is an award winning
member of the North
American Guild of Beer
Writers. His column
Adventures in Beerland
is now a regular feature of
|It's the end of the year. Time sure flies during a pandemic. If you are going to miss 2020 raise your hand. Ah, a bit
higher please. That's what I thought. It was not the best of times and might have been the worst of times. The year
was so bad even beer didn't taste good. No, not because I had the Covid, and no again, we're not talking about my
We're all hoping for a great 2021. And in fact I'm sure it will be. Recently after drinking several beers of dubious
quality but with an undubious double digit ABV, a sudden insight into the future hit me. I felt the presence of the ghost
of the great Beer Hunter himself, Michael Jackson. He was pulling back a heavy thick veil with the Independent
Brewers logo on it to show me the future. While I would have preferred him simply giving me a winning lottery number
his revelations about beer were uplifting nonetheless. I clearly saw that it will be a memorable beer year. Perhaps he
would have eventually given me that number but I had to get up for another beer and that somehow broke the
trance. At least I remembered these sixteen things that will happen in 2021to pass on to you. In an amazing
coincidence they are exactly whit I had wished for.
1. Craft breweries will limit themselves to making just one session beer a year and then only in small quantities. It's
almost impossible to make low ABV beers taste as good as their full bodied big boy brothers so why waste resources
and time trying? Anyone looking for a low alcohol beer can simply buy a Budweiser and add some water. Actually the
water is optional since it would taste the same with or without it. For the serious session geeks who want a barrel
aged taste a small oak mug complete with a package of 100% GMO synthetic wood chips will be available online.
There will be a separate shipping and handling fee for the chips
2. The Great American Beer Festival, Beer Judge Certification Program, and all other official, semi-official, and
meaningless but arrogantly pretentious authorities will reduce the number of beer style categories that receive
awards at competitions. The move for this has already started as the 2020 GABF went from awarding 107 to 90
medals. That's about a 15% reduction. That may sound drastic but it really wasn't. Here is what they did. Baltic
Porter became a subcategory of International Dark Lager, Belgian Dubbel (does the name Quasimodo ring da bell?)
was combined with Tripel for a new category called Belgian Style Abbey Ale which also includes a new subcategory
called Other Belgian Style Abbey Ale. And Fresh Hop beer was placed in a subcategory of Experimental Beer. Huh?
Not to worry, in 2021 there will be only two categories winning medals - Best Lager and Best Ale. All other entries
get a participation certificate.
3. The hottest new beer will be a revolutionary non-juicy, bright (not cloudy), knock your socks off bitter, piney,
alternate version of a New England IPA featuring hops forward, backward, and in the middle, balance be dammed.
For those who say I just described a serous West Coast IPA you're probably right but it would never sell with a nam
e like that. No, this new beer will simply be known as NNEIPAOOOS. The few who take time to look it up will see it
stands for New New England India Pale Old Old Old School. Eat your heart out Heady Topper fans.
4. The seemingly never ending, irresistible siren call of hard seltzer will come to a whimpering end. No longer will
beer sales take second place to the inexplicably high numbers posted by fermented sugar water. Hard seltzer will be
done in by a simple and more pure concoction - plain seltzer water with a small attached bottle of flavored vodka. For
those favoring a stronger version instead of vodka the bottle will contain Everclear. There will be a lively black
market for this in the eleven states that currently ban the high octane (190 proof) neutral grain spirit. Eventually half
of those states will legalize it but only for intra-state imbibing.
5. Six packs of 12 oz. cans will replace craft beer's ubiquitous four packs of 16 oz. cans as modern science proves
conclusively that 72 ounces is more than 64. People will also come to appreciate the emotional and spiritual uplift
provided by opening cans and filling glasses more often. Special weighted cans will be offered to those seeking to
combine exercise with their drinking.
6. Clueless people who rate beers on various websites will be required to write at least one sentence explaining why
they gave that score. Non-partisan, independent panels of beer drinkers will review all submitted reasons before
allowing the post to ensure that things like "it has a good taste and is easy to drink" will never, ever again appear on
anything but a t-shirt. Although this will cause a massive drop in reviews posted no one will care.
7. In a stunning turnaround no beer writer or industry sage will predict that lagers will finally be making a comeback.
However because of the historical importance of the beer those oft wrong soothsayers will be required to drink
nothing but lagers for six months so as to keep the style alive and as penance for making us read the same baloney
over and over for the past two decades.
