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Session #131 Round-Up

This month’s Session was last minute to say the least. I woke up the first Friday of the month, January 5, to people on Twitter asking who was hosting and what the topic of the January Session was. Which for me was a facepalm moment because in the business of the holidays I hadn’t even noticed that no one had signed up to host the Session. So I scrambled to put one together, and tried to come up with something quick and easy.

So in my announcement, I asked three simple questions that could have very short answers, or with explanations a bit longer, that I thought could be fun to ponder. Since time was short, I wanted something that people could answer without thinking too much about it, out of necessity, and just go with their gut. Many people referred to this as an “Emergency Session,” which I guess is true. Anyway, here’s what everybody had to say:

Normally, the round-up gives a short description of each person’s take on the topic, but since I posed three questions, I thought it made more sense to break the round-up into separate round-ups, so to speak.

If you want to read their full answers, and the rationale behind them, here’s who participated in the January Session:

So that’s fourteeen participants, not to shabby considering it was posted last minute, on the day it was due.

Question No. 1

For our first question of the new year, what one word, or phrase, do you think should be used to describe beer that you’d like to drink. Craft beer seems to be the most agreed upon currently used term, but many people think it’s losing its usefulness or accuracy in describing it. What should we call it, do you think?

And the answers are:

  1. Beer, just beer:
    • Appellation Beer
    • Brookston Beer Bulletin
    • Ramblings of a Beer Runner
    • The Would-be Brewmaster
  2. Classic beer:
    • Fuggled
  3. Clear:
    • A Good Beer Blog
  4. Craft beer:
    • Boak & Bailey
  5. Excellent Beer… Whatever the source:
    • Deep Beer
  6. Good beer:
    • The A Position
    • The Brew Site
    • By the Barrel
  7. The Good Stuff:
    • Oh Good Ale
  8. No Answer:
    • Brewing in a Bedsetter
  9. Worthwhile beer:
    • Brussels City Beer

By and large, a majority felt a return to simply calling all beer just “beer” is the way to go, and I’m in that camp, as well. A close second, others felt “good beer” was a good (pun intended) way of marking the divide, and I have certainly used the term on numerous occasions. It avoids the politics but also conveys a certain fluid meaning that we all sort of understand.

Question No. 2

For our second question of the new year, what two breweries do you think are very underrated? Name any two places that don’t get much attention but are quietly brewing great beer day in and day out. And not just one shining example, but everything they brew should be spot on. And ideally, they have a great tap room, good food, or other stellar amenities of some kind. But for whatever reason, they’ve been mostly overlooked. Maybe 2018 should be the year they hit it big. Who are they?

And the answers are:

  1. Back Forty Beer Co.: The A Position
  2. Brewery Ommegang: Deep Beer
  3. Bristol Beer Factory: Boak & Bailey
  4. Brouwerij Brasserie De Ranke: Brewing in a Bedsetter
  5. Burley Oak Brewing: Deep Beer
  6. Buxton Brewery: Brewing in a Bedsetter
  7. Caldera Brewing: The Brew Site
  8. Chuckanut Brewing: Appellation Beer, Brookston Beer Bulletin
  9. Corn based craft beer: A Good Beer Blog
  10. Dust Bowl Brewing: Ramblings of a Beer Runner
  11. En Stoemelings: Brussels City Beer
  12. Galway Bay Brewery: Brussels City Beer
  13. Hunter-Gatherer Brewery & Alehouse: Fuggled
  14. Kettlesmith, or Stroud, or Cheddar Ales: Boak & Bailey
  15. Kobold Brewing: Ramblings of a Beer Runner
  16. Marble Brewery (UK): Oh Good Ale
  17. Moonlight Brewing (UK): Brookston Beer Bulletin
  18. None, most breweries are over-rated: By the Barrel
  19. Olde Mecklenburg Brewery: Fuggled
  20. Quebec breweries: A Good Beer Blog
  21. Rock Art Brewery: The A Position
  22. Smuttynose Brewing: The Would-be Brewmaster
  23. Summit Brewing: Appellation Beer
  24. Ticketybrew: Oh Good Ale
  25. Von Trapp Brewing: The Would-be Brewmaster

Not surprisingly, given that we’re all over the map geographically, so were the answers to this one. An interesting mix of breweries to explore.

Question No. 3

For our third question of the new year, name three kinds of beer you’d like to see more of. It’s clear hoppy beers, IPAs and all of the other hop-forward beers they’ve spawned, are here to say. There seems to be a few other styles that are popular, too, like saisons, barrel-aged beers, anything imperial and also sour beers of all kinds. But lots of other previously popular beers seem sidelined these days. What three types of beer do you think deserve more attention or at least should be more available for you to enjoy? They can be anything except IPAs, or the other extreme beers. I mean, they could be, I suppose, but I’m hoping for beers that we don’t hear much about or that fewer and fewer breweries are making. What styles should return, re-emerge or be resurrected in 2018?

And the answers are:

  1. Altbier: Fuggled
  2. Barley wine: Oh Good Ale
  3. Barrel-Aged: Deep Beer
  4. Belgian session beers: Brewing in a Bedsetter
  5. Belgian witbiers: The Brew Site
  6. Best Bitter (or English Pale Ale): Boak & Bailey (specifically Pale-n-hoppy), Fuggled, The Would-be Brewmaster
  7. Bocks: By the Barrel
  8. Dubbels (and other strong dark ale): A Good Beer Blog, Brussels City Beer
  9. Dunkelweizens: Brookston Beer Bulletin
  10. German weissbeers or hefeweizens: Appellation Beer
  11. Gose (authentic): Ramblings of a Beer Runner
  12. Imperial Stout: Boak & Bailey, Brewing in a Bedsetter
  13. IPAs, Classic US: Brewing in a Bedsetter
  14. Lagers (that taste like lagers): Appellation Beer, The Brew Site, Brussels Beer City
  15. Malt-forward beers, like Scottish ales, brown ales, bocks: The Brew Site, By the Barrel (bocks, at least)
  16. Milds: A good Beer Blog, Boak & Bailey, Brookston Beer Bulletin, By the Barrel, Fuggled, Oh Good Ale, Ramblings of a Beer Runner
  17. Old Ale: Oh Good Ale
  18. Oud Bruin: Deep Beer
  19. Porters: A Good Beer Blog (especially 1700s porters made with diastatic malted Battledore barley), Appellation Beer
  20. Quadruppels: Deep Beer
  21. Rye beers: Brookston Beer Bulletin
  22. Scotch Ales: Ramblings of a Beer Runner
  23. Stouts (non-imperial): The Would-be Brewmaster
  24. Styles not inspired by British, German, and Belgian brewing traditions: The Would-be Brewmaster
  25. Surprise Me: Brussels City Beer
  26. Vienna Lager: By the Barrel

Happy to see so many people lamenting the scarcity of Milds, but there were plenty of other kinds of beer represented, and only a single mention of anything super hoppy (which, to be fair, was from outside hoppyland USA) although the more restrained and balanced Best Bitter (or English Pale Ale) did get a few mentions.

If you know of any Session posts I missed, or if I missed yours, please drop me a note at “Jay (.) Brooks (@) gmail (.) com.” Thanks.

According to the Session calendar, the next Session still has no host. If you’d like to host February’s Session, please let me know as soon as you can. Thanks. The date for the next Session will be Groundhog Day, February 2, 2018.

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