Jay Brooks recently wrote a column in the San Jose Mercury News about the season we refer to as “fall.” That word is a short form of the 17th-century English phrase, “fall of the leaf.” Fall is also the harvest season—Germans call it Herbst, a derivative of the Old Norse word for “harvest”—and it’s the time of the year to bring in the hops and barley crops.
This is where where John Barleycorn takes the stage. During the 16th century, a folk tale about him made its way around England. Brooks describes it as “an allegorical story of death, resurrection and drinking. The main character, the eponymous John Barleycorn, is the personification of barley, which is attacked, beaten and eventually dies–or as we prefer to think of it, grown, reaped and then malted.”
The most famous modern version of this song was recorded by Traffic, co-founded by Steve Winwood and Dave Mason and featured on their 1970 album, John Barleycorn Must Die.
On this day in 1040, King Duncan I of Scotland was killed in battle against his first cousin and rival Macbeth. Seventeen years later, King Macbeth was killed at the Battle of Lumphanan. The Three Weird Sisters entered the picture 500 years later, courtesy of William Shakespeare.
“Double, double, time and trouble, fire burn”..and now The Mash!
We begin in Dodger Stadium, where Anheuser-Busch InBev will unveil a new beer aimed at Latino beer drinkers. Montejo, from A-B’s Mexican subsidiary, will be released throughout the Southwest.
Beer-fueled violence in college towns is nothing new. In 1884, a beer riot took place in Iowa City after local authorities put two men on trial for violating Iowa’s new prohibition law.
Pete Brown reports that underage drinking has fallen off sharply in Britain. His explanation: parents downing a few at home have made drinking less appealing to their children.
It’s Shark Week, a perfect time for a Narragansett, which has been called “the Forrest Gump of Beers” because of its association with celebrities, artists, sports teams, and politicians.
Blonde ales have acquired a “training-wheels beer” reputation, but Jay Brooks thinks they’re underappreciated. He calls them “light and refreshing” and perfect for a hot August day.
Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post ranked the beer selection at major-league ballparks. Seattle’s Safeco Field has the best selection, while Yankee Stadium has the worst.
Finally, brewpubs aren’t dead after all. An All About Beer story by Brandon Hernandez profiles restaurants that reinvented themselves as brewpubs and experienced an uptick in business afterward.
Word spread quickly through the craft beer world that Jack Joyce, the founder of Rogue Ales & Spirits, passed away at the age of 71.
The brewery issued the following statement, which Jay Brooks posted earlier today on his Brookston Beer Bulletin:
Following a career as both a small town attorney and Nike executive, Jack and some friends founded Rogue in 1988 in Ashland, Oregon. From the outset, Jack set Rogue on a path of innovation, creativity, and rebellion. Rogue made hoppy, flavorful beers and was told that no one would drink them. Rogue made a wide range of beers and was told no one wanted variety. Rogue sold 22oz bottles of beer and was told no one would pay a premium for a single serve beer. Rogue opened multiple pubs and breweries and was told that it would be wise to follow a more efficient and logical business plan. Rogue took the road less, or perhaps never, travelled. Rogue was the first U.S. craft brewer to send beer to Japan. Rogue won 1,000 awards for product and packaging excellence. Rogue worried about getting better, not bigger. Rogue began distilling. Rogue began farming. Rogue remained dedicated to its small town roots and made sure to give back to its local communities. Rogue started a Nation. This was all vintage Jack.
He was the true Rogue and will be missed by us all.
On this day in 1953, Francis Crick and James D. Watson published a paper in the British journal Nature that described the double helix structure of DNA. The ability to sequence and manipulate DNA is a key to the biotechnology industry, and modern medicine in general.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in the Willamette Valley, where the nation’s first hop and brewing archive was recently at Oregon State University. The valley, on the 45th parallel, has ideal hop-growing conditions.
Jay Brooks dusted off a 1947 issue of Look magazine, in which writer Don Wharton asks readers “What Kind of Drinker Are You?”. He describes 11 categories, and most of us fall into at least one.
Brewing carries a “white men with beards” stereotype, but Los Angeles is home to a growing Latino brewing community. LA Weekly profiles several craft cerveza breweries in the area.
Summer is coming, and that means session IPAs. The trend started last year with Founders Brewing Company’s All Day IPA, and other breweries have jumped in with their own versions.
And when those hot days of summer arrive, you might want one of these: The Beer Glass Froster by from Hammacher Schlemmer, which will frost your glass in ten seconds.
Flying Dog Ales is celebrating the 75th anniversary of Old Bay seasoning with a spicy summer ale called Dead Rise. It’s named after the boats used by Chesapeake Bay crabbers.
Finally, Martyn Cornell, the Zythophile, asks whether micropubs–establishments with Real Ale and no electronic distractions–are a passing fad or the future of British watering holes.
The Four Lads once asked the musical question, “Why did Constantinople get the works?” Their answer: “It’s nobody’s business but the Turks’” Eighty-four years ago today, the Turks changed the city’s name to Istanbul. They also changed the name of their capital to Ankara.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Cincinnati, where Listerman Brewing Company is hosting Starkbierfest, a family-friendly version of Munich’s Lenten tradition where potent doppelbock takes center stage.
Yards Brewing Company is brewing a special beer for the popular TV show “Walking Dead.” No humans have been eaten in the brewing process, which involves smoking goat brains.
