Friday, July 29, 2011

Five Gallons At A Time: Audience Participation

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In January of 2010, I learned that my daughter has a terminal genetic disorder called Niemann-Pick Disease, Type A. Two months later, my wife and I dropped to part-time employment so one of us would always be home with her. Currently, we each work three days a week and it's probably going to stay that way for another year or two.

Bigger problems aside, the fact that I can only work part-time prevents me from becoming a major decision-maker in a brewery (brewmaster, quality manager, etc). Not being a major decision-maker means that I don't get to spend time at work reading about brewing science, researching new technologies, performing experiments, solving mathematical problems, analyzing data or designing process improvements. In other words, I haven't done much on-the-job learning over the last two years. When you've been a professional a brewer for six years, having a mid-level brewing job isn't the same educational rush that it used to be.

I'm still growing as a brewer, mostly by trying to exceed my comfort zone when I brew at home, but it's not happening very quickly. I'll probably only brew eight or nine batches at home this year, and I no longer have much time to keep up with scientific journals or attend conferences. Most of the articles I write for MBR are based on knowledge that I acquired in a former life, and I'm running low on new content. So... are there any subjects you'd like me to cover? Before you answer the question, here are some guidelines that help me decide whether or not a given topic is worth addressing here:

-It should have practical implications for most homebrewers. Water chemistry is broadly applicable, damnit, but counting yeast cells with a microscope isn't.
-If you can read about it in popular brewing literature such as Zymurgy or How to Brew, there's no need for me to duplicate it here.
-For the most part, commentating on the activities of commercial breweries is a conflict of interest. I can't talk about the inner-workings of Ale Asylum either.

Let me know if you have any ideas, either in the comments or via email. It might take me a while to tackle issues that require a lot of research, but I'll get to them eventually. If you leave me hangin', I'll probably write about my recent experience with turbid mashing. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a threat.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pre-Great Taste 2011 #6 - More Free Tickets

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From Vintage Brewing Company:

Our "European Vacation" Beer Dinner (and a chance to win)

Following our "Tour of the USA" beer dinner theme last month, we're on a "European Vacation" tour in August, featuring VBC's European-style brews paired with regionally fitting Euro-cuisine. Even better, due to the continuing popularity of these fun and flavorful events, we've decided to add a second beer dinner. Our next round will be on 2 dates, Tuesday 8-2 at 6pm, and Wednesday 8-3 at 7pm. We are selling out quickly - so reserve your seats today by calling (608-204-BREW) or by stopping in!

What courses might you expect at our upcoming beer dinner?
  • "Belgium"- Steamed mussels with frites and wild mushrooms, served with homemade Euro-style aioli, paired with "Rochambeau" Belgian Pale Ale...from the archives, and only available to Beer Dinner guests!
  • "Scotland"- Rack of lamb in our Wee Heavy mustard marinade, roasted Yukon Gold spuds, paired with "Wee Heavy" Scotch Ale...that's right, another archive beer only available to Beer Dinner guests!
  • "Finland"- Seared venison with a ragout of parsnip, green onion, juniper and lingonberry, paired with our "Summer Sahti" Juniper Rye Beer.
  • "Germany"- Dessert with "inside-out" Black Forest torte, paired with our new "Schwarzfahren" German-style Black Beer.

AND.... if all that good stuff is not tempting enough ....

Maybe this is? One lucky Beer Dinner attendee will win 2 tickets to the SOLD OUT Great Taste of the Midwest beer festival!! Each paid ticket will receive one ticket to enter in a random drawing that will take place on Thursday 8-4! The winner will be announced immediately thereafter!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pre-Great Taste 2011 #5 - Want to Win Some Tickets to the Great Taste?

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Capital Tap Haus: Join Capital Brewery Brewmaster, Kirby Nelson, at the Capital Tap Haus, 107 State Street, on Friday, August 12th from 5-7pm and sample (direct from the lagering tank) 2011 Eternal Flame. ***You may (or may not) want to note that the first 50 people through the door receive a complimentary Capital Brewery souvenir glass. They are also running $2.50 pints of Supper Club all day as well.

