Cross Posting: Booms, Busts, and Beer

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Remember when blogs were the cool new thing? It was an exciting time, but things have changed dramatically in the intervening decade or so. The rise of social media basically quashed the fabled "generalist" blog, one of which you are currently reading. Such things have become, at best, quaint anachronisms. Specialized blogs, though, are perhaps holding on by a thread because of their laser focus on a given subject. That's why I started Kaedrin Beer Blog almost 5 years ago. It has achieved a modest amount of success and I sometimes write things over there that might be of interest to the few of you still clinging to this generalist blog, so let's take a look at a few recent highlights:
  • An Interview with Mark Ciocco of Kaedrin Beer Blog - Jay over at Beer Samizdat thought it would be fun to interview me, and I naturally blabbered on and on and on about beer and blogging for a while, certainly appropriate for a general audience.
  • The Session #102: The Landscape of Beer - Wherein I ponder Booms and Busts and their relation to all sorts of things (including, yes, beer):
    We're pretty clearly in boom times for beer. The brewery count is fast approaching 4000. This is up from, um, 89 breweries in 1978, the year of my birth. What happened? In my lifetime, we've gone from a massively consolidated industry to an explosion of tiny, niche brewers. Prohibition certainly had an impact, but post-prohibition our world became enamored with what Thomas Pynchon calls the "American vice of modular repetition". Revolutions in manufacturing and transportation lead to dramatic consolidation across all industries. This sort of thing is great for winning wars (digression incoming: The German Tiger tank was dramatically superior to the US Sherman, but the Germans only made approximately 1,300 of their tank. The US made over 30,000 Shermans.) but bad for consumer choice. The mid-century ideal of beer seemed to be mass-produced light lager (the fizzy yellow stuff we're all familiar with). Who needs variety when you can produce something bland that sells in massive quantities?

    The problem is that, to paraphrase Howard Moskowitz, there is no such thing as the perfect beer, only perfect beers (plural).
    Lots more where that came from...
  • FiftyFifty Eclipse Horizontal Tasting - Probably the most wonky thing I'll link you to here, but the concept is interesting:
    The idea is that you start with the same base beer but age it in different expressions of bourbon and rye. Since the aging period is the same (about 6 months), the only real variable here is the different expressions of whiskey (and the myriad variables that apply to each barrel). In my experience, this has produced some modest but definitely noticeable differences in the resulting beers.
    Then we taste 6 different variants and compare the results. You'll never believe what happened next!
  • Operation Cheddar III: Cheddar Harder and Operation Chowder - Beer centric travelogues from a trip earlier this summer. Some wonky beer stuff, but perhaps interesting and worth consulting if you're on your way to Vermont and/or Boston...
  • Three Floyds BackMasking - Sometimes beer reviews inspire some other writing, like this discussion of backmasking (i.e. hidden messages discovered when you play a record backwards). I posted this several months ago, and no one found the hidden messages embedded in the post (or, at least, they didn't tell me they found it, and why wouldn't you if you went through the trouble of searching it out?) Granted, they're not in any way "backmasked" in the post, just hidden in the traditional HTML way.
  • Choose Your Own Adventure Beer Reviews - An oldie but a goodie, this Zork-inspired series of reviews reads like an old Choose Your Own Adventure novel. Be careful, you might be eaten by a Grue.
That's all for now.