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King Gambrinus - Patron Saint of beer.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Terrible News

I really hate to break bad news to the blog world, but sometimes it has to be done. An alert RSS reader (I did not even know I had any RSS readers!) Steve In Wisconsin sent me this report, and credit must be given to the proper spy source when matters of national security allow.

To your left is a picture of hops. Not pot, but hops. Some people (mostly those who have never smoked pot or never seen good pot OR those who have never brewed their own beer using whole hops and not that pellet stuff) have been known to confuse hops for pot. The two plants are related (they would be cousins if they were people - sort of) - but there is one very important difference. Hops are legal and weed is not. Unless you are in The Netherlands. But that is not the point here. The point is very tragic. I know that Scarlet Witch is going to be as sad as I am over this. If I were closer to her, I would bravely volunteer to console her over a few glasses of Chimay Blue Label - and we would both be sad because this is some excellent stuff and the supply is in serious danger.

There is a world wide shortage of hops. Hops are a key ingredient in beer. Craft brewers, who are the only ones making REAL BEER in America, are going to suffer. Some varieties of hops may be unavailable - meaning that some beer styles may not be able to be produced in quantity.

From the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - Canada's version of the BBC) :

"A worldwide shortage of hops — a key beer-making ingredient — could have a big effect on the taste of specialty brews and force smaller microbreweries to hike the price of their products.

The shortage can be blamed on a perfect storm of events — bad weather in hop-growing areas of the United States, Europe and Australia and a depressed U.S. dollar."

The perfect storm of events huh? Bad weather in hop-growing areas (in no way caused by climate change) and the depressed US Dollar (no way connected to US fiscal policy). OH NO! This is a National Emergency. CALL FEMA!!!

No wait - don't call FEMA. They will just muck things up worse. They will just hold another fake press conference and worry about what color tie the FEMA director should wear to it.

And what if those no good Canadians are just lying? We can't trust a nation that provides health care to its citizens. So here is a link to the same story from Fox "News" - the only true source of news.

And if you watch so much Fox "News" that you forgot how to read - check out this link from TV station KFMZ, serving Eastern Pennsylvania and Western New Jersey.

Now the large brewers contract their hops and buy the stuff up by the ton direct from the growers. They can "hedge" their risk. So the swill that passes for "beer" in America (Bud, Miller High Life, Natural Light, etc) will only go up in price a little. But according to the article on Fox, prices for a 6 pack of "craft brewed" stuff could reach $10 a 6 pack. $10 BUCKS???? Of course I will still buy it.

But it gets worse. Fuel is up, so it cost more to get the product from the brewery to me. Glass and aluminum prices are also up. And then there is the SCAM known as "ethanol". Farmers that used to grow beer grains are switching to corn and other shit to make this ethanol crap. And the more corn used to make ethanol means less corn to eat - so this puts more pressure of beer stuff farmers to grow animal and people food.

There was an oversupply of hops in the mid 90s, so from 1995 - 2006 hops acreage in the USA fell 30%, and 25% of the world's hops are grown right here. It all adds up to really REALLY bad beer news.

Snipes Mountain (a small craft brewer that probably makes excellent beer) saw its barley malt prices grow between 10-15 percent this year, and paid $12.35 per pound for Cascade hops, far beyond the $5.60 per pound allotted last year.

So if energy costs are up, bottle / canning cost is up, malt prices are up, and hops prices are more than double - people like me are going to have to pony up to enjoy a pint of the good stuff.

Scarlet - your Chimay prices are going to be insane. That stuff is already expensive. With the US Dollar falling like a rock against the Euro and now this shit - it could hit $15 - $20 a bottle. I am making the most frowny face I can right now over this.

There is only one thing we can do. We must beseech good King Gambrinus to deliver us from this curse. Who is King Gambrinus? He is known as "the patron saint of beer," has long been a universal symbol of beer and brewing. Particularly during the late nineteenth century, the image of Gambrinus was used by countless brewers to promote their products and remind consumers of the rich heritage of beer-making. Many breweries were even adorned with life-size statues of the King.

To the right is a photo of a statue of the Good King Gambrinus somewhere, probably in Europe. He can also be found on Beer Steins. This is the skinny King Gambrinus, sometimes he is also portrayed as a fat dude. Kind of like Elvis. There is the skinny trim King and the fat Vegas King. By no matter what, he is always shown holding up his pimp cup, and standing on a beer barrel.

So please good and kind King Gambrinus - fix this hops and malt problem. Let there be more hops of all varieties (please do not forget the hops used to make fine pale ales and bittering hops), and also let there me more malted barley. Let the yeast strains be abundant, and let fuel, glass, and aluminum prices fall.

Please do not let the taps run dry. Please do not make me sing this song at my favorite bar, where they make their own excellent beer.

Do not allow this tragedy to befall mankind. We need your magical potion. We will not live any longer if the beer runs out, it will just seem like we live longer. Do not make me resort to wine. Wine is fine, but the truth is that a fine beer is just as complex as any wine out there - but you already know this, for you are King Gambrinus - unofficial patron saint of beer.
I drink this Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in your honor. I know you will not let me down. And for your sake good King, I hope this song is not true.

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Blogger Scarlet Witch said...

Say it isn't so, Lazy Iq! This is devastating news. Why?! I'd rather have an oil crisis!

Chimay Blue. I drool when I see the words.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Scarlet - only Good King Gambrinus can deliver us from the most terrible fate. I am hoping that this crisis is overblown, or that it will only mean a 10% - 20% hike in price, as opposed to a total lack of some styles. Also, some beer makers may have to experiment with recipes - substituting one kind of hops for another, or using less hops. While it may be interesting to sample some beers made with different hops than usual - less hops or no beer at all would not be desirable.

