Much like the rush from winter to summer (did spring actually happen? It felt like it was snowing, then it was 80 degrees), the beer world has been a huge blur the last few weeks. Big beer owners, tiny little brewers, hot summer beer trends, and all kinds of beer nerdery are exploding in the beer world right now. It’s really hard to pick just one thing to focus on because it seems like something new happens every day. So, here is a quick run down of the big things happening in the beer world.
It’s a prestigious award!Congratulations to local brewers Steamworks Brewing Co. and Telluride Brewing Co. for their medals in the recent World Beer Cup. Steamworks won gold for their Dark Lager and Night Train, and Telluride won a silver for Whacked Out Wheat, an American-style wheat beer. Colorado breweries as a whole did really well, winning a total of 28 awards in 26 different categories.
Meanwhile, in His Evil Lair…The World Beer Cup is every other year, and it coincides with the annual Craft Brewers Conference. This year’s highlight might not have been the conference itself, but a response to the Brewers Association (BA) by one Pete Coors. Mr. Coors whined that the BA was picking on big beer. To quote Mr. Coors:
“There should be no room for cheap shots and insults (“faux,” “crafty,” “capitulated” beers) for each other.
That is a slippery slope that does not end well for our industry. We have enough competition inside the beer business, and outside it, with wine, spirits and, increasingly, marijuana.”
I think Mr. Coors, his family, and his eponymous brewery have been good to and good for Colorado, and to the beer world, but Mr. Coors himself is kind of a worthless shit when it comes to politics. I don’t like him. He’s anti-public land, anti-labor, anti-choice, and anti-immigrant. He’s also anti-weed, so he’s basically an old racist grandpa cop.
More IPA StylesIt’s true that the New England IPA, with its full body, smooth mouthfeel ,and fruit-forward flavors and aromas, has been dominating the landscape of craft beer, but if you squint and stare off into the distance – yes, past the pastry stouts, past the rush to brew the best light lager – and put them into 15 packs, there is a potential champion: The brut IPA. Also called a dry IPA, it is an IPA brewed in a similar fashion to the NEIPA, with low bitterness, high fruitiness, but instead of the typical haze and heavy mouth, these are super crisp, super fruity, and super clean. I do not know of any brewery making this beer on a large scale, other than maybe a few small breweries in Northern California wine country, where the style was born.
Alcohol, Mental Health, and Craft BeerShaun Hill, of Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro, Vermont, recently did a super awesome interview with the Morning Advertiser that spoke to a lot of people in the industry. In the interview, he speaks to dealing with alcohol, the stress of the industry, and how that affects your mental health. He’s totally correct that a lot of brewers and breweries are not dealing with the issue, and it’s going to be growing problem as the industry grows. There’s a reason that Prohibition happened, and that was because we as a culture did not have a healthy relationship with alcohol. We’d be naive to think we are immune to reverting back to an unhealthy relationship with booze again.
Robbie Wendeborn is the head brewer at Svendæle Brewing in Millerton, New York. He is also a former beer plumber at Ska Brewing.