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Notes From The Publisher
By Tom Dalldorf

The "good beer" movement is entering a new phase that we will have to, for lack of a better term, call maturity. Oh dear, not that. How will we ever get the newly minted twenty-somethings to take craft beer seriously? After all, they have never known a time when finding a great, characterful beer was a serious challenge and its own reward.

Today's beer drinkers have the luxury of choice. Possibly even too much choice, according to some. Confused and dismayed by such wonderful variety, many younger drinkers are falling back on convenient, accessible and oh-so-uncomplicated industrial beverages with a perceived urban angst edge. PBR, anyone?

The distant but not forgotten origins of the good-beer movement had their challenges too. Often, young (green), diacetyl-laden, slightly infected, skunky and/or oxidized micro or imported beers were embraced as "characterful," if slightly faulty beverages, but tolerated as objects of affection of beer lovers eager to find anything that aspired to the interesting or the unusual. Call this the brash adolescence of the beer renaissance.

The painful puberty of the early nineties saw a rapid proliferation of brewing around the country, with everyone and one's brother-in-law getting into the act (with their wives or girlfriends as marketing directors!). Gone are the Rhino Chaser, the Wanker and the Bad Frog of a beer lover's nightmare. And not a tear to be shed for them. The new century presents yet a new set of problems for those trying to bring good beer to good-beer drinkers.

Access to market and retail/distributor consolidation present formidable challenges for brewers today. Brewpubs have it a little easier, with customers at the bar giving instant feedback, pro and con. New breweries continue to open in the face of an uncertain marketplace but are having to attain the even higher standards set by veteran brewing operations.

The Celebrator Beer News has been around for most of this brewing revolution - evolution. As we enter our 18th year of publication, the delightful task of finding, visiting, tasting, enjoying and promoting the fruits of the ever-expanding brewing world continue to delight and amaze us. We are deeply indebted to our far-flung corps of peripatetic beer writers for their continually astounding ability to come up with a new angle on what is by now an old story.

Your job, as reader and beer lover, is to spread the word of good beer to young and old alike. Share your great beer finds with friends and family. Be the one at the gathering with the "good stuff." Help us promote the category and proselytize the passion for ales and lagers of distinction. You vote for and contribute to the continuance of the great brewing traditions now flourishing but for so long dormant in this country.

It's truly a good time to be a beer lover. Pass it on.

LETTERS | Our readers in their own write...

Dear Editor:

Here is an addition to your "Hop Spots" of the Pacific Northwest. Skye Book and Brew in Dayton, Wash., is a bookstore with a restaurant that has a limited menu. They brew four beers, all of which are available on draft only. Patrons sit at tables, as the only bar is a service bar. Keep up the great job that you are doing. I love your publication!

Jim Starkman
Pittsford, NY

Dear Jim:   Thanks for the tip and the kind words. We depend on our readers to let us know of new places, changes or closings. Delighted to have a New Yorker telling us about Pacific Northwest brewing. We're sending you a Rolling Boil Blues Band CD for your contribution. Let that be a warning to others who send us useful information. — Ed.

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