Brew Biz: Werts and All

Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay and Music City Homebrewers, who has been interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast for over 10 years.

Brew Biz is a column written by Ken Carman for Professor Goodales

The Topic: Beer Priests vs. Gurus of Greed

I have never done this before: exported one of my beer columns over to my political/social commentary column that I have written since 1972: Inspection. But this topic is that important.

I am a BJCP beer judge, homebrewer and fan of fine beer; since about the same year: 72. Before that I thought all beer was Bud or Miller-like, not that there’s much of a dif between the two. One uses corn as an adjunct, one uses rice. And, in fact, in America: especially on the east coast, that’s all there mostly was… with few exceptions: Bud and Miller products. The indes, like in the auto industry before that, were dying, going or gone. And the Adirondacks, where I mostly did my drinking, were not home to oddities like Prior Double Dark or the Bock beer that did exist, un-Bock-like that most of it was.

Now, in addition to what I’ve already mentioned, I run two beer tastings in Beaver River Station, NY that involve beer education. I pay for the beer, the ads I run and until last year I didn’t even put out a donation bucket. And, to add to all this, I supply a good portion of the beer for Big Bob’s Barleywine Bash in Pensacola Beach; weekend after Labor day, every year. Again: out of pocket.

To make it worse my wife and I travel as far as Albany, NY and Charlotte, NC to judge beer in BJCP competitions.

Last year Frank, down the lake, at the Stillwater shop asked me, “Why? What’s in it for you? I try to make everything I do make money: feed back into the business.”

This year I was asked the same, basic, question by Barry who now owns the Beaver River Station Hotel: site of the Labor Day weekend beer tasting.

It dawned on me then that this meme’: that everything, every decision, anything we do in life, must make money or be advantageous to the doer, is perhaps part of the problem with attitudes these days. Just like everything must agree with a certain take on life, politics or faith, or “that means war:” sometimes literally. And I was once part of the problem when it came to having that attitude in my own chosen career.
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“Personal Brewery” Produces Beer in Seven Days

A bit pricey and decent beer normally takes more than 7 days: conditioning. Plus regular homebrew gear can be had for a lot less.-PGA

Written by Ben Coxworth for and Popular Science

Ian Williams and and Anders Warn, with the WilliamsWarn beer brewing machine.

Home beer-brewing is sort of like writing a novel – although you might like the idea of having done it, the thought of all the work involved in doing it can be off-putting. If the PR materials are to be believed, however, the WilliamsWarn brewing machine could make the process a lot easier … and quicker. Unlike the four weeks required by most home brewing systems, it can reportedly produce beer in just seven days.
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MGD 64 Lemonade Dies An Early Death

(The Professor is a little short on taste bud tolerance this century, so he’ll skip this one-PGA)

Written by Chris Morran for

Earlier this year, the MillerCoors marketing machine decided that people really wanted a lemonade version of its successful MGD 64 low-calorie beer. Alas, there must have been a mistake in the algorithm and after only a few months on shelves, the beverage is no more.

“Winning in beer requires testing the bounds of the market with innovation,” MillerCoors president of sales wrote earlier today in an email to MillerCoors distributors. “With that commitment, however, comes a recognition that not every innovation will succeed. That is the case with MGD 64 Lemonade, so we have decided to discontinue this line extension.”

If you happen to like this particular beverage, you’ll want to hit up the store now, as Miller plans to buy back whatever existing retail stock it can. Which makes us wonder what they’re going to do with it when they get it back to Miller HQ.

Joe Sixpack: In the Narrow Category of Worst Beer, a Fresh Contender

Written by Joe Sixpack (Don Russell) for

ASK ME THE WORST beer I’ve ever had, and the answer was always easy: Stegmaier Gold Medal.

This was back in the 1970s. The case of 12-ounce cans was smuggled into a dorm room inside a leather suitcase, and we began popping them open before they were sufficiently iced.

It tasted like hay. Or, more accurately, hay that had been cut, baled and then used as bedding for incontinent goats. The rancid flavor lingers to this day and, as I said, it was the worst I’d ever tasted.

Until last week, when I swallowed a mouthful of MGD 64 Lemonade.
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Monastic Brewing Comes to America

Written by Tom Becham for Professorgoodales

Anyone who spends enough time in pursuit of craft beer will eventually discover the Belgian monastic brews. These seven brewers – six in Belgium, one in the Netherlands – are all Trappist monasteries and make a fairly limited number of beer styles for the purpose of funding the monastery and its works. The breweries/monasteries are: Chimay (the most widely available and commercial of the Trappist beers), Westmalle, Orval, Achel, Rochefort, La Trappe (the Dutch one), and the rare-as-rocking-horse-droppings Westvleteren.

There are many other brewers in Belgium which have monastic connections, and which may use the descriptors of “Abbey Dubbel” or “Abbey Tripel” for their beers.
But to be a genuine monastic brew, the monks must be involved in a certain percentage of the brewing process.

Well, monastic brewing has made its way to the United States. Sierra Nevada, in collaboration with the Cistercian Abbey of New Clairvaux, in Northern California, has introduced a new line of monastic beers. The monks are definitely involved with the brewing process, many of them having been trained by Sierra Nevada. The new line of beers is called Ovila.
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Craft Brewers Look Local for Untapped Demand

Flying Dog Brewery CEO Jim Caruso selects a beer to pour from a tap at the brewery's headquarters in Frederick.

From AP

Writer NOT Credited

FREDERICK, Md. — Some craft brewers are growing by shrinking.

After years of shipping beer farther and farther away, many small brewers are now shrinking distribution to sell beer more profitably at home.

The strategy reflects the nation’s growing thirst for boutique beers from independent breweries that simply can’t produce enough to meet the demand of a larger market — so they’re putting local customers first.

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Umami: It’s Not About the Marriage—It’s About the Child

Written by Charlie Papazian for

Most discussions regarding food and craft beer pairings emphasize the perfect marriages. It is remarkable to beginning beer enthusiasts how well beer pairs with certain foods.

I’ve recently discovered that fundamentally food and craft beer pairings are not about the marriage, nor the independent characteristics of food and beer. Pairings are about the child—the final result experience. It’s all about something called umami, a fifth taste sensation we all experience but are usually unaware of.
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Iron-Age Brewing Evidence Found in Southeastern France

The BBC NEVER credits their writers. Shame.-PGA

The carbonised barley grains suggest they were "malted" and then roasted

From the BBC

Archaeologists have uncovered evidence that the occupants of southeastern France were brewing beer during the Iron Age, some 2,500 years ago.

A paper in Human Ecology outlines the discovery of barley grains that had been sprouted in a process known as malting; an oven found nearby may have been used to regulate the process.
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