Next Session: Getting SMaSHed

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For our 125th Session, our host will be Mark Lindner‏, who writes By the Barrel: Bend Beer Librarian. For his topic, he’s chosen SMaSH Beers, or single malt and single hop beers, which he was reminded of by his local Bend, Oregon, annual SMaSH Fest, part of Central Oregon Beer Week, which happened a few weekends ago. Between that, and brewing his first batch a beer — yes, it will be a SMaSH beer — he “jokingly asked [him]self if single malt and single hop beers can be considered a “thing” (trendy, etc.) until we have coffee-infused, barrel-aged, and fruit SMaSH beers. Maybe we do; [he has] not seen them yet though.”

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But here’s Mark’s full description of his topc:

Here are some potential directions you could consider:

  • Answer my question above. Are they trendy? When would they be considered to be trendy? Have you seen/had a variant (x-infused, fruit, …) single malt and single hop beer? More than one?
  • What purpose do SMaSH beers fill? For you, personally, and/or generally.
  • Do they fill a niche in any beer style space? One that matters to you? Are they a “style,” however you define that?
  • Have you ever had an excellent one? As a SMaSH beer or as a beer, period.
  • Do you brew them?
  • Are there any styles besides pale ale/IPA that can be achieved via a single malt and single hop beer? (How about achieved versus done quite well.)
  • Do they offer anything to drinkers, especially non-brewing drinkers?

I consider this to be wide open and am interested in your thoughts, whatever they are, regarding SMaSH beers. I sincerely hope this is not too limiting of a topic in the number of people who have tasted and/or brewed single malt and single hop beers.

Resources

Some resources–mostly brewing-focused, sorry–about single malt and single hop beers:

BREWING

Keeping it Simple with SMaSH Brewing [AHA]

Single-Malt Brewing [All About Beer]

Brew Your Own 20/4 Jul/Aug 2014 Single Malt and Single Hop 55-64

Zymurgy 40/2 Mar/Apr 2017 Uncommon Taste of Place SMaSH recipe 35

STYLE GUIDELINES

Neither BJCP 2015, NHC 2017, Brewers Association 2017, World Beer Cup 2016, or GABF 2017 have anything on them based on searches for “smash” and “single malt.”

FOR GENERAL BEER DRINKER (NON-BREWER)

I did try to find anything specifically directed more to the drinker/general consumer rather than the brewer but I could not find any. I would be interested in anything along that vein any of you have seen.

For instance, neither Mosher Tasting Beer, 2nd ed. or Alworth, The Beer Bible or Oliver, ed., The Oxford Companion to Beer have anything on SMaSH beer, although single-hopped does make an appearance in some of these.

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To participate in the July Session, on or before Friday, July 7, 2017, write a post and either leave a comment to the original announcement, e-mail your post’s link to mark . r . lindner @gmail . com or tweet him at @bythebbl.

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Next Session: Looking For Late, Lamented Loves

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For our 124th Session, our host will be David Bardallis‏, who writes All the Brews Fit to Pint, which focuses on Ann Arbor, and Michigan more generally. For his topic, he’s chosen Late, Lamented Loves, and while he confesses that the “late” part of that title is, at least in part, due to accidentally forgetting to post his announcement sooner (though to be fair, I forgot to remind him, which I usually try to do, so it’s not all on him) the result is that we all have one day to come up with a topic for tomorrow’s Session. Think of this month’s Session as a “speed session,” and shoot from the hip. And for his topic, that actually works. So what’s the topic? What’s a beer that’s no longer being brewed that you really miss, and wish was still available? Quick, top of your head? I can think of a few beers no longer around that I’d happily crack open if I could. I bet you can think of some, too, off the top of your head. “So… what are your late, lamented beer loves?” But here’s David’s full description:

Nevertheless, I think the chosen subject, “Late, Lamented Loves,” is still worth talking about. I mean a beer you remember fondly but which is no longer in production.

It needn’t be an objectively “great” beer, though it could be. It could also be a nostalgic or youthful memory. It could be a “go-to” you still reflexively want to reach for. It could be all of these things.

Maybe the brewery and the beer are both long gone. Maybe the brewery is still around but just decided for whatever reason not to continue producing the glorious nectar you still pine for.

Whatever the case, there’s probably at least one beer that’s already leapt to your mind that fits into this description. Maybe even more than one, and, if so, feel free to go there.

