Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The importance of regionality

More video today

There are a couple nice things going on in that video. When Mr Stutrud says:
"Some people say that hops are the soul of beer. I couldn't disagree more... you can tell being out here that we're in barley country"

Firstly, that's a little dig at Sam Adams's slightly over simplified "hops are the soul of beer" ads, which I can appreciate. Secondly, it's just nice to actually hear someone talk about flavors other than hops in craft beer. Until now, American craft beer has been hops obsessed, largely due to the west coast brewers who got in the game early. Their hop-focussed beers make some sense being brewed very near to the largest hop growing region in the country, but here in the Midwest which, in addition to being one of (if not the) biggest supplier of grain and malt, was also historically the largest brewing region in the nation. This brewing output of course consisted mostly of lager and other beers which would have been mild in flavor (relative to the craft beer of today). Those tastes are still obviously alive and well if you look at some of the largest regional brewers (and their biggest brands): New Glarus (Spotted Cow a light farmhouse ale) Goose Island (312 Urban Wheat) and Summit (whose biggest brand I believe is Extra Pale Ale followed closely by hefeweizen which I have been told is produced year round for sale in Chicago, which drinks massive amounts of it).

So cheers to that and cheers to regionality. Craft beer continues to grow, and it's certainly matured to the point where nuance and regional tastes can have a place in the market. After all, regionality is truly the soul of beer.

Thanks to Appellation Beer on which I saw this video


  1. Nice little video there, and I agree wholeheartedly, and no want to find his pilsner to see how it stacks up. On a minor side note, I was in North Dakota last year and thought it one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Not sure I could persuade Mrs V to move out there though...

  2. I will have to give their Pilsner another try as well. The moravian 37 malt is a new addition to it. I tried it a few times several years ago, and was disappointed with it, so it probably won't blow your mind.

    There isn't much in the Dakotas, so it may be hard to move out there. It's great in the summer, though. The Twin Cities are nice in part because of the easy access to places like that.

  3. The wife is going to Minneapolis for a weekend in August to kick start her Masters program. I have only been to the airport in Minneapolis, before flying on to Bismarck, ND.