Friday, September 28, 2007

Long Live Octobeer!

As we bid a fond farewell to another Septembeer and wave hello to Octobeer... the wife and I are jetting out to the West Coast this afternoon for a longish weekend. We're gonna visit her folks in the Napa Valley - drink some wine (yes, I do like the occasional sip of vino), and with any luck get a chance to run into Santa Rosa and taste the brew crafted by Randall Gremp (pictured at right) out at Third Street Ale Works., and get some samplers from Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo over at the Russian River Brewing Company.

Although I wasn't able to get out to Germany for this year's Oktoberfest, I will be spending the final weekend of this grand ole beer guzzling hoedown with a few of my favorite (100%) Germans! So in a way, I am there... without being there! Ya know?!

Down at the bottom of the right sidebar you'll notice a thumbnail ClustrMap. What this little bad boy does is keep track of where in the world the visitors to this little slice of the Internet are coming from. Don't worry, I can't see your IP address or any other computer details, just where you're popping in from geographically speaking. Every time it loads, it increments a counter and shows the locations of all the visitors to the page, cumulatively. Clicking on it zooms in to a big world map, and (optionally) lets you zoom in to the continents. The totals will be updated daily. I just put it up so it will take a day before any blips appear on the map. Thanks to John The Beer Hermit for giving me this idea! Oh, and the best thing? You don't have to do anything at all. Just viewing the page is sufficient. Enjoy!

By the way, if you want to test your beer knowledge, clickety click here! Once you're done, come on back and post your score in the comments section. I wanna see how well you scored!

Hey, guess what? We're #1! ! That's right... Colorado just became the biggest producing beer State in all the US of A! California finally slipped to the #2 position. The last time CO held the top spot was way back in '90. In 2006 Colorado produced more then 23.3 MEEEELLION barrels of beer, which equates to 724.5 million gallons. Now that's a lot of beer!

Here's the whole article from today's Colorado Springs Gazette, written by Bill Bradford:

Beer here. Beer here more than anywhere, to be exact.

Colorado has reclaimed the title of No. 1 beer-producing state in the country, according to the Beer Institute.

California, which held that title for several years, slipped to No. 2 in the 2006 rankings. The last time Colorado was the top beer producer was in 1990, said Mark Destito, a spokesman for the Beer Institute.

The Colorado brewing industry produced more than 23.3 million barrels of beer last year, according to the Beer Institute. Colorado is home to Golden-based Coors Brewing Co., the third-largest brewing company in the United States, and an Anheuser-Busch brewery in Fort Collins along with dozens of smaller brewers such as Flying Dog Brewery in Denver and Bristol Brewing Co. in Colorado Springs.

“It’s true that most of that volume is from Coors and Anheuser-Busch, a very high percentage of it,” said Doug Odell, president of the board of directors of the Colorado Brewers Guild. “But I think the real story is that there are a hundred other breweries in the state of Colorado contributing a great variety of beer styles and beer flavors.”

Odell is an owner and brewmaster of Odell Brewing Co. in Fort Collins, which has seen steady growth since it opened in 1989.

“Our first full year we sold about 900 barrels,” Odell said. “This year we are going to sell about 39,000.”

Arctic Craft Brewery is experiencing 100 percent growth this year over last, said John Dunfee, president of the Colorado Springs-based brewery. But, he noted, “a 100 percent increase on a small amount is still not a whole lot. I’m only up to about 215 barrels this year so far.”

The brewery is a one-man operation. “I’m the janitor all the way to the brewer,” Dunfee said.

There are many factors, Odell said, that make Colorado a great state for beer. For one, he said, “the love of outdoors, for some reason that translates into liking good things to eat and drink.”

Dunfee points to something in the water.

“The water quality here is ideal for making many different styles of beer,” he said. “That’s a big plus.”

