I’ve been on a run of six-point-something-day work weeks, lately; some self-inflicted, some externally imposed. Still not a word of complaint, though — but equally few hacked out to put up here. And so a public holiday to the rescue, delivering a three-day weekend by way of a Day Of Rest in commemoration of a nice idea that’s forever been tricky to actually apply. With some a couple of alarm-free mornings,1 just the right amount of domestic productivity, and a lovely little beer festival, it was a cracker of a super-sized weekend and today has a very suitable Sunday feeling to it.
Which, naturally, puts me in mind of the ‘tradition’ I keep trying to make more traditional. And so, with all the best intentions to do this — as well as everything else — more often, I present for your perusal2 a few choice tidbits:3
- A history of Canberra brewing. I have a real soft spot for Australia’s deeply-odd little capital — I lived there for a while and had truly formative Beer Geek Moments at the marvellous Wig & Pen — and was delighted to find an apparently-exhaustive history of the beer business in town. Visit the Wig while it lasts, and immediately check out whatever Richard Watkins gets up to next.
- A sobering longer-view look at the history of American IPA — and of beer in general, while they’re at it. I’m not sure I entirely agree, but I’m much more there than not; we’ve been doing this for a long time, as a species, and it does sometimes pay to do a little internal check-sum on whether you’re losing proper sense of scale in time and place.
- The effects of alcohol might not be quite what you think they are.4 Two years old, now, but this article was returned to my attention just when I was posting our liquor-law-freakout podcast ponderings. From my perspective as a former bartender, at least, it was summed up best by a friend and former colleague: no one is genuinely different when they’re drunk, they’re just more. If you’re a dick when you’ve had too much to drink, you might just actually be a dick.
- An uncomfortably close satire of beer-bar offerings. The stout looks good.
- This lauded (and recently revised) chart, which has (if you ask me) almost jumped the shark into an unreadable mess with its looping glassware-suggestion arcs and the largely-useless-for-non-Americans brand tokens for each type. Paging Ed Tufte. (But full marks for the lower-left’s Spaghetti Junction which consigns a few deserving candidates to being drunk from the can, 40oz, or Solo Cup.)
- A much more sedate Brewer Portait than usual, enjoyable not just for his delightfully soothing travelling-Canadian accent. Nicely personal and engaging.
- The (bloody-marvellous) Gruen Planet team talked beer, for the first major section of last week’s show. Interesting to see things from a marketer’s perspective; even though they’re not dogmatically pro-“craft”, they’re still anti-crap — whether the crap in question is outright lies, or just boringness. (They’ve also reminded me that I really, really want to hack the Tap King into a general-purpose flagon-dispensing gadget.)
- TrackYourBud.com,5 where you can learn — to use the word quite wrongly — that rice is an extravagantly expensive ingredient that other breweries don’t love you enough to us (and definitely not a cost-cutting blandifier), that “ageing” a beer can be measured in mere days (not silly old-fashioned months or years), and that Budweiser can still apparently say (with a straight face and without being fined and/or sued into oblivion) that “no other beer takes as long to make”.
- And finally, an irrelevancy, because it’s nice to be reminded that the “new” things — be they comic books, videogames, digital art, or whatever — aren’t necessarily just vaguely-modified and somehow-weaker instances of “real” culture; they can be totally and amazingly themselves.
1: Sleeps-in, as I like to call them, ever the fan of a French-style front-loaded plural. On Saturday, my first un-buzz-assisted waking-up in weeks, I actually managed to have a surpassingly suitable song lodged in my brain the second I was conscious. ↑
2: In either the original sense of “to read with careful attention” or the more-modern usage of “to skim, hoping to vaguely extract the gist”; language evolves in wonderful, liberating and contradictory ways. ↑
3: Which admittedly do require a more expansive, cultural-studies-esque definition of “reading”, since two of them are videos, one is a (dis?)infographic, and one an interactive webmonstrosity. ↑
4: Or rather, given the mechanics of the Placebo Effect, they might be mostly exactly what you think they are. Thanks to Amy for the link — both times. ↑
5: Thanks, if that’s the right word, to Hadyn for the link. ↑