The Beer Spot at Brickhouse: It turns out that announcing Half Acre was a little premature. As it turns out, they will not be at Brickhouse. You can go here to find out the taplist for Nebraska Brewing Co.

Tipsy Cow: Rumor has it that Dark Horse and Furthermore will be joining New Holland. This is unconfirmed by anyone "official" but the source is pretty reliable. Would someone "Official" (Aran?) like to confirm?

Finally, you can win some tickets to the Great Taste. How? I'm glad you asked:

GREAT TASTE TICKET PROMOTION FROM FRIDAY AUGUST 5TH THROUGH TO THE GREAT TASTE PRE-PARTY AT DEXTER'S FRIDAY AUGUST 12TH 8P-12P

Great Taste Ticket Giveaway

Starting Friday, August 5th there will be 8 Pearl Street beers on tap:
DTB Brown Ale
Pearl Street Pale Ale
El Hefe Hefeweizen
That's What I'm Talkin' 'bout Organic Rolled Oat Stout
Rubber Mills Pils
Tambois Raspberry Frambois
Dankenstein Double IPA
Holy MALTrimony Altbeir

Each time someone orders a Pearl Street Beer - all week long - they get a chance to win a pair of tickets to the Great Taste! Each Pearl Street is served with a little entry form - they put their name and email on it and it goes in a box behind the bar. Must be at the Pearl Street Party on Friday to win!

Friday, August 12th 8-Midnight
Pearl Street Party!
Live music by La Crosse and Madison collaboration band - "The Organic Banana Quartet featuring members of Smokin' Bandits and Clovis Mann

We have a door man taking names at the door. Every 20 minutes, we'll give away a door prize all night long. We'll have PSB, Summit and Dexters swag.

At 10:45 we do a special tapping of the infamous Bedwetter Barleywine!

Every Pearl Street Beer sold all night is a chance to win a pair of Great Taste tickets.
Drawing for GT tickets is at midnight. Must be present to win.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pre-Great Taste 2011 #4 - The Hits Just Keep On Comin'

2 comments
Well, here's another set of Pre-Parties on Friday Night. Once most of them are in (and I know there's still a lot out there), I'll put together a comprehensive list.

Glass Nickel Pizza (2916 Atwood Ave, Near East) - Founders Brewing Co (Grand Rapids, MI)

Tipsy Cow (102 King St, Downtown) - New Holland Brewing Co (New Holland, MI)

The Coopers Tavern (20 West Mifflin St, Downtown) - Lagunitas Brewing Co (Petaluma, CA)

Jordans Big Ten Pub (1330 Regent St, Near West) - Jolly Pumpkin (Dexter, MI) and Upland Brewing Co (Bloomington, IN) will bring some special lambics and a milk stout for you to sample.

Old Fashioned (23 N Pinckney St, Downtown) - Hinterland (Green Bay, WI)

Brasserie V (1923 Monroe St, Near West) - Shelton Brothers Importers

Alchemy Cafe (1980 Atwood Ave, Near East) - Potosi Brewing Co (Potosi, WI) - The Alchemy Cafe will be hosting the Potosi Brewing Co. preparty on Friday August 12th at 8pm. Later in the evening(around 11) the band Nuggernaut will be playing some funk/jazz

Tempest (formerly Magnus) (120 E Wilson St, Downtown) - O'so Brewing Co (Plover, WI) - 8 O'so lines with very Rare O'so Beers and a fundraiser with some proceeds going the Underground Kitchen

Another Thursday Night Event has been added as well:
The Malt House - Upland Brewing Co (Bloomington, IN)

Some Updates on Previous Announcements:

Drackenbergs - to quote Nate Peck, Assistant Brewer of Sand Creek Brewery, "I will sweeten the pot by saying that Sand Creek will be providing some very special beers. One very special beer will be in a very special barrel and will be available for the first time only at Drackenbergs." Potosi Brewing Co will be at Drackenbergs from 6pm to 7:30pm.