Beer is big business in the state. A study commissioned by the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association found the beer industry, made up of brewers, beer importers, beer distributors, brewer suppliers and retailers, contributes $12.4 billion annually to Colorado’s economy. That economic impact includes 67,918 jobs — paying $3 billion in wages — as well as $1.6 billion in federal, state and local taxes.

Despite its top ranking for making beer, Colorado isn’t at the top when it comes to drinking it. The state ranks 22nd in consumption per capita, according to the Beer Institute.

“Colorado is tremendously important to the beer industry and produces a number of high quality brews enjoyed by adults around the country,” Jeff Becker, president of the Beer Institute, said in a statement. “With a strong beer culture and a rich brewing history, it’s no surprise the state has become number one.”


One final thing... do NOT forget the national toast to the memory of the late Michael "The Beer Hunter" Jackson on Sunday, September 30th, 9:00 PM EST. DO NOT FORGET!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Can Beer Make You Thin?

Check out this hilarious video and find out for yourself!

Miracle Beer Diet - video powered by Metacafe

* Thanks for passing this along, Steven! Great, great stuff!

Monday, September 24, 2007

"O'zapft is!"


You've all heard the term. You know that it's associated with drinking massive amounts of beer in a magical land far, far away. Your own local tavern or city might even do something kitschy and cute in honor of the worlds largest fair.

But do you really know what this grand ole festival is all about?

The very first "Oktoberfest" took place almost 200 years ago - way back on October 12, 1810. However, it wasn't called "Oktoberfest" back then. See, this two week long celebration first started as a commemoration party to honor the marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig (later to become King Ludwig I) to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festivities started on the 12th and ended with a horse race on the 17th. Over the years the start date has been moved up to the end of September because of better weather. It's also been lengthened by a week or so. Longer if the first Sunday in October falls on the 1st or 2nd, then the festival runs until October 3rd (German Unity Day). Thus, the festival is now 17 days when the 1st Sunday is October 2nd and 18 days when it's October 1st. And why not?! Boy those Germans know how to party!

Today, some six million visitors each year stroll about the Theresienwiese (which means "Field [or meadow] of Therese, in honor of Princess Therese), often called "d’ Wiesn" for short. Obviously, beer plays a huge part in the fair. At the beginning of every festival a special keg of beer is tapped by the Mayor of Munich who shouts: "O'zapft is!" (Bavarian: "It’s tapped!").

Festival goers to the Largest People's Fair in the World usually set up camp at one of the 14 "tents" that are sponsored by the six official Oktoberfest breweries, (Spaten, Augustiner, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu). What may have started out as "tents" many years ago have since been turned into full scale buildings that can seat as many as 10,000 people at a time. A bit of advice: get there early, and don't EVER leave - otherwise you'll be S.O.L. when you try to get your seat back!

Some random Oktoberfest factoids:

  • 6.1 million 1-liter mugs of beer were sold in 2006 (up from the 5.5 million in 2005).
  • In 2006, 220,000 stolen mugs were retrieved by security forces.
  • The expected cost of a Maß (the 1-litter mugs of beer) will be between €7.70 and €8.00. That equates to about $11 a pop. Bring money to Oktoberfest. Lots and lots of money.
  • 12,000 people are employed at the Oktoberfest. Of these... 1,600 are Barmaids.
  • In 2006 the festival went through 102 roasted oxen, 219,443 pairs of sausages and 459,279 roast chickens. That's some gooooood eatin'!
  • Nearly 1,000 tons of garbage result annually from the Oktoberfest.
Fran and I have TENTATIVE plans (and by tentative I mean I just now decided it would be a good idea for us) to attend the 200 year anniversary of this majestic festival in 2010.

So, see you in Munich in '10!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Happy Oktoberfestivus!

Dateline - Munich, Germany - The 2007 Oktoberfest has officially commenced. Oh how I wish that I was there enjoying the oceans of fine German brew. Oh how I wish...

