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TedE

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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?
  8. 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.
  9. The G&T variants at Estadio have always been interesting and, more importantly, really good. I don't think I've ever been in there and not at least started off with one, even when the weather outside is decidedly not G&T-friendly.
  10. TedE

    The Fallacy of the Bases Fallacy

    Most years the team with the best record doesn't win the WS. I'd have to look it up again, but I think in the Wild Card era fewer than 6 teams with the best regular season record have won the WS. And I think it's only 50/50 that they make it out of the Division Series! Playoff baseball is a complete crap shoot. Don, I think the primary argument against the bases fallacy is that a walk is sometimes not as good as a hit, but the converse is almost never true (I'd have to think about that, but I think that is the case if you count actual hits and not fielder's choice, etc.). I think a walk with a man on second statistically reduces the chance that the man on second will score if there is 1 out (sets up the double play). I routine single to the outfield in the same at bat has a good chance of scoring the run. Of course Sabermetrics has to start somewhere.
  11. The Manny sweepstakes are heating up. Is he dealt before the ASG, leaving the O's without any representation? Will they get anything but table scraps in return, or some actual building blocks? Lots of teams could use his services as a rental. MLB rumors today had the Yankees looking to acquire him and Britton. If the O's play this right they might get some legit development talent. That's a big IF!
  12. The sarcasm didn't come through well enough on that one 🙂 But, seriously, they need to score lots more runs against teams that didn't tank their seasons before Spring Training opened. That or get more than 4 innings out of the non-3x Cy Young winning starters.
  13. NL East pecking order is surprisingly still holding true with the Nats clinging to 3rd place. "All Star Break" is a mere mental line in the sand, but it would be nice for them to be at or nearer to the top of the division by then. With the exception of Soto, he of the time-traveling MLB debut, bats have gone pretty cold. Herrera was an important pick up, but a lock down pen does little for you without a lead to protect. A team with this sort of firepower potential is on the wrong side of too many low-scoring games. Perhaps then, unsurprisingly, a stat that was flashed on the (*gag*) ESPN broadcast last night: last year Bryce hit something like .330 in the 7th inning and later. So far this year: .097, dead last in that particular ad hoc category. He's the worst hitter in the major leagues after the 6th inning!!!
  14. Some folks think he had his mind made up even before the Cup win. We know he wanted an extension last summer and didn't get one. You can't discount bad feelings about that if he thought it meant "A Cup or else!" after so much (Cup-less) success. Boz may have had it right and the Caps could have come hat in hand with an offer that nullified the extension in favor of something that would wipe the slate clean. I'm sure we'll never know. If he doesn't go to the Islanders he could also look for a position with the Seattle expansion in 2020, maybe with an ownership component.
  15. And then that was followed by the "Why Not?" '89 season where they went down to the wire for the East! That damn song still pops into my head every once in a while when I see the logo from that era. By measure of WAR/fWAR Chris Davis is on track to have the worst season EVER in MLB history (going back to 1901). THE WORST PLAYER-SEASON OF ALL TIME. The O's will still be paying him $4.5M in deferred money in 2032. They will pay him $1.4M in 2037. He is the new Bobby Bonilla. Manny Machado is gone next year. Things are not looking up in Charm City.
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