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Showing posts from December, 2013

Give the Gift of Brewing

I do a weekly podcast about homebrewing. It's my hobby. I'm not on anyone's payroll, but, because people are looking for gifts this season, we did a show about getting people started in homebrewing that I thought was worth promoting. So I apologize in advance if I sound a little pitchy. I blog a bit about the brewing industry, but think about the brewing culture way more often. Brewing is one of those endeavors where, once you get hooked, you just wanna brew beer and help people who aren't brewing cultivate the interest. I love talking to homebrewers about what they do and (believe me) they love talking about it.
This week's guest didn't show, so instead, Doug at Xtreme Brewing and I talked about what it took to get someone into beer. Sometimes, taking a class helps. Doug gives free brewing classes occasionally and lots of people go to a couple before making the plunge. But, more often than not, a person will come in, pick up a starter kit, and get to brewing f…

How will craft brewers stand out?

For those of us who run in craft beer circles,  it's easy to forget that, proportionately, almost no one drinks craft beer. As with any culture, immersion can give you a false sense of superiority in numbers as well as in beliefs. But of course, the former isn't true. The good news is, a staggering number of people, because of all the craft beer noise, are about to start drinking craft beer more regularly. According to this story from the San Diego Union-Tribune, craft beer sales may double next year.  On the Delmarva Peninsula, home to +Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, we have added six or so breweries in the last five years. While we may add more, as a regular patron of many of the local breweries, the trend seems to be plateauing. The novelty has begun to wear off and, in some instances, novelty was all there was to begin with. It is this notion about novelty that made a quote by Dogfish Head Founder Sam Calagione in the linked story stand out. 
To succeed, Calagione said, new…

Brewing is about community

The first time I went to Xtreme Brewing, in Millsboro, Del., I was hooked on the homebrew culture. I am not a homebrewer, but, rather, have always described my self as a hobby collector. I love to learn about other people's hobbies, what drew them to their passion and why they pursue it so ardently (or, when they don't, why they no longer do). The culture surrounding a hobby is often more fascinating than the hobby itself. The subculture of inclusivity intrigued me more than any other part of the hobby, except for the beer of course.
Hobbies can encourage factionalism by encouraging esoteric cliques defined in opposition to one another. Tribalism often is what makes hobbies sustainable and, for me, worth watching. What is hobby-ier than talking to passionate people who are willing to go to war over details an outsider barely can distinguish. For the homebrewer, however, the distinction is only between people who brew and people who don't. Among many if not most, that dist…

Homebrewers getting younger, girlier

Homebrewing news stories (most recently, "Not Every Homebrewer Has a Beard") increasingly emphasize the fact that women are brewing, which is funny because it highlights a generational, rather than a gender gap. Stereotypically, the oldsters who assign trend stories in newspapers truly are locked into a perception of gender roles that has only barely been true for the last 200(ish) years, especially when it comes to beer. Women brewed until industrialization made it too profitable a potential business for men to ignore. They ladies returned to homebrewing throughout Prohibition, making beer (and liquor and wine) at home to keep the family wet. The real newsflash is, stories about women crossing gender lines are more about establishment bias than about the real world.  Women 'Discover' Brewing  It's not so much that women continue to cross stereotypical gender boundaries, as many "Women discover brewing" articles suggest. It's that older folks (includi…