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To participate in the June Session, on or before Friday, June 2, 2017 — which is tomorrow — write a post as soon as you can and either e-mail your post’s link to annarborbeer@gmail.com or tweet him at @allthebrews. If that’s not quite enough time, don’t worry, if you “need more time than a day, hit [him] up anyway. [he]’ll continuously update in the days and weeks ahead as necessary.” Get cracking.

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Next Session: Pros & Cons Of Beer Online

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For our 123rd Session, our host will be Josh Weikert, who writes Beer Simple. For his topic, he’s chosen CyberBrew — Is the Internet Helping or Hurting Craft Beer? Thankfully, he elaborates on his thinking:

This month, we’re taking on the internet and craft beer: is it a help, a hinderance, an annoyance, or all of the above? How is beer drinking/brewing different in the internet age, and how is the internet changing the way brewers and craft beer drinkers do business?

Topics might include:

  • Marketing beer in the internet age
  • The astounding influence of beer bloggers to make or break breweries (just kidding, but seriously, what’s the effect of all of this quasi-journalistic beer commentary on the drinking and brewing public?)
  • How are beer reviews (expert and mass-market) affecting what gets brewed and drank?
  • Are beer apps for tracking and rating overly-“gamifying” beer (or does that make drinkers more adventurous)?
  • Just how fast do aleholes on message boards and elsewhere turn off prospective craft beer enthusiasts?

And, of course, I’m sure that you’re all more creative than me and there’s a lot I’m missing.

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To participate in the May Session, on or before Friday, May 5, 2017 — which is this Friday, just a few days away — write a post about your views about beer online, what Josh refers to as CyberBrew. “Leave a comment with a link to your post in the comment section” of the original post, “preferably by May 5th (the first Friday of the month, also known as ‘next Friday’). Even if you’re running a little late, leave your comment and I’ll catch it. The roundup will publish in mid-late May (I’d say that the 15th is a likely target), and we’ll see what everyone came up with.” Easy as 1-2-3.

internet communication

Beer Birthday: Alan McLeod

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Today is also beer blogger extraordinaire Alan McLeod’s 54th birthday. Alan runs a good beer blog, called — curiously enough — A Better Beer Blog, which replaced his earlier “A Good Beer Blog.” I’m not sure what came first, the goodness or the blog. Anyway, though I’ve yet to meet Alan in person I feel as if he’s already a great, not just good, friend through our many conversations via e-mail and commenting on one another’s blogs. If you haven’t read his essay in the book Beer & Philosophy yet, rush right out and buy yourself a copy. He also published The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer, with Max Bahnson, available as a Kindle single on Amazon, and last year co-wrote both Upper Hudson Valley Beer and Ontario Beer: A Heady History of Brewing from the Great Lakes to Hudson Bay. Join me in wishing Alan the very merriest of birthdays. Cheers, mate.

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Alan pondering the mysteries of Stonehenge at age 7.

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A night with bald pate, circa 2002.

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Contemplating a jump near Prince Edward Island a dozen years ago. Happily, he decided against getting wet.

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Letting everyone know his status as a VIP at an event in 2012. [Note: photo purloined from Facebook.]

Beer Birthday: Knut Albert

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Today, it’ also the 57th birthday of Knut Albert Solem from Oslo, Norway, who has one of the premiere beer blogs in Scandinavia, Knut Albert’s Beer Blog. Though I’ve never met him in person, we have corresponded a time or two through blog comments or e-mail and I certainly enjoy his perspective on beer. Join me in wishing Knut a very happy birthday.

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Hoisting a pint (photo nicked from Knut’s Facebook page).

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Knut near water, the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland actually (ditto).

Beer Birthday: Chris Nelson

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Today is the 51st birthday of Chris Nelson, better known as The Beer Geek. Chris and his wife, Merideth Canham-Nelson, recently completed an around the world beer festival tour, but are still traveling the globe searching for great beer. A few years ago his wife also published Teachings From the Tap, her account of the year they spent circling the globe visiting beer destinations. Join me in wishing Chris a very happy birthday.

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The first “official meeting” of the Bay Area Beer Bloggers. From left: Merideth Canham-Nelson, me, Chris, JJ (the Thirsty Hopster), and Gail Ann Williams and Steve Shapiro, both from Beer by BART.

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In front of the Rocky statue in downtown Philadelphia during our trip to the first Philly Beer Week.

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At the OBF media tasting: Rick Sellers, from Pacific Brew News, Merideth and Chris Nelson, The Beer Geek, and Meagan Flynn (at right) with her assistant, Annalou, former publishers of Beer NW during the 2007 Oregon Brewers Festival.

