This week we’re looking at how size matters in beer news for the week. Big beer is into fewer calories and collecting large numbers of small brewers. America is the biggest hops consumer as small farmers struggle with the proposition of incorporating that crop into their land rotation.  In addition to that we’re talking language in beer, beer in food and me talking beer and history.

Brews on the Beach and other Shore Craft Beer Fests

I don’t dread the end of summer the way many people do. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to be said for fair weather and taking a swim i the ocean on a whim, but fall has its own appeal for a person in my position. From Labor Day Weekend through Halloween I’m got a beer-related event every weekend. That means there’s a lot of beer and a lot of talking associated with my fall. We’re running a lot of promotions, etc. at ShoreCraftBeer.com to hype the beer events all around the region. People who follow us on Facebook and those on the mailing list get the heads up first on the early bird ticket prices. So consider doing one of those things.

The next big one is Sept. 10 at Hooper’s in West Ocean City and tickets are just $20 to the first 100 people.

Let the games begin

I’m not much of a conspiracy theory guy, but this push to get people to start thinking about beer in terms of calories feels very conspiratorial. Once you buy into a conspiracy it is pretty easy to incorporate everything that happens into it. I’m not what you would call a fan of the folks over at USA Today, so this just could be a case of lazy journalism, but it is weird that the story isn’t about companies making an effort to reclaim market share rather than a story that appears to be focused on health.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the merger

Miller has been buying up smaller breweries for awhile and with the merger with Bud approved, they’re kind of continuing to construct a market wherein instead of being the number two big beer conglomerate, they’l; be the number one craft beer conglomerate. In a way, it is like using old beer money to support new beer money. I’ll remain skeptical about the long term plan, but it is as if Molson Coors (the new parent company) will be a completely re-imagined company in another decade or so.

Ag talk

We will have a new malt house in the region by this time next year, and the hop industry seems as if it is number one with a bullet as the U.S. retakes its lead as the primary hops consumer on the planet for the first time in half a century. What’s interesting, though, is the other side of it. There’s more than a little risk in the hop business, and, for farmers who already operate on really thin margins growing hops must be a slow process, literally and figuratively. Getting the hops mature and sustainable is step one, and edging out other crop, re-purposing land and learning the subtleties of hop production are all extra problems many farmers don’t want or need. Those who do have to be patient and comfortable with looming disaster.

More on language

Last time, we spoke about the whether or not to worry too much about beer language, I balked at the notion. I’m not a big beer geek and don’t have much patience for snobbery for its own sake, so questions of language are usually a little precious for my taste. This story on Sours, though, makes sense, especially for a guy like me who often says he isn’t a fan of “Sours.” The category is a little broad to be meaningful so narrowing it only makes sense. Which words we use to narrow it, however, is something else altogether.

Cooking with Beer

We talk about making this a regular feature, and I guess it wouldn’t take too long to come up with 52 different beer recipes each year, but I usually let these things find me. There are plenty of intriguing ways to prepare food with beer, but the one I’m likely to try is the Guinness Ice Cream, though I’ll probably use a local Stout. I’m taking suggestions.

Plugs!

My beer book is out. You can buy a signed copy at Xtreme Brewing or order one from ShoreCraftBeer.com Also, next week I’m having a signing event that includes a live podcast at Salt Water Media, which is going to be a blast. Please come out and say hello.

Find the podcast

We broadcast live on the Shore Craft Beer Facebook page noonish every Thursday. You can listen to the audio at BeerwithStrangers.com or subscribe on iTunes.

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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