Weekly Mix Pack: Beer Dresses, Brackets, and Hipsters

By Brett Vanderbrook - Six fresh stories for you to crack open and enjoy!

Happy April! We could have posted a host of fake links for you today, what with it being April Fools Day and all, but you'll be happy to know that every one of the following stories is completely true. Although I'm not sure I could have even come up with a story weirder than a dress made out of beer and bacteria, so good on you, reality! You've trumped fiction again!

1. Beer and Bacteria Dress to Debut in Milan
Just as in the beer world, fashion designers are always trying to outdo each other.  Well, a designer and a scientist from Australia have teamed up and set the bar pretty damn high. The fabric for their dress was created by adding bacteria to beer, which turned the beer into a solid, and allowed them to work with it. I know what I'm wearing to the next craft beer festival.

2. America isn't Doing Cask Ale Right
Headlines like this are contentious, but the author has a point. Cask ale (or a real ale) is a time-honored British tradition, but a relatively new phenomenon in the US. You really need a brewer who knows what he or she is doing when it comes to brewing and packaging for cask, as well as a bar that knows how to properly store and serve it.

3. Hipsters and Hopheads and Beer Snobs, Oh My!
If you spend a lot of time on the beer subreddit (as I do,) you notice a fair amount of bickering. People accusing others of being snobs or hipsters, telling them they're ruining it for everyone. And while there is certainly some snobbishness within the community, Andy Sparhawk doesn't think it's as bad as we make it out to be. He breaks down three craft beer stereotypes, and shows us how no one is actually "ruining" craft beer.

4. The Ultimate Craft Beer Bracket Championship
Boy, oh boy did THIS spark some controversy! Although, whenever you hold a contest that crowns anything the "best," there is bound to be dissension in the ranks. USA Today did a "Final Four" style beer bracket that started with 40 breweries but ended with just two: Michigan's Founders and New York's Southerntier. In the end, Southerntier was crowned king, and as a Western New York boy myself, I can't help but feel a little bit of pride!

5. BA Lists Top 50 Breweries for 2014
The BA has been releasing a lot of numbers for 2014 recently, and there is certainly cause for celebration in the brewing community. Volume is up, sales are up, Europe is drinking a lot more of our beer. But the list we all eye closely is the ranking of the top 50 craft breweries in the US. There was a bit of shuffling last year, but the biggest change was the addition of Yuengling, which is now classified as craft thanks to the BA changing their official definition.

6. American Wild Ales Evolve
If you were to ask someone right now what defines American brewing right now, you'd likely get an answer that involves hops. And while it's true that our hoppy beers have put us back on the map, there's a case to be made for wild ales. Anyone on earth can import American hops and brew an IPA that tastes a lot like ours, but barrel aged beers with native yeasts and bacteria leave a distinct footprint that make them harder to duplicate.
Nothing like ending your night by slipping into your beer and bacteria dress and pouring yourself an American wild ale to unwind. I certainly think I've earned it today. Enjoy your weeks, fellow beer geeks. Go out and earn your wild ale! AND DO YOUR TAXES!

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.

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