The Beer Spot @ Brickhouse - in addition to Central Waters, Nebraska Brewing Co, and Shorts, you will have the fine pleasure of Half Acre Brewing Co (Chicago, IL) as well.

What the Heck Is Going On At Capital?

10 comments
Apparently Carl Nolen was fired. Now he wants to buy Capital.

WTF?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Five Gallons At A Time: Maintaining Hoppiness

3 comments
When it comes to hops, brewers are mostly interested in two things: alpha acids and essential oils. In a nutshell, alpha acids provide bitterness while essential oils provide flavor and aroma. That being the case, I'm surprised by how many brewers account for seasonal variability by keeping the alpha acid contributions of each kettle addition the same from batch to batch. A better way to achieve consistent hoppiness, especially for beers where hop flavor and aroma are important, is to keep the total oil contributions of each hop addition the same from batch to batch - except for the primary bittering addition - and adjust the primary bittering addition to maintain the overall IBU level.

Suppose a brewer makes a great 5-gallon batch of IPA with the following hop bill:

1.5 oz Magnum hops, 14% alpha acids, boiled for 60 minutes -> 44 IBUs
3.9 oz Centennial hops, 8% alpha acids, added in the whirlpool -> 16 IBUs
2.0 oz Centennial hops, 8% alpha acids, dry-hopped -> 0 IBUs

The following year, the brewer wants to reproduce the batch. However, the new crop of Magnum are 12% alpha acids and the new crop of Centennial are 10% alpha acids. If the brewer tries to maintain alpha acid consistency instead of total oil consistency, the hop bill will look like this:

1.7 oz Magnum hops, 12% alpha acids, boiled for 60 minutes -> 44 IBUs
3.1 oz Centennial hops, 10% alpha acids, added in the whirlpool -> 16 IBUs
2.0 oz Centennial hops, 10% alpha acids, dry-hopped -> 0 IBUs

If the oil content of the Centennials remains constant, the beer will have fewer hop oils than the previous batch. In other words, the new batch won't be as hoppy. Unfortunately, hop brokers don't often provide information on total oil content. Commercial brewers can ask for it (although it seems that few do), but homebrewers have less leverage because they don't buy directly from brokers. If you don't have oil data, you can assume the oil levels of a given variety will stay the same from purchase to purchase. Back to our example, maintaining the Centennial oil contributions of the original batch and adjusting the Magnums to compensate for IBU fluctuations will result in the following hop bill:

1.6 oz Magnum hops, 12% alpha acids, boiled for 60 minutes -> 40 IBUs
3.9 oz Centennial hops, 10% alpha acids, added in the whirlpool -> 20 IBUs
2.0 oz Centennial hops, 10% alpha acids, dry-hopped -> 0 IBUs

Note that the weights of Centennials are the same as the initial batch. That's the result of our assumption that oil levels remain constant. Keeping the weight of each late hop addition the same works well as long as you don't switch varieties. However, what if you want to use Cascade instead of Centennial but still keep the hop "intensity" the same? A good resource is the HopUnion Hop Variety Data Booklet, which you can download here. You can see that the middle value for total oil content of Centennials is 1.9 mL/100 g and the corresponding value for Cascades is 1.15 mL/100 g. To adjust the hop bill, multiply the Centennial weights by 1.9 and divide by 1.15 to end up with the following values:

1.6 oz Magnum hops, 12% alpha acids, boiled for 60 minutes -> 40 IBUs
6.4 oz Cascade hops, 6% alpha acids, added in the whirlpool -> 20 IBUs
3.3 oz Cascade hops, 6% alpha acids, dry-hopped -> 0 IBUs

Again, the Magnum addition was adjusted to maintain an overall bitterness of 60 IBUs. That's how to maintain hoppiness!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pre-Great Taste 2011 #3 - A Leak

