No, we're not in an arms race. The lovely metal casing to your left is the newest fermenter in my home brewery. Inside, a heap of yeast is working its magic on my third pilot batch: a chocolate stout whose ancestor won a pair of bronze medals at the 2004 National Homebrew Competition.
Meanwhile, a pale ale is maturing in my frigid basement. The recipe began its life as a creamy red ale with a healthy dose of floral hop aroma. This time around, I lightened the color and increased the bitterness. The balance of flavors will be similar to most American pale ales, but the flavors themselves will be entirely different. The beer goes on trial next week.
In business news, we spent most of the last two weeks researching licensing requirements and investment sources. We're getting pretty comfortable with our financial projections, but we need to back up our assumptions with some market research. That way, we won't destroy our credibility with phrases like "a Betty Lou cruise boat would be a great place for a brewpub."