Friday, 31 October 2008

Happy Halloween from Sybeeritic!

A happy Halloween to all, especially those who are passing out candy and drinking beer. Here are my beer mug and munchies for the evening:

UPDATE: A Halloween beer haiku from Beer Haiku Daily:

A terrible fright
As a Halloween blackout
cuts the fridge power

So far so good, no blackouts here.

Beer Photo of the Day: Dubrovnik

Croatian Tomislav and Ozujsko beer, in Dubrovnik:

Thanks to Admiral for the photo.

"USB" Fortified Wine, Very Punny

A slight but amusing detour from beer:


By law, American producers of fortified wine cannot call their product "port" because it's not actually made in Portugal. Instead, they chose to call their wine "USB," with a stylized label showing the symbol for that particular (computer) port. And for extra geeky goodness:
The label maker, 6 West Design, also reveals that the USB-tree on the front is composed of binary code that translates to "Peltier Station."
Nice.

Homebrewed "Superjuice" in Canada

A scary homebrewing related story sent in by "M@" tells of a viciously strong (and probably horrible tasting) beverage reminiscent of prison hooch running rampant among the people of Canada's "First Nations:"

Moonshine beverages such as fermented "bean juice" have long been common in the ostensibly "dry" communities, but superjuice, which first started appearing about four years ago, raises intoxication to new, dizzily dangerous heights.

The main ingredient is SuperYeast, a fast-acting yeast available in home-brewing stores. Mixed in a pail with sugar and water, one pouch can make 25 litres of superjuice in just a couple of days. The standard price of a two-litre bottle of superjuice is $80.

People drunk on superjuice are prone to violence, wild emotional outbursts, suicidal thoughts and frequent blackouts, Wood said. "With regular alcohol you can know what you are doing up to a point, but with superjuice you can't control yourself," he said.

This raises a couple of eyebrows. First of all, anyone paying $80 for this swill is getting seriously ripped off. They could set up their own operation for far less. You can get champagne yeast (good up to about 12-15% abv) or distilling yeast (even higher, but more than likely will max out around 15-18% abv) at many homebrew shops, usually for less than $3. Secondly, assuming this "superjuice" weighs in at around 20% abv, two liters of the stuff would be equivalent to roughly a handle of cheap liquor - which would taste far better, and cost far less than $80. Maybe it's a typo and they meant $8?

Whatever the economics of the particulars, it's pretty clear from the story that alcoholism is causing a lot of damage in this community. There's no question that the backward ghettoization referred to as "reserves" contributes to this, despite the good intentions of those who perpetuate it.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Beer Photo of the Day: Dubrovnik

Lasko Zlatorog (a Slovenian brew) and Ukrainian Kaltenberg Pils in a Dubrovnik refrigerator:

Thanks to Admiral for the photo.

Review: Michelob Porter

Michelob Porter from Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
Rating: C+

Came out of a Michelob Craft Sampler pack. Poured into a SA pint glass - a confusion understandable given Michelob's recent ads...

Appearance: Quite a dark garnet/brown in color. Two finger sand-colored head with decent retention and nice lacing.

Smell: Fairly light roasty aroma. Hops come through more so than typical in the style. Hints of dark chocolate in the background.

Taste: Bitter chocolate and three-day old coffee.... but not in a bad way. Avoids the dreaded porter trap of tasting like Coca Cola.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body. Perhaps over-carbonated.

Drinkability: Moderate. Pursued the porter style while refusing to sacrifice the "drinkability" so important to A-B. Of course, anyone choosing this beer wasn't intent on slamming a twelve-pack of them anyway, so the merit of this decision is open to question.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Realizing One's Dreams Through Beer


Man realizes dream, builds beer bar:

"That's where I realized I wanted to open up a beer bar," Zepp said. "All of a sudden, I saw that there were 500 to 600 beers out there and I wanted to create a place where people would come and enjoy beer..."