Blogger Randal Graves said...

I'm not the world's biggest beer fan myself, but I am a fan of people being more shit-faced to avoid dealing with the world. This is horrific news.

And SW, don't worry, you can have both!

Blogger Yippeeskip said...

I heard this news story and thought of you. I grieve for you.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm all hopped up on mountain dew.

as for this news you have delivered it is really making me nervous. I am poor right now so I can't go stock up on my favorite brew. This really sucks

Blogger M@ said...

Good job, Brownie!

Blogger Scarlet Witch said...

Lazy Ig, I'm on it....

Blogger Tina said...

I had to come see what all the hub-bub was about... and now that I've seen it, I'm must confess, a tear does come to the eye.

But will those Bud-lite might as well be cat pee chugging Bush voters care?
Probably not so much.
Instead of properly blaming their beloved W's fiscal policy, they'll just complain that taxes are too high and that's why they now can't afford to drink their swill.
Hannity and Limbaugh will say it is somehow Bill Clinton's fault.
Coulter will say that abortion-loving atheist illegal immigrants did it.
O'Reilly will start a "war on beer" and blame that mythical liberal media.

Hubby and I are no brew experts, but we are v-e-r-y fond of the local concoctions whipped up at Great Lakes Brewery in Cleveland.
It is the only place that has ever gotten me to drink a porter... and like it. (the Edmund Fitzgerald porter).
Heck, even my parents love going there.
I have an idea... I'm Catholic.
I'll get a statue of King Gambrinus. I'll light novenas and pray for hops crops to improve.
You laugh, but hey... we light novenas to the statues of saints all the time... why the hell not to Pimp Daddy Brewmeister in a crown?

Blogger Fuzz said...

This looks bad. Might have to switch to White Licker.

Blogger actonbell said...

And if you watch so much Fox "News" that you forgot how to read - check out this link from TV station KFMZ, serving Eastern Pennsylvania and Western New Jersey.
Just WHAT are you trying to say?:)
I've heard stories about the hops debacle. We will still buy the decent stuff, too. Life is too short for bad beer.

About your winter post: In PA, we have just had the warmest October on record. Some leaves are changing, but our three maple trees are being very stingy with the leaves. The township's leaf collection ends right after Thanksgiving,a policy that they will have to rethink if global warming is to make our autumns this way, as a rule...

I'm esp. fond of Sam Adams Porter:)

Halloween: our trick or treat night is always the last Thursday of the month, so t or t was very early this year. The most interesting thing about Halloween lately is how popular it is with younger adults, and some of them are paying outrageous prices for the right costume.

My husband's parents give out full-sized Hershey bars, and bought 70 of them. They ran out and had to shut down! Word must've gotten around:) There is too much supervision these days for kids to egg people, around here. Kids no longer have paper routes or walk to school, because of all the reports of evil. Sometimes I think Halloween will end because of safety hysteria, more than the alleged satanic thing.

Flying on broomsticks? I want a Nimbus 2000 for Christmas.

Blogger actonbell said...

oops, forget my first statement; I am toasted an misread you. It's the Chocolate Stout, which would definitely be wasted on children.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Randal - I get shit faced purely for recreational purposes. And on these occasions I do a few shots. Beer is more of this really good drink that I consume because I like it.

Yippee - it is indeed disturbing news. All day long it was weighing down on me.

Doozie - I am short on funds too. I can not stock up. And even if I could, not all beer is supposed to be aged. The styles I like best should be consumed shortly after buying them. Some beer is like wine, and gets better with age - while some is like milk. If it gets too old you know better than to even open it.

M@ - he did a heck of a job. Before he was forced to resign.

Scarlet - on what? Do I even want to know? I am on it too. On Winter Lager.

Tina - most beer drinkers will not notice anything - other than the increase in price. It is a given that somehow it will be Clinton's fault. It was in the mid 90s that land devoted to hops production started to decline. I wonder if this will become a campaign issue?

Fuzz - I would rather not. Going to rum is always an option, but I really like beer. Often I just have one. The hard stuff is reserved more for when I feel like getting blotto.

Actionbell - I am trying to say that the typical Fox News watcher is probably a moron and unable to read. So I posted a link to a TV station that covered the story. No reading required! See how nice I am?

I like the Sam Adams Cream Stout. It is pretty good. My favorite porter is Sierra Nevada Porter. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company ought to start sending me free shit.

Blogger The Devil Uno said...

The obvious solution is to start drinking wine until the hops become plentiful.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Uno - that is genius. I will keep this possible solution in mind. But I really like beer. I know very little about wine.

Blogger Lily Strange said...

Shit, that is bad news to many. I hope the hops growth jumps for the sake of all the beer lovers in the world.
In high school I had a fellow student try to sell me oregano and pass it off as pot. She said "It looks like oregano and smells like oregano, but I swear, it's really good pot."
Little did she know that although I had not yet made my external transformation to metalhead with flock of seagulls haircut (don't ask) I knew a fair amount about pot. Granted, all I'd ever smoked was schwag, but I did know from oregano. I told her if I wanted to cook a pizza or some spaghetti sauce in the near future I'd get back to her.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Lily - the secret to selling someone oregano and saying it is pot is to first find someone who does not know what pot is and then to roll it up in a "joint" and sell it as a "joint". The rolling paper hides the fact that the shit looks like oregano, because it is oregano.

Blogger Dusty said...

My first husband developed an allergy to hops..but not pot evidently since he smoked half a ounce of it every two days.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

I would rather be allergic to pot than hops. If given a choice.


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