Last week on Drunken Speculation, I looked at the coolness of beer and Violent Soho.
There’s not much of beery interest to discuss this week. I bypassed Tusk, thanks to an excessive amount of work. I spent the afternoon (these posts are usually assembled on Sunday) drinking homemade mead and I can already feel a horrible headache forming.
I only checked-in one beer last week and it was pretty goddamn average and of the three others beers I’ve had this week, I think they may have all been Beer of the Week before, so I don’t believe there is a BotW this week. A shame but I’m a bit hooked on Hoegaarden, Goat Summer and Pacific Ale these days. They’re like comfort beers.
To the Tweet(s) of the Week!
Some good commentary and I struggled to pick just one.
Here’s the highlights from last week:
Beer Compurgation – Indy Man Beer Con 2014
It is strange to recall the relatively little fanfare that a two day event from 2012 caused in comparison to this last weekend. I sat in Port Street Beer House several times that year, pondering the posters and beer mats that sang loudly of “Indy Man Beer Con;” a contrived celebration of craft wankerage that was to break away from the norms of airport-lounge-style beer festivals that Real Ale drinkers had patented. I don’t even remember when I thankfully sliced off my own cynicism and purchased tickets for that year but it wasn’t long before the event. So as I glanced at my Saturday session ticket for this year’s Indy Man, I couldn’t help but grin at the realisation these were purchased back in April to secure my spot. It’s getting big.
It was a different occasion this year. This year, anybody with a Twitter account and a beer G-spot was attending. The build-up during the week consisted of my Twitter feed filling itself with the entire world masturbating over the weekend’s prospects, lamenting that they couldn’t make it or trying to tout their tickets as they were purchased so long ago they’d actually forgotten the event was happening. It was wild excitement, usually reserved for countdowns to Christmas or the release of a Harry Potter book, so different to the short fanfare of two years previous. You stopped asking people IF they were going and simply asked WHEN.
But before construction begins, De Halve Maan has to negotiate the exact course it will take. While a straight shot from brewery to bottling facility would be the quickest way to go, it’s totally unfeasible. The pipeline has to be built under public land, otherwise the brewery would need permission from a go-ahead from each individual property owner. Even under roads and public parks, there are centuries-old historic sites to avoid. There are more practical obstacles, too, like canals, major traffic crossings, and sites where things like underground garages will be built in the future. Utilities should be simple to avoid, as most of them are at pretty shallow depths. (The depth of the beer pipeline will range between 1 and 30 meters.)…
Once the pipeline’s course is set, things should be pretty easy. De Halve Maan will use a computer-guided drill that can travel 300 meters underground at a time. That way, it won’t have to break up the cobblestone streets along the whole route, just at strategic points.
And this from Munich: The 260m-long pipeline supplying Germany’s Oktoberfest with beer. Beer in underground pipes is hot stuff.
Larsblog – Farmhouse ales of Europe
Some people seem to equate farmhouse alge with saison, but there is a lot more to it. Every place that still has a living farmhouse tradition has a beer style of its own that is completely unique, and several of these regions have more than one. And when I say “completely unique” I mean that literally. The spread in flavours and techniques is enormous. Many of these brewers do things that no modern brewer would ever dream of doing, and they’re all different from one another. So if you feel like you’ve tasted all the different kinds of beers there are and there’s nothing new any more, well, read on.
On the map below I’ve marked the places where I know for certain that the farmhouse tradition still lives. You can see right away that the regions have something in common: they are primarily agricultural and fairly remote from capitals and major industrial areas. I also get the impression that to preserve its farmhouse tradition, an area needs a certain minimum number of inhabitants. Thus, the smaller European islands, and the truly remote and isolated areas have lost their traditions.
This first comment, from a brewery sales rep working in OR, WA, ID, and AK, summarizes a lot of what I heard:
Pay to play absolutely exists in mature markets like the northwest but it’s not typically found in bars except for high volume accounts with few beer choices. You can imagine even if you could convince a buyer at a bar with a great beer selection to put beer on in exchange for money or gifts it would not make the consumer try your beers. The accounts that do this seem to be closer to stadiums and event centers that have huge crowds that pack a place but are not known for beer selection. If you are one of a few beer handles you will pick up some sales.
