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Thursday, December 30, 2010


Post Updated. See below.

I'm taking it slow today, so I'll farm out content to others in the blogosphere--particularly since there's some nice stuff out there.

MSM Getting it Wrong
Via Stan Hieronymus, Time has an article by Anita Hamilton examining craft brewing through the prism of Sam Calagione (always a dicey proposition) and come to this conclusion:
Perhaps the biggest challenge that Calagione, like all craft beer makers, faces today is the fickle palate of his core customer. "Craft beer drinkers tend to be promiscuous. They'll have four different beer styles they like," notes Brewers Association director Paul Gatza. Such lack of brand loyalty may actually force smaller brewers to constantly release new concoctions, lest their fickle audience lose interest. As any beer buyer can attest, these days even regular grocery store shelves are typically packed with a constantly-changing selection of tempting new craft labels and flavors.
Of course, the rest of the article refutes this thesis by citing Dogfish's best-seller (60 Minute IPA) and pointing to the success of Blue Moon, a beer on the market since the 1990s. Yes, there is a lot of experimentation, but no, it doesn't amount to a hill of beans. The best-selling craft beers are the most familiar, and they outsell new releases by orders of magnitudes. Anita Hamilton mistakes the noise of new releases for the reality of craft brewing: it, like everything else, is dominated by a few best-sellers--many, like Fat Tire, Sierra Nevada Pale, Boston Lager, etc., that have been around for years or decades. The drinkers of those craft beers seem not to be fickle in the slightest.

Brady Getting it Right
At the Daily Pull, Brady Walen offers a few predictions for the coming year, all of which seem sound to me. Plus, they're interesting.

Latest Beer Price Index
Bill has the fourth quarter figures for the Portland Beer Price Index. I wonder the extent to which beer prices mirror larger economic trends. Although craft beer continues to sell well despite the economy, it hasn't experienced any inflation at all over the past year. In fact, six-pack prices were $8.85 in the third quarter of '09 and they're $8.73 now (essentially flat throughout 2010).

Not Your Father's Mirror Pond (?)
Over at Not So Professional Beer Blog, Sanjay reviewed a classic, Mirror Pond. Glancing over the review, I see these hop details: 40 IBU, Cascade and three other unspecified varieties. Wait a second--four hops? I am almost certain it used to be single-hopped and had fewer IBUs. I'll contact the brewery and find out if it has indeed changed--something Deschutes was openly pondering a couple years ago--or if this is just further evidence of my declining mental acuity.
Update. I just heard back from Gary Fish at Deschutes. There has been no change in the recipe and it's four additions of Cascade hops--not four different hops. This info is on the website, so shame on Sanjay and me for missing it. Gary adds: "We did make some subtle improvements to the formulation last year based on our perception we were losing some of the 'bright' and aromatic qualities of the Cascade hop." So there you have it.
A Bottom-of-the-Post-Scoop
A tipster (who can out himself if he wishes in the comments) sent along this link to Baristadors Coffee. I include it down here, like filmmakers who put in a bit of content after the credits, as a thank-you to those who are still reading. If you follow the link, you'll see that this West Side coffee shop just posted this news:

Now holding an OLCC Liquor License and Brewing License so we can also serve:

  • Our In-House brewed beer and your favorite liquor beverages

Stop in for a visit… you’ll be glad you found the best kept secret of SW Portland!!!

You heard it here first. (I think.)

1 comment:

  1. Good catch Jeff. The description from Deschutes' website is below. I did misread it. Thanks for investigating. Those Cascade hops are good stuff...

    "Mirror Pond Pale Ale has four different hop additions along with the all-important dry hopping. What separates this pale ale, though, is balance. Most folks just heap on the hops and call it a day. Deschutes, on the other hand, uses a deft touch of Crystal malts to offset the definitive Cascade hop profile resulting in a delicate malty sweetness."