Peel the Label – Social Media Defiance

I waited a couple days to ruminate before wading into the “I’m Right, You’re Wrong” Covid wars but felt that I should add my two cents in for a middle perspective.

The topic, you may ask, is posting on social media that you are going to open your brewery/restaurant despite explicit orders not to. Now I truly empathize with, in this case, Pedals & Pints Brewery up in the Thousand Oaks area. They grand opened a few days before California shut down dining back in March. That sucks. They seem to care about their employees and they say they will be stringent in cleaning, though you could clean every surface and one sick person without a mask will undo all the scrubbing.

They have been whipsawed by government at every label and received little to no actual help. Again, that sucks. I have railed against the haphazard, whatever is easiest approach multiple times on this blog that Newsom has decreed.

But, life is about timing and boy did Pedal & Pints not factor that in. You simply cannot say no when patients are being cared for in a hospital gift shop. Yup, that happened. Might still be happening. You simply cannot say no when each day brings new records for positive Covid cases. It sucks but all you are doing is asking the government to shut you down and fine you. And, you are dividing potential customers into the I don’t care about rules camp and the I ain’t gonna visit that hot zone camp.

I sure as heck ain’t gonna go there. It may be outside dining but I bet the air under that tent will have some viral component because people will be sitting there for long periods of time without masks. And the people there will be the Covid deniers / chin diaper mask brigade.

You just have to wait until the vaccine gets out there more and slowly open back up without posting it almost over the socials. It’s the right thing to do even though the government hasn’t done right by you.

Peel the Label is an infrequent series with no photos or links. Just opinion.

Which Way for Bubbles

Despite the official opinion of the Beer Search Party blog of anti-hard seltzer, I have tasted various options including the White Claw (which should be avoided) and even recently had a nice one Fromm Wild Basin aka Oskar Blues with a melon/herb flavor profile.

If you had told me that seltzer would still be a thing in 2021 with practically every brewery having one on offer, I would have choked a bit on my predictions. I do think (now) that they are probably going to hang around for a few more years before completely fizzling out but it will be only because the market got overheated vs the customer base.

The final nail in the seltzer coffin will come from a new drink of the summer of ‘21 or ‘22 whichever will steal thunder and the bubbles will fade.

New from the White Labs Vault

It is common to see posts about new hop varietals on this blog. Sometimes malt gets a high five but yeast and water rarely factor in despite their massive importance which is why I though this Instagram post from White Labs was cool…

WLP631 is in town. There’s probably won’t be any beers promoting that title on a label but it is important to see yeast terroir in action. Maybe there will be a Great Lakes Tart yeast or Big City SoCal version. The fact that science can cut these up into distinct little products is great because each time we gain a little more understanding of beer.

Wolf Creek

Sad news to report this Monday. Rob McFerren co-founder of Wolf Creek Brewery and Restaurant in the Santa Clarita Valley passed away at the start of the year. Wolf Creek’s history stretches back all the way to 1997. That is a long time in the Southern California beer history timeline. Both Rob and Laina have been stalwarts in the LA County Brewers Guild. Those are just two reasons that this is a blow to the beer community. You will probably see many heartfelt remembrances from brewers and breweries impacted by his life.


The Firkin for December 2020

How will “dry”uary fare next month? Will seltzer keep rising? Is there a new IPA sub-style waiting in the wings? When will we be back at beer festival? If a year has started with more question marks, it has not been for a long time.

The biggest question being, the economy in the immediate vaccine aftermath. How long before life starts clicking like it was back this time last year?

I don’t have any good answers. The second set of stimulus, the brewery taxation and Save Our Stages bills got held up by the Child in Chief because of lack of magazine covers or some other imagined slight. That going into effect would have gotten us back at least a week early.

My prediction is that August is the month where we can stride to a brewery and have a pint at a bar. There will be sanitizer everywhere and people will be wary and some may even still wear masks even though that is the last safety measure that we should let go and not the first like I believe it will. Until that point, all other bets are on pause.

You Have Been Served

I’m jus going to revel in the fact that Newsom and his buddy are getting sued by what is a pretty benevolent association for the most part. So, you go ahead and read on…

“The California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA) and breweries from across the state of California announced today the filing of a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against Governor Gavin Newsom and California State Public Health (CDPH) Officer Sandra Shewry alleging constitutional violations, including denying beer manufacturers their equal protection rights by requiring them to serve a meal to operate a tasting room, but not applying those requirements equitably across the entire alcohol beverage manufacturing industry.

