The Session: The Landscape Of Beer

A few weeks ago I asked a question to the followers of The Session. A question that I could not fully answer myself; not because I didn’t know the answer or because the TheSessionanswer was as simple as the question implied, but because the question left many possible inferences and I was not sure where I would take it.

So what does The Landscape Of Beer look like? If you ask me, I’ll tell you to just take a look around. We are both the face and the landscape of beer.

While the beer world is huge, there are only a small percentage of consumers actually using social media, blogs, applications, and similar avenues to appreciate and share the love of the craft and their hobby. The faces we see online, at festivals, or just hanging out in breweries are what the landscape of beer is all about.

Writers make the news and break the stories, pub goers experience ounces of love one glass at a time and share it with their compatriots. Social media connects individuals that are worlds apart around a similar interest. Without that connection, what would the industry be?

Take a look to the past; before it seemed like only a few breweries owned the marketplace, back when there were only a few brands obtainable far and wide, most neighborhoods supplied their patrons with their beverage of choice. Each neighborhood or region had beer that was uniquely their own. This is far from the case now where familiar styles are readily available, but local consumption is undoubtedly on the rise with craft brewers popping up in many local communities.

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This growth would not be possible without people like you and I. We are shaping The Landscape of Beer. The world of Macro and Micro beer is quickly vanishing. While there are breweries that focus only on their immediate area, a good number of them are looking into international distribution, expanding into new states, and further reaching in their current areas. This expansion is only possible because we are demanding their products. When we share them with our friends or talk and write about the love we have for any producer, our voices are being heard and echoed across the world. Everyone wants to savor a mouthful of the beer that makes our hearts sing.

What does this mean for the future? We are currently in a world of expansion and “predicted” buyouts. Will we return to a time that was similar to the pre-prohibition era, with a few minor changes? Will greater things be in store? Will we see no real change to the growth and quality of beer that is available now?

One vision of the future holds a handful of national breweries. This could be a possibility within the next 5 years. If the number of smaller, local brewpubs and breweries continues to keep pace, many neighborhoods will be able to have a constant supply of beer available to them without travel or worrying about breweries from outside the area, much like before prohibition.

I have been on the scene for about 6 years now and have learned a substantial amount. When I dove into the world of beer, I knew nothing. My eyes were open to an endless abyss of flavor and new friends. Some were fresh faced and over enthusiastic, just like myself. Others were slightly more experienced, and beyond that I even ran into a multitude of enthusiasts who knew what beer was even before I was born. I looked to them for guidance and I am now at a point where others are looking to me and my peers.

We can create educated, well informed consumers, or monsters who take after the likes of those INSATIABLE ANIMALS! While both are needed to keep the industry afloat, the quality of beer that flows depends upon the ones who pay attention and filter flaws from the system.

Take a look around and consider where you want beer to go. The shape of the landscape is up to us. When it is time to hand over the reins, let’s do it in a manner that shows we welcome the change; and not like an old curmudgeon who wants the kids to GET OFF OUR LAWN!

Cheers!

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The Session: The Landscape Of Beer

Caloric Breakdown Of Beer

Not too long ago Julia, of CraftBeer.com and the Brewers Association, posted an article pointing out the FACT that The Beer Belly Is a Myth. She gave a lot of good information and even pointed out that you need to have a balance in your life, along with some moderation when it comes to drinking. So, while the Active in Active Brewer once meant something else, it is kind of a shift to another aspect of my life and reading the “Beer Belly” article made me want to add onto it.

Apparently I am not the only one thinking about health when it comes to craft beer. I do not work in the industry now, but am hoping to make the move in a few short years. There are many things to think about in order to have a healthy life while still enjoying your favorite beverages. I would give this article by Oliver of Literature and Libation, a read that focuses on Consumer Health if you would like a different insight into this topic.

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When it all comes down to it, nutrition labels on food products are a lie. A whole lot of useless information that doesn’t always add up. While there are a few things you should pay attention to, there are only three that really matter, The Macronutrients; Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats.

