The Language of Beer: Going Hyperlocal

map pinFirst we looked at the changing vernacular or beer, then analyzed what “cheap beer” meant to people.

Today, however, we go from a national look to a local one.

The best part about the recent Yelp Trends posts is the ability to hone into specific locales to gauge the potential for bias or interest within a specific metro area. So while we originally looked at broader topics that relate to craft beer, I love the fact we can also go micro and investigate unique aspects of beer that are local.

And there are a lot.

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The Language of Beer: Recession, Spending and Waning Interest in ‘Cheap’ Brews

450038_stock-photo-will-work-for-food-cardboard-signA penny saved is a penny earned.

Except when it comes to craft beer, for which it’s clear people are willing to spend a little extra, as evidenced by craft beer’s 20 percent growth in dollars sales last year or the fact dollar sales have nearly doubled in the last four years.

Passion for craft beer is at an all-time high, but when did this spending trend take off? We’ve got a pretty good idea, but with some help from Yelp Trends, we can have some fun looking into public perception of this change.

Much like our other look at the vernacular of “craft beer” and “microbrew,” a dissection of results from Yelp adds another layer to our understanding of the growth of craft beer.

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The Language of Beer: Is it “Craft Beer” or “Microbrew”?

brew edu_bookworm_beerWhat’s in a name?

A lot, really.

Our language has amazing duality, both steadfast in its origins and fickle in its expanding lexicon. When it comes to beer and wordplay, it’s much of the same.

I’ve done previous research on the vernacular journey of beer, from the use of the phrase “craft beer” to how it spread and when grammar changes took place.

It’s a fascinating topic and mirrors our country’s growing interest in beer and what beer can be for people. But it’s also only part of a larger story to tell, which is why I’ve reopened that book with the help of review site, Yelp.

Yelp recently released 10 years of data as part of its new “Yelp Trends,” which searches through the platform’s user reviews to show “what’s hot” and reveals word-use habits. Even better, you can narrow searches to a collection of nearly 100 cities, honing in on geographical biases from people around the country.

Putting this in relation to beer, there’s some fun to be had with Yelp Trends and how they reinforce our evolving language and interests in beer.

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Advice for a Craft Beer Newbie: The Complete Series!

Over the past two weeks, I joined a collection of Mid-Atlantic beer bloggers to share our insight into what kind of advice we would pass along to someone starting a journey into craft beer. The results were a lot of fun.

My advice – to live fully – can be read here.

Everyone put a lot of effort into the project, so I wanted to highlight these posts once again and encourage you to check them out:
  • Doug from Baltimore Bistros and Beer – Craft
  • Jake from Hipster Brewfus – Patience
  • Oliver from Literature and Libation – Reciprocate
  • Andrew from Das Ale Haus – Drink
  • Josh from Short on Beer – Journey
  • Liz from Naptown Pint – Relax
  • Sean from BrewKeep – You

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Programming note: I’ve got a new layout for the blog, one that I hope will appear cleaner and offer better use of photos and content. I haven’t changed the look of my blog in a couple years, so a little upkeep will do me good. Hopefully you, too.

Thanks again for sharing in this blog with me and joining my journey through beer.

Coming Attraction: Taking Beer from Glass to Screen

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Like any good man, Mike Sills has a good woman alongside him.

But when it came to bringing him into the fold of craft beer, Mike’s wife, Jenna, led the way.

“Give Mike a glass of whiskey – almost any whiskey,” Jenna recalled, “and he was a happy man.”

mike and jenna-edit

Jenna and Mike Sills, enjoying more than beer.

But that was before the couple made a brief weekend getaway from Boston to travel to Vermont. It was before Jenna suggested they stop at Waterbury’s The Alchemist during their trip, after a serendipitous sample from a friend of the famed Heady Topper.

All that was before they walked into Blackback Pub one night, having left their car parallel parked in what felt like the middle of a snow-covered street.

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One Word of Advice for the Craft Beer Newbie

word cloud-live-beer

We’re all on the clock.

The Great Inevitability of Life – it’s own end – ticks away, but still ignored by our inclination to rarely check the minute and hour hands to deal with that truth.

But ever so often, our ears are retrained to hear the staccato of their machinations, usually when some tragedy has affected us or, even worse, it’s Too Late.

We hold tight to the thought that there will always be more time, simply because we believe so. But whether we have religious tendencies or not, we are still left at the mercy of some variable outside our reach. It could be Fate or it could be the fact we just don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

This is the kind of existential quandary that has picked at my brain recently, a byproduct of unfortunate circumstances chipping away at my consciousness.
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Bitter Rivalry: Is It Time to Name a New Region ‘King’ of the IPA?

Last week, we took a glance at the geographic evolution of the IPA, from the West to East Coast and its latest hotspot, the Midwest.

