30 November 2010

Women and Beer - Hell, Yeah!

Jay Brooks just reported the results of two studies about women and drinking:

The results of the two studies, and additional ones presented at the meeting, included findings that suggest “women might not have to limit themselves to the [previous] one-drink-a-day guideline.” Also, “[w]omen who have an alcoholic drink or two a day in midlife turn out to be healthier overall in their old age. Another study presented at the conference showed that women who had a daily drink had a lower risk of stroke.”
Is there nothing beer can't do?

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posted by Jeff Holt at 04:39 0 comments links to this post

24 November 2010

If I Ever Open a Brewery. . .

It will have one of these!
The British TV series, Celebrity Coach Tour visited the Czech Beer Spa I've blogged about before. Bianca Gascoigne and Imogen Thomas are the ladies in the photo.

Yeah, my dream brewery will have one of these.  Ladies only, of course. . .

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posted by Jeff Holt at 12:55 2 comments links to this post

23 November 2010

The Barbershop - Dripping Springs

The Barbershop is a brewpub that will be opening in Dripping Springs, east of Austin, sometime in the near future.  Here are all the details. Such as they are.

posted by Jeff Holt at 04:48 0 comments links to this post

22 November 2010

How to Bust Your Beer Gut

The Huffington Post is a normally not a source of posts on this blog.  But this is too good to pass up.

Susan B. Dopart is a Santa Monica Nutritionist and author.  She wrote that a beer belly is made up of visceral fat, which affects cholesterol, heart, kidney and bran, and increase your chances of cancer.  Use a tape measure and measure your waist.  Men with a gut bigger than 40 inches (Gulp!) and women with a gut bigger than 35 inches are in the biggest danger.


Lifestyle Change Can Help You Bust Visceral Fat
1. Exercise just 30 minutes per day. "Moderate levels of cardio-respiratory fitness are associated with a 50 percent lower death rate, and this applies in both women and men," states Dr. Steven Blair, professor of Exercise Science at the University of South Carolina and former director of the Cooper Institute. Dr. Blair defines moderate intensity exercise as walking for 30 minutes on five or more days of the week. If there ever was a magic bullet to lowering fat in the body and increasing health, this is it.
I like the 3rd one. I saw a study recently that said you are more likely to succeed in a diet if you wrote down what you consumed. 2. Stick to a nutritious, anti-inflammatory diet. Consuming unprocessed food in its natural state such as local organic produce, nuts/seeds, lean protein such as grass fed meat, pasture raised poultry and eggs, wild fish, organic dairy, unprocessed grains such as buckwheat, wild or brown rice, quinoa; and healthy fats such as cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil.
3. Eat mindfully. Take 10 minutes out of your busy day to focus on your food and the enjoyment and nourishment it gives you. Eating mindfully helps with being in touch with the amount of food your body needs to match your metabolic rate, keeping your body fat normal.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:51 0 comments links to this post

20 November 2010

What is Craft Beer?

Whenever I hear the term “Craft Brewer,” I almost can picture a guy who grows and malts his own grain. He picks his hops from his own hopyard. He rubs sticks together to light the fire under his kettle that he hand hammered. Her ferments in stainless steel, though. I have to draw the line somewhere. But he does hand apply the labels and bottle caps himself.

Of course, that's a fantasy.

The only brewery with their own grain fields is Anheuser-Busch. And they also buy grain from maltsters around the world, as does every other brewer, craft and non-craft, on the planet. Same with the hops. In fact, the economy of scale means that everyone buys malt made to AB's or MillerCoors' specifications.  The same applies to hops. Everyone buys from the same people.

So, as much as I'd like to imagine a craft brewer as an agricultural worker, then fact of the matter is that brewing is an industrial trade, requiring access to transportation and dependable power.
Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, Virginia is located in Virginia's wine country, and have their own hopyard. Jester King Brewery in Dripping Springs is on a ranch outside Austin with sweeping views of the Hill Country. Mark Cannon at Eola School in Eola brews in a town of less than two hundred people, and draws people in as far away as Austin.