8 comments
So I got an email from an ... unnamed ... source leaking the full list of beer that will be available during the Pre-Great Taste and at the Taste from just ONE brewery (the names of beer and the brewery will be withheld to protect the leak) - any guesses? Those paying attention to MBR should be able to guess:

[Ed Note: Sorry for the confusion; thanks for the clarification, Scotty]

Friday Night At Bar #1, "Currently available on tap"
Kolsch
4.75% abv, 1.045 OG, 16 IBU's
Light, crisp German Kolsch.  In a world gone mad...behold!  "Normal" beer flavor.
Wit
4.7% abv, 1.044 OG, 11 IBU's
Belgian Wit, mild citrus and spice, soft as fluffy clouds on a summer day.
English Ale
5.7% abv, 1.050 OG, 34 IBU's
English Summer Ale, classic golden ale with lively hop presence
Schwarz
5.4% abv, 1,048 OG, 29 IBU's
German "Schwarzbier" black lager, smooth with subtle roasty undertones
Weiss
5.5% abv, 1.050 OG  14 IBU's
Bavarian Hefeweizen, wheat beer with distinctive and delicious fruity character.
Oatmeal Stout
6.0% abv, 1.065 OG, 30 IBU's
Hearty and full-bodied oatmeal stout.  Judged "Best of the Midwest" at US Beer Tasting Championships.
Farmhouse
5.4% abv, 1.056 OG, 8 IBU's
Rare Finnish farmhouse ale, rustic rye ale spiced with juniper- surprisingly refreshing!
IPA
6.5% abv, 1.062 OG, 65 IBU's
Our unique hybrid IPA, brewed with English/US ingredients and 2 types of oak.  A must try!
Belgian Dark
7.0% abv, 1.072 OG, 32 IBU's
Belgian-style specialty dark ale, complex, engaging, worthy of savoring.
Saison
6.1% abv, 1.050 OG, 24 IBU's
Inspired farmhouse ale made with hibiscus flower petals; crisp, dry, champagne-like, pink!
Oktoberfest
6.0% abv, 1.056 OG, 25 IBU's
Classic malty amber festival-style lager.  Judged "National Grand Champion" at US Beer Tasting Championships.
Friday Night At Bar #2 "Archived beers- only available at GTMW!"
Red
6.7% abv, 1.065 OG, 45 IBU's
Hopped-up American red ale, malts-o-plenty and 6 types of hops.  Archived since 4-15-11!
Bock 1
6.9% abv, 1.064 OG, 28 IBU's
Maibock-style strong golden lager with a crisp noble hop bite.  Archived since 7-1-11!
Black IIPA
8.2% abv, 1.075 OG, 100+ IBU's
Imperial Black IPA, massive PacNW hop punch balanced with shadowy shades of dark malt.
Belgian Pale
5.8% abv, 1.052 OG, 30 IBU's
Belgian Pale Ale, hopped exclusively with lemony Sorachi Ace variety.  Archived since 3-21-11!
American Pale Ale
6.4% abv, 1.061 OG, 44 IBU's
Well-rounded American Pale Ale with bright hoppy character.  Certain to be archived by GTMW.
Wheat
5.6% abv, 1.057 OG, 13 IBU's
Peat-smoked Scottish ale brewed with wheat; distinctive Islay whiskey finish.  Certain to be archived by GTMW.
Dunkelweiss
5.5% abv, 1.055 OG, 18 IBU's
Robust Bavarian-style dark wheat ale, with shades of banana, clove, chocolate, vanilla.  Archived since?
Irish Red
5.1% abv, 1.049 OG, 19 IBU's
Irish-style red with exceptionally smooth character.  Never bitter, always ready to party.  Archived since?
Rye
4.7% abv, 1.054 OG, 20 IBU's
Flavorful Bavarian rye beer with earthy, spicy malt flavors.  Our winter seasonal- Archived since 3-10-11!!
Bock 2
6.9% abv, 1.067 OG, 23 IBU's
Dunkles bock lager with an awesome depth of malt flavors.  Our "hunting season" beer.  Archived since 1-27-11!
Altbier
5.4% abv, 1.056 OG, 43 IBU's
Dusseldorf-style Altbier, throwback German amber ale with refined character.  Certain to be archived by GTMW.
Bourbon Barrel-aged Stout
est 11% abv
Russian Imperial Stout, aged 6+ months in bourbon barrel, a marvel of strength and complexity.  Only on tap here!
Small-volume timed limited releases:
1:23 pm  RauchWeizenbock...8.1% abv  Smooth, subtle smoky notes.  Aged 8 months!
2:22 pm  Rye-whiskey barrel aged Abbey Dubbel...est 10.5% abv.  6+ months in barrel- wow!
3:21 pm  Wee Heavy...8.2% abv.  Scotch ale, sweet decadent satisfaction, archived since 5-30-11
4:32 pm  Apple Brandy Barrel aged Abbey Dubbel...est 10.5% abv.  6+ months in barrel- wowx2!
Casks in the real ale tent:
"Finnegan's Wakeboard (part 2)"- Irish Red with Northdown dry hops.  Approx abv 5.2%
"The Schwarz Will Rise Again"- Schwarzbier with "Confederate Coffee" aka chicory.  Approx abv 5.4%
"Hopped Up Girl"- ESB with Goldings dry hops.  Approx abv 5.7%