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Chris, at right, with Shaun O’Sullivan, Merideth, and Jeff White in Pub Talk Radio in Monterey in September of last year.

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Chris and Merideth at Pangea in 2012 (photo “borrowed” from Facebook, by Virginia Vasquez)

Getting Comfortable With Discomfort

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For our 119th Session, our host will be Alec Latham, who writes Mostly About Beer …. For his topic, he’s chosen Discomfort Beer, by which he means a beer which initially tasted funny, or odd, or off, or something, but which later became a favorite. Or maybe it didn’t. I’m not sure if I’m explaining that very well, so I’ll just let Alec take over and describe what he means:

What was your first ever taste of beer like? For me, it was like chilled copper coins mixed with tonic water and was disgusting. This is a process us committed beer drinkers can revisit every time we try something new.

A few years ago, I visited a pub in Pimlico called the Cask and Kitchen. There was a beer called Wild Raven by Thornbridge Brewery. Making assumptions based on the title, I ordered a pint as I love stout. I remember opening the sluices and then seizing up. Something wasn’t right. It had the chocolatey flavour of a stout but there was an intruder – lemon rind hissed in my nostrils and tainted my palate. Citrus grappled with the roast malt. Was it supposed to taste like this? Was it infection? Detergent? I spent some time staring at the floor in a suspended double-take.

That was my first ever Black IPA and at the time I wasn’t sure. Initially, I didn’t like it but whilst deciding whether or not to return it to the bar I kept giving it the benefit of the doubt. The dislike diminished. The acceptance grew. The pint gradually drained.

Black IPA is now one of my favourite styles but it could have gone the other way.

And does a Black IPA still get me blinking at the floor in a state of disquiet? No. Neither does the astringent character of Brett nor the dry bite of Lambic. All styles have been comprehensively “locked in”. Ultimately, familiarity devours discomfort.

For Session 119 I’d like you to write about which/what kind of beers took you out of your comfort zones. Beers you weren’t sure whether you didn’t like, or whether you just needed to adjust to. Also, this can’t include beers that were compromised, defective, flat, off etc because this is about deliberate styles. It would be interesting to see if these experiences are similar in different countries.

I think this could be a good archive for people researching fads, the origins of styles and the dearths of others – but especially how new ones were initially perceived.

Over the past year I’ve had a black barley wine, a braggot, a rye wine, a seaweed and cloudberry Gose, a beer made with Saki yeast and several made with Champagne yeast. I’ve sipped stout with Tonka beans, drank mulled lager and many tea beers – some with the tea complementing the hops – others completely replacing them. This has also been a year where 9 ABV hop-forward beers have become standard (from the UK perspective).

Some of the above I loved, others I liked and some I hated. What remains to be seen is which will catch on and which are just brief social media cameos.

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So start thinking about that new beer or new take on a familiar beer that made you wonder. Did you come around to it? Or did it stay as questionable as the first sip and never seemed like a good idea in the end? Did you react the same as others or is just something that you never came around on?

To participate in January’s Session, on or before January 6, 2017, post your comforting thoughts about discomfort beer and leave your URL to the link at the original announcement. Now that won’t cause any discomfort, will it? The only way you can be wrong, is to not participate.

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Session #117: Predicting The Future Of Beer

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The 117th Session, is hosted this month by Csaba Babak, who writes the British beer blog Beer Means Business. For his topic, he’s chosen More, More, More, by which he’s asking us all to “paint a collective picture of what the future related to beer will be like.”

Here’s his full description of the topic:

I have always been obsessed with asking what happens next or what is still ahead instead of simply embracing what is in the present. Ever since I heard about Beer Blogging Fridays, I have been toying with the idea of hosting a Session to paint a collective picture of what the future related to beer will be like.

This month, Beer Means Business has the honour to host The Session and to make this happen. The final picture of Beer Future will be based on what you think we will see MORE of.

Over the last 10 years, numerous topics have been presented and the bloggers who discussed them expressed a rich diversity of perspectives or specific areas of interest. Therefore, I refrain from giving you further ideas or examples. There are no limits in time, space or nature either. I would like you to let your imagination free, and capture ONE thing you think we will see MORE of with an explanation of the idea.

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So this month’s Session will be short, both by necessity and because I think the answer to this month’s question has a relatively short answer.

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So, looking into my crystal ball, I have two observations.

