THE CANNSTATTER VOLKSFEST: STUTTGART’S ANSWER TO OKTOBERFEST

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

Stuttgart’s Cannstatter Volksfest is the largest beer festival you’ve never heard of. It’s similar to Oktoberfest but unique enough to merit a visit in its own right, especially if you find the crowds at Oktoberfest to be a bit much. For starters, the Cannstatter Volksfest is more of a local affair, albeit one that attracts about 4.2 million folks from across the region over the course of its seventeen-day run starting in late September. You’ll hear barely a word of English, and you might even learn a few words of the Swabian dialect after a few beers with your tent-mates.

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Improving Your Descriptive Ability

While this article is excellent, the Editors at PGA feel sometimes some approach this topic in a problematic way. No one wants word Nazi, yet there are preferred words, descriptors that have ben suggested. The tests given sometimes include grading via acceptable adjectives. This eliminates judge ability to describe by substituting preferred words that are no more object and just as objective.
 Of course, using one example in the article, when you order a ham sandwich you want a hand sandwich, but some takes on word usage could have menus “juicy” considered to be inappropriate (probably due to dirty minds), so “liquid retained” preferable, ending our analogy. In BJCP terms, yes, just saying “nice” or “good” is no good enough. Adjectives help. But the editors feel preferred adjectives goes too far.

By Emma Schmitz

The author interviewed sensory experts Kristen England, Shawna Cormier, and Jen Blair for this article.

“Language is an incomplete tool providing a limited choice of words,” Morten Meilgaard, the guy who wrote the “book” on Beer Flavor Terminology, admits in an essay in Evaluating Beer (Brewers Publications).

However mediocre language is when it comes to representing what we actually experience, it’s our job as judges to do our best to relay what we’re tasting in concise, relatable terms. We can accomplish this by learning ways to strengthen our vocabulary. The more measly words we know and the more we practice, the better judges we can become.

Good Judging Is All About Respect

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A Beer Judge’s Diary: Of Moving Goalposts and Respecting Our Cousins- Mead and Cider

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
   After a few years moving sideways in the BJCP ranks: getting cider and mead endorsed, I am comfortable. I have no need or desire for National. I really wasn’t all that dedicated to going National in any sense. As I have written before, every time I take the test I learn something.
   That was my goal.
   Most judges I know become what rank they become and are happy to stay there: even if it was the extinct as Dino rank Apprentice. Nothing wrong with that. But I enjoy learning, and every time I took the test I learned more. Technically by now, if things were as one would think, I might be National, but one thing I have noticed is the goalpost keeps being moved.
   I know there will be a lot of resistance to that framing, however I know a few Masters who admit to it. Just to provide one example; and I have no interest in exposing anyone, was one of the first to take the test. That judge admits taking the test he or she would never qualify now.
   In just a few years I took the legacy test I have noticed the questions have multiplied and become more difficult. Plus, the categories keep shifting: new guidelines. Then you have odd concepts like counting the number of (I assume from what I have observed) approved adjectives to change scores. However use “good;” especially a lot, and you may not achieve whatever score you seek. (Be more descriptive: HOW is it “good?” There are words they prefer. Perhaps we need a divining rod to figure out which ones for you newbies?)
   Except for that last little tidbit, mostly as it should, even must to some extent, be.
   The first legacy I took was the easiest, and we all failed. Rumor is the BJCP wasn’t happy with the one of the proctors answers. Each one after seemed tougher. They picked harder categories, demanded more, and if you think I’m complaining I’m not. I think making the test more challenging is a good thing. In fact I wish they had gradations of ranks: Recognized C, B, A, or 1,2,3, for all ranks. That way it would be easier for those who grade to pop a test taker up a little, reward them for wanting to serve the BJCP better.
   Yes, some do this for ego’s sake, but to assume all would be the opposite of why. I think we want to be of more service. Perhaps I am naive’ in that assumption.
   I also think we should be retested every few years: not to take away ranks, but assess if a “pop up” is deserved.
   Goalposts do need to be moved, but rewarding judges who seek to improve should be part of the equation. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Of Moving Goalposts and Respecting Our Cousins- Mead and Cider”

OF BREWERIES AND BEER HIKES IN MURNAU

Written by Franz Hofer

We arrived in Murnau to a golden autumn afternoon perfect for wandering through this landscape famed for its light and colours. Since all good beer hikes need a certain beverage to make them what they are, we made straight for the shimmering Staffelsee lake on the edge of town to stock up on electrolytes. Beers from the kiosk in hand, we found a spot on the terrace near a small beach alive with quacking ducks and kids splashing around in the shallows.

The light falls differently here, more vivid and crystalline. Looking out over the cobalt-blue lake reflecting the red and yellow fall foliage, I could see why Expressionist artists in the Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider) orbit prized the light in this part of the world they called “the blue land.” Wassily Kandinsky and Gabrielle Münter, two of the founders of the Blaue Reiter, were so captivated by the colour palette of the landscape that they moved to Murnau in 1908.

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HERE!!!


The bronzed expanse of the Murnauer Moos against the Alps

Geaux? Gone: A Cautionary Rant and Tale

I did my once-weekly run through the posts on Instagram, which I seldom use and haven’t posted in for maybe 2 1/2 years, and ran across a note from my old friend, Jeremy Hubbell, owner of Geaux Brewing, late of Bellevue, Washington, now of Auburn, Washington. No, wait…”late” of Auburn, too.

