1 Jul 2011

Selected Readings: June

Another month and more beer interesting things to read that I want to share with you.

Pete Brown talks about the the importance of bloggers in the beer trade, something I'm not so sure I agree with if I look at the big picture, but I must admit Pete brings some solid arguments.

Lorenzo Brusattin, from the Spanish site Marketing y Consumo, offers a very good analysis of the beer market in Spain, which after changing a few names, could be easily applied to almost every country.

2d2spuma asks several questions, while lamenting that the organisers of a Crafts Fair had accepted the sponsorship of a macro brewer, who, as expected, had as a condition that only their beers could be sold at the event (something I can fully understand). But it's the second and third part of the thing what interests me the most, they remind us that a micro brewer is a company and a "craft brewer" is a business person. Something that is quite obvious, but that, at the same time, seems not the be able to get through the thick skulls of not few people, who prefer to believe that craft brewers are artists of some sorts.

Ron Pattison shares with us two fantastic pieces of beer poetry, one about lager and the other one about beer gardens in Franconia, where, of course, lager is drunk. A must read for everyone, but specially for those obtuse minded people who still believe that lager=fizzy shit (and to some extent, also for those who believe complex, extreme or innovative beers are the only beers worth talking about).

From Canada, Alan McLeod reminds us of something few of us have ever thought about, the positive impact the brewing industry has in the economy, all of it, from micro to macro (though, due to volume, it's the latter who do the heavier lifting). If you think about it for a bit you'll realise that there are a lot of people whose livelihoods depend, directly or indirectly, on beer, from farmers to lorry drivers, among many others.

Unfortunately, not everything is peachy in the beer world, as, once again, Alan makes clear. The American craft brewer Rogue has been accused of having less than stellar labour policies. If those accusations turn out to be true, I wonder how will they end up affecting the sales of the brewery and if all this will make other breweries in a similar situation to review their practices.

Stephen Beaumont wrote an open letter to Steve Body, a professional wine and beer reviewer who doesn't seem to understand beer all that well (and in fact, doesn't seem to enjoy drinking very much). I don't believe the consumer needs to understand a drink in order to enjoy it, but if you are writing professionally about that drink, understanding it should be essential.

Going to the past, Martyn Cornell shares with us a fascinating history of imperial proportions. It turns out that using "Imperial" to call a stronger than usual beer is nothing new, yet I still consider "Imperial Pilsner" to be utter bollocks.

Martyn also tells us about the five worst beers he had in his life, each with its story, and they are quite fun. I don't like making lists, but if I made one of the worst beers I've ever had, Santa Margarida Trigo will sure be on it. "Bakers yeast dissolved in dishwater", as I described it then.

Getting more technical, Mark Dredge has been posting a series called When Beer Goes Bad, which explains very clearly and with simple language those things that can fuck up a beer (or, in some cases, can add some complexity).

The "bollocks of the month" award goes to this article published in Estilo Hoy. You can't expect much depth from a fashion and trends magazine, but the quality of the writing is very, very poor. Besides repeating the usual nonsense, the author, who didn't have the nerve to sign, didn't even pay attention to what he or she was writing. We are first told that "Among the ALES we can choose beers with (...) honey, wheat, corn, flavoured, etc." and in the next paragraph we are reminded that "the Cervezas Artesanales are brewed according to the German Purity Law, which says that beers must be brewed with three ingredients, water, barley and hops".

And last, but not least, Stephen Beaumont posted a review (and a very favourable one at that) of my book, listen to him, he knows what he's talking about.

Na Zdraví!

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