Is craft beer shrinking from success?

By , August 31, 2011 in Beer

It doesn’t really seem to make much sense at first blush, but craft beer, the fastest growing segment of the beer market, appears to be shrinking. Even though craft brewers’ sales continue to grow, their areas of distribution may be poised to get smaller. It’s about who will buy their beer. In the early years of the good beer renaissance here in the US, craft brewers had to take their beer to their audience. Then, as now, most of the beer drunk in the US was made by the few mega-brewers at the top of the feeding chain. Finding customers meant that the new brewers had to take their beer to as many markets as possible to connect with the handful of beer lovers who were looking for something new and different. At the same time, brewers were trying to educate the beer drinking public in the advantages of good… Read More »

Birth of a lager

By , August 30, 2011 in Beer

Actually, this is about the birth of all lager but, saying a lager just sounded better. The story goes this way. Beer, throughout most of human history, has been ale. When you hear anthropologists speculate that humans came out the hunting grounds and invented agriculture and therefore civilization, it was so they could make beer, they’re talking about ale. When Biblical historians state that “strong drink” in the Bible really meant beer, they’re talking about ale. In fact, any time beer is mentioned before around 500 years ago, it had to be ale because lager simply didn’t exist yet. (If you don’t know or were not aware of the difference between ale and lager check out Ale or Lager – What’s In a Name?) Until just this month, all that most of us really knew was that lager emerged from the brewers’ caves in Bavaria around 5 centuries ago. The… Read More »

The Vodka Watermelon: A Guide

By , August 29, 2011 in booze, drunk food, party, sangria, Vodka, whiskey

Many readers have been writing in and saying, “Don Julian! You have so much fun all the time! How do you do it? Can you provide a step by step tutorial on how I should do something fun?” And despite the fact that the previous sentence is completely fabricated, I will gladly oblige. Here is a step by step guide on how to make — the staple of many a raucous event — a vodka watermelon. PREP A. Attend a houseparty that has a large watermelon readily available. (NOTE: This is made easier if you’re friends with stupid hipsters. Hipsters have an annoying and inexplicable affinity for fresh produce, and only a stupid person would leave a watermelon in plain site at a house party). B. Eye the watermelon craftily and say, “Hey guys! When was the last time we made a vodka watermelon?”. (NOTE: Everyone will say it’s been… Read More »

Is this a fight a brewer should pick?

By , August 27, 2011 in Beer

Beer tends to cross all lines: political, gender, national, class, race, etc. Beer lovers, passionate beer lovers inhabit every station of the human condition. So, is it wise for a brewer to take a position on a politically fraught issue? I’m talking about fracking. No, not the lame slip past the censors by the writers of Battlestar Galactica. I’m talking about the very real practice of mining for natural gas by literally fracturing the earth. This has been going on for a while now in Pennsylvania, much to the chagrin of many residents of that state. Search YouTube for “burning faucet” and you’ll see what I’m talking about. The argument against fracking is that it not only releases natural gas into the hands of energy companies but, it also releases natural gas into the aquifers from which many people get their drinking water. Thus, we get flammable water, not to… Read More »

Beer is like… well, practically everything.

By , August 25, 2011 in Beer

This is about one of my pet peeves. Beer is the red-headed step-child of the drinks industry. For some reason, probably the price, beer has the reputation of being the basest form of alcohol. That might have been a defensible perception 30 years ago, but not today. The quality and selection of beer at most retailers easily rivals that of wine and certainly outpaces spirits. Even though quality beer that is every bit as good as fine wine is available almost everywhere, it is still treated as frat boy swill. Beer is the beverage of the worthless party animal; wine is the beverage of the sophisticate. This perception of beer will continue until we stop talking about beer with a wink and a giggle. I certainly don’t want to start talking about beer in the same way that wine snobs discuss their drink but, it’s time we start taking it… Read More »

