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About TedE

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  • Birthday February 9

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  1. The Sommeliers of Everything The article is a shallow dive into what would have been a really interesting subject for a longer essay. It's a survey of the recent rise of "sommeliers" for everything from water to honey to chocolate, and the attendant certificates and certifications that go along with this expertise. As expected, the actual expertise indicated by these certifications varies widely. The cultural drivers behind the rise of tastemakers and knowers-of-specific-things weaves a thread throughout, and it concludes thusly: I would have liked to see more from the scientific perspectives on this (e.g., how much of this "expertise" is complete bullshit when measurements are applied and cross-checked). This could easily be expanded to any other number of fields that have acquired "experts" in the information age, and parallels with the increasing tribalism in online communities in general. I couldn't help but think of Japan's otaku culture as well.
  2. My in laws live not far from King of Prussia. There is a whole new-ish mixed use development across from the Wegman's that is like a "Little D.C.". Within spitting distance from one another are District Taco, Founding Farmers and Compass Coffee.
  3. TedE

    Snallygaster 2017

    Snallygaster is back this weekend, now in a different location on Pennsylvania Ave by the Mall. Everybody else in my regular Snally crew is out of town this weekend, so I didn't get tickets to make an early day of it. Since it's now in walking distance I might stroll down when general admission opens to sample the 3 or 4 beers that really pique my interest and then bug out. This year was going to be the year I volunteered, but alas there are too many other obligations that day. Apropos of this, I did a column count on the number of times "hazy" appears in a beer description from the spreadsheet posted on the site. Roughly one out of every SIX beers being poured this year is a hazy IPA/DIPA. A full 2/3 (!!!) of the total number of IPAs being poured are "hazy" 🤨
  4. This is funny, because a storefront on 18th St in Adams Morgan recently recycled some of the wrought iron work from Blackie's! I wonder where Auger originally got it? The Google street view isn't up to date, but it's a vintage clothing shop just south of Amsterdam falafel called Mercedes Bien.
  5. In my experience their breakfast service was only ever active between 7-9 or so (but I haven't been that early in a few years). You probably caught them in break down/transition to lunch and got Kosta-ed.
  6. Inevitable. The season was all but done a couple of weeks ago and they weren’t going to re-sign Gio. He was a great addition during the early part of the 201x playoff run, but .... The Madson deal surprised me more. The bullpen continues to be a Rubik’s cube for this franchise, one that never seems to get solved. Hopefully they stick with Doolittle at least. 2019’s team is going to be new and interesting!
  7. TedE