Fat

Julia pointed out that beer has no fat. So when it comes to beer, you can throw that information out the window. The only concern I would look for here is with adjuncts. Looking at the way they interact with the beer and what moves into the finished product. When it comes to calorie counts, 1 gram of fat will equate to 9 calories. This will be important later… or when looking at nutrition labels at home.

Protein

There is a small amount of protein in you beer. It comes along from the raw material in the malting and mashing process. Depending on the filtration and clarification process, the majority of it may be removed, so it may not be of a concern here, either. 1 gram of protein will come out to 4 calories in this case.

Carbohydrates

So this is where some say the real issue is with beer and the caloric intake… but this is not entirely true. While there is a considerable amount of sugar in unfermented beer-wort, when the yeast get through with their job, it converts the majority of carbohydrates into alcohol and CO2. A typical carbohydrate will come out to 4 calories per 1 gram, as the case is with protein. But alcohol, is in a class of it’s own.

Alcohol

Alcohol is often considered the 4th Macronutrient and the final piece of the puzzle to coming up with full calorie counts. For 1 gram of alcohol, you will get 7 calories.

What it comes down to is the ability of your body to process the alcohol. When you are drinking your body wants to burn up the alcohol and use it as it’s first source of fuel. It also processes it and begins the elimination process from your body, in real short order. While your body is burning through the alcohol, it will not use other energy sources, as it would normally do while you are not drinking; burning fats or carbohydrate sources.

As Julia mentioned in her article, not having a balance from input to output is a major culprit of the beer belly. Many people eat while they are drinking, to counter balance the effects of the alcohol. This leads to the ingestion of extra calories; it is not uncommon to have a mini-binge eating session while drinking, and not even notice.

So, how can you figure out the calorie count of your favorite beer? Start with the grams of alcohol in your beer and go from there. In order to determine the grams of alcohol in a beer, you can use a simple equation. While there are a few out there, this one has led me to the most consistent results compared to what is posted by breweries or other sources online.

density of ethanol x volume in ml x ABV

As an example we will use New Belgium Fat Tire. With the known information plugged in, it looks like this.

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0.789 x 355ml (approximately 12oz) x .052 (Fat Tire is 5.2% ABV)

With these numbers in the equation, it comes out to 14.56 grams of alcohol in 12oz of Fat Tire. When you multiply that by the 7 calories per gram of alcohol, you come up to 101.92 calories. But that is only part of the story.

You still need to account for the residual carbohydrates in your beer. Though, that gets a bit difficult without knowing the intimate details of the beer.

For the ease of estimation, it is safe to say that you would attain half of the total number of calories of alcohol from carbohydrates. So, in our situation 101.92/2+101.92=152.88 calories in a single bottle of Fat Tire. According to the website, Fat Tire has 160 calories per serving. Not that far off.

Here is another example of the calculation at work, New Belgium Ranger IPA which clocks in at 6.5% ABV.

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.789 x 355ml x .065

This comes out to 18.21 grams of alcohol. We then multiply this by 7 to account for the calories contributed from the alcohol, and that comes to 127.47 calories. Divide that in half and add the calories from alcohol and we get 127.47/2+127.47=191.21 calories. According to the website, New Belgium Ranger IPA is 187 calories per serving.

Remember, these are just estimates and you would need a lot more information to get a more accurate count. Also, don’t forget to adjust accordingly for your serving size. Google can fill in any blanks in conversion of ounces to milliliters or figuring out the ABV of a beer if it is not posted, but the density of ethanol will not change.

Other factors to consider would be how sweet vs how dry the beer is. Though, you should be in the ballpark with these estimates. Give it a try for a few known calorie beers and see what you notice.

Cheers

Caloric Breakdown Of Beer

The Session 102 Announcement: The Landscape Of Beer

The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry. You can find more information on The Session on Brookston Beer Bulletin.

