeast strain, strawberry yeast, Muscadine grape yeast, and a new culture of honey yeast that Evan is currently developing.

Wild yeast isn’t known for its versatility, so it may seem like a lot of effort to turn these raw, feral critters into something clean and consistent enough to base all the brewery’s beers around. It probably is, but Evan isn’t averse to hard work, clearly. I remember Tachiniki, one of Evan’s earliest beers fermented with a wild fruit culture (peach), from when I was first encountering Plan Bee at the farmer’s market, and thought it was an interesting, if very raw experiment. Much like how you might expect a first generation wild yeast culture to taste, without much aging: very yeasty, phenolic, vaguely Belgian with a bit of weird grassy funky.

Gizmodo – How Pabst Brought a 136-Year-Old Beer Back From the Dead

“I went back and talked to some malt suppliers and said, ‘Okay, what kinds of malts were available [back then]?’ Because we wanted to make it as authentic as possible, and there weren’t the thousands of specialty malts that they have today. There were some, but we think it was a pretty simple recipe in the 1960s, so we incorporated of course Pale malt, and then Munich malts, and then two Crystal malts, as well as two other malts we put in at a very small percentage to give it the color and nuances that we wanted.

“For hops it was a different type of challenge. Of the hops from the 1960s the only real one that’s still available right now is Cluster. They probably did use some Cluster, but I’m thinking moreso they had the Bullion Hops, and they also had Northern Breweres and English hops like Fuggles or Brewer’s Gold. So we incorporated some of the new hops that are available today that have pedigree that go back to those 1960s hops, as well as some of the old hops that are still around.

The Beer Blog – Ohio – I like cat pee — and other things learned from being a celebrity beer judge

Am I fan of cat pee?

Then Krajewski clarified after I quizzed him that it’s not necessarily a bad aroma. Hmmm. I’ve never heard cat pee described as a pleasant aroma. Never. I’ve heard plenty of animal control officers who found little old ladies living with 87 cats call it disgusting. And I’ve been in those houses and it is disgusting.

Beer #10 wasn’t disgusting. It was, in fact, my favorite beer among the five imperial IPAs we tasted.

Krajewski apparently is OK with a little cat pee, too. It was our only unanimous choice to move on to the “best of table” debate. But, when it came to dismissing beers during that discussion, beer #10 was one of the first to go. Oh well.

Ferret the Beer – Chicago’s Lager Beer Riot: Fight For Your Right (To, Amongst Other Things, Drink Beer on Sunday)

At three o’clock, a mass of six hundred Germans and Irish marched down Clark Street towards the courthouse, armed with shotguns, knives, clubs and various household implements. Boone quickly realized he had under-estimated the protestors’ willingness to fight. When about half the crowd had crossed the Clark Street Bridge, the officials opened the drawbridge and split the opposition. Not surprisingly, this only served to ignite the powder keg and fighting broke out. Some accounts say the fighting lasted minutes, some say it lasted over an hour. In any event, the protestors fled North and the police fled South. Officially, one police officer suffered a gun shot would in the arm that required amputation and one German, Peter Martin, took a shotgun blast to the back from a deputized citizen and died three days later in the County Jail. It is said “that a number of mysterious funerals in the German community resulted from the riot.”

The Illinois state militia was brought in to guard against further violence. The trial was abandoned and a peace fell over the city, albeit a shaky peace. It was decided that Boone’s statutes would be put to citywide vote in a special election slated for early June. Despite a campaign led by temperance advocates that flooded the city from around the country, a turnout that set a record in Illinois history, up to that point, soundly defeated the proposed laws.

Brewed, Crude & Bitter – We Few, We Happy Few, We Band of Brewers

Anyone with a cursory interest in the brewing industry can see that beer collaborations are becoming increasingly prevalent.  Even Coopers recently took part in their first collaboration in their 152 year history.

I’m going to put it out there.  I love collaborations.  Purely by their nature, collaborations are going to produce one-off beers that give the brewers an opportunity to put some of their more unique creations out to a wider audience.  And that is one of the things I love most about beer and brewing.  Give me your weirdest shit and I’ll drink it.  It’s probably not going to be the best beer they’ve ever made but I’m glad they gave it a crack.

After all, brewing with different ingredients, mangling traditional styles and hanging out with other brewers are all excellent ways for brewers to hone their skills.  That imperial banana mocha milkshake dunkel might not have worked, but the experience gained by the brewer can only be beneficial for the future.  And if the beer is so bad that it shouldn’t have gotten a commercial release?  Well just don’t buy it I suppose?

Beer Culture is Stupid. – Beer Culture is Homophobic

This kind of casual homophobia is part of every day life for me and many many others. Unfortunately I happen to work in a traditionally ‘masculine’ business so it’s also impossible to avoid. Of course it’s not exactly a revelation that beer as a thing/culture/business has so much sexism associated with it (if you haven’t read any of Melissa Coles’ blogs then you probably should) but homophobia seems to be rarely discussed despite the fact it is everywhere. From working behind the bar and asking the practical question of ‘Are you guys together?’ and at least once a week receiving answers which essentially amount to ‘NO HOMO. NO HOMO.’, to having a quiet pint and overhearing big groups of middle aged men going ‘EUUUUGH IMAGINE HAVING SEX WITH A MAN’ (again, a very common occurrence), to being interrupted in a private conversation to be asked ‘excuse me are you gay?’. I could carry on but we’d be here forever.

Other highlights were:

Anything I missed?

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