Monday, December 29, 2008

2008: The Year In Review

What did happened at MBR last year? Well, we joined the Facebook crowd. Come check us out, get the latest MBR news and some exclusive Facebook content.

Most Commented:
8 Comments: 1/20/2008: Since It's So Cold Out, Let's Talk About Snowshoes - a post about New Glarus' Snowshoe Red Ale and labels turned out some great commentary on where to buy beer around town
8 Comments: 9/12/2008: Audience Participation: Beer Cocktails - from the disgusting Bud Light Chelada to Brasserie V's sophisticated Beer Floats and everything in between draws a great discussion
7 Comments: 10/15/2008: How To Sell Beer For $700 A Bottle - an article looking at labels and marketing and pricing in the wine industry and how little things turn into big bucks turned into a fascinating discussion between drinkers, brewers and retailers about labeling and pricing and the agriculture and consuming culture of beer
7 Comments: 3/14/2008: Audience Participation - Random Beer - A recommendation from Brennan's turns into a lively discussion on that beer that in retrospect we wonder how we ever came across it (Coors Arctic Ice?!)
7 Comments: 2/1/2008: I Really Want To Like JT Whitneys - Pent up frustration over the inconsistent quality at JT Whitneys Brewpub brings in quite a few "me too"s from the gallery and some great comments from ex-brewery staff

Further Makeweight and Three Feet Deep, Sand Creek Oscar's Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, New Glarus Showshoe Ale, Heavyweight Brewing Company's Perkuno's Hammer and Victory Baltic Thunder, Tyranena Dirty Old Man Imperial Rye Porter, New Glarus Imperial Weizen, Ale Asylum Bamboozelator, Capital Platinum Blonde, Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Stout, Aventinus Eisbock, Kapuziner Bavarian Hefeweizen, Bud Chelada, New Glarus Hop Hearty IPA and New Holland Existential Ale, Furthermore Oscura, New Glarus Berliner Weisse, Tyranena Scurvy, Capital Rustic Ale, Hacker-Pschorr Sternweisse, Viking Weathertop Wheat, Central Waters Glacial Trail IPA, Minocqua Wild Rice Lager, Minocqua Scotch Ale, Viking Invader Doppelbock, Rowland's Calumet Oktoberfest, Delafied Oatmeal Stout, Capital Autumnal Fire, Leinie's Fireside Nut Brown, New Glarus Alt, Ale Asylum Mercy Grand Cru, New Glarus Apple Ale, Lake Louie Louie's Reserve, Tyranena Spank Me Baby Barleywine, Lakefront Fuel Coffee Stout, Central Waters Coffee Stout, Lakefront Bridge Burner Old Ale, Ayinger Celebrator, Radeburger, Tucher Bajuvator, New Glarus Organic

Least Sagacious Post
2/4/2008 - This Imperial Post - a post praising the fact that "Thankfully Wisconsin breweries are mostly free of the habits of others to develop 'imperial' version of beers that are in no way 'big' beers." Only to have a number of Wisconsin breweries turn around and produce "imperial" wheat beers, "imperial" alts, "imperial" rye porters, "imperial" saisons, and others. In the exact same post I lamented the fact that Stone Brewing Company was not available in Wisconsin.Then, later in the year, to much fanfare, Stone's beer became available here.

Most Sagacious Post
7/9/2008 - Drinkability - The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel had run an article about Stevens Point Brewery and mis-applied the definition of "drinkability" - and we drew the distinction between "drinkability" (do you want another one) and "sessionability" (do you want another one right now) and talked about how low drinkability is not necessarily a bad thing and high sessionability is not necessarily a good thing; little did I know that Budweiser would soon take this same misapplication to a whole new level.

Biggest Industry News of the Year
5/29/2008 - Anheuser-Busch is purchased by InBev. While this doesn't seem to have much impact on the craft industry, it will, in all likelihood, actually end up being good for craft brewers as InBev will turn Budweiser into more of a global brand with less particular emphasis on the United States market, thus opening up some marketing room for the craft industry.

Theme for the Year: Agriculture and the Brewing Industry
We talked about New Glarus' Oraganic Revolution and the Adnams' Green Beer and the meaning of Organic; we even saw City Brewery in LaCrosse using its Biogas to add energy to the grid. Then, at the beginning of the summer we looked at Dave Anderson's BrewFarm - a sustainable farm and brewery being put together in Wilson, Wisconsin. Then agriculture really started rearing its head in late July. We had posts on the use of local wheat and other Wisconsin grains (for example in the Minocqua Wild Rice Lager). Then we had two posts in October about agriculture, commodification, and geographic indications. We raised this issue again in November when we talked about Ale Asylum's Mercy Grand Cru. As the craft beer industry becomes more and more sophisticated these issues are going to keep coming up; this year laid a good foundation for that discussion.

Topic of the Year: Binge Drinking
Wisconsin took a lot of flak this year for being number one in the nation in binge drinking. Again. We talked about this in the context of beer taxes on a number of occasions. We discussed alcohol content and the misnomer of what a "drink" is. We talked about what happens when the appropriate serving size is mistakenly a pitcher. We even proposed a solution that appears to have at least the support to debate its merits from college and university presidents: lower the drinking age. Of course, to throw wood on the fire, the University of Wisconsin announced they were going to start teaching college kids how to by-pass the bars entirely and brew their own beer for class credit. And then finally, it was "officially" made a big deal by both the New York Times and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Next post we'll cover some MBR Awards for 2008.

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