"I am absolutely happy and there has been a 100 percent increase in my quality of life," LaFon said. "To be able to work side by side with my best friend and able to take something you believe in and make it grow, it doesn't get any better."

(via Fark)

Craft Breweries Per Capita

Hugh points out this great map of the U.S. on Wikipedia, showing the number of craft breweries per capita:

Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Vermont stand out. I'm ashamed to say my home state of Florida is embarrassingly far behind. Restrictive laws have a lot to do with this, throughout the Bible Belt. Anyone know what gives in North Dakota?

Student Brews Morphine Beer

A friend sent me this amusing story of innovation in homebrewing:

Chad Renzelman pleaded no contest to heroin possession, saying he used "a handful" of dried poppy pods to flavor a batch of home-made beer. Police found the batch of beer in his garage during the summer.

The organic chemistry student says he extracted opium from the poppies, which he then converted to morphine.

The 28-year-old Renzelman says the beer was for home consumption and he didn't know his actions were illegal.

Thanks for the link, Eric.

Video on Beer in Qingdao

Via Shanghaiist, a Current video showcasing Qingdao, that cradle of Chinese beer culture midwifed by German colonialism:


Beer Photo of the Day: Dubrovnik

A friend recently visited Dubrovnik, and took some beer photos featuring local beers which I'll be sharing over the next few days:


Thanks to Admiral for the photo.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Pushing the Boundaries of "Personal Use"

If you live in Sweden, you might manage to have 24,000 cans of beer declared "for personal use" by the authorities:
The couple has detained back in August 2006 when customs officials in Malmö stopped their minivan on the way back from a trip to Germany, reports the Pitea-Tidning newspaper.

An inspection of the van uncovered 2,692 litres of beer, 27 litres of wine, and 4.2 litres of hard liquor. In a subsequent search of the couple’s home in Pite√•, police discovered an additional stash of alcohol, as well as a journal which included people’s names, along with different sums and types of beer...

During the trial, the pair openly admitted to having transporting the alcohol from Germany into Sweden, but denied they had committed any crime since the beer, wine, and liquor was meant for personal use.

Specifically, the booze was meant to supply partygoers at their son’s upcoming 40th birthday party, the wife’s 60th birthday party, their daughter’s wedding, a friend’s 70th birthday party, and for a New Year’s party.
The judge agreed. Bravo. (via Fark)

Beer Now Cheaper Than Gas

From the Freakonomics blog:

"Beer now cheaper than gas; Drink don't drive"

Monday, 27 October 2008

Beer Crime Update

A new crop of beer-related crimes this week:

Florida Bar Trades Beer for Votes

A Florida bar is giving free beer in exchange for "I Voted" stickers:
The HandleBar in Pensacola is offering a free beer to anyone who votes. Customers must trade their “I Voted” stickers for the free drinks.

The offer is good for early voters and those who vote on Nov. 4.

This is the third year that the HandleBar has offered free beers to voters.
A somewhat related story: at my university fraternities and sororities would require their membership to turn its "I Voted" stickers on the day of student government elections, forming a formidable voting bloc. One year, an enterprising agent of the "non-Greek" party simply passed out "I Voted" stickers on the fraternity and sorority row buses all day long. (via Fark)

Sunday, 26 October 2008

The Limits of Facebook Friendship

From The New York Times, drowning one's disappointment in the shallowness of social networking with beer:
The beer arrived, a British import: Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. I raised my glass in a solitary toast and promised myself I’d spend less time online. Then I took a gulp: the beer was delicious but bittersweet. Seven hundred friends, and I was drinking alone.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Review: Michelob Pale Ale

Michelob Pale Ale from Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
Rating: B-

The second beer I'm trying from this Michelob Craft Sampler.

Appearance: Honey colored, with a nice two-finger head which exhibits excellent retention and lacing. Quite clear.

Smell: Very light aroma, disappointingly so. Seems to be a toned down version of a pale ale. I see on Beer Advocate it's classified as an English Pale Ale rather than an APA - for good reason.