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pre-Great Taste 2012 #2

8 comments
The events just keep on coming ...

These are all on Friday Night:

Dexters (301 North St, Near East) - Pearl Street Brewery (La Crosse, WI) and Summit Brewing Co (Twin Cities)

Argus Bar (123 E Main St, Downtown) - Three Floyds Brewing Co (Munster, IN)

Paradise Lounge (119 W Main St, Downtown) - August Schell Brewing Co (New Ulm, MN)

Maduro (117 E Main St, Downtown) - Bells Brewing Co (Kalamazoo, MI)

Malt House (2609 E Washington Ave, Near East) - Lakefront Brewing Co (Milwaukee, WI)

Capital Tap Haus (107 State Street, Downtown) - Capital Brewing Co (Middleton, WI)

Drackenberg's Cigar Bar (605 N. Sherman Ave, East Side) - Sand Creek Brewing Co (Black River Falls, WI) and Potosi Brewing Co (Potosi, WI)

An update on the Brickhouse BBQ event (already!):
Brickhouse BBQ (408 W Gorham St, Downtown) - Central Waters Brewing Co (Amherst, WI), Shorts Brewing Co (Bellaire, MI), and Nebraska Brewing Co (Papillion, NE): This year we are upping the ante. There will me more taps offered toour friends at Central Waters Brewing Company, Short's Brewing Company, and Nebraska Brewing Company. While I cannot say with 100% certainty what will be on tap (we have a good idea, but you know how these things can be), from our discussions with the breweries, I can say that it will be bigger and better than last year's party.

On Thursday you can start your Pre-Pre Great Taste Festivities off with a free tasting of Central Waters Brewing Company (Amherst, WI) from 4pm to 7pm at Star Liquor (1209 Williamson St, Near East)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pre-Great Taste 2012 - Let the Parties Begin

6 comments
So, it's what? July 14th? You will be happy to know that your favorite bars and restaurants are already making plans for you to have entirely too much fun on August 12, 2011 - the night before the day when a ton people who are capable of waking up earlier than you and have the patience to stand in a line at 6am will be drinking at one of the awesomest beer festivals in the known universe.

So who gets the privilege of "first"?

It goes to the fine folks over at The Beer Spot who have again booked The Brickhouse - perhaps one of the most underrated beer bars in all of Madison. It is not yet known which brewery will be on tap (last year they had Central Waters), so keep an eye out for that.

In the meantime, rest assured that you will have at least one pre-party to go to.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Grrrr...Open Thread: Coffee Beer

11 comments
So, I had a great review planned for today about Lake Louie's Mosquito Beach. I got the article completely written, got out the perfect glassware, then realized I didn't actually have a Mosquito Beach. I could have sworn I had one; must have had that the other night ...