So what is a Craft Brewer?

Danner Kline at Birmingham weekly asked the same question. Using the Brewers Association's definition, Kline effectively highlighted the problem with defining a craft brewer. As Boston Beer Company comes closer and closer to the magic cut off of two million barrels a year, for example, do they become less and less a craft brewer?

Sam Caligione of DogFish Head Brewery, whom I wrote about a few days ago, has a simple definition of craft beer. Regarding whether or not AB-InBev or MillerCoors could be a craft brewer (as Kline thinks they should not be excluded automatically), Caligione wrote in Beer and Philosophy: The Unexamined Beer Isn't Worth Drinking (Philosophy for Everyone), "If someday one of the big-three breweries finds itself making 50.1% of their beer from all malt with no rice or corn then I would say, welcome to the community of craft brewers." That sounds odd coming from the person who is known for using non-traditional ingredients in beers. His line-up flirts with that 50.1% line frequently.

Echoing that standard, not too long ago, some Home Brew Talk forum members made an "homage" video called "I am a Craft Brewer." Based on the video produced for the 2009 Craft Brewers Conference, one segment a brewer said proudly "I don't use rice or corn in my beer," implying that those products should never be in beer. I wonder what Patrick Rue thinks about that? He makes a tripel with rice as part of the grist. What about people who make American Cream Ales? Corn is a necessary ingredient for that style.

Cleary, craft beer isn't about the ingredients. So what is craft beer?

I think Kline comes up with the best definition: it’s about attitude, passion, and respect for beer. "Craft beer is like pornography in that you know it when you see it," he concludes. Brewers who treat beer like a commodity are not craft brewers.  If you use rice to cut your costs and maximize your profits, you aren't a craft brewer.  If you use rice to lighten body and increase alcohol, as Patrick Rue does, then you are a craft brewer.  And dogmatic rejection of an ingredient does not make you a craft brewer.

Does that mean Blue Moon is a craft beer? Yes. A big brewer can make a craft beer. They just don't do it very often.

Post a comment and let me know how much you disagree and why.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:29 3 comments links to this post

18 November 2010

Divine Reserve 10 Review

Appearance (0-3):   Pours up a crystal clear amber with ruby highlights and a thin to non-existant tan head.  Good bubbling up the sides of the tulip glass.  2 points.


Aroma/Bouquet (0-4): Very faint smell of dark fruit or sweet malt.  Disappointingly faint, in fact.  2 points.


Taste (0-10):  Starts off malty and sweet.  Hops come through in the finish at the back of the tongue.  Some dark fruits flavors linger on the palate.  Medium to medium high carbonation gives this good mouthfeel, and makes this barleywine feel lighter than it really is.  8 points


Overall Impression (0-3):  Not a bad barleywine, but it has to work hard to overcome the lackluster aroma and thin head.  2 points


Total (0-20): 14 Points

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posted by Jeff Holt at 13:16 2 comments links to this post

16 November 2010

Brew Masters to premiere on Discovery Channel - November 21

Does this sound familiar? "Squeel! Sam Caligione has a TV show!  Squeeel!"

The home brewing community is hovering on the verge of one huge, collective orgasm as it waits for Sam Caligione's new show on Discovery Channel, "Brew Masters" to premiere in a couple of days.  The story has been Tweeted, Shared, Liked, Dugg, Stumbld, Technoratied, and swooned over on every home brewing forum across the Internet.  I'll be watching, but I hope it won't be like that Beatles Live at Shea Stadium album, where you couldn't hear the band for the screaming and "I love you!" shouted by the audience

Frankly, I find the blind adoration of Caligione a little disturbing.  I have a friend whose highlight of his trip to GABF was getting a picture taken with Caligione.  My friend said Caligione didn't hesitate when asked for the photo.  He actually makes time for every beer geek that seeks him out.  I like that.

