End of the week news and links

Catching up on a few things I haven’t blogged about in the past couple of weeks, some of which everybody and his brother already mentioned.

  • Matt Venzke won Wynkoop Brewing‘s "Beer Drinker of the Year" contest. The Yorktown, Virginia man beat out other finalists including Oregon beer drinker J. Mark Angelus (from Nehalem).

    Venzke’s resume boasted of many beer drinking experiences. Venzke has visited 454 breweries in 16 nations and 39 states. Over the past five years, he has recorded tasting notes on over 3200 different beers in 69 different styles.

    He logged 3,000 miles in 2007 while traveling to breweries across North America. While stationed in alcohol-free Kuwait on a military deployment a few years ago, Venzke conducted a tasting of 17 non-alcohol beers.

    As the 2008 Beerdrinker of the Year, Venzke wins free beer for life at Wynkoop Brewing Company, a $250 beer tab at the Taphouse on Queensway, and the opportunity to brew a special beer with Larsen for next year’s Beerdrinker of the Year event.

    Yeah, that’s impressive.

  • The Brewers Association 2007 craft beer statistics are out. Lots of information-rich graphs at the link, but the bottom line it, craft brewing is up 12% in 2007, compared to both 1.4% for imports and domestic non-craft beers. That’s huge. Also, note that there were 1,406 craft breweries operating in 2007, up 12 from the 1,394 of 2006.
  • Next Friday, March 7th, is The Session: hosted by Chris O’Brien of the Beer Activist, the topic is Organic Beer. Also note that it’s The Session’s first birthday! That’s right, it was the first Friday of March 2006 last year that the very first Session was launched, on Irish Stouts.

    The Session was the brainchild of Stan Hieronymus, who was thinking of a beer-themed monthly writing event among bloggers akin to what wine bloggers are doing with "Wine Blogging Wednesday". I was fortunate to be a sounding board for part of those thoughts, but really, it was Stan who came up with it and did the heavy lifting.

    (Interestingly, we haven’t seen any truly radical Session themes yet… something along the lines of the "Just Seven Words" the Wine Bloggers recently did. Are we ready for something like that yet? I don’t know, but I suspect it’s just a matter of time…)