Thursday, July 31, 2008

Why the Reinheitsgebot is crap

How many times have you held a beer in your hand and it said something like:

"Brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot"

Most people read that and take it to mean one simple thing. The beer is made with 4 and only 4 ingredients. Water, Barley, Hops and Yeast.

It's even more interesting when you see a beer that says:

"Brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot of 1516"
The original text in 1516 says beer can only be made with Water, Barley and Hops. (Yeast wasn't discovered until Louis Pasteur in 1857).

Ok, that's what most people think of when they see Reinheitsgebot, WBH&Y. What was the reason for the Reinheitsgebot?

The "law" was put in to help prices for both wheat and rye and barley. Wheat and rye were getting too expensive to make staple bread, so the law was enacted to FORCE brewers to use only barley in beer. Barley doesn't make the greatest bread, it's too crumbly and doesn't hold well. So, the original law wasn't originally made to protect German brewers, it was made to protect the German bread makers. The original law also set the price for beer; and allowed it to change based on the price of barley. The penalty for making beer that didn't follow the law, was to have your beer confiscated.

The "law" has been changed over time and has some new parts to it. Here's a breakdown of each of 10 parts of the "German Beer Law" (which most people think of as the Reinheitsgebot).

1. Water, Barley, Hops, and Yeast are the only ingredients allowed in bottom-fermented beer. The WBH&Y rule ONLY applies to lagers.

2. Top fermented beer can use other malts and sugars.

3. Malt is germinated grains.

4. Beer can be colored.

5. Whole leaf hops doesn't have to be used; powder and hops extracts can be used.

6. Beer doesn't necessarily have to be filtered.

7. (this one is my favorite) Brewers can get permission to use other ingredients in their beers. ALSO (and pay attention) Beer brewed for export doesn't have to follow the first or second rule. Did you get that? If the beer is made in Germany and is for export (i.e. to the U.S.) it can be made with whatever ingredients they want. They could flavor a beer with rat guts if the beer was for export.

8. Homebrew can use any ingredients.

9. Once beer has been fermented, water cannot be added to it.

10. Beer cannot be mixed after the tax has been calculated. (there can be exceptions)

So the main thing we come away with from this is that beer made for export doesn't have to follow the "Purity" rule. This law also prevented the import of any drink labeled "beer" into Germany.

Everyone also says that the Reinheitsgebot is the oldest food purity law.

The Zythophile has done some excellent myth busting on various subjects.

In 1483 the London ale brewers, again trying to maintain the difference between (unhopped) ale and (hopped) beer, persuaded the city authorities to rule that in order for ale to be brewed in “the good and holesome manner of bruying of ale of old tyme used”, no one should “put in any ale or licour [water] whereof ale shal be made or in the wirkyng and bruying of any maner of ale any hoppes, herbes or other like thing but only licour, malt and yeste.”
The Reinheitsgebot was first put forward in 1487. Four years earlier, in London, they had a rule that ale could only be made with licour (boiled water), malt, and yeste (which would have been the live yeast froth from the top (or bottom) of the previous batch of beer). The Brits beat the Germans by 4 years.

So you see, the Reinheitsgebot is neither the oldest food purity law; or has anything to do with ingredients put into beers consumed outside of Germany (Bavaria).

The Reinheitsgebot doesn't guarantee a good flavor of beer, Beck's claims to follow it.

Most German beer laws have been set aside since their inclusion into the EU.

So there you go; the Reinheitsgebot is crap.


Wiki: Reinheitsgebot

Zythophile: Myth 2

The Reinheitsgebot - what a load of old b*llocks

Days of the Beer, July 31

The beer for today is Carib Lager.

On July 31, 1498, Christopher Columbus became the first European to find the island of Trinidad.

Trinidad is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and is just 7 miles off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. It has an area of 1864 square miles and with Tobago, has a population of just over a million people.

Apparently these 1.3 million people all love them some Carib Lager.

Launched on May 16th, 1950, this full bodied, clear and refreshing lager with 5.2% ABV is the flagship brand of Carib Brewery and the preferred brew of Trinidad and Tobago.
I wonder why they would start brewing lagers in the Caribbean, wouldn't the higher temps be better for ales?

This beer is a 3% on Ratebeer; and a C on Beer Advocate.

I'm sure it's very refreshing.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Beer Review, Flying Dog Kerberos Tripel

Last night, while waiting for Andy to show up so I could give him a selection of beer, I noticed that 7 Saints had the Flying Dog Kerberos Tripel, so I ordered one.

It was served in a pint glass, so the smells weren't too strong. It came out light yellow and seemed rather flat-ish. The smells I did pick up were lemon and orange peel, there were other fruits, but mostly just the smell of sour. It felt light on the tongue, almost like an apple juice. It tasted of zest. Zest with alcohol. There might have been a slight cider flavor, or I may have just imagined it based on the look and feel of the beer. As it warmed, it got more spiced.

This is probably a good Belgian Style Tripel, unfortunately, I'm not a big fan of them. Someday I hope I can appreciate them more; I keep drinking them but it's just not becoming a favorite style of mine.

Here's what the label says:

Greetings, oh god of the barstool. In your hand resides mighty Kerberos Tripel. A Belgian-style ale so cherished, that its namesake, the three-headed, hellhound, sentinel of the underworld guards thy bottle. So quench thy godly self. Then ask thee barmaid to retrieve ye another. For you are most powerful, and this is your bounty.

I didn't follow the instructions, because I didn't order another. However, Andy did give me a bottle of Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald, and I did enjoy that.

Beer Review, Weyerbacher Hops Infusion

After work, got my haircut and headed home. While waiting for Kriddy to arrive, I had a Weyerbacher Hops Infusion India Pale Ale.

Weyerbacher seems to do everything right. This IPA is no different. I'm a huge mark for Weyerbacher. I have a bottle of the QUAD, and Old Heathen sitting in the fridge waiting for me.

This one poured a dark amber, there was light foam that dissipated down into several bubble patches. This IPA stuck to the glass. It smelled piney, floral and like grass, there was lots of hops. It felt rather thick (or did I just want it to be viscous?; it may have been some of both).

It tasted of hops. Just hops. Like drinking hop juice. It was resiny, and pine sappy. I thought Kriddy would say it tastes like a forest, but she said it was just a tree. When it hit the back of the tongue, it was HUGELY bitter.

This was a very complex beer for being as loaded with hops as it was. It finished differently with every drink. A quick sip was front of the tongue sweet; if you just sucked it in and down rapidly. If you left it for a long savor, it turned terribly bitter. It was GREAT!

Here's what Weyerbacher has to say about it.

Hops Infusion is loaded with piney, citrusy notes, much hops complexity, and a strong foundation of malt underneath it all.. Glowing a deep amber color, Hops Infusion is brewed with seven types of hops. Simcoe, Magnum, Cascade, Liberty, Saaz, Fuggles and E. Kent Goldings give this beer the complexity that's so interesting. Our brewers intention on Hops Infusion was to create a complexity of hops flavor and aromas, not found in any other beer.
I picked this one up at Bruisin' Ales in Asheville. I only got the one, I wish I had picked up more.

In the picture is a bar of soap from Sacred Showers. It just seemed like a nice thing to put in the picture.

Days of the Beer, July 30

The beer for today is Clipper City Gold Ale.

On July 30, 1729, Baltimore Maryland was founded. The city was named for the founder of Maryland Colony, Lord Baltimore; (Cecilius Calvert) who named himself from the Baltimore in Ireland. The town was created as a tobacco port of entry.

Baltimore grew quickly as a granary storage for sugar from the Caribbean. During the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner" while captive on a British ship in the harbor.

Baltimore itself is the home of 637,000 people. The metro area has 2.7 million people. Inside it's borders is the NFL Ravens and MLB Orioles. It is also home to the Clipper City Brewery. Clipper City has it's own line of beers in addition to the Heavy Seas line, and the Oxford Organic Ales line of beers.

As for the beer:

Hops: Cascade
Malts: Pale, Munich, Caramel
ABV: 4.9% ABV

A bronze medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival in 2000, this ale was the Official Beer of the Baltimore Bicentennial in 1997. Well rounded and complex, with a deep golden color, this is an American style ale with a distinct fruity pallet and floral, spicy hop aromas.

So in honor of the city that brought you the U.S. National Anthem; go out and get the beer that's made for the city.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bruisin' Ales; Asheville Beer Run

If you are in or near Asheville, you just HAVE to go to Bruisin' Ales. If you remember back to beer b-ashe-ville (beer bash- ville) we stopped in there after the Brews Cruise. This time we went with a purpose, to get local beer.

We had gone down to Asheville for their Bele Chere festival, I was hoping to meet some friends from other places on the web, but I don't think they went :(. So, we just hung out around the fest and drank beer.

Meat had asked me to see how much Sweetwater Happy Ending, I could get, and I told him I'd try, but getting beer for me, is obviously my first priority. Well, when we went in to Bruisin Ales, I didn't see any 12 oz bottles, but as I looked around, I found some larger bottles, so I got all of them.

The owners were really helpful and nice. We didn't get to park near the store, so they let me fill a box and pay for it and leave it overnight. The were even more helpful when I told them that I'd give them a bottle of this year's Dark Lord.

