CLEVELAND – Breweries are breathing new life into vacant, often abandoned properties throughout Northeast, Ohio. And they’re doing so in an increasing amount.
Cleveland was at the epicenter of the foreclosure housing crisis that left swaths of properties and plots of land vacant and abandoned. Tens of thousands of run-down empty buildings and lots have become permanent sights and structures in neighborhoods across the city. The Cuyahoga Land Bank documented 15,474 vacant residential lots countywide in 2017.
The region’s microbrewery industry is breathing new life into forgotten spaces that have been neglected for years.
Joe Tindall over at The Fatal Glass of Beer (host of this month’s “The Session: Beer Blogging Friday”) sums it up well: “The unglamorous brown middle ground is consistently neglected.”
I wrote about this very same topic a few years back, so rather than reinvent the wheel, I’m going to cite some of that article here. For that piece, I cobbled together a 6-pack of brown beers that are still worth your time, so check ’em out. This time around, I’m going to give you the view from Continental Europe.
Any competition is an adventure: the unpredictable happens, the entries provide even more of an adventure and interaction between judges is almost always, well, interesting…
Millie, my wife, and I are somewhat unfamiliar with Birmingham, Alabama. I promoted this city a few times with my own shows I do for kids but never got any bookings. To be honest I didn’t do much promotion because I was staying at Coast to Coast resorts in my gas guzzling tour bus. To make the touring affordable there needed to be one close enough to make morning commutes rational and affordable. There weren’t any.
So most of my contact with Birmingham was incidental: driving through to serve clients in the Gulf Coast, or going to Big Bob’s Barleywine Bash in Pensacola Beach. But when we were contacted by Lauren McCurdy about Good People Brewing’s Heart of Dixie Open we decided to go and judge.
This was also Millie’s first competition judging as a Certified judge. She did well, but she always does.
We didn’t have to be there until 12:30 to start judging at 1, so we left Nashville at about 6am.
Remember what I said about “unpredictable?” The GPS sent us out to a project in west Birmingham. So we called the hotel: Highland, and they gave us more info. Apparently there are many 14th Streets in Birmingham.
We arrived at about 11:15 and parking was, well, confusing. Money into the meter and then we went inside. But, first in, many judges checked in before us. We waited well over an hour and they acted surprised we were told we could check in early even though this was confirmed later by those who ran the competition. But let’s leave it at that and not get into the gruesome details, OK? You know, the bandana wrapped around my head, the squirt gun, the possum and raccoon we released who had a merry time chasing each other up and down the elevator shafts. Besides, none of that happened. We just wait: none too patiently I must admit, until wrinkles were ironed out by the bulldozer I hired.
OK, I’m joking again. Let’s just say that after this snafu passed the stay at Highland was OK, the staff was kind, and other than the guy knocking on all the doors but ours at almost 3am, it went off without a hitch. And that’s NOT a joke. Seriously Dude?
On to the main attraction! Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Good People”
A Brew Biz Alert: 3 Breweries, Boca Raton, Florida
Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay, Salt City, Clarksville Carboys and Music City Homebrewers, who has been writing on beer-related topics and interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast, for over 15 years.
Written by Ken Carman
If you’re going to Miami area; specifically Boca, here are three breweries you might consider…
This was an unexpected trip due to a death in Millie’s family, so no time to interview brewers, or do much in depth study. Plus, we were being brought around by my brother-in-law Dan Jenny and he had better things to do than haul around two beer judges.
Barrel of Monks Brewing
“A modern stop for house made Belgian beer” (Their slogan, not mine.)
1141 S Rogers Cir #5
Cherry Chocolate Quad, Father Christmas, Wild Ale*******
The Funky Buddha Lounge and Brewery
2621 N Federal Hwy
Cherry Pie Wheat, Tropical Thunder Berliner, Smoked Stout, Red Dawn, Citra Az Down, Physical Graffiti
We were lucky. One of the original plans was for Millie to fly down, into Fort Lauderdale. She might have come in right about the time of the shooting at the airport that day. But her husband, yup; “me,” wanted to show my support, even though they weren’t that close. It was more “for the family” in the larger sense, and I wanted to be with her for that. Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All (Boca)”
Grab your favourite beer steins, folks! We’re heading to the source for a pilsener.
To many a beer drinker, the city of Plzeň (Pilsen) is virtually synonymous with its storied brewery and famous beer style. But beer in this western Bohemian town wasn’t always the kind of liquid sustenance that inspired pilgrimages.
America’s museum of record is ready to take beer history seriously. The Smithsonian recently hired its first beer scholar to run the new Brewing History Initiative chronicling the history of American brewing.
The groundbreaking new job belongs to Theresa McCulla. It entails keeping track of current trends in the industry and telling the cultural story of “the role beer has played — and continues to play — in American history,” according to a story in Smithsonian Magazine. In short, its a job that just made every beer lover have deep seated jealousy for McCulla.
“If you look at the history of beer, you can understand stories related to immigration and industrialization and urbanization,” McCulla told Smithsonian Magazine. “You can look at advertising and the history of consumer culture and changing consumer taste. Brewing is integrated into all facets of American history.”
Guinness is planning to spend about $50 million to open a brewery in Maryland, bringing brewing capabilities back to the United States for the first time after decades away from the market.
The Irish beer’s parent company Diageo (deo, +0.04%) on Tuesday announced it would build a U.S. version of Dublin’s Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Baltimore County, Maryland. Under the current plans Diageo unveiled, the facility would include a Guinness brewery, packaging and warehouse operations, and an innovation microbrewery at the company’s existing site in Relay, Maryland. “The new brewery would be a home for new Guinness beers created for the US market, while the iconic Guinness Stouts will continue to be brewed at St. James’s Gate in Dublin, Ireland,” Diageo said.
What that means is that while Diageo will continue to import Guinness Stouts from Ireland, Guinness Blonde and newer innovative beers that are intended for the U.S. beer drinker will be developed and produced locally in Maryland.
“Opening a Guinness brewery and visitor center in the US will enable us to collaborate with fellow brewers and interact with the vibrant community of beer drinkers,” said Diageo Beer Company USA President Tom Day.