68. 9,247ish Breweries in the US Not Enough for Some Beer Bars
They still feel compelled to celebrate the few Bad Ones; plus, in happier news, a new Hire This Cool Person!; the Beer Culture Summit is coming; and tarot for self-care.
NYC Is Rolling Out the Red Carpet for Hill Farmstead, Coolcoolcool…
In you-hate-to-see-it news…I was super bummed to stumble upon an Instagram post from one of my (formerly, I guess?) favorite beer bars, Grand Delancey, about a big ‘ol Hill Farmstead shebang they’re hosting. I’m not linking to it because screw this event; it’s easy enough to find if you’re curious. I have since learned that Torst and Proletariat are hosting similar events. (Where am I going to go to get a drink in this town from now on, you know?)
Perhaps there’s an embarrassing bit of naivete and even, hate to admit it, superiority behind the fact that I even feel compelled to write about this here: I think I stupidly—and again, arrogantly—thought (hoped??) New York City was better than this. I was really walking around in this false-security bubble thinking I could trust our beer bars to not melt into puddles of hero worship and beer dude fandom, also embarrassing in and of itself, frankly, all over a bad actor A known bad actor. All you want to do is hope—I think, honestly, it’s what helps you even stick around in the craft beer scene—the people and places in your community will show a little bit of integrity and not fawn over a Bad Person just because he made some good beer. Guess what, thousands of other people make good beer, too, and surely plenty of them are Good People, so why not redirect your attention? Why do so many people feel compelled to continue praising Shaun Hill?
Selling the beer is one thing. I’ve talked about this at length here before—all of this is incredibly complicated. I don’t want to see Hill Farmstead employees suffer even more than they already have. And, look, as we get into the weeds of just how complicated this all in fact is, there are mistakes to be made. I have made them! I have taken the word of the wrong people in certain situations, completely failing to really hear the people who matter, and have accidentally supported a brewery in the past when, as it turns out, that didn’t align with what matters to me. The only thing I can do to try to make good on this is to work harder every day to be better, research harder, and prioritize accountability.
But do you know what’s very uncomplicated? Not just selling a brewery’s beer when, eh, what do we do here, we don’t want to support the owner but we don’t want to punish the employees; opinions may vary, we’re still figuring it out. Not taking time to find out the real stories and truths and making sense of who to support and who to look to as an example of making meaningful amends. What’s uncomplicated is hosting an entire celebratory event for a controversial brewery with a toxic and unapologetic brewer, and lauding him in your Instagram caption about it. How and why are you indeed so honored to welcome someone who has hurt people into your bar? And by the way, speaking of hurting people, I wonder how your own employees feel about this. What if someone has their own experience with a similar situation? Do you even care what their feelings are about this person, this circumstance, and what you’re doing? What’s going on there? You can’t be that oblivious. There are so many other incredible people making incredible beer. Host them, celebrate them, gush over them on your social media posts. Get a fucking grip.
Hire This Cool Person!
We’re back with a second edition of this feature, geared at hopefully connecting people looking to work within the craft beer world with projects and opportunities. Think of it as a sort of networking outlet where super talented people, especially people who have not been welcomed into and represented in craft beer nearly enough in the past, can link up with hiring managers, editors, etc., and carve absolutely whatever kind of unique path in this industry that they dream of. This week, I’m super excited to feature Jacque Irizarry, whose work you just might recognize—Jacque is an inspiring artist already making a huge impact in craft beer, and I for one am excited to see the rest of that journey. If you want to work with Jacque, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
My name is Jacque aka Jaq or Jaqpot. I started my design business, Jaqpot Designs and my beer page @_hoppenstance about two years ago as I was making my way into the craft beer industry. I vividly remember my milestone professor telling me to pick a different avenue for my career because this will never happen. His words and his doubt only fueled my fire and desire, as I can be stubbornly goal-oriented at times.
Despite being a triple threat, whose voice is commonly suppressed—I am Hispanic, a lesbian, and a woman—I have now reframed my triple threat as a graphic designer, web designer, and photographer. Honestly, it’s been a longer road than expected, but I continue to challenge myself and grow while believing that I’m right on time.
With a somber heart, this summer I collaborated with The Lehigh Valley Brewers’ Guild on their first charitable beer. I designed a beer label to honor the victims of Uvalde, TX. I poured my heart into this art piece during the first week of the details unfolding. I selected the black-eyed susan flower because it represents justice. I strategically lined up the 21 flowers in three rows to represent each person being laid to rest. This piece was emotionally difficult to create but it felt like the only call to action within my power. I then donated the label art and raised over $3,000 for the victim’s families. It was during this project I realized how important it is for me to not only create art, but art that gives back.
Since that project, I am now more cognizant on the mission and messages that I want to craft into my work. My beer page @_hoppenstance not only highlights my photography and graphic skills, but (most) captions are talking about real life thoughts and issues. My photography style focuses on the light within the darkness. While it is a metaphor, it is also my way of finding the light when everything is dark. It is a way of focusing on the bright moments in front of us rather than what we cannot see around us.
I always say, “we are more than beer.” We should not be reduced to only talking beer notes and ABVs, which I noticed are the accounts with the most followers. We should talk real world issues and help each other. Life is hard. We don’t have to go through it alone. That being said, I want to expand my career path with people who care about humanity and the planet. I believe in authentic connections and aligning myself with real people who believe in change. I envision crafting a world where everyone has the space to be free, the creative outlet to express themselves, and the kindness to allow others in. We all have one life to live; I want to spend mine helping people and making a difference in this world.