Taste: Clean and crisp, but non-descript. Moderately bitter, smooth finish.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, carbonation a tad light.

Drinkability: False advertising - I can see this is an English cask ale, but as an ostensible American Pale Ale, it doesn't fly.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Review: Michelob Marzen

Michelob Marzen from Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
Rating: B

From a Michelob Craft Sampler pack.

Appearance: Fairly dark amber, bordering on brown. Clear, with a nice two finger head with good retention.

Smell: Appealing toasted grains, spicy Continental hops. Clean and actually refreshing.

Taste: Lightly toasted malts, lightly bitter. Grainy finish. Aftertaste calls Budweiser to mind - same yeast, same hops, or both?

Mouthfeel: Medium body, with a nice texture and smooth carbonation.

Drinkability: Quite drinkable, perhaps more so than the heavier Sam Adams Oktoberfest. Many craft beer fans will turn their nose up at anything from A-B, but I'll be honest, this beats the Hofbrau Oktoberfest I had recently.

Local Beer Tasting Results

This past Saturday, I attended a free beer tasting at my local Whole Foods billed as the "World Series of Beer." It proceeded tournament-style, two beers at a time, and those present would cast their vote for which beer of the two would move on in the tournament.

The beers included in the tasting were:
The overall champion was Dead Guy, beating Dogfish Head Punkin' Ale. Locally contract-brewed Holy Mackerel Golden Ale and Mac in Black were eliminated early. The women in the group seemed to like the two pumpkin beers and Old Chub, while men favored Dale's and the Rogue offerings.

Glad to see a local grocery holding this sort of event. It was obviously profitable for them - many of the participants could be found at the beer case afterwards, and it gave valuable information on consumer preferences. One quibble: larger sample sizes next time!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Review: Red Seal Ale

Red Seal Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
Rating: B+

Appearance: Reddish orange in color, attractive two finger head with good retention and plenty of lace.

Smell: Citrusy aroma, over some caramel.

Taste: Decently bitter, citrusy, and a bit of biscuit/bread. A little acid.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Good carbonation.

Drinkability: Pretty drinkable, but seems a bit heavy. Good example of an American Amber.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Little Creatures Expands

I think I might need to plan a visit Down Under:
Little Creatures has been microbrewing for years, but last December it expanded its Fremantle brewery site to include the Creatures Loft, a cozy hideaway overlooking the water. Part supper club, part bar and part eclectic performance space, Creatures Loft offers customers an ample supply of comfy chairs from which to watch the old boats in Fishing Boat Harbour while staff serve up wines, classic cocktails and a wide variety of beers along with toasted sandwiches, oysters, prawns and cheeses. This summer the brewery furthered its expansion into being space terrain with a brand-new, 260-seat dining hall in a converted warehouse space in Fitzroy, Melbourne. Featuring long, communal wooden tables, large comfy booths and exposed pipes and beams, the barnlike Fitzroy Dining Hall offers all of Little Creatures’ beers and Pipsqueak Cider fresh on tap as well as a selection of wines and beer-friendly foods. A bottle department at the front, meanwhile, sells beer, wine, coffee and a selection of t-shirts and merchandise.
Little Creatures makes a great pale ale, and that sounds like a great environment to enjoy one in. (via Springwise)

Arcade Game Comes With Kegerator

Drinking and driving is dangerous and irresponsible, but drinking and playing a racing video game should at most result in merely a lower score:

This, my friends, is what you call asking for trouble: the new arcade driving cabinet Octane 120, from Dream Arcades, comes with a built-in keg-o-rator, with the beer tap placed conveniently on the dash next to the steering wheel. (via Gizmodo)
In fact, maybe seeing the deterioration in their playing ability may serve to demonstrate dangers of drunk driving.

Battle Between Good and Evil (Beer)

In perhaps the most amusing wrap-up column of the GABF, the AP's religion writer sees a cosmic struggle between the beers:

"It's the oldest story ever told — the struggle between good and evil," said Arthur, 35, a product of Catholic schools in his native San Diego. "There is a battle being waged between those who make good beer and those who make evil beer."