But unlike some markets, where it seems corruption is rampant (the source above added “I went on a trip to Chicago a year ago and could not believe what was being asked of me. Buyers asked to buy two kegs get one free. Bartenders asked for money to push our beer”), it’s more nuanced in the Northwest.
Pete Brown – Sexy or sexist? This is not just CAMRA-bashing
In the recent Cask Report, one of our main and most widely repeated headlines was that real ale drinkers no longer agree with the statement that ‘real ale is not a drink for women or young people.’ But nearly half of all publicans still DO agree with this statement.
The industry is behind the times when it comes to gender equality and relations with women. Someone in CAMRA – even if they personally felt the leaflet was fine and operated within the style and tone of contemporary studenty imagery – should have realised that it was simply too risky for a supposed consumer champion to use. If I try to tell my female friends that beer has thrown off its sexist image, as we were trying to suggest in the Cask Report, they could simply bring up this leaflet and laugh in my face.
It’s good that CAMRA reacted so quickly and withdrew the offending article, but the damage is done. And what still upsets those who complained is that, while the organisation genuinely did not want to cause offence, it doesn’t seem to understand why it did.
Just Another Beer Blog – Breweries and Safety
At Good Beer Week, I heard of two serious incidents that had taken place. One involved a brewer falling from a height onto the concrete fall, cracking his pelvis in two places; he was out of action for weeks. In the second, a brewer had caustic splashed into his eyes; the nearby eyewash station and the assistance of a co-worker prevent permanent damage, but he was still blind for five days.
These incidents were a concern in and of themselves; but more worrying to me was the reaction of a brewing friend when I told him about them and asked about safety in the brewery he used. He laughed and said they couldn’t be bothered with protective eye wear, they’d just fog up and end up taking them off. To avoid an argument, I let the matter drop.
BeerGraphs – Sweet, Delicious Failure
That seemed easy enough. I mean, four instruction isn’t exactly information overload, right? I cracked my bottles, pulled my pint glass out of the freezer and proceeded to make my black and tan.
Which failed miserably.
With my pale in the glass, I poured the stout just as the videos had shown, doing everything I could to drop it over the spoon as slowly and gently as possible. When it ran off the spoon into the pale, it simply dropped to the bottom of the glass and swirled around. I couldn’t pour any slower, yet I was getting no separation. Instead, I ended up with a foamy, dark glass full of Sierra Nevada Pale evenly mixed with Narwhal Imperial Stout. Not exactly what I had in mind…
Brulosophy – The Impact of Fermentation Vessel
Then one day it happened, I went to my fermentation chamber to prepare 2 buckets for kegging when I noticed the spigots on each were covered completely in mold. After a 15 minute tirade that included my non-beer-loving wife talking me out of ditching the hobby completely, I kegged the beers using an old siphon then threw the buckets in the recycle bin with plans to drop some cash on a few new carboys. While browsing the web that night, I was reminded of another option– PET carboys. Not only were they lighter and much less likely to sever a toe than glass, but they cost less and apparently were less oxygen permeable than buckets. Given my obsession with convenience, I threw the sterile siphon starter in my cart with 6 PET carboys, a few stoppers, and some airlocks. The next day, I sorrowfully removed the buckets from the recycle bin, washed them out real good, and figured I’d use them to measure out water and hold sanitizer solution…
To evaluate the differences between 2 beers made from the same wort and pitched with the same yeast, the only variable being vessel of fermentation, with half fermented in a PET carboy and half fermented in a plastic bucket.
Other highlights were:
- The Shout – Sydney Craft Beer Week kicks off
- The Motley Fool – Craft Beer: The 3 Biggest Threats to the Industry
- GQ – My Name is Garrett Oliver, and I Hate Crappy Beer
- Cracked – 6 Ridiculous Drinking Myths You Probably Believe (also, read 7 Creepy Ways Corporations Are Turning You Into an Addict – you don’t have to agree but just think about the concept of self-medication)
- Weekly Times Now – Collectors pay big bucks for rare Australian beer bottles
Anything I missed?