|SHERMAN ON THE MOUNT|
It's time we got back to the America we all loved. When men were men and women were women and kids were kids and red, white and blue and flag and country and patriotism and rugged individualism and God...well, as long as we're talking about the RIGHT God.
God help us! The Silly Season is upon us. That time when hyperbolic hysteria reigns. We've already been steeped in God fearin', tax hatin', Etch-a-Sketch wavin' rhetoric to the point where you're ready to pull out your Constitutionally guaranteed six-shooter and blast a Real 3D hole through your widescreen TV (then post the whole thing on Youtube - now THAT'S a viral video I'd watch.) And this is just the beginning! This is just the Republicans firing broadsides at each other - a little family squabble. Wait til a winner is picked and the real un-civil war begins.
There's one thing I can absolutely guarantee - patriotism and nostalgia will reign. And among the plethora of political ads you will find images that look like they were taken right out of the 1950's, shot on Super 8 film: grainy, jumpy images. You know, nostalgic.
The truth is, while "new" is not always synonymous with "better" - neither is "old." For some things, the "good ol' days" may indeed have been good. But not when it comes to American beer. From post-WWII to the '80's, American beers all began to become boringly similar.
Craft beer sales grew through the '90's and continue to grow today. This past year (2011) volume has increased a whopping 13% while retail sales have jumped by an impressive 15% (thanks to BOTB friend, Jeff, for pointing us to craftbeer.com for this info). More and more beer drinkers are experiencing the joy of choice. In 1900 there were 1,751 breweries in the US. Prohibition in 1919 all but ruined most of them (some survived by producing soft drinks). The post-Prohibition high was 498 in 1940. But by 1983 the number of US breweries reached its nadir with only 80 active breweries. Worse still, 92% of the country's beer production was controlled by only six breweries: A-B, Miller, Heilemen, Stroh, Coors, and Pabst. Even worse than that, they all made essentially the same beer!
By February of this year, the number of breweries operating in the US had topped 2,000.
Choice is a beautiful thing!
In celebration of those aforementioned beer pioneers and home brewers, the beers we tasted this month are beers you won't see on your store shelves any time soon. H Block Brewery in Oswego (and Buffalo), New York is a brewery which is currently on the ground floor. Justin Pylak and his partner in Buffalo are in the process of putting together a workable business plan in the hopes of building their business into a viable regional brewery. Right now, the beer is brewed in Buffalo, then Justin carbonates and bottles it in Oswego for distribution in the part of the state. They hope to make serious progress early this summer. In the meantime they have been finding investors and getting their beers out to various venues for tastings.