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Hi again and Happy Friday, beer lovers! Stop in and have a cold one with us.

We haven't played the theme song in a while, so let's start there.

I've been enjoying the first ever Silicon Valley Beer Week, and if the events I was at are a fair example it has been a success. You can tell that craft beer and beer festivals are riding a wave of popularity; popularity with consumers and with businesses chasing those available dollars. The list of events included some restaurants that are in no way beer destinations, but smelled the commercial opportunity of being in the Beer Week program.

What I'm starting to smell in the craft brew business is the aroma of 2000 here in the valley, the tail end of the internet boom. Craft brew is trendy. Increasing demand has helped open up shelf space and tap space for newcomers -- but not all of them are equally worthy. Eventually companies develop a reputation, or don't, and this will shake out. Increasing demand also leads successful companies with good reputations to expand; odds are that not all of them will be able to maintain quality and management focus as they grow.

In tech we used to talk about "engineering-driven" companies, which was often not a compliment because such companies would have great people and great technology that somehow didn't turn into great products. The philosophy there is "we built it because we could, isn't it cool?", not "we built it because we knew we would sell lots of a product like this".
IMO we're seeing too many beers like this. Last night's I was at a big New Belgium event with nearly 30 of their beers. Several of which sounded or tasted quite strange. I guess it's good that New Belgium lets their brewers experiment, along with cranking out vat after vat of Fat Tire. And I guess it's good that they brew and sell some of those experiments. In his book, Mitch Steele talks about the frustration of being one of the development brewers at Anheuser-Busch; he'd take their test stuff to beer festivals and hear it praised by fellow brewers, but none was ever sold. But I'm reminded of brewing genius Pierre Celis, who always said that spices in beer need to be subtle. New Belgium's Coconut Curry Hefeweizen is the antithesis of this rule.

Although I guess the weird and challenging stuff is less offensive than some of the mediocre stuff (that a number of local brewers and brewpubs somehow get away with selling).

I'm off to the homebrew club and will reply to comments later. I'll be drinking whatever people bring to share. What are you drinking?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    "Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war" - John Adams

    by esquimaux on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 06:45:10 PM PDT

  •  gotta find a new brand probably Reyka (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Grainpaw, bsegel

    http://www.npr.org/...

    Gay bars from West Hollywood to London are condemning Russia's anti-gay laws by shunning one of its most iconic exports: vodka. The foremost brand affected by the boycott is Stolichnaya, or Stoli. The company says it's being wrongfully targeted.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 06:52:46 PM PDT

    •  I recall in the 70's or so (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bsegel

      the Rooskies shot down a commercial airliner for getting too close to Kamchatka, and all the news shows showed bartenders dumping Stolichnaya in the gutter. But somehow, after all these years, Russia is still there, and Stoli is still imported, and the airliner is still shot down, and Francisco Franco is still dead. I haven't been to the local mall since the last day I worked there in 1990, but it is still there, and the owners are still jerks (to put it politely). I haven't eaten in a McDonalds since 1980, but somehow they still make enough on junk food to give away millions every summer in their Monopoly game. I have religiously not bought anything from China for about 15 years, but somehow China is still in business. Maybe boycotts don't work very well.

      The man who worries morning and night about the dandelions in the lawn will find great relief in learning to love the dandelions. Liberty Hyde Bailey, 1910

      by Grainpaw on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 07:30:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yebbut you aint participatin' (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annieli, bsegel, Grainpaw

        ...an they ain't gettn 50 cents from you.

        It's gotta help.

        No one ever said the effort made to fuck with these people would be easy, but being resolute and determined certainly helps.

        I STILL don't buy California Grapes, and that boycott musta ended thirty years ago.  My reasoning? They pissed me off thirty years ago, I'm still pissed about how they treated the farmworkers, so FUCK THEM IN THE HEART FOREVER.

        "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

        by leftykook on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 07:51:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  KAL Flight 007 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bsegel, Grainpaw

        Shot down by a Soviet fighter on Sept. 1, 1983.

        You're right about boycotts of Soviet (Russian) vodka failing to have any great impact then, but -- and someone please correct me if I'm "mis-remembering" -- but I believe Mikhail Gorbachev has said that incident was among the myriad reasons he pushed reform so hard. So perhaps the worldwide reaction did have some effect after all.

  •  Nothing exotic today...Rolling Rock and Shiner... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bsegel

    ...Bock. Seems refreshing on hot days.

  •  A Deschutes Inversion IPA... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobinson, bsegel

    ...hit the spot earlier today here in Chicago.

    Lots of Lollapops running around the Loop today, too. Also. There must be a show or something...

  •  Hi all (0+ / 0-)

    been a crazy afternoon, daughter to therapy, son to karate party, daughter home, now I head back to get some from karate.

    No beer for me until I get back.

    Have one for me while I'm gone.

  •  Rahr & Sons, Fort Worth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bsegel

    Blonde.  'Cause it was H O T today: 102 (and I don't mean the old beer from L.A.) to 104, F'in' degrees.

    Did errands after work, had a salame sandwich with it for dinner.