Without question, unholy excess is in evidence anytime 18,000 gallons of alcohol is served to 46,000 people over three days. See: women in Bavarian maid outfits and "Beer Pong" tables.

Yet perhaps surprisingly, God could be found at last week's Great American Beer Festival — in the crassly commercial, in homage to religion's long history in brewing, in needling faiths that turn a suspect eye on drinking, and (if the prophet of home-brewing is to be believed) at the bottom of every glass.

From Belgian ales brewed by monks and all the beer culture they have inspired, to Schmaltz Brewing Co.'s He'Brew, brewers have certainly embraced religious themes and imagery. They say not to talk about religion, politics or money at the dinner table - at the bar stool, the rules for one of those, at least, are relaxed.


Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Take a Cab to Oktoberfest

While there may be better ways to get there, it's somehow reassuring to know that you can just hop into a cab in the U.K. and be driven to Oktoberfest:
Hogan, 54, was sitting at a rank when the customer called Dave ran up and jumped in the back of his cab.

He explained he had to get to the Munich beer fest as soon as possible as he had missed a flight for his friend's stag night.

The trip wound up costing £1,950 - that, apparently, is the price of friendship! It's unclear if the cabbie was able to get a fare for the trip back to Portsmouth... (via Fark)

Beer Coming to Burger King?

Burger King may soon be selling beer at scaled-down "Whopper Bar" locations:
Whopper Bars are going to be smaller than regular Burger Kings and only sell Whoppers, "grab-and-go" products, and possibly beer.
Seems along the same lines as McDonald's attempt to get into the sit-down coffee shop business, though I'd imagine this roll-out will be rather more limited by local regulations. (via Insapundit)

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Beer Bar Opening in Shanghai

In a piece of news that is near and dear to my heart, Shanghai is about to get its first Belgian beer bar:

Kaiba, part of the new 528 Kangding Lu crowd has also chosen Saturday 18th for their big opening bash.

When we last visited this place, word hadn't gotten around about their selection of 65 different beers- now we're told that Shanghai's Belgian community have taken up permanant residence so you'll have to get there early to claim one of the 100 beers they're giving away to early birds.

After the initial rush, a bottle of Duvel and 600ml of Stella Artois will be 30RMB each.

528 Kangding Lu
7pm-late

I can't wait to visit when I move out there in December, I suspect I might become a loyal customer.

Controversy Over iPhone "Beer" Apps

Earlier, I was surprised that two very similar "beer" applications for the iPhone came out in such quick succession. As it turns out, foul play may have been involved:
Coors faces a $12.5 million lawsuit for allegedly copying a $3 beer-drinking novelty application that allows users to virtually drink a pint by tilting their iPhone.

Hottrix, a small company that develops "tricks" for mobile devices, filed a lawsuit alleging that Coors commited copyright infringement by copying its iPhone application iBeer. Both Hottrix's application and Coors' iPint display the image of a glass of beer on the iPhone's screen, which is emptied when a user tilts the handset about 90 degrees. Both apps launched in the App Store on July 11 -- the major difference being that iBeer cost $3 and iPint was free.

Coors has yet to comment on the suit.

Christmas Lights Show Canceled



The music-synchronized Christmas lights show made famous by the internet and a Miller commercial will not be produced this year:
The Christmas light display that grabbed international interest over the last few years will not be produced this winter in Heritage Oak Park, though organizers hope a sponsor will pick up the popular lights show.
At $80,000/yr, I can't blame the municipality - maybe Miller will step up to the plate again?

