Mash Tun Party at HCBC in Brooklyn June 20, 2019

  Join us Thursday, June 20th from 5-10pm at the Kings County Brewing Collective for the New York release party of issue #13 of Mash Tun Journal. This issue features Guest Editor Miguel Rivas The Beertrekker, whose photographs featured in the Journal will be on display in the Kings County Brewers Collective taproom. Goundlings Pizza Co. will be here in the Taproom slinging meatball sammys 6-9pm! The Journal is supported by Marz Community Brewing, who coincidentally will be brewing a collaboration brew with Kings County Brewers Collective and will also be hanging out at the release party sharing a few of their beers. Come by and say hi, and let us know what you would like to see happen in the next edition of the journal which is now freely distributed at breweries, bottle shops, taprooms and bars across the country. Mash Tun features contributions by: Kurt Boomer, Jacob Ciocci, Cain Czopek, Franklyn, Nick Gingold, Ben Macri, Michael Maloney, Jack Muldowney, Dan Murphy, Daniel Pische, Miguel Rivas, and Doug Veliky.

Why Can’t I Taste Beer Online Yet?

    by Jacob Ciocci   Last summer I tasted a beer whose name I did not learn, but that I thought was delicious. To me it tasted like an Orange Julius, but in beer form. It was not gross or too “gimmicky,” and it didn’t make you sick the way an Orange Julius makes you sick—it wasn’t like they added orange juice and sugar and milk into the beer. It’s just that that’s what the beer reminded me of. I thought it was the only beer of its kind, an experimental one-off.   Later in the fall I moved to Chicago, and found myself inside a beer store. I walked into a room filled with many brightly-colored four-packs of beers I had never heard of. Most of them seemed to be made near Chicago, aka “local,” and most of the artwork on the labels featured some derivation or combination of the following visual tropes: Heavy Metal or Punk Graphix, Super Hero/Comic Book/Monster Graphix, or Psychedelic Graphix. The aesthetic of these beer cans paired perfectly with a consumer vibe I had been noticing since moving here: nostalgia for a childhood rooted in video games, action figures, and superhero comic books, combined with nostalgia for an adolescence dominated by underground rock music, all catered towards the contemporary professional, salaried adult with enough extra money to spend on artisanal food and beer. To put it another way: there are lots of bars in Chicago themed like video game arcades, with lots of long lists of beer names written in chalk behind the bar, that all sound like video games or comic book character names. Also of note: at the Whole Foods here there is an arcade with free old school games and beer shelves made out of old skateboards.   It struck me that all three of these stages of consumer obsession: comic books, underground music, and now beer, all have one thing in common: at their heyday, at the peak of their frenzy, it was/is hard to learn about these things: you had/have to go to the store and ask questions like a NOOB to get answers. If you were a dumb suburban kid (me) and literally knew NO cool people, the only way to find out about this secret world was to ask The Person Behind the Desk. This was embarrassing at first, and probably stayed awkward for many months until you earned The Person Behind the Desk’s respect. There was also a heavy Boy vibe in these kinds of stores. (Is that why they are called “Cloudy Boyz” and not “Cloudy People?”)   I remember that eventually, if you kept hanging out in these stores you got to know what day the shipments arrived, and you began to get on lists to get your stuff. Maybe if you started to feel really safe, you would share YOUR comics or YOUR music with The Person Behind the Desk (that never happened).   Back to the Beer Store: I asked the Beer Salesman if they had any “Cloudy Boyz.” The Person Behind the Desk launched into a very lengthy and opinionated explanation of a style of beer I had never heard of: a relatively new style which many people were unsuccessfully imitating, one with a lot of hype and often not a lot of substance. While The Person Behind the Desk was explaining this complex story to me, I started to drift off and found myself tapping into a very specific feeling from my past. It’s a special feeling I have only ever gotten in two different places in my life: in the comic book store in the early 90s and in the record store in the mid-late 90s. I thought it was a feeling that died in the early 2000s, due to the Internet’s stranglehold on information. It’s a magical quasi-spiritual feeling related to being in an actual store talking to a knowledgeable gatekeeper, trying to understand a new craze that one is late to learning about. In my case, throughout my life this “lateness” somehow always fueled my obsession rather than thwarted it. I got this same feeling when I became obsessed with Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee and Rob Liefield Comics when I was twelve. This era of superhero comics was reaching unprecedented levels of hype, popularity, and collectability before crashing hard. I also got this feeling a few years later when I moved to Chapel Hill and would go to the local record store asking for “any indie rock.” Same situation: a scene that was changed forever by the hype, aka when little kids come into the record store with their parents asking for “local music” you know the scene is dead.   So is there something specific about the Cloudy Boy that makes it especially like comic books or underground music? Not really. Real beer enthusiasts are probably really sick of Cloudy Boyz and could probably point me to other styles of beer that mimic comics and beer in a more intellectually interesting way. But for the outsider: I do think the Cloudy Boy represents simultaneously the peak of the craze and the cheapening of the medium, in much the same way McFarlane peaked and then cheapened comics, or the way the catchphrase “Indie Rock” peaked and then cheapened underground music. This is where I start to get excited: it’s when things get interesting. What is going to happen next? Will the bubble burst? Do any of these people actually have talent? Or is it just all in our heads? In three years, will I taste a Cloudy Boy and spit it out while screaming “I was brainwashed!!!” ??????   The technology that builds and reinforces our desire for these liquid objects in 2019 is of course the internet. The Cloudy Boy uses the Internet’s Power to leverage this Insanity to new levels. By the time it hits the big stores the Cloudy Boy is no longer fresh, so you have to find it on the right…

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