    Need another week for my Oktoberfest and my gluten-free sorghum honey-lemon thyme Citra hopped pale ale to get put in the garage fridge for some down time before they can be drunk.  And mebbe me, too...

    Friends over tomorrow for a "farewell" cookout for 4 high school graduates off to college at the end of the month. H O T again...

    Drink 'em cold this time of year in Texas.

    I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

    by tom 47 on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 07:31:05 PM PDT

    •  102 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bsegel

      you and I may be the only people around here who remember that stuff. I'm not sure I ever drank any, I know my dad did.

      "Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war" - John Adams

      by esquimaux on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 10:11:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My folks had it occasionally when I was a kid. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bsegel

        I recall a sip from my Mom's glass, not at ALL like root beer! Bitter, and aromatic, to my young taste buds (8 or 9). Not repeated for another 10 years or so.

        I remember driving with my Mom past the brewery with the huge logo sign on the side, next to the freeway in downtown Los Angeles.  Here are some pix: http://www.bing.com/...

        I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

        by tom 47 on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 05:53:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "Overbite IPA" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bsegel

    ...from the Old Forge Brewing Company in Danville PA....

    I travel a lot in my work, and I spend a month or so at a time in different parts of the northeastern part of the country, I've been making an effort to support local craft brewers that serve the areas I work in, this beer from Old Forge Brewery was available in a number of Beer Distributers in south central PA.

    I like it a lot.

    The previous local variety I tried was called "PA 113 IPA" from Sly Fox Brewing, somewhere in PA, I didn't care for it as much; I should have known, my beer-drinking associates have always asserted that we don't drink beer that has animals on the label, and the Sly Fox IPA has a fox on the label... shudda listened to my mates!

    "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

    by leftykook on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 07:59:59 PM PDT

  •  New Belgium Ranger IPA (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bsegel

    As soon as I hit "post", I'll go grab a Ranger out of the fridge.

    Craft beers on tap and beer distributors: In the bar industry, there are usually 2 big beer distributors that serve all the bars and stores. One is the distributor that carries the InBev product (Anhauser Busch) and another that carries the Miller/Coors product. These distributors also split the duties of distributing the regional domestics (Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada) and foreign beers (Corona, Heineken).

    To me, the mark of a truly craft beer is one that is not able to be distributed by these corporate trucks. They are usually left to be delivered by small mom and pop distributors or even wine and spirits distributors.

    If you ever get the chance, try an El Toro Poppy Jasper Ale made in Morgan Hill, CA. It's too small for the big distributors but just right for my kegorator.


    i just baptized andrew breitbart into the church of islam, planned parenthood, the girl scouts and three teachers unions. - @blainecapatch

    by bobinson on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 08:37:31 PM PDT

    •  endorsing this! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bsegel, bobinson
      If you ever get the chance, try an El Toro Poppy Jasper Ale made in Morgan Hill, CA.
      IMO the best reason to get off the freeway in Morgan Hill is the brewpub's "Extra Hoppy Poppy", dry hopped in the keg. Yum!

      "Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war" - John Adams

      by esquimaux on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 10:14:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Started with a Full Sail IPA... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bsegel

    finished with a Desert Magic IPA from Mudshark Brewery in Lake Havasu AZ. Delightful and strong.

    My partner and I will be in San Diego for a few days next week and are wondering which brewery might be worth a trip. Thanks in advance.

    Just another faggity fag socialist fuckstick homosinner!

    by Ian S on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 09:22:04 PM PDT

    •  mud (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ian S, bsegel

      sh..sh..shark

      Bob can give you more advice, but Stone, Ballast Point, Green Flash and Port/Lost Abbey are all worth a trip IMO. There are another 80 or 100 breweries to choose from though :)

      "Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war" - John Adams

      by esquimaux on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 10:18:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Where will you be staying? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ian S

      We have, as of today, 71 breweries in the county.

      This list needs to be updated:
      http://www.westcoastersd.com/...

      Kosmail me and let me know what part of the county you will be in and I can point you to some breweries in your area.

      Stone Brewery in Escondido, about 30 miles north/east of down town San Diego is worth the trip. They just opened a new bistro closer to down town but coming up to the brewery is worth the trip.

      •  Only possible replies to "where are you staying?" (0+ / 0-)

        The Tidewater Inn in Seattle Washington (sh sh sh-ark!)

        Or,

        "Ever been to a Holiday Inn?"  Which musical piece's "lyrics" (lines?) also include a reference to warm Budweiser.

        "Hey! We are NOT groupies!"

        Zappa and hotels, and beer, and... ( you know).

        Sheesh!  The stuff that gets stuck in one's head...

        I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

        by tom 47 on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 06:15:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks! Message sent. eom (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bsegel

        Just another faggity fag socialist fuckstick homosinner!

        by Ian S on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 01:27:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Free State Brewery is going strong! (0+ / 0-)

    Beer lovers along the KC-Topeka axis should stop by the Free State in Lawrence, KS to try to try their "Phoenix Rising", a red lager hopped with Vanguard hops and their "Andre the Giant" strong ale. "Andre" is a mouthful of malt and well hopped.

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