Off Color Brewing

Extra Fancy

Internet home of Off Color Brewing in Chicago, Illinois.

We brew beer. Sometimes we do other stuff, but not as well.

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This beer is inspired by the story of James Squire, a very unsuccessful British criminal. He was found guilty of highway robbery and later stealing some chickens and  banished to Australia in 1787. Finding a land devoid of hops, Squire had to improvise. He robbed a local pharmacy of medicine, which turned out to be horehound and pepper used in making beer which he sold to local Lieutenant  for personal consumption. For this crime that was normally punishable by death, he was given the “lenient” sentence of 150 lashes of the whip.

After his sentence expired, Squire was granted a 30 acre track of land and restarted his life as a farmer. And in 1806, he was the first person credited to successfully begin growing hops in Australia. His hops were so high quality he was once given a government cow as a reward. That is all well and good, but we thought it best fit to honor the horehound beer this ex-convict was whipped for making.

A lesson in game theory

(that we stole from wikipedia:

The prisoner's dilemma is a standard example of a game analyzed in game theory that shows why two completely "rational" individuals might not cooperate, even if it appears that it is in their best interests to do so. 

Two members of a criminal gang are arrested and imprisoned. Each prisoner is in solitary confinement with no means of communicating with the other. The prosecutors lack sufficient evidence to convict the pair on the principal charge. They hope to get both sentenced to a year in prison on a lesser charge. Simultaneously, the prosecutors offer each prisoner a bargain. Each prisoner is given the opportunity either to: betray the other by testifying that the other committed the crime, or to cooperate with the other by remaining silent. The offer is:

  • If A and B each betray the other, each of them serves 2 years in prison

  • If A betrays B but B remains silent, A will be set free and B will serve 3 years in prison (and vice versa)

  • If A and B both remain silent, both of them will only serve 1 year in prison (on the lesser charge)

Because betraying a partner offers a greater reward than cooperating with them, all purely rational self-interested prisoners would betray the other, and so the only possible outcome for two purely rational prisoners is for them to betray each other.[1] The interesting part of this result is that pursuing individual reward logically leads both of the prisoners to betray, when they would get a better reward if they both kept silent. In reality, humans display a systemic bias towards cooperative behavior in this and similar games, much more so than predicted by simple models of "rational" self-interested action.[2][3][4][5] 

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