Beer Birthday: John Palmer

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Today is the 53rd birthday of John Palmer, a metallurgist by day, homebrewer the rest of the time. John is the author of several books, including the seminal “How to Brew,” “Brewing Classic Styles,” with Jamil Zainasheff and “Water: The Comprehensive Guide for Brewers,” with Colin Kaminski. He also recently started consulting, with Palmer Brewing Solutions. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.

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Jamil Zainasheff and John signing books at NHC 2011.

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Matt Brynildson and John.

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Three John’s. John Knox of HopSafari, John Palmer, and John Holl at GABF in 2013.

Beer Birthday: Jimmy Carter

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Today is the birthday of our 39th U.S. President Jimmy Carter (October 1, 1924- ). He “is an American politician and author who served as the 39th President of the United States from 1977 to 1981. In 2002, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the Carter Center.

Carter, a Democrat raised in rural Georgia, was a peanut farmer who served two terms as a Georgia State Senator, from 1963 to 1967, and one as the Governor of Georgia, from 1971 to 1975. He was elected President in 1976, defeating incumbent President Gerald Ford in a relatively close election; the Electoral College margin of 57 votes was the closest at that time since 1916.”

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The White House website also has a series of presidential biographies, from “The Presidents of the United States of America,” by Frank Freidel and Hugh Sidey:

Jimmy Carter served as the 39th President of the United States from 1977 to 1981. He was awarded the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize for work to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.

Jimmy Carter aspired to make Government “competent and compassionate,” responsive to the American people and their expectations. His achievements were notable, but in an era of rising energy costs, mounting inflation, and continuing tensions, it was impossible for his administration to meet these high expectations.

Carter, who has rarely used his full name–James Earl Carter, Jr.–was born October 1, 1924, in Plains, Georgia. Peanut farming, talk of politics, and devotion to the Baptist faith were mainstays of his upbringing. Upon graduation in 1946 from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, Carter married Rosalynn Smith. The Carters have three sons, John William (Jack), James Earl III (Chip), Donnel Jeffrey (Jeff), and a daughter, Amy Lynn.

After seven years’ service as a naval officer, Carter returned to Plains. In 1962 he entered state politics, and eight years later he was elected Governor of Georgia. Among the new young southern governors, he attracted attention by emphasizing ecology, efficiency in government, and the removal of racial barriers.

Carter announced his candidacy for President in December 1974 and began a two-year campaign that gradually gained momentum. At the Democratic Convention, he was nominated on the first ballot. He chose Senator Walter F. Mondale of Minnesota as his running mate. Carter campaigned hard against President Gerald R. Ford, debating with him three times. Carter won by 297 electoral votes to 241 for Ford.

Carter worked hard to combat the continuing economic woes of inflation and unemployment. By the end of his administration, he could claim an increase of nearly eight million jobs and a decrease in the budget deficit, measured in percentage of the gross national product. Unfortunately, inflation and interest rates were at near record highs, and efforts to reduce them caused a short recession.

Carter could point to a number of achievements in domestic affairs. He dealt with the energy shortage by establishing a national energy policy and by decontrolling domestic petroleum prices to stimulate production. He prompted Government efficiency through civil service reform and proceeded with deregulation of the trucking and airline industries. He sought to improve the environment. His expansion of the national park system included protection of 103 million acres of Alaskan lands. To increase human and social services, he created the Department of Education, bolstered the Social Security system, and appointed record numbers of women, blacks, and Hispanics to Government jobs.

In foreign affairs, Carter set his own style. His championing of human rights was coldly received by the Soviet Union and some other nations. In the Middle East, through the Camp David agreement of 1978, he helped bring amity between Egypt and Israel. He succeeded in obtaining ratification of the Panama Canal treaties. Building upon the work of predecessors, he established full diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China and completed negotiation of the SALT II nuclear limitation treaty with the Soviet Union.

There were serious setbacks, however. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan caused the suspension of plans for ratification of the SALT II pact. The seizure as hostages of the U. S. embassy staff in Iran dominated the news during the last 14 months of the administration. The consequences of Iran’s holding Americans captive, together with continuing inflation at home, contributed to Carter’s defeat in 1980. Even then, he continued the difficult negotiations over the hostages. Iran finally released the 52 Americans the same day Carter left office.

