Tuesday, 27 January 2009

This Week in Beer History

Howard forwards January 24th's "This day in history" mailing from the History.com, celebrating the date the first commercially successful canned beer went on sale, in 1935:
In partnership with the American Can Company, the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company delivered 2,000 cans of Krueger's Finest Beer and Krueger's Cream Ale to faithful Krueger drinkers in Richmond, Virginia. Ninety-one percent of the drinkers approved of the canned beer, driving Krueger to give the green light to further production.

By the late 19th century, cans were instrumental in the mass distribution of foodstuffs, but it wasn't until 1909 that the American Can Company made its first attempt to can beer. This was unsuccessful, and the American Can Company would have to wait for the end of Prohibition in the United States before it tried again. Finally in 1933, after two years of research, American Can developed a can that was pressurized and had a special coating to prevent the fizzy beer from chemically reacting with the tin.
The rest is history, although the newsletter also notes "renewed interest in canning from microbrewers and high-end beer-sellers." Thanks, Oskar Blues!

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Brewpubs in Utah

The New York Times has an interesting story up on brewpubs in Utah. Despite strict alcohol laws, a beer scene is now flourishing, having first taken root in trendy ski areas. Judging from the names, the brewers seem to relish their iconoclasm:
The server at the table where a friend and I were sitting brought a flight of Wasatch creations, including Polygamy Porter, which has sultry, malted, espresso notes, and a smooth and slightly spicy Evolution Amber Ale.
Sounds like I'd have better luck finding good beer in Utah than I do here in Jakarta.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Review: Panther Fine Extra Stout

Panther Fine Extra Stout from PT Bali Hai Brewery Indonesia
Rating: B

Finally, a quality Indonesian beer!

A very dark brown, opaque, with a two finger head. Mediocre retention, but leaves some lacing as compensation.

Smell: Roast coffee, nutty with a bit of caramel. A very very refreshing change, considering what I've been drinking here lately.

Taste: Roast, caramel. A bit too cola-like at the finish, but not bad. Moderately bitter.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability: Medium body, appropriately carbonated. By far the best Indonesian beer I have had so far. Salvation in Jakarta! I suspect my rating here is skewed by the dearth of good beer recently, but I'm okay with that.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Stuck in a Rut

Just how tired am I of Bintang? Well, I've started drinking Diet Coke for the first time in years.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Review: Anker Bir

Anker Bir from Delta Djakarta
Rating: D+

Knocked back a couple of these to unwind after a late night of work followed by a client presentation.

Appearance: Pale straw color, two finger white head that fades quickly. Minor lacing.

Smell: Light aroma, but distinguished only by corn and metal (despite coming out of a bottle - impressive!).

Taste: Mineral water that's had grain steeped in it and some bitter medicine added. Not very good by usual standards, but to be honest it's tasting pretty good right now.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability: Light mouthfeel, lingering aftertaste. Low drinkability, but not too many options to choose from in Jakarta.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Review: Brooklyn East India Pale Ale

Brooklyn East India Pale Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
Rating: B-

Consumed on my last night in Shanghai before heading to Jakarta. This is one of the beers imported into Shanghai by American Craft Beer Partners.

Honey color, fairly clear with a two finger head. Mild aroma, obviously more in the English style than the American. Smells of grain, biscuit, and earthy hops. Taste runs much along the same lines. Slightly unexpected acidity, hope the bottle had not been sitting too long. Mouthfeel is light to medium in body, with appropriate carbonation. I have yet to be blown away by anything from Brooklyn. I was mildly disappointed by this one.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Reporting from Jakarta...

Apologies for the lack of posting lately. Work has been extremely busy, and after just a week in Hong Kong and three weeks in Shanghai, at least I now know that I'll be in Jakarta for the next few months. Not much in the way of a beer scene here, unfortunately, but I will do what I can!

Review: Yebisu Black Beer

Yebisu Black Beer from Sapporo Breweries, Ltd.
Rating: B-

Purchased at a Shanghai supermarket. I was impressed with Yebisu's "The Hop" and thought I would give this "black beer" a shot.

Appearance: Pleasant dark leather in color, clear with red tints. One finger khaki head with modest retention.

Smell: Aroma is less roast, and more vegetable. Faint hints of coffee.

Taste: Flavor is better than the aroma, reminiscent of a schwarzbier. Caramel, roast, and coffee but lager-clean.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability: Medium body, mild carbonation. On the whole, not nearly as good a beer as The Hop. Moderately drinkable.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Seasons Greetings

Merry Christmas from Shanghai!

Friday, 19 December 2008

Review: McSorley's Ale

McSorley's Ale from Unknown Brewery in Hong Kong
Rating: C+

Obviously contract brewed, but by whom? Should add that this is definitely not the same as the McSorley's Ale listed on BeerAdvocate, even though it appears there may be some business relationship between the locations in New York and Hong Kong.

Appearance: Red-tinted gold color, very clear. Some lace.

Smell: Light aroma, but including more roast than you would think judging from the appearance.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Flavor more reminiscent of a mild than anything else. Slightly incongruous continental hops finish and aftertaste, but grain and light roast dominate the palate. Fairly light body and carbonation.

Drinkability: Roast character keeps this 3.9% abv brew from being too light. Moderately drinkable. Anyone know who makes this?