Wedding Wasted: A Few Practical Tips

By , August 17, 2011 in party, wedding

Wedding Crashers is a work of fiction. Let’s get that out of the way right now. You are not as charming as Vince Vaughn. Your nose is not as charmingly deformed as Owen Wilson’s. Thus, you will never be able to sustain a social life based around the infiltration of strangers’ weddings. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you don’t have to crash weddings because you will be invited to them. And unless you are Amish, these weddings will have open bars (If you are Amish, I thank you for reading the Boozin Blog print newsletter!). Now, before you go running off to nudge all of your friends into matrimony, remember this: there is a fine line between “that guy who was a blast at the wedding” and “that guy who puked on the flower girl”. Follow these three arbitrary, not at all thorough tips at your… Read More »

Definitely a Bocce Ball Court

By , August 11, 2011 in party

On certain occasions, a night is filled with wild quotes and occurrences, but has no real unifying “story”. Recently, I had such a night. The below transcript is my attempt to share it with you. Dave is the wildest person I know. Nick is the most rational person I know when he is sober, but the most narcoleptic person I know when he is drunk. We will not meet sober Nick tonight and, for the most part, we will not meet drunk Nick either. Dave, Nick, and I have been pre-gaming for far too long. Me: “Cue’s [a dive bar nearby] is about to close. Should we bother?” Dave: “Yes.” At Cue’s. Nick is already groggy and slides into a booth. Dave and I approach the bar. Dave: “We will have two pitchers, please.” Bartender: “You won’t have time to drink those.” Dave: “Yes we will. And four shots of… Read More »

Finer with Age?

By , August 9, 2011 in drinking age, schlitz

Twenty-three years old. Halfway between the “doesn’t matter because I had a fake I.D.” milestone of twenty-one and the “doesn’t matter because I’m not quite ‘House of Representatives’ material” milestone of twenty-five (Let’s be honest. I’m holding out for a Senate seat). Despite being in a no man’s land of eligibility, my twenty-third birthday still marks another year under the belt and, as I’m now over a year out of college, I have to accept the fact that my drinking habits may start to change First things first: Coolio is much more relevant. This is extremely important. Whenever I am able to drunkenly convince myself that a rap lyric is even indirectly about me, I pop caps of joy. B.o.B. mentions Decatur? I lived there! Eazy-E talks about 40s? I drank those! Almost exclusively, for a year! Thus, the next time a DJ decides to spin “Gangster’s Paradise” at the… Read More »

Budweiser, champion once again

By , July 30, 2011 in Beer

It’s been a while since Budweiser has been high on anyone’s list. The brand still sells strong but I believe that’s just force of habit on the part of many beer vendors and drinkers. As the symbol of mega-brewers, Budweiser has been on craft beer lovers’ shit list for a long time. Then, after the take-over by Belgium-based Inbev, the brand that had stood as the flagship for one of America’s few remaining great companies was suddenly the object of, at best, indifference, at worst, hatred of many US drinkers. But now, the once proud brand has risen to the top again. This time it was in a totally blind, completely impartial taste test. Now, now, stop your yawning. You are probably assuming that this is one of those corporate run contests designed to produce a particular result skewed toward a marketing goal. It wasn’t. I assure you, this contest… Read More »

German beer sales on the rise

By , July 29, 2011 in Beer

Did you feel that this morning? The world just seemed a little righter. The earth seems to be spinning a little more smoothly on its axis. Things are just a little more in order this week than last. If you detected that vague feeling of betterness this morning when you woke up, it’s probably because the German beer market is finally on the rise again. It’s a great relief to people like me who need certain truths to remain true in order to be comfortable in this world. English cuisine sucks, Australians call everyone Bruce, Americans are overweight, and Germans drink beer. If any of these things become untrue, I start to get upset. That’s why I’ve been on edge since 2007 when the German beer market started to decline. People who study these things say that folks just started drinking more wine and other forms of alcohol but, I… Read More »