8. Several states will pass laws mandating anyone drinking at a brewery tasting room to have a beard. While all
people who are professionally associated with breweries have long had that as a workplace requirement it will be a
first for patrons. To help them and in an effort to avoid lawsuits by members of beardless pressure groups,
breweries will make use of no longer needed Covid face masks by gluing artificial hair to them. They will be given out
for free with the purchase of one beer thereby meeting the legal requirement. Several breweries following this
practice will be nominated for the National Green Industry Award but lose in a controversial decision over late arriving
mail -in votes from Chicago.
9. Beer labels will be required to have all printed material in contrasting color to the can's background and in large
enough font to make it legible to a person with 20/200 visual acuity from a distance of 15 feet. Many people will
consequently stop being lured by exquisite can art into not knowing what they were buying .The label will include all
pertinent and non-pertinent information about the brewing process, ownership, location, malts, water, and hops. The
brewer's home address will also clearly be printed in case picketing and harassment is needed to protest an
undrinkable drain pour.
10. In a much ballyhooed blind taste test before a record pay per view TV audience a craft beer will beat Wayfarer
Golden Mean Pinot Noir 2014, Elijah Craig's 23 Year Old Single Barrel bourbon, the Balvenie 21 Year Old Port Wood
Scotch, and HWD CLIX Vodka as the Best Drink In The World. The award will be rescinded when it is discovered that
the brewery is secretly owned by Anheuser-Busch and had long ago been unceremoniously tossed out of the
11. Cooking with beer will become a national craze. Some people will actually put it in the food. My heretofore
secret recipe for Mashed Potato Soup will reach #1 in downloads. Here is my actual recipe - in a pot cook some
onions and loads of garlic. Add a large container or two (depending on hunger) of mashed potatoes. Never never
mash your own potatoes. That's real cooking. Gently stir in a pint or two of beer. Add more beer if you can't finish
the one in your hand. Cook on low heat until it tastes good. If serving to someone under 21 continue to cook until it
tastes like mashed potatoes with beer instead of beer with mashed potatoes. As an added bonus to making this fine
soup your kitchen will smell like a brewery saving you thousands of dollars a year on air sprays and kitty litter box
12. A new national holiday will join prestigious beer related ones like these already on the books - Jan 24 World
Bartender Day, March 20 National Bock Beer Day, April 11 King Gambrinus Day, May 7 National Homebrew Day,
Sept. 8 National Sour Beer Day, Sept. 27 National Crush A Beer Can Day Oct 1 National Barrel Aged Day, Oct. 9
National Beer and a Pizza Day, Nov. 12 National Happy Hour Day and March 27 National Michael Jackson Day. The
new holiday will simply be called Beer Day. Its elegant simplicity will capture the imagination of a thirsty nation. Like
Happy Hours that are anything but an hour this holiday will last for 12 months.
13. Despite a cadre of retailers and distributors receiving harsh jail sentences for violating the new Fresh Beer Law
the Sell Old Stock Cartel's power over the industry remained unabated. Because of the Cartels making offers they
could not refuse almost all breweries stopped dating their cans saying what people don't know can't hurt them.
Consumers in turn find little to no fresh beer on the shelves. They promptly revolt as millions turn to home brewing.
That in turn forces them to decide between drinking stale, oxidized, cardboard flavored beer from commercial
breweries or their own fresh but terrible tasting brews.
14. Several colleges offer PhD degrees in Responsible Beer Drinking. Graduates are highly prized by major
industries since they have been trained to never spill, always use coasters, only use titanium bottle openers, never
chug, always use a glass, and never sneeze while drinking which can cause beer to squirt out of their nose. Other
self-accredited organizations appear also offering certification in Imbibing. Those passing their rigorous curriculum
get the title of ThreeSheestserone. To date only one person, Zane Lamprey, has pass the infamous Kobayashi
Brewaur final exam.
15. An automatic convertible beer glass is invented that saves people the embarrassment of using the wrong glass
with their beer of choice. It easily converts from shaker pint to tulip to thistle to chalice to Teku to Red Solo cup with a
push of a button. This modern marvel of technical ingenuity and creative genius runs on nineteen hundred AAA
batteries which are not included with the product.
16. After some reflection I'm now fairly sure it wasn't Michael Jackson telling me these things. It was just a
hallucination caused by one too many glasses of Dogfish 120 with a side of their World Wide Stout. As such I'm sorry
to say that none of these items will ever happen. The whole darn list is wrong. Wait, I take that back. One of these is
totally accurate - #16.
Cheers and Happy New Year!
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