While I track down another sixer of Mosquito Beach, why don't we talk about your Favorite Coffee Beer.

My favorite coffee beer is Furthermore's Oscura. Sorry everyone, but I'm not a big stout fan. Interestingly, Oscura is also a California Common/Steam Beer/Vapor Beer (as is Mosquito Beach). It is one of the few coffee beers that is not a stout or porter and I think Aran Madden did a fantastic job of finding that right balance between coffee and beer.

What's your favorite coffee beer?

 + 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Press Release Tuesday: In Case You Were Wondering...

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Direct from the Milwaukee Firkin Fest (which, I have to admit, I don't really understand, because it's not a Real Ale festival, but that's neither here nor there):

--------------START PRESS RELEASE--------------

http://milwaukeefirkin.com/charter-bus.html

Yes, you can get a bus from Madison straight to the doors of Firkin Fest for $55 and it includes the price of the ticket. If you happen to find yourself in Racine, you can take a bus from there (including ticket) for $49. So, see? You have no reason not to go.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Potosi Steamboat Shandy

5 comments
My love for shandy is well-documented, though, granted, largely in my comments regarding Brewery Creek in Mineral Point, WI. Well, today we review another Shandy, this one a brand new concoction from Steve Buszka (sorry if I butchered the spelling Steve!) and Potosi Brewery.

Let's talk a minute about Potosi. Last year I wrote a two-day profile of the Potosi Brewery and Museum in Potosi, WI. If you haven't been there, you should go; it's summer, what else do you have going on?

But, the best thing about Potosi Brewing Company is this: they could have very easily been content to re-open with a kitschy, paean to pre-Prohibition lagers and traded on some gerrymandered remembrance of so-called old timers. They could have beaten a dead brand into the ground.

But Potosi got something right that all of the other "revival brands" got wrong. It was never about the beer. People didn't drink Berghoff, Esser's, Fauerbach, Walters, or Augsberger because it was good beer. It was fine beer, but it wasn't anything that we would consider "good" beer today. These breweries weren't beloved because they made good beer (even though many of them made decent beer), they were beloved because they were part of the community and had a following and community attachment that these brands have not had in their "revivals". This is what Potosi has gotten absolutely right.

It also helps that they make really good beer. They have been on a roll this year trotting out a new Porter last fall, a new Oatmeal Stout last winter, and a phenomenal Czech Pilsner (seriously, one of the best in Wisconsin). And, today we review the new Steamboat Shandy, a blend of Good Old Potosi and Lemonade (Lemon and Cane Sugar).

Potosi Steamboat Shandy
BA (NA). RB(NA).
Appearance: highly carbonated and bright yellow with a quick, foamy head; it looks nice in the glass, though, really, who out there isn't just drinking this straight from the bottle?
Aroma: fresh squeezed lemon, a hint of sugar, and an earthy undertone that's a little bready that makes this definitely not lemonade
Flavor: the beer is definitely in the forefront of the flavor with a lemony astringency; the lack of the all-too familiar syrupy-ness typically associated with modern shandies (think Leinenkugels) is a pleasant turn; heck, there's even a slight grassy hoppiness in there that compliments the lemon
Body: light and refreshing; the carbonation keeps it even lighter
Drinkability: quite refreshing; grabbing one of these things on a ridiculously hot day is actually quite pleasant (and I don't, as a rule, even like to drink beer on hot days); at a barbecue or a party, this would be great beer to throw in the mix.
Summary: What makes this beer a great shandy is that it doesn't overdo the lemonade; the beer very clearly comes through with a definite clean home-made lemonade tartness to quench your thirst when the temps hit the mid-90s with 90% humidity (much like today. blech). Interestingly, although Wisconsin's brewing tradition is definitely German in origin, we haven't adopted the German naming convention for this lemon/beer mixture. The Germans call it a "Radler".

