Thoughts on the Future (in a brewpub)

I really love reading about futurism. I’m not talking about straight science fiction or the Italian art movement of the early twentieth century. I’m interested in the near future: what is life going to be like in the next decade or two; what is the technological singularity and how could it affect my breakfast? There has been quite a lot of good speculative fiction produced by individuals and corporations that can see optimistic and pessimistic views. While Charles Stross and Richard Morgan offer some quite far looking implications of future tech, they don’t ignore the details of their characters enjoying the simple things in life, like a good beer. Companies like Microsoft and Corning offer generally optimistic visions with the technology they are developing as pervasive to life in the years to come. I would like to briefly focus on how these technologies could be integrated in the life of a guy working in craft beer since this is the main focus of this blog. How would the technology be used? Where would it be most effective? Where would it be a nuisance or distracting to the experience it maybe trying to integrate with?

So it’s a mid-April weekend, 2027. I own a brewpub in Kobe, Japan. We’ve done well over the years serving craft beers from all over Japan and the world along with our own brew. This is not much different than years ago when I got into the craft beer industry. Most ordering and book keeping is automated but without real relationships, it’s still hard to get good prices on beer. Things aren’t perfect but we’re doing alright.

While working on some prep work in the pub in the afternoon, I check the news, weather, and mail on my iGlasses, noticing a reminder from my sister in Florida about her son’s playing for me tonight( I haven’t forgotten); he will be filling in for the guitarist for the band tonight via 3D Skype link. My kids should be in from Tokyo and Hawaii soon too.

The brew house is work as usual. Besides state-of-the-art sensors monitoring everything, nothing has really changed since I opened this place 13 years ago. We still make our beer the old fashioned way with the basic tools, our senses, and a very loose following of the reinheitsgebot.

Deliveries start coming in for groceries and pub merchandise. I check everything in and put away the t-shirts and koozies. The t-shirts are wired for specials notifications, animated beer scenes, and some drinking games. The koozies have temperature controls and animations but a box of them are defective. I notify the company and the box is picked up just as the first customers of the day start coming in.

My beer taps are not the most advanced in the area–I could have gotten taps that are programmable for the perfect pour and take cost into consideration, but I still think the perfect pour is best made after lots of practice. The tap system is set up with sensors to give me stats on temperature, quantity, etc. With these data and those from the brew house I’ve got things quite efficient. I know what is popular without the data but I like the insurance with the data.

The bar top is another partially gadget infused piece. The very top is an interactive panel which gives information about everything from the menu to the beers we have to a call panel for a taxi or other transportation options. There are also biometric functions to keep underage drinking at bay. When not in use, the bar top is transparent showing the thousands of bottle caps I’ve collected over the years. Some of the regulars are looking over their personal menus which came up as soon as they sat down.

This melding of the old and new extends to the tables featuring interactive tops with retro games likes Pac-man and Space Invaders installed along with the apps in the bar top.

The night gets really busy once the band sets up and the link to my sister’s garage/nephew’s jam space is in place. I’ve got a sound shield up so the immediate bar area is nice and quiet while the band is enclosed in a bubble of sound. They play an eclectic mix of recent hits and oldies stretching back to the late eighties. The link is crystal clear even with an old 3D projection jury-rigged to my media computer.

I clean up late into the night after everyone else has gone home. I have floor cleaning bots at home, but cleaning on my own with sponges and mops is a kind of zen meditation stress reliever for me.

It’s a typical weekend at my brewpub. I’ve got a mix of current tech and old fashioned people skills to help with every aspect of my brewpub. I only wonder what it will all be like in twenty or thirty years if my kids take over. When the car was first marketed, a place for a horse whip was included. The steering wheel was the standard for car control until only recently.


A Few Beer Lists

List verse is a great site and there have been a bunch of interesting beer lists in recent years.  Here are a few.

Top 10 Unusual Uses for Beer

10 Interesting Facts About Beer and Wine

Top 20 Beers

For those into games with your libations:  Top 10 Drinking Games (warning:  these games can be dangerous.)

And food:  Top 10 Greatest Food Combinations


Some are better than others so please leave your comments.

Dry Hopping

So the yeast I had washed seems to be still going strongly after four days. I didn’t make a starter so I’ll see how the final gravity is affected. When I get to my next IPA I’ll make a starter with the Wyeast 1056 I’ve got.

The current kölsch/blonde ale in my fermenter will be getting a sachet of liberty hop pellets in a day or so once the fermenting is down enough to remove the blow off tube. I think 10g for a week should be enough.

All Grain Beer, Spent Grain Bread

So today was simply planned.  With my kids, I went to my friend’s house to help with his brew-in-a-bag beer and then use some of the spent grain for bread.  It all started out with all the kids playing and the mash going along to plan.  At one point my kindly Bristolian friend’s kindly Japanese wife took all the kids shopping.  With them away, I started assembling the ingredients for the bread.  It was to be a simple recipe.  We took liberties with it.

Suddenly, I found I forgot some ingredients and so ran down the hill from the house to the store to pick up some more butter and flour.  The butter was needed later.  The flour wasn’t needed.  I found later that we needed salt and milk so ran down the hill in the rain again.  Once this aerobic workout back up the hill to the house was through we could proceed.

The dough looked good but barely rose.  We shrugged it off and let the kids get to loafing around.  The dining table was cleared and cleaned thoroughly.  Flour was spread on top of a plastic coated tablecloth and everyone got a bit of dough.  It was then playtime.  In retrospect I should have worked out some aprons, but oh well.  Once the loaves were shaped and placed on baking sheets to rise a bit more we had flour all over the table, floor and the kids.  No problem.  Once cleaned the kids were off playing something else with the bread out of sight and out of mind.

Finally, the bread was done just after four in the afternoon, about three hours after starting.  Popped back home and cut open the loaves for a dinner of mustard chicken and an IPA to drink.  The aroma and flavor were great. The texture was not quite what I had in mind but, with the dough not having risen as much as it should have, it was about what I expected.  The top of the loaves was fluffy as most yeast breads are but the bottom was compact and a bit sticky/chewy or mochi-mochi as the Japanese would say.  It was cooked though and I haven’t felt any stomach pains so thumbs up and the rest of the bread will be for breakfast.  If I do this recipe again I will have to remember to let it rise a lot more and perhaps put it in a warmer location.

Bottling and Yeast Washing Continued

The sediment looks like it is settling according to plan.  I have two bottles with one having much less air than the other.

Each, after 24 hours seems to be settling out quite nicely though I could be wrong since is my first attempt at this.

I’ve got a brew day planned for Saturday; making a beer that is either a blond ale or a kölsch.  I’ll see in a month or so.  That is what I love about brewing on my own.  I can experiment with so many different things that just can’t be found in a standard macro beer lager.  I don’t care at times and sometimes I take particular care with the recipe (still on extracts so malts are beyond me for now), but I have always brewed something I like.  Well, almost always.

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