Monday, May 15, 2006

Festival season

We are about to do our last couple of beer fests, ever. When we first started our brewery, we did all the festivals we could. You know, on the road, promoting the brewery. It's been exhausting at times although we do enjoy seeing other brewers and friends. For the past few years, we didn't feel like we were introducing our beer to a new audience. So we decided to do only charity events. You would think that good causes would attract good beer drinkers. Why? Well, the ticket prices are usually higher and the events seem to attract better breweries. But I don't really think that's true anymore. I think that the majority (there are exceptions) of the fests attract drunks. Most of them want 'our light beer' or just something really cold. My wife's got a stare that could freeze them. To be fair, there are some good fests. The BA fests are well run and there are several in the Philly burbs that are good as well. The thing is, I'm just tired of them. Offering food and lodging to the participants are great but in my opinion, offering to pay for the beer sends a better message. Even if it's a charity cause, it demonstrates that the beer and the brewery are important to the success of the event.

The other thing is, most of even the well-run fests are no longer sampling events. They are merely opportunities to get pie-eyed on 35 dollars. I don't know, maybe I've just gotten grumpier and crotchety in my old age. I just long for the days in my myopic memory, when festival attendees asked about the beers and styles and also asked me to pour a smaller sample so they could enjoy the rest of the fest responsibly. Or maybe that was a dream I had last night.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Words make the (wo)man

I've been really trying lately to think about the words that I use in conversation and attempting to stop using all the useless cliches and 'likes' and 'you knows'. It's not easy to do, but when you hear yourself speak on a recording and you sound like a moron, you can do nothing but try.

Two words, when used in a brewing context, derive a similar 'nails on a blackboard' reaction in me. They are 'drugs' and 'infection'. The first one bothers a lot of folks in our industry. Equating casual beer enjoyment with drug use is just plain stupid. Although I hate when people make this analogy, it is a rather easy one for me to ignore.

But the second word is a bit more caustic to my ears. Wikipedia defines infection as:
"An infection is the detrimental colonization of a host organism by a foreign species. An infection is, in effect, a war in which the infecting organism seeks to utilize the host's resources in order to multiply at the expense of the host. The infecting organism, or pathogen, interferes with the normal functioning and perhaps the survival of the host."

It's been well documented that human pathogens cannot grow in beer. People know and understand that, yet they still insist upon saying "that beer was infected, and not in a good way". Of course they're referring to the 'good infection', as in lambic. Using the word 'infection' when speaking about beer is somewhat similar to using the word 'drug'. It conveys something negative and erroneous. Of course, what people mean to say is 'contaminated'. Beer does get contaminated. I've packaged beer that was contaminated and for that I'm sorry and ashamed. Maybe beside being linguistically correct, for me, 'contamination' just sounds better. Contaminated beer will never harm you and perhaps it will never even get beyond your nose. So the next time you try a beer that smells like a horse blanket, ask whoever brought it, 'is this beer suppose to smell like ass or is this contaminated?'.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Radio is dead

I hate my local public radio station. I want to like them, I really do. It's WBJB and I just can't listen anymore. I love when I go to Philly and get to Listen to WXPN - that's just a wonderful station. And I just returned from a beer gig in Staten Island and got to listen to WFUV (Fordham) - that's also a cool station.

What I dislike most about 90.5 (WBJB) is that it's the most commercial public radio station on my dial. They play the same music over and over. Ok, so it is some cool music, but you do hear the same tracks over and over again. Do they have the album (CD)? Can't they play an alternate track? It is at this essence, a programmed station. They also throw in so much sponsored spots that they have to have enough money to buy a few extra CDs. I will never join this station unless they shut up and play some good music. I really wouldn't mind listening to some commercials, if they played some decent music. I used to think Rich Robinson was a good jock when he spun tunes on WHTG. Truth is, he's a dinosaur. Plays the same shit he's been playing forever. I guess the sad truth is that radio is a dead medium. You'll hear nothing new on it, commercial or otherwise. Man, I'm depressed. Guess I'll go listen to some Junior Kimbrough.

Monday, May 01, 2006

More reasons to drink beer

So once again I would like to share some deep and thoughtful beer ratings that I discovered on I didn't include the names of the beer being evaluated because I didn't see the point. Only one of the beers are from Heavyweight - see if you can find it. Thanks to Kevin from Paducah, Kentucky for the entertainment.

"dark brown pour with a sticky brown head. smell is nice:cognac, peanut butter and grape jelly. taste is overly attenuated red grape taste. ashy pressboard taste with an unhappy caramel finish.grrrr. for some reasoni wrote "jesus shit waffles" i don’t know what that means."

"muddy black brown pour with a grey head. roast peanut aroma. dry unswet tea flavor with the taste of model airplanes. a biting carbonation level. a lingering bittersweet berry taste."

"pours a urine tainted neon yellow with a white head. yeastastic aroma of grains of paradise or corriander or something, a really great spicy nose. first taste bites me then i compensate for the crappy mouthfeel of pine needles. lemon pear and blueberry come out in this in an bad balance for me."

"amber body with a grey white head. nose is loose and hard to catch. a bit of honeysuckle. flavor is astringent pear and balsa wood. apricot finishsomehow still smooth."

"nice fiery gold body with a lacadaisacle ring of grey head(some weird scribbles about big beer and upsetting something and trying something else are in my notes, someday i’ll figure out what i meant)penny and donut flavor with a glaze. i also wrote "jesus shit out a waffle" here too. some candy corn here."

If you guessed 'muddy black brown with the grey head' was from Heavyweight, you're correct. That is my Black Ocean.