At some point, they mentioned they had Westy 12 in the back. At first I asked for two of them, but then reconsidered and took 5 (at $30 each).

Bruisin' Ales has a great selection of local, national and international beers. They carry local beers from Greenman (in growlers), Pisgah (bottles and growlers) French Broad, and Highland. Regionally, they have Duck-Rabbit, Terrapin, Sweetwater, Atlanta Brewing Company and others. They've got a good selection of Weyerbacher, Southampton, Oskar Blues and some other hard to find beers (at least around here). I only picked up one beer from overseas, other than the westies.

Each time I've been in there, I've spent a bunch, and it seems they will give you a glass if you spend about $100 (don't quote me on that). Last time we were there, I got the Chimay glass. This time, I got a Rochefort glass on Saturday; then on Sunday I picked up the Terrapin Goblet, which will be great for drinking the Sweetwater out of.

They've got a good shirt selection too, I got a terrapin shirt, but there's also Highland, Pisgah, Bruisin' Ales and other shirts for sale. They've got a couple of books and some other things for sale (including the hops appreciation kit).

Most of the beer is kept in the open, at cellaring temperatures, there is a fridge to hold single bottles and growlers. they have some sort of liquor license that allows you to drink while shopping, so when you go, ask for a beer.

If Asheville is a beer destination, then this is definitely one of the places you HAVE to go.

Brewery Review, Browning's Restaurant & Brewery

On Friday, July 25, Kriddy and I headed to Asheville, NC for Bele Chere. About 200 miles into the trip is Louisville Kentucky. Last time we went, we stopped at Bluegrass Brewing Company on the way back for lunch (see Beer B-Ashe-ville) . This time we stopped at Browning's Restaurant & Brewery on the way there.

Brownings is in an awesome location. As first timer's driving through downtown Louisville, it was really easy to find. It's right next to Louisville Slugger Field.

The place was bright, clean and well lit. It appeared to be well cared for. All the bar seats were set at an angle, inviting you to sit. So we did. If you sit at the bar, directly above you to your front is the brew house on the second and third floor. There's a lot of copper up there.

There were 8 house beers on tap and a guest tap. I ordered the sampler and Kriddy went with the Bourbon Barrel Stout (claimed to be aged in Pappy Van Winkle).

The beers were St. Hildegard Helles (which may have been my favorite at the pub); Louis XVI Guillotine ESB; She-Devil Double IPA; Blacksmith Porter; Bourbon Barrel Stout; Belgium Wit; Oatmeal Stout; and the guest tap Great Lakes Eliot Ness.

The beers were all good. The Helles was very bright and crisp; very tasty. The ESB seemed hoppier than the dIPA. The dIPA did have good balance, and a strong hop flavor, but also a large malt presence.

To eat, I went with the D. B. Fish Sandwich. Kriddy had the Pub Club. I don't know what it is about Louisville breweries, but they get some huge friggin fish for their sammiches. It looks like it may have been browned a little too much, but the crust was outstanding. The fish was just massive and very flavorful, cooked perfectly. On the rye bread it was great. The chips are homemade and very fresh. Neither of us were willing to try the coleslaw, Kriddy isn't normally a fan, and I was wary due to raisins in it. It didn't really matter, as I was stuffed from the sandwich anyway.

Kriddy also ordered the Pretzel Sticks and Beer Cheese, hoping it would be hot pretzels, but it wasn't. The cheese was good, but wasn't quite what we had hoped for. Had we known it was the large pretzel sticks with a softer cheese for dipping/scooping, it may have been a better "appetizer experience".

Louisville is lucky to have both Browning's and Bluegrass in it's arsenal of restaurants. I would have trouble picking between them. Bluegrass had more beer on their menu, but both places made good beer. As to who makes a better fish sandwich, that'd be hard to compare. Both were huge and done great, but today, I'll take Browning's fish sandwich. If I could have that with the Raspberry Meade from Bluegrass, I'd be in Louisville heaven.

Days of the Beer, July 29

The beer for today is Nøgne Ø Havre Stout.

On July 29, 1030, Olaf Haraldsson, king of Norway, died. During his lifetime, he was also known as the Stout.

Olaf spent several years in England, fighting the Danes, he returned to Norway in 1015 and decleard himself king. He beat Earl Sweyn, the former Norway ruler, at the Battle of Nesjar. By 1029, the Norwegian nobles, forced Olaf to leave. Olaf was known as a stubborn and rash ruler, prone to rough treatment of his enemies.

As for the beer. Havre Stout is 4.5% alcohol, so it's not as rough as Olaf was.

From their website.

We usually do not make compromises, but this is probably the exception. Norwegians are dead scared of dark beers. This is an attempt to show that there are gentle dark ales. As such Havre Stout is smooth and drinkable.

We think Havre Stout is good both with and in food. Try pairing it with a read meet dish, or give your vanilla icecream a small dash before serving. Recommended serving temperature 8°C/45°F.
So, in honor of the death of the Stout. Go have a Norwegian Stout.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Days of the Beer, July 28

The beer for today is Bells Special Double Cream Stout.

On July 28, 1972, in Farmington Hills Michigan, Elizabeth Berkley was born. She most famous for two things, Saved by the Bell, where she played Jessica 'Jessie' Myrtle Spano, from 1989 to 1993; and Nomi Malone in 1995's Showgirls.

Elizabeth originally auditioned for the role of Kelly, but they cast Tiffani Thiessen instead. They wound up creating the Jessie character, who was smart and a feminist.

She auditioned for Nomi Malone, beating out Jenny McCarthy, Denise Richards and Charlize Theron to get the role. The movie was chock full of sex and nudity and was given an NC-17 rating. It was a box office bomb. Elizabeth won two Razzie awards for her role.

Since then, Showgirls became number 36 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the Top 50 Cult Movies. It is also one of the top 20 highest grossing movies of all time for MGM.

As for the beer, Bells also grew up outside of Detroit in Michigan (just a little further away) in Kalamazoo.

Sweeter and smoother than Kalamazoo Stout. A beer for special winter occasions. Great with chocolate desserts. Available October-March.
It's a 97% on Ratebeer, and an A-/B+ on Beer Advocate.

I had this beer November 14 last year, as beer 1010. I've also got several bottles of it aging in my basement.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Days of the Beer, July 27

The beer for today is Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout.

On July 27, 1752, Samuel Smith (not that Sam Smith) was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Samuel Smith later was a United States Senator, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives and Mayor of Baltimore.

From 1793 to 1803 he was in the House of Representatives. He left there to be in the Senate until 1815. He took about 8 months off and went back to the House, for 6 years until 1822. He left there and went BACK to being a Senator until 1833. He took some time off until he became the Mayor of Baltimore from 1835 to 1838. Career Politician? Not necessarily. During the American Revolutionary war, he served as captain, major and lieutenant colonel in the Continental Army. He was appointed as a brigadier general (1 star) during the Whiskey Rebellion (about taxes on liquor). He was a major general (2 stars) during the war of 1812.

As for the beer:

Originally a drink for lactating mothers, oatmeal stout was described as nutritional on early labels. Oats are in the same family as barley, and a small addition yields great flavor. Popular in the late 1800’s, the last oatmeal stout was brewed before the First World War until Samuel Smith reintroduced this style in 1980.

Almost opaque, with an unusually silky texture and complex, medium-dry velvet palate. Bittersweet finish.
This is one of Kriddy's favorite beers. It's a 98% on Ratebeer and an A-\A on Beer Advocate.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Days of the Beer, July 26

The beer for today is Avery New World Porter.

On July 26, 1894, Aldous Leonard Huxley was born in Godalming, Surrey, England. He is known for the books, Point Counter Point, The Doors of Perception, and Brave New World.

Brave New World was published in 1932. It was set in London in 2540. It's about a future society where warfare and poverty are eliminated and people are always happy due to government provided drugs and conditioning. It's a hedonistic society where people get pleasure form promiscuous sex and drug use. Family, culture, art, literature, science, religion and philosophy have all been eliminated.

Huxley referred to Brave New World as a "negative utopia".

Avery New World Porter isn't quite a "negative utopia." It receives a 94% on Ratebeer and a B+ on Beer Advocate.
A traditional black porter, with a surprise twist - it's dry-hopped!! We've expanded the porter category a bit, adding a delightful, dry hop aroma to blend with the sweet caramel and chocolate characteristics of a Robust Porter.

So crack open your copy of Brave New World, you know, the one you had to buy when you were a senior in High School, and crack open a bottle of Avery New World Porter. If you don't have time to read the book, then watch Demolition Man, it's not as good, but it's also a dystopian society.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Days of the Beer, July 25

The beer for today is Walter Payton Pilsner.

Sweetness, Walter Jerry Payton was born July 25, 1954. He played for the Chicago Bears. (booo). He was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and once held records for career rushing yards, touchdowns, and carries. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1003.

Payton was drafted with the fourth pick in the 1975 NFL draft. He finished his rookie season with 679 yards and seven touchdowns. His next year he rushed for over 1,000 and scored 17 touchdowns. His third season, he was selected to the Pro Bowl, and was the MVP.

In 1985, he rused for over 1,500 yards. He was a part of the Super Bowl Shuffle (Kriddy has the tape). The Bears won Super Bowl XX over the Patriots, 46-10. Payton didn't score a touchdown.

