Andy Capp On Beer Tourism

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Andy Capp, the British comic strip by Reg Smyth has been running in London newspapers, and around the world, since 1957. Even though Smyth himself passed away in 1998, the strip continued on, done by a trio of writers and artists, Roger Kettle, Lawrence Goldsmith and Roger Mahoney. Capp, of course, is a longtime fan of beer, spending much of his time down the pub. Longtime Bulletin reader Miles (thanks Miles) sent me a link to a recent Sunday strip that tackled the newer phenomenon of beer tourism, relevant to me because when it arrived in my inbox I was indeed touring breweries in Belgium. Enjoy.

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CCBA Celebrates 25 Years

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This year the California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA) celebrates its 25th anniversary, and they just concluded a two-day conference in Santa Rosa. I missed the first day (traveling home from Belgium) but gave a talk yesterday morning on the history of craft beer in California. But the highlight of day two was a panel discussion with three craft beer pioneers, John Martin (Triple Rock), Ken Grossman (Sierra Nevada) and Fritz Maytag (Anchor), moderated by Vinnie Cilurzo (Russian River).

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The trio spoke for around an hour, then the audience asked a few questions. I captured the main part of the talk (not the Q&A) in two parts (due to limitations of my camera) which you can watch below. There’s a short gap in between the two videos, only a few seconds. It’s a fun and fascinating talk. Enjoy.

And here’s Pt. 2.

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After the talk, John Martin, CCBA executive director Tom McCormick, Vinnie Cilurzo, Fritz Maytag and Ken Grossman.

A Love Story: Brewing Yeast & Fruit Flies

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There was an interesting story posted on Popular Science, specifically their BeerSci series. They did a great job of spinning the story as a love story, albeit an unusual one between fruit flies and brewer’s yeast, especially since the original title of the study they’re reporting on was The Fungal Aroma Gene ATF1 Promotes Dispersal of Yeast Cells through Insect Vectors. But it is, and in How Flies Are Responsible For Beer’s Tasty, Fruity Smells, they detail how,”[i]n a series of experiments, biologists from several institutes in Belgium demonstrated that brewer’s yeast makes fruity, floral smells to attract fruit flies. In the wild, yeast might live on rotting fruit and entice flies to come to them there. Yeast and flies’ relationship benefits them both, the biologists found. Previous studies have found that eating yeast helps fruit fly larva develop faster and survive better. This new study found that fruit flies help spread yeast to new environments, like a bee spreading pollen.” In effect, their study demonstrates “the co-evolution of two species.”

Here’s the summary from the original, published in Cell Reports.

Yeast cells produce various volatile metabolites that are key contributors to the pleasing fruity and flowery aroma of fermented beverages. Several of these fruity metabolites, including isoamyl acetate and ethyl acetate, are produced by a dedicated enzyme, the alcohol acetyl transferase Atf1. However, despite much research, the physiological role of acetate ester formation in yeast remains unknown. Using a combination of molecular biology, neurobiology, and behavioral tests, we demonstrate that deletion of ATF1 alters the olfactory response in the antennal lobe of fruit flies that feed on yeast cells. The flies are much less attracted to the mutant yeast cells, and this in turn results in reduced dispersal of the mutant yeast cells by the flies. Together, our results uncover the molecular details of an intriguing aroma-based communication and mutualism between microbes and their insect vectors. Similar mechanisms may exist in other microbes, including microbes on flowering plants and pathogens.

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You can also read the entire study as a pdf, but to get a sense of what it all means, read Francie Diep’s How Flies Are Responsible For Beer’s Tasty, Fruity Smells and keep in mind her warning from the outset. “Sorry, but brewer’s yeast did not evolve for you.” Perhaps not, but at least we can still reap the benefits of the relationship between those fruit flies and the yeast used to create delicious beer.

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The Drunkard’s Cloak

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Once upon a time, society kept everybody in line through social pressure, and if that didn’t work, public humiliation. The pillory was a common punishment, and you’re undoubtedly familiar with the main type, a wooden stake with two perpendicular pieces of wood that fit together, with holes for a person’s head and both hands, so that once all three were secured, you were stuck in the public square for a period of time depending on the severity of your crime. But that was only the most common type, and there were several others, such as the scold’s bridle or the jougs. But there was also a specific pillory used in the case of public drunkenness. In England, it was known as a Drunkard’s Cloak.

According to one source, “Drunkenness was first made a civil offence in England by the Ale Houses Act 1551 and the drunkard’s cloak became a common method of punishing recidivists, especially during the Commonwealth of England. From 1655 Oliver Cromwell suppressed many of England’s alehouses, particularly in Royalist areas, and the authorities made regular use of the cloak.”

The 1655 publication England’s Grievance Discovered, by Ralph Gardiner, describes the Drunkard’s Cloak like this.

