Sunday, March 09, 2014

"Playing Nice With Bad Beer"? I'd rather not, although adjuncts aren't necessarily the deal killer.

I generally agree with what the Brewers Association does for my industry, but even after these many years, there is an element of wariness. After all, it's the house that Charlie Papazian built. There's also a palpable infusion of Kremlinology when it comes to observing the workings of the BA.

Conceding from the start that "craft" as an adjective has long since descended into utter nonsense, even if I still use it as a variety of colloquial shorthand, for a very long time the BA has chosen to impale itself on the use of adjuncts. Perhaps finally this is changing.

"While this division made sense in earlier days of the craft brewing revolution, we see evolution leading many craft brewers to consider the use of adjunct grains in their recipes," the association said. "Some craft brewers do use adjuncts to bring greater palatability by lightening some of their stronger beers. Other brewers are deliberately going for lighter bodied beers in sessionable offerings. When one looks at the millennia of brewing practice, one common thread for the vast majority of time is that brewers employed ingredients that are readily available to them."

Once each year in summer, my brewery releases a Pre-Prohibition Pilsner brewed with adjuncts. While clocking in at a higher ABV than I prefer, it is nonetheless delicious. It can be done, but of course, doing so is not the same thought or brewing process as churning out alcoholic soda pop.

Which leads me to Kevin Patterson's recent column. It reads so much like my 1990's era pieces in the FOSSILS newsletter that I'm tempted to begin comparing passages to see if I've been sampled.

(Not really, of course)

After 12 years owning a brewery, I've modified my stance only a little. Ya gotta have science in the brewhouse, even if I failed it in high school. But Kevin's right: As it pertains to stirring the heart and emboldening the mind, we need art. Art sometimes tries the patience, but that's better than wet air, anyday.

As is true love.

Screwed Up Beer Week (vol 9) - Playing Nice With Bad Beer- Not This Guy!, by: Kevin Patterson (

A diplomat walks into a bar. And by diplomat, I mean a professional craft beer brewer. While not exactly a diplomat, he was acting all diplomatic when he was talking with his customers and fans. Taking the high road when asked about the efforts of "big beer," such as Budweiser, Miller, Coors, Pabst, etc., He was happy to lament on the difficulty of their tasks, how tough it is to make beers so light, so clean, so consistent- acting like his mind has been blown at the success of such large enterprises. And though I applaud him for being the bigger man, I call bullshit!

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