I've tried some Dog Fish Head beers, and have always walked away underwhelmed.  DFH120?  Nastiest beer of the face of the planet, just behind Corona.  Raisin D'etre?  Meh.  Most of the Dog Fish Head beers I've tried, I liked, but not enough to hunt them down.  I think they are overrated.

I've read a couple of his books, and he sounds like a nice enough fellow.  I particularly enjoyed Extreme Brewing: An Enthusiast's Guide to Brewing Craft Beer at Home. It was inspirational to me. I also liked Brewing Up a Business: Adventures in Entrepreneurship from the Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. I've even linked to his plug for Sabco. I thought it was impressive how he started his business on a single Sabco system.  I know I'll be inspired by the new show, but I just can't get all that worked up about him.

I am working on an essay about craft beer inspired by Caligione's essay in Beer and Philosophy: The Unexamined Beer Isn't Worth Drinking (Philosophy for Everyone) in which I take issue with his definition of a craft brewer.  Perhaps I am letting my disagreement color my opinion.  Perhaps my mangina has some sand in it.  Perhaps I'm jealous of those people who enjoy Dog Fish Head's beers.  Perhaps I am just an ass.  But, for God's sake people, this isn't the Second Coming!  It's beer's version of Ace of Cakes.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:38 0 comments links to this post

14 November 2010

Why Men Shouldn't Take Messages



posted by Jeff Holt at 10:34 0 comments links to this post

12 November 2010

The Return of Retro Beers

Ever since Pabst Blue Ribbon became popular, other regional brands have staged comebacks.  Recently, I ran across  a couple of stories about the resurrection of some regional beers.
BEN SARLE, for the Free Press

Narraganset Beer.  "Narragansett was the official beer of the Red Sox for 40 years and the No. 1 beer in New England from 1919 until the late 1960s," said Mark Hellendrung, CEO of Narragansett Beer in Providence, R.I., and former president of Magic Hat Brewing Co.  Hellendrung bought the company with a group of investors in 2005 for less than $100,000.  Narragansett was  brewing less than 1,000 barrels a year, and was sold only in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  The 156 Bistro in downtown Burlington, Vermont, began selling Narragansett about two weeks ago, and it seems to be doing well.  (That's bar manager Jana Schulz in the photo, holding a pint of Narraganset beer.)

Rheingold Beer.   Drinks Americas, a Connecticut beverage marketer, teamed up with the Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre to bring Rheingold Beer to the shelves for the first time in 35 years. Rheingold was brewed from 1868 to 1976. The company's headquarters was in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn and Rheingold was the official beer of the New York Mets. Sadly, this won't be the same Rheingold, which the current owner considers "unpalatable."  So the Rheingold you can buy in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio won't be the beer that John Wayne drank.  So far, Rheingold is in more than 3000 accounts.

posted by Jeff Holt at 07:27 0 comments links to this post

11 November 2010

Jester King Whiskey Barrel Commercial Suicide Ready For Release

Austin, Texas – Jester King Craft Brewery is set to release a whiskey barrel aged version of Commercial Suicide Oaked Dark Mild. We filled three George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey barrels with Commercial Suicide and let it age. The beer is now ready for release, and we hope to have it in bars beginning this weekend and going into next week.

The base beer, Commercial Suicide, is a blend of 70% dark mild and 30% dark mild aged in medium toast, Kentucky oak barrels (new barrels, not whiskey). At 3.3% ABV, we set out to pack as much flavor as possible into a true session ale. The malted barley and hops in the beer are all English.
Here are the ingredients and specs on the base beer:
First Brew
OG: 1.041
FG: 1.016
IBU: 18
ABV: ~3.3%
SRM: 18
Malts: Crisp Maris Otter, Crisp Brown, Simpsons Caramalt, Simpsons Extra Dark Crystal, Crisp Pale Chocolate
Hops: East Kent Golding
Yeast: English Dry Ale

We have ten kegs and two firkins of Whiskey Barrel Commercial Suicide set for release.

