What I’m Doing on My Summer Vacation: July 2014 Beertography

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It’s the end of the month, which means it’s time for my regular roundup of beertography from the last few weeks.

Below you’ll find some of my recent shots, which you may also come across on my Instagram page, Twitter account or even Untappd. If you like these, you can find all of my beertography shots on Instagram or in my running archive.

All my shots are taken with my iPhone 5 unless otherwise noted. The space where I shoot my photos – around the house – offers somewhat limited opportunities for pretty backdrops, which is why I try to get inventive with my photo ideas.

Let’s see what July had to offer…

Wicked Weed Brewing Black Angel – Heaven Sent

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Stillwater/Westbrook Big Tasty’s Back Door – Time to Get Funky

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21st Amendment Monk’s Blood – Praying to Gods of Fermentation

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Palmetto Brewery Pale Ale – A Day Gone Bye

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Left Hand Brewing Wake Up Dead – Rise and Shine

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As always, you can go back to see previous beertography posts:

+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac

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Birth Announcement: Welcoming Modern Beer Journalism … “The Session” April 2014

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ANYTOWN, U.S.A — Modern Beer Journalism was born June 23, 2012.

The parents, sub-humans who spend their day trolling the drecks of of the five Ws and a pack of unabashed cheerleaders, are yet to provide a full, Christian name. Members of the family said they looked forward to the child eventually joining the ranks of overbearing parents and New York sports fans in his growth to uninformed homerism.

Descended from famed author Michael Jackson, Modern Beer Journalism features a pedigree of insight and tempered beliefs on the artistry of brewing. His parents, however, don’t expect that to matter.

Modern Beer Journalism was born at your local beer festival, where his first words were a mewling question asking “what are those women drinking?” It caused an uproarious cheer from attendees, except for nearby women who were busy discussing the intricacies of a dry-hopped saison. Modern Beer Journalism reportedly asked someone to offer them a Leinenkugel Summer Shandy, to which the women declined.

“He’s probably going to do this every year,” one of the women sighed.

Whereas Modern Beer Journalism is expected to spend a long life at newspapers, those in the know hint that he may branch out on his own online, where he’ll focus his efforts on beer reviews of rare one-offs kept only for his own enjoyment. The expectation is that despite a well-rounded early vernacular, Modern Beer Journalism will focus on key buzzwords, describing things as “hoppy,” “malty” or “malted hoppiness.”

Modern Beer Journalism’s parents noted the beauty of their son is his unflappable optimism about any and all beer-related topics. There is no need for breast-feeding, they said, as a bottle of IPA is preferred by both baby and parents.

Drinking will not be a problem for Modern Beer Journalism, as it’s rumored he’ll simply tell you when he’s had enough. That threshold may never come verbally, however. Despite an insatiable thirst for India pale ale, his young eyes light up at the simple mention of a barrel-aged Russian imperial stout. In the early hours of his life, the only thing that would help Modern Beer Journalism calm down from a frantic growth was holding a 15 percent ABV stout in its arms while being sung to sleep by cries of angry babies who didn’t get one.

In an odd turn of events, doctors reported record size for the newborn, which was recorded at 2-feet-10, 267 pounds and already sported a full beard.

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BREAKING NEWS: Tragedy has struck Modern Beer Journalism. Oliver Gray at Literature and Libation has the story.

session_logo_all_text_300This post has been my contribution to The Session, a monthly collaborative blogging effort with beer writers from around the world.

This month’s topic comes from Heather Vandenengel at Beer Hobo who wants to know – more or less – what’s up with beer journalism? A lot, really, but thanks to Oliver for tag-teaming this topic. We both hope to address it soon in a more serious manner.

BeerHavior: Rankings, Biases and our Changing Palate

morpheus_beer_ipa_stout_ratebeerYou can check out part two of this series about the geography of the top-20 RateBeer beers here and part three on what the “bottom” best beers tell us about the top, here.

For the past couple weeks I’ve been looking through data from RateBeer.com, which releases a “best beers in the world” list each year. RateBeer has a full archive dating back to 2006, so I wanted to map out what I thought would showcase changes in behavior pertaining to beer.

My general thought? We’d see more variety not only in beer, but especially in the strength of top-ranked brews. On that front, I found myself to be both right and wrong.

First, a note about RateBeer’s rankings – they are incredibly consistent. From 2006 to 2013, the “best beers” are heavily skewed toward rare beers that are often imperial stouts. Why do these particular beers rank so well?

One reason is selection bias – not everyone can get a Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout, so there are fewer ratings of that beer than Bells Hopslam, which typically performs well and is available across the country every year. The fewer ratings a beer has, the greater chance it has of compiling top scores. That’s because…

… there’s also motivational and cognitive bias. Beer nerds are famous for riding the hype train, which pushes beers like Dark Lord to holy heights. If, by chance, we are lucky enough to get a bottle, the sheer magnitude of the occasion has the ability to skew our judgment. We expect a beer to be amazing, therefore it’s more likely to be amazing once we have it.

ratebeer_beer_bottlecapSure, every person is a special snowflake, but these are general guidelines to keep in mind. It should come as no surprise that of the top-20 “best beers” from 2013’s list, 11 currently reside on the “most wanted” list of the site. (It should also be noted that these beers are also likely to taste great)

All that said, my methodology – for sake of time and effort – was to look at the top-20 of each year’s best beers, as rated by RateBeer users. The top-10 didn’t offer enough variety, so I simply doubled it up. You can see a full list of the beers here.

But enough about all that. Let’s do the numbers…
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Leinenkugel Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout

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It took me a long time to realize Leinenkugel made more than Sunset Wheat. I had just never seen anything other than the witbier-like brew in stores. I’m pretty glad that’s changed.

Yes, I know Leinenkugel is owned by SABMiller … and yes, I know Leinenkugel brews are more “crafty” than “craft.” But I’ll be damned if I didn’t just about fall in love with the Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout, which has an 86 on Beer Advocate.

I had a sample of this beer before during last summer’s trip to Milwaukee (including a barrel-aged version) and thought it was pretty good. Well, this year’s stout – bottled and all – was really good.
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