1. Predictions are a fool’s errand. None of us can really say what the future will hold. Oh, we can make educated guesses, even back them up with charts, history or trend indicators. And I’ll even admit it can be fun to try. But in the end, the future rarely ever looks anything close to what think it will. To wit: where is my flying car that folds into a briefcase? A great quote that illustrates how off predictions can be comes from Joe Owades. Owades, in addition to creating low-calorie diet beer (a.k.a. light beer), helped several early small brewers with their recipes. In April of 1987 he said. “No microbrewer in his right mind should make wheat beer. Five years from now it will be dead (as a commercial product).” Wheat beers of all kinds seem to be doing very nicely, thank you very much. Though not beer-related, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates once quipped that “no one will ever need more than 64K RAM.” And these were both smart people who were well-respected members of their industries, knew a lot about their subject matter, yet failed utterly to grasp where the future was heading. I also happen to think (a hunch really) that even most predictions that turned out to be correct were the result of blind luck. So lots of predictions continue to fail, and will continue to fail, and maybe a few will turn out to be correct, but not enough to know who you should listen to and who to ignore. So I think it’s best to ignore them all and follow what you personally like, what speaks to you. At least that way you’ll be happy. There is, however, one thing I believe I can safely predict for the near future, and even the distant future. Then again, maybe I’m wrong.

2. People will still be drinking beer, and with a little luck, more of it will be beer with flavor.

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More, More, More … How Do You Like it? The Future Of Beer

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For our 117th Session, our host will be Csaba Babak, who writes the British beer blog Beer Means Business. For his topic, he’s chosen More, More, More, by which he’s asking us all to “paint a collective picture of what the future related to beer will be like.” To explain more fully what that means, I recommend pushing play on the song below, “More, More, More,” by the Andrea True Connection, and then reading what he has to say.

Here’s his full description of the topic:

I have always been obsessed with asking what happens next or what is still ahead instead of simply embracing what is in the present. Ever since I heard about Beer Blogging Fridays, I have been toying with the idea of hosting a Session to paint a collective picture of what the future related to beer will be like.

This month, Beer Means Business has the honour to host The Session and to make this happen. The final picture of Beer Future will be based on what you think we will see MORE of.

Over the last 10 years, numerous topics have been presented and the bloggers who discussed them expressed a rich diversity of perspectives or specific areas of interest. Therefore, I refrain from giving you further ideas or examples. There are no limits in time, space or nature either. I would like you to let your imagination free, and capture ONE thing you think we will see MORE of with an explanation of the idea.

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So grab your crystal ball, and start pondering on your prognostication, so next week you can begin pontificating.

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Here’s Csaba’s instructions on how to participate in November’s Session. “To participate and leave your stroke of brush in the painting of Beer Future, please publish a post with your contribution on Friday, 4th November [or before] and comment on [his announcement] post with the permalink to it.”

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But Now, God Knows, Anything Gose

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For our 116th Session, our host will be Derrick Peterman, who writes Ramblings of a Beer Runner. For his topic, he’s chosen Anything Gose, asking everyone to write about the German sour beer style Gose.

Rittergute Gose Labels

Here’s his full description of the topic:

I choose the Gose style in particular since it can be approached in so many different ways. Want to talk about the history of the Gose? How about how American breweries are taking this style and running wild with it with different spice and fruit additions? How else has the Gose manifested itself outside its German homeland? Is the Gose here to stay or will it go the way of the Black IPA, once the hot style but slowly becoming a largely irrelevant curiosity? (OK, that might not be your opinion of the Black IPA, but you get the idea.) Of course, we’re all on the look-out for a good Gose, so if there are any you particularly like, we’d love to hear about them.

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We know “Times have changed, and “Good authors too who once knew better words, Now only use four-letter words Writing prose. Anything goes.” Or rather, Anything Gose. So on or before Friday, October 7, let’s wax lyrically about gose. Music optional. Post your contribution at the original announcement or e-mail your link to Derrick at photon.dpeterman[at]gmail(dot)com. And remember. “If driving fast cars you like, If low bars you like, If old hymns you like, If bare limbs you like, If Mae West you like, Or me undressed you like, Why, nobody will oppose. When ev’ry night the set that’s smart is in-Truding in nudist parties in Studios. Anything goes.”

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Apropos of nothing, I love the title because it’s play on the Cole Porter musical “Anything Goes,” a personal favorite, and the only show I’ve done twice in my theatre geek days.

Here’s a great performance of the song “Anything Goes,” although only really just part of it, from the 2011 Tony Awards.