Covering All the Senses Through Beer
As usual, I was scrolling through Facebook in the middle of the day when I saw a beer label that—because of it’s font, coloring and overall look—I assumed was a new beer from Magic Hat. I kept moving. But there it was again, and again, and soon I took a closer look and saw that my newsfeed was full of outrage on behalf of a tiny Kentucky brewery that claimed it was being bullied by the Vermont-based Magic Hat because of copyright infringement.
From my point of view it was pretty blatant that the new brewery—West Sixth Brewing Co.—had co-opted many elements of the familiar Magic Hat logo for its own use. Eventually the kerfuffle settled down, both sides came to an agreement, and the folks huffing online soon found something new to complain about. (As it turns out, while I was writing this column, it was Dogfish Head defending its trademark of the beer name Namaste.)
Trademarks and copyrights are an important issue, and one that sparks a lot of passion. But often the consumers screaming online don’t have the knowledge to back up arguments beyond the big guy/little guy thing. So we asked Andy Crouch, an attorney and established beer writer, to dive deep into the subject to give the growing legal scene some context. As we are a society of laws, what’s happening in the courts and in back rooms between brewers has an impact on us, the drinkers.
When the social media howls flare up, it is a happy reminder, however, that we are part of a passionate group. One that appreciates the finer things, the creativity of others. The same is true for people in the art community. Masterpieces can bring people to tears, or installations can cause us to contemplate deep in the recesses of our mind, because of the work of others. Don Tse has established himself as a knowledgeable source in both beer and art, and brings them both together in his piece on page 32.
I’ve long admired lambics from afar. The nuanced tastes captured my attention with my first casual encounter of them, shorly after my legal birthday. I’ve come to appreciate their complexity and flavors, as well as the skill that goes into making them. Chuck Cook knows lambics and in this issue he gives us all a reason to visit lambic country, with a deep dive into the region.
For you food lovers, there is a double dose of eats in this issue. Lucy Saunders, a passionate voice for beer and food pairings, dives into the growth in baking with beer. Brian Yaeger covers one of my favorite items —the sandwich—in an entertaining romp around the country examining local specialties and the beers that match.
In putting this issue together and seeing all the different ways beer impacts life, leads to creativity and is enjoyed in different ways around the world, it became clear (again) on just how special this beverage is and how it goes beyond what’s in a glass. It really makes life a little more passionate.
John is the editor of All About Beer Magazine and the author of three books, including The American Craft Beer Cookbook. Find him on Twitter @John_Holl.