    Video Door Bells

    We've had a Ring Pro at the front door plus another one of the stick-up cameras out back for a little over a year now. I researched basically all of the options available and settled on the Ring because a) we didn't have an existing doorbell and I was fine DIY-ing running the circuit to make that happen, and b) the motion zones seemed to be the most configurable of everything we looked at. I was very close to choosing the Arlo system, but read about too many bad experiences with battery life. An active camera that I have to get up on a ladder to charge every couple of months wasn't appealing. What finally settled it was the availability of a small solar panel to charge the Ring remote camera that wasn't hard-wired. I'm thinking about picking up one of the security light/camera combos for our driveway as well. Pros Doorbell notifications work well. Sometimes it is slow to connect when you are away from wifi, but we can get a notification on our phones, pull up the app and be talking to the person at the door in about 5 seconds Motion zones are very configurable on the wired Pro model. I was basically able to create a path that alerts to anybody setting walking up our front pathway and onto the porch, but also excludes the front path for the townhouse next door. The remote camera not so much (see below) Alert notifications also pretty configurable, even down to times of day if you want to set up the schedules (only alerts you to motion events from 8-6 on weekdays while at work, etc.) Solar panel set up keeps the remote camera fully charged even with limited sunlight exposure (it only needs a couple hours a day to top off it seems) Cons Yearly subscription is required if you want any meaningful recording history; I really wanted a HDD system to keep local recordings, but nothing fit the bill Resolution on the stick up camera is pretty bad; ours out back gets basically washed out by a nearby floodlight at night; motion zones on that one also not as configurable, so I had to dial back the range in order to not pick up every car driving down the alley Wifi signal needs to be very strong. We had to get a wireless repeater and place it basically in line of sight for the front door in order to not get constant disconnect errors. Remote camera was a little more forgiving, but probably because of the lower resolution. This was a big drawback Ultimately I wanted a fully wired camera set up and a local HDD with remote capabilities, but running the cables everywhere we wanted would have been a real pain (old masonry row house). Ring was the best of the wireless options I found, but not perfect. I wish I could have test driven the Arlo system as well as they are cheaper and more easily extendable.
  8. I would love to see the industry buck the hype trend on a large scale, but I guess we'll see. It's interesting reading about the rift that hazy beers have exposed in some corners of the brewing industry. Clarity is often seen as one of the hallmarks of traditional beer craftsmanship, and deliberately promoting haze or suspension is seen as downright lazy in some circles. Especially when adjunct material, usually flaked oats, is thrown in with the express purpose of making it look like pulp-heavy OJ. The beers often also have an extremely short shelf life; they oxidize very quickly and are prone to fall out of suspension or undergo severe flocculation after canning. "But it's a new style! You have to judge it for what it is!", the proponents say. They're not wrong, but it ignores the criticism regarding how they are often made. Built-in glycol chillers have been standard for at least a couple of decades now; it's the best way a small operation can cost-effectively control fermentation. And those things really work! Last year I was at a nano-brewery outside of Tampa and their entire brewing system was outside, with nothing but a corrugated metal roof protecting the tanks from the South Florida heat.
  9. That is what kills me: the stuff that is hardest to make well (pick any traditional lagered beer) will never be an "it" beer in the beer hype machine that is currently driving sales and trans-continental beer trades. Part of that is perfectly OK; variety is the spice of life and all that. The bleeding edge gets the ink. But a batch of Kölsch is never going to sell out in an afternoon for $25-30 a 4-pack in this country. To a new-ish micro trying to pay the bills, why would you try to brew one?? I fear as time goes by that these regional breweries will get succumb to increased pressure, but a large part of me knows that these beers will survive in some shape or form because they are generally approachable and have stood the test of time. I don't foresee any drastic increase in their popularity, though. Earlier this spring I walked into Right Proper and noticed that they had a hazy DIPA on tap. My heart sank just a bit. Even though it was a very good beer it was like an unwelcome intrusion from the World of Hype.
  10. This is one of my favorite movies. I don't think I've seen it in over a decade, though, but this reminds me to watch it again soon. It's also one of those movies where it is almost impossible to describe to somebody who has never seen it why it is a nigh perfect comedy; the plot description or scene breakdown borders on lunacy. The rapport and timing amongst the leads are what drive it. The pseudo-sequel Strange Creatures is almost worth a watch (same leads, but unrelated plot). It shows flashes of the same brilliance, but never puts it all together in a memorable way.
  11. And he's back for 1 year/$1 million plus some room for bonuses. Traded to a team that bought out his contract, then re-signed for about an 80% savings on said original contract. Sports contract economics are f'ing weird, man.