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But, of course, none of that is why people who love beer will celebrate Jimmy Carter. Carter, of course signed H.R. 1337 on October 14, 1978. That was the bill that finally legalized homebrewing. And while you can argue that it was really senator Alan Cranston who deserves the lion’s share of the credit, after all he added the specific language to the bill that made homebrewing okay again, it’s generally Carter who’s best remembered for having signed the bill into law. At least outside of California, anyway, where many people know that it was Amendment 3534, drafted by Cranston, that homebrewing was decriminalized.

Still, I think it’s fair to give Carter some of the credit, and thanks him for signing the bill allowing homebrewing again into law. I’m not sure Reagan would have signed it. See also, Tom Cizauskas’ What will President Jimmy Carter be remembered for? and KegWorks’ How Jimmy Carter Sparked the Craft Beer Revolution.

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And finally, here’s Michael Jackson, in an 2004 interview, talking about the importance of Carter signing the homebrewing bill into law.

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Jimmy Carter, by Sean Marlin McKinney.

Beer Birthday: Mike “Tasty” McDole

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Today is the birthday of living legend Mike “Tasty” McDole, homebrewer extraordinaire, and one time co-host of “The Jamil Show,” or “Can You Brew It?” and a regular still on the “Sunday Show” on The Brewing Network. Tasty would never refer to himself that way, and on Twitter he claims to be simply a “homebrewer and a craft beer enthusiast.” But most of us who know him would, as he also admits, “make [him] out to be much more.” And that is correct, I believe, as Tasty is one of the best. He’s a former Longshot winner, has given talks at the National Homebrew Convention and has won countless awards and has collaborated with numerous commercial breweries on beers. Join me in wishing Tasty a very happy birthday.

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With Justin Crossley at the Bistro Double IPA Festival in 2010.

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With Shaun O’Sullivan at 21st Amendment in 2009.

Vic Krajl, from The Bistro, Award-Winning Homebrewer Mike McDole & Shaun O'Sullivan, from 21st Amendment
Vic Krajl, from The Bistro, Mike & Shaun O’Sullivan, from 21st Amendment at GABF in 2009.

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Tasty at GABF in Denver in 2014.

Historic Beer Birthday: Alan Cranston

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Today is the birthday of Alan MacGregor Cranston (June 19, 1914–December 31, 2000). Cranston was a Democratic senator from California, born in Palo Alto, and served four terms.

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Here’s a biography from Find a Grave:

US Senator. A member of the Democratic party, he represented the state of California for four terms in the US Senate from January 1969 until January 1993, serving as the Democratic Whip from 1977 until 1991. Born Alan MacGregor Cranston in Palo Alto, California into a wealthy real estate family, he attended local public schools before attending Pomona College in Claremont, California and the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico, and graduated in 1936 from Stanford University in Palo Alto with a degree in journalism. In 1937 he became a correspondent for the International News Service for two years preceding World War II, covering Europe and North Africa. When an abridged English-language translation of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” was released, sanitized to exclude some of Hitler’s anti-semitism and militancy, he published a different translation (with annotations) which he believed more accurately reflected the contents of the book. In 1939 Hitler’s publisher sued him for copyright violation in Connecticut and a judge ruled in Hitler’s favor and publication of the book was halted. From 1940 until 1944 he served as chief, foreign language division in the Office of War Information and in 1944 he enlisted in the US Army. In 1945 he wrote the book, “The Killing of the Peace,” a synopsis of the failed bid to get the US to join the League of Nations immediately following World War I. A world government supporter, he attended the 1945 conference that led to the Dublin Declaration, and became president of the World Federalist Association in 1948. In 1949 he successfully pushed for the California legislature to pass the World Federalist California Resolution, calling on Congress to amend the Constitution to allow US participation in a federal world government. From 1949 until 1952 he was the national president of the United World Federalists. In 1952 he co-founded the California Democratic Council and served as its chairman. In 1958 he was elected California’s State Controller as a Democrat and was re-elected in 1962. In 1968 he ran as the Democratic candidate for US Senate and was elected to the first of four six-year terms, defeating Republican challenger Max Rafferty, followed by Republican challenger H.L. “Bill” Richardson in 1974, Republican Paul Gann in 1980, and Republican Congressman Ed Zschau in 1986. During his time in the US Senate, he served on the Banking, Housing, Urban Affairs, Veterans (which he chaired), and Foreign Relations Committees and was strongly opposed to the US involvement in the Vietnam War. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination, dropping out of the race after finishing poorly in the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries. In November 1991 he was reprimanded by the US Senate Select Committee on Ethics for “improper conduct” after Lincoln Savings head Charles Keating’s companies contributed $850,000 to voter registration groups closely affiliated with him. Because the Keating affair had damaged his political career, coupled with his diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, he decided against running for a 5th US Senate term. His final act as a Senator was to preside over the inauguration of Bill Clinton as President of the US on January 20, 1993. A fitness enthusiast, he was notable for practicing and participating in the sport of track and field as a sprinter in special senior races. An avid lifetime supporter of the global abolishment of nuclear weapons, in his retirement he became a part of the Nuclear Weapon Elimination Initiative of the State of the World Forum and founded the Global Security Institute in 1999, serving as its president. He died of natural causes in Los Altos, California at the age of 86.