Walter Payton died November 1, 1999 from complications from primary sclerosing cholangitis, a rare autoimmune liver disease.

The beer comes from America's Brewing Company, in Aurora. The brewery is part of Walter Payton's Roundhouse.

Payton Pilsner. Named after Walter himself, this is a Bohemian Pilsner with 34 bittering units. Compares to Heineken or St. Pauli Girl. In 2007 when the bears were in the Superbowl, excited fans consumed 180 kegs worth of beer between the beginning of the playoffs and the Superbowl. 5.3% alc./vol.
The beer is pretty much only distributed in Illinois, and is on tap in several locations. So if you can find one, have a Payton Pilsner, and remember Sweetness.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New Beer Update

Ola Dubh 30 and Three Floyds Behemoth are now available at Friar Tucks in Savoy (Champaign Urbana).

If you do a blog search for Harviestoun Ola Dubh 30, there's lots of hits on this beer. It's also an A on Beer Advocate and a 98% on RateBeer. I already had a bottle, but picked up another; and thought about buying all of them, but i was nice and didn't. They only had the 30, and not the 12 or 16.

The Three Floyds Behemoth is obviously new as it's got purple wax on the top instead of the familiar yellow. There were a couple of these bottles on display, all the previous yellows are gone. I have 2 bottles with the yellow wax getting old in my three floyds box. Behemoth is an A- on Beer Advocate and a 100% on ratebeer.

There were several other beers that were new-to-me at Friar Tucks today, but I only got those 2.

They still seem to have cases of this years Goose Island Bourbon County Stout; and Goose Island Imperial IPA.

Beer Event; Sampling at Kai's

Last Thursday (July 17) after softball; while drinking beer at BW; we invited everybody over to Kriddy's for a drinking evening. That plan was changed to have it a couple of miles away at Kai's and we'd be grilling out also. I offered to provide beer for the tasting session.

I looked through my stock and saw that I didn't really have the makings of a great evening, so I went to Friar Tucks to stock up.

As I walked through the store, I started to think of how much we would need; and what styles would be good. The people we'd be out with aren't necessarily "beer" people; but they all seemed willing to try things. It was Kriddy and I; Kai and his wife; Tyler and Lindsay; Josh; his sister and her fiance (or boyfriend).

Kai's wife isn't "doesn't like beer" to which I obviously replied "you just haven't found the right beer". She does like cider, so I picked out a mix 6 of cider for her to try. She didn't really like the pear (I think) but some she seemed to enjoy.

As for the beers that were picked out; we had about a dozen lined up for the evening.

The beer Ty orders every time we go out is Newcastle; so we went with a Rogue Hazelnut Brown. This beer was well received by the group, and Ty seemed happy to polish off the bottle.

The first beer that everyone seemed to really enjoy was the Chimay Blue Grande Reserve. This 750 ml bottle (wine size) went pretty quick.

The next favorite, that all the girls (except Kriddy) and especially Kai's wife liked was the Lindeman's Framboise. This kiddie koolaid beer, is always a fun one to give to someone who "doesn't like beer". It's definitely a beer that can expand a persons concept of what beer can be. I chose the Framboise as it's the lambic that is most available in bars.

The beer that was the least liked was Avery the Czar Imperial Stout. I'm not sure why, but this one just didn't seem to be right. Normally, when I bring out an imperial stout, it's the highlight of the evening. The Czar just didn't captivate everyone like I'd expected. Had I the opportunity to present a different Imperial Stout to the crowd, I'd pick a Hoppin Frog Boris the Crusher.

Other beers we had for the evening included: Summit Maibock; Moylan's Kilt Lifter; Avery Collaboration (batch 2) Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale; Fullers Vintage Ale '05; Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter. There was also a bottle of Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere Farmhouse, but we didn't quite make it to that one. (I swear there was a barleywine, but I don't see it on the receipt, I'll check the bottles later today)

The festivities started around 6, and we finished up around 11:30. Everyone (except the drivers) got pretty tanked. We took the empty and half full bottles back to Kriddy's.

Last night (July 23) while watching the Cubs game, I finished off the Fullers, Summit, and Avery bottles. They were un-capped, so it was a flat beer evening.

It was a good selection of styles: fruit, IPA, brown, scotch, old, imperial stout, strong porter, trappist, and maibock. Again, there were plans for a farmhouse style too, but that one didn't get opened.

Thanks to all who went, and I hope we can do it again.

Days of the Beer, July 24

The beer for today is Orval.

On July 24, 1115, Matilda of Tuscany died.

At some point in her life after her husband's death, Matilda lost her wedding ring in a spring. She then prayed and a trout rose to the surface with the ring in it's mouth. She then said "Truly this place is Val d' Or'!" And established a monastery on the site.

(Val d' Or' means Valley of Gold)

The Orval Brewery is a Belgian trappist brewery located inside the Abbaye Notre-Dame d'Orval. Orval Trappist Ale is 6.2% ABV and is often referred to as the Queen of the Trappists. It was first made in 1931 and has an unusual flavor produced by a unique strain of yeast.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Beer News; Moosehead LIGHT???

Moosehead Light will now be available in the U.S.

Um... Hurray?

Read all about it.

With premium light imports becoming increasingly popular, Moosehead Light's market introduction offers consumers a new product in the light beer category, according to the brewery.
What premium lights? Heinekin Light; Corona Light; Amstel Light; is there a Beck's light? These beers (except amstel is tolerable) are horrible. Moosehead itself is horrible. But now we'll at least be able to get a horrible version of Moosehead with less calories... yippie.

Moosehead Light will initially be available in 12-pack and 24-pack bottles, and 12-pack cans in 10 select launch states: Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Nebraska, New Jersey, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.
Darn, the closest it will get to me is Minnesota. Why are they sending it to Hawaii?

They make funny commercials...

Pints for Prostates

There's a thing over there <--- to give to charity.

The charity is Pints for Prostates.

I've been lucky enough that prostate cancer isn't in my family. Not everyone is so lucky. So click on the tab and for the price of a beer, you can help save someone.

I felt compelled to donate; because I made a joke saying it was a cause I could really get BEHIND. So, I did.

If you laughed or thought it inappropriate, then you should donate.

Days of the Beer, July 23

The beer for today is Highland Black Mocha Stout.

On July 23, 1904, Charles E Menches came up with the idea of filling a pastry cone with two scoops of ice-cream and thus invented the ice-cream cone.

On December 13, 1903, Italo Marchioni received a patent for a mold that made pastry cups to hold ice cream. His patent was not for a "cone" so when he filed lawsuits against cone manufacturers for patent infringement, he lost.

The cone itself was invented in St. Louis, Missouri in 1904 at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. There were actually several people at the Exposition who claimed to have invented the cone. Ernest Hamwi, Abe Doumar, Albert and Nick Kabbaz, Arnold Fornachou and David Avayou all have claims to ownership of the concept.

So why is the beer, Highland Black Mocha Stout? In Asheville North Carolina, theres a place called the Ultimate Ice Cream Company on Tunnel Road. The sell non-dairy soy cream, gelato and also sugar-free varieties. They also offer a large variety of homemade ice cream. Last time we were in Asheville, Kriddy and Dana had the Highland Brewing Company Black Mocha Stout ice cream. It's made with Highland beer, which is reduced to a syrup and then mixed into the ice cream.

The beer itself:

Highland's most robust beer, having a very malty body with a large, roasted chocolate flavor. It is black in color with a very clean finish and a moderate hop flavor.
It received an 87 on Ratebeer and is an A- on Beer Advocate.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Days of the Beer, July 22

The beer for today is Stoudts Scarlet Lady ESB.

On July 22, 1934, John Herbert dillinger was shot and killed while leaving the Biograph Theater in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. Dillinger was with his girlfriend, Polly Hamilton and Anna Sage, who was a brothel madam in Gary, Indiana.

Dillinger was a bank robber, famous for his leaping over the counter, and narrow getaways from the police. Him, Bonnie and Clyde and Ma Barker were some of the most famous people during the "public enemy era".

Anna (the madam) was under investigation by the Immigration and Naturalization Service at the time, and sold some information to the FBI about Dillinger for a reward, and for help with her deportation proceedings. Anna told the agenst that they would be at the theater, and they would be able to identify her because she would be wearing an ORANGE DRESS.

As they left the theater, Dillinger ran and drew his weapon, the FBI agents shot. Dillinger was hit three times, twice in the chest and once that entered the back of his neck and exited under his right eye.

Due to artificial lighting at the theater, the orange color of the dress was distorted, which led to the notion of the Lady in Red, as a betraying character. (Anna was later deported back to Romania in 1936.)

As for the beer;

This authentic English-style ale is brewed from the finest imported Marris Otter malt for a rich, reddish-copper color and full, malty palate. the generous use of English hops balances the regal, sweet maltiness and imparts a softly perfumed aroma.
This beer is a B on Beer advocate; and a 67% on RateBeer. I had this beer somewhere between August 3 and August 6 of 2007, it was number 710 for the year last year.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Days of the Beer, July 21

The beer for today is Kulmbacher Eisbock.

