It’s a Small Big Blue Marble


Brief notes:Detail of Google Map for Cyangugu, Rwanda, featuring Whatsapp Risizi River View Bar. [7 April 2018]

• Some setups are long enough to defeat the purpose, like, why one might even be thinking about some remote corner of the world in any given moment. Nonetheless . . .

• . . . I do find remarkable—and thus do remark upon—the fact that I might be able to recite the phrase, “Whatsapp Risizi River View Bar”, because, apparently, such a thing really does exist, and it really is in Cyangugu, Rwanda.

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St. Patrick’s: A Miserable New Tradition


Huang reflects on a mission barely accomplished.  (Darker Than Black, ep. 14)

Yet another holiday ruined.

In truth, there aren’t many holidays I enjoy celebrating with the rest of my society. I’m an American. Look at our big days. A couple of Christian days, three celebrations of genocide, and two borrowed cultural traditions we’ve managed to muck up into unrecognizable bacchinalia. St. Patrick’s Day is one of the latter.

I don’t mind the twist. I even look past the genocidal heritage, since we Americans don’t really care about all that and have our own chapters of morbid insanity to celebrate. St. Patty’s is a primarily a drinking holiday, like New Year’s Eve, MLK Day, and Cinco de Mayo.

And no, that wasn’t a joke about MLK Day.

Sorry. I wish it was.

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Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA


There is a saying about a given band or musical sound: I’m not into it, but I wouldn’t change the station. There are, of course, sexist versions of it: Well, I wouldn’t kick her out of bed …. At any rate, we all know the joke, right? Somewhere in there we find Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye.

Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA“Rustic grains,” the brewery claims, “refined flavor, ruthless character”. The capsule summary is even better:

Rugged and resilient, rye has been a staple grain for ages and its spicy black pepper-like flavor has been prized by distillers and brewers for centuries. Rye thrives in the harshest conditions and comes to life in Ruthless, a spicy and rugged IPA with fruity, citrus and herbal hop notes balanced with the dry spiciness of the rye, making the beer aggressive yet comforting to bolster against whatever the winter winds may bring.

At 6.6% ABV and 58 IBU, Ruthless is a properly nondescript beer. If we ever need to know about the subjectivity of beer ratings, consider that the seasonal IPA is presently carrying a 97 at RateBeer, but only an 87 at BeerAdvocate. Both these ratings are excessive.

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There’s Something About Sigrun


Odin-Sigrun-640It occurs to me that beer ratings are largely arbitrary. To the one, no, I’m not talking about Platos, ABV, SRM, IBU, or anything like that. But, rather, to consider the beer scores: A sour beer can score in the 90s for Category Seventeen, but it’s still a sour beer. As a hophead, my score for beers is much different, focusing on various ales—namely IPAs—than we might find in a fan of the hints of coriander and what counts for citrus in a Belgian. And no, I cannot explain the lager phenomenon.

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For the Love of Beer


HopsDespite learning a horrifying phrase at the end of the first paragraph, which I shan’t repeat here but consider yourself warned, it is, indeed, good to have a reminder that today is National American Beer Day.

Who knew? Well, obviously … er … um … never mind.

Right. Drink up, dreamers. And, yes, I’m pretty sure you’re allowed to call bullshit on the infographic.

And then try some more rousing beer-related trivia and suggestions, including bathing in the stuff, apparently, but I don’t care what anyone says—letting beer go flat so you can wash your hair with it is a sin.

Anyway, yeah. Happy National American Beer Day. Cheers.

Oh, right. The Unfortunately Requisite Disclaimer: Drink safely. Be well.

____________________

P.S. — I would tell you to hug your favorite brewer, but, sorry, Dave, I’m not driving out for that. You know. Don’t drink and drive, and all that. And, well, it’s a football day. You know how it goes ….

A Note to Dave


A note to Dave:Cirencester, Beer, Memory

No, seriously, dude, chin up. Or something. Okay, I don’t know. But at least you’re not Mendocino, who are taking a hit because a small brewery in their association is getting too successful.

No, really, man, I got no clue. How’s your slow-cooker technique going?

Good beer, a good sandwich, a good soup or stew to go with … you know … like Sammy Hagar said, that’s … what … dreams … are made of …!

Okay, yeah, that sucked.

But, you know, come on, dude. Madera Verde beer and chili? Put Auburn on the map.

Something about beer


It would be melodramatic to start with, “Beer will save the world!” But the question of biomedical and bioenergy researches bring us to the tale of Saccaromyces cerevisiae, a yeast of a genus commonly used in the manufacture of bread, wine, and beer. S. cerevisiae is a species used to make lagers. Marco Werman of PRI’s The World, and geneticist Chris Todd Hittinger explain:

Orange-colored galls, such as these pictured in 2010, from the beech tree forests of Patagonia have been found to harbor the yeast that makes lager beer possible. Marco Werman: … A lager is a clear, cold-fermented kind of beer. You have to use a specific kind of yeast to make the stuff. Lagers were first brewed in Bavaria in southern Germany back in the 15th century. Scientists have long known that the yeast involved was a hybrid, half European and half well, that was a mystery until now. Turns out the mystery yeast originated in Patagonia on the tip of South America. Chris Todd Hittinger is a genetic scientist and co-author of a study on lager yeast. It was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week. Hittinger says he and his team made the discovery while investigating different species of yeast, or Saccharomyces, around the globe.

Chris Todd Hittinger: Saccaromyces is the Latin name for the close grouping of yeasts that include the ones that make ale, and bread and wine; and those are all made by cerevisiae, Saccaromyces cerevisiae. And Saccaromyces are often found in association with oak trees and also with fruits. And it turns out that all southern beech trees, they form galls in response to infection by another fungus.

According to Hittinger, the Patagonian yeast contributing to what we now know as S. cerivisiae most likely crossed the Atlantic via trade, both in the products—including fruit, drink, and even wood—and also in the fruit flies that would have come along for the species. And it is true, something about the chronology doesn’t quite match up if we stick strictly to the detail of Werman’s introduction; that is, if we stick with Columbus and 1492. But Hittinger acknowledges, “This is where the genetic research can’t be particularly informative, but we can speculate a little bit.”

Still, though, it was not questions of beer in particular that brought Hittinger to pursue the lineage of lager yeast. Yeast plays an important role in biomedical research and bioenergy development. According to Hittinger, “most of the genome technologies have actually been worked out in half a dozen fairly simple organisms, and Saccaromyces is really one of these champion research organisms.”

So, yes, it is possible that, one day, beer will save the world. But we need not go out and drink ourselves silly to celebrate the potential of one particularly interesting yeast. Indeed, there are plenty of reasons to hoist a pint, and it would seem stupid to pound ourselves into a drunken haze to celebrate health.

Then again, we are human.

Or, as a great man once said: Drink up, dreamers; you’re running dry.