By creating the concept of the “Wedge Issue” Prohibition did irreparable damage to the United States political system and should be reviled for that alone. It also created the Income Tax (kind of), funded organized crime and demonized beer as a regular part of American life. This week we celebrated the 73rd year of its repeal. Among the other top stories are a look at American monks brewing traditional Italian monk beer, some beer finance news and a bunch of cool cultural stories. We also have some entries in the Homebrew News section and a recipe suggestion.
Brewers and creativity
As Prohibition reared its ugly, American politics-destroying head, brewers had to get creative to stay afloat. Some made other foods, some made other things entirely and some took the hit and never recovered.
While the craft-beer industry is full of talented up-and-comers, there are a handful of breweries who survived one of the darkest-and supposedly driest-eras in the American brewing industry: Prohibition. The Temperance Movement sought to crack down on all the booze-guzzling heathens, and while pointing at the alcohol industry with one hand and clutching their pearls in the other, they shut the industry down.
Monastery brewing revival
We actually spoke about this story a little bit last year, when the brewery started exporting to the United States. Monks making beer for the town they live in is one of the oldest practices in civilization. It’s cool that they’re able to now help the town rebuild. Moreover, though, I love the idea of being able to point in the general direction of the place that the beer you were drinking is made.
NORCIA, Italy – The Rev. Cassian Folsom was preparing to celebrate morning Mass one recent Sunday when suddenly the earth started trembling. “Stones and roof tiles started raining down on our heads,” he recalled. “It was a terrifying experience.”
Everyone’s all in
The upside and downside of all the major investment in the American Craft Beer Scene is that there is a lot at stake for a lot of people. One hopes smarter financial decision-making is made at the top, but I guess we’ll see.
Foreign beer makers are taking some big swigs of the frothy US craft beer business. Just this week, the number of breweries in this country surpassed 5,000 for the first time, up 1,000 in the past year and light years ahead of the 50 in operation in the mid-1980s, according to the Brewers Association.
The weirdest Venn Diagram
There are some people who are really up in arms about the Belgian Beer honorific. Some are jealous that Germany, Britain and the U.S. also don’t have beer styles that are UNESCO “Treasure of Humanity” list. Others are ecstatic that Belgian “finally” was recognized. For my part, as the kind of person charged with reading and understanding this, I find it really hard to have a strong opinion. It isn’t as if there are people who know about the UNESCO awards and also are ignorant of Belgian as a beer capital. I guess if there are, they are no longer in the dark that Belgium makes beer. Congratulations!
“Afghanistan; Azerbaijan; India; Iran (Islamic Republic of); Iraq; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Pakistan; Tajikistan; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan- Nauryz, Navruz, Nawrouz, Nevruz, Nooruz, Novruz, Nowrouz or Nowruz “New Year in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan is celebrated on March 21st known as Nauryz, Navruz, Nawrouz, Nevruz, Nooruz, Novruz, Nowrouz or Nowruz.
A quick financial recap
I’m not nuts about the Motley Fool as a source, but this is a good opportunity to talk about what’s going on with Boston Beer. Contrary to the article, I’m not sure people don’t see it as craft. On the contrary, pretty much every interviewee mentions either Samuel Adams or 60 Minute as their gateway beer. I think its stocks are down because it has the most room to fall as growth levels out. The beers still are fine, but they’re losing taps to more local beers. Since there are more local beers, that’s a little bit of a problem. Still, I’m not crying for them. They’ll be just fine, especially as craft lagers continue to get hot again.
This year is turning out for beer stocks pretty much like the industry itself: The biggest brewers are falling while the smallest are growing. Craft Brew Alliance, the owner of popular craft-beer brands such as Kona, Redhook, and Widmer Brothers, is enjoying a banner year, with its stock soaring 86%, while the biggest brewer of them all, Anheuser-Busch InBev NYSE:BUD), is down almost 15% year to date.
I think these would have to be pretty specialized. We’ve gotten some pretty sturdy plastic cups for the Shore Craft beer Fests that we’re proud of, but we looked into getting plastic snifters and they were either too cheesy or cost-prohibitive (I forget which). The point is, they’re out there, but places and reasons for using plastic take cost into account. Building a less expensive glass is the first step. I hope they succeed in that.
“No glass allowed.” It’s an all too familiar hurdle for anyone who drinks craft beer on the regular. Whether it be the beach, tailgate or children’s’ birthday party, there are plenty of places where something that could shatter into a million jagged pieces is, understandably, inappropriate.
Planning to go local and national
Without having tried the food or beer it’s hard not to be a little skeptical, but I’m really hoping for the best. The space between genuine excitement about the prospect of opening a new brewery and planning to open a theme chain makes me a little nervous, but Drink What You Like and Be Happy.
Citing a lack of “Chef driven restaurants” and waterfront beer gardens in Annapolis, a group of three plan to bring the Seawolf Brewery Restaurant, Raw Bar and Beer Garden to the capital city next year. In a statement, the brewers said they plan on opening the restaurant and pub along with a brewery in nearby Howard County in 2017.
What is hop hash (and why you should care)?
Whether they’re imparting notes of grapefruit, pine, mango, melon or otherwise, the hops that flavor a beer usually arrive at a brewery in one of three forms: as cones, plucked from the vine and unmolested save some light kilning; as liquid extract composed of pure bittering acids or aromatic oils; or as small pellets created by grinding and mashing whole cones.
Is it worth it?
There’s a certain pleasure in knowing you’ve made something yourself. That said, it seems a little much to prepare your own hop back from scratch.
What a hoppy world we live in! Hops-forward styles such as double IPAs and imperial Pilsners are pushing boundaries on both the craft side and in homebrewing, and extreme times call for extreme measures. Every step of the brewing process has become an opportunity to shoehorn in some more hops character.
Recipe of the week: Spicy cornbread
Taylor Takes a Taste Just when you thought cornbread couldn’t get any better, Taylor Takes a Taste kicks it up a notch by adding Rogue Chipotle Ale. The hint of heat from the beer is the perfect complement to this hearty dinner standard.
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