Beer Cocktail for Oregon

A beer cocktail including IPA recently won an Oregon contest by a tourism promotion agency:
The "Hike, Fish & Go Camping Punch" created by Cheryl Meloy of Portland pairs Pendleton Whiskey with Terminal Gravity IPA from Enterprise, Ore., and huckleberry syrup.
Entries were to include local ingredients and represent an Oregon region. I have to admit I'm not quite sure what a huckleberry is supposed to taste like, so I'll have to reserve judgment. Any Oregon readers want to give this a try? (via Fark)

Monday, 13 October 2008

Final Presidential Debate Sponsored by A-B

Drudge is reporting that the final presidential debate of the campaign season will be sponsored by Anheuser-Busch. No link yet, but I'll update this post when more information is available:

What better way for them to shore up their credentials as an American beer before the InBev acquisition goes through? "This presidential debate has been brought to you by beer..."

UPDATE: Here's the story:

By far the most prominent backer is Anheuser-Busch, a debate sponsor since 1992. Not only does the beer company donate directly to the commission, but it also sponsors a hospitality tent at each debate, where members of the news media and others who are working can receive free food, beer and other refreshments.

“We hope our hospitality area will provide a welcome opportunity to relax with some great food and ice-cold beverages,” said an Anheuser-Busch invitation to the tent. “If you’re looking for a little entertainment, you’ll be able to watch some of our latest television spots and enter a drawing for a chance to win a Budweiser fire pit, perfect for outdoor gatherings this fall.”
Of course there are whiners:
“We are very concerned,” said George Farah, executive director at Open Debates, a nonpartisan group critical of the commission. “We don’t think that this most sacred forum should be brought to you by Anheuser-Busch.”

Oktoberfest in Iraq

In his own attempt to bring the peace-bringing powers of beer to bear in Iraq, a German entrepreneur in Irbil is hosting Oktoberfest celebrations at his German restaurant:

A beer hall in Iraq has held its own version of Munich's famous Oktoberfest party - complete with frothy steins, sausages, an oom-pah band and dirndl-clad waitresses.

German-born Gunter Voelker, owner of the Deutscher Hof Erbil restaurant in Irbil, in Kurdish controlled Northern Iraq, says he wants to dispel the notion that Iraq isn't a holiday destination and insists beer is bringing people together.

While I'm not quite ready to book my trip today, this certainly seems a step in the right direction!

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Review: Otter Creek Pale Ale

Otter Creek Pale Ale from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
Rating: B

Appearance: Quite orange, clear, with a big foamy head.

Smell: Citrusy (cascade according to the label), with a grain background.

Taste: Pretty good balance of malt and bitterness. Finishes a little soapy.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Fairly average, on the whole.

Custom Tap Handles

A nice gallery of custom tap handles made by Mark Supik & Company:

(via Kasper on Tap)

Friday, 10 October 2008

Review: Kennebunkport Pumpkin Ale

Kennebunkport Pumpkin Ale from Federal Jack's Brewpub
Rating: C

First pumpkin beer of the season this year!

Appearance: Thin head, golden amber in color (rather less orange than I would have expected). Poor retention and no lacing.

Smell: Pumpkin pie spices, especially ginger. Some spicy hops and caramel malt.

Taste: Pumpkin-y, but slightly acid and artificial-tasting. Mineral water finish.

Mouthfeel: Spritzy carbonation, light/med body

Drinkability: Decent pumpkin beer.

Beer on the Fly

Flying home from Massachusetts on Tuesday, I found the following list of best airports for craft beer in US Air's in-flight magazine. The best airports for beer, and a suggested beer to try when you're stuck on a layover are:
  1. Philadelphia International (Victory HopDevil)
  2. Minneapolis-St. Paul International (Surly Bender)
  3. JFK International (Brooklyn Lager)
  4. Boston Logan International (Harpoon Munich Dark)
  5. Seattle-Tacoma International (Mac & Jack's African Amber)
  6. Los Angeles International (Gordon Biersch Hefeweizen)
  7. Salt Lake City International (Suspension Pale Ale)
  8. Washington Dulles International (Dominion Oak Barrel Stout)
  9. Denver International (New Belgium 1554 Brussels Style Black Ale)
  10. Portland International (Laurelwood Free Range Red)
The original list appeared in Draft magazine. For what it's worth, the Endo IPA from Carolina Beer Company I had on the way up in the Charlotte airport was pretty good.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Review: Smuttynose Shoal's Pale Ale

Smuttynose Shoal's Pale Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
Rating: B

Appearance: red-tinted orange, two finger white head which exhibits good retention and leaves sheets of lace. Quite attractive.

