Joe Pappalardo, a writer for Esquire magazine, recently went on a quest to drink every beer poured at the two-day Great GoogaMooga beer festival in Brooklyn, New York. Fifty-four beers in all.
By his own admission, Pappalardo violated basic tenets of hardcore beer reviewing: drink full beers instead of tasters; don’t review products served at festivals; and don’t get wasted. With that in mind, he presented his work as “visceral impressions of the beers” and “a chronicle of my deteriorating condition.” The latter might explain the amusing typos in the article, such as Coney Island Brewing Company’s “1-galleon still.”
Pappalardo’s “deteriorating condition” also might have inspired the following rant about India pale ales: “I once wandered the galleries of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. The paintings on the walls radiated power, grace and drama. Slices of incalculable living history. Yet, staring at dozens of them, room after room, all I could see were just another image of a dead saint or Madonna. That’s how I feel about IPAs now. Smutty Nose could have one that cures cancer and I’d dump it into the grass after a mouthful.”
A visit from a homebrewer friend proved shocking to Adrienne So. Her friend couldn’t finish a pint at a Portland, Oregon, brewpub because it was too hoppy for him. That’s when So, who writes about beer for Slate magazine, realized she had a problem. “In fact, everyone I know in the craft beer industry has a problem: We’re so addicted to hops that we don’t even notice them anymore.”
How did this happen? So explains that hops distinguish craft beer from the national brands, offer craft brewers an easy creative outlet, and allow beginning brewers to hide flaws in their beer. But, from a consumer’s standpoint, beers overloaded with hops are a pointless gimmick. So advises brewers to ease up on the hops and shift their focus to new strains of yeast and local, craft-malted barley.
On this day in 1642, the French established a colony at Ville-Marie. It became modern-day Montreal, Canada’s second-largest city. Montreal has become the home of a thriving craft beer culture, and is the site of the 20th Mondial de la Biere, which gets underway May 29.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Krakow, which has long been famous for its history and culture. It has recently become Poland’s craft beer capital with more than 50 bars specializing in regional microbrews and beers from foreign independents.
There’s at least one thing congressional Democrats and and Republicans can agree on–namely, the BEER Act, a bill that would cut the federal tax for small breweries.
The Odell Brewing Company has brewed a special beer for a butterfly that lives on Colorado’s Front Range and loves hops. Proceeds from the beer will go to scientists studying the rare creature.
Now that Western countries have lifted economic sanctions on Myanmar (a/k/a Burma), brewing giants are planning to enter the country, which has 60 million people and a per capita consumption less than one-tenth of China’s.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery has yet another way to expose beer drinkers to the arts. It’s teamed up with a San Francisco a cappella group for an evening of classic drinking songs and Dogfish Head beers.
In Michigan, which dominated this year’s Beer City USA voting, the Economic Development Corporation is touting the state’s microbreweries in its “Pure Michigan” tourism commercials.
Finally, a Labrador retriever named Frank lives up to his breed’s reputation by fetching beer for his owner. Man’s best friend indeed.
These items caught Ludwig’s attention:
In Indiana, the state’s convenience store association has gone to court to overturn a state law that prohibits them from selling cold beer. Liquor stores are the only sellers allowed to do so.
Beer is back on the agenda North Carolina. A bill that would allow grocery stores, restaurants, and other retailers to sell and refill growlers passed the House by a wide margin.
Both houses of the Illinois General Assembly have passed a bill that would require Anheuser-Busch to divest itself of a minority interest in a Chicago-based distributor.
Amber Stout’s parents had no idea that craft beer would become popular when they named her in 1990. Amber, who worked in this hospitality industry in college, began getting comments about her name tag while serving drinks. She told an MLive.com reporter, “I walked into Founders once and the guy checking IDs said ‘well, it looks like you’re in the right spot,’” she said. The staff must have liked her: she’s pictured holding a pint of Breakfast Stout in one hand, and a pint of Red’s Rye Ale in the other.
On this day in 1869, at Promontory Summit, Utah, railroad tycoon Leland Stanford drove in the Golden Spike and completed the First Transcontinental Railroad. The 1,907-mile line, built by three railroad companies, cut travel time for a coast-to-coast journey from six months to a week.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Milwaukee, where investor David Dupee is planning to launch the Craft Fund. Once the SEC gives the go-ahead, Dupee will use crowd-funding to provide capital to small breweries.
Not only must Mets fans endure losing baseball, but New York City’s finest are issuing $25 citations to people caught drinking beer in Citi Field’s parking lots.
How does a koozie keep beer cold? It prevents condensation from forming on the outside of the can. Condensation will raise the temperature of your beer in a hurry.
It appears that the British government’s decision to cut the beer tax is helping the country’s pub trade. The JD Wetherspoon’s chain reported that sales increased by six percent in the past quarter.
Brett VanderKamp, the co-founder of west Michigan’s New Holland Brewing Company, has written a book about his craft-brewing experiences. It’s titled Art in Fermented Form: A Manifesto.
Researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia have cultivated a new type of barley which, thanks to a genetic defect, will keep beer fresher.
Finally, the New York Post found most of 15 bars they visited poured less than 16 ounces in their “pints” of beer. That really hurts, since some NYC bars are charging $8 for a pint these days.
As you probably recall, last year’s voting for “Beer City USA” wound up a tie between Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Asheville, North Carolina. This year, Grand Rapids is trying to win the title outright, and the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau has gotten into the get-out-the-vote act. Asheville isn’t sitting on its laurels, either. It recently staged a special Beer City music video, complete with an elaborate dance sequence.
By the way, voting is now underway for Beer City USA. The polls close Friday night.
Chris Elwell was kind enough to pass along a link to last Saturday’s fourth annual Los Angeles Vegan Beer & Food Festival, held in West Hollywood. There are eight videos and more than 250 photos for your enjoyment.
North Korea is known primarily for saber-rattling, concentration camps, and a line of dictators named Kim. But the country has a surprisingly large range of beers and a thriving microbrewery culture.
It was beer that lured Josh Thomas, an American who lives in Hong Kong and works in the advertising industry, to North Korea. He found that North Korea’s citizens love beer as much as we do, and that they’ve been able to brew a quality product in spite of embargoes and supply shortages. Ales and steam beers are common because electricity is in short supply, making it impossible to provide the refrigeration that lager beers need. Much of North Korea’s beer is microbrewed because fuel scarcity and the lack of paved roads make it difficult to ship beer. The best beer Thomas had during his stay was a wheat beer at the Paradise Microbrewery, whose equipment “would rival any US microbrewery.”
Thomas has some advice for would-be beer travelers to North Korea: Don’t go there unless you have a deep understanding of the country’s culture and are prepared to digest big portions of Communist dogma with your brew.