The Pantone Colors Of Beer

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Anyone who does graphics or layout work knows exactly what pantone colors are. For the rest, “The Pantone Color Matching System is largely a standardized color reproduction system. By standardizing the colors, different manufacturers in different locations can all refer to the Pantone system to make sure colors match without direct contact with one another.” It’s not the only color system, of course, but it’s one of the most popular, especially for printing.

I’m something of a nut about color, and find the attempt to classify shades of color fascinating. So this is really cool. A graphic designer in Bilbao, Spain by the name of Txaber, created a series of beer packages using the pantone colors that correspond to the actual color of the beer inside. The simple, generic designs list simply the name of the beer, the type of beer, along with the pantone color code that matches it.

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He did both cans and bottles, and can see of the beer colored packaging at Txaber’s website.

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Zwanze Day 2014

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Yesterday was Zwanze Day, an annual holiday deliciously made up by Jean Van Roy of Brasserie Cantillon. Cantillon made the first Zwanze beer in 2008, which that year was a rhubarb beer. In subsequent years they’ve made beers with elderflowers, pineau d’aunis (a red wine grape) and a sour witbier, made with the traditional coriander and orange peel. This year’s beer, Cuvée Florian, is essentially Iris Grand Cru blended with cherries, a new version of a beer Van Roy made for his son to celebrate his 18th birthday.

Each year, the beer is tapped at the very same time at locations around the world, regardless of times zone. This year the Zwanze Day beer was available at 56 beer bars or breweries in sixteen countries. One of those was Russian River Brewing, one of my local breweries, so I spent the afternoon there with owners Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo, along with Rich and Tammy Norgrove (owners of Bear Republic Brewing) and a few of their friends.

But before we get to the beer, here’s a little history of Zwanze Day. Belgium has essentially two separate regions, with the northern half known as Flanders. The language spoken there is a dialect of Dutch, known by the same name as the people of Flanders: Flemish. The word “zwanze” is unique to Flemish, has its origins in Yiddish, and essentially means a self-deprecating type of humor that’s typified by sharp-edged, playful jokes, usually good-natured. It’s said that this type of humor has become “a characteristic, defining trait” of the Flemish themselves, and for some a way of life. A “zwanze” is a joke, a “zwanzer” a joker. It was with that same playful spirit that Cantillon approached the concept of making a Zwanze beer. The goal was to create a fun beer; something a little unusual, using non-traditional ingredients.

And here’s Jean Van Roy writing his explanation of this year’s Zwanze beer:

Some of you have already had the opportunity to taste Iris Grand Cru aged 3 years in a 400-litre cask. This product was sold without having been blended with a younger beer and so there was no possibility of secondary fermentation. As a result, Iris Grand Cru is a non-sparkling beer and it is meant to be drunk like cereal wine. Without cold hopping, its fragrances tend more towards the characteristic acidity of a spontaneous fermentation product associated with a slight caramel taste.

In other news, my eldest son, Florian, turned 18 on 3 May. To duly celebrate his transition to adulthood, and as the worthy son of a lambic brewer, Flo received a rather original birthday gift: an entire cask filled with “Cuvée Florian”.

Admittedly, finding the name was easy, but it was another matter to come up with the actual beer we were going to produce on this occasion. When I first tasted the Iris Grand Cru, I immediately thought that adding a touch of fruitiness to the caramel accent could be very complementary. And since my son’s favourite beer is kriek, I based myself on a mix of these two products to create his birthday present.

As my goal was not to create some kind of kriek clone, I reduced the amount of fruit by 40% in this blend with the Iris Grand Cru. After all, the core idea was to contribute fruitiness and mellowness to the base beer, not recreate a beer that tasted like sour cherries. Although cold-hopping with the same quantities used for “traditional” Iris would probably have masked the blend’s very subtle fragrances, I still wanted to add a touch of bitterness to this birthday present and decided to opt for a small dose of superb and very delicate Bramling Cross hops. The linger on the palate is very complex while the fruity fragrances of the hops play a subtle role without throwing off balance the beer’s range of flavours and bouquet.

