The Miir Growler: Miir-ly Exceptional

In 2006, a young trendy and self-described class clown named Brian Papé was taking some ski photos at Washington’s Steven’s Pass when, while jockeying for a better sight line, he fell and cracked his thigh, HARD, on an old-growth pine. It shattered his femur and shattered femurs often throw splinters that can sever the femoral artery…which kills you fast.

Brian lay there and had a thought. It resonated with me, reading his website, because I have been there at Death’s Door, too, and I had the same thoughts. Let’s all pray that you go through your entire life not knowing what this is all about. Believe me, it’s a club you do not want to join. Here are Brian’s own words about it, and they moved me in the same way my own thoughts do…

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Maria Devan on 2017 Octoberfests

Sierra Nevada is not the only one making the Oktoberfest this year and what I am hearing is that the beers are too hoppy and lack the proper melanoidin character.

This is my second pour into the same glass. The malt is light in the nose. Clean no hop at first. Floral sweet with a touch of malt. Stemmy hops. No spice from the hops just cool. The foam has a bit of toastiness. Always taste the beer with a little of the foam first so use the stange. Wait until head is just thin on top. Dandelion type spice.

Malt is a bit toasty and the hop bitterness is moderate. Again stemmy bitter hops. I think last year everyone said that helles type lightness was the feature that they liked the best, so this has that. Spice in the mouthfeel but not to citrusy or strong. Not too strong with alcohol so I wanted to drink two. Last year, not so much. IS it too dry? It’s very dry.

Turns out the beer has more alcohol than last years beer. Genessee is turning out to be my standard you could say regionally and historically because I think it is excellent. Since Sierra Nevada started the popular collaborations my favorite Oktoberfest has been Spaten. Spaten uses decoction. Today I have Goose Island. Let’s nitpick it. Cheers!

Super Shoppers: Why Beer Buyers Are the Brewing Industry’s New Celebrity Gatekeepers

Back in 1985, Carl Singmaster opened a record store called Manifest Discs & Tapes in downtown Columbia, S.C. It was a shoestring operation, launched during an era when people were snapping up cassette copies of Purple Rain and Born in the U.S.A.

“I had $15,000, a MasterCard, and three employees—me, myself and I,” Singmaster says.

He stocked his downtown space with bins from another record shop in town, which had recently upgraded its furnishings.

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Breweries Increasingly Commit to Sourcing Local Malts

As part of a broader effort to use regional ingredients in their recipes, breweries across the US are working with nearby maltsters to source more local grain.

In Charlotte, N.C., Wooden Robot Brewery buys a majority of its malt from Epiphany Craft Malt in Durham. The brewery, which will produce about 3,000 barrels this year, plans to exclusively use local malt by the end of 2017.

The move is part of a larger vision, says head brewer Dan Wade. “We want to support our local economy and shorten our supply chain as a way to work toward social, economic, and environmental sustainability.” Wooden Robot already uses about 90 percent local malts. “That will reach 100 percent as we continue to work with Epiphany to source oats and develop a caramel malt that closely matches what we have been using in some of our core beers.”


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Heineken drinker claims he found 2 geckos in his beer, files lawsuit

Maybe he and his girlfriend grew depressed over selling GEICO? (PGA)

A California man claims he got "violently ill" from a Heineken spiked with geckos.

We’ve heard of skunky beer, but never gecko-y beer. The latter seems to be much worse than the former, based on a lawsuit filed in California against Heineken and the Kroger grocery chain.

Consumerist reports on the complaint, which came about after Orange County’s George Toubbeh said he bought 24-ounce cans of Heineken in August 2015 from a Kroger-owned Ralph’s in Fountain Valley, and had a decidedly unpleasant experience after drinking from one.

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Ancient Ales: Breweries Find New Fans with Old Recipes


Talk to Travis Rupp at Avery Brewing Company or Sam Calagione at Dogfish Head Brewery about brewing ancient beers, and they’ll share many insights, including this bit of news: mouthfeel can take on a whole new meaning. For example, the traditional method for making chicha, an ancient Peruvian fermented beverage, can involve a fair amount of chewing and spitting maize in a process known as known as salivation. Even small batches require hours of munching. Many brewers in modern day Central and South America, lacking mash tuns, still employ the method to convert complex starches into fermentable sugars.


