3 Jun 2011

Selected Readings: May

I'm sure that many of my regular readers have not "liked" my Facebook page, where, among other things, I post links to articles and other beer related stuff I find interesting. Since I'm cool with that and I don't want to leave you out of the conversation, I thought I would start this new section and share with you at least some of those articles. So, without further ado, let's start with the ones published in Spanish: (don't be lazy, Google Translate can do a pretty good job).

The Spanish brewer Estrella Galicia announced their new product, Artesana, a beer that copies almost word by word the marketing of Inèdit: world famous cook who says he took part in the creation of the beer, etc., etc. There are a couple of differences, though, according to the press release Artesana is going to be a series of beers. On the other hand, the "easy-open" cap suggests that you drink straight from the 0.33l bottle, which is not something I associate with a Michelin Starred restaurant. At least, so far, Chef Pepe Solla hasn't taken the streets to spread bollocks like his colleague Adriá.

But what interests me about this beer is not how good it might or might not be, it's the use of "Artesana" as a brand. Have they registered it?

Still in Spain, the renown food writer Carlos Maribona published his list of the 10 best Spanish beers. I've got no reason to doubt the honesty of this list, I believe it reflects its author's opinion, which is based on his experience as a consumer and journalist. The only gripe I have about it is that it includes a Belgian beer, Brabante. The nationality of the people who make it (or have it made, I'm not sure) does not determine the nationality of the beer, and that is something that someone of Maribona's caliber should know. (Would he say the same if some Spanish entrepreneurs made wine in the Czech Rep.?).

But what can we expect from journalists when there are even brewers who do not give importance to the origin of their beers? Or at least that is the conclusion I reached after reading this post in Lúpulo a Mansalva. There, we are told about a brewer that ask the author to take out from his catalogue (Lúpulo a Mansalva is an e-shop) the information about where the beer is brewed. That is really sad, I don't care what reasons this brewer has for this, but lying to the consumers is something that deserves no respect and should be denounced. Attention should also be brought to the magnanimous attitude taken by the owner of this shop. I wouldn't have done the same.

Now in English:

Stan Hieronymus proposes time as an ingredient and I really like the idea. Unlike passion and other things like that, time is something that you can taste in the final product. If you doubt that, drink a two week lager and then drink it again four weeks later.

Zak Avery posted a great analysis of modern beer branding trends. I still believe that the long term prosperity of a brewery depends on how much people like their products, but I would be a moron if I said good marketing isn't important to get the first sale.

Styles, that topic that always gets beer people talking (not as much as keg vs cask, it seems), and I really liked the way the Thirsty Pilgrim approached it, specially when he reminds us "that styles as know them today began as something educational and descriptive--a way to explain whatis--rather than something normative--what ought to be.".

If any of you out there is wondering if you haven't become a beer snob, you can find the answer on this page.

And to cap this, the live interview on Radio Česko wasn't my only media appearance last month. I was interviewed by the English version of Česká Pozice about the Czech Beer Festival, by Radio Praha about beer in general and, in Spanish, by Radio Praga about my book and my views on Czech beer. The interview ended up being so long that it had to be published in three parts: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Na Zdraví!

2 comments:

  1. Er... aren't Mr Maribona's favourite Spanish beers more-or-less the 10 easiest to find Spanish beers? As in, the ones they sell in every supermarket?

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  2. Yes, now that you mention it, you are right, though to be fair, I can't think of many other beers that could make a list like this and have wide enough distribution and consistent enough quality. On the other hand, it could also mean that Maribona is a quite lazy journalist, at least when it comes to beer...

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