For this Zwanze 2014 I had originally planned on using the spontaneous fermentation stout brewed at the beginning of 2013, but despite the fact that this beer is already very good I have the feeling that another year of maturing in a cask will give it more delicateness and character. In light of this we needed another beer to replace our “wild” stout so as to be able to organise our Zwanze Day, and as you will undoubtedly have understood by now, the success of “Cuvée Florian” meant that it did not take very long for us to make a decision.

I did ask the kid if he was OK with me making a new version of his birthday present, and since this was not a problem for him, it was only logical to call this Zwanze 2014 “Cuvée Florian”!

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Natalie Cilurzo announcing that the Zwanze Day beer was tapped and explaining how each person would get their pour in an orderly fashion, in an effort to avoid the day devolving into chaos. Happily, everything ran smoothly.

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The first pour of Cuvée Florian for Zwanze Day 2014.

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In order to insure that everyone got a pour of the Cuvée Florian in the order that they arrived, Russian River handed out numbered tickets. Numbers 1 and 2 arrived at the brewpub last night, and closed the place, then waited at the door overnight to be first in line when they opened on Zwanze Day. This is customers #1 and #2 for the Zwanze Day beer, Cuvée Florian.

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My pour. After the keg emptied, about an hour after it was tapped, kegs of Cantillon Gueuze and then Rosé de Gambrinus were tapped, too. It’s always a great experience enjoying freshly tapped Cantillon. But they were also pouring aged Benediction, Russian River’s abbey double, which was tasting awesome. But I’m also really enjoying a couple of their new beers, Dribble Belt, a “hoppy session ale, and the STS Pils.

And finally, here’s a short video of the first pours of this year’s Zwanze Day beer, Cuvée Florian at Russian River. A special thanks to Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo for their hospitality. Another fun Zwanze Day.

Beer In Ads #1319: What Was Thomas Jefferson’s Attitude On Beer And Brewing?


Saturday’s ad is another one from the United States Brewers Foundation, from 1951. This a series of ads they did in 1951 using a Q&A format aimed at highlighting different positive aspects of beer and the brewing industry.

Q
What was Thomas Jefferson’s attitude on beer and brewing?

A
He brought brewers to this country because he wanted to beer to become popular here.

Jefferson also built a brewery at Monticello after his retirement from politics. Before that, his wife Martha brewed 15-gallon batches every two weeks on their Virginia estate. But in his seventies, he hired English brewer Joseph Miller and the pair built a dedicated brewing room and beer cellar at Monticello, where he malted his own grain and grew hops. Jefferson bottled most of his beer, and sealed the bottles with corks. I believe he did say the bit about beer becoming common, in 1816. The full quote is “I wish to see this beverage become common instead of the whiskey which kills one-third of our citizens and ruins their families.” But my favorite Jefferson quote is this. “Beer, if drunk in moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit and promotes health.”

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Beer In Ads #1318: Are Most American Breweries “Large” Or “Small” Businesses


Friday’s ad is another one from the United States Brewers Foundation, from 1951. This a series of ads they did in 1951 using a Q&A format aimed at highlighting different positive aspects of beer and the brewing industry.

Q
Are most American breweries “large” or “small” businesses?

A
Small, individually — although the Brewing Industry as a whole ranks 13th in America.

Interestingly, the way the defined “small breweries” was not barrels brewed or the amount sold, but by the number of employees. They defined a small brewery as one with less than 500 workers, saying the average was less than 200. Using that metric, 409 of the 440-then active breweries they defined as being small. I wonder how that would work out today? I suspect only 2 of the more than 3,000 breweries open today have anything close to 500 employees.

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Beer In Ads #1317: I Can See My Hammock


Thursday’s ad is another one from the United Brewers Industrial Foundation, again from 1944. This was well before the “Beer Belongs” series, but after World War II began. This one is part of an award-winning series of ads they did during the war to help boost morale on the home front, under the umbrella tagline “Morale is a Lot of Little Things.” This was from a group of the morale ads that took the point of view of soldiers and sailors writing home about what they were missing from home. In this one, a sailor is telling his wife or girlfriend Hazel “I can see my hammock now hanging in the orchard—.”