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Beer in the (Madison) News

1 comments
Sorry to be so specifically "Madison" today. I recognize (unlike most of Madison) that a universe exists outside of this fine city. Despite being named "Madison" Beer Review, I try not to focus too much attention here (much like "Harvard" Business Review does not only report on Businesses that come from Harvard). But there were two bits in today's State Journal that I thought were interesting.

The Madison City Council has extended the Alcohol Density Plan for the time being. Basically, this plan acts to put limits on things like:

- How many liquor/beer licenses can be issued
- What kinds of establishments can be issued liquor licenses
- How long the city has to fill "expired" or "returned" licenses

The plan puts a cap on new alcohol licenses unless the establishment falls within a "protected class" such as a "movie theater" or "concert hall" or basically anything that isn't a "bar." The plan allows for up to seven new licenses in the Density Area (basically the Isthmus area including all of State Street) for such "protected" venues.

If this sounds like the city of Madison hates bars it's because ... well ... the City of Madison hates bars. They attract all the wrong sorts of people - habitual drunks, child molesters, and muggers. Thankfully habitual drunks, child molesters, and muggers never go to concerts, movies, or restaurants; we can safely allow alcohol there.

"We don't see any data that connects (the density plan) to reduced crime," said Mary Carbine, executive director of the city's Central Business Improvement District, at Tuesday's meeting. "We do see data that shows a tangible link between problem establishments and crime."

Read more: http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_b44f741e-a7bc-11e0-b754-001cc4c03286.html#ixzz1RKcW41Rr

That's right. Beer doesn't molest children, people molest children. It is possible to serve alcohol in a responsible manner; it is possible to consume alcohol in a responsible manner. Rather than focusing on the "type" of venue that can serve alcohol, it makes more sense to ensure that alcohol is being served in a responsible manner. I recognize that it is far easier to just regulate the "thing" (alcohol) than the actual problem, but, hey, like my mother once told me, nobody said life is easy.

Speaking of the Nanny-State. Turns out we have a Mayor with a brain. Mayor Paul Soglin wants to repeal a law passed last year that would require the police to keep and distribute (with photos!) a "no serve" list. An establishment would be fined if it served someone on the "no serve" list. We talked about this law last year when it was passed and I noted that: "The only 'crime' is being drunk too often - and for that we, as society, are going to pre-emptively, maybe, possibly, prevent someone from, maybe, committing the 'crime' of panhandling while intoxicated for the seventh time."

Mayor Soglin's far more reasoned take is that we should actually look at the root of the problem. What?! I know. Crazy talk.
Soglin said he first wants to explore all options to help a small group of habitually intoxicated people get access to treatment.

Read more: http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_8ff11650-a761-11e0-8cac-001cc4c002e0.html#ixzz1RKh4e27h"
Of course, this is, also, not without controversy. It is far easier to just say "No, Jimmy. You can't have beer today. You've already beaten up 6 people." Than to say, "Hey, dipshit, stop beating people up and get some help."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Week Off - The Reasons

1 comments
So, this has been a very, very busy summer for Madison Beer Review. In addition to generally busy summer-like stuff (I'm moving, sold my car, visit family, etc.) and the numerous Motion 414 stuff going on, more on this later, there are a few big projects in the works.

First, will be the unveiling of a quasi-related project called The National Beer Party. I could tell you more, but then I'd have to kill you. Suffice to say, it will be launching during The Great Taste of the Midwest and it will be awesome. It will be a new spin on an old model for providing some start-up capital in an industry with very little access to capital. It's just one piece, but it will be a blast.

Second, in conjunction with filmmaker Tim Tynan, MBR will be conducting some long-form brewery tours in Wisconsin. The first one will be a bus tour at the end of July and will visit Southwestern Wisconsin. Keep an eye out for more details.

I'm sure you've heard by now, but Motion 414 did not get vetoed and will now be law. So, get used to it. I'm not convinced that it's the end of the world and that the sky is falling. It's not nearly as "game-changing" as the Great Dane Bill was and it messes with business models in far more subtle ways. It will frustrate but rarely will it entirely negate new businesses.