Thursday January 31, 2013

I was pleased to see the coverage Jan. 25 of Jim Koch's visit to the Berkshires. I am fortunate to have met Jim at a number of Master Brewer events over the years and he truly has a heart for innovation.

Jim chose to use Samuel Adams, our first recognizable founding father, as his flagship beer. Samuel Adams is recognized as a true American hero and someone Massachusetts shall be eternally grateful for. Another great founder of our Revolution, Christopher Gadsden, often called the "Samuel Adams of the South," is perhaps best known today for his creation of the "Don't Tread on Me" rattlesnake flag, which was given to the first commander of the U.S. Navy.

Today we look back to Jim's discoveries in the brewery and the history that changed American beer forever. In America, the notion that microbrewers have the freedom to do what we want and when we want is different than the traditional world view of beer. In Germany, a traditional "Rheinheitsgebot," or purity law, generates the accepted level that beer must achieve. When that level of the law is not found, Germans reveal their lack of understanding about American beer. Our microbrewers, however, cannot find a reason to adhere to the Rheinheitsgebot and essentially give up the right to be considered for the best beers in the world. The truly amazing thing about Jim Koch is that he has achieved the highest beer recognition in the world. Now all that the Germans can say is "Wow."

"Gesundheit" means, "health" and in my visits to Brau-Tech in Germany and in following the world events of brewing, I continually give congratulations to Jim's leadership in brewery economics in America. Today Jim's contributions include our historic Massachusetts even further. In 2013, let us anticipate another level of American Gesundheit when he launches his Berkshire distilleries endeavor. MARK EARL DALLMEYER

Pittsfield