I have a few projects in the works as we speak, but my ultimate goal is to continue creating art that fosters change, inspires others to grow, and gives back. Here is my “21” beer label for Uvalde, TX and a new series of labels I made to define pivotal transitions in our life. I called this series “movement.”
Additionally, here are some photos I have taken.
It’s Beer Culture Summit Time!
One of my favorite events is upon us. I wish every beer festival was actually just centered around this kind of learning and conversation. Every year, the Beer Culture Summit dives super deep into these fascinating, niche, relevant topics—they indulge not just our beer nerd hearts, but the other interests and passions of us beer folks as fully formed people, from history to science. And not only is this kind of education fun and inspiring, but it all leads to this propelling forward of improved inclusivity and representation in craft beer, from creating a better understanding of the past so as to better inform what we need in the future, to vastly expanding the variety of ideas making this industry and community creative and impactful. It all comes to us courtesy of Liz Garibay’s Chicago Brewseum, and every year, the panels and discussions are led by people I respect and admire, and credit with the diversification of craft beer.
One of those people this year is Beth Demmon, so I guess I’ll share now that I will be on one of the panels! It’s a real pinch-me moment to be included among these ranks, let me tell ya. The panel is called How Beer Media Has Evolved, Where It’s Going, and How Breweries Can Use It, and fellow panelists are Jeff Alworth and Tristan Chan. This one is at 3pm Central on Thursday November 10—register to join us here!
While every single panel sounds like an absolute can’t-miss event, truly, I’ll pick just a few to gush about here. On Thursday, curator of the American Brewing History Initiative at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History Theresa McCulla will speak about Patsy Young, a young woman who was enslaved in America and was also a skilled brewer both at that time and as a free woman (Theresa wrote about Patsy for Good Beer Hunting last fall); there’s a panel on the beverage industry through the Latinx lens; and a conversation about heritage fermentation practices with Alice Jun of Hana Makgeolli. On Friday, 11/11, Jen Blair will discuss the impact of humoral theory on beer and brewing; and Kate Bernot, Zach Fowle, and Garrett Oliver will talk about how many of the contemporary tensions shaping craft beer today formed out of events of 2015 to 2016 (fascinating!). On Saturday, 11/12, Ash Eliot, Latiesha Cook, Ren Navarro, and Breeze Galindo will discuss the programs and initiatives changing craft beer for the better.
This week, I pulled the Queen of Pentacles.
Pentacles as a suit speaks to money, property, and achievement. This is one of the influence and personality cards in the tarot deck, coming up to tell you to look for people like this in your life right now or channel these qualities in yourself. The Queen of Pentacles is nurturing and practical, with good parent and/or financially savvy energy.
In the past, I have read lots of interpretations of the Queen of Pentacles that make me ill, because they perpetuate this myth of the “good” and “right” working mother, who is indeed only “good” and “right” because she can do it all! She is superior because she can bring home the bacon and cook it in a fancy and satisfying meal for her whole family. Fuck that noise. Whether you’ve got an arrangement that works for you, or you’re working toward that, or you’re struggling balancing being a parent with your career ambitions, or you’re choosing one or the other, or thinking about having the working parent conversation one more goddamned time makes you want to walk into the sea—let me tell you what I take away from this card: Care. Self-care, or calling “time out” and admitting you need help and care from someone else, or both.
Channel the Queen of Pentacles’s nurturing nature and rational, practical spirit. Think, how can you be the best you, and achieve the best sense of balance—between work and family or future goals and present responsibilities or whatever you’ve got going on? There are so many fucking plates to keep spinning all the time, and the only way you can even hope to do that is by admitting you are a human who needs some care, and a worthy and wonderful human who deserves care at that. Carve out some down time even if it means canceling something. Treat yourself to something. Finally take your friend up on that offer to babysit for free or whatever. This is not frivolous or trivial, because, first of all, doing something for yourself never is, but because this is absolutely necessary for you to remain balanced and focused. I’m not even going to recommend a beer with this because the recommendation is: Drink your absolute favorite beer. Whether it’s Miller High Life, Cantillon, a decadent pastry stout—enjoy it, savor it, and don’t let anyone bother you about it.
This Week’s Boozy Media Rec
I absolutely love what Rachel Hendry has written to introduce an intriguing new column called Compound Drinking for Ferment. It’s about the importance of, well, being a compound drinker, of expanding your horizons and not limiting yourself, and letting the life-long exploration of wine and beer and cider inform each other and your own experiences and observations. I felt this in my core and honestly felt inspired by it—I can’t wait to follow along with this column.
Ex-BEER-ience of the Week
This little section is where we really focus on how the experience makes the beer, and last Friday, I had a beer that I think tasted even better because it capped off tons and tons of walking and a day of playing tourist in my own town. Not that I don’t think the beer is probably already just wonderful on its own. Still, after catching the Edward Hopper exhibit at The Whitney, walking the High Line, finally checking out that Little Island park on the Hudson River, and feasting on Indian street food and a halva-and-tahini sundae, finally sitting and savoring Grimm’s Teddy Bear DIPA was a real treat. And I recommend where I got it, by the way—Mayhem Sandwiches in Chelsea Market has a great beer list and you can walk around with your beer if you’d rather roam to explore all the plentiful food options.
Until next week, here’s Darby in her fancy Halloween dress.