Random Beer Thoughts: August 2018

Bon Appetite magazine has named Portland, Maine it’s restaurant city of the year, with many breweries gaining mentions in the profile. Carla Jean Lauter has some picks of places the magazine profile missed.

Speaking of Portland, the Mass Brew Brothers make their picks for the best beer city in each New England state. All six choices are worthy of a long weekend full of brewery tours and bar hopping.

One of the strangest recent local beer stories was the Walden Woods saga, the brewery was weeks away from opening a taproom in Marlborough when they cancelled the plans and walked away with no explanation, leaving a fully stocked taproom behind. It looks like Worcester-based Flying Dreams Brewery is going to take over the space and open a new location this fall. As a resident of the metro west I am glad to see another brewery move into this space.

One of the most controversial beer stories this month was Toppling Goliath filing suit against a former employee to keep them from working at another brewery, citing a non-compete clause. Beervana has an interesting perspective on the issue. My view; in the vast majority of cases non-compete clauses are a bullshit way for businesses to screw their employees and depress wages. They should be outlawed outright or severely limited in scope.

Lord Hobo Boom Sauce

The crew at Craft Beer Cellar have ramped up their blogging activity, adding a ton of interesting content this month. They picked 8 IPAs to enjoy on IPA day and gave an overview of the emerging brut IPA sub-style. Every Sunday the Belmont store posts the Sunday Six, six recommendations of beers that are available at the store and deserve more love!

My favorite entry from the CBC blog this month covers gateway beers, the beers that helped get you interested in craft beer. My gateway beers were Geary’s Pale Ale, Shipyard Export (can you tell I’m from Maine yet?) and the Sam Adams seasonals.

Carla Jean Lauter wonders if the Maine craft beer scene is saturated. She concludes that it isn’t, and I agree (with respect to Maine and Massachusetts). Growth will slow, but there is still room for more quality breweries in the region.

Bearded and Brewed has a thoughtful piece on the importance of clean glassware. Many people love to post pictures of their beer, especially on Instagram, and those pictures look terrible if the glass is dirty (especially if it’s a picture posted by a brewery). In a discussion on this post I got some good tips on getting glassware clean when you have hard water (hand drying with a microfiber cloth has worked wonders for me).

Bryan Roth looks into the rising issue of exploding beer cans, where the late addition of fermentable sugar (usually in the form of fruit juice) leads to potential danger. There is no excuse for a professional brewery to put something like this on the market, if you can’t find a way to safely package your beer you shouldn’t release it.

Beervana has an interesting study on the changes in overall alcohol consumption in the US over time. Even with the decline over the last few decades the amount of drinking by the top 10% is eye opening (and sickening).

Trillium Melcher St

If you need any further confirmation that NEIPA is king right now, this is the first year that it was recognized as it’s own style at the Great American Beer Fest, and a record number of examples were submitted for judging. I wonder what the timelines and storage conditions are for these beers, and how many will be judged at peak freshness.

Boston Magazine has their ultimate drinking guide to Boston, featuring their top 35 bars in the city.

Loma Brewing Company, the California based brewery co-owned by former Red Sox star Kevin Youkilis, has opened up distribution in Massachusetts.

Maine Today has an article on the comeback of blueberry beers. In fairness, many of the beers that beer geeks looked down on contained overly sweet doses of blueberry flavored syrup, nothing like the sours made with real fruit that are gaining popularity.

Alchemist Heady Topper

Hop Culture checks in from the Vermont Brewer’s Fest, and recommends a number of beers to seek out from the state.

The Full Pint explores the issues with parody and tribute beer names and labels, many of which violate copyright law.

The Massachusetts Senate has approved a bill that would allow breweries to sell their products at farmers markets. Hopefully this gets through the remaining hoops and becomes law, it would make me much more excited to visit farmers markets.

Another Boston beer garden has opened, this one run by Cisco Brewing and located in the Seaport.

Castle Island Vern

Castle Island has also opened a beer garden on Constitution Wharf. This seems like a much better location than their initial plan to host a beer garden under a highway.

Stony Creek is opening a new brewpub inside the Foxwoods Resort and Casino.

That is it for August, thanks for reading and feel free to send along any articles that I should feature!

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