On July 21, 1983, at Vostok Station Antarctica, the lowest temperature ever recorded was -128.6 degrees F. That winter, the temperature averaged about - 85 F. That short summer, it was about -25F. It's known as the Southern Pole of Cold. The warmest recorded temperature ever recorded at Vostok is 10.4 F. That's right, 10 friggin degrees!

In addition to being super cold, there's no humidity; wind that averages 18 km/h; lack of oxygen due to altitude; lack of carbon dioxide; and three months with no day light.

It can take people from a week to two months to get acclimatized to the area. Before you do, you can get headaches, ear pains, nose bleeds, loss of sleep, rises in blood pressure, reduced appetite vomiting, and weight loss of about 7-11 pounds.

As for the beer, an Eisbock is style of bock beer that is freeze distilled, and then the ice is removed, which concentrates the flavor and alcohol content.

Legend has it that Eisbock was accidentally invented in the Reichelbaru brew yard in Kulmbach around 1890. According to the story, a kid was told by the brewmaster to roll the casks of Bock for the brewery into the cellar and then close up. The kid got tired and left a barrel or 2 out in the yard. Well, that night it got really cold and the beer froze and burst open the casks (freeze a beer, see what you get). They thought they lost all the beer, but found some in the middle of each that was thicker and browner than they expect.

Water freezes before alcohol, so as the water froze, the remaining beer got stronger. The angry brewmaster, made the kid drink from the stuff that remained as punishment. As the kid tried it, he found it was awesome, and then everyone else tried it.

So in honor of the coldest day ever, grab a beer that's extra fortifying, made by freeze distillation. Kulmbacher Eisbock is available at Radio Maria in Champaign. The bottle looks like it's got frost crystals on it. I had this beer on July 1.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Days of the Beer, July 20

The beer for today is Blue Moon.

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the moon. This was the first time that man had made it to the moon.

It wasn't until the next day that man first stepped on the moon, but on July 20, they landed.

Apollo 11 launched from the Kennedy Space Center on July 16. On July 19, they finally entered lunar orbit. On July 20, the lunar lander Eagle, separated from the command module Columbia. They landed at 20:17 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time; they wouldn't be on Houston time) running short of fuel.

As for the beer; Blue Moon is a product of Molson Coors (I guess now, it's Miller Coors). It's a Belgian Style White beer. It was created by Keith Villa at Coors Field's Sandlot Brewery in 1995. It's spiced with coriander and orange peel, and brewed with barley, wheat and oats. It contains 171 calories per 12 oz serving (not counting the orange slice) and is 5.4% ABV.

In 1999, the Confederation of Belgian Breweries sued Coors for saying the beer was a Belgian White. They contended that people would assume the beer was made in Belgium; not just that it was Belgian-STYLE. Coors then put "Made in USA" and "Belgian-Style" on the bottles in small print; but later changed it to "Belgian-Style Wheat Ale" and settled out of court.

This is one of the favorite beers of blog-reader LindsAy. So, here's to you Linds-er! (If it's "ey" instead of "ay" then oops, sorry.) *fixed; even adjusted the sorry portion*

Days of the Beer, July 19

The beer for today (if you can call it that) is... Colt 45.

Samuel Colt was born July 19, 1814, in Hartford Connecticut.

In 1832, he went on a missionary trip to Calcutta, while on ship, he saw the way the ship's wheel turned, and this inspired his design for the revolver. He later applied for a patent for the revolver, when he was 18.

On Feb 25, 1836, he received an American patent for a "revolving gun".

The first revolver to be called the Colt .45 was the Colt Single Action Army handgun, also known as the Colt Peacemaker. Most people today think of the M1911 as the Colt .45.

Colt 45 malt liquor is currently owned by Pabst. It first hit the market in 1963. It got it's name because originally the bottles were 45 ounces. The brewers have never had a gun on the bottle or in their advertising, to avoid being sued by Colt Firearms.

It got it's name of Colt as the bottle was designed with a horse kicking, as in, the beer had more alcohol, so it had more "kick" hence the colt.

Billy D wants you to drink it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Beer Review, Saranac Belgian Ale Style

After losing at co-rec softball again :( went to BW and ordered a Leinenkugel Summer Shandy. Finished that and ordered another. Nobody at the table is sure exactly which beer was brought to the table. It definitely wasn't a Summer Shandy. It came with an orange instead of a lemon. It was darker than the shandy, it was lighter than the Blue Moon that someone else at the table was drinking. We think it might have been a Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat. I sent it back, but a guy on the team was gracious enough to say "If you are going to pour it out... I'll drink it."

We finished up there; then went home. Changed out of my sweaty softball clothes and then opened a beer. It was the last of the 6 pack of Saranac's that I got from Jay up in the Quad Cities. This one was the Belgian Style Ale.

It poured extremely dark. It was like a brown amber. There wasn't lots of head, but what there was, was a white thin fizzy head. It smelled malty... that was about it. Just malty, toasty grains. It felt rather thin across the tongue, and was noticeable on the back of the tongue and not on the front (which is odd, as it wasn't that bitter).

The first taste was winey, vinous. There was a little bitter, or at least the impression of bitter activating the back of the tongue. At first it reminded me of a sugar cookie, but then I thought more of those Christmas cookies that come in the tin. I thought there might be some plum in the flavor.

This beer was weird in that it made my mouth water. I've had some that did that before, but this one really activated my saliva. It was a pretty good brew. Based on the drinking/appearance and all that other stuff we look at, I'm still not sure exactly what style of belgian it was.


This deliciously fruity ale is brewed with a generous amount of Belgian aromatic malt, hand selected hops and a traditional Belgian ale yeast. Brewed in the "Trappist" style, our Saranac Belgian Ale's fruity, malty character will leave you craving another bottle. Enjoy!

Ratebeer has it as 29% Beer Advocate has it at B-. I'm not sure it's either. Probably more of just a C. It's a good beer. But nothing to make me want to rush out and buy all of them off the shelf. I wouldn't pour it down the sink.

*hmmm, where's the 6th beer?*

Days of the Beer, July 18

The beer for today is Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter.

Hunter S. Thompson was born July 18, 1937. He is credited as the creator of Gonzo journalism, a style of reporting where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become central figures of their stories. He is also known for his use of mind altering substances.

(enough plagiarizing from wiki... time to plagiarize from flying dog)

Brewery co-founder George Stranahan was Hunter S. Thompson's friend and neighbor in Aspen, Colorado. They met up with gonzo artist Ralph Steadman back in 1991 in the Woody Creek Tavern where they engaged in a meeting of minds, so to speak. Yes, yes they were getting drunk, the kind of drunk you save for once a year…pink elephant drunk or if you will Flying Dog drunk!

Now events from here on in become a little hazy but whether you believe it was a collective hallucination or a moment of perfect clarity, what seems certain is that George, Richard, Hunter and Ralph tuned into a remote creative frequency and conjured up a vision of the Road Dog. The result of this meeting was the first authentic gonzo beer, illustrated by Ralph Steadman and inscribed with Hunter's words, Good People Drink Good Beer - the rest is Flying Dog history.
So Flying Dog (the brewery) are good friends (or they were) with Hunter S. Thompson. So they made a beer in his honor. As for the beer.

Like Hunter S. Thompson... Gonzo Imperial Porter is deep and complex. This turbo charged version of the Road Dog Porter is mysteriously dark with a rich malty body, intense roasted flavors, and a surprisingly unique hop kick. With Gonzo weighing in at 7.8% ABV, it will bite you in the ass if you don't show it the proper respect.

The beer gets an A- on Beeradvocate. It's a 98% on Ratebeer. I've got a 4 pack of it mellowing on Kriddy's kitchen counter. This is one of my goto beers at Jupiter's at the Crossing; when I'm not in the mood for a Great Divide or a Rogue; Gonzo fits the bill. This was my 383rd beer of last year.

(Borrowed image)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Beer Events; Great Taste of the Midwest

Wilson is proud of his tickets. So I can be proud of mine too... can't I?

Or am I just copying him?

Either way, they are number 1031 and 1032.

Saturday August 9, from 1 to 6 p.m. The Great Taste of the Midwest. Brought to you by the Madison Homebrewers & Tasters Guild. You'll note it says "Tasting glass with unlimited samplings." So I gotta make sure I drink $35 worth of beer. Shouldn't be too tough. That's only $7 an hour.

On Ebay now, tickets are going from a low of $37, to a pair for $155. (A 4 pack is going for $255 or $63 a ticket).

Noah was nice enough to stand in line and get them for us. Apparently the standing in line for the tickets is almost as much fun as the event itself. So maybe next year, I'll go do that too.

In other news, Saturday is the Indiana Microbrewers Festival. Their event is from 3 until 7. It's $35 at the gate. Brewers represented from Indiana will be Barley Island, Mad Anthony, Mishawaka, Three Floyds, Warbird, and Upland (among others). Out of State Breweries expected include: Bells, Founders, Stone and Schlafly.

Also on Saturday (and Friday), Schlafly Tap Room will be hosting a Belgian beer festival. They'll be selling mussels and beer. They should have their Grand Cru; Witbier; Tripel; Biere de Garde; and casks of the Cru and Garde. It's from 5 to midnight; so can I go from Indy to St. Louis, in a day... for beer... yes I can (should I?)... hmmm, it's 243 miles, about 4 hours. So, (wait... there's an hour time change) I could in theory leave Indy at 7 (6 st. louis time) and arrive in STL at 10 for mussels at Schlafly. Conceivable, yes; practical, no.