Smell: grapefruit, soap, hints of biscuit malt.

Taste: quite a balanced pale ale. Grapefruity, but not as intense as the IPA, but with a somewhat soapy finish.

Mouthfeel: light/medium body, moderately carbonated with fairly fine bubbles.

Drinkability: decent APA, but there are better.

Best Oktoberfest Beers

Drinks writer Eric Asimov names his top Oktoberfest beers, and not a single German beer cracks the top three:
  1. Thomas Hooker Octoberfest
  2. Victory Festbier
  3. Flying Dog Dogtoberfest
Only following these come the classics Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr. Interesting choices, which certainly say something about the state of American craft brewing. For what it's worth, the highest ranking Octoberfest beer on BeerAdvocate with more than 100 reviews is Staghorn, from New Glarus. What's your favorite Oktoberfestbier?

More Ways to Invest in Beer

According to The Wall Street Journal, non-traditional investments as diverse as comic books and alpacas are becoming more popular as the stock market continues to tank. Fine beverages are no exception:

Andy Pick, a 49-year-old stay-at-home father in Atlanta, recently bypassed the stock market for liquid assets -- $120,000 in champagnes. He bought 400 bottles, mostly 1996 vintage, that he says he plans to "sit on" for 10 or 15 years and then sell at a profit.

"It sure beats looking at a Merrill Lynch monthly statement," he says, adding, "The worst thing that could happen is that I drink all of it."

Maybe it's time to load up on cellarable beer? (This post is the second in a series on "investing" in beer.)

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Historical Tidbit: Beer Bottles and Sea Glass, pt 3

According to Pure Sea Glass, red is one of the rarest colors to find, and it often comes from fifty year old broken beer bottles:
One of the most coveted colors of beer bottles and sea glass is a deep red shade formerly produced by Anchor Hocking for Schlitz called “Royal Ruby.” Bottles of Royal Ruby were made in the 1950s and again in 1963. The Anchor Hocking Glass Company made these now rare red bottles by oxidizing copper to a precisely controlled state within the glass batch.
If you run across one of these red bottles at a garage sale or antique market, it may be well worth collecting!

This post is part of a series: part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Review: Trader Joe's Hofbrau Bock

Trader Joe's Hofbrau Bock from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
Rating: D+

I finally got to a Trader Joe's for the first time this weekend in Mass.

Appearance: Golden amber in color, thin head, rather uninspiring-looking

Smell: Clean, lagery aroma with hints of continental hops (hallertauer according to the label), alcohol and grain.

Taste: Surprisingly yeasty for a lager. Boozy, a bit reminiscent of malt liquor. I like big beers, but at 7% you need some hefty flavor to offset the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: With a medium body, feels somewhat thick, a flaw exacerbated by what seems like light carbonation. Warms the throat on the way down.

Drinkability: At 7% abv, too strong. Did not finish the glass. Sorry, Joe.

Investing in Beer?

From The Spectator:
If you had purchased £1000 of Northern Rock shares one year ago it would now be worth £4.95, with HBOS, earlier this week your £1000 would have been worth £16.50, £1000 invested in XL Leisure would now be worth less than £5, but if you bought £1000 worth of Tennents Lager one year ago, drank it all, then took the empty cans to an aluminium re-cycling plant, you would get £214. So based on the above statistics the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and re-cycle.
(via Instapundit)

UPDATE: A picture is worth, etc...


Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Review: Jumping Cow Amber Ale

Jumping Cow Amber Ale from Steinhaus Brewing Co.
Rating: B-

Purchased at a Trader Joe's in Massachusetts.

Appearance: Quite orange in color and clear. Thin head, with little retention and lacing.

