Last 4 Monks

With another Trappist brewery closing, this time Stift Engelszell in Austria, it may be that craft beer fans will see both the high and low water marks of the protected trademark associated with brewing in a monastery.

At Stift Engelszell, the last four monks made the move to another monastery.  It is probably both a victim of changing tastes in not only beer but also in religion.  Second sons are not forced into a career path in theology as in the ye’ olde days and even the term primogeniture isn’t used outside of the odd coronation, here or there.  It is actually surprising that monasticism has lasted as long as it has.

Hopefully the Trappist organization can find a way to save these recipes and maybe revive the brands under a less stringent set of productions.

Where’s the Next Trend?

We are heading toward the halfway point of 2023 and I have yet to pinpoint a new beer style trend. I know that I ask this repetitive question each year, at least twice a year, but has craft beer hit a creative wall? Or is the next trend lurking underwater off the coast of Amity?

Pastry stouts seem to have stalled a bit either due to expense of ingredients or brewers have found the outer limit of America’s sweet tooth which is something I never thought was possible. Cold IPA’s might find headwinds of IPL logic slows that trend down.

The only big news of the year seems to be stovepipe cans. 19.2% is finding cooler room in limited spaces from gas stations to grocery stores.

In the Bin

Most recycling pitches are based on guilt trips so it is refreshing to see one that leavens the mood with humor.  Take a watch right HERE.

Now we just need to get a better, national recycling plan in place where ALL of the glass gets made into new bottles and one doesn’t need to consult multiple sources to find out if a can label needs to be peeled off beforehand.

World Beer Cup 2023

The World Beer Cup presented their awards last night…

…and here is the SoCal medal count. Seven all told for my defined LA.

GoldBeachwood Brewing in the Scotch Ale category for Full Malted Jacket

SilverHighland Park Brewing for High 9 DIPA in the Juicy / Hazy Imperial IPA category, Arts District Brewing for Elevated in the Australian-Style Pale Ale category, Boomtown Brewing for Party Pils in the American-Style Pilsner category, HiDef Brewing for Bass Clef in the Wood Aged Strong Beer category and Angel City Brewery for Apple Pomace Puncheon in the Experimental Wood Aged category

Bronze14 Cannons for Prussian River Baltic Porter in the Baltic Porter category

The Firkin for April 2023

At first, I thought that I should probably not comment on the whole Bud Light controversy. Primarily because it is just so emblematic of America to get offended so easily by showing the colors of the rainbow. A bit too “been there, done that”.

But I do have my two-cents to add, because beer, especially craft beer, should be more about community. And that is coming from an introvert who prefers to drink his beer in peace.

And all people should be allowed to drink their beer in peace. I am not going to tell someone with a can of Bud Light that they have horrible taste. I think they probably already know it. If asked, I will suggest better options. Something local perhaps. But overall, I keep my mouth fucking shut. Except on this blog, but Bud Fans ain’t here so I feel OK expressing myself.

But if a Bud Light hater is here and you feel the need to make a Tik-Tok showing you destroying a can of Bud Light, stop. Just stop. Buy another brand of beer and move on. Let others drink their beer in peace.

Here is the simple truth. Bud Light will go on. Those protesting will probably buy it and drink it this year. The Transgender community will still be here. No matter how much you deny them or demean them. So live your life and let others live theirs. The liquid inside the can is the same.

..and now this…

State of the Craft Beer Union

Yesterday, Bart Watson presented the Top 50 Breweries in the US for 2022 along with answering questions about other items of craft beer economic import. Y’all probably saw the shares and re-tweets of the list but below are my take-aways from the press conference.

  • overall production was static at around 24+ Million barrels
  • total retail dollars grew due to higher beer prices and a shift back to on premise drinking
  • 9,552 active breweries in 2022 (though some may not have finished the year as active)
  • openings still outpace closings 549 to 319
  • no correlation between higher beer prices and slower growth
  • taproom only models are skewing younger in years and perform better in general
  • leases tend to be the main drivers in closings

I will dip into the Top 50 from a California perspective but this year saw the exit of Bell’s from the list since they do not meet the ownership criteria for craft and Stone will exit next year due to their sale to Sapporo. Also Yuengling is numero uno this year.

Here are the CA breweries in the Top 10

#3 Sierra Nevada

#4 Duvel US (which includes Firestone Walker)

# 7 Stone

Others include both Coasts, Lost and North, Pizza Port, Gordon Biersch and Craft Ohana which is the Maui Brewing / Modern Times group.


Just when you thought we had reached peak saturation in entertainment choices, along comes ABInBev to glue our eyes to screens since it is better than drinking their beer.

The megacorp (which doesn’t have much money for their purchased craft breweries) is creating an entertainment division, called DraftLine Entertainment which will create films, television and podcasts.

Who knows if Netflix or Spotify will want Bud sponsored content on their streamers but I can imagine a Bud Light RomCom or a true crime podcast about theft of small boutique distributors.

More Summit News – Part 2

Another bit of good news gleaned from last months California Craft Beer Summit is the creation of the National Black Brewers Association.  Anytime there can be a critical enough mass to form an association means that there is steam behind it and I hope to see events here in the Los Angeles area for the group.

More Summit News -Part 1

I have posted (many moons ago) about the three HBC hops 586, 630 and 638 but the latest literature from Yakima Chief Hops states that all three are now in the Elite Trials stage of the breeding program. One step closer to getting named and maybe becoming the next “It” hop varietal. Of them, 586 is my leading contender due to sweet aromatic and a bigger punch of citrus and tropical flavors.

Up top though is ID 158, from the Magnum hop lineage which seems to have a very pointed citrus dry hop aroma but is also all over the aroma map.  This one is still a few years off though.

Flora Brewing

I am happy to report that Flora Brewing is going pro!  

But Sarah and her team are going to need a financial push from beer fans.  So please check out their fundraising arm ( HERE ) to help a talented brewer get her beers to us.