Beer updates from all over (updated)

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1) From a recent trip to Ohio, a beer whose cheeky name I really admire  -- not to mention really admiring its hoppy taste. Here it is: Burning River Pale Ale, from Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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OK, I realize that Kids Today might not recognize the puckish elegance of calling a Cleveland-brewed beer "Burning River." Details here. Dennis Kucinich would be able to explain.  (UPDATE: I am remiss in not having mentioned Randy Newman's famous song on the same theme, "Burn On," his tribute to the mighty Cuyahoga.)

The picture above is from the web site. Below, the beer last week in situ at a Holiday Inn near Dayton:

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2) From a recent trip to Northern California, the solution to a "dividing by zero" paradox in the beer world. In math a dividing-by-zero problem is, of course, one that is unsolvable by definition. In the beer world, I have always thought the counterpart would be the concept of "adding too many hops." Skimping on hops? The bane of cheap, weak lagers the world round. Throwing hops in by the ton? The more the better! You couldn't possibly use too much.

But I have now found the exception: Hopsickle Imperial Ale, from Moylan's brewery of Novato, in Marin County. Very good, and "Triple Hoppy" as the label says. But... for the first time in my life, the following words entered my brain: "You know, this might be too bitter." Next, let me at those math problems.

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3) From a recent trip to Southern California, welcome news that the Hangar 24 Brewery has gone from a shoestring startup to a big recession-defying success. Two years ago, I learned in faroff China about my ideal fantasy business: a craft brewery, at a small airport! And in my hometown to boot. On several visits since then I've seen it expand. Now -- you can hardly get into the place.
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Branded capital goods for a little startup:
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I take my good news where it's available, which often tends to be in the microbrew realm.


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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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