Alas, it is not to be. Not this year. Perhaps in years to come the wife (who is 100% German and has relatives that actually OWN a real life, honest to God brewery in the land of milk and honey, er - malt and barley) and I will make it over there - Lederhosen and Dirndl and all. It will most certainly be a pilgrimage. One that I may not come back from.

As I scour the official Octoberfest website checking out all the glorious pictures of fests gone by... and watching my favorite TV host and official "HERO" (Zane Lamprey) galavant around the fest on his show Three Sheets (the best show on TV)... I realize that the Munich Octoberfest is really one big adult Disneyland replete with a never ending supply of glorious brew, gianormouse pretzels, brats and all things German yumminess.

Oh how I wish I was there now... (sigh)

But not all is lost! Our bestest friend Nay Nay is having a party today - ironically enough, on all days - so we shall make our own Octoberfest! Yes, that is what we shall do for that is what we Americans (well, those of us who aren't fat, lazy and stupid) do: adapt, improvise, and overcome. So shall it be!

So my fellow beer geeks... as you go about your day, dreaming about what it must be like to be in Munich right at this very moment hoisting one liter mugs of that oh so tasty elixir of the gods... find a good beer at some point, raise it to the East (or West, depending on how drunk you are) and give a Prost!

I'll hear ya!

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Buffalo Theory

Cliff Claven is my hero.

Click on Image to Enlarge Enough to Read

* Thanks for passing this along, Steven!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Thank God It's Beerday!

Sam Adams Patriot Homebrew Contest!

Sam Adams has just launched it's Patriot Homebrew contest! This year the winner gets to have their beer brewed at the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery and served at the New England Patriot's Gillette Stadium (that is, if the Patriots don't end up cheating their way out of the league!) for the 2008 Season!

If you're a homebrewer and want to give this a shot, check out the TV commercial here then surf on over to their website to fill out the application here ASAP!

Pyramid Goes Imperial!

Pyramid Brewery is rolling out the first in a line of new limited edition, specialty brews they're calling "Brewers Reserve". Their first beer in the series is Imperial Hefeweizen (at a whopping 7.5% ABV), available at finer beer joints and in 22oz bottles if you're lucky enough to have a good liquor outlet nearby.

The Imperial Hefe is a smooth, unfiltered ale featuring a "pleasant" hop flavor with a more full-bodied and robust taste then their world class Hefeweizen. The limited edition ale is brewed in small batches of less than 120 barrels and uses a combination of 60% malted wheat with Nugget and Tettnang hops.

I'm a lover of all beers Pyramid, 'specially their Hefe... I can not wait to try this bad boy on for size!

BREAKING NEWS! A brand new, late year beer fest has been announced for here in Colorado Springs! The 1st Annual All Colorado Beer Festival!

The All Colorado Beer Festival will take place on November 10, 2007 in connection with the Veterans Day Weekend. The festival will be held at the Mr. Biggs Event Center. There will be two sessions: Noon until 4:30 PM and 5:30 until 10:00 PM. There will be food, merchandise, entertainment, and a designated driver program at each session. Tickets to the festival will be $25 ($20 in advance) and will include unlimited 1-oz. beer samples. All military with a valid ID will receive the advance ticket price at the door. Proceeds of the festival will benefit THEATREWORKS and the USO.

Be(er) there! I will be(er)! Have a good weekend all!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

17 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, 17 Bottles of Beer...

Did you know that it's possible for a human being to consume 17 twelve ounce beers (and 3/4 of a gallon of Bloody Mary's) in a seven hour period? The beer alone is equal to 3 gallons (6 liters for my European amigos reading this).

I know this because my brother and I each drank that much Sunday while indulging in an orgy of National Football League games. Is it a good thing when the waitress says she's never seen anyone drink so much Easy Street Wheat and remain coherent? A Boston bartender once told me the same thing about Guinness. I'm not sure if that's something I should be proud of or not. Thoughts?

