New Belgium is providing us with a thought experiment in beer form with Torched Earth.
If the glut of books and movies set in a future that is barren and hard scrabble, the Colorado brewery has made a beer to match it. It’s not good—the beer is made with water that has been tainted with smoke (probably the least of our water worries), with dandelion weeds and drought-resistant millet and buckwheat grains as the main ingredients.
New Belgium is releasing this beer knowing full well that it is going to cause a reaction, most likely of yuck. But that is why we SHOULD drink it. Maybe if we don’t want to end up with that as beer, we might work harder at preserving our planet.
In late October, the news broke that Lagunitas (or was it Heineken) had closed a Community Room charitable space in Portland. It was PR claimed that it was a hard decision to make but I am pretty sure that the big brewery could have stopped taking reservations and then easily found the spare change in the marketing department couch to keep the place afloat through all the booked events or called it quits on January 2nd.
This led me back to a conversation I had recently where the massive Lagunitas complex off the 210 freeway was brought up and how it had completely fallen off the map in the Los Angeles beer universe. Back in time when I was invited there on media day and saw all the space for trucks to be loaded with easy access to move out onto the freeway to send Lagunitas beer to the large SoCal market and presumably to Mexico. Space for brewing and taprooms and food. But years have passed and no rooftop garden bar as spoken of. Nothing but a temporary taproom that had the look of thrown together over a weekend which I don’t even know is open or not anymore. And there ha been nary an update about the whole project since.
If two states are affected, in two widely disparate areas like Portland and SoCal, there is something afoot. This feels like a re-trenchment from above and not something guided by Petaluma HQ. I expected this to happen to one of the “High End” breweries or Constellation with the inflated Ballast Point sale but maybe Heineken hit a financial wall first. A self-imposed wall to be sure.
It would be safe to say that back in 2010, no one would have predicted that beer shoppes would be primarily filled with 16oz cans. Bombers were the reigning king and cans were seen as the realm of big beer.
It is not too early then to guess as to what will be the package of preference in five years time. Maybe this….
…yeah, I doubt it too due to simply figuring out how to shelve them. But the question still stands. What will we be pouring our beer out of. Cans or bottles? What size? Will 10oz stubbies reappear?