I’m always looking for an excuse to celebrate with a good brew, and today is just such a day. This afternoon (PST), the UNIX clock, which measures seconds since midnight on January 1, 1970 in UST, will hit 1234567890. I know I’ll be there, beverage in-hand!
The podcast ran a bit long last night, so I’m posting a roundup of recent beer news here.
The Brewers Excise and Economic Relief (BEER) Act lowered the federal excise tax on beer back to its 1991 level. The tax only amounts to five cents per can of beer, but politicians are hoping it will help brewers and distributors during troubled times… not that they need the help. The UK is actually having a worse time of it, if the Axe the Tax activists are to be believed.
This year’s batch of Kate the Great by Portsmouth Brewery in the UK took an entire day to sell out. It was one of the highest rated beers in the world last year. Whether that means it was crowd-pleasing or genuinely outstanding, this writer can’t say, but apparently it was just as good this year!
The Chief Creative Officer of Budweiser will be stepping down. Most folks know that Anheuser-Busch is now owned by InBev. I’m going to go out on a limb here and bet that this won’t affect the flavor or ingredient list in their flagship products, but hopefully it also won’t affect their ability to make good beer.
San Francisco held their Beer Week this week, with multitudes of folks in attendance. The focus was on community and craft brewers. One of the best writeups I found was on the fine Brewed for Thought blog. It’s a first-hand account of SF Beer Week and how it all went down, with a great follow-up highlighting some individual events.
A recent episode of Brew Strong started out talking about hot-side aeration, and finished talking about long-term stability. There was some comment that aluminum cans are fantastic for long-term beer stability, and Oskar Blues Brewery is a real believer. They’ve been shipping fine beer in cans for a while, and now they are expanding their operation. Here’s to cheap beer that keeps longer!
There are dozens of ways that breweries are expanding these days, and not all of them involve brewing more beer. Sierra Nevada Brewing has started to brew Ethanol alongside their beer. Several breweries make whiskey. In one mind-spinning case, a brewery that was at SF Beer Week (as reported by the Beer Networks beer news podcast) brews whiskey with ale yeast and then ages ales in the whiskey barrels. I’d tell you which brewery, but the Beer Network website is taking 3-4 minutes to load pages right now.
And finally, as has been widely reported, William Brand, a prolific beer journalist, was struck by a train and remains in a coma in critical condition.
There are also, of course, those beer oddities that you learn about way after the fact. Somehow, I’ve missed Dogfish Head’s Randall the Enamel Animal, which is a crazy invention that hops beer on its way from the keg to your glass for an unimaginably hoppy aroma. Additionally, some crazy guy has brewed beer with Grape Nuts, which I find so awesome that I don’t really know what else to say about it.