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Of course, the one thing left out of Cranston’s biography in most accounts is the reason that he’s featured here. On January 4, 1977, Representative William A. Steiger (Republican from Wisconsin’s 6th District) introduced H.R.1337 a transportation bill with the title “A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 with respect to excise tax on certain trucks, buses, tractors, etcetera.”

To that bill, senator Cranston added a crucial amendment which had a profound effect on the landscape of beer today, and its final title was “An Act to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 with respect to excise tax on certain trucks, buses, tractors, et cetera, home production of beer and wine, refunds of the taxes on gasoline and special fuels to aerial applicators, and partial rollovers of lump sum distributions.”

Here’s the text of the beer portion of Amendment 3534, added by Senator Alan Cranston:

(e) BEER FOR PERSONAL OR FAMILY USE. — Subject to regulation prescribed by the Secretary, any adult may, without payment of tax, produce beer for personal or family use and not for sale. The aggregate amount of beer exempt from tax under this subsection with respect to any household shall not exceed —

(1) 200 gallons per calendar year if there are 2 or more adults in such household, or
(2) 100 gallons per calendar year if there is only 1 adult in such household.

For purposes of this subsection, the term ‘adult’ means an individual who has attained 18 years of age, or the minimum age (if any) established by law applicable in the locality in which the household is situated at which beer may be sold to individuals, whichever is greater.

As we all know, President Jimmy Carter signed H.R. 1337 into law on October 14, 1978, paving the way for the our modern brewing industry that includes over 700 breweries in California alone, and over 4,000 nationwide. Thanks Alan.

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In 1984, Cranston made a failed bid to run for president. I bet he would have gotten the homebrewing vote.

Homebrewers Pick The Best Beers In America 2016

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For the 14th straight year, the readers of Zymurgy magazine were asked to send in a list of their 20 favorite commercially available beers. With a record number of votes in the poll’s fourteenth year — over 18,000 votes. The results were not exactly shocking, and most of the beers and breweries that got the most votes were what you’d expect, I think, but it’s an interesting list all the same, but boy is there a lot of complaining going on in the comments. The results are, as usual, printed in the latest issue, July 2016.
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Top Rated Beers
KEY: T indicates tie / (#) indicates rank last year / [Arrow indicates their movement over the previous year].

Four of the top ten are California beers (the same number as last year), with again 24 making the list. This is the eighth year in a row AHA members chose Pliny the Elder as the top beer. This also the seventh consecutive year that Bell’s Two Hearted Ale came in second.

1. Russian River Pliny the Elder [↔]
2. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale [↔]
3. The Alchemist Heady Topper (6) [↑3]
4. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA (3) [↓1]
5. Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin (T33) [↑28]
6. Founders Breakfast Stout (5) [↓1]
7. Three Floyds Zombie Dust (8) [↑1]
8. Bell’s Hopslam Ale (7) [↓1]
9. Goose Island Bourbon Country Brand Stout (15) [↑6]
T10. Stone Enjoy By IPA (4) [↓4]
T10. Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA [↔]
12. Founders KBS (17) [↑5]
13. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (T12) [↓1]
14. Lawson’s Finest Liquids Sip of Sunshine (not on last year’s list)
15. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA (9) [↓6]
T16. Founders All Day IPA (27) [↑11]
T16. Sierra Nevada Celebration (T28) [↑12]
18. Cigar City Jai Alai (40) [↑22]
19. Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale (T33) [↑14]
20. Firestone Walker Wookey Jack (10) [↓10]
21. Arrogant Bastard Ale (T17) [↓4]
22. Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ (32) [↑10]
23. Deschutes Black Butte Porter (21) [↓2]
T24. Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro (T12) [↓12]
T24. Tröegs Nugget Nectar [↔]
26. Firestone Walker Union Jack (T22) [↓4]
T27. Founders Backwoods Bastard (44) [↑17]
T27. Russian River Blind Pig I.P.A. (16) [↓11]
T29. Lagunitas IPA (30) [↑1]
T29. Odell IPA (T24) [↓5]
T29. Russian River Consecration (T19) [↓10]
32. Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA (T12) [↓20]
33. Tree House Julius (not on last year’s list)
T34. Ballast Point Victory at Sea (T49) [↑15]
T34. Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA (T28) [↓6]
T34. Fat Head’s Head Hunter (T45) [↑11]
T34. Firestone Walker Double Jack (T24) [↓10]
38. North Coast Old Rasputin (31) [↓7]
T39. Oskar Blues Ten Fidy [↔]
T39. Russian River Supplication (T19) [↓20]
T39. Topping Goliath pesudoSue (not on last year’s list)
T42. Firestone Walker Parabola (T22) [↓20]
T42. Surly Todd the Axe Man (not on last year’s list)
44. Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter (T41) [↓3]
45. Russian River Pliny the Younger (T49) [↑4]
T46. Prairie Artisan Ales Bomb! (not on last year’s list)
T46. Surly Furious (35) [↓11]
T46. Victory DirtWolf Double IPA (T45) [↑1]
49. Maine Beer Lunch (not on last year’s list)
T50. Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA (not on last year’s list)
T50. New Belgium La Folie (T41) [↓9]

