beer bloggers

Some Politics With Your Beer?

Portland, Oregon-based Jeff Alworth started his blogging career on a site devoted to ending Republican Party dominance in his state. However, Alworth realized that people needed a respite from the ugly, polarized politics of our time, so he started blogging about beer. As he puts it, “politics divide, beer unites.”

With the election of Donald Trump as president, Alworth fears that political divisions will find their way into beer bars and breweries will feel compelled to take sides. He warns that beer and politics have become entwined in the past. For example, the Sons of Liberty planned the Boston Tea Party in a tavern, and Adolf Hitler led an unsuccessful revolt from a Munich beer hall.

As for present-day America, Alworth writes:

I don’t know where we’re headed. I really don’t want to sacrifice the world of beer and the physical spaces of pubs as refuges of camaraderie and community. But we have entered a moment when it seems like everything has political valence. It is certainly conceivable that we’ll have to take sides as beery folk. I’d love this to be my last post on politics on this site for the next four years—and still hope it will be. We’ll see.

The Friday Mash (For the Birds Edition)

Today is Bird Day, established in 1894 by a Pennsylvania school superintendent named Charles Babcock. It was the first holiday in the United States dedicated to the celebration of birds. With that in mind, the highest-ranked beer on BeerAdvocate.com with a bird name is Duck Duck Gooze, brewed by The Lost Abbey in San Marcos, California.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Brevard, North Carolina (whose state bird is the cardinal), where Oskar Blues will build a brewery and restaurant. It will be up and running by the end of this year.

Will Germany take the “pub” out of public transit? Alcohol-fueled rowdiness on trains in Berlin and other cities has lawmakers pondering a ban on alcohol consumption on mass-transit systems.

Craft beer, brought to you by bicycle? Portland, Oregon’s Old Town Brewing Company will soon deliver its products by pedal power. Its sister company, Old Town Pizza, has been delivering pies by bike for some time.

This sounds impossible, but McLean’s magazine reports that several Canadian campus pubs lose money selling beer to students.

Groupon’s CEO Andrew Mason told employees that the company–which recently raised $700 million in an initial public offering–needs to “grow up.” He made that remark while swigging from a bottle of beer.

A recent blog post by Alan McLeod touched off a spirited discussion about reviewing bad craft beer. The bad brew falls into two categories: badly-made beers, which are now rare; and “bad-idea” beers, about which opinions differ.

Finally, tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, which celebrates Mexico’s victory over French invaders at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Jay Brooks reminds us that Mexico’s traditional beer style is Vienna lager.

Beer…by the Numbers

  • Estimated value of craft beer exports: $23.4 million.
  • Average cost of a cheap beer in China: 1.87 yuan (30 U.S. cents).
  • Cost of a Budweiser in China: 6.13 yuan (98 U.S. cents).
  • Mexico’s per capita beer consumption in 1900: less than 1 liter.
  • Its per capita consumption a century later: 51.8 liters.
  • “Citizen Beer Blogs” on the Beer Bloggers’ Conference list: 1,416.
  • Citizen beer blogs outside the U.S.: 459.
  • Beer sales at U.S. convenience stores in 2011: $16.7 billion.
  • Increase over 2010: 1.3 percent.
  • Convenience stores’ share of U.S. beer sales: 17 percent.
  • American craft breweries’ exports in 2011: 110,000 barrels.
  • Increase over 2010: 86 percent.
  • Goose Island Beer Company’s expected production this year: 230,000 barrels.
  • Increase over 2010: 81 percent.
  • States into which Goose Island will expand this year: 9.
  • Beer Geek Meets Girl

    Who says that beer bloggers can’t laugh at themselves? As always, the video is free but you’re strictly on your own for food and beverage.

    2010: The Year in Review

    Another year is about to go into the books. For craft brewing, 2010 turned to be an eventful year indeed. Some highlights:

  • Collaboration beers were all the rage. Sierra Nevada kicked off the year by releasing the first of a four-beer series in which CEO Ken Grossman joined forces with Fritz Maytag, Jack McAuliffe, and Charlie Papazian. By year’s end, Infinium, a joint effort by Boston Beer Company and Weihenstephan, was on the shelves for holiday revelers.
  • Beer Week, which began in Philadelphia two years ago, spread to more than 20 cities, as well as several states. And Oregon has upped the ante, declaring all of July Craft Beer Month.
  • After 45 years at the helm at Anchor Brewing Company, Fritz Maytag sold it to a Bay Area investment company. Maytag is chairman emeritus of the new company.
  • Despite a flat economy, craft beer sales in America showed a substantial increase. Across the ocean, cask ale gained followers, especially among younger and female drinkers.
  • The roster of craft breweries that can their beer continues to grow. There are, by one estimate, more than 100. There is even a festival devoted exclusively to canned craft beer: Burning Can in Reno, Nevada.
  • The year saw the first-ever beer bloggers’ conference, held in Boulder, Colorado. Next year there will be bloggers’ conferences in London and in Portland, Oregon.
  • A couple of beers rose from the dead. Rheingold has been resurrected in the New York City area, while Duquesne returned to western Pennsylvania. And the F.X. Matt Brewery, badly damaged by a fire, enjoyed a phoenix-like revival.
  • The craft brewing industry continued to consolidate. Rochester, New York-based North American Breweries acquired the parent company of the Pyramid and Magic Hat breweries. And three major brewpub chains–Rock Bottom, Gordon Biersch, and Old Chicago have been brought under a single corporate entity called CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries, Inc.
  • John Hickenlooper, who went into the brewpub business after being laid off from his job as a geologist, was elected governor of Colorado.
  • Beer labels landed their creators in hot water. Short’s Brewing Company drew charges of racism for putting a picture of a hanged man on the label. Later that year, Lost Abbey offended Wiccans with a label depicting a witch being burned. Ontario nixed the use of Samichlaus because it smacked of marketing beer to children. And Swedish regulators said no to Founders Breakfast Stout, which depicts a baby on the label.
  • Reality TV discovered beer culture. The highlight was Discovery Channel’s new series entitled “Brewmasters,” which starred Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s founder, Sam Calagione.
  • President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron settled a World Cup bet by exchanging local microbrews. Obama gave Cameron a Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat from his hometown of Chicago, and Cameron reciprocated with Hobgoblin, brewed in his Witney constituency.
  • In the ABV wars, Scotland’s BrewDog, Limited, declared victory with the release of The End of History, 55% ABV beer served inside an animal carcass. They were soon topped by a Dutch brewery called ‘t Koelschip which brought out a 60% ABV beer–which is stronger than bourbon.
  • The dreaded Beer Police made their appearance. Pennsylvania cops raided several Philadelphia-area establishments for serving beer that hadn’t been registered with state officials. Local beer writers were not amused.
  • Finally, an item from the “Can You Believe This?” Department: the folks at SABMiller examined how best to run a brewery in a post-apocalyptic future.
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