Hardship and Homebrew: ‘Beerland’ Season Two Tackles Race, Disability, and Other Challenging Themes (With Beer)

Meg Gill Beerland Season 2

Meg Gill critiques a brew in Beerland Season 2. / Photo credit: Viceland

I recently had the chance to, once again, interview Meg Gill, co-founder and president of Golden Road Brewing and star of Beerland, a television show on Viceland that follows Gill’s travels across the country as she meets some of the nation’s most interesting, unusual and fervid homebrewers.

After a successful debut last spring, Beerland has been renewed for a second season, and its five episodes tackle a  cornucopia of themes just in time for fun family discussions during the holidays: among them, race, immigration, poverty, disability, illness, and the call to utilize one’s talents and capabilities to better the larger community. Continue reading

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Was the ‘Take Craft Back’ Campaign a Bad Move for the BA?

Thoughts on: Brewers Association Launches ‘Take Craft Back’ Campaign to Buy ABI, published Oct. 17, 2017 on MensJournal.com.

Take Craft Back

Last week, the Brewers Association launched Take Craft Back, a “tongue-in-cheek” campaign crowdsourcing imaginary funds in the amount of $213 billion from craft brewers and consumers. The goal? To foot the bill for a weighty purchase: buying out Anheuser-Busch InBev, or ABI, the world’s largest brewing behemoth.

Why? Because ABI has systematically purchased a total of 10 formerly independent craft breweries in the past several years, which allegedly bumps “real” craft brewers off the shelves, out of hop fields and clear out of the minds of beer consumers who aren’t educated enough to make the right choice when faced with corporate versus independent brands at the bar or in the supermarket.

Beer-Brained Idea?

Did the campaign have good intentions? Yes. Absolutely. The BA works their asses off standing up for small and independent brewers around the country, and I respect them for it. In fact, I often cover their successes in beer politics, share and review their Brewers Publications book releases, and reach out to their leaders when I think a story could use their expertise. Take Craft Back is one of the many ways they are both showing and garnering support for the small beer community and I commend that.

But, there was some backlash. Although many of the brewers we love shared the news and contributed to the campaign—and, apparently, upwards of 8,000 people have “donated” (no real money was exchanged, but pledgers are sent some swag for their support)—other industry members were not so tickled. I’ll be the first to admit I laughed at the video, but I too was confused about what I was looking at.

Criticisms of the Campaign

Beer writers in my extended network reacted the most negatively out of anyone, really, and not necessarily to a fault. While the campaign, at best, is obviously a lighthearted attempt to get more eyes on the BA’s goals and convince more people to take the side of the small and independent brewers who work so hard to bring us great beer, the campaign is also bewildering, divisive, and quite frankly, petty. At it’s worst, it’s being criticized as childish, embarrassing, and a misguided use of resources.

I, as always, can appreciate both sides. However, I do agree that there are more effective (and certainly, more distinguished) ways to educate the public about the differences between independently brewed and macro-brewed beer. Although ABI hasn’t issued an official response yet, I imagine they’re laughing their way to the bank, and that the bank is the only institution that will ever touch those $213 billion.

Here’s my coverage of the Take Craft Back campaign for Men’s Journal. 

Cheers,
BeerAffair

Space-Obsessed Band Releases Album on a Beer Can

T.R.I.P. Beer Can

Aeronaut Brewing and The Lights Out present: Intergalaxyc T.R.I.P.

Bands and breweries have produced beers together many times before—Crooked Stave recently released Damn! IPA and Totem Wild Ale with the Motet; U.K.-based brewer, Camerons teamed up with the remaining members of Motorhead to release an American-style pale ale, Road Crew; Unibroue, world brewer from Quebec, partnered with Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine to release A Tout Le Monde, a Belgian-style saison brewed in honor of Mustaine’s 55th birthday; and Champion Brewing of Charlottesville, Virginia has long partnered with punk bands for beers like their Black Me Stout with Against Me! .