Current guidelines for reopening issued by the CDPH on July 1, 2020 permits a gradual reopening of businesses, including restaurants, wineries, retailers and other industries. The recent orders broaden the scope of winery privileges, allowing the state’s more than 4,000 wine makers and winery tasting rooms more generous reopening privileges than the state’s 1,050 craft breweries.

In current reopening guidelines, craft breweries are required to provide a sit-down meal in order to reopen their outdoor tasting areas, but the same onerous requirement is not imposed on wine manufacturers. This split guidance creates an arbitrary and unjust distinction between wine manufacturers and beer manufactures. The complaint alleges that this distinction made between manufacturers in the same industry is not based on any difference between the two businesses or their ability to operate safely and does not directly support COVID-19 mitigation efforts, which are widely supported and followed by craft brewers across the state of California.

“When it is time to begin the reopening of businesses in 2021, we need to ensure that a single industry is not arbitrarily divided based on unfounded assumptions,” said CCBA executive director, Tom McCormick. “We want to ensure that the craft brewing industry has the same privileges and the same pathway as other alcohol beverage manufacturers to reopen, re-employ and re-build next year.”

Wineries and breweries are identical manufacturing facilities that operate with the same “risk factors” as identified by the CDPH. The wine industry, which boasts more than 4,000 wineries located all across the state of California, have very similar if not identical tasting rooms to the 1,050 craft breweries. The sole difference between wineries and breweries is the product they produce: wine or beer. Both winery and brewery businesses are indistinguishable in their processes and privileges and should be assigned the same guidelines for reopening by the state.

“The orders from the CDPH unjustly target the small 1,050 craft breweries operating across the state of CaliforniaThe CCBA urges the CDPH to reassess the current divisive and confusing reopening guidelines so that these small businesses can find a pathway to survive in 2021,” said McCormick.”

I think it was very smart to position this for 2021 and beyond and to do it as the vaccine is rolling out. Hopefully state government will start making less choices based on expediency and more on common sense.

What Are They Saying?

OK, first read this interesting point from the UK perspective about the Great Scotch Egg Debate.

Now, doesn’t this sound like what is happening in a certain metropolitan area in Southern California? Tying meals to alcohol and what the politicians mean when they do it. Pete Brown does argue persuasively that this is not some 2020 version of prohibition as I have proclaimed it is in numerous posts since March. The idea that politicians are just trying to limit people in ways they will accept, albeit grudgingly Eric Clapton, does make more sense especially in light of the current stay at home orders we are living under.

Notice that the order started AFTER Thanksgiving and is served to expire BEFORE Christmas. That totally lines up with what Brown is saying in his post. Politicians are just swaying with the wind. And there’s is no bigger wind than late year holidays. If breweries complain enough, they get to have outdoor seating but only if the cases stay flat. Once that number rises, hospitals bark (rightfully) and restrictions return but only on what politicians can push past the populace. The stay at home should have started before any holiday and stay in place until the chart trends down, no matter what Santa’s plans are.

The Firkin for November 2020

10pm. 10 fucking pm. Our French Laundry Governor might drink, might be taking scads of donations from the wine industry but damn if he isn’t a Prohibitionist. Citing “inebriation”, he has instituted a curfew. But like most parents isn’t thinking about anything other than being strict.

What policeman is going to cite me for being outside at 10pm? None. Because they want to cite businesses. Not individuals. I see more people in mask demanded Glendale wearing them on their chin or holding them in their hand at 1pm. How does sending people home at 10pm going to help that? How is 10pm going to stop idiots from gathering and passing the virus on Thanksgiving?

The answer is that it won’t. Newsom lost my vote by stranding small business when they needed help and my guess is that the alcohol industry ain’t gonna give much campaign funding to someone who thinks that 10pm is going to stop the virus.

Alcohol is not the problem. Get that through your slicked back hair. The problem revolves around gatherings and masks. It could be a teetotaling book club or a church or me on my off drinking day. Time of day doesn’t enter it to it and you are a moron if you think it does.

Or you can’t “cancel” Thanksgiving so you shift the blame to food and drink.

Names to Look For

Quick hop post for y’all.

Remember these two hop names because I bet you will be seeing them in beers next year and more I need 2022.

First up is Australia- Eclipse. Then to New Zealand for – Nectaron.