I have written a couple of times, in the going-on fifteen years The Pour Fool has existed, About Geaux. I used to live in Bellevue – or, as I always call it, “Bellevoid” – which was to the Northwest Craft Beer Boom what the Sahara is to ice-skating rinks. There was ONE brewery in Bellevoid, an outpost of the highly-questionable Rock Bottom Brewing which, in that yuppified location near the Microsoft Sprawl of downtown, became basically a happy hour meat market that happened to make a few listless, predictable beers as a sort of moist courtesy to its customers, many of whom use brewer visits as lifestyle cred. In the mid 00s, Rock Bottom was joined by a second brewery, run by an enormous, self-aggrandizing fathead who was convinced that hiring a certain brewer would put them firmly into the beer stratosphere. (It didn’t) That was that for a relatively short time. Then, a youngish New Orleanian named Jeremy Hubbell, a technical and design consultant whose LinkedIn profile reads like this: “Specialties: New business development, product marketing, product management, product design, international business.” He had a successful business doing all this, in a large space in a small urban light-industrial/retail development, tucked away in a secluded side-street just outside of downtown Bellevoid.

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Brew Biz: Werts and All, Goodbye Nashville, Part I


 When we arrived in Nashville area: 1978, all that was left of Gerst Brewing was one of the old original buildings. Inside what they laughingly called a German Restaurant: not very good at all. Good German beer hall atmosphere and OK beer. They knocked it down for Titan’s stadium and what was left of Gerst management decided to build a newer, smaller, building. Food was no better. They closed and became a home for homeless and their tents. An ongoing Nashville situation once kicked out of lowere Broadway. Then even that new building someone should have put a brewery in was no more.

  Except maybe one competition per year, a final wave goodbye to Nashville and the beer business.

Written by Ken Carman
  Millie and I moved to Joelton, Tennessee in 1978. At first they had a few more interesting brews compared to Upstate NYS, but not many. The craft brew biz hadn’t hit yet, except mostly out west; like the origin of all sacred craft beer holy: Acme. Sierra’s divine incarnation was just around the corner. Before that the boom wasn’t even a fizzle, except homebrewers.
  I started in 79 when Jimmy made it legal. If you were homebrewing before that it was like smoking pot, legally. The sentences weren’t as bad, and crackdowns far less frequent.
  The first craft brewery I remember was Market Street. Founded by Lindsay Bohannon, they were like a whiff of freshly mashed in mash flowing down Market Street. Then, after a few years, they became more like sour, phenolic air; and not the complex Belgian kind. The founder seemed less interested, eventually sold the brewery. Then it disappeared faster than a ship in the Bermuda Triangle. Never to be seen again. Reviled by homebrewers, home brew judges and craft beer drinkers with a sensitive palate. Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All, Goodbye Nashville, Part I”

Is beer good for men’s gut health and can it prevent diabetes? Experts answer

According to Dr Kiran Rukadikar, bariatric physician and obesity consultant, one can understand the pros and cons of beer by looking “into the process of making the beer across different continents, and check the ingredients.”

A new study from Portugal has claimed that drinking beer is beneficial for the intestines and also has the potential to prevent chronic diseases.

“Beer consumption contributes to the improvement of the composition of the intestinal microbiota, a factor that has been associated with the prevention of very common chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases,” The Center for Research in Health Technologies and Services (CINTESIS) , which conducted the study, said in a statement.

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The Most Underrated Breweries in the PNW: a 5 Year Update

By Stephen Body
This is an unabashed revision of a post that first appeared back in February of 2017, in response to a list written by a young writer for Paste Magazine and I thought it deserved an update, as the Pacific Northwest beer landscape, battered by Covid and its attendant economic upheaval, has changed radically.

Jim Vorel is a beer writer from Atlanta; a guy who – despite what he probably thinks – I actually like but have frequently gone after like a dog on a hamburger for some of his apparently uninformed lists, many of which read as though he had simply scanned RateBeer and BeerAdvocate and then compiled them. He has also done several lists which I thought were dead-on. I know he has the capability of doing them well and, in fact, five years later, he IS doing them fairly well, with only occasional lapses. But I go after him because I’m hoping he’ll devote the same care to all of them that he does to that occasional gem.

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Stone Brewing is the New Pearl Harbor

Written by Stephen Body
“It Is Happening Again…”

Yeah, I feel okay about culturally misappropriating a Twin Peaks line and meme. I earned it, bucko. I put in TIME with that series and have stayed hands off for decades.

But, TODAY, on the day in 2022(!) when I have to read that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe V Wade, I also get the word that…and I can hardly believe I’m typing this…STONE BREWING, of all the American breweries – hell, businesses! – that I could imagine reading this about, has been sold to a huge JAPANESE brewing conglomerate, Saporro Breweries, Ltd.

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6 Bavarian Beer Gardens Worth Visiting This Summer

A cool breeze coursing through the canopy of green leaves overhead. The crunch of gravel underfoot as you seek out a table in the shade, frothy mug of beer in hand. Nothing bespeaks summer in Bavaria more than the beer garden. And nothing meets the current pandemic moment better. If you’re still on the fence about traveling this summer, an al fresco beer is one of your safest culinary options.

Written by Franz Hofer, illustrations by Ariella Basson