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Squibs 7

Welcome to Squibs 7: your periodic (read: rather intermittent) Morning Grumpy-styled window into the omnivorous mind of CBW President Ethan Cox. Has it really been 6,739,200 seconds already?

1. Growlers: We pour ’em, we love ’em. Sure, they have their shortcomings, mainly when it comes to the closure. They certainly have their critics, and I understand some of the criticisms, but clearly not so much as to avoid them. At CBW we recommend drinking them within about 10 days generally, though I cartainly have had people report to me that theirs lasted longer. If properly filled and cared for, I can believe that. The key points are as simple as pouring to have little headspace, avoiding light and keeping it cold, really.

“The Mona Lisa”

Do you suppose the same nonbinding guidelines that restrict us from selling branded onesies will allow us to advertise “family sizes?”

But paracticalities aside (as in:, we actually have no other way of selling our beer directly right now), I have something of a romantic and historical reason for my admiration of this re-popularized packaging solution, and beer blogger Jess Kidden has done a great job of recounting and documenting some of that history in this trio of blog posts. In the time when a growler was most often “rushed” by kids to thirsty workers and consisted of a galvanized, open pail, the vessel was disparaged and bacame an arrow in the prohibitionist’s quiver:

The “Bucket Trade” was frequently attacked during the decades leading up to Prohibition in 1920 by the same anti-alcohol “Temperance” forces that would result in the 18th Amendment.  Laws were passed in many communities to outlaw the growler entirely (sometimes with the support of saloon owners and brewers).   Washington DC, in particular, was one such community, but similar laws were passed in many other urban areas.

Great and super well-illustrated stuff. I was especially amused to learn that the first generation of closed, glass growlers were, in Baltimore especially, refered to as “ducks,” a term we should really bring back.  As well, 1-gallon “family sized” growlers?  I think CBW’s going to be looking into that at the same time we explore 32-oz “purrowlers,” perhaps.

2. Welcome to Founders! One of America’s best craft breweries, out of Michigan, has finally hit the bars and shelves of Buffalo, and the geekery are all a-twitter about it. You should be too- in general, Michigan’s craft brewing scene has been much lauded but hard to come by in these parts, so if Founders does well, we could see more from there. Closer to your palate, Founders does outstanding things with hops- their Centennial IPA is, I happen to know, among CBW Head Brewer Rudy’s favorite beers. I am partial to their Red’s Rye PA, which has a beautiful rye accent and a caramel backbone in harmony with the massive hopping. Nick, Chris and myself will be covering these two beers and one more–you have to listen to find out!–on the next episode of Craft Beer Talk, due out later this week.

"The Mona Lisa"

We Know Of An Ancient Radiation

3. Rohall’s Corner has been open for a while now, but I never managed to drop in before the other night, a muggy Saturday that found the joint roomy with friendly patrons all up to the bar.  If you check out their website, I highly suggest the 360 Panorma image in the virtual tour link, especially the view looking up from the foor; I was wishing I could export that image somehow. Website aside, the bar has a great, old-school vibe with a much different beer (and liquor) selection than you’d expect from it’s brethern establishments. As much as I value the slowly dying beer- and civil-cultural institutions that corner bars constitute, there’s no doubt that their usual selection of draughts typically disappoints the craft beer enthusiast. So it is refreshing to find Rohall’s eight lines sporting such handles as Flying Bison, Ommegang, Pilsner Urquell and, ok: some retro-cool Utica Club and the de rigueur Molson Canadian. What was unusual, though, was the selection of mainly eastern european bottles avaialable. I enjoyed Austrian Stiegel and Bakalar dark lager, a Czech beer; I shall return to try Obolon, from Ukraine.  (I recommend the fine advertising from them below.) While it is true that the likes of such beers can certainly be found at Adam Mickiewicz and Dnipro (the Ukranian club on Broadway; did you know they have a credit union?), Rohall’s classic vibe and location in Black Rock conspire to make it a great alternative to those venerable community assets.

4. Via; Beer v. Church tweets. I find this amusing, not deep. (you may recall them from such hits as “The Price Of Weed” and “The Great American Pizza Map”) employed their DOLLY program to search 10 million geo-coded tweets sent  between June 22nd and June 29th, 2012 and produced the data visualized thusly:


Not what you’d think, but what you might expect?

If you want to unleash your inner geek, read the section on their use of statistics to determine, for each country, which had not just more church or beer tweets, but significantly more (p < .05). Awesome.

5. Local Beer Isn’t Bad. Local stuff isn’t bad.  It might come as a surprise–or not, depending on your level of cynicism–that the backlash to the locavore movement has it’s leaders and wordsmiths, and the latest broadside is a book entitled The Locavore’s Delimma by Pierre Desroches and Hiroku Shimizu. Some significant criticisms are elucidated in this article at, and I admit to not having read the source material on this one. It seems, however, that the authors are two economists who argue from some commonly known faulty premises, for example as detailed here:

Standardization of Food: Much of economic theory rests on the assumption that the goods in question are commodities. Our food is standardized so that it can be treated as a commodity. One Granny Smith apple is the same as any other Granny Smith apple, no matter where it’s from or how it was produced. But many foods are not so interchangeable, and indeed, when they are standardized, they often become standardly bad.

Freshness is a huge part of this, too: oftimes, the homogenization and processing of our foods—and beers—is in the name of preserving the “product,” in order to reduce loss and so increase profitability. But I’m not interested in food that never goes bad; that’s not food. Many of these industrialized processes simply rob nature.

6. Obligatory random Youtube/Beer post: European video for making beer jelly. Or maybe it’s really beer jell-o. I’m sure I don’t want it either way, Dawg.