Among my interests, one which holds my profound attention is beer. I might say that I have a love affair with beer: not simply its tastes - as delicious, complex, and varied as they may be - but its history, science, lore, and evolving creation. But as a man cannot live on beer alone (although some have tried), I do occasionally post on other topics. Run by Thomas Cizauskas
* "The land that makes up present-day Georgia had few natural lakes before European settlement, and most impoundments, formed by beavers and debris dams from high flows, were relatively small."
The lack of glacial retreat, land slope, and local geology provided conditions for large and small rivers and streams but not for lakes. The natural water bodies that occur in Georgia are primarily located in the southern part of the state in the Coastal Plain, where sinkhole lakes and isolated wetlands in natural shallow depressions largely fed by rain and shallow groundwater, called Carolina bays, form. Hence, the majority of lakes in Georgia that are now enjoyed for recreational, industrial, municipal, and federal government uses are made by people.
A new production brewery opened its doors last weekend in Tucker, Georgia, a suburb city of Atlanta. Nice, but not necessarily unusual. As of 1 January 2018, there were 6,372 breweries in the United States, according to the [U.S.] Brewers Association. I mention this because of an out-of-the-craftbeer-mainstream character to the event.
The brewery, Tucker Brewing, was pouring only three beers: a bright zesty pilsner, an amber lager, and a hefeweizen.
TKR Pilsner specs:
4.8% alcohol by volume (abv).
25 International Bittering Units (IBUs).
Hallertau Merkur, Hallertau Perle, and Hersbrucker hops.
Not a 'great' beer, as in drop everything, run, don't walk. But it's not an IPA, or murky or sour or flavored with ephemera. It's a tasty beer right out of the starting gate, a difficult achievement and the brewery promises more such German-inspired beers to come. (There's a Helles in the conditioning tank.)
On the same weekend that Tucker Brewing opened its doors, another in the metropolitan Atlanta area closed its: Abbey of the Holy Goats, in Roswell, Georgia. That juxtaposition brings to mind the requisites of new brewery success. I believe that those are:
You need money: a brewery is a business.
You need expertise: a brewery is a factory.
You need 'it': an artist's soul helps.
You need a full pint of Gambrinus' luck.
I don't know if this Tucker Brewing is in possession of all of these. But there is one more thing needed for survival: chutzpah. And they do have that. And a large beer garden.
The yellow sunburst next to the beer is a reflection of the brewery's logo affixed on the wall behind the bar. It's reversed and upside-down from its actual order of "TKR," designating, of course, Tucker.
"What is so rare a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days" is a poem by 19th-century American poet and abolitionist, James Russell Lowell.
Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of photos taken (or noted) by me, posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always, with a good fermentable as the subject.
On 25 June 1944 —a fortnight before the D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied Normandy, France— the Fredericksburg (Virginia) Free-Lance Star published a story by the overseas American war correspondent Hal Boyle. It was one of many for Boyle —who would later win the Pulitzer Prize for his wartime reporting— but this particular dispatch described the World War II condition of booze in London, England.
At his blog "Beer et. Seq.," Gary Gillman has summarized the account, in wry style. His story —"Blondes, Taxis, and the West End"— includes Boyle's description of what he and the American GIs thought of British milds and bitters of the time.
Seeking to explain mild ale and bitter beer to Americans, Boyle said mild is like mixing your beer with rainwater and sugar. And bitter is like mixing it with rainwater and quinine. (Today he might say the IPA that is the rage around the world is like mixing Bud with vodka and grapefruit juice).
Given that American lager in this period was still fairly bitter, it shows that English beer – pale or bitter ale – easily outstripped it. Since no unusual bitterness was detected in mild ale, one can assume its bitterness was about equal to mid-century American lager.
The weakness of British beer was remarked on, something I’ve discussed before as noticed by an Australian journalist. He stated the government must have pondered long and hard to get the stimulant/austerity balance exactly right. The American soldier’s reaction was typically popular and idiomatic: it’s like our beer if you drink it and get hit in the head with the bottle.
For American Mild Month, I visited Good Word Brewing in downtown Duluth, Georgia (about twenty miles north of Atlanta). One of its draft mainstays is Rocksteady, which it describes as an
English Mild. This English bad guy has hints of tobacco, toffee, and a touch of leather.
Co-owner Todd Dimattio told me that he rotates one of his yeast strains between this mild ale and another of his IPAs. "Is that to keep the mild ale yeast viable?" I asked. "No," Dimattio replied. Between in-house and off-the-premises, Rocksteady is one his top sellers.
For this day and age, the brewpub does indeed brew hoppy beers and 'sours.' In fact, a patron at the bar said that one of the latter tasted like a fruity, puckering lemonade.
But this Rocksteady Mild —ruby red, not hazy, tasting like a suggestion of toasted bread with a schmear of Nutella, more-ish at only 3.4% alcohol-by-volume (abv)— was (is) a rare thing of 'sessionable' beauty. Rock on, Mild!
For one brief moment, the rosebush blooms splendidly in spring. Thereafter, only thorns.
Here, observing that with an inexpensive CCTV lens (created for small closed-circuit security cameras) but retrofitted with a C- mount adaptor to fit the (micro four thirds) camera.
Why do I mention that? Observe those bokeh balls to the upper left.
Bokeh (bō-kā): the blurred quality or effect seen in the out-of-focus portion of a photograph taken with a narrow depth of field. Good bokeh is smooth and pleasing, whereas bad bokeh produces a jagged and discordant effect, largely dependent on the construction of the lens. From the Japanese, boke, for "blur, haziness."
These are photos of the same 'craft' beer. On the left, an IPA, on draft at a brewery. On the right, the same IPA, insouciantly poured on draft at a pub less than one mile away. Somewhere in Georgia, USA.
Hydrangea macrophylla —also called bigleaf hydrangeas and mophead hydrangeas and French hydrangeas— are a staple of the American South, such as this one in Atlanta, Georgia, the petals of its inflorescence only beginning to turn blue, on 7 May 2018.