Larsblog

Impressions of the Riga beer scene

When I landed in Riga, I have to admit I was more curious about the state of Latvian beer than about the city itself. Specfically, I wanted to know whether there were beers of the Lithuanian farmhouse ale type being brewed in Latvia. My sources were telling me no, but I figured there's always a chance. If nothing else, it should be fun to search. ...

Read | 2013-10-07 19:00 | 0 comment(s)

What is craft beer?

I've made a point of never discussing definitions, because all definitions are tautologies. That is, a definition can never be wrong. If I say, "I define horse to be 'any creature which has three legs and one horn'", then nobody can tell me that's wrong. I'm simply notifying you that this is how I use the term. What you can say is that nobody else uses the term that way, and that you don't believe there are a whole lot of things which can be called horses under my definition. ...

Read | 2013-10-04 13:58 | 2 comment(s)

How Big Data will change IT

One of the changes that Big Data is going to bring to the IT world is a new emphasis on information. For as long as I've worked in IT people have focused on code, algorithms, user interfaces, and functionality, leaving information as an afterthought. I've even worked in projects where system architecture and information architecture are handled by separate teams, with systems architecture not only in the driving seat, but pretty much ignoring the information part entirely. ...

Read | 2013-10-03 19:00 | 1 comment(s)

Why does Lithuania have such a great beer culture?

I think everyone will agree that for Lithuania to be one of the world's great beer cultures is a bit surprising. For years I've been wondering why this would be, and now I'm finally in a position to propose an answer. And it is really a bit of a puzzler. Right north of the border is Latvia, where they speak a related language, and share the same Soviet heritage, but not the beer culture. Why? ...

Read | 2013-09-30 14:19 | 1 comment(s)

Six favourite Lithuanian beers

After the blog posts about my Lithuanian beer tour Bryan D. Roth invited me to do a post for The Six-pack Project. The idea is to get different bloggers to pick six beers from some country to present what that beer culture has to offer. Having written a lot about different Lithuanian breweries and styles in general, but little about the specific beers, I decided this might be a good way to give a more direct idea of what Lithuanian beer is like. ...

Read | 2013-09-28 09:16 | 1 comment(s)

A short history of the Baltic countries

We don't know much about the history before the advent of writing in the Baltics in the 12th century. People moved here and there, language and genes shifted, they left pottery of various kinds. That's about all we know. Well, almost. We can say a little more. ...

Read | 2013-09-15 16:39 | 0 comment(s)

Thoughts on Big Data

Big Data has really caught on as a buzz word, even well outside the technology world, with journalists writing columns on its consequences for privacy, research, and so on. I'd argue that the Big Data buzz so far has underestimated the importance of this trend, and that its consequences for us all are far more profound than most people realize. I guess that requires a bit of explaining. ...

Read | 2013-09-11 15:06 | 2 comment(s)

Trying to understand Lithuanian beer

Now that I've visited Lithuania three times, and finally gotten to actually meet some of the brewers, I feel I am at last beginning to understand a least a little of Lithuanian beer. This post is my attempt to do a little analysis and put what I've learned into some kind of order. ...

Read | 2013-09-02 20:00 | 3 comment(s)

Joalda, an artist in yeast

I've already told the story of how the "tasting" at Joalda went somewhat off the rails, but there's so much left to say I need another blog post. From the outside the brewery looks like a private dwelling, with a normal house, a little garden pavilion, and something like a combined barn and garage. That, of course, is the brewery. (This is part 5 of the Lithuanian brewery tour.) ...

Read | 2013-08-30 15:44 | 6 comment(s)

Biržų alus, "craft" lager brewers

We roll into Biržai, a small, slightly run down, provincial town in northern Lithuania. It's famous in Lithuania as "the capital of beer", both for all the home brewers, and for the commercial brewers in the town. Biržų Alus, which we're visiting, is clearly no small brewery, since it's housed in a cluster of older buildings around a big yard. (This is part 4 of the Lithuanian brewery tour.) ...

Read | 2013-08-26 20:37 | 0 comment(s)

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