Colorado governor John Hickenlooper has installed craft beer taps at his official residence. The first keg he tapped was Silverback Pale from Wynkoop Brewing Company, which he founded.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Fortune magazine writers tried MillerCoors’s new Fortune beer and gave it a thumbs-up–and not just for its name.
While visiting Belgium, Jay Brooks discovered a new organization, the Belgian Family Brewers. Its members have been brewing for at least 50 years, and have been family-owned all that time.
Purists are up in arms about it, but three Seattle-area homebrewers have developed the PicoBrew Zymatic, a “set-and-forget” system that can be controlled from one’s laptop.
Finally, Florida craft brewers learned that campaign cash trumps free enterprise. The State Senate president admitted that he’s against legalizing half-gallon growlers because a big beer distributor is a major contributor to his party.
Jay Brooks has a secret to share: America’s most-decorated brewery is the Firestone Walker Brewing Company, in Paso Robles, California. Firestone Walker was named Brewery of the Year in the mid-size category in 2007, 2011, and 2013. It also won that title in 2003 for Nectar Ales, a label it acquired from the former Humboldt Brewing Company. And it won a fifth GABF award: it went to brewmaster Matt Brynildson when he was with SLO Brewing, which now bears the Firestone Walker name. And if that weren’t enough, Firestone Walker won five Brewery of the Year awards between 2004 and 2012 at the World Beer Cup.
The brewery is named for its founders, Adam Firestone and David Walker, whose operation uses a system of linked barrels based on traditional brewing methods in the English town of Burton-Upon-Trent. Firestone, who’s a member of the famous tire-making family, grew up in California’s Central Coast wine region, but he turned his attention to brewing. His homebrewing experiments led to Firestone Walker’s flagship beer, Double Barrel Ale. The Walker half of the operation is Firestone’s brother-in-law David Walker, a transplanted Englishman who wanted better beer choices.
Firestone Walker offers brewery tours, and has added a tasting room with a restaurant. There’s also a Firestone Walker restaurant, which serves all of their beers, in nearby Buellton.
Last year, at the Great American Beer Festival, “JDirty,” who’s really beer writer Jay Brooks, and BIG Trox recorded a rap video on the festival floor. Even if rap isn’t your
cup of tea pint of ale, Ludwig guarantees you’ll like it.
Speaking of Jay, congratulations are in order for the publication of his book, California Breweries North.
And now…the Great American Beer Festival Rap!
Hat tip: Jay Brooks, keeper of the Brookston Beer Bulletin, who says:
Here’s an interesting video on craft beer by a Jeremy Williams entitled Craft Beer–A Hopumentary. What’s cool about it is that it features Ron Lindenbusch from Lagunitas, Craig and Beth from City Beer Store, Andy French from Southern Pacific Brewing, Zeitgeist, and homebrewer Nathan Oyler. My favorite factoid: craft beer represents 7% of the market, but employs 50% of the employees in the industry.
Twenty-two years ago today, Mount Pinatubo experienced the first of a series of eruptions. Those eruptions expelled so much particulate matter that temperatures fell by nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit world-wide, reducing the demand for beer.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Spain, where a beer commercial has locals up in arms for an unusual reason: the actors committed the culinary offense of adding onions to paella.
Will the summer of 2013 be the summer of shandy? The beer and lemonade mix, first created for German bicyclists in 1922, has gained a following in North America.
First, Buffalo Wild Wings, now World of Beer. The fast-growing chain of beer bars is brewing its own-label beer. It’s a Belgian ale called C’est La Vie!
Jay Brooks posted an unusual infographic about the brewing process in his Brookston Beer Bulletin. It cites the various names given to beer in the process from grain to glass.
Now that craft brewers have revived oyster stout, what’s the next step? Lobster beer, of course. Redhook Brewing Company’s Black Lobstah Lager is made with New Hampshire lobsters.
Blair Robertson of the Sacramento Bee reports on his road trip to Chico, where he toured Sierra Nevada’s brewery and got to talk beer with famed brewmaster Steve Dresler.
Finally, former Philip Morris CEO Bill Howell passed away at the age of 85. Howell was the man who convinced millions of American men to drink a new beer called Miller Lite.
West Coast writer Jay Brooks took exception to a recent column in the New York Times about the proposed buyout of Grupo Modelo by Anheuser Busch-InBev. He concluded that the correspondent, Adam Davidson, knows little about the brewing industry and its history.
In a blog post on the Brookston Beer Bulletin, Brooks first addresses Davidson’s “sure, the industry is competitive, look at all the brands on the shelves” argument. His response: “saying they’re on equal footing is the economic equivalent of pretending that employees and employers have equal bargaining power, as most economic textbooks continue to insist.”
He then responds to Davidson’s characterization of A-B InBev being “on the cusp” of a monopoly by saying that ABI has been a de facto monopoly with one or two others for decades, all but controlling the marketplace. As for Davidson’s statement that we are in “the very early stages” of industry consolidation, Brooks points out that “the global beer world has been dominated by an ever-shrinking group of very large conglomerates for at least the last three or four decades.”
Finally, Brooks offers his prediction of what will happen next:
As always happens, the two parties will hammer out a compromise that was probably the deal everybody wanted in the first place, but this way both parties look good in the public eye. The [Justice Department] will look like they’re being tough on big business and are protecting the public while ABI will look good because they were able to get the deal done, and their share price will shoot up.