Press Clips: Defining Craft in the U.K., Sours Soar, Weighing Brews, Women in Beer

BrewDog is back at it, taking another stab a precisely defining “craft beer” as it applies to European countries. In October, brewery co-founders James Watt and Martin Dickie wrote on their blog that having a clear definition has helped craft beer become so popular in the United States.

After their first attempt was met with both praise and criticism from the blogosphere, the two have offered up an amended take on the definition of craft beer.

“Legal definitions are everywhere and are designed to protect a product’s reputation from poor imitations,” they wrote. “‘Bourbon’, ‘Whisky’ and ‘Champagne’ are 3 examples where they have protected premium drinks from cheaper imitations and helped both the consumer and the category in the process.”

Their definition, which, in part, requires a beer to be brewed at original gravity, also calls for all ingredients to be listed on the label, and for the brewing company to be less than 20 percent owned by a company that operates a non-craft brewer.

Watt and Dickie note that their proposal for a definition of craft beer would need to be recognized by other U.K. craft brewers and the Society of Independent Brewers before it can hold any official weight.

While the European brewers are attempting to find a generally accepted definition for craft beer, in the U.S. there are barely enough words to categorize all the different styles available. One relatively unknown, but emerging, style is sour.

An annual report by restaurant consultant group Baum and Whiteman, which measures trends in the foodservice industry, has found that sour beers are growing in popularity.

“Sophisticated beer drinkersÔǪ are favoring beer with a sour taste, responding to craft brewers who have begun inoculating beers with wild yeasts,” according to the report.

And how can you be sophisticated without a nice cigar in hand? While the latest from Ted’s Cigars isn’t meant to be paired with a sour necessarily, it was definitely rolled up with a brew in mind.

No, the latest stogie from Ted’s Cigars, of Louisville, Ky., is meant to be enjoyed with the recently released 2013 batch of Samuel Adams Utopias. The cigar came about through a partnership between Ted’s and Boston Beer Co.

“Cigars and craft beer, particularly a complex brew like Utopias, have more in common than most people would imagine and complement each other quite well,” said Ted Jackson, president of Ted’s Cigars in a press release. “Aficionados of both cigars and beer know that subtle flavors and delicate touches can elevate the drinking or smoking experience tenfold. It’s exciting for us to work with such an innovative brewery to create these one-of-a-kind cigars.”

However, not all innovative ventures in the world of drinking involve actual consumption.

New technology may be able to help bars and restaurants keep better track of how much beer is left in kegs. According to the New York Times, SteadyServ Technologies, has created a small, doughnut shaped scale of sorts, that when placed beneath a keg, keeps track of what remains inside it. A restaurant owner will receive a message on an app, informing them of just how much beer they’ve got left.

So feasibly, rather than a restaurant telling its patrons on social media that they’ve got limited supplies, they could quite literally narrow it down to the specific number of pints of a specific brew they can still pour.

Lastly, we go from the future of beer, all the way to its roots.

The Atlantic took a long look at the integral role that women have played in the 4,500-year history of suds. The article touches on the idea that Brewbound explored earlier this week about sexism in the craft beer industry, but focuses specifically on how beer, which was initially brewed by mostly women, became what it is today.

It explains, “as we shifted from an agricultural-based to an industrial-based economy, beer brewing left the privacy of the home and became another commercial, large-scale product run almost entirely by men.”

The article adds, “After the colonization of America, women were the family brewers, crafting rich beers from corn, pumpkins, artichokes, oats, wheat, honey, and molasses. Settlers of the colonies drank large quantities of beer as a nutritional break from a diet based largely of salted, smoked and dried meats.”

Sounds like a Thanksgiving day menu. Speaking of, supposedly there’s this guy up in New Hampshire who has found feeding beer to turkeys works to make them extra juicy and flavorful.

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