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Showing posts from March, 2012

No, really..

Could you please stop associating "craft beer" with "revolution"?

Let's forget for a second that I believe "craft" doesn't mean a lot more than "premium". Whether I like it or not, the truth is that there are many people for whom "craft beer" is something more or less concrete, but whatever that is, is not a "revolution".

A revolution is something that results in a radical change to the status quo, even when a revolution fails, things are never the same.

The last phenomenon in the brewing industry that I believe could be called a revolution took place in the last decades of the 19th century with the development of efficient systems of artificial refrigeration, which resulted in lagers taking over the world. The change was relatively quick and, in some places, brutal, it basically wiped out styles with a lot of history and tradition behind them.

Craft beer hasn't done anything like this, anywhere. Not even in the …

A bit of history

A couple of months ago I came across a very interesting video from the Ecuadorian TV. The quality is on the wrong side of crappy and the two geezers that talk there look like the kind of people that must be boring even after having a couple of pints under their belts, but if you understand Spanish, it's worth paying attention to what they say.

According to Mr. Mosquera, the first brewery in America (the continent, of course) operated in Quito in the Convent of St. Francis, which started to be built in 1550, or so Wikipedia says.

As founder of the monastery and brewery, Mosquera mentions one Jodoco Ricke, a Franciscan monk of Flemish origin. Searching this person on the internet I found a brief biography (in SP) that says that he had been good friends with the emperor Charles V (who is considered "the father" of beer in Spain) and that he had arrived in Ecuador a few years before the construction of the monastery had started. It also says that he began growing barley shor…

Grumpy Monday

You've heard (and read) me saying this countless times (I've even mentioned it in articles that've been published in magazines!), this thing with the microbreweries in the Czech Republic is amazing. Only five years ago there were around 50, today there are 120 and counting. Last year alone more than 20 new ones opened!

Of course, not everything is rosy. This boom has brought some growing pains. For some time I've been reading about an incipient shortage of qualified workforce, and the other day someone who seemed to know what he was saying told me that some of the micros that have opened recently are actually enterprises to swindle money from the European Union Structural Funds. Beer, or the business of selling beer, is of little, if any, importance to this people, they've already earned what they wanted to earn just with the project, what happens next is not their problem.

The reality is that I've drunk some serious crap lately. I don't mean boring lagers,…

A cautionary tale

The news is old, but still worth talking about it.

One winter afternoon, as I was on my way to a meeting with a few pints of Kout at U Slovanské Lípy, as I was walking across Havlíčkovo Nám. I noticed that Svět Piva, formerly known as U Radnice, had closed.

I wasn't surprised or sad. It was to be expected and it was deserved. Total lack of respect for beer, useless staff and an owner that, well, let's say he isn't the most sensible person around were the cause. After the local beer enthusiasts had enough of his attitude and his pub, this man tried to save the shop through the now famous (or infamous) discount sites. It turned out to be an even bigger disaster, one that caught the attention of the media and because a cautionary tale for the operators of these webpages, and probably accelerated the inevitable demise of the pub.

Fortunately, it didn't manage to stain the reputation of the čtvrtá pípa and multi tap pub phenomenon, but it should be a case study for all tho…

Silly question, but I need to ask it

If I remember my history well, those Beers that during the 18th and 19th century were sent to India were more hopped and attenuated (?) than their contemporary Ales and Beers so they could survive the four in the hull of a ship that went around Africa.

An unexpected, but welcome, outcome of this was that due to the heat and the general conditions of the voyage the beers matured much faster than they would have in the breweries' cellars (to get an idea of how, read the experiment Martyn did a while back).

Taking this into consideration, could it be that American hop bombs taste "better"* on this side of the pond than at home? Has anyone had the chance to taste one of those beers "fresh" and after it had crossed the Atlantic?

Na Zdraví!

PS: Perhaps the question is silly, I've got no idea about the conditions the bottles travel from their producers to the warehouses of their distributors in Europe, they might do it in refrigerated containers. As for the durati…

A bit off topic

You all know about it, you've read it a million times in the last couple of years, I'm won't say anything new here. Although I doubt very, very much that social networks are the threat to governments and the status quo that the media would like us to believe, the reality is that, as long as you have an internet connection, modern technology allow us to share ideas, opinions, curious things and bollocks, lots of bollocks, with the whole world and instantly. If we are on holidays we can make a photo of something that's caught our attention, upload it to our Facebook, Twitter or whatever account so all our friends/followers/whatevers can see it and react to it. Same if we are at a party, concert, on our way back from work or having pint at a pub or a beer festival. Click! Tipititap! “Upload/Share”, that's all you need.

As everything else that exists, has existed and will exist this paradigm isn't good or bad, it simply is. I won't slam it, one the one hand, be…

Selected Readings: February

Just as I, sort of, promised on Friday, here's the roundup of the stuff that caught my attention last month.

From Beervana, Jeff, in his post of his very interesting Belgian series speaks about a very interesting Dupont does, which proves that the difference is always in the tiny details.

Not leaving Jeff, in this post he deals with the topic of styles and categorisations and how hard it is sometimes to make sense of it all, which was an answer to a question Alan made in his blog. Everything while I was writing about the same topic and Joe came out with a birlliant answer, which almost manages to put an end to the debate.

And speaking about an endless debate. Birraire deals with the meaning, usefulness and relevance of the concept of "Cerveza Artenanal" (Craft Beer). While you think about an answer to that, here's Reluctant Scooper with his Craft Beer manifesto. Brilliant stuff.

Changing the topic, but just a bit, my post on the role of brewers in the education of th…

A few quick reviews

WOW! I don't remember when was the last time I posted a beer review here! (I do, it's all a matter of checking the blog archive, but it sounds nicer this way). Since I'm sure not few of you are missing them, I thought it would be a good idea to put together the short reviews I posted on my Facebook page in the last couple of months in a way that it would put them in a..... Who am I kidding. I'm lazy and busy, can't be arsed with anything else today. Here they are thanks to the magic of ctrl+c and ctrl+v.

Beer Here Farlig Wine: Imprisoned in a barn full of hops there's a luscious, dark, strong willed beauty screaming to be set free. One of those beers that walks on a very thin tightrope with half a pint too many under its belt... The screams aren't loud enough. With a few IBU's less this could be an awesome beer...

St. Georgen Dopplebock Dunkel. A perfect beer for a day like this. It's a bit like re-reading a good novel, it won't surprise you, but …