Days of the Beer, July 17

The beer for today is Avery The Czar.

On July 17, 1918, Tsar Nicholas II was killed. Nicholas was born on May 19, 1868. He ruled over the Russian Empire from November 1, 1894 to March 15, 1917. He was the oldest son of Alexander III and Maria Fyodorovna (of Denmark).

Nicky got engaged to Alix of Hesse in April 1894. She originally was a Lutheran, but converted to Russian Orthodoxy to get married. They got married on November 26, 1894, he moved up the wedding because his father had just died, and he didn't want to lose the woman he loved. She changed her name to Alexandra for the wedding.

They had 5 children, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexei.

Nicholas was kicked out of being Czar in 1917, as the people thought he mismanaged their part of world war 1. There were dwindling supplies which caused massive riots and rebellions. He first named his son Alexei (the kid who was always sick, but Rasputin could help) as Czar, but changed his mind, because ... the kid was always sick; and named his brother Michale, and the next emperor. His brother refused, so that ended the Russian Imperial ways.

Nicholas was reunited with his family on March 22, 1917(he was at the front lines of the war) at the palace. They were evacuated to the Urals in August. The Bolsheviks came to power in October, and the house arrest for the Romanovs' became stricter.

On July 17, 1918 at 2:33 a.m. Nicholas, Alexandra, the children, their physician and three servants were taken into the basement and shot.

Avery the Czar is a Russian Imperial Stout, that has a picture of Czar Nicholas II on the bottle. It's 11.7% ABV. According to their website:

Behold the stunning crimson hues through the inky blackness. Inhale the noble Hallertau hops, spicy and floral. Savor the flavors redolent of English toffee, rich mocha, sweet molasses, candied currants and a hint of anise. We highly recommend cellaring additional bottles, as the Czar will continue to mature and become denser and more complex with age.
Isn't that kind of rude to cellar a bottle that has a picture of a guy who was shot in a basement?

I had this beer on April 5, 2007. It was my 366th beer of the year.

(I didn't take this picture)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Beer Review, Saranac Traditional Lager

As the All-Star Game decided it would never end; I decided I'd have another beer. My second at home choice was Saranac Traditional Lager.

This one looked... like a lager. The picture is dark and doesn't do it justice. This thing looked like PBR/Bud/Old Style/Miller. It looked like a macro. It smelled sweet; that lager sweet smell. Sickeningly sweet. It felt thin and watery, like big macros. An aftertaste finally crept up on the back of the tongue.

It tasted... sweet, like a lager. As it warmed, I thought, is that honey?

This is definitely a lawnmower beer. It's pretty good. If I had to drink a macro style lager, this would be one that I'd go for. This would make a good gateway beer.

I thought it similar to Highland's Shining Rock Lager.

I got this bottle from the mix six that Jay gave me, two weekends ago up in the Quad Cities.

Beer Review, Bottleworks Van den Vern Grand Cru

While watching, what should have been the last 3 innings of the All-Star Game last night, I opened a bottle of Bottleworks Van den Vern Grand Cru.

This one poured a deep dark amber almost brown with a huge head, that was almost pinkish. The head was impressive, very full. There was some sediment/chunks in the bottle, that weren't initially noticed. The flocculation left some discoloration in the head from the pour.

It smelled tart and biscuitty, like a sour malty beverage. It was surprisingly thick feeling. It wasn't very palate clearing, I had expected it to be "fizzy" feeling, based on the amount of head, but it didn't have the "ripping" feeling, that I expected from something that smelled so tart.

It tasted biscuitty and not very sour. Well, it was a little sour. There was some tartness, but mostly it was just an odd flavor. This was a one time beer for me, I don't think I'd seek it out again. Beer Advocate and Ratebeer seem to like/love this beer, but it's not for me.

The yeast chunks and other floaters gave me a slightly upset stomach. It gave me Chipper Dave's infamous "Burp Test", and the results weren't good. The burp was oily, almost a deep fried taste; like I'd eaten at Long John Silvers, or KFC.

I picked up this bottle on Friday at Friar Tucks.

(a day later, the upset stomach has turned into bad gas... I bet you all wanted to know that; I can't guarantee that THIS beer was the one that did it... but I'm pretty sure it was)

Bar Updates

Stopped in at Seven Saints last night. They now have some bottles of Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA.

Double Crooked Tree I.P.A

Have you read the description for the regular Crooked Tree yet? Well this beer is almost the same just double. We actually took the Crooked Tree recipe and doubled all of the ingredients except the water, just the way a Double should be made. Big hops balanced with tons of malt give this beer a huge body. Although this beer is as cool as "the Fonz" when first purchased, it gets really mellow and smooth with some age. After a year or two stored in a cool dark place you'll notice the heavy caramel and malt flavors are trying to sneak past the hops, they’re just not fast enough. This beer is hugely delicious so it will need your undivided attention (the chores can us).

(I've got some bottles at home trying to get old in the basement)

Additionally, on tap 7S now has Rogue Hazelnut Brown; and Dark Horse Amber.

I killed time at Crane Alley on Saturday. They have Radeberger Pilsner and Allagash Oddessy on tap. Additionally I had bottles of Schlafly Biere de Garde and Ommegang Ommegeddon.

Days of the Beer, July 16

The beer for today is Alesmith IPA.

On July 16, 1769, Father Junipero Serra founded the Mission San diego de Alcala, which was the first mission in California. It later evolved into San Diego.

Junipero Serra was a Spanish Franciscan friar who founded 21 missions in upper California. Under his leadership, Mission San Antonio de Padua, Mission San Gabriel Arcangel, Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, Mission San Juan Capistrano, Mission San Francisco de Asis, Mission Santa Clara de Asis and Mission San Buenaventura were founded. Many of these missions became the cities in their name, San Francisco, Santa Clara...

Junipero was beatified by Pope JP2 on Sept. 25, 1988.

The San Diego mission is known as California's First Church. In 1773, it was the site of the first Christian burial in Upper California.

Since then, San Diego has become the second largest city in California, and the eighth largest in the U.S. It's the home of AleSmith Brewing Company.

About the beer: AleSmith IPA

Deep golden to light amber color, and a nice off-white head, with good retention when properly served. Starts off with pleasantly strong hop flavors, balanced by a firm malt backdrop, then fades to a dry finish with a lingering hoppiness.

Medium straw color, pale tan head. Rich malty aroma with a HUGE dose of hops. Medium-full body with sweet malty flavors and a delicious abundance of aromatic a bittering hops.
I haven't had this beer, although I think I may have one in the fridge.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Beer News

Man spent $1,000 a week on beer?

SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian man convicted of his seventh drink-driving charge was spending about A$1,000 ($972) a week on beer -- enough to buy more than 2,500 small bottles a month, a newspaper said Tuesday.

Holy farking shiat batman!!!

That's about 52,000 a year. I can't fathom spending that much.

What beer could you drink for $1000 a week.

5 Bottles of Sam Adams Utopias.
66 Bottles of Dark Lord ($15 a bottle)
100 mix six's at Friar Tucks

The magistrate also poked fun at Leary's favorite beer, Melbourne Bitter, in a part of the country where drinkers can be as loyal to beer brands as they are to football teams.
Man, even counting travel costs I don't think I've spent 52k on beer in the past ... oh... LIFETIME! (even if you count the cost of my car)

CU Beer Club; June Meeting

Last month's beer club meeting theme was Blind Tasting. There were 16 beers provided; and the object was to identify the style of beer that was provided.

I took notes on each beer and will provide you my tasting notes, and the style I thought each was.

1. Bell's Batch 7000.

Black with brownish head/ opaque. Smells of Chocolate and coffee. It kinda coats the glass and tongue. It tastes of Chocolate, coffee and smokey, not very hoppy. It's a decent stout.

2. New Glarus Uff-Da Bock.

Brown, scotchy looking. Smells malty and biscuitty. It's thin with slight carbonation on the tongue. It tastes malty and cookie dough-ish. It finishes drying. Either a scotch or brown (do'h; forgot about bock)

3. Rock Bottom Udderly Delicious Milk Stout.

It's dark black, and smells smokey. It feels thin and watery. It tastes smokey.

4. Avery Salvation.

It's yellow, tastes hoppy and peppery.

5. Orkney Red MacGregor.

It's a brown caramel color and smells malty.

(note: I didn't drink in order and my notes got thinner as the night wore on)

6. New Belgium 1554.

It's a light brown, to amber color. There's a slight vegetable smell. It really hits on the front of the tongue. It's malty with a burned coffee taste. It really finishes coffee-ish.

7. Petrus Oud Bruin.

It looks like a scotch, but bubblier, with good lace. It smells like a tart or Flanders red. It clears off the tongue. It's slightly bitter/tart with very little hops. It finishes really clean.

8. (A homebrew) Charlie Porter.

It's brown and cloudy. It feels syrruppy on the tongue.

9. Stone IPA.

It's clear and yellow. It smells piney. It tastes Hoppy; it's an IPA, crisp and mouth clearing.

10. (another homebrew) Queller

It's got aggressive foam and is light brown. It tastes tart, with malt. There are many off flavors. It finishes puckery. Is it a Marzan? (nope it's a red... really?)

