Big Beer Makes a Big Move

Each year, General Distribution’s Jim Fick closely tracks the sales of
Oregon beer in Oregon, and he very graciously forwards me the
spreadsheet with the numbers. Frustratingly, the OLCC, which tracks these numbers, has gotten fairly lax and the figures aren’t terribly reliable. One obvious example is that they somehow don’t capture CBA’s sales (Widmer/Redhook/Kona)–one of the two largest

from Beervana


Magnolia soulangeana – Portrait Session

I was not planning a photo session when I went out to prune my Magnolia soulangeana.

Magnolia soulangeana flowering deciduous tree, flower buds on branch

It seems to have been raining all winter in here in California, and I never found the time to get my winter pruning done.  By the time I got around to pruning, the magnolia was just beginning to flower.

It is one of my favorite trees, and has a prominent spot at the entry to my garden.  A deciduous tree flowering in mid-winter, it never fails to make me think spring is upon us. It needs pruning every year so that I can keep it fairly small, as it lives under a towering oak tree.

Magnolia soulangeana flowering deciduous tree, after light pruning in winter

Putting off the pruning up until it was about the flower gave me the opportunity to bring some branches into the house. The next day flowers begin to open and I simply had to grab my camera. The magnificent sensuous flowers are full of life and grace.

Light coming through the glass doors leading to my deck created a wonderful glow, what studio artists sometimes call northern light.  It is soft and full and indirect. Perfect for portraits.

I brought in a large white card to reflect the light into the shadow side of the simple bouquet.

Magnolia soulangeana simple bouquet of flowering winter branches

Normally this sort of simple fill light opens up the shadows on the backside of a subject, the side away from the light.  But in this case it didn’t help, the white petals seems very flat, with no real zing.

Notice the difference between these next two photos.


Notice how the brighter light creates better texture and more definition for the highlights.  The flower looks more white even though there are some dark shadows.

I love these sorts exercises with photography.  I love the flowers require me to look carefully when I want to photograph them. I love playing with light to bring out the features.

With the same flower, but now taking advantage of the soft flat light, I can make the petals seem silky.

A different mood, a different portrait, but the exact same flower.

I had just cut  branches off the tree – tree to bouquet.

Work and play; sometimes it is hard to tell the difference for a garden photographer.


from Gardening Gone Wild

Troubles With Travel

If you were to name the four or five hottest breweries right now, measured in beer geek coolness points, Boston’s Trillium Brewing would have to be on that list. They are makers of many different types of beer, but are famous for being one of the charter members of the New England IPA movement, with all the requisite rarity and excitement. Well, despite having failed to find any of their rare

from Beervana

The Beer There: Olde Mecklenburg (Charlotte, NC)

Periodically–too infrequently, if you want my opinion–a friend of the blog will feel inspired to send me beer from their distant location. When breweries send me beer, I make no promises to review or ever even comment on them (though I will drink them; I’m not a halfwit), but when a person spends hard-earned cash to purchase and send beer from a brewery, my hard and fast rule is: always review

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Understanding Hop Aromas and Flavors

We have a very special episode of the Beervana Podcast for you this week, and I want to tease it by quoting from a section of the interview. Patrick and I visited the labs and brewery of Tom Shellhammer, who is a professor of fermentation science at Oregon State University and one of the world’s leading hops researchers. Before we did the interview, he took us around his labs, stopping at one

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How Doomed Are We?

Bird of death.

Pete Dunlop has an excellent but alarming post in which he warns:

AB is
quietly implementing a plan designed to bury independent craft brewers.
And they might just pull it off…

You might not know it, but the High End kicked ass in 2016, a pretty
lousy year for craft beer. The High End’s growth rate hit 32 percent,
easily trumping the craft segment’s single digit growth

from Beervana