That research was inspired by work first done by Carla Jean Lauter, which prompted me to think about IPAs, rankings and where the interest for this popular beer style comes from. While Carla highlighted the Northeast, my research led to curiosity about the Midwest.

Which led me to think … is a new region ready to steal the throne from the West Coast and be anointed “King” of IPAs?

Previously, I used Beer Advocate rankings to weigh the value of IPAs on a geographical basis. To me, this data set represents the most enthusiastic of the beer community, which might better showcase the “best of the best” IPA options. But if the vast majority of beer drinkers aren’t overly active on beer rating websites, we can try another route to potentially get a greater cross-section of IPA lovers.

For that, we turn to fellow statistically-minded beer geeks at BeerGraphs.

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One Nation, Under Hops: A Geographical Evolution of IPA

united staes of hops

When it comes to understanding craft beer, perhaps the only thing bigger than the idea of its “cultural movement” is ironically one, singular brew – the IPA.

The India pale ale has become synonymous with craft beer and stands tall as arguably the most popular style for Americans picking up bottles or downing pints of Sierra Nevada, Lagunitas, New Belgium or any local option down the street.

As the IPA has taken hold of our pints and wallets, it’s become the cornerstone style for breweries young and old. The IPA has shifted from a novel connection to the West Coast to a beer found everywhere across the country.

So if California, Oregon and Washington no longer reign over the IPA-loving masses like they used to, where exactly are today’s best IPAs coming from?

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The Fighter

a boxer

Outside, he’s as pretty as he ever was. Inside, he feels like shit.

The bleeding never stops. Oozing almost daily, it’s an open wound wrapped with gauze and holding back the slow crimson trickle of his innermost weakness.

But eventually, the bandages are soaked through and have to be changed.

His cut man – the one standing between him being a beaten man on the floor and his want to come back for one more round – never leaves his corner. In the ring, the job would be simple: swab, ice, dab, pack, repeat. But now The Fighter’s partner has a much more personal role: open, pour, lubricate, numb.

Repeat.

His cut man has no Name. His cut man has many names: Bud, Johnnie, Jack. Beaten and bleeding, he’d sometimes he’d forget which one to call after stumbling to his partner for help. But then he’d get patched up and move along.

The magic of the cut man is that he is supposed to be able to fix anything. In all his incarnations, he offers novelty and originality – new ways to stop the pain and hold back the bleeding.

The tragedy of the cut man is that his handiwork is temporary. As hard as The Fighter tries, each visit with the cut man is fleeting. He must reenter the ring.

Physically, The Fighter is in fine shape, but inside, where the cut man does his job, he is falling apart. He is alone in his battles, only joined by others in his daily trial of recovery.

His bottle. His glass. His cut man.

—–

As someone who is passionate about something that can be so destructive, sometimes I question my own relationship with alcohol. My adoration for the craft, the people and the product is unquestioned personally, but there is always an inkling of self-doubt.

I fight with the threat of forgetting my place, of letting an emotional connection become a physical one. I have succeeded, but it is a battle of both memory and foresight. Others have fallen. I cannot.

—–

session_logo_all_text_300This post is a part of The Session, a monthly collaborative blogging effort with beer writers from around the world.

Beer isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. This month’s topic comes from Hipster Brewfus, who asked participants to join him in Beer Fight Club in order to share thoughts on beer and why it isn’t always happy-go-lucky.

+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac

 

Header image via  John Perivolaris.

What I’m Doing on My Summer Vacation: July 2014 Beertography

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It’s the end of the month, which means it’s time for my regular roundup of beertography from the last few weeks.

Below you’ll find some of my recent shots, which you may also come across on my Instagram page, Twitter account or even Untappd. If you like these, you can find all of my beertography shots on Instagram or in my running archive.

All my shots are taken with my iPhone 5 unless otherwise noted. The space where I shoot my photos – around the house – offers somewhat limited opportunities for pretty backdrops, which is why I try to get inventive with my photo ideas.

Let’s see what July had to offer…

Wicked Weed Brewing Black Angel – Heaven Sent

wicked weed-beer-beertography-black angel-barrel beer-cherry-north carolina

Stillwater/Westbrook Big Tasty’s Back Door – Time to Get Funky

beer-beertography-big tasty-stillwater-westbrook-south carolina

21st Amendment Monk’s Blood – Praying to Gods of Fermentation

21st amendment-beertography-monks blood-bible

Palmetto Brewery Pale Ale – A Day Gone Bye

palmetto-pale ale-south carolina-beer-beertography-2

Left Hand Brewing Wake Up Dead – Rise and Shine

beer-beertography-left hand-left hand brewing-wake up the dead-stout-russian imperial stout-alarm clock-colorado

As always, you can go back to see previous beertography posts:

+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac