Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Beer of Place

The last few days have been hectic, hence my lack of posting.

An eight-year-old's birthday party over the weekend, and coordinating not only tonight's Albany Institute book launch event for Upper Hudson Valley Beer, but also our next event—a talk, book signing, and beer release shindig at Brown's Brewing Company on September 25th. Again, I repeat—a hectic few days. 

It's the little things that smooth everything out, though. Like last night, a brief respite of a beer whilst grilling sausage. Harpoon IPA, to be exact. Nothing fancy, just a dependable tipple.  It was whilst grilling and chilling (sorry), when something caught me eye on the back label of the bottle— "New England-style IPA".

Yeah, yeah. I know this isn't pinewood.
Hmm. Beer that represents a place. I like that. 

Granted "New England", or for that matter "West Coast", is pretty broad, but I like the idea of a beer "of a place", that is to say beer that represents the essence of somewhere—not the IPA is the best example, but here's what I mean. For me, the smell of a pinewood bonfire always evoke New York's fantastic Adirondack State Park. I could be on South Carolina beach or in my urban backyard, but if if I get one whiff of pine needles smoldering—BANG! I'm around a campfire in the Adirondacks, or at least that's where my imagination goes.

Why can't a beer do that? I'm talking about something other than remembering a beer you once had at the beach, or hop genetics interacting with the environment to produce some kind of terrior. I'm talking about the beer making a connection—a real connection—to a place. Wouldn't a beer that represents where it's from—and incorporates ingredients so associated with that place—be the epitome of a local brew? There's a lot of representation in beer today, and there's a lot of justifying of ingredients in beers, but how much of that truly evokes a "place"?  

Not much. 

Let's work on that.


  1. The smell of wet leaves makes me think of Octoberfests - though with recent "season creep," I'm not sure that will be possible for the younger generations, who see store shelves stocked with Octoberfests in mid-August, well before trees in the NE shed their leaves. . . .

  2. Replies
    1. I'm not sure naming the beer after the place it's made, counts.