Brewery Rankings

Brewery rankings are based on total votes received by each brewery’s beers. This year’s top brewery is the same as last year, Russian River Brewing Co., in Santa Rosa, Calif. Russian River again placed five beers in the top 50, including both its Plinys. Founders Brewing finished second, while Bell’s Brewery came in third. Six California breweries made the list (two less than last year), with five from Colorado, and two each from Michigan and Pennsylvania. Again, (#) indicates their rank last year, while [Arrow indicates their movement over the previous year].

1. Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, CA [↔]
2. Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI (4) [↑2]
3. Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Kalamazoo, MI [↔]
4. Stone Brewing Co., Escondido, CA (2) [↓2]
5. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA & Mill River, NC (6) [↑1]
6. Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA (5) [↓1]
7. Ballast Point Brewing, San Diego, CA (9) [↑2]
8. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE (7) [↓1]
9. Lagunitas Brewing Co., Petaluma, CA & Chicago, IL (8) [↓1]
10. Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR [↔]
11. Avery Brewing Co., Boulder, CO (12) [↑1]
12. Three Floyds Brewing Co., Munster, IN (14) [↑2]
13. New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, CO (11) [↓2]
14. Goose Island Beer Co., Chicago, IL (16) [↑2]
15. Surly Brewing Co., Minneapolis, MN (18) [↑3]
16. Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, CO (15) [↓1]
17. The Alchemist, Waterbury, VT (not on last year’s list)
T18. Boulevard Brewing Co., Kansas City, MO (not on last year’s list)
T18. Odell Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO (13) [↓5]
20. New Glarius Brewing Co., New Glarus, WI (17) [↓3]
21. Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, FL (T23) [↑2]
22. Victory Brewing Co., Downington, PA (T25) [↑3]
23. Left Hand Brewing Co., Longmont, CO (not on last year’s list)
24. Tree House Brewing, Monson, MA (not on last year’s list)
25. Tröegs Brewing Co., Hershey, PA (19) [↓6]

Best Portfolio

They also determined which breweries got the most votes for different beers that they produce, and called that list “best portfolio.” The number following their name is how many of their beers got at least one vote. (#) indicates their rank last year, while [Arrow indicates their movement over the previous year].

1. Stone Brewing Co. [67 Beers] (2) [↑1]
T2. Bell’s Brewery, Inc. [47 Beers] (3) [↑1]
T2. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. [47 Beers] (1) [↓1]
4. Avery Brewing Co. [42 Beers] (5) [↑1]
5. New Belgium Brewing [41 Beers] (4) [↓1]
6. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery [39 Beers] (T6) [↔]
T7. Firestone Walker Brewing Co. [38 Beers] (T8) [↑1]
T7. The Bruery [38 Beers] (T8) [↑1]
9. Boulevard Brewing Co. [37 Beers] (not on last year’s list)
10. Founders Brewing Co. [33 Beers] (not on last year’s list)

Top Imports

With a few ties, several imports also received votes as readers’ favorite beers. For at least a third year in a row, Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde claimed the number one spot among imports. Again, (#) indicates their rank last year, while [Arrow indicates their movement over the previous year].

