Friday, August 31, 2007

RIP Mr. Jackson

It is with a sad and heavy heart that I come to you today...

If you haven't heard the news yet, Michael Jackson, the world's foremost beer writer died yesterday in his home at the age of 65. Unbeknownst to most, Mr. Jackson had Parkinson's Disease. To read more, go here.

Kind of eerily ironic that my last post was "The Be(er)attitudes" as this "prayer" of sorts fits perfectly for Mr. Jackson. So if you wouldn't mind... bow your head, recite that prayer, or give a moment of silence to one of the great luminaries ("rock stars" as I put it) of the Beer World. And over this Labor Day Weekend, be sure to raise a pint and salute the man who helped make craft beer a household name.

To you Mr. Jackson... may you look down upon us from Heaven with a full, frosty glass of beer. You will be missed.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Be(er)atitudes

Blessed are the beer drinkers,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are the beers,
for they shall be in the hand.

Blessed are they who mourn over lost beers,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after beer,
for they shall have their fill.

Blessed are the maltiful,
for they shall obtain hops.

Blessed are the clean of palate,
for they shall taste good beer.

Blessed are the beer makers,
for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they that suffer persecution for the lack of good beer,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

* No idea who originally created this or where it sprang forth from, but props to you my fellow beer lover!

Ireland's 'Ancient' Love Affair With Ale

Dateline Ireland - Sky News Service - By John Kelly Updated: 04:17, Sunday August 19, 2007

The Bronze Age Irish were as fond of a beer as their modern-day counterparts, according to new research.

The brewing process
The brewing process

Two County Galway archaeologists have put forward the theory that one of the most common ancient monuments across Ireland may have been used for brewing ale.

For years, fulacht fiadh (pits or recesses), were thought to have been used as ancient cooking pits.

But archaeologists Billy Quinn and Declan Moore disagreed with that widely-held view, arguing that it would surely have been easier to roast meat over an open fire rather than boil it.

They believe that the fulacht fiadh were, in fact, the country's earliest breweries - dating Ireland's brewing industry way back to 2500BC - somewhat earlier than Arthur Guinness, who began brewing his black stuff in Dublin in 1759.

Mr Quinn even admitted that the idea came to him one morning while he was nursing a hangover.

To prove their theory, the Galway boffins have recreated the brewing process, which involves using heated stones to boil the water in the pit. A wicker sieve is lowered into the water, and milled barley is then poured into the sieve.

After just 45 minutes, a thick syrupy liquid is skimmed off into a fermentation vat - with the final brew ready for drinking in a few days.

After their very first attempt, the archaeologists were convinced they were on the right track. "It tasted really good," said Mr Quinn.

"We were very surprised. It tasted like a traditional ale, but was sweeter because there were no hops in it."

Aidan Murphy, from the Galway Hooker Brewery, has also tasted the brew and he is in no doubt that the archaeologists have got it right. "It's really great," said Mr Murphy.

"It is really well balanced, with a very earthy flavour to it. I'm certainly convinced and I think any brewery would be happy with this."

Despite the glowing review, the archaeologists say they have no plans to brew the ale commercially.

But they will describe their experiment in detail in next month's Archaeology Ireland magazine for anyone who fancies having a go at a spot of Bronze Age home brewing themselves.

* Thanks for bringing this to my attention Steven!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Art of Reviewing Beer

As some of you may have noticed, my reviews aren't so much "reviews" as they are "suggestions." It's not that I don't know how to perform a review, since I do just that as an Associate PC Editor for GameDaily... it's just that I don't like getting that detailed about my beer. At least not yet.

I leave all the technobabble - the specific hops, what the beer smells like, or what flavors can be tasted on the front, back and sides of your mouth as it washes down your gullet - to the likes of Michael Jackson (the other Michael Jackson), my buddy Ed Sealover who writes for the Colorado Springs Gazette and the many others who actually know what they're talking about.

Me? I'm the Every Beer Man. A category somewhere far above the Neanderthal Keystone guzzler yet far below the fully evolved Chimay (a Trappist Monk beer) connoisseur. I love my craft beer with a passion, but not so consumed by it (wife edit: not consumed by it my ass!) that I know every little nuance about every beer.

For me... I either like how a beer tastes, or I don't. What it's brewed with only has a marginal impact on whether I'll like it or not. I've been known to go in spurts. For instance, there was a time when all I consumed was Pyramid's "sissy la la" (as some called it) Apricot Weizen (called Apricot Ale back then). While I still enjoy the fruity beers, I drink a lot of different styles now. In the summer it's almost exclusively Hefe, wheats, pils, and I've even started to like some hoppy pales (although IPAs are still way too strong for me liking). Stouts and Porters, my mainstays during the cold winter months, taste horrid during the hot summer and vice versa with lighter ales in the winter.

So there ya have it... me in a beer nutshell.

I finally received my Sam Adams specialty glasses the other day. Cracked them out, washed them down and gave 'em a whirl. At first glance you don't think an entire 12 oz. beer will fit - but it does. If you pay particular attention, you'll notice that liquid pours into these glasses much differently then the flat sided pint glasses of old. It actually creates a swirling effect that "opens" up the beer. Furthermore, the bead inside the rim of the glass actually does something - what, I'm not sure. I'm not a physicist, I'm a beer drinker! It just does something different to the beer as it tumbles over the edge into your mouth. The curvature of the rim also feels absolutely perfect as it rests on your bottom lip. This sucker is worth the money!

Has anyone else out there purchased these, and if so... what do you think of them?

