Stan Hieronymus of appellation beer, author of Brewing Local and For the Love of Hops, and the founder of The Session is hosting the 118th Session: He asks “If you could invite four people dead or alive to a beer dinner who would they be? What four beers would you serve?”
This can go so many directions as there are very many scenarios I can imagine, so I am going to put forth a couple different ones here, seeing as they are all fantasy anyway.
As much as I was inspired by this, I also seriously struggled with writing it. Not sure what’s going on, but here it is, as it is.
Beer & Brewing #1
Jessica Boak – co-beer blogger extraordinaire at Boak & Bailey’s Beer Blog and co-author of Brew Britannia: the strange rebirth of British beer and Gambrinus waltz: German Lager beer in Victorian and Edwardian London
Ray Bailey – the other half of the dynamic B&B duo; see Jessica above
Jon Abernathy – friend and another extremely long-term beer blogger at The Brew Site and author of Bend Beer: A History of Brewing in Central Oregon
Peter Kopp – author of Hoptopia: A World of Agriculture and Beer in Oregon’s Willamette Valley
I have been reading Boak & Bailey for a couple years now [blog, books, & newsletter] and interact with them a tad bit on Twitter too. They seem like good folks and ones I would love to actually have a chance to sit with in a pub and talk, so they are natural fits.
Seeing as they are somewhat fairly-to-heavily focused on the recent history of beer in Britain, I thought my friend, Jon Abernathy, would be an excellent choice due to his same focus on our local region.
A fourth here was tougher but I went with Peter Kopp as another historian of an aspect of beer production.
So I guess my theme here, if there is one, is authors of recent historically-focused books on beer.
The beers I would serve—I’m sure I could be swayed as my creativity here got exhausted quickly—are the following:
A lovely British cask bitter in perfect nick. Because. I have never had such a thing and I need the experience. What is all the fuss [SPBW, CAMRA, real ale, …] about?
Heineken (Dutch) c1984. While I was stationed in Belgium in the mid-80s one of my fellow soldiers—a Dutch airman—would bring me this by the case. I also drank Rodenbach—in 33 cl bottles—and a couple others by the case. This was so very different than the stuff imported in green bottles that I had been drinking 5 years earlier just before joining the Army and leaving for Europe. I would really love to taste this and see if it was as good as I remember it.
1842 Pilsner Urquell. Why would you not want to try the first—and only—Pilsner? What was this thing that so changed the world?
Thrales 18th century Russian Imperial Stout. The wife and I adore big Imperial stouts, so again I would love to try one of the early exemplars and possible eponym.
Women in Beer
I definitely would love to do my part for the many great women in and around great beer and there are so very many inspiring choices here. Sadly, my creativity was restrained here as there are no doubt many more amazing and interesting women in this field that I am not aware of.
Women in Beer #1
Tanya Cornett – R&D Brewer at 10 Barrel, former brewmaster at Bend Brewing
Tanya is a great brewer—I don’t care about your feeling re AB InBev here—and someone I’d love to get to know. One of my beer heroes in my newly adopted hometown.
Carla Jean Lauter – “the beer babe,” beer writer, blogger, twitterer
Carla is always interesting on the Twitters and her longer form writing—when I get a chance to see it—is also. Another person from my corner of the interwebz that seems like a really cool person to hang with over some beers
Mirella Amato – beer educator, author of Beerology: everything you need to know to enjoy beer…even more and one of the first Master Cicerones
Again, another really cool seeming person whose passion is focused on beer education, something near and dear to my heart.
Annie Johnson – 2013 AHA Homebrewer of the Year
I read an article—somewhere—about Annie in the last couple years and maybe even saw a short video and she just seemed so interesting and enthusiastic.
So I have award-winning brewers, both professional and homebrewer, and a beer writer and a beer educator/author.
For the women in beer dinner I would want the ladies to each bring their own selection. This would (hopefully) be a dinner in which I, the host, would mostly sit in and listen. Keep my mouth shut as much as possible and allow them to discuss what they want, how they want.
Women in Beer (Science)
Veronica Vega – R&D Brewer for Deschutes Brewery
Karen Fortmann – senior research scientist at White Labs
Nicole Garneau – geneticist & curator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science; coauthor of the Beer Flavor Map [see above link] [This is a bit breathless, to say the least, but gives an idea. Am immensely interested in discussing this with the coauthors.]
Lindsay Barr – sensory specialist at New Belgium; currently serves as chair of the ASBC Sensory Subcommittee; coauthor of the Beer flavor Map.
Veronica is one of my favorite people and another definite local hero of mine. I also know, for a fact, that she is an amazing person with a wide variety of interests and experience. I have been on a couple hikes with her—beer-related—and see her now and again at the pub or around town. I always get a hug. But please don’t let any of that distract you from her brewing chops—she has a much larger role now and well deserves it—but she was the Deschutes Bend Pub brewer when we moved here and is a major force in why I adore those pub beers so very much. I have drank quite a bit of her beer.
I read about Karen Fortmann in that Beer Advocate article and her work sounds absolutely intriguing.
The other two scientists, also mentioned in that article, came to my attention a few months back due to their work on the Beer Flavor Map. I have read Meilgaard’s work and others on the flavor wheel and find this [set of] topic[s] incredibly interesting. I would love to get a first-hand account of that work and the resultant product.
One professional brewer with a science background and three brewing scientists. This one would be extremely hard for me to be quiet so I would not hold myself to that here. Beer science. Got to learn. Got to ask questions of the researchers when you get a chance. Still, hopefully, not being a typical guy and letting the ladies have at it.
I would leave the beers up to the professionals, as above.
Growers / Researchers
Seth Klann – barley and rye grower, maltster Mecca Grade Estate Malt
Pat Hayes – OSU barley breeder
Gail Goschie – hop grower, Goschie Farms
Al Haunold – USDA hop breeder. Took over the hop breeding program in Corvallis (USDA-ARS) in 1965: Nugget, Willamette, Cascade and several other hops are credited to him.
These people and their roles are critical to great beer! We need farmers–especially ones like Seth and Gail whose families have been farming in Oregon for over 100 years each. We also need our agricultural researchers and these two–at least in my world–are rock stars.
I do know Seth and Pat personally and they are both great people. I have had the privilege of attending OSU Barley Days with Pat playing host and another huge privilege of hanging on the Klann family farm for a a day during a homebrew club group brew and seeing the mechanical floor malter and the storage silos and so learning about all they do to bring us great malt. I have also heard both men present on barley a couple of times.
I do not know Gail personally but she seems like great people from all I have seen and heard. I never had the privilege of meeting Al Haunold either but in our little part of the world he is legendary.
For these folks I would love some vibrant, yet simple, SmaSH beers made with Mecca Grade malt [Full Pint, thanks Pat!] and Goschie Farms’ Haunold-developed hops.
I had a couple other scenarios lined up but due to struggling with writing they need to be left out—there were plenty more women in beer, more growers and researchers, more beer writers, a foursome or three of library folks, homebrewing folks, beer education folks, and so on.