-From the Jester King Press Release.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 14:01 0 comments links to this post

Independence Beer Dinner - January 16

On January 16, 2011, Judge's Hill Restaurant and Bar will be holding a beer dinner featuring Independence Brewing Company beer.  The meal with have five course paired with 5 beers. Cost is $60 per person.  Call (512) 495-1857 for tickets.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 13:35 0 comments links to this post

10 November 2010

Belgo-Wiezen and India Wit Kegging Day

On Halloween morning, I kegged Belgo-Wiezen (the beer formerly known as Abbey Wiezen, since I used Belgian Ale yeast instead of Abbey yeast) and Major Blankety-Blank's India Wit Ale.

I have to say that the beers were remarkably similar, considering the ingredients and yeasts used.  Belgo-Wiezen has a sweet malt note in the nose, a nice, grainy flavor, with a lingering hop bite, probably because I undershot my numbers.

The original gravity on Belgo-Wiezen was 1.051, and it finished at 1.006, giving me about 6% alcohol.  I don't think my critic will be too happy with this beer.  It still has a bit of citrus and spice in it, even though I didn't use anything but grain, water, hops and yeast.

I do like the citrusy hop finish.  It reminds me of beers from Freetail Brewing.

Major Blankety-Blank's India Wit as a strange citrus aroma.  I used orange and grapefruit zest, so the citrus aroma is a blend of the two.  I really couldn't separate one aroma from the other.  Flavor wise, I can't decide if the hops support the citrus or the other way around, but the hops are a nice addition to this one.

I find myself wondering if either of these will last until the National Homebrew Contest in March.  I may just bottle six of each, just in case.

posted by Jeff Holt at 11:32 0 comments links to this post

08 November 2010

McQuaker's Oatmeal Stout v. 2

McQuaker's Oatmeal Stout
Oatmeal Stout

 

Type: All Grain
Date: 10/26/2010
Batch Size: 6.00 gal
Brewer: Jeff Holt
Boil Size: 8.38 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 90 min Equipment: Brew Pot (15 Gal) and Igloo/Gott Cooler (10 Gal)
Taste Rating(out of 50): 35.0 Brewhouse Efficiency: 58.00
Taste Notes:
Ingredients
Amount Item Type % or IBU
12.50 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (3.0 SRM) Grain 76.92 %
1.00 lb Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 6.15 %
0.75 lb Chocolate Malt (450.0 SRM) Grain 4.62 %
0.75 lb Victory Malt (25.0 SRM) Grain 4.62 %
0.50 lb Black Barley (Stout) (500.0 SRM) Grain 3.08 %
0.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM) Grain 3.08 %
0.25 lb White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 1.54 %
1.60 oz Fuggles [5.10 %] (90 min) Hops 25.9 IBU
1 Pkgs Nottingham Ale Yeast (White Labs #WLP039) [Starter 1000 ml] Yeast-Ale
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.056 SG
Measured Original Gravity: 1.058 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.012 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.005 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.69 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.91 %
Bitterness: 25.9 IBU Calories: 254 cal/pint
Est Color: 38.5 SRM Color:
Color
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge Total Grain Weight: 16.25 lb
Sparge Water: 6.05 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F TunTemperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.4 PH
Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
60 min Mash In Add 20.31 qt of water at 165.9 F 154.0 F
Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).
Carbonation and Storage
Carbonation Type: Corn Sugar Volumes of CO2: 2.4
Pressure/Weight: 4.5 oz Carbonation Used: -
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 60.0 F Age for: 28.0 days
Storage Temperature: 52.0 F
Notes
Toast the oats in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes. Mash 90 minutes.
Created with BeerSmith

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posted by Jeff Holt at 06:29 0 comments links to this post