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The Hazy Beer Thang: Cloudy, with a Chance of Sour

FACT:  Hazy beers have been made for over two decades. They were not even uncommon.

FACT:  Hazy beers are undissolved solids in suspension. It’s science, not magic or elevated craft beer alchemy.

FACT:  Undissolved solids in liqud suspension ALWAYS precipitate out. ALWAYS. Why? See second fact.

FACT:  The NEIPA is a fad. It will undoubtedly have some legs because some – not anywhere near all – beers made in that style are absolutely delightful. But it IS a fad and will pass, probably soon. That’s not even a criticism of it. Extreme IPAs were a fad. Ditto for pumpkin ales. And the Riedel beer glass. And the Gose craze is one now. “Fad” is not a pejorative term. It just says that this popularity, which is certainly warranted, has a shelf life. Which it does. 

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Beer sales are down…especially among the millennials

A flight of beer is served at River North Brewery on July 30, 2013.

Thinking of opening a craft brewery or a bar? You might want avoid targeting millennials in your marketing – and definitely cut back on the beer.

Goldman Sachs recently downgraded the stocks of two major brewers – Boston Beer Company (the makers of Sam Adams and Angry Orchard cider) and Constellation Brands (the third-largest beer company in the United States, and one known for importing Corona and Modelo) – due to “sluggish sales,” according to this CNBC report. The culprit? Yeah, it’s the millennials.

Apparently, younger generations aren’t drinking as much beer as they used to. The data shows they now prefer wine and spirits instead. Research firm Nielsen showed a slight decline in beer penetration across the United States compared to 2016, although wine and spirits penetration stayed about the same. But Goldman’s research revealed a shift away from beer to wine and spirits amongst those 35-44.

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An Open Letter to one Mr. Jim Caruso of Flying Dog Brewery, because actions speak louder.

Go to the profile of Kaleigh Leingang

Dear Mr. Jim Caruso of Flying Dog Brewery,

My name is Kaleigh Leingang. I am a 24-year-old journalism school dropout who found her way to the beer industry by accident.

I am small and insignificant in comparison to you, the CEO of a successful brewery. You may very well glance over this letter, roll your eyes, and stop right here. Whatever you decide, I have a duty as a woman who works for the beer industry to speak up when something is not right.

I am terribly afraid to inform you that you have grossly misunderstood the point of the Brewers Association’s updated Marketing and Advertising code if you are calling the new policy a “thinly veiled side door to censorship.”

From what I gather, you’re upset mostly with the following:

“Beer advertising and marketing materials should not: …..

i. contain sexually explicit, lewd, or demeaning brand names, language, text, graphics, photos, video, or other images that reasonable adult consumers would find inappropriate for consumer products offered to the public;

j. contain derogatory or demeaning text or images.”

It’s just a guess that this is the clause you are most concerned with, considering one of your most popular brands is a beer called “Raging Bitch.” I’m sure you’ve recognized that this is clearly a beer name that a reasonable adult consumer (FYI: women fall under this category too) may consider inappropriate. I know, I know, I’ve read all about you defending our first amendment rights (which is great, go ahead and put questionable content on a bottle of beer, just don’t whine when a significant population of consumers or fellow industry mates have opinions about it), that your female employees don’t care about the beer’s name, etc.


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Marijuana and the Beer Industry

There have been some reports in recent weeks which suggest that marijuana legalization is creating some drag on beer sales in states like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon (and there have also been reports arguing the opposite). Although I don’t purport to know what the long-term effects of marijuana legalization will be, I can say that I see no evidence that legalization has had an effect on beer sales in the short term.

Let’s delve into the (scant) existing evidence and why I differ on this issue from some other analysts.

Dissecting the Data
First, I think there are data issues with some of the analyses. For example, a recent analysis by Cowen and Company used Nielsen data to note that in Denver, “total beer volumes in that market have fallen 6.4 percent year-to-date and craft beer volumes have dipped five percent.” Now, I think Nielsen data is great, and I don’t doubt that in the channels they measure those numbers have some validity, but the problem is that Denver is probably one of the markets where scan/POS misses the most volume given the incredibly strong craft on-premise scene.

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