Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Soda Jerks and Beer Terroirists.

We're getting eclectic today. More so than usual.

Jerks: Two days in a row I mention Imbibe, this time because of its July/August article on old-school soda fountains. It features some beautiful photos of frosty glasses, handle-bar mustaches, bow ties and flat caps. Then yesterday comes the article on the very same topic in the New York Times.

So now we're talking full-blown buzz. The most useful bit in any of it is this listing on Imbibe's website of soda fountains across the USA. My shame: I lived in St. Louis four years and never went to Crown Candy Kitchen.

Terroirism: Clever conversation going on over at Adrian's place about terroir and the extent to which the idea can be applied to beer. It starts with the salty March winds that are said to give East Kent Goldings their distinctive aroma.

Flagon of Ale has an attractive argument:

Beer is more democratic because it does not have or require terrior: anyone can make it anywhere. ... [T]ime and history [are] the terroir of beer. ... Beer tells a story of culture and time, where wine tells a story of a specific place. When I drink a porter or an IPA, I'm thinking about the period in time that gave birth to it more than the soil conditions and sunlight etc that gave birth to it.
My own thought is that terroir remains an option for those with access to local product. Beer for localvores or clever marketing, either way. Meanwhile this is an age when a brewer gets an idea from one place or origin, yeast from another, hops from another, malt from another... Terroir gets muddled, but in the right hands the product can be more interesting than before.

The hops in the photo, incidentally, are from Steve Crider's hop trellises at 2nd Shift. Cascades from the Missouri River Valley.

Did you know that the first Cascades were the children on British and Russian hops?

Speaking of globalization: I remember the days when it was tough to find a non-Belgian beer in Brussels. That was just a few years ago, in fact. Today, Delirium's Hoppy Loft has a bunch of Rogue beers on tap. Moeder Lambic Fontainas has Italy's Montegioco, France's Theillier, Germany's Schneider Weisse, and Planet Earth's Mikkeller. Among others.

That's the age in which we drink.

1 comment:

  1. Beer probably only lacks obvious terrior since wholesalers mixed up all the batches of each ingredient. if in the 1860s (or would it have to be the 1760s) you were most likely more able to identify where beer came from from taste factors other than style.

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