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The Chart of Brewing

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Here’s another fun infographic just published by Pop Lab Chart. They’ve done quite a few beer-themed posters and this new one, The Chart of Brewing, shows the brewing process in a great looking graph paper chart. 12 x 16 prints of the hand-illustrated poster will be available for $20 beginning on September 22, although you can preorder one now. I’m putting it on my holiday wishlist.

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Beer In Ads #1316: Pitching Horseshoes


Wednesday’s ad is another one from the United Brewers Industrial Foundation, again from 1944. This was well before the “Beer Belongs” series, but after World War II began. This one is part of an award-winning series of ads they did during the war to help boost morale on the home front, under the umbrella tagline “Morale is a Lot of Little Things.” This was from a group of the morale ads that took the point of view of soldiers and sailors writing home about what they were missing from home. In this one, a sailor is writing to his parents, asking them to pass along a message. “Tell Uncle Bert I can still lick him pitching horseshoes.”

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NFL Beer Prices Continue To Make Movie Popcorn Look Like A Bargain

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I took a look at Beer Prices By Football Stadium in 2012, and you’ll probably be as un-shocked as it’s possible to be to learn that they’re even higher today than two years ago. According to a report by Business Insider, the “average cost for a small draft beer at NFL games this season is $7.53,” which last year was only $7.05. Only, ha. That still makes it more ridiculously proceed than the concessions at movie theaters. At least, movie houses have the excuse that they don’t make much on the films themselves, and have to make it up on popcorn and soda pop. NFL tickets, by contrast, are one of the most expensive things a family can buy, and the NFL rakes in billions, despite being classified as a non-profit!

And according to another recent report by Team Marketing Report, the most expensive place to see a game is the 49ers new stadium in Santa Clara. “The estimated price for a family of four to attend a game in the Niners’ new digs … is $641.50, a hefty, expected increase from their last season in San Francisco. That includes an average non-premium ticket price of $117, which is second only to the New England Patriots’ $122.” Hell, the average price for an NFL ticket is $84.43, and the average “Fan Cost Index price is $479.11,” meaning that’s how much it costs for a family of four to go to a stadium and see an NFL football game.

But let’s get back to the beer. The two most expensive stadiums to buy a beer are both in the Bay Area, $10.75 for 20 oz. at a Raiders game and $10.25 for 20 oz. at a Niners game. “The increase comes despite the introduction of a $4.50 beer in St. Louis, where the Rams now have the cheapest beer in the NFL,” but as they point out those lower prices are also for smaller pours, in some cases nearly half. “If we consider the size of the beer, the most expensive beer is in Philadelphia, where the smallest beer costs 71 cents per ounce. The Cincinnati Bengals offer the cheapest beer per ounce, with a 14-ounce beer costing just $5 (36 cents per ounce).”

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Beer In Ads #1315: We’ll Have To Go Hunting Again


Tuesday’s ad is another one from the United Brewers Industrial Foundation, again from 1944. This was well before the “Beer Belongs” series, but after World War II began. This one is part of an award-winning series of ads they did during the war to help boost morale on the home front, under the umbrella tagline “Morale is a Lot of Little Things.” This was from a group of the morale ads that took the point of view of soldiers and sailors writing home about what they were missing from home. In this one, a soldier is writing to his friend(?) Sam, saying. “We’ll have to go hunting again when I get back —.”

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Beer In Ads #1314: Those Grilled Steaks


Monday’s ad is another one from the United Brewers Industrial Foundation, again from 1944. This was well before the “Beer Belongs” series, but after World War II began. This one is part of an award-winning series of ads they did during the war to help boost morale on the home front, under the umbrella tagline “Morale is a Lot of Little Things.” This was from a group of the morale ads that took the point of view of soldiers and sailors writing home about what they were missing from home. In this one, a sailor is reminiscing about his father’s grilling, and how “Boy did those grilled steaks used to taste swell.”

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