News from the Mash Tun #25

News from the Mash Tun #25

With looming threats of patents on beer ingredients, is the intersection between science and farming a cause for concern for breweries? Hopefully not and ‘we’re off to never-never-land’ on that legal nonsense – speaking of, Metallica is headed our way with the promise of craft-beer for metal lovers. We’re talking drink exhibitions, new brewpubs and bars, beer-toting rednecks and how we should all just love one another.

Beer ingredient patents

Beer can be big business, so it is perhaps not surprising to see some of Europe’s bigger brands dabbling in the legalities of patenting certain brewing ingredients.

Heineken and Carlsberg have recently won a dispute over patenting brewing barley before the European Patent Office (EPO). The two breweries, who have already secured patent rights for certain restrictions on certain plants, will be able to maintain their control in the face of much dispute.

An alliance with the belief of having “No patents on seeds!” argues that, by allowing larger corporation to possess patent rights to plant products, the marketing power of large corporation is strengthened. As such the alliance plans to object the the decision of the EPO, announcing their intent to appeal.

An interesting debate on this topic should ensue over the coming months and one can’t help but ask – where should we draw a line when it comes to ownership of crops and other products that, regardless of scientific intervention through GMO experiments or not, have evolved quite naturally through artificial selection over the last several hundreds of years.

Nuremberg’s Brau Beviale

Manchester just wrapped up an excellent Independent Manchester Beer Convention (Indy Man Beer Con, or IMBC), a celebration of beer, food, discussions and general good times, and straight after Berlin hosted another successful Bar Convent Berlin, the annual trade show dedicated to the bar and beverage industry! Wow. Busy times for beer. And lo and behold, hot on their heels, this November it’s Nürnbergs turn to host an annual drink exhibition – the BrauBeviale.

With a focus on all things important to the growth of the beverage industry such as equipment, raw materials (patents aside), technological advancements, and anything else you might dream up relevant to the whole process chain of the beverages (beer, water, non-alcoholic drinks, spirits, wine, sparkling wine and liquid dairy products), the Beviale deals with the ‘other side’ of drinks.

For the brewers amongst us, attendance is a must (accordingly, accommodation prices in Nuremberg hit an annual high!) Not only is the Beviale an exhibition for drink professionals with the latest on technologies, forums, award ceremonies, (e.g. the European Beer Star), and tastings, but it also provides an old-school as well as young and adventurous scene professional development through topical presentations (e.g. Heirloom & Terroir Barley and Malt Symposium)

Let’s wait with baited breath to see what this years technologies unveil!

Stone And Metallica Collaborate On Enter Night Pilsner

Metal-heads, lovers of high quality beer and the nostalgic, rebellious youth of the 80’s can rejoice at the news that Metallica is set to tour Europe, with, wait for it, Stone Brewing representing. A collaboration between the Escondido leg of Stone Brewing and the pinnacle of metal bands from the 80’s, Metallica, lead to the creation of ‘Enter Night’, a pilsner style lager.

Any male who has ever visited any of the Stone restaurants will know that Greg Koch, the Executive Chairman and co-founder of the company is a giant metal head at heart, so the collaboration is fitting, especially after their recent debacle with Nofx, where, due to stupid remarks by the band frontman, Stone had to distance themselves from the collaboration they’d brewed together.

The legendary Metallica will hit Europe for the summer of 2019, but fingers crossed the beer will hit our bellies long before that!

Brewdog teams up with alleged Trump-loving rednecks – accidentally?

It’s difficult to know if they’re just a little oblivious coupled with bad luck or if they are actually mad-marketing geniuses, but the punks of Brewdog made headlines again recently with the news that a gun-toting American brewery they had aligned themselves with were actually Trump supporters.

A so-called “rogue element in their team” employee of the PR firm (Frank) representing the American brewery, Scofflaw Brewing Co., made an apparently unsolicited announcement that all UK-based Trump supporters would receive a free beer of theirs at any of the UK Brewdog establishments which were stocking their beers through a partnership between the two breweries.

“We did not know anything about this”, Brewdog tweeted, “We are cancelling the events and are sending all of the beer back – Scofflaw beer won’t be available in our bars.”

Brewdog then announced they would be offering a “very real promotion”, saying that customers who support “love not hate” can claim a free beer. “Simply tell our staff, and enjoy a pint of Punk IPA, or any Headliner on us,” BrewDog tweeted.

Phew, that sounds complicated but allow me to distill it:

Brewdog teamed up with American self-proclaimed redneck brewery who may or may not be Trump supporters. Accidentally.

After deciding to take their beers on in some of their UK taprooms, Brewdog were shocked to learn of a post made by the rednecks about Trump supporters getting free-beer in all UK Brewdogs. Brewdog feign shock.

They then redeem themselves by making mushy post offering free beer to people who love.

“This post is absolute nonsense”, said Scofflaw owner Matt Shirah. “While we definitely have country roots, no one at Scofflaw Brewing or those associated with our brand, is now or has ever been, rooted in hate”.

How on planet earth such a situation occurs, we may never know…

Schoppe Bräu second taproom coming soon!

There is so much happening in the indie-beer scene these days that it can be easy to forget about some of the local pioneers for our passion. But after years and years of working tirelessly to foster the creative beer scene, Thorsten Schoppe of Schoppe Bräu, one Berlin’s originals (‘the Godfather of Berlin craft beer’), is not planning to rest on his laurels anytime soon.

In fact, Thorsten is now planning to open a second bar venue – this time, just next door to where he’s brewing his beers in the Pfefferberg, smack bang on Schönhauser Allee in Prenzlauer Berg.

With plans to install 20 taps as well as additional fermenters, the new venue will facilitate growth for the Schoppe Bräu brand as well become one more in the ever expanding front to push the message of getting brewery fresh beer to the people.

The cool factor doesn’t stop there! The location will flip into bakery / butcher production mode while the brewery sleeps, thereby utilising the space with incredible efficiency in a dreamy, utopian circle-of-life. Very exciting stuff!

The Castle coming to former East Germany’s most magnificent boulevard

Speaking of the (constant) expansions for Berlin’s creative-beer bar scene, the lovable crew behind The Castle Berlin have announced their imminent expansion into Friedrichshain. The Castle Friedrichshain, which will be situated on the corner of the GDR built former East German flagship boulevard where Karl-Marx Allee becomes Frankfurter Allee, promises an impressive 50 taps as well as their ever excellent coffee offerings.

Not only will visitors to the impressive location be able to enjoy more craft-beer than they can poke a stick at, but they will also be able to gain a glimpse of incredible history the neighbourhood provides, with the building an excellent illustration of the classical socialist style of architecture from the 1950s as well as the prominent twin towers on the Frankfurter Tor, spooky and impressive Stalinist architectural style examples built during the socialist era.

Wow! All of that history coupled with all of that beer! It’s very cool to see contemporary beer merge with Berlin’s rich history!

That’s all for now folks! Enjoy the glorious Autumn we’re experiencing, get outdoors, bathe in the years last sunrays and head to that beer garden, brewpub, brewery or beer bar you’ve been talking about visiting for ages! Now is the time.

Act now, don’t delay, for let us all remember that winter is coming!


Photo Credit: Tim Klöcker and Pixabay