Great Craft beer news

The sky is not falling. There is reason to be optimistic. Check these stats courtesy of Draft Magazine

~ The number of U.S. breweries is the highest in 100 years because of small and independent craft brewers.
~ America’s small and independent craft brewers are still growing despite many challenges and are continuing to provide jobs to the U.S. economy.
~ Dollar growth from craft brewers during the first half of 2009 increased 9 percent, down from 11 percent growth during the same period in 2008.
~ Volume of craft brewed beer sold grew 5 percent for the first six months in 2009, compared to 6.5 percent growth in the first half of 2008.

The Brewing Network

Every day I am pleased to find more beer information on the web, today is no different. The Brewing Network is a great resource for brew information. Based in San Francisco, but not afraid to venture further afield. They have a great website, radio show and home brew show. Anyone who enjoys beer will find something great here.

You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
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Geek vs Snob

Let me start this post with a story. It is a St. Patrick’s Day party. The corned beef is being prepared for the table and I pick up a Harp and drink it straight from the bottle. Now my friends have seen odd behavior from me before but even this is beyond the pale. I have told them on numerous occasions that you need to let the beer breathe. Was I going back on my word?

Yes and no. And it boils down to geek vs snob. Every thing in this world has enthusiasts and enforcers. From movies to architecture to beer. To me, geeks take pleasure in that (carefully chosen) movie or cafe while snobs are looking for chinks in the armor so they can take that musician or politician down a peg. Because that is where they get their pleasure. In feeling better than something else. I prefer to select the elite and celebrate what the best brewers in America bring to the table.

So why did I drink Harp from the bottle? Lazy is one for sure. I won’t deny it. But if it had been Crannog’s Beyond the Pale Ale, it would have gone into the glass. No questions asked. The main reason is that some beer is better cold and will not markedly improve in the proper glassware. Harp is a fine beer but a blah beer. Boring. Steady. Better than the mass marketed crap here by a long shot. But I do not need to carefully drink it and take tasting notes.

I’ve had it before and I understand it’s place in the beer world. Let me use cars to explain my point. Would you take the new Porsche (fresh from the dealer) to the grocery store and back? Or would you take it on the open road? Same with beers. Some beers are utilitarian. Crafted and artisan but still utilitarian. While other beers are meant to showcase the art of brewing.

And this is another fork in the road that separates the geeks from the snobs. A geek will drink the Harp. Enjoy what it is and move on. A snob will, either, not touch it or will pour it with great ceremony into a special glass and try to make more of it than it should be.

I am all for the proper temperature and the right glassware and other assorted beer geekery but I have learned to step back and enjoy beer. There are more than enough opportunities to carefully analyze a beer with the beer round table but there is just as much pleasure in enjoying a beer for the sake of enjoying beer.

For me, it is better to stop and savor each beer for what it is at that moment and what it’s purpose in that moment is. I know that is vague and zen-like, but grasshopper ,when you are sitting on the patio with a beer and your wife is there smiling. That is beervana and no snob can take that away from me.

Beer Church

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Beer Church Believes…

Beer Church believes that we beer lovers are part of one very large and diverse social group by virtue of our shared appreciation of beer. Beer Church also believes that beer lovers (and most people in general) want to make the world a better place. Our goal is to unite like-minded individuals with one simple mission­—make the world a better place one beer at a time.
What Beer Church Does…

To date, Beer Church has earned nearly $100,000 for charity. How? By drinking beer and having fun.

Our Web site provides entertainment and information for people who appreciate beer. It also provides us with a way to organize beer lovers and share our message with the world. We invite you to explore the site, learn more about Beer Church, and let us know what you think.

Don't count calories with beer

from the Washington City Paper

Not to be outdone by a fellow conglomerate, Anheuser-Busch InBev raised (lowered?) the stakes against MillerCoors’ MGD Light 64 with its launch this week of Bud Select 55. The new light beer, which I promise is not a joke, boasts a slender and eponymous 55 calories. But A-B InBev not only bests MillerCoors in cutting calories — they pretty much give you less across the board. Let’s see how they stack up. (All servings 12 oz.)

* Bud Select 55 – 55 calories, 1.9 g carbs, 2.4% abv
* MGD Light 64 – 64 calories, 2.4 g carbs, 2.8% abv
* Bud Select – 99 calories, 3.1 g carbs, 4.3% abv
* skim milk – 129 calories, 17.9 g carbs
* orange juice – 168 calories, 28.2 g carbs

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Hopped Up

My coverage of beer gets spotty the further east you go across the country but I do want to spotlight (again) the Free the Hops patriots in Alabama and to throw a link to Danner Kline’s new column in the Birmingham Weekly.

He’s a good writer with his own opinions and I enjoy reading his stuff to see what another beer geek is thinking about and drinking.

Beer Book!

I love books as much as I love beer so when you combine the two you get, Awesome! So when I saw this on the Thank Heaven for Beer blog, I was very interested…

“The Essential Reference of Domestic Brewers and Their Bottled Brands is the brain child of Micheal S. Kuderka, whose purpose in creating this reference book was “to be the industry recognized resource for information on all domestic beer and brands…” And let me tell you, he is is doing a great job.

This book is exceedingly exhaustive, easy to navigate, full of helpful charts and figure, and just what it aims to be: a great resource. The book walks the beer business man and the simple beer geek, like myself, through the domestic beer world starting with and alphabetical listing of breweries, followed by pages of color and bitterness charts, beer style index, state availability, geographic brewery index, commentary, supply charts, and full brewery portfolios. I do feel that in further editions, the book will add to the content, but already it is brimming with necessary information.”