11. Bell's Kalamazoo American Wheat

It's light yellow and cloudy. Smells of Banana; it feels heavy on the tongue for a wheat. It tastes like a wheat with little else; maybe some off-skunk flavor. It's a wheat.

12. Southern Tier Cherry Saison.

It's light yellow and cloudy. Smells of banana, feels thin-ish. Tastes of Banana, clove, corriander and pepper. Finishes slightly tart. I guessed weiss or belgian wit.

13. Three Floyds Blackheart English IPA.

It's yellow, smells spicy, feels thickish. Tastes, hoppy, piney, grasey, really piney (with jasmine?). It's a decent IPA.

14. Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball.

Brown with carmael; smells of cookie a ginger cookie. Tastes of ginger.

15. Avery Collaboration.

It's yellow, smells tart-ish. Tastes tart, saison-ish... sour. Is it a saison?

16. Great Lakes Commodore Perry IPA.

Fizzy yellow, has a sweet lager smell. Tasted lagery.

(wow, was I off on that one).

So, for the night and 16 beers, I'll be adding 9 to my list of new beers.

I'm pretty bad at picking out the styles, it would seem.

The next meeting is tomorrow, Wed, July 16. The theme is Beer and Hot Sauce. I haven't yet determined what beer I'll be taking; so I'll go through the stash tonight to try to find something.

Beer Review, Saranac Adirondack

After kicking some booty at softball last night, including the unfortunate incident with the fake tag, and my fracking strikeout (foulout); and the victorious trip to Hooters; I went home and had a new beer. (How's that for a run on sentence)

Last night's choice again came from the Saranac set the Jay gave me up in the Quad Cities. This one was the Adirondack Lager. (sorry for the fuzzy picture; it looked clear at the time).

It poured a dark amber, with a fizzy head. It smelled like a Killian's. It was malty and sweet with a lager sweet crispness to the nose. It had lots of nose. It had a medium heaviness, was slightly coaty, and had early fizz on the tongue.

It tasted like burned sugar (darker than normal caramel). It was malty and biscuity. There was a slight bitter flavor, but that showed up way late in the flavor. It was consistent in flavor as it warmed, with only the bitter appearing after several minutes.

This was a tasty amber. I'd search it out again. If you are a fan of Killian's or Michelob Amber Bock, or other amber beers, this would be a nice craft beer to replace it with.

This beer apparently used to be Saranac Adirondack Amber, which was described as:

Saranac Adirondack Amber is craft brewed with pure Adirondack water, bottom fermented and fully lagered to carefully balance the sweetness of two-row malt with the delicate bitterness of American Cascade and German Hallertauer hops. Look for a golden amber color and medium body. You’ll discover a distinctive flavorful beer that is deliciously drinkable. Enjoy!
I did enjoy it... thank you.

Days of the Beer, July 15

The beer for today is Sweetwater Sweet Georgia Brown.

July 15, 1870 was a busy day. First Prussia and France started the Franco-Prussian War. Then Manitoba and the North-West Territories were transferred to Canada. But, the event we care about deals with post civil war reconstruction.

Georgia became the last of the former Confederate states to be readmitted to the Union.

Starting in 1866, the southern states rejoined, first, Tennessee in 1866. In 1868, 6 other states were readmitted, including North Carolina on July 4. The final 4 states came back in 1870, with Georgia last on July 15.

Atalanta, at the start of the civil war, was the 99th largest city in the U.S. with only 9,554 residents. (it kind of changes your perspective when you think about Sherman burning Atlanta, and it only displacing up to 9,554 people) It was the 12th largest city in the Confederacy. It was a vital transportation and logistics center, connecting much of the south. It was DEFINITELY needed by the South.

Georgia voted January 19, 1861 to leave the Union. Until the 1970's the vote for secession had been listed as 50,243 to 37,123. Recently, the vote has been recounted, and was determined that it was 42,744 to 41,717... in FAVOR OF STAYING IN THE UNION! Some people (like me) believe that the only reason Georgia seceded was because the Vice Presidency of the south was offered to Alexander Stephens, a guy who was in favor of preserving the Union. Was Stephens bought?

As for the beer. Sweetwater SGB is listed as:

Definitely one of the finer American Brown Ales. A deep copper colored, mild brown ale. SGB is accentuated by a slight nuttiness from its malt character. Designed to be a session beer it has a real smooth finish with a very subtle hop character.
Sweetwater itself is out of Atlanta. It's 22 miles away from Stone Mountain Park, home of the Southern Mount Rushmore.

In honor of Georgia coming back to the Union, go out and find a Sweetwater Sweet Georgia Brown; and reflect on the way that votes were manipulated to get Georgia into the Confederacy.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Days of the Beer, July 14

Today you are going to want to grab some kind of French beer. How about a Fischer Amber.

July 14, or quatorze juillet is France's national celebreation Fete Nationale. It' Bastille Day, yippie!

On July 14, 1789, the Bastille was stormed, and that was seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern French nation.

The Bastille was a prison that held political prisoners. The French in their brilliant ways, freed a total of 7 inmates from the Bastille on Bastille day! The French think of it more as a symbolic act, than as something that actually accomplished anything.

I'm reminded of the joke about why the French make such great antique rifles: Never fired; only dropped once.

As for the beer, it's brewed in Schiltigheim, Alsace, France. It's described as:

A slightly roasted malt gives it a light amber color. The rich flavor dominates the malt/hops balance and is very popular among most beer drinkers.
The beer normally comes in the swing top bottles (think Grolsch); dark brown; thick bottle. I've had it before but not when I was keeping track of my beers. I don't remember anything about it, but I haven't had it twice; so that may tell you my opinion.

So, grab yourself a Fischer Amber, say "uh-hunh hunh hunh" and commemorate the storming of the Bastille. (Hey, their independence was only 13 years after ours; and you though U.S.A was a young nation).

Friday, July 11, 2008

Days of the Beer, July 13

The beer for today is Peroni, Nastro Azzurro.

On July 13 (or 12) 100 B.C. Julius Ceasar was born. How cool is it that he was born in the month that was named after him?

Julius Caesar, the original JC was one of the main guys who transformed the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire. He expanded the Roman Empire through Gaul (France) and also invaded Britain.

He was proclaimed dictator for life after he took control of the government. He was assassinated by Marcus Brutus on March 14, 44 B.C. Unlike the other JC, he didn't come back on the third day.

Peroni Nastro Azzurro (Blue Ribbon) is a typical pilsner beer at 5.1% ABV. It is brewed in Rome. Peroni is owned by SABMiller.

It's one of the most widely available Italian beers in the U.S. and was at the Olive Garden the last time I ate there (Easter, 2007). So in honor of Julius Caesar, head on over to the Olive Garden, get one of those HUGE salads and drink a Peroni.

Pray that it didn't have too much light damage (skunk) done to the beer through the green bottle.

Days of the Beer, July 12

The beer for today is Left Hand Milk Stout.

On July 11, 1804, one of the most famous duels in American history occurred. Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton (the $10 bill guy) and Vice President Aaron Burr met on a spot known as the Heights of Weehawken, in New Jersey (a popular dueling ground, the site was used for 18 other duels between 1700 and 1845).

The causes of the duel went back several years for the men.

1. Burr had unseated Hamilton's father-in-law in the Senate. Hamilton didn't like Burr's politics (Burr was a Democratic-Republican and Hamilton was a Federalist).

2. Burr was then nominated to be Vice-President with Jefferson as President. At the time, the person who received the most votes in the Electoral College would be president and the person to receive the second most would be vice president. Each person in the college had 2 votes, at the time the D-R's planned to have 73 people vote for Jefferson, and 72 vote for Burr. It didn't work out right, so they tied with 73 votes. This led to a vote in the House of Representative to determine who would be President. Everyone knew that Jefferson was the guy running for President and Burr was to be the vice-president, but the House was controlled by Federalists, and they didn't like Jefferson. So they were going to vote for Burr. Except that Hamilton was a powerful Federalist (like Karl Rove) and he convinced the House, that Jefferson would be better for them, than Burr.

3. Jefferson planned to drop Burr from being Vice President for the next election, so Burr ran for governor of New York. Hamilton campaigned against Burr.

Burr had enough, so he challenged Hamilton to a duel. Hamilton accepted and chose pistols as the weapon.

So, they met, July 12, 204 years ago. Hamilton won the right to shoot first. Supposedly, he shot above Burr, in the hopes that they would just shoot above each other to get "Satisfaction", and the matter would be settled. Burr apparently didn't think the shot was a "delope" or thrown away shot. So he shot him in the lower abdomen above the right hip.

Burr then got on a boat and went back to Manhattan and had breakfast of eggs and toast.

The incident was made famous in the original "Got Milk?" commercial.

So, in honor of the first "Got Milk?" commercial; honoring the fatal duel between Burr and Hamilton, have a Milk Stout.

I tried to find some information on a slap and throwing down the gauntlet to challenge for a duel being with the left hand, but couldn't find that.

So, anyway, have a Left Hand Milk Stout.