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SURPRISE, SURPRISE! The Landscape of Beer in America is changing. It has even begun influencing beer in countries all around the world. Everyone has their opinion on Local vs Global, Craft vs Macro, and Love vs Business. Those who were at the Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference in Asheville this past weekend had a brief talk about how “Small and Independent Matters”. Something that quite a few people say matters to them, but where is the upper limit? Does a purchase of another brewery still allow a brewery to fall into the Small and Independent camp?

Our topic this month is, “The Landscape of Beer“. How do you see that landscape now? What about in 5, 10, or even 20 years? A current goal in the American Craft Beer Industry is 20% market share by the year 2020. How can we get there? Can we get there?

Whether your view is realistic or whimsical, what do you see in our future? Is it something you want or something that is happening? Let us know and maybe we can help paint the future together.

Please post your response here on or before August 7th with the round-up to follow.

Cheers!

The Session 102 Announcement: The Landscape Of Beer

20 Percent by 2020

It is no secret that Craft Beer has been making major headway the past 5 years, while overall beer sales have been falling, even with a slight improvement in the past year. But for the better part of the last year, many have been getting on the train that chugged along, by way of the Brewers Association, to see Craft Beer raise it’s market share from the unseen 11% to 20% in the next 5 years. Continuous hurdles are popping up at every glance and other unforeseen obstacles are rearing their head before Craft Beer has had a chance to answer up in the initial issues. So how is this supposed to happen?

Getting to 20/20

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A number of discussions over the past few weeks have put this all into perspective. And my personal biases are only there to support the arguments. While everyone goes into hype about “The Craft Beer Bubble“, which is honestly a discussion I wish people would get over, I feel for craft brewers to get the world where they foresee, a bubble would need to be blown. Maybe the beginning is partially what we are seeing with the current buyouts and expansions of major breweries. The current rate of growth for breweries cannot continue in order to get to the 20% market share goal, but what will is the expansion of the major breweries… as we are already seeing.

The recent announcement of Lagunitas opening a third location only helps to bring focus what actually needs to happen to fulfill this goal, not to mention the major slap in the face to the Macro brewers based on the announced location. It would be interesting to see the way distribution companies move down the line as craft climbs the ladder. Independent companies exist, but they do not have the access or even the interest to see their beers in various locations. While only a small percentage of consumers go above and beyond in finding out where their beer is coming from, I feel a smaller percentage knows who distributes the beer they go out to enjoy. It makes one wonder what arguments people would use to defend their purchases if they knew their favorite beer was distributed in the area by the Miller house. As craft grows, will BMC distribution companies take the hit on money brought in by craft breweries, or will the lines be further blurred? Granted, we are decades away from where that would be an issue but it is a matter of business, just like the Craft Beer industry.

This is news to no one, but if you look at the number 9 craft brewery as of 2014, Stone Brewing Company, the opening of 2 new breweries projected for 2016 and not to mention all of the company stores and the currently on hiatus Stone Hotel, there seems to be a major power play in the works. And, again, news to no one who follows the happening of this industry and their favorite breweries, many Craft Breweries in the top 50, by sales volume, and a ton of local breweries no matter where you are and their size, are opening multiple locations and even shifting their focus to ship beer internationally. Some feel this is an odd move but with the beer that is being produced in America, expanding their reach is what will make the difference in the end.

To accomplish the 20×20 goal, there has to be a big shift in the beer world… but how would that happen? Listen to Sam from Against The Grain Talk briefly on what would need to happen.

The Next Generation of Big Brewers. Posturing. These actions seem to be the necessary evil in the industry to push the Macro brands deeper into obscurity. Will this force the Craft brands into the world of Macro? Quite possibly, but I am not too keen on the phrase “Craft Beer” as it is. Hipster Brewfus said it best.

And this is fact. The small percentage of us are ready to break free from the tag, but the industry is not. It needs “Craft” in this time of growth and investment. When the next generation comes, maybe it will be past the time that a label is needed. Maybe it will go back to just being beer.

Cheers!

20 Percent by 2020