WORK IN PROGRESS
This section is a catchall for some of my brainstorming—ideas, interests, investigations, and creative projects not yet fully realized. I hope this provides a little insight in to my way of thinking as well as some genuine entertainment.
BELGIAN BEER MAP, c. 1950
This graphic was created for my recent talk, entitled "(Almost) Everything You Know About Beer History is Wrong," at the American Homebrewers Association National Conference in San Diego.
Source material is mainly G. Lacambre's Traité Complete de la Fabrication des Bières, published in 1851. Witbier and lambic line up pretty well, and the blended beers of Dutch Flanders have obvious similarities with red and brown beers of today, but it's striking how few of the other styles on this map has survived the 165 years since this landscape existed.
As I continue to work on historical material, I'll add detail to this brief picture.
I will be giving this talk again in the future, so if you're interested in this topic, check the Calendar page for info about where and when.
Image © 2015, Randy Mosher
GOSE POSTCARD, c. 1930
I love finding old visual materials, as they often add rich information missing in the technical texts. Gose is, of course, the German version of witbier, brewed with air-dried malt, raw wheat and oats, seasoned with coriander and a touch of salt. It still survives, and is undergoing a bit of a revival in its home and even more so in the United States. I'll take at least partial credit for the beers here; I brewed gose for a Michael Jackson event in Chicago in 1996, along with grodziskie (grätzer) and sahti.
Note the tall, cylincrical glass with the flanged base, characteristic for the style. And even a crude postcard like this can settle any argument about what color the beer was.
Apparently, they loved this beer very much. Here's the poem as I understand it:
The beautiful properties of Gose
Made it beloved in Leipzig,
When drank as clear and pure as gold
It tastes like mild wine, so know,
For old and young, and thin and thick
Gose always is pure happiness.
There have to try even once
To taste to study them,
And Kümmel* drink!
And funny little eyes are blinking!
Der Gose schöne Eigenschaften
Sie sehr beliebt in Leipzig machten,
Als trank so klar und rein wie Gold
Schmeckt sie wie milder Wein, so hold,
Für alt und jung, und Schank und dick
Ist Gose stets das reine Glück.
Da musst es selbst einmal probieren
Um im Geschmack sie zu studieren,
Und einen Kümmel dazu trinken!
Und lustig werden die Aeuglein blinken!
READING WITH A BEER BY YOUR SIDE
Sometimes you find the most wonderful treasures in the most unlikely places, but after some contemplation, they not only seem to make sense, but may even seem inevitable. I often search on eBay for art items with beery subject matter, like magazine illustrations or old genre prints of people drinking beer. Guess what I found this time.
It was a bookplate with a grinning skeleton holding a mug of beer. Searching for more, I found a huge selection of beautiful bookplates, mostly wood engravings. It seems that the life's work of a famous Hungarian graphics collector named Ferenc Galambos was being split up and auctioned. They range in subject matter as well as execution. If there is a common theme, it is that life is short and we should enjoy it, and there may he helpful knowledge in books--of course, that may be just an author's self-interested point-of-view coming through. I bought a fair number, including these beer-related examples.
Most are European, where the tradition of personalized bookplates is more widespread. Many of them are from the former Soviet bloc and slightly after. The art schools behind the Iron Curtain were fairly good, apparently. I love the technique and the way they tell fun little stories. Of course I am fond of the subject matter, but I like these little masterpieces so much, I even included one on wine.