According to the brewer:
This English style of beer, also known as Sweet Stout or Cream Stout, first appeared in London in the late 1800’s. The early brewers touted the health benefits of the milk sugar in this beer which today relates mainly to the increased amount of calories(no real health benefits…sorry). The milk sugar adds a well rounded sweetness to this dark beer and makes it an outstanding, year ‘round stout.
AAAwon Buwwwh.

Got milk stout?

Beer Review, Saranac India Pale Ale

Last night, after softball and the consolatory beers and wings at BW, went back to Kriddys and opened a bottle of Saranac India Pale Ale.

This one poured a golden yellow, it had thin fizzy foam that dissipated somewhat quickly, it was a pretty white color though.

I didn't notice much smell at all. The empty bottle had some resinous sap smell, but there was none of that in the glass. Kriddy at first said it smelled hoppy, then I was like "really" and she smelled again, and didn't smell anything. I stuck a spoon in it and stirred to release some carbonation, and built up a little head, but still there wasn't a strong smell.

It tasted sappy, piney, grassy. There was lots of hops, but the malt was also evident. As it warmed it started to lose the pine and was becoming more black peppery.

It felt rather thick, again the malt was very present. It was a well balanced beer. It was decent. There was a slight hops bite, but it wasn't too angry. The bottle says American IPA, but it's not too potent. There was almost too much balance between the malt and hops.

The top label of the bottle says:

A hop lover's delight! In the India pale ale tradition, this brew is very hoppy in both aroma and flavor from the generous amounts of Cascade hops used in brewing. Look for a medium to full body and golden straw color.
Hmmmm... was it an old bottle? It wasn't foul, the hops aroma had just dissipated. Was it mishandled; exposed to heat? It was a good beer, just wasn't hoppy enough.

I'd have this one again, hopefully a fresher bottle.

Days of the Beer, July 11

The beer for today is Rodenbach Grand Cru.

The Battle of the Golden Spurs was fought on July 11, 1302, in Flanders. There was an uprising against the French in 1302 by the Flanders's's. On May 18, the residents of Bruges, who had earlier been evicted, went back to their town and killed every Frenchman they could find. They identified the French by asking them to pronouse a Dutch phrase schielt ende vriend (shield and friend) everyone who pronounced it wrong was killed (See Judges 12).

So the French were pissed, and they sent a force of about 8000 people (2,500 cavalry) verses about 9000 Flemish. The battle ground was covered with ditches and streams, which made it difficult for the cavalry, so the French initially sent their 3,500 infantry into the battle. It was gonig well for them, so the commander recalled the infantry to send in the cavalry (so they could get the win) at which point, they got pretty much slaughtered due to the terrain. The French fled and were hunted down over 6 miles by the Flemish.

The battle got its name from the number of "golden spurs" that were collected off the French knights. The spurs were hung in the Church of Our Lady in Kortrijk to commemorate the victory and were taken back by the French after the Battle of Mons-en-Pevele, two years later.

Flanders is an area the overlaps parts of Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Vlaanderen means Flooded Land.

Flanders red ale (or brown, or sour brown) is a style of sour ale, usually brewed in the Flanders region (New Belgium La Folie is brewed in Colorado). The beer appears deep red to brown and smells of fruit and sometimes smells sour. It gets it's tartness from Lactobacillus (lactic acid).

Rodenbach is in Roeselare Belgium, in West Flanders. It was founded in 1821 and was family owned until it was purchased by Palm Breweries in 1998.

Rodenbach produces 3 varieties of their beer. Original, which is a blend of their older and younger beer; Redbach which is a blend of the Original and cherry juice. And the Rodenbach Grand Cru, with is just the aged beer.

Rodenbach Grand Cru is currently available on draft from the Blind Pig in Champaign. I had it there on April 18. It was tart, as is to be expected, almost like drinking a sour patch kid.

So, in honor of the Flemish beating the crap out of thousands of French, pop open a Rodenbach Grand Cru, or have one on draft. While you are enjoying it, if you see a Frenchy, ask him to say shield and friend, then just punch him in the mouth for fun anyway.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Days of the Beer, July 10

The beer for today is Guinness.

(It's probably one of the most misspelled beer words right behind Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser.)

But that's not why it's the beer today. On July 10, 988 (that's right Nine Eighty Eight) the city of Dublin was founded on the banks of the river Liffey. The "new world" was discovered in 1492 (probably) about 500 years before that, Dublin came to be.

Guinness was originally brewed at the St. James Gate Brewery in Dublin, Ireland in 1759. Arthur Guinness leased the area for 9,000 years at 45 pounds per year (that's a good deal). It became Ireland's larges brewery in 1838 and was the world's largest in 1914. It isn't the largest brewery in the world anymore, but it does make the most stout (if you can call it that).

Guinness is currently owned by Diego; these are the perils of taking your company public.

So in honor of the founding of Dublin, have Dublin's most famous beer; Guinness.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Days of the Beer, July 9

The beer for today is Cervesa Quilmes.

On July 9, 1816, Argentina declared independence from Spain.

After Spanish king Fernando VII was deposed by Napoleon, there was a revolution, which ended the authority or Spain and replaced it with the Primera Junta (a leadership group in Argentina). The king returned in 1814 and attempted to regain control of the Spanish colonies. Carlos Maria de Alvear was the "governor" at the time, and his tenure ended on April 15, 1815 when the locals demanded a General Congress be made. The first session of the General Congress was on March 24, 1816.

The final voting ended on July 9, with a declaration of independence.

Cerveceria y malteria Quilmes is Argentina's largest brewery with a 75% market share. They produce several lagers, a bock, 2 light lagers, a stout, pilsner and several other beers. They also produce Argentina's Pepsi products.

They are mostly owned by Ambev which is part of Inbev.

So in honor of Argentina's freedom from Spain, have a beer that shows their subservience to Belgium!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Beer Review, Saranac Pale Ale

After splitting at softball, including the best defensive game between two teams... ever... 5 scoreless innings... and the customary stop at Hooters (and my friggin purchase of a pitcher due to not swinging) went home and opened a beer.

The choice last night was from the mix-6 of Saranac beers that I got from Jay on Saturday. The bottle (as you probably noticed from the title) was the Pale Ale.

While my phone isn't the greatest, the picture isn't lying too much. This one was pretty dark for a pale. I thought it looked like an amber, Kriddy said it looked like Bass (which made me think... ok, British style pale ale, not yellow-ish American like Sierra Nevada).

It had a cookie, almost biscuit-ty smell. Ok, the brits say biscuit for cookie, so I mean like biscuits and gravy biscuits, not chocolate biscuit with my tea. Although it did have the cookie smell, so it was both American and British biscuits. There wasn't very much hops in the smell (and there was room in the glass for aroma, but it wasn't really there. It felt rather thick, not quite a syrup, but more-so than I expected for a pale.

The taste was malt with a little hops bite. It was almost like a red bitter. As it warmed, it got more peppery as the hops came out. It tingled on the front of the tongue and got more bitter on the back. It was a pretty good beer, not sure if I'd go out looking for it, but if it was available, I'd probably drink one as a change.

Days of the Beer, July 8

The beer for today is Oskar Blues Gordon Double IPA.

On July 8, 1497, Vasco da Gama set out on the first direct European voyage to India. da Gama left Lisbon with 4 ships and a crew of 170 men. They rounded the Cape by December 16, (5 friggin months later). The fleet arrived in Calicut on May 20, 1498, a 10 month journey, to get to India. They set sail back on August 29, 1498 and finally made it back in July and August of 1499. Only 2 ships made it all the way back.

Most beer drinkers are familiar with the IPA (India Pale Ale) story. About how beer wasn't able to survive the trip to India (hell no, it took 10 months!!!) so they discovered if they put lots and lots of hops in the beer, it would preserve it and it would be ok to drink. The Zythophile is helping to kill that myth. Here's some quotes from his blog.

there was NO real difficulty exporting beer to the East: contemporary evidence shows everything from small beer to porter surviving the journey.
There were NO “tremendous efforts” by British brewers to solve this non-existent problem (the article fails to recognise that the Indian market was tiny, at 9,000 barrels a year in 1800).

There is NO evidence George Hodgson, a small-time porter brewer, actually invented IPA, or deliberately designed a recipe for a beer to survive the journey to India.

There is NO evidence India was a “very tempting” market for British brewers before the 1820s: if it had been, a small brewer such as Hodgson would not have been able to build up a substantial slice of the trade.

Yeah, but that story is so ROMANTIC. Here's a quote from the comments section.

It was called India Pale Ale, or East India Pale Ale, in Britain because it was meant to be the pale ale “as prepared for India”, to quote one advertisement from the 1840s. My personal belief is that it was not actually any different from strong stock bitter: .
So, it's the same as the strong stock bitter, probably. There's another thing that happened today in history.

On July 8, 1859, King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway died.

So, in honor of Oscar's Blues, and da Gama's trip to India. Crack open a can of Oskar Blues Gordon Double IPA (if you are lucky enough to live in a state where Oskar Blues is distributed).