Our new favorite sports bar (Indigo Joe's) was packed to the rafters on Sunday as the 2007/2008 NFL season began. Good times were had by all (even if my St. Louis Rams looked like crap - hey, at least they're not as bad as the Michigan Wolverines) in our group, affectionately referred to as "The League of Extraordinarily Professional Sportsters & Drinkers." (TM, R with the little circle, etc.)

Indigo Joe's has a decent selection of beer, including the aforementioned wheat stylings from Odell Brewing Company. Of course, they don't have nearly the selection that the Yard House does. A few weeks ago we were up in the Denver area and finally experienced this most excellent of beer bars. While they don't serve beer in full yard tall glasses anymore (due to the expense of replacing them when they break), they still serve up the over 100 different beers in half yard glasses (see new photo in the side banner), which are still something of a feat to drink from. Especially after you've had a few of them! If you're ever on the west side of the Denver suburbs (Lakewood to be exact), you owe it to yourself to stop in for
a beer or three.

Any good beer aficionado - er, I mean frat drinking beer boy - has seen the movie Beer Fest. Who hasn't had a hankerin' to drink beer from a boot? Well, now you can... with the original Das Boot! I have to get me one of these and see if the key to finishing it off really is to twist it at the end.

So the wife's out in Nashville on business and she went to a place called the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium. Never heard of the place, which is startling considering that it's a pretty big chain down in the south. And it has beer. LOTS OF BEER! She said I would have been in beervana. After taking a gander at their website, I can see why! It's much like the Yard House, but very possibly - better. Anyone out there been to one? These places look magnificent! Mmmmm... beeeeeeeer.

Until next time... keep the beer at it's appropriate serving temperature!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Chili & Beer!

This little internet story isn't new, but it's still one of the funniest things I've ever read. So for old time's sake...

A Texas Chili Contest

Frank: "Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a Chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table asking for directions to the Coors Light truck, when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted."

Here are the scorecards from the advent: (Frank is Judge #3)

Chili # 1 Eddie's Maniac Monster Chili
  • Judge #1: A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.
  • Judge #2: Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.
  • Judge #3: (Frank) Holy shit, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that's the worst one. These Texans are crazy.
Chili # 2 Austin's Afterburner Chili
  • Judge #1: Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeño tang.
  • Judge #2: Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.
  • Judge #3: Keep this out of the reach of children. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.
Chili # 3 Ronny's Famous Burn Down the Barn Chili
  • Judge #1: Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick. Needs more beans.
  • Judge #2: A bean less chili, a bit salty, good use of peppers.
  • Judge #3: Call the EPA. I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I'm getting shit-faced from all of the beer...
Chili # 4 Dave's Black Magic
  • Judge #1: Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.
  • Judge #2: Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.
  • Judge #3: I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds? Sally, the barmaid, was standing behind me with fresh refills. That 300-LB woman is starting to look HOT...just like this nuclear waste I'm eating! Is chili an aphrodisiac?
Chili # 5 Lisa's Legal Lip Remover
  • Judge #1: Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.
  • Judge #2: Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.
  • Judge #3: My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and can no longer focus my eyes. I farted and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I'm burning my lips off. It really pisses me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. Screw those rednecks!
Chili # 6 Pam's Very Vegetarian Variety
  • Judge #1: Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spices and peppers.
  • Judge #2: The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb.
  • Judge #3: My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I shit on myself when I farted and I'm worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that Sally. Can't feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my ass with a snow cone.
Chili # 7 Carla's Screaming Sensation Chili
  • Judge #1: A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.
  • Judge #2: Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. *(I should take note that I am Worried about Judge #3. He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.)
  • Judge #3: You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel a thing. I've lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava to match my shirt. At least during the autopsy, they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing it's too painful. Screw it! I'm not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I'll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach.
Chili # 8 Karen's Toenail Curling Chili
  • Judge #1: The perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.
  • Judge #2: This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge #3 farted, passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he's going to make it. Poor feller, wonder how he'd have reacted to really hot chili?

* Teresa, thanks for passing this on to me and reminding me how funny it was!!!!