Men drove up and down the streets, with a great tub, or barrel, opened in the sides, with a hole in one end, to put through their heads, and to cover their shoulders and bodies, down to the small of their legs, and then close the same, called the new fashioned cloak, and so make them march to the view of all beholders; and this is their punishment for drunkards, or the like.

“Drunkards are to pay a fine of five shillings to the poor, to be paid within one week, or be set in.”

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In 1655, John Willis claimed that in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, “he hath seen men drove up and down the streets with a great tub or barrel opened in the sides, with a hole in one end to put through their heads, and so cover their shoulders and bodies, down to the small of their legs, and then close the same, called the newfangled cloak, and so make them march to the view of all beholders; and this is their punishments for drunkards and the like.”

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It was also used in other parts of Europe, though often called by different names, such as the Spanish Mantle or the Barrel Pillory. In Germany, it was called a Schandmantel, which means “coat of shame” or “barrel of shame.”

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And there’s actual one in the torture museum in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.

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By some accounts, the Spanish Mantle may have been a more serious torture device, intended to inflict more than just humiliation.

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A 1641 diary entry by John Evelyn described one in Delft, Holland as “a weighty vessel of wood, not unlike a butter churn, which the adventurous woman that hath two husbands at one time is to wear on her shoulders, her head peeping out at the top only, and so led about the town, as a penance for her incontinence.”

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Apparently this type of punishment was not confined to Europe, and also made its way to the American colonies.

Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop, in 1634, noted that Robert Cole (1598-1655), who had come to Massachusetts with the Winthrop Fleet in 1630, “having been oft punished for drunkenness, was now ordered to wear a red D about his neck for a year.” Some literature professors suggest that this was the origin of the story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter.

“Robert Cole was living in Roxbury, Massachusetts, when he petitioned to be made a “freeman” on 19 Oct 1630, and was granted that status by the General Court on 18 May 1631, along with 113 other men. He was disfranchised 4 Mar 1634, for a short time on account of his problem with drinking too much wine, when he was also ordered to wear a red letter “D” on his clothing for a year; however, his freeman status was reinstated about two months later on 14 May 1634, and the requirement to wear the letter ‘D’ was also revoked at that time.”

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And according to Curious Punishments of Bygone Days, published in 1896 by Alice Morse Earle, it was used during the American Civil War, as well.

Another Union soldier, a member of Company B, Thirteenth Massachusetts Volunteers, writes that while with General Banks at Darnstown, Virginia, he saw a man thus punished who had been found guilty of stealing: With his head in one hole, and his arms in smaller holes on either side of the barrel, placarded “I am a thief,” he was under a corporal’s guard marched with a drum beating the rogue’s march through all the streets of the brigade to which his regiment was attached. Another officer tells me of thus punishing a man who stole liquor. His barrel was ornamented with bottles on either side simulating epaulets, and was labelled “I stole whiskey.” Many other instances might be given. There was usually no military authority for these punishments, but they were simply ordered in cases which seemed too petty for the formality of a court-martial.

This “barrel-shirt,” which was evidently so frequently used in our Civil War, was known as the Drunkard’s Cloak, and it was largely employed in past centuries on the Continent.

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Another eyewitness account from 1862 described the scene as follows. “One wretched delinquent was gratuitously framed in oak, his head being thrust through a hole cut in one end of a barrel, the other end of which had been removed; and the poor fellow loafed about in the most disconsolate manner, looking for all the world like a half-hatched chicken.”

Surprisingly, the most recent example I found for the Drunkard’s Cloak was in 1932, when it was still in use in American prisons, such as the Sunbeam Prison Camp, in Florida, which is where the photo below was taken.

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I’m certainly glad that public shaming has, for the most part, been removed from our justice system. Although I’ve never been arrested for public drunkenness, I’ve certainly made a fool of myself in private or with friends, and this certainly seems a bit excessive. Clearly, it was ineffective at controlling peoples’ behavior, but I wonder what it was in the end that finally stopped it being used as a punishment?

Why Slugs Love Beer

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I learned this trick from my great aunt, who used to put dishes of stale beer out to attract and kill various pests, including slugs. I knew it worked it, but I don’t think I ever quite knew why. According to a short article in the September issue of Mental Floss, Why Do Slugs Love Beer?, the answer is that the “sweet smell of yeast attracts slugs to beer like moths to a flame.” Quoting Ian Bedford, head of the John Innes Centre’s Entomology Facility in Great Britain, “A lot of slug species feed on decaying plant material,” adding that “beer resembles overripe fruits, which burst with naturally fermenting yeasts that slugs can’t resist.”