Monday, July 7, 2008

Brewery Reviews, Quad Cities; Front Street Brewery/ Blue Cat Brew Pub/ Bent River Brewery

Well, Jim and I got up to the Quad Cities in about 2 hours, we went to our buddy Jay's as they were having a cookout. Jay showed me around the house and offered me some beer. The first was Ithaca CascaZilla. It was a hopped Red Ale, very similar to the beer I had just had at Destihl. Then he offered me a mix six pack of the beers from Saranac, which was great, since I've only had their Pomegranate Wheat. Jim was having a good time with Jay's family (Jay said, "I think they like him more than me") so Jay and I jumped in the car and headed to 2 liquor stores, the first didn't have a great selection, nothing made me really want to buy, but the second (named the Liquor Box) had some that I had never seen, so I picked up a six pack of Hook and Ladder's Lighter, Backdraft Brown, and Golden Ale.

The Lighter was decent, malty flavor, caramel, maybe some butterscotch, the golden was similar. The Brown was ok too. After we finished those, we jumped in the car as we had breweries to go to.

The first one was on the other side of the river in Davenport, Iowa, Front Street Brewery. There were 6 beers on their sampler. I couldn't tell what was what either. It looked like 6 varieties of the same thing. The back left one is supposed to be a "brown". Go ahead and click on the image... does that look brown? The beers clockwise from the back left are:
Front Street Specialty Brown; Old Davenport Gold; Cherry Brown; Hefeweizen; Cherry Gold; Cherry.

They have 3 cherry varieties on tap. I'm thinking the hops and barley shortage has hit this brewery. If you look at the picture, where the cherry gold is, it says Stout. They were out of stout. They were also out of their Raging River. All that was left was flavorless beer. Now, perhaps this wasn't a good representation of their beers since Iowa has been flooded recently, and maybe they weren't able to brew during that time, but an explanation of that would have been appreciated. Instead, I got 6 glasses of the same (or similar) thing.

We joked that the beer was actually the flood water (as we left). This place was not a good experience. I doubt I'll go there again. (My notes say, "I will never come here again" but maybe in the winter... if they have their stout back).

We left there and came back over the river to Rock Island and headed to Blue Cat Brew Pub. I had already had their Big Bad Dog Olde English Ale on March 20, so I was looking forward to this place. They had 6 beers on tap, including the Big Bad Dog. I ordered their sampler, Jim had another coke (he was the driver) and Jay had the tripel.

The bar was too dark, so I didn't even try to take a picture. Their beers had much more variety than Front Street. They had Wigged Pig Wheat; Tucks Tenacious Tripel; Big Bad Dog; Ramblin Raspberry; Bowfish Imperial Stout; and a Pale ale. All the beers were pretty good.

The bar had an internet jukebox, similar to the one at Mike and Molly's but it didn't have the unlimited selection, so I played some Ministry, KMFDM, Anthrax and some other stuff. As I was on my 6th sampler there and 6 at the last place, and 4 bottles at Jays, and 2+ in Bloomington, I kinda had to pee. Jay had mentioned earlier that the restroom at Front Street would be the nicest one of the night. While I didn't use that one, I can agree that Blue Cat's restroom wasn't a great experience. When I flushed the urinal, water (from the top, not the bottom) showered me. My shoe was wet, almost like I stepped into a puddle. That, wasn't great. I actually chose that urinal, because the other one looked BROKE-er.

One of the bartenders looked like Greg the Hammer Valentine. The guy checking ID's upstairs had that hippie body odor thing going for him, which was also unpleasant. The beer was good, other than that... the place had work to do.

We finished off the Quad Cities breweries at Bent River. I was instantly put off from this place when I had to pay a $3 cover to enter (I'm not there for entertainment, I'm there for beer) Add to it, they put a friggin stamp on my hand... what am I 19?

They had 8 beers on tap, which was nice, and they were all relatively different styles. Sorry, the picture is dark. There was: American Wheat; Strawberry Ale; Raspberry Wheat; Mississippi Blonde; Oatmeal Stout; Uncommon Stout; Hefeweizen; and a Pale Ale.

The Uncommon Stout was probably my favorite beer in the Quad Cities for the night. The samples were generous and I wasn't able to finish all of them. Even with Jay helping, we left part of the sampler on the table. The brewing equipment is directly behind the bar. There's no glass separating it... if you jumped over the bar, you'd be in the equipment, which was rather neat, I've never seen a place that close before. The music was too loud (for a guy who just wanted beer) but then, it was Saturday night at Midnight. I think I liked the hefe too, but I can't really make out my notes. Since we had to pay cover charge and the music was too loud, we lifted a plastic pint glass that Jim's coke came in, we paid $9 for the cover, they owed us.

We left there and went to a place where Jim claims he'd always walk in and the bartender would get his black and tan right away. So we went in. The guy turned to Jim and said "Guinness right?" Jim said "close, black and tan". Jay also got a black and tan, I went with a Goose Island Harvest Ale. Jim had another, Jay might have had another, I just drank the one (I think) and then we ate olives.

Everything was going good, right up until the shot of malt vinegar. I don't remember WHY we did a shot of malt vinegar, I just know Jay and I took a shot of malt vinegar. The bartender was also nice enough to give us a plastic mixer that they had a bagillion of behind the bar. I think it used to be called Finne's Irish Pub; but I'm not sure.

That's pretty much it for the drinking. The best beer and biggest variety was Bent River, but that also had the music that was too loud. The worst beer was the quietest and nicest bar. Right in the middle was Blue Cat.

We didn't go to Granite City, as that's a chain, and has the same beers at each location.

Beer Reviews, Destihl Brewery

Saturday, I went up to Bloomington Normal as I had heard an old friend was going to be coming down from the Quad Cities and would be staying for the weekend at my brother's. Well, he changed his mind/couldn't make it. So I'm sitting at Jim's and wondering what to do; he said "You want to go to Illinois Brewing Company?" and I'm like "hell no, lets go to Destihl". So we jumped in the Aveo and headed out to Destihl.

I like Destihl, they make some good beer. Nothing is too extreme, the ABV on their beers is reasonable, if not low (the barleywine is 10% so it's a session barleywine). When Jim and I walked in, it was the same bartender we've had each time we've been there, so the familiarity level was high. It's nice to walk into a place after a couple of months and be able to ask what's new on tap, and they guy brings you a glass.

The first beer we tried was the Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout. Do you remember the other day when I discussed being able to smell the beer:
I've noticed that beers served at Radio Maria don't have a smell. This is because (sadly) the beer glass is too full (I believe). There's no room for the aroma to sit, it comes off the glass and dissipates into the air, before you have a chance to smell it.
(yeah, I just quoted myself)

Well, this beer was served in a perfect glass for the style. This was a huge snifter. As I pulled it up to my nose, the smell of the whiskey was almost overpowering. I said a noticeable "WOW", then asked what kind of whiskey was in it, then was informed it was Wild Turkey.

This beer came out black, with the pretty brown head, the kind that looks like a milk shake. It's not as thick as a Yeti, but it's the same colors. It smelled like a shot of whiskey. It was an overpowering smell, there was nothing else coming out of the glass. It wasn't unpleasant, it definitely let you know you were drinking something aged in a whiskey barrel. Our bartender, who's name I can't remember, said when they went to fill the barrel with the stout, that there was a visible sloshing around amount of whiskey/bourbon in the barrel.

It felt a little thin and runny, and possibly a little chalky on the tongue. The taste was initially smoke, then coffee, then chocolate... the smell was totally not in the taste, it was almost a tease how strong the smell was. It wasn't until about halfway through that the bourbon flavor appeared. It apparently needed to warm up to be present.

Overall this was a pretty good beer, definitely not a lawnmower beer, unless you like to make really crooked lines while you are mowing. I liked it enough that I picked up a growler of it. I'm sure once Kriddy gets past the smell of the bourbon, that she'll like this beer. Oh and after she gets done being slightly angry with me, she might like it more.

While finishing the stout, our bartender took us on a tour of the brewery section, showing us the Japanese labels (apparently the equipment came from a defunct Japanese brewpub; so all the labels were in Japanese). All the manuals were in Japanese too, so the first few times using the equipment was a major guess, he said "well, at beer school, this button would do this... so let's hope". Their results for not being able to RTFM, are pretty darn good. Although, they are in Bloomington Normal, so they could probably just call up Mitsubishi and have someone come over and translate. We went into the refrigeration room where the hops were stored, and man... that was a blast of hops smell. Like breathing an IPA... speaking of an IPA.

My next beer was the Redbird, dry-hopped, cask Ale. This beer was like drinking that air. It was served in a full pint glass, so the smells weren't able to be released. However, it didn't need aroma to add flavor. This was bite you in the back of the tongue hoppy! The bartender thought it might be either Fuggle or Cascade hops, I figure it was probably cascade, because it didn't seem very British but seemed Pacific Northwestern.

Our outstanding bartender gave me a sample of the original Redbird Ale, which I had sitting next to the cask ale. Their appearance was night and day. The cask sure did look like flat beer. There were obvious carbonation bubble in the tiny shot of the regular. Their color may have been the same, but the taste was nothing alike. These beers may have been brothers at one time, but they were put up for adoption, and one became the evil twin. The regular was malty and sweet, the cask was rip your tastebuds off hoppy. They were both great. The cask reminded me of a rye pale. Rye's seem to hold their hops flavor for a long time. Regular IPA's can lose some of their hoppy bite after a while, but rye's cling to it. This was fresh, but was the same kind of bite as a rye. It was great.

As we were finishing up our beers, we decided since Jay wasn't coming down here, we'd go up to him... road trip!