Today in 1873, US Patent 135245 A was issued, an invention of Louis Pasteur, for his “Improvement in Brewing Beer and Ale.” There’s no Abstract, but Pasteur explains in the description that this is a “process of brewing without the presence in the wort of atmosphericair, my invention has for its object to produce a better quality and greater quantity of beer from the same quantity and quality of wort, and to afford a beer which shall also embody the quality of greater degree of unalterableness during time and changes of climate, &c., in transportation and use; and to these ends my invention consists in expelling the air from the boiled wort while confined in a closed vessel or closed vessels, and then cooling it by the application of sprays of water to the exterior of such vessel or vessels, as will be hereinafter more fully explained.”
For our 96th Session, our host is Joan Villar-i-Martí, who writes Birraire, which is also his nickname. He’s asking us all to attend a beer festival, either in person or virtually, and take a position one way or the other, or even somewhere in between, on this question, which, if you haven’t guessed, is the topic. “Festivals: Geek Gathering or Beer Dissemination?.”
The discussion at hand is “Festivals: Geek Gathering or Beer Dissemination?” I guess it is pretty much clear, but apart from exposing whether the answer is A, B or C (the latter being “it depends”) I expect participants to give us some insight into their local beer scene to better understand the importance or irrelevance of Festivals in each area. My guess is that it can be quite different depending on the popularity of beer in different countries and cultures.
So get thee to a beer festival, or search your memory banks for your festival experiences. To participate in February’s Session, just wax on and/or off about your take on the humble beer fest. Then on February 6, post your thoughts in the comments section to Birraire’s announcement.
Today is the 45th birthday of Peter Kruger, head brewer at Bear Republic Brewing. Peter was an early brewer at Full Sail in Hood River, Oregon. He came to California to become the original brewer at Stumptown Brewery when they opened in 2001, but left in 2005 to join Bear Republic. Peter has become an integral part of Bear Republic’s success since joining the team, and is a terrific person to share a pint with. Please join me in wishing Peter a very happy birthday.
Today in 2011, US Patent 20110017737 A1 was issued, an invention of William P. Apps, for his “Plastic Beer Keg.” Here’s the Abstract:
A plastic beer keg includes an outer container and an inner liner. A removable lid is secured over an opening to the container to enclose the liner. The liner includes a neck portion and a body portion. A head contact member transfers axial forces imparted by handling equipment away from the neck portion.
From reading through the description, the idea of this invention is to replace the costlier metal kegs currently in use today. Only time will tell.
Monday’s ad is Miller Lite, from 1982. Today is also the birthday of Mr. Baseball, Bob Uecker, who arguably was at least partially responsible for the success of lower-calorie diet beers with his wildly successful ads for the beer in the 1980s. It was a marvel of modern advertising and I’m still amazed to this day that it worked in convincing people to drink an even more watered-down version of the macro lagers of the day. But Uecker was certainly great in the ads, and I loved him in the “Major League” movies, too.
Today is Ralph Olson’s 64th birthday. Ralph was the general manager/co-owner of HopUnion, a co-op that supplies hops to many of the craft breweries. Ralph’s pretty much retired but can still be seen at occasional beer events throughout the country. He’s been a good friend to and very supportive of the craft beer industry. Join me in wishing Ralph a very happy birthday.
Dave Keene, from the Toronado, Dave Pyle, Ralph and Becky Pyle, who are also with HopUnion, along with my friend Dave Suurballe.
Today in 1971, US Patent 3558326 A was issued, an invention of William J. Durant, William C. Herwig, and Donald H. Westermann, assigned to Miller Brewing, for their “Process for Isomerizing and Purifying Hop Extracts.” There’s no Abstract, but they describe it as a “hop extract substantially free from waxes, oils, and nonacidic hop components is prepared by treating a waterimmiscible solvent solution of hop extract with an aqueous alkaline solution to isomerize acid hop components in the aqueous phase. The waxes, oils, and nonacidic hop components enter the nonaqueous phase and are removed with the latter. The aqueous phase is acidied, more solvent is added, and the hop acids enter the solvent phase and are recovered therefrom. The extract is used in making beer of improved light stability.”
I love maps, I does, and especially the more interesting graphic ones that go beyond just showing you point a, b and so on, especially the kind often referred to as pictorial maps. So I was excited to find out about this collection, called The Atlas of Prejudice, by Yanko Tsvetkov, a Bulgarian graphic designer living in Spain. From what I can gather, it’s an amazing, sometimes hilarious, collection of maps and charts showing how different groups view themselves and the world around them. He’s recently published a second volume of the atlas, and in promoting the new volume put out this clever poster of 20 ways of “Tearing Europe Apart,” as an example of the kinds of charts to be found in Atlas 2.
Number 6, in the second row, shows how Europe can be divide into beer, wine or vodka loving/preferring regions.
Take a look at that yellow sliver of a triangle in continental Europe. I suspect that the whole project is meant to be more thought-provoking and/or funny as opposed to being a completely accurate rendering of data, more using stereotypes or the author’s (and perhaps many other people’s) sense of these differences that are highlighted by the charts. But still, the slice of beer seems a bit too small to me, cutting through Belgium, obviously, the Netherlands, but only a portion of Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic, and also ignoring most of the Balkans and many far eastern European nations. I had always thought that those areas heavily favored beer, but maybe that’s outdated or was simply wrong. So I ask my Europeans friends and colleagues. Does that look right? Is vodka more popular than beer in most of those areas shown in in blue?
I don’t think he did a similar chart for the U.S. But I think it would look something like this:
Today in 1972, US Patent 3637117 A was issued, an invention of Mack S. Johnston, assigned to Republic Corp., for his “Keg Tapping Device.” Here’s the Abstract:
The device comprises a keg adapter mounted about a keg opening and a dispenser coupler releasably coupled to the keg adapter having gas inlet and beer dispensing outlet passages terminating in two side-by-side probes depending from the coupler. The liquid probe is movably mounted in the coupler and biased in one direction. An inverted J-shaped tube is carried by the coupler in communication with the liquid probe and displacement of the tube moves the liquid probe in the opposite direction to open the beer valve in the keg adapter. The gas passage is in communication with a hand operated portable plunger-type pump whereby gas is provided through the keg adapter into the keg.