Until next time... Zivjeli! (which means "to life" in Croatian; ironic that my name is the last three letters of this great word, dontcha think?).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Craft Lager Festival '07

Went to the Craft Lager Festival up in Manitou Springs on Saturday. It's the first time I've been to this fest, now in its 5th year. Not bad, but I likely won't be going to another. If you check out their website they tout that they've been listed as a top 10 beer festival by USA Today. Um... no offense, but USA Today must not go to many beer fests. Seriously, that's the most bogus claim I've read in some time. I've been to 10 BETTER fests just in this state... that doesn't include the one's I've been to in California and Oregon. Sorry, Manitou's Craft Lager Festival doesn't even get honorable mention in my book.

It was a quaint little ("little" being the operative word) location with horrific parking. Manitou Springs is simply not built for things like this. What's more, it was in a dog park. I wasn't really keen to the whole idea of drinking beer while knowing that I was walking on top of bark that dogs have been doing their business on for years. I have dogs, and you can't really clean up bark if you know what I mean. Lastly... it cost a whopping $25* per person to get inside to taste the warez of some 30 breweries, most of which I've already tasted numerous times.

* The Great Ameican Beer Festival is only charging $45 (in advance), which by way of comparison - this festival could fit into the bathrooms at GABF.

Maybe it's just me.

Fortunately we came across a gem of a beer that in part made it worth the while, even if we can't get their beer in bottles - yet. San Luis Valley Brewing Company (way down Alamosa way) had a spectacular Hefeweizen called Hefe Suave that was perhaps the smoothest wheat beer I've ever tasted. Absolutely mouth watering. Talked with Scott Graber, the brewer at SLVB... he said they just purchased a hand bottler so we should start seeing some bombers in the near future. HALLELUJAH!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Beer Prayer

Let us bow our heads...

Our lager,
Which art in barrels,
Hallowed be thy drink.
Thy will be drunk,
At home as it is in the pub.
Give us this day our foamy head,
And forgive us our spillages,
As we forgive those who spill upon us.
And lead us not to incarceration,
But deliver us from hangovers.

By Barmen

Amen brother... amen.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A History of the World

Humans originally existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunters/gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains during the summer and would go to the coast and live on fish and lobster in the winter.

The two most important events in all of history were the invention of beer and the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer. These were the foundation of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into two distinct subgroups:

1. Liberals
2. Conservatives

Once beer was discovered, it required grain and that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so while our early humans were sitting around waiting for the m to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That's how villages were formed.

Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to B-B-Q at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as the Conservation movement.

Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly B-B-Q's and doing the sewing, fetching, and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement. Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women. The rest became known as girlie-men.

Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy, group hugs, and the concept of Democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservatives provided.

Over the years conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth, the elephant. Liberals are symbolized by the jackass.

Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added), but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, and French food are standard liberal fare.

Another interesting evolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn't fair to make the pitcher also bat.

Conservatives drink domestic beer. They eat red meat and still provide for their women. Conservatives are big-game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, firemen, medical doctors, police officers, corporate executives, athletes, Marines, sailors, airmen, soldiers, and generally anyone who works productively. Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living.

Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to govern the producers and decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans. That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were coming to America. They crept in after the Wild West was tamed and created a business of trying to get more for nothing.

And here ends today's lesson in world history.

It should be noted that a Liberal may have a momentary urge to angrily respond to the above before forwarding it. A Conservative will simply laugh and be so convinced of the absolute truth of this history that it will be forwarded immediately to other true believers and to more liberals just to tick them off.

* I have no idea where this originally came from, but thanks for passing it along to me Larry!

Monday, August 6, 2007

A Public Service Annoucement for... BEER!

Police are warning all men who frequent clubs, pubs and other party-goes to be alert and stay cautious when offered a drink by any woman.

A date rape drug on the market called "beer" is being used by many females to target unsuspecting men. The drug is generally found in liquid form and is now available almost anywhere. It comes in bottles, cans, and in large-quantity containers known as kegs.

Beer is used by female sexual predators to persuade their male victims to go home and have sex with them. Typically, a woman needs only to persuade a guy to consume a few units of beer and then simply ask him home for no-strings-attached sex. Most men are rendered helpless against this approach. After several beers, men will often succumb to desires to perform sex acts with horrific looking women to whom they would never otherwise be attracted. After drinking beer, men often awaken with only hazy memories of exactly what happened to them the night before, but with a vague feeling that something bad has occurred.

Other times these unfortunate men are swindled out of their life's savings in a follow-up scam known as "a relationship." It has been reported that, in extreme cases, the female may even be shrewd enough to entrap the unsuspecting male into a longer-term form of servitude and punishment referred to as "marriage." Apparently, men are much more susceptible to this scam after beer is administered and sex is offered by the predatory female.


If you or someone you know have fallen victim to this insidious "beer" and the predatory women administering it, there are male support groups with venues in many towns where details of shocking encounters may be discussed in an open, frank, supportive manner with similarly affected men. For the support group nearest you, refer to the "Golf Courses" Section in your local yellow pages.

* Taken from Harps World (thanks for sending this to me Steven)

Saturday, August 4, 2007


With all the hubbub over the Simpson's Movie the last few weeks I thought I'd drop a few of these nuggets o' knowledge on ya...

Everyone knows that Homer's beer of choice is Duff Beer. And Springfield, Vermont, was recently voted as the "hometown" of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. Well, Alan Newman and his wacky "cosmic symphony" at Magic Hat Brewing in South Burlington, Vermont, created a special version of Duff Beer for the world premiere.