Friday, January 23, 2015

AB buys another brewery

Anheuser-Busch has announced today that they are purchasing the Elysian Brewery in Seattle. Read more here.

This continues the trend of big brewing buying up craft breweries to extend their reach into the market with established names. Hopefully the quality of the Elysian brew is retained.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Saying Goodbye

Families come in many shapes and sizes. They can be big, little, normal, dysfunctional, traditional, non-traditional and myriad other things. I have the privilege of being a member of several wonderful families. All of which have influenced me in many ways and helped shape who I am today. 

Twenty years ago I had the privilege of being welcomed into a family that still has strong ties to me to this day. Though I rarely get to see all of its members in person I get excited when I see their names on television screens and movie titles. I thrill at seeing their new children and I grieve when we loose a member of our family.

This second family has several moms and a dad or two. I'm sure we have a crazy aunt or uncle. We are made up of several generations which include our real brothers and sisters as well as our adopted siblings. We are all the colors of the world. We never cared who you loved or what gods you worshiped. We are all very different but came together for one purpose; theater.

I met Peter in 1994 when I auditioned for Much Ado About Nothing and become a member of The Company. He had such great talent that when we did our next show, She Loves Me, he won the lead. 

1995 and 1996 were whirlwind years. I spent the first half of it with my arms held up screaming "screw 'em all" thanks to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and I spent the second half amazed at the beauty and color of The Secret Garden

The Company also managed to pull of an amazing coup that year with my parents. They threw me my only surprise party. To this day I don't know how we got so many people in that hot tub but there was no such thing as personal space. The art that was drawn on the walls still amazes me. 

The years 1996 and 1997 brought more shows. This time The Foreigner and George Bernard Shaw's St. Joan. The Foreigner was by far my favorite role that Peter played. Though there were not many lines for the lead character he was so good at pantomime and just being goofy that the role was absolutely perfect.

Peter was a kid at heart and an old soul. He saw things in was that amazed me and did nothing but try to surround himself with genuine people. 

I'm still happy he was there to stand up as a groomsman at my wedding. I will never forget us all table dancing at the reception. 

The last time I saw Peter in person was at our theater director's retirement party. It was such an amazing night and as with true friends the years melted away and we were all together again. 

In August Peter and his partner Ethan were in a major car accident as they were moving to Portland, Oregon to start a new chapter of life. Unfortunately, Peter could not overcome the battle with his injuries and he passed away. Like many of those who's lives he touched I was, and still am, heartbroken. He was one of those people that no words can truly describe. He was an experience.

My job has forced me to be away from my other family more than I like and it has forced me to be away again today.

Today, January 3, is Peter's birthday. Today that family gathers again to celebrate and grieve. We will party for him and I know he will be with us. 

I can only thank his family for sharing him with us all.
"It is not for us to know what will come next, those who have gone before us only know for certain. We will all make that crossing when the time comes. However it IS our responsibility to do the most with the time we have while we are still blessed enough to walk this Earth for another day." -Peter Jose Bernardini

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Time for a rant

First of all I'm very sorry I haven't posted in a LONG while. Suffice it to say life has taken over and I've been very busy. In fact I'm getting ready to move across the country to sunny Los Angeles (still looking for a house BTW).

Every month or so I see a post shared from "The Food Babe" on the dangers of the hidden ingredients in our beer. This uneducated piece of pseudo-science bunk is ridiculous. It gets play because it's playing on the inherent fear of what's in our food.

Look, I'm just as concerned as the next person about what is in my food. My wife and tend to buy more organic and locally sourced foods because they simply taste better. I brew my own beer, as the title of this blog suggests, and tend to buy more craft beer or locally brewed products.

That said, as a homebrewer and a beer lover, I am appalled that this article continues to make it's rounds. I'm appalled that she has her "army" spamming brewer's websites and facebook pages with demands for ingredient lists.

Should you know what's in your food and drink? Absolutely. Are brewers trying to hind something? No.

Oh and by the way, that wine you're drinking may hide a lot more than the beer you don't drink Ms. Food Babe. Do some research.

First things first, if you care to read what I'm talking about go find it. I refuse to give this woman any direct links from this site. Go ahead, I'll wait for you to come back.

Are you back? Good.

Now let's talk.

What goes into your beer? Take a look here, here, and here.

All beer is made from four basic ingredients; water, malt, yeast and hops. The combinations of varieties of these four basic building materials give us the lightest lagers, the bitterest India pale ales, the darkest stouts and everything in between.

Can you use additional ingredients? Yes, they are called adjuncts and are used to impart flavors and body to a beer. In some cases adjuncts are added to reduce the cost of mass produced beer. These adjuncts tend to be rice and corn. They can also range from additional sugars like honey or fruit and spices. It all depends on what you're brewing.

The point I'm trying to make is do some basic research for yourself. Don't just willingly believe what someone on the internet tells you to believe.

I recommend starting with some basic brewing books. I also suggest you read Maureen Ogel's great response article to the original Food Babe article and her follow-up Thomas 'Tom' Cizauskas also has a good article on this.

Be your own informed consumer.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

It's time to change the face of distribution

This is a great article that lays out the issues craft brewers face on the marketplace. I cry a little every time I go to Farm Fresh here in Elizabeth City and see what has become of their beer cooler. What once was a wall of craft choices has been removed to make way for more Bud and Coors and other big beers and their psudeo-craft beers.

Read more here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

This is why we can't do anything nice...

A new rule under consideration by the Food and Drug Administration would virtually shut down a practice that has been in place since man started brewing beer and raising animals. Under the new rule brewers would be unable to provide spent grains to farmers as feed to their animals unless they made large investments in equipment that can dry, package and analyze the spent grains without it being touched by human hands.

While I am aware of the issue of contaminated animal feed and I completely agree that there have been too many recalls and issues related to animal feed; I would really like to see a study on how many times an animal has been contaminated from spent grains.

The brewer farmer relationship is one that goes back many ages. It is a win/win scenario as the farmer grows the grain, the brewer uses it and gives the spent grain back to the farmer for his animals.

What is your take on the issue?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Never thought I'd see the day

I never thought I'd see the day craft brewers would edge out mainstream commercial breweries. Today is that day. With more breweries open since the 1880's the U.S. craft beer industry is alive, well and growing more. Read more here.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Will drought threaten your favorite beer?

Is there going to be a point where you can't get your favorite beer because of climate change? We aren't there yet but with changes in temperatures and seasons there is going to be some impact.

Right now the severe drought that has plagued the state of California for the last few years is beginning to worry some producers.

Read more here and here.