  12. While I would love to see it happen, I don't share your optimism about where brewing trends are headed in this country. We're into the second or maybe even third decade of "extreme" beers being all the rage in the beer geek world, and I don't see that changing; somebody will just find another boundary to push. Nobody is reviving classic styles and seeing them flourish as is. Walk into any well stocked beer store and count the number of goses on the shelves this season ("What is a phrase I never thought I'd ever utter 5 years ago?", Alex). Now count how many of them are just classic interpretations of the style as opposed to a fruited or adjunct-flavored version. I would bet the ratio is at least 5:1, probably closer to 8:1, in favor of adjunct recipes (locally, Union Brewing's Old Pro gose is a nice classic rendition; Anderson Valley's The Kimmie, The Yink and the Holy Gose was one of the first widely distributed U.S. goses and it still holds up very well). It mirrors the hazy IPA trend I noted above where the style rose to prominence quickly and then was almost immediately dragged into a race to "innovate". And then there are the myriad versions of regular IPAs with fruit adjuncts that have popped up, mostly "citrus IPAs". That doesn't even touch the Imperial Stout trend where it's getting to be hard to find one that has not been "enhanced" with coffee or cocoa nibs or aged in bourbon barrels. Could a U.S. brewery even survive just by producing traditional German or English beers? I'm not so sure anymore. Some older breweries still produce a primary portfolio of these styles (locally I can think of Oliver off the top of my head), but have moved beyond that to stay relevant. It's more likely that brewers with an interest and a taste for bocks, mild ales or dunkels will brew them in smaller quantities alongside a more diverse, trend-friendly selection (see: Bluejacket). I just don't think anybody goes into that thinking they will be best sellers, or that they'll get free publicity from the "haze bros" on Instagram.
  13. Don, do you like sour beers? The proliferation of sour and spontaneously fermented offerings has been almost as dramatic as the great hop wars of a decade ago. There is a TON of really interesting stuff out there, but there is also a ton of breweries hopping on that bandwagon and producing middling or toned down versions of classics (for the good stuff locally visit Right Proper). It's true that a there is a real lack of breweries specializing in Old World, malt-forward styles that aren't 15% abv. bourbon-barrel-aged Imperial stouts. You are hard pressed to find a decent bock, marzen or English mild ale on the market. That's a shame (pour one out again for the dearly departed DeGroen's ...). But like you say above, breweries are chasing the money, which means chasing the market. ad.mich is right on the nose about the way that the beer "press" is different than the wine world. It is in every sense of the modern word dominated by "influencers", and those tastes seem to get narrower and narrower every day with a new flavor of the month popping up on a yearly basis or so. Somebody is going to make a case study one day out of the rapid rise of the East Coast or "hazy/juicy" IPA. Popularized only a few years ago from a select group of breweries in New England, it's created such a crazed frenzy among a pretty small subset of beer geeks that even big players like Sierra Nevada and Sam Adams have jumped into the fray, and it's even a recognized style at GABF (from inception to canonization in about 10 years!). The formula seems simple: get lots of buzz about one or two really good offerings, post lots on Instagram, institute a strict allotment for newly released brews and, voila: lines down the block on a random Thursday that will see you sell out literally whatever you choose to can in tallboys for $20-30 a 4-pack. It's a positive feedback loop, because even when the beers are not good the loudest voices downplay the obvious negatives. It doesn't matter because the line will be there next week no matter what, often to sell or trade at a profit in beer swaps. Once you reach "whale" status it all goes wonky. I'm all for innovation, but I've had some of this stuff and, frankly, it's cloyingly sweet crap. I mean, does this sound good to you?: But the beers look interesting in a glass, the can art is usually unique and the names are often whimsical. I fear that has become all that matters: if you sample a beer without posting evidence online, does it have any taste at all? As long as it gets the 'Likes' Yes, I'm a cranky beer lover, but this stuff astounds me. And it's ALL over the place these days. The frustrating thing is that breweries like Tired Hands do produce some outstanding offerings; they rightfully got their reputation somewhere, but that has been overwhelmed by chasing the the loudest, most extreme market which, IMHO, has questionable taste. They are printing money hand over fist, though, so if these breweries continue make some good beers I will look the other way ... with a strong side of stink eye.
  14. I followed that as much as it related to the new Guinness theme park opening soon. I didn't realize that the compromise didn't extend to smaller brewers. Union Brewing just opened a huge tap room in the old Pepsi distribution warehouse. I guess MD brewers can still expand up to a point. The fight is over how much product they can sell directly, correct?
  15. TedE

    Smuggling Cheese

    My mom was a French teacher and had lots of friends and contacts in France, so growing up we took several family vacations there. One of the families we would visit lived in Annecy and knew one of the Beaufort producers; we would usually end up visiting their farm. Since you couldn't get Beaufort stateside back then, she would smuggle a huge wedge in her large handbag (like 2-3 pounds worth). That thing spent whatever time we had remaining traveling with us on ice, and then was wrapped in several layers and sometimes a souvenir tea towel for the flight home. This was in the 80s, and I don't ever remember us having an issue.