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Liberty, Diversity, Farms, and Money - Beer Links for Monday

The Story of Anchor Liberty Ale: The Beer that Started the Craft Revolution

"Michael Jackson, the famed beer writer, called Anchor Liberty Ale the first modern American ale".  A great look at craft beer's roots.

What should CAMRA do now to save cask ale – and itself?

The better beer movement in the US is generally may occasionally struggle with the limits of it's David v. Goliath narrative, it's generally much better served than our friend across the pond.  In the UK, the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) started in the early 70's championing quality beer by preserving England's traditional cask serving style from overly cold, blend kegs of macro lager.  The same Goliath as in America.  Or maybe it's Goliath's dutch cousin.  Regardless, the better beer narrative became one of tradition and preservation vs. innovations that sacrifice quality for economy.  In some minds it reduced to old v. new.  The oganization is struggling to coexist with the UK's vibrant Craft beer movement, with stylish cans, skinny jeans, and heaven forbid kegs.  There is no effective analog in the UK for the brewer's association.  Smaller, suqabbling beer groups will have a better time saving the traditional pub if they work together.  I for one delight in pubs with a variety of casks, and craft kegs.  5-10 of each is heaven.

Cambridge Brewing Co.’s latest release is 14 years in the making

CBC's solea style beer is one of America's most charming, barrel aged beer.  Its history is a study in innovation.  Brewer Will Meyers synthesized west coast wine making techniques, traditional lambic brewing to create something truly new, and completely fabulous.  I've long enjoyed the beer on tap, and look forward to buying a few bottles.

8 Farm Breweries to Visit this Year

I love farm breweries.  This list is missing two note worthy locals, Stone Cow and Throwback.  It's a stretch to call one of the New England entries a farm, but it's definitely worth a trip.

There’s Always Money in the Lemonade Stand — How the Own-Premise Model is Rewriting the Beer Industry’s Future

"The second crucial advantage to own premise, and perhaps ultimately the most important, is the control and insight it gives you over your entire cash flow, demand, and place in the market. There is simply no substitute for having this information so within reach. As we watch the declining sales and buyouts/closures of regional craft breweries who have suddenly become the most vulnerable sub-designation, one can’t help but realize the benefit of eschewing complicated distribution networks—in which your product, now far from home, will languish on the shelf, competing with dozens of other brands in the exact same position—in favor of a lemonade-stand-style business model where you can make choices regarding expansion, product development, and other sales questions with much of the guesswork eliminated."  - Peter Bissel in a lengthy, thoughtful, and thorough analysis of his brewery business.

This plastic-gobbling enzyme just got an upgrade

Great news from scientists about a bacterial enzyme that can digest plastic containers.  Including some of those bizarre half gallon plastic growler things I've seen in some tap rooms.


Diversity and inclusion are key words in may conversations in 2018.  It's great to see the brewer's association take clear steps to advance the trade.  Some might say that the move is rent seeking, in an effort to get PR and quibble about small percentages.  However there are real demographic gaps in the US which are detrimental in the near and long term of the industry.

  1. Gender - Misogynistic labels are falling out of fashion.  The stylistic evolution of beer in general is becoming more welcoming.  I love what the Pink Boots Society is doing to highlight women's creative and entrepreneurial contribution to brewing.  
  2. Race - African American communities are under served, and under represented.  My recent efforts to associate a beer with Marvel's Black Panther was eye opening on this front.  I free associated Garret Oliver.  That man is a great ambassador for beer period.  Any additional qualification could be interpreted as diminishing his contributions. I also wanted to save Brooklyn for a character with roots in the borough.   The truth is there are almost no black people brewing craft beer.  A demographic with ~ 11 percent of the US population only consumes 3.2% of it's craft beer.  Economic disparity is a factor for sure, but there are a lot of areas the BA could address to foster development for an under served market. I found a 2016 article about 5 Black Owned Breweries You Should Know About.  That's about it.


Greatest Hits

Nostalgia and New Ideas: Craft Beer Luminaries Find Ways To Stay Relevant

I'm not envious of the youngsters starting out in an era when good beer is available on every street corner.   Yes, things have never been more exciting in US Micro brewing but I feel the grip of  nostalgia.  New breweries are opening almost weekly.  New taprooms draw crowds to taste new, photogenic beers.  Novelty, at times, seems to surpass quality in importance to today's promiscuous drinkers.  Which isn't to say that we didn't get around in my day.  It's just that we didn't make such an effort to make an obvious trail, or tally our conquests.  Which were, admittedly, somewhat smaller in number.  Might today's craft drinkers missing some great beers from great breweries, in a quest for the next big thing, and a desire to avoid drinking one of dad's many microbrews?  The good news is that many are doing cool things to stay interesting, and remain in conversation. So many brewing luminaries of my youth are now ancient.  Great Lakes Brewing is 30. 

Session #134 What is a Beer Garden?

Beer Blogging Friday: The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community, begun in March of 2007 by Stan Hieronymus of Appellation Beer and Jay Brooks of the Brookston Beer Bulletin . This month, Tom Cizaukas of Yours for Good Fermentables poses beer bloggers of the question What is a Beer Garden?  Is it a specific type of place, or is it a feeling?  It's not exactly an existential question, but it is something that baits a beer geek's sense of order.  Beer writers classify the beverage into hundreds of styles, with very specific and at times subtle distinctions.  We're all too happy to point out details that keep something true to style, and where it all goes wrong.  Maybe this comes from beer's Teutonic heritage.   Today's phrase of interest is appropriated from the German biergarten .  I'll approach my discussion of the term by starting with the root, exploring traditions and alternative terms in it's native tongue, and then expoundin

Dear Science, What Have You Done?

This week, Nature published a paper entitled " A physical, genetic and functional sequence assembly of the barley genome ".    Promotional Press releases were quick to link this achievement to potential crop improvements .  The London Press wasted no time in connecting the dots to beer .  "Improvements" are changes, and the craft beer community greets all changes with levels of skepticism that are, at a minimum, healthy.  Alan McLeod's Good Beer Blog saw the discovery as the beginning of sceince's impact on brewing, and was quick to expand the question of the relative benefit of genetically engineered barley crops into a broad challenge to science as a whole: Can Science Really Improve Beer As Known Now?   Science has contributed significantly to brewing throughout the history of the art, and provided the tools that allow us to best appreciate our ancestors beer styles and brewing techniques. Firstly, Science must be defined as an actor if it is to