06 November 2010

Abbey (Belgo) Wiezen Update

On October 25, I attempted to keg the Abbey Wiezen. I should point out that I did not use Belgian Abbey yeast, but Belgian Ale yeast. It had a nice grapefruity aroma, and had dried out nicely. OG was 1.051 and the gravity on Monday was 1.006. I took a sip of the sample, and thought, "Not bad!"
I was just about to set up for kegging when another thought struck me: "Why not dry hop with Simcoe?" I had about 7g left from a previous recipe, and I had been wondering how to use it. So I sanitized a tea ball--a stainless steel mesh ball normally used when making tea--added the 7g of Simcoe and dropped it in.
I decided to let it dry hop for 5 days, just to see what would happen. Stay tuned.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 04:58 0 comments links to this post

04 November 2010

I Stand Corrected

Divine Reserve did make it to Paradise!  Again, I won't reveal my source, but I was able to snag two six packs.  That was about all the money I have left after buying whiskey yesterday, and setting aside money for Saturday's bottle release at Freetail.

So what did I think about it, you ask?

Well, that will have to come later.  I need more content so I'm splitting my review into another blog post.  This one is for taunting.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:08 0 comments links to this post

Phytophotodermatitis now known as Mexican Beer Dermatitis

from istockphoto.com
In the latest Archives of Dermatology, Dr. Scott L. Flugman has renamed phytophotodermatitis.  Phytophotodermatitis occurs when lime juice on the skin receives a lot of exposure to the sun; it turns the skin brown, and causes swelling and pain that can last for up to six months.

But Dr. Flugman, after witnessing how partiers in Mexico drink the beer, wrote:

"...[W]hen the beer bottle is inverted, the carbonation in the beer frequently causes a mixture of beer and lime juice to spray from the bottle despite the drinker's attempt to seal the bottle mouth with the thumb. This common drinking practice may result in lime juice being sprayed over a wide area of skin, especially in a patient who is shirtless by a beach or pool," he says in the article.
How do you avoid it?

Wash it off.

Source

posted by Jeff Holt at 07:33 0 comments links to this post

03 November 2010

What is the Sound of Angels Singing?


I'm tired of all my tweeps telling me how many bottles of Divine Reserve 10 they have.  I can't get it, probably won't get it, and, Hell! likely won't even see it here in Paradise.  As tough as it may be to live in a beer semi-arid-region (made more bearable thanks to Fredericksburg Brewing Company), at least I'm close to Hye, Texas, home of Garrison Brothers Distillery.  Their first real release of 1800 cases went on sale today.  I won't tell you where I got it, because I had to sign up for it a month ago.

So to everyone sipping a DR10 right now, "Neener, neener."

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posted by Jeff Holt at 15:05 0 comments links to this post

02 November 2010

Beer Review - Saint Arnold Brown Ale

I've been craving brown ale for a few weeks, and finally gave in.  I bought a six pack of my favorite brown, Real Ale Brewhouse Brown, and a six pack of Saint Arnold Brown Ale.

Saint Arnold Brown Ale

Appearance (0-4):  Served in a Samuel Adams glass.  Pours up an slightly hazy brown color leaving a quarter in off white head.  4 points

Aroma/Bouquet (0-3): A blend of caramel and chocolate notes with a hint of roasted grain. 2 points

Taste: Hop/Malt Balance (0-4):  A little bland up front.  Some caramel malt sweetness.  2 points
Mouthfeel (0-3):  Medium bodied with good carbonation.  3 points
Aftertaste (0-3):  This beer is all about aftertaste.  The caramel and chocolate flavors blend on the back of my tongue, with a bit of hop bitterness finishing last.  3 points

Overall Impression (0-3):  Smooth, quaffable beer.  Nothing too overpowering.  Would like a little more flavor up front, but it finishes so well, that I can forgive it. 3 points

Total: 17 points


While reading the specs on this bad boy, I noticed that chocolate malt makes up only .5% of the grist of this beer.  Hmm.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:13 0 comments links to this post