1. Unibroue La Fin Du Monde, Canada [↔]
T2. St. Bernardus Abt 12, Belgium (2) [↔]
T2. Guinness Draught, Ireland (4) [↑2]
4. Saison Dupont, Belgium (5) [↑1]
T5. Orval, Belgium (T6) [↑1]
T5. Rodenbach Grand Cru, Belgium (3) [↓2]
7. Chimay Grande Reserve/Blue Label, Belgium (T6) [↓1]
8. Duchess De Bourgogne (not on last year’s list)
9. Weihenstephan Hefeweissbier, Germany [↔]
10 Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, England (8) [↓2]

Beer Birthday: Drew Beechum

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Today is the 42nd birthday of Drew Beechum, who’s a past president of the Maltose Falcons homebrewing club and its current webmeister. He’s also the author of The Everything Homebrewing Book: All you need to brew the best beer at home! and writes a regular column for Beer Advocate magazine. Join me in wishing Drew a very happy birthday.

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Drew’s Facebook Profile picture.

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Drew at 21st Amendment.

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Drew in a Jayne hat — from Firefly — with his wife, Aymee. (NOTE: All photos purloined from Facebook.)

Beer Birthday: Gary Glass

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Today is the 43rd birthday of Gary Glass, Director of the American Homebrewers Association. Gary’s been with the Brewers Association for many a moon and has become the face of homebrewing in America. Join me in wishing Gary a very happy birthday. And relax, drink a homebrew, if you have one.

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Gary at Anchor Brewery with his wife Erin after an AHA rally there in 2008.

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Gary talking with Fred Eckhardt at Hopworks Urban Brewery, flanked by Christian Ettinger and Brian Butenschoen, Oregon Brewers Guild Director. Photo by Oregon Brewers Guild.

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Gary Glass, Erin and Bradley Lantham, from the BA, at Anchor Brewing for an AHA Rally.

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Gary, Maya and Erin. (Photo purloined from Facebook.)

Patent No. 20090028999A1: Beer Brewing Kit And Brewing Method To Prepare Wort For The Kit

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Today in 2009, US Patent 20090028999 A1 was issued, an invention of Klaus U. Melisch and Stefan Riedelsheimer, for their “Beer Brewing Kit and Brewing Method to Prepare Wort for the Kit.” Here’s the Abstract:

A kit for home brewed beer which comprises a bottle, wort substantially filling the bottle, and a cap which has venting means to permit escape of gas from the bottle when pressure therein exceeds a predetermined value. There is also disclosed a brewing method wherein lactic acid is added to the wort to reduce the pH to level 4.6 and a predetermined amount of yeast is added to the wort to cause a short fermentation while maintaining the alcohol level below 0.5% by volume.

US20090028999A1-20090129-D00001

Beer Birthday: Charlie Papazian

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Today is the 67th birthday of Charlie Papazian, one of the most influential persons in modern brewing. Charlie founded the AHA, the AOB and the IBS back in 1978 (which today is the Brewers Association) and organized the first Great American Beer Festival. His book, the Complete Joy of Homebrewing was one of the seminal works on the subject, and is now in its fourth edition. Join me in wishing Charlie a very happy birthday.

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Just before taking the stage during GABF 2007, from left, Glenn Payne (of Meantime Brewing), Charlie, Mark Dorber (formerly of the White Horse on Parson’s Green but now at the Anchor Pub), Garrett Oliver, and Steve Hindy (both from Brooklyn Brewing), Dave Alexander (from the Brickskeller), and Tom Dalldorf (from the Celebrator Beer News).

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Some NBWA luminaries at the 2008 NBWA welcome reception. From left, Jamie Jurado (with Gambrinus), Lucy Saunders (the Beer Cook), Charlie Papazian (President of the Brewers Association), Kim Jordan (from New Belgium Brewing) and Tom Dalldorf (from the Celebrator Beer News).

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On stage at the Beer Wars Live premiere with Ben Stein and Greg Koch.

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Charlie with Pete Slosberg at last year’s Craft Brewers Conference in San francisco.

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Of the literally hundreds of GABF and World Beer Cup award-accepting photos I have with Charlie in them, this is one of my favorites.

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The BA recently shared this great photo of Charlie from 1977.

Patent No. 4708938A: Alcoholic Fermentation

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Today in 1987, US Patent 4708938 A was issued, an invention of Stephen J. Hickinbotham, for his “Alcoholic Fermentation.” Here’s the Abstract:

Fermentation method and apparatus comprising an outer container with a plastics bag hung from the neck of the container to define a chamber between the bag and the container. Means to pressurize the chamber with a temperature controlled medium to control fermentation of material within the bag. Additional pressurization of the chamber causing the fermented liquid to be expelled from the mouth of the bag.

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