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How A Modern Brewery Operates

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Here’s another fascinating artifact of the 1940s, by a little-known artist, Frank Soltesz. “How a Brewery Operates” was one of around 29 cutaway illustrations he did for a client, Armstrong’s Industrial Insulations (specifically their Armstrong Cork division). The ads were produced between 1947 and 1951, and ran in the Saturday Evening Post, each one designed to show how Armstrong’s products were used in a wide variety of scenarios. Apparently you could even send away for a 21″ by 22″ print, which was, as the ad says, “suitable for framing.” “How a Brewery Operates” ran in the Post on July 3, 1948. It can viewed full size here. You can also see many more of his cutaways at Full Table or Past Print.

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Beer And Good Health, Circa 1907

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Here’s another interesting historical artifact on beer and good health. This is from the Tennessee State Fair Official Souvenir Program and Guide, from 1907, advertising a talk by a German professor, Dr. P. Bauer, “demonstrating the effect of beer on the health.” It looks like his appearance was sponsored by the William Gerst Brewing Co. of Nashville, Tennessee. One insight he could be expected to give: “Solid foods often remain in the stomach a long time and retard digestion. Liquid foods, like GERST Beer, are an aid to digestion.” Oh, and there’s this subtitle. “People Who Drink Plenty of Beer Are Always Strong and Healthy.” The ad then ends with this branded tagline: “There is Good Health in every bottle of Gerst Beer.”

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Beer Shower at the World Series

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This was too funny not to share. Today, October 2, in 1959, during the World Series between the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers, White Sox left fielder Al Smith had something of an unpleasant time. In the fifth inning, an excited fan in the outfield leapt to his feet, and in the process accidentally knocked over the beer that had been resting on the top of the outfield wall.

The spilled beer and cup rained down on Smith, hitting him square on the head, and dousing him pretty thoroughly. At first he thought it was intentional, but the field umpire assured him it had been accidental. After the game, they learned that the fan was “Melvin Piehl, a motor oil company executive, who later stated that he was trying to catch the ball so it would not hit his boss’s wife.” The White Sox went on to lose this second game at Comiskey Park, and ultimately the Dodgers won the 1959 series, four games to two. Luckily, Ray Gora of the Chicago Tribune snapped a picture at precisely the right moment and captured a piece of history.

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With Next Session, Say “I Made This”

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For our 92nd Session, our host is Jeremy Short, who writes Pintwell, along with Chris Jensen. For his topic, he’s chosen I Made This. When Jeremy first offered to host this session, his topic was “Homebrewing and How Homebrewing Impacts Your Relationship with Beer,” which he’s now markedly simplified down to it’s essence, the joy which every homebrewer feels as he or she takes their first sip of their homebrew: I Made This! But even if you’ve never homebrewed, or have not intention of ever doing so, he’s included a way for everybody to participate:

For the homebrewer:

– How did homebrewing change your view of beer? Do you like beers now that you didn’t before? Do you taste beer differently? Does homebrewing turn you into a pretentious asshole?

For the I only homebrewed once crowd:

– What was the experience like? Did you enjoy it? Hate it? Did you think about beer differently afterwards.

For the I have never homebrewed crowd:

– Maybe you had an experience at a brewery you would like to share? Maybe your toured a brewery and learned and experienced the making of beer that impacted the way you think of beer? Or maybe you’ve brewed in a professional setting?

For the I hate homebrewing crowd:

– Why? Why do you hate us so?

So there’s really no excuse for not participating.

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So put on your DIY cap and write about your relationship to homebrewing next Friday, October 3. To contribute, leave a comment at the announcement or send Jeremy an email: jeremy (a) pintwell (.) com.

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Goodnight Brew

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Oh, how I wish I had this book when my kids were younger. I read the classic Goodnight Moon so many times that I had it memorized and didn’t even need the book to read it to them. But if I strayed from the text — which, I confess, I enjoyed doing just to mess with them — they’d invariably correct me, as they knew the story inside and out, as well. But now author Ann E. Briated (not her real name; it’s actually Aldo Zelnick) has written a beer-soaked parody of the children’s classic and re-tapped it as Goodnight Brew. It’s written for adults, with tongues firmly in cheeks, as part of their “pitcher book for grown-ups” series. The publisher’s website describes it with this introduction:

It’s closing time at the brewery. While the moon rises, the happy brewery crew—including three little otters (in charge of the water), a wort hog, and a hops wildebeest— sing and dance as they wind down for the day. Join them in saying goodnight to the brew kettle, barley and yeast, hops and mash, saison, porter, IPA, and much more.

Befuddled about beer ingredients? Puzzled about the brew process? Can’t remember the difference between an ale and a lager? Don’t miss the brew infographics that follow the story!

This humorous parody of a children’s literature classic is a “pitcher book” for grown-ups. It’s a besotted bedtime story for beer lovers everywhere!

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Even though my kids are too old for it now, I ordered one anyway. I am hoping someday to have grandchildren, and I should be prepared.

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It’s wonderfully illustrated by Allie Ogg. and here are a few pages from the book.

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