But for the first time, a brewery and band have partnered to release an album on a beer—and the story only gets weirder from there.  Continue reading

3 Brooklyn Beers Make Men’s Journal ‘Best Beers in the World’

It’s always fun to read “best beers” lists, but it’s especially exciting to see your own local breweries floating to the top of beer media’s best picks from around the globe.  In this year’s 100 Best Beers in the World from Men’s Journal, three beers from New York City-based brewers made it to the list of the world’s finest, and all three of them were from Brooklyn. Continue reading

Boston Beerdos: Big Hapi, a Beer for Big Papi, Available Today Only at Sam Adams Brewery

For you baseball fans and beer weirdos out there, listen up: Sam Adams is releasing a beer at their brewery in Boston today—and today only—dedicated to Boston baseball hero, Big Papi (formerly known as David Ortiz).

The beer is called Big Hapi (get it?!) and it’s a double IPA packed with lots of hops and lots of juice (mango, to be exact). There are only 541 cans being released—one for each of Big Papi’s home runs, because he’s a beast—and the proceeds will go to the David Ortiz Children’s Fund, because he’s also apparently awesome. Big Papi loves his children.

Get the deets in my latest article on MensJournal.com >

Sam Adams is Releasing a Super Limited Beer Honoring Red Sox’s David Ortiz

And the ‘Cloudiest’ Beer Award Goes to…Innis and Gunn’s ‘Sky P.A.’

Well folks, looks like Hill Farmstead, Trillium and Tree House Brewing companies have been beat for having the “cloudiest” IPAs—the U.K.’s Innis and Gunn just released a beer made with actual clouds.

“Sky P.A.” is an India pale ale whose water came from clouds that originated over the Atlantic Ocean, harvested using a bespoke device that hovered in the air, cooling cloud vapor and collecting it as water, according to the company.

The beer is currently available in a 500-bottle limited release, and is unlikely to be repeated. Read more in the latest beer news I wrote for MensJournal.com.

Cheers,
BeerAffair

Brewers Association Helps Travelocity Create the First ‘Beer Tourism Index’ (via Men’s Journal)

Beer nerd on a budget? Us, too. The“Beer Tourism Index”—an online beercation guide to hotel and flight deals, beer tours and other booze-related activities in the country’s best large and small beer cities—was recently launched by Travelocity with help from the Brewers Association.

Would you use something like the Beer Tourism Index to plan your next beercation? Why/why not?

Learn more about the Beer Tourism Index in my latest for MensJournal.com.

 

What I Do As a Beer Writer

Taking notes at Moeder Lambic, Brussels, Belgium.

Taking notes at Moeder Lambic, Brussels, Belgium.

Editor’s note: A version of this post originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse. I figured I may as well publish it here, too. 

As a craft beer journalist and blogger, I’m often met with mystified expressions and questions when I explain what I do: “A beer writer? So, you drink beer and write about it? That must be fun!”

Well, yes, I do write about beer, and I do drink a lot of it in order to write about it. But, much like food writers don’t spend all of their time seated at fancy restaurants with a sea of courses stretching before them into waves of table infinity, beer writing isn’t all about bellying up to the bar. Continue reading

Craft Brewers Pick Their Favorite Shower Beer

The shower beer can be many things: post-workout hydration, multitasking before a night out, or simply a refreshing pick-me-up while washing. For Lewis Kent, the Beer Mile world champion, shower beers are both post-race liquid trophy and pregame ritual. “After a race or a hard workout, when I come home and I’m getting ready to go out with friends, it’s nice to have a little reward,” says Kent.

Craft brewers have caught on to the concept, and a growing number of craft beers billed as “shower beers” are hitting the shelves, providing more flavorful, stimulating options to take into the tub. With warm weather approaching, now is the perfect time to indulge in these palate-scrubbing brews — from a hoppy pilsner to a lime-zested gose to a pale ale bursting with citrus — made for good, clean fun, in the shower and out. Read more on MensJournal.com >