Smell: Malty with caramel and bready notes, but little hops.

Taste: Some spicy hops, and a slightly boozy finish to accompany those caramel malts.

Mouthfeel: Light/medium body, somewhat slick, with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Not bad, and potentially sessionable, but disappointing on the whole.

Beer Photo of the Day

In the future, good beer will come in cans....

The future has arrived!

Historical Tidbit: Beer Bottles and Sea Glass, pt 2

In this second installment of beer-related excerpts from Pure Sea Glass, the lineage of beer bottle shapes and enclosures is summarized:
Common beer-bottle shapes from the 19th century are not too different from those of today. A routine design by the 1870s was a traditional round base moving up to slowly sloping shoulders. Most beer bottles before 1875 were sealed with corks secured by wire. In 1875, Charles de Quillfeldt developed a closure called the "Lightning Stopper" enabling the user to open and reseal their bottle. His device remained popular for beer bottles up until 1915 when the Crown Cork closure dominated the bottle industry.
This post is part of a series: part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Historical Tidbit: Beer Bottles and Sea Glass, pt 1

I ran across an interesting book at the home of a relation, called Pure Sea Glass. Geared toward collectors of the polished shards that wash up on beaches, the book includes a few pages related to the history of beer bottles:
Beer and ale were abundantly produced throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, but primarily consumed in taverns or inns, so only a few glass bottles were used prior to 1860. Those early bottles were normally made of thick dark green glass known as "black glass." Some of these were made in America beginning around 1820. Stoneware jugs were quite popular for beer in the 1800s since they could be used repeatedly and maintained cooler temperatures. Breweries sprouted in many cities during the 1860s and by 1870, brewers started providing their beer in embossed bottles. Many were initially in blob-top bottles similar to soda bottles, and in colors such as amber, aqua and green. If a shard is found with embossing noting either "porter" or "ale," it likely dates to before 1900 and originated in the Eastern states. Beer manufacturers in the Midwest (St Louis and Milwaukee) were more partial to lager-style beers.
This post is part of a series: part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Beer Photo of the Day

A well-stocked cooler in today's photo:

cooler of beer for the party. stone ipa, bells 2 hearted, victory prima pils, sam adams summer ale, brooklyn lager, and bells oberon.
Sounds like a good start to a fun evening! (hat tip to M@)

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Review: Lagunitas Sirius Ale

Lagunitas Sirius Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Rating: B

Not quite sure what to expect from a "hi-gravity cream ale" but we'll see.

Appearance: Pours a pleasant amber, very clear, with a thinnish head that fades fairly quickly.

Smell: Smells a bit like a double IPA with all the rough edges sanded down. Hops are mostly pine resin. In the background, reminiscent of malted milk balls, or a just-opened bag of dry malt extract, used for homebrewing. Nice.

Taste: Quite smooth, piney hops and caramel malts playing nicely. A bit of an alcohol bite on the finish, however, which calls to mind malt liquor. That unpleasant finish gets more and more noticeable as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Fairy light body, surprisingly so. Carbonation is moderate, and hard to characterize as "creamy" despite the label.

Drinkability: Moderate. A decent beer, but for me seems trapped between styles.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Beer Photo of the Day

Some mixed memories stirred by today's beer photo:

I enjoyed the James Madison Wheat quite a bit, but could not stand the 1790 Root Beer (hat tip to reader M@).

New Beer Products

A few new interesting beer-related products, via the latest issue of BeerAdvocate Magazine:
  • Following up on the beerdolier for cans, you can now add a bottle belt to your beercessory collection.
  • Computers generate a lot of heat, so keeping your beer cool as you work can be a challenge (ed: sure...?) - but that's where the new USB Mini Fridge comes in, just big enough to cool one can at a time.
  • For the consumer so green that merely recycling glass isn't enough, you can now buy designer "tranSglass" drinking vessels made from cut and ground bottles, yours for just $12 each.
The wonders of human ingenuity never cease to amaze.