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Beer Nut: New law, pale ales and a drinking duck

I’m always happy to see craft beer get attention from less obvious corners and a recent item from the State House News Service did just that.

While the publication centers around the activities of state government, a recent bill involving brewers and beer distributors made some headlines. The bill sought to sort out a beef between the two parties about whether craft brewers should be indefinitely tied to a distributor.

Currently, brewers are bound to a distributor once they do business with each other for six months. Getting out of the arrangement was basically impossible under current regulations.

Many brewers were unhappy with this deal and lobbied to change it.

While it seemed as if a deal had been brokered and that craft breweries would be able cut ties with distributors if they didn’t like the way they were being promoted, there was a holdup in the House chamber. But in the early hours last Wednesday, the legislature passed the bill.

The bill states that brewers who produce less than 250,000 barrels a year to can now sever their contracts with their distributors if they are unhappy with how they are marketed. The brewers will have to pay fair market value and buy back the wholesaler’s inventory and promotional materials.

Now it goes to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk and beer makers are optimistic about it being signed.

A duck walked into a bar and drank a pint of beer and got in a fight with a dog …

No, I’m not starting a joke here. This actually happened in the U.K.recently.

A duck named Star, owned by a pub regular named Barrie Hayman, often comes in wearing a bow tie and joins his owner in drinking a pint. But recently Star got on the wrong side of Hayman’s dog, Meggie, who then started a fight.

“Star pushed his luck too far and Meggie snapped, splitting Star’s bottom beak right down the middle,” Hayman said, according to the Cheddar Valley Gazette.

Hayman said that Star had to be rushed to the vets and go under general anaesthetic, but seems to be on the mend.

“Thankfully our Star is a tough cookie and it looks like he came out OK,” Hayman told the newspaper.

Last but not least, I recently had the pleasure of drinking a pale ale brewed by my pal Rikk Desgres, a talented home brewer. He dropped by a few samples and it prompted a brief discussion about the style. Coincidentally, I had been thinking about how in these days of super-juiced up IPAs, the simple good old pale ale gets forgotten. Rikk’s beer was a great example of a hoppy yet balanced beer that reminded me of the 1990s.

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