Record Keeping

The fabulous L.A. Beer writer Tomm Carroll has fastidiously tracked down historical records of the brewing scene in Los Angeles but a present day issue needs to be looked at, what about the history made yesterday, today and tomorrow.

It may be worth compiling a history now what with some breweries closing and with it the recipes, the shirts, tap handles and other merch along with the stories of how hard it was to open, the first successful beer, that first time canning beer and so on.

With L.A. Beer Week in full swing, I propose that this time each year, those brewery stories get recorded like the NPR booths that roam around the country recording the stories of ordinary Americans does. Each day a different brewery hosts and talks about their history. It is probably not feasible to collect physical stuff and store it, let alone display it but audio can be stored and used for future Tomm’s to use to write about 2022.

St. Bernardus

I am a sucker for a brewery history book. Even when that book is also filled with recipes (beer and/or food) and other miscellany.

“This book offers you a unique look behind the scenes of St.Bernardus: from the rich history to the brewing process and the recently renovated visitor centre. In addition, you will be served various national and international recipes and cocktails by various top and starred chefs, in which the beers of St.Bernardus play the leading role.”

Obviously this book will not be an exhaustive bit of research, but I am adding it to my want to read list

The Firkin for October 2018

The thought of keeping the recipe for Fried Ice Cream Stout or the Planters IPA-Nut beers might not seem like something that needs to be saved there are many brewery items that should be, this was brought up in a Facebook post by Mitch Steele from New Realm Brewing…

If you are a professional brewer, ask yourself: “will beer historians 100 years from now be able to look at your recipes and figure out what you were doing? Will your brew logs even be available to look at?” Important question that most brewers these days probably don’t even think about, but this is such a critical time in brewing history it would be a shame if records are lost forever because people don’t take steps to preserve them.

I would think that the local guilds would be the best place to hold that information. Granted most guilds are usually small operations with limited if any actual work (storage) space. But with the “cloud”, recipes could be housed (locked up of course for only that brewery to see) Photos of construction and before/after photos could be stored as well as other historical ephemera. It could be the work for an “intern” or college program. I have seen my own college, Linfield create a wine archive and maybe USC or UCLA could be interested in starting something similar or maybe ask Occidental or a smaller D2 or D3 school to become a partner.

What would an even better “get” would be to StoryCorps all of the breweries. Even past failed ones to get a full picture of the history of the rebirth of independent beer in Los Angeles.

Lager – The Book

Browsing the beverages section of the lovely Vroman’s Bookstore one recent day, I saw this on the shelves and snapped a quick pic…

Lager by Dave Carpenter dives into the world of the famous style and gives you history and recipes in one hard-bound book.

Carpenter has the credentials to trust as a “longtime beer and home-brewing writer and the Editor in Chief of Zymurgy magazine.”

Nuggets of wisdom inside the book include:
“Why does lager, not ale, dominate world beer production, despite its comparative difficulty to produce?
Why are certain European styles like Vienna lager more associated with brewing in Mexico than on the Continent?
What does St. Louis have to do with České Budějovice?
What role does lager play in today’s expanding craft beer landscape?”

You BrewDog

For those home brewers out there who like to compare their work to the pros or who like BrewDog beers but can’t get them. Now you can with 63 of BrewDog’s recipes.

“A decade in the making, DIY Dog was one of the best things we have ever done. Every single BrewDog recipe released, for free, to the global homebrewing community who have supported us since we began all those years ago. Hundreds of prospective brewdays, laid out in black and white. Just add malt, hops, water and yeast. But time moves on. Luckily so do we.”

Make it Eclectic

It has been a hot minute since the Brewers Association tackled the ever expanding IPA style in book form but I think they found a brewer who has some good info to impart, Dick Cantwell who is back brewing in the Bay Area has a new book out that tackles the odd side of hoppy beers.

Brewing Eclectic IPA covers “a wide range of ingredients, from cocoa nibs, coffee, fruits, and vegetables, to spices, herbs, and even wood, to push the boundaries of the style.”

Here is the blurb: “Among the most well-respected and experienced craft brewers in the world, Cantwell provides scores of tips and methods for first-time brewers and beer veterans alike to concoct a delectable brew and shares the story of how and why the proliferation of American IPA came to be.”

Book Review – Bitter by Jennifer McLagan


Bitter: A Taste of the World’s Most Dangerous Flavor is not the typical read for me.  I was hoping for a biography of sorts of bitterness.  I wanted to understand why the bitterness of hops is so appealing to me (as is citrus) whereas vegetables like broccoli or Brussel Sprouts are major turn offs in aroma and taste.

What the book is, is mostly recipes.  Some intriguing like Beer Jelly and others with ingredients that I would rather leave out of my kitchen.  There is information of both historical and cooking types inside the covers but it is more of an aside and less the main thrust of the tale.  Case in point: An excellent two pages on how sound affects eating pleasure. It was intelligent to point out how airplane sound is one if the reasons that food a mile high is unappetizing. The photography though is amazing.  Simple but detailed.  Close enough to really see the items on display and well staged.

Jennifer McLagan is an engaging writer whose personality shines through and I did learn about entemological backgrounds of grapefruit and other foods but I just did not get enough to reach the level of what I desired to learn.

Perhaps there is another book out there on this taste.

Dinner in the Beer Garden

So I typed this: Only a few days left to help out bringing another beer related Kickstarter to fruition!  And the next day, before I had a chance to finish the post, the Kickstarter fully funded!  I would like to say it was the BSP Bounce but I think many people wanted to see what new recipes Lucy Saunders has up her sleeve.

So now, if you haven’t already gotten a book via the crowdfunding, you can find it later via bookstores (live or virtual).