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Every Beer has it’s Summer, Autumn & Winter

Published on May 8th, 2021

Beer is an agricultural product and we probably lost sight of that as large beer producers in the late Twentieth Century convinced us this crisp amber liquid simply appeared on shelves and poured out of hotel taps without variance. The beer industry mastered production, distribution and branding. However, things changed a bit as we moved into the world of microbreweries and small scale home brewed beer.

The difference, of course, is we don’t have a nationally accredited cold chain process in a distribution channel that an industrial scale brewery might entertain. What we have at a smaller scale are beers where the shelf life (and all beer has a shelf life) dramatically reduces. It makes me cringe, for example, to go into premium craft beer retailers only to see an IPA at room temperature and six months (or more) older. That’s a terrible example of beer.

What we’ve learned along the way about small scale production is that beer needs to be kept cold and consumed fresh to be at it’s best. We’ve learned that ingredients like grain and hops have seasonal variance. We’ve learned that beer, in and of itself, has it’s own seasons. It begins in the Spring of the beer, the process of designing and building that beer, conditioning it before release and the packaging for distribution.

Next comes the Summer of the beer, where the beer is at it’s most glorious and fresh and the nuances of flavour and aroma are at their premium quality. The Summer is the beer as the brewer intended. This is the time all beer should be consumed (although Summer depends on the beer style, of course).

Then comes the Autumn where ageing begins to take a toll as flavours drift away from that intended product. The beer is still drinkable, but not at it’s best. The beer has peaked and begins a decline. During this season the hop aromas begin to fade and the type of sweetness changes. The rate of change is relative to the beer style and the handling in distribution of the beer. For example, how consistent was the cold chain? Exposure to light over time? And the further in time you go into the life of the beer, the more chance that a few microbes are in there chewing away and breeding inside the package.

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Performance Manage an Employee out of a Job?

Published on April 13th, 2021

I’m sorry, but as somebody with a postgraduate business qualification I had to slap my head when I heard that a local manager was performance managing an employee out of a job. That’s not what best practice performance management is about… and it’s a shitty way that small business often goes about getting rid of somebody they don’t think is a good organisational fit.

I have no problem with the idea that somebody can be underperformance managed out the back door. Sometimes things just don’t work out, for whatever reason. But that’s not what this guy suggested. Or does. What he suggested was that the employee would be put into a contrived funnel of exit whereby this manager would control and document the inevitable dismissal. Hands up all the UNETHICAL business managers out there who agree with this strategy.

This manager suggested that there would be no effort on his end to upskill, support, train or improve the employee’s performance – the exit door was open and the person would be pushed out of employment with what could only be described as manufactured paperwork. He openly instructed members within the organisation to produce purely negative reports, explicitly omitting positive phrases, to justify the planned dismissal.

Here is what the Fair Work Ombudsman suggests as contemporary business best practice for underperformance management and how that process should go forward – Managing underperformance.

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A Natural History of Beer (Book Review)

Published on April 1st, 2021

A Natural History of Beer book cover

One of the most interesting books that I’ve read about beer in the last few years has been A Natural History of Beer by Rob DeSalle and Ian Tattersall. Rob DeSalle is a curator at the American Museum of Natural History’s Sackler Institute for Comparative Biology and its program for microbial research and Ian Tattersall is curator emeritus, AMNH Division of Anthropology. A small 256 page hardcover published in 2019 by Yale University Press. The authors draw on a wide variety of academic disciplines to discuss the history, science, sociology and physiology of beer.

I’ve been meaning to get around to reading this particular book for most of the last year. And I’m a little hard pressed to find the words to describe this one because I’m not a fan of book reviews that merely repeat content. No, I’m going to have to tell you how it is. There was a lot of information packed into the pages of this enjoyable, if challenging, read. This wasn’t a breeze of a read, but I found it a lovely book that sat on our coffee table for a month while I whittled away at the content.

This is an almost textbook discussion about biology and chemistry for the most part. And anthropology, archeology, sociology, history, law and culture. The story of beer reaches from the ancient world through to modern times; it touches our lives socially and culturally (and probably always has performed that role); beer makes us jump for joy and cry with unfettered release; it allows respite from the complexity of that burden that humans carry – the ability to predict the future consequences of our actions and the awareness of our mortality.

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More Articles on StevenClark.com.au

  1. Performance Manage an Employee out of a Job?
  2. A Natural History of Beer (Book Review)
  3. Fine Grain Knowledge vs Abstraction in the Brewing Process
  4. Homebrew All-Stars (Book Review)
  5. Some of my Favourite Beer Ingredients

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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