For me, drinking craft beer is more about the craft than about the beer, but every now and again I’m reminded that beer is alcoholic and that people drink it with the aim of getting drunk. That’s not to say that I don’t occasionally end up drunk, or at least a little buzzed, only to say that the buzz isn’t the point as much as the rest of it. The hanging out, the enjoyment one gets from being part of a community or scene. I live near 3rd Wave in Delmar and will occasionally walk there rather than drive, but that is more about knowing I’m going to be spending the entire evening at a brewery with friends than because my goal is to get plastered. I’m a grownup and there are better and faster ways to get drunk than with beer. The thing about beer is that it isn’t about drunkenness unless you’re dying to make it about drunkenness. And that’s on you.

This week’s top eight stories (and a recipe!) feature a few about taste and inebriation, as well as our usual news, culture and homebrew tips.

Homebrewing starts with the basics

We don’t usually feel as if extract brewing needs to be defended, but it’s always great to make the case for getting into the homebrew culture again.

In Defense of Extract Kits

Many brewers who are relatively new to brewing use extract or partial-grain kits before making the move to all-grain brewing. Many brewers stick to the kits and never move to all-grain. And in fact, I know of several breweries that use all extract or partial-grain processes, and their customers are happy with their beer.

Insight on dealing with the explosive nature of bottling

Sometimes beer will blow up. It is worth taking the steps to make sure that doesn’t happen, but when it does there are more steps you can take.

Safety First: Don’t Get (Bottle) Bombed

Did you hear something down in the basement? Nobody else is home, and the dog is upstairs. Grumbling about mice, you go down to investigate and find the mess: broken bottles and beer everywhere. You have…glass grenades! There are a few explanations: too much priming sugar, bottling too early, aggressive infections.

Craft Beer Culture beyond the brewery

What makes a good craft beer bar? Selection is critical, I’m sure but ambiance is important, as is the quality of the selection and, critically for me, a representation of local beers. On a recent trip to N.J. I was a several bars and the lack of local beer was pretty astounding. Jersey came a little late to craft beer, so it isn’t a shock that the small breweries still have pretty limited distribution. Follow the link below to add your favorite craft beer bar. If it’s on the Delmarva Peninsula, let us know and we’ll give it a bump.

Vote: CraftBeer.com’s Great American Beer Bars 2017 | CraftBeer.com

America’s 4,600-plus craft brewers are making the best beers in the world, and outside of breweries, beer bars are where beer lovers are discovering new beers. You know a great bar when you walk into one: The server knows their stuff; The pour is perfect; The glass matches the beer style.

Bud not Bud

Sorry, I couldn’t let the pun pass. We’ve talked before about the expected effect legalized week would have on craft beer and the early numbers seem to bear out our conjectures. Craft beer, being about taste, pairs pretty well with pot. I have a conspiracy theory that ties the rise of the session IPA to decriminalization. That said, it will be interesting to see what kind of lobbying effort goes into putting the kibosh on recreational use.

Report: Beer Volumes Declining in Markets Where Recreational Cannabis is Legal | Brewbound.com

Legalized marijuana is harshing the buzz of three longtime craft beer meccas, according to a new report from Cowen and Company. In Colorado, Oregon and Washington, where recreational cannabis use has been legalized, the beer business is underperforming, according to Vivien Azer, Cowen and Company’s managing director and senior research analyst specializing in the beverage, tobacco and cannabis sectors.

Eats, Shoots, and leaves

I swear for a second I thought this was going to be about a beer and pancake fundraiser. It isn’t and there’s no real reason to read the story. What’s fun and interesting, though, is to imagine a beer and pancake tasting. Would it be better to use the beer as an additive or for a pairing? Maybe banana pancakes with a straight up Belgian? This is something worth considering.

Raising money with beer, pancakes: Blue Lakes Rotary Club

A beer tasting is a relatively new fundraiser for Blue Lakes Rotary Club but has became a popular annual event. The fifth Magic Valley Beer Festival, at Twin Falls City Park in August, drew more than 1,000 people. They could choose from 151 beers to sample and enjoy games, food vendors and music.

Craft beer hits the mom blogs

Sometimes people use “Mom Blogs” derisively, I don’t (or at least I’m not in this case). As craft beer continues to grow, we continue to see kind of an elevator-like phenomenon. Different groups stairstep through the same process time after time. Blogs and articles for and by craft beer newbies are a critical part of the culture. It shows that there is continued interest in learning more about craft beer and wanting to share it. Below is a personal story about one woman’s transition into the craft beer (and importantly, beer tourism) scene.

You’re Right, Not All Moms Drink Wine. Some Drink Beer.

When I met my husband when we were in college, we spent an awful lot of time in local bars, participating in the official college student national pastime: beer drinking. We were not beer snobs by any stretch, and on any given night, our thirst was quenched by the cheapest beer in the bar, preferably poured from a pitcher.

Stay tuned!

We’ll probably be doing our own beer gift list for the region. I’m thinking special releases, gift certificates and tours. We’d love to hear from you guys on the matter. What are your favorite beer gift ideas? Shoot Tony an email and let him know.

Gift ideas for beer lovers

The holidays are here again, and that means it’s time for the annual Beer Town Gifts For Beer Lovers. As always, it’s recommended that you start by giving some beer to the beer lover on your list – especially something new, fresh and local from one of our Georgia craft breweries.

Pairing challenge

I occasionally come across pairings that cannot go unremarked upon. So, the question is which donuts with which beer. Pairing parties always are fun. Think about what beers you would pair with your favorite donuts and why. I’m a fan of the donut-flavored donut, also, I really like crullers. Coffee Stouts and Porters seem obvious choices.

Donut Store Hopes to Serve Beer

You might soon be able to enjoy a cold beer and a warm donut all in the same place along Columbia Pike. Sugar Shack Donuts (1014 S. Glebe Road) has applied for a Virginia ABC license to serve beer on premises. The application was filed Nov. 7.

Recipe of the week

From the department of Absolutely!

Pumpkin Mousse Tiramisu Recipe

Move over pumpkin pie and let this incredible tiramisu made with a Belgian quad take center stage at the Thanksgiving celebration.

Like and Subscribe

In case you didn’t know, these are the show notes for the Beer with Strangers podcast. If you’re interested in the show it’s at BeerWithStrangers.com, or you can follow along on our Facebook page. Of course, you always can subscribe on iTunes as well. If you’re looking for Doug and Homebrewing stuff, you can find their Facebook page here.

Tony Russo
Author: Tony Russo

Tony Russo has worked as a print and digital journalist for the better part of the 21st century, writing for and editing regional weeklies and dailies before joining the team that produces OceanCity.com and ShoreCraftBeer.com among other destination websites. In addition to having documented everything from zoning changes to art movements on the Delmarva Peninsula, Tony has written two books on beer for the History Press. Eastern Shore Beer was published in 2014 and Delaware Beer in 2016. He lives in Delmar, Md. with his wife Kelly and the only of his four daughters who hasn't moved out. Together they keep their two dogs comfortable.

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