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I've just stumbled across a great write up by a Tasmanian brewer (Two Metre Tall)  of his  dream tour of maltings and sour beer producers across the UK, Europe and the US.  This bloke has a great outlook, coming from  a wine making background, looking to push the boundaries in the Oz beer world.  His Churchill fellowship paper describes a bunch of interesting ideas on primary production, innovative beer approaches and making the best beers from local produce.  Well worth a read.  

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I had to laugh at this part:

"As a winemaker, I had viewed beer from a distance as a simple beverage and had given scant thought to the challenges of its production.  After all, winemakers are educated to heavily indulge the postures and language of the makers of complex, serious, structured beverages of extremely high cultural merit. Clichéd images contrast sophisticated wine drinkers with fat bellied male beer drinkers, and if one spends enough time inside these clichés, they do take on a certain truth. In any case, the multi-national industrial beer companies do nothing to counter these stereotypes with their “blokey” advertisements and a production repertoire that could be politely defined as “narrow”. 

The fermentation of beer makes the fermentation of wine look like a stroll through nature’s garden. It is, evidently, far too simplistic to simply say that wine, a fundamentally natural product, is designed to be “self-made”, with all elements required for its production contained in and on the singular fruit from which it originates; if you split the skin of the grape you expose the sugary liquid within to the fermentative organisms which naturally coat the skin. But, in comparison to what is required to produce beer, it provides a statement of relativity and I am constantly reminded of the old adage “If you crush grapes with your feet you will get wine, but if you crush grain with your feet you will only get sore feet!”

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