Diary of a (still happening) Mad Year (+)

When historians start treading the waters of 2020-2021, trying to make sense of the Coronavirus and its impact will be key. And maybe with distance, we will be able to see the full forest of trees.

But now, we are in the weird pre-post pandemic time and it behooves us to look back at this year+ even though it is easier to read about happier things.

All that to say that you can now buy the Coronavirus Diaries compiled by Portland beer writer Jeff Alworth, where he spoke with beer people in the thick of the drama. It is honestly very dramatic.

Aftermath – Part 6

Will delivery be normal after the virus has passed? Will to-go orders and curbside pick-up remain an option?

I would say that both will eventually phase out. In-state delivery is just too costly not to mention bad for an environment healing from lack of cars on the road. Plus, with travel opened up, visiting breweries will more than like return if the stir crazy mood of Americans is any indication.

Curbside though might hang on longer as fear and worry slowly dissipate. Eventually though, the keg trade will reclaim its position and there will be less cans and bottles to pick-up and run with.

Where it may linger a bit more is in the delivery apps. They are either going to struggle with being profitable or struggle to pay a workforce that will increasingly call for more money and alcohol might be a big ticket item that could be used to pay back investors and contractors.

The taproom experience is clearly something people want so that means back to the sidelines for delivery.

Send Good Thoughts Brewery # 2- Indiana’s Function Brewing

I wish that Function Brewing was functioning normally. Having to navigate an online ordering and contactless purchasing world is weird.

Here is what I would order to-go from their online store if I was in Bloomington…

Archimedes Pale Ale, Digit Red Ale, Equidistant IPA – notice a math trend? I really like breweries that have a theme to their names.

Anyway, here are a couple more fun sounding beers…

Bernoulli Saison and then one or both of their American Porter’s, Hypotenuse or Hyperbolic.

Aftermath – Part 3

The American shipping and distribution system is amazing. You can get something in under an hour. But as we have seen with the run on toilet paper, it doesn’t take much to hobble that system.

This will extend to breweries, and not just with ingredients but with items like the beer container. Kegs are not in vogue. But boy, the amount of Crowlers and sixteen ounce cans needed are rising higher.

But that means that a system built for just in time delivery and expecting only a certain quantity of sales now has to pivot to new market conditions and then will have to change again when this is all over.

Meanwhile, the growler, which has completely lost favor, has had a tiny renaissance as breweries have opened up the taps to any container that they can put beer in.

Supply and demand is in cans already and it will soon be hitting other ingredients too.

Aftermath – Part 2

Part of me can fully understand why this might be true but another part asks the question of “if buying beer is hard then how is buying beer ingredients any easier?”

Will that ingredient access is difficult that could offset the cost savings of brewing your own? Also, in my opinion, quality has risen, so brewing a Belgian Wit could be cheaper but if Allagash White is around, why do it. You might have to wait in a line at Trader Joe’s but that pales in comparison to trying to emulate that beer or an IPA from El Segundo or a dark mild that matches Eagle Rock’s Solidarity.

Maybe price will win out and it will be interesting to see if it continues because if breweries close, a new generation of aspirational home brewers will be needed.

In the Tap Lines for April 2020

header_attractionsMarch was not a good month.  I wish I had my receipt so that I could get my money back on those 31 days.  Hopefully April will be full of washed hands and six feet of distance and less bad posts on social media.  I will keep up the parade of good beer news while talking about what will happen when the virus dust has settled

~ e-visits to (3)  breweries from states hit hard from CoronaVirus
~ special featured reviews of canned IPAs from Strand Brewing
~ Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events (Far in the future events)
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark
~ A Book & A Beer reads The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to Gangster Capitalism
~ Great Beer names and Best Beers of the Month
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.


If you were told to go home today, and not return to work until April, without pay, could you do it?

What if the return date was unknown?

Well, Los Angeles bars and restaurants have been forced into that choice by the governor of California and the mayor of Los Angeles.

After those paragraphs, you might be surprised that I am for the halt. What I am fully against is not having any other part to the plan. If a restaurant chain lays off or furloughs their staff or is at a small margin and cannot survive a week off, then the results will be massive. And not in a good economic way.

Your favorite restaurant might be gone. Or breweries will close and not just temporarily. Without a second part to this plan, that involves supplementing income for both affected businesses and workers, then we will be forced into an economic panic and we have seen that Americans will panic and panic hard.

Closing bars and restaurants will put even more pressure on grocery stores and speaking as someone who waited 1 1/2 hours just to enter a well run Trader Joe’s and also saw the empty shelves at Amazon/Whole Foods can attest, that pressure is going to be too much. Then we expect underpaid gig economy workers to deliver food and groceries! Until one gets the virus, of course.

There needs to be a full multi-pronged effort. Even if the details are not ready, it should be made crystal fucking clear that restitution will absolutely be made. Or that a the very least that delays in payments will be vigorously enforced as business practice for now. All there is now is vague promises of support.

Health now is vital. But to sacrifice tomorrow in the process is just a Ponzi scheme. One that individuals and small business should not have to shoulder the cost of without a promise of having that favor be returned.