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Summer 2011, Issue 7

Summer 2011, Issue 7
Summer 2011, Issue 7

The alert reader will notice the setting of the photograph for this column is familiar, but the subject has changed. Publisher Lynn Davis and I got together at one of our favorite places – Leon’s of Decatur, Ga. – to recreate the same shot that in the past featured Nick Kaye, the founding managing editor of The Beer Connoisseur.

Since I am standing squarely on the shoulders of Nick, who directed the editorial side of what quickly became a standard for discriminating beer drinkers, I concurred with Lynn’s suggestion that we meet at Leon’s to illustrate the change near the top of the magazine’s masthead. After all, Lynn, whose name is at the very top, also knows what he’s doing as evidenced by the success of the magazine you’re holding in your hands.

I was the typical reader and wannabe contributor to The Beer Connoisseur when I first met Lynn and Nick, trying to absorb as much as possible about the American cultural movement known as craft beer. When Nick told me he was growing hops for his homebrews one evening after I helped proofread an upcoming issue, I was duly impressed. That was before I quaffed one of his state-of-the-art homebrews.

Life takes us where it will at times and when Nick elected to give up his dream job in favor of an extraordinary career opportunity in the journalism business, I got drafted, pun intended, into the role of managing editor, due in part to over 30 years experience in writing, printing and publishing.

Trying to catch up with best-selling author William Least Heat-Moon was one of my first editorial decisions because a story by Heat-Moon, which I read in The Atlantic magazine in 1987, influenced me as well as countless others when it came to finding good beer in what was a liquid desert at the time. Happily, I was able to arrange a wide-ranging conversation with a real beer lover and an extraordinary American writer who helped launch the craft beer movement with his tale, “A Glass of Handmade.”

It was a no-brainer to continue to rely on the contributors who have helped make The Beer Connoisseur a success. Carolyn Smagalski brought her unique sensibility to the quest for summer beers that quench without losing the mystique, dedication and creativity of American and international brews. Shawn Connelly identifies two summer styles and delves into their character with the eye of a born story teller.

There are other familiar faces in this month’s issue – experts and beer lovers all. The incomparable Charlie Gow led the gifted Summer Beer Review team and Martyn Cornell once again has history on his mind.

Recently published authors on the subject of beer and two of our stalwarts, Lisa Morrison and John Holl, toured breweries on some of their favorite turf in Portland and Boston, respectively. Newcomer Paul Hightower, meanwhile, invites you to drink and dine at the Meddlesome Moth in Dallas.

As reminded by travel writer extraordinaire Heat-Moon, food or beer is often best when it reflects the region from whence it came. We caught up with full-time chef and budding beer writer Jay Pierce and persuaded him to bring us the savory and unmatched experience of North Carolina barbecue matched with the output of some of the Tar Heel state’s most distinctive breweries. With Jay’s guidance, you’ll be able to explore your own taste buds and olfactory senses in pursuit of drinking and, well, smoking.

We still like to travel internationally. Bangkok has been dismissed as a watery lager town by writers – until Ben Keene arrived. He sourced out how Thai food could be well-matched with locally available ales in the Buddhist city, including some poured by brewpubs using home-grown ingredients. Anybody who enjoys Thai restaurants can gain insight from Ben’s story when it comes to pairings.

And yes, we have a woman on the cover of the magazine for the first time in its two years of existence, because the story of Kim Jordan continues to be a marvelous window into the broadest world of possibility. Longtime journalist Jay Dedrick, long familiar with Ft. Collins from his days as a college student, wrote his first piece for the magazine and the cover story on the biggest craft brewer in Colorado – which soon may be headed to a second location on the East Coast.

Go for it!

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Intoxicating Bangkok
In the Southeast Asian city where cocktails and local lager have ruled, craft beer and brewpubs are the new power couple.