Weekly Mix Pack: HefeWheaties, Comic Books, and Session Beers

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

Beer is a breakfast food now? Well, not quite. But there is a well known breakfast cereal manufacturer that is teaming up with a craft brewer to bring us a cereal-themed beer. We wouldn't recommend consuming it at breakfast, though, unless you're not planning on going to work that day. We'll also learn why the Americans' sudden overuse of the term "session" can have negative consequences, and that our tweets about beer can lend some insight into cultural and economic divides.

1. Your New Breakfast of Champions: Wheaties Beer
Everyone is trying to cash in on craft beer these days. Tie-ins are found in everything from TV shows to sports teams to even a yoga clothing manufacturer. Now cereal giant General Mills is throwing its hat in the ring with a new beer called HefeWheaties, a play on the name of one of its most iconic cereals. While the beer will have no actual Wheaties in it, it will be a Hefeweizen, which typically includes more than 50% wheat as a base grain.

2. The Geography of America's Beer Preferences, According to Twitter
Social media is basically a statistician's dream. It allows them to pull an incredible amount of data about a variety of topics without ever having to ask anyone a single question. We can learn a lot about people's opinions, ideas, and habits based on what they say on Twitter. Which is exactly what these "digital cartographers" did to learn about American beer preferences. As it turns out, the types of beer users tweet about can tell us a lot about the culture and economics of those areas.

3. Don't Judge a Beer by its Color
Chances are you've probably heard someone say something along the lines of "Oh, I can't drink Guinness. It's too heavy." Most of those same people are usually shocked to learn it has about the same amount of alcohol and calories as a light lager. The misconception that dark=heavy is pervasive, and a difficult myth to dispel. But those with more experience know that color alone cannot tell you how strong a beer is, only how much roasted malt was used in the brewing process.

4. Guzzling 9,000 Years of History
As if the long and storied history of beer wasn't interesting enough, a few comic book artists have found a way to breathe new life into the topic with a 173-page full color comic book. Due out in September, it covers the impact of beer on society dating back to the dawn of agriculture up to the craft beer revolution. This interview with the book's authors shares some insight behind their motivation, as well as offering a few previews of the artwork contained within.

5. Why You Still Get Drunk Drinking "Session" Beers
Over the last few years, the term "session beer" has been thrown around in the US more than ever before. While the word has much deeper roots in England, where it generally refers to beers in the 3 to 4% ABV range. Here in the US, though, we're far less strict about the definition, and 5% ABV beers (or higher) are getting lumped in. The problem is the jump from 4% to 5% is greater than the 1% difference might suggest, leading to a higher chance of overindulgence. 

6. What's the Next IPA?
Just 7 short years ago IPAs accounted for only 8% of all craft sales. In 2015, it's over 27%. They are, without a doubt, the crown jewel in the craft beer crown from a sales standpoint. But it wasn't that way in the past, and it may not always be that way in the future. People's tastes change, and things go in and out of fashion. While it's futile to try and predict the future, it is fun to use available data and hypothesize about what the next big thing in craft beer might just be.

What do you think the next craft beer trend might be? You should head over to Twitter or Facebook and voice your opinions. Who knows, that opinion might just end up being used in another statistical study of beer drinkers!

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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