Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Beer News Roundup

Today, I mention and link to three interesting news items.

The first... well, it's kind of my duty to mention even if I am a bit reserved about it.  Beer Smith 2, software for home brewers, has been released as an open beta .deb for users of Debian Linux variants (Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, etc) (and is already available for users of the two big-name OSes).  It is always excellent news when niche software comes to GNU/Linux, and I am thrilled to hear it, so why am I reserved?  It isn't exactly standard practice to release shareware for Linux (since it isn't exactly philosophically akin to the FOSS movement), nor to release open beta tests as shareware.  I don't oppose charging (or paying) for the final version (or for its creator to profit from his labour) and, when I get around to home brewing - which I will assuredly eventually do, and you will assuredly hear about - I will try this software before making any such decisions, but I am not sure that its features are that much more substantial than those offered by the entirely free (in both senses, as in beer and speech) Brewtarget and a few web searches. I will, one day, however try both and report back, but unless Beer Smith truly wows me, I can't see paying money for closed-source software if it is only marginally better than a free and open source alternative (that is more in line with my vision of software) that should suffice to fulfill necessary tasks (though I also can't see not trying it out to see since it is free to try!)  But, admittedly, my gut impression might be wrong, and Beer Smith could be the software of my dreams when I turn my learning about home brewing into practice and, if so, I will eat my words, but in the meantime, don't take my skepticism to mean that I don't appreciate this Linux offering, nor that I don't wish to hear from Beer Smith users generally - and Linux ones specifically - about the reasons it is indispensable.  Let me know!  I realize this sounds more negative than I intend it and, to the makers of Beer Smith, it is greatly appreciated that such niche software is available for Linux and, even if I prefer FOSS, I truly do value the availability of wider user choice in software for Linux.  I encourage any brewers out there to try both - and others - and to use that or those which fulfill your needs.

Up next, we have a Long, Dark Voyage to Uranus... Ummm, yes, that is actually the name of a new so-called "Uranal Imperial Stout" from Gravenhurst, Ontario's upstart Sawdust City Brewing.  At 85 IBU and 8.5% ABV this beer, like most imperial stouts, seems extreme for the casual beer drinker!  The brewery says so itself, saying the beer is "2.57 billion SRM... is loaded with rich, sinful flavors of chocolate and espresso... [and] has a big bitter kick... not for the faint of heart."  Yet, they are only brewing 500 litres and it will only be available while supplies last at select beer bars (such as Toronto's barVolo, Burger Bar, and Smokeless Joe's, amongst some venues elsewhere as noted in Sawdust's blog).  There is a hint in the announcement post that it may appear at The Only Cafe's Winter Beer Fest - let's hope since, if you have been reading along, you should be well aware that I love a good Imperial Stout!

Finally, the new Ottawa location of Mill Street's Brewpub (complete with unique beers not available at the Toronto brewpub *sniff, sniff*) has opened it's doors ahead of its official opening Friday.  If you live in Ottawa, you should check this place out for the beers and the view!

That's all for now folks!

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