Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Prohibition Era Booze Laws Brew Trouble

On April 7 (my birthday - no wonder I'm such a beer geek!), 1933 (not my birthyear), Prohibition was repealed for beer of no more than 3.2% ABV, eight months before the ratification of the 21st amendment (which repealed the 18th amendment).

Here we are some seventy-five years later, and several states in this great country of ours still have Prohibition era laws on the books regarding the brewing of beer and serving of alcohol. Here's a few that were mentioned in a recent AOL news article:
  • A few weeks ago Idaho lawmakers introduced a bill to repeal a law created way back in 1939, a law that bans distilled liquor sales on election days. According to the state liquor chief that law costs Idaho $400,000 in sales each time. Similar laws exist in eight other states, relics of the days when saloons served as polling places. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Delaware, Kentucky and South Carolina also have legislation in the system to lift Election Day sales bans.
  • Beer Geeks in Alabama, Mississippi and West Virginia are lobbying to overturn laws that ban sales of beer that exceeds 6% alcohol. WTF!? Stuart Carter of the Alabama lobbying group Free the Hops says Belgian ales and craft beers (which are far above that ABV range) appeal to tourists and aficionados, not "kids" (those at or just over the age of 21) and frat boys who binge drink. So why make everyone suffer?
But William Perkins of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board has never met a beer he liked. He supports state restrictions. "The intellectual argument ignores the ill effects of alcohol," he says. "Piling up more beers, no matter how tasty or expensive or exclusive, doesn't make sense."

No Mr. Perkins... you don't make sense.

If you want to lend support to our southern Beer Geek brethren, check out Free the Hops as well as the Beer Activists website. Know the Issues!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bud aims to drown Super Bowl

According to a recent AP report by Seth Sutel, the conglomerate that is Anheuser-Busch is dropping 7 ads for their "beer" during Super Bowl XLII. Six of them will focus on the craptacular swill that is Bud Light, while one features the good ole Budweiser Clydesdale's. Sadly it's not a new one showing the massive horses playing football (i.e., with a zebra as the ref or streaking sheep). Good stuff! Although their product may not be real beer, their ads are the best!

A 30-second ad will cost a whopping $2.7 MEEEEEELLION this year. That's gonna set them back $18.9 for 3 1/2 minutes of advertising time. Someone's getting shafted.

According to Bob Lachky (executive vice president for global industry and creative development) two of the Bud Light ads will rely on "rug-pull" gags involving special powers that the beer supposedly endows on drinkers. One spot shows people breathing fire (which of course goes terribly wrong during a date), while another gives X-ray vision (something a woman wishes she didn't suddenly have).

Other Bud Light spots include a humorous look at some cavemen who stumble upon a useful discovery — the wheel — when they need a way to get their cooler made of stone to a party. Another depicts a clever way that a guy attending a wine and cheese party still gets to enjoy his beer. The Clydesdale spot spotlights a horse that didn't make the final cut to join the team and took a year to train — with a Dalmatian.

I'm sure they'll all be funny and once again the highlight of the Super (Boring) Bowl.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Drinking at a Mile High

And we're off with another TGIB (Thank God It's Beerday) Nuggets 'o News Friday Edition!

So I've decided that I definitely want Scott Kerkman's job. Why? He's a Chief Beer Officer. Seriously. It might sound like a frat title, but Scott works for Four Points by Sheraton to run their Best Brews program. Basically he gets paid to jet off to Germany’s Oktoberfest, Denver's Great American Beer Festival, and other fests around the globe. He also gets to go on frequent V.I.P. tours of local breweries. Oh, and he receives a case of free beer to sample each month.

Aside from Zane Lamprey (host of Mojo's Three Sheets) , Scott has the best job in all the world.

But it's not all fun and games... oh hell, yes it is! Scott goes around and educates the bartenders at the chain’s 125 hotels to become "beer ambassadors." Additionally, he makes beer selections, writes up training manuals for the bar staff, and travels (again with the traveling!) to all the other Four Points hotels across the country to host happy hours. Basically, to drink till you drop.


Speaking of drinking till you drop...

Earlier this year Colorado claimed the #1 spot for overall beer production. To go along with that prestigious award, we can now add this not so prestigious honor - the #1 (Denver) and #3 (Colorado Springs) spots in Men's Health Magazine's Top 10 Dangerously Drunk Cities in America. I guess the two go together though, right? Ugh.

I need a beer.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sam Adams drinks in the new year!

In case you didn't hear, the Samuel Adams 2007 Beer Lover's Choice contest is a wrap. If you attended any sort of beer festival last year you probably ran into their booth. I did... on more than one occasion. At the booth folks were asked to samples two different beers - an Irish Red and a Dunkelweizen, then vote on what they liked the best. The winner, based on votes from over 42,000 people was... the Irish Red. Starting this month you'll be able to find Samuel Adams® Irish Red on store shelves.

I didn't care for it, neither did anyone in my party. We all preferred the Dunkelweizen much more. Oh well... they still have a plethora of great beers for me to sip. Like...

Every year Sam Adams lets their employees go hog wild and compete for best employee home brew. Now that's an employer to work for! Three finalists are picked and judged at The Great American Beer Festival here in Colorado (which I didn't attend last year, but will be FOR CERTAIN this year). The winner gets their brew tossed into the Longshot package. The Longshot contest is the open competition that lets anyone submit a home brew. Last year over 2000 entries poured (sorry) in. Beginning in February we'll be able to taste 2 of the 3 winning brews...

The third winner was a Double IPA. Bad timing for Mike McDole in California since we're in the midst of a world-wide hop shortage. Because of this global pandemic we won't be able to taste this bad boy until next year. But I can't wait to give the Weizenbock and Grape Pale Ale a swig or three!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Mapping your way to Beer Heaven!

For those of us who live here in the great Rocky Mountain state of Colorado, having an "Emergency Kit" in the car during winter is a necessity. You just never know when a freak snow storm is going to blow in and gobble your car. They're kinda like Britney when she gets around alcohol. But I digress...

A new beer related product just hit the stands that you'll most certainly want to add to that "Emergency Kit." Say you're tooling around the high country taking in all of it's purple majesty. It's around noonish and you're mouth feels like the underside of a lizard's belly. It's a parch that only a great microbrew will quench. And Colorado doesn't lack in exquisite brews. But where to stop for a cold one? Well, if you had one of the new Beer Drinker's Guide to Colorado Maps you'd know exactly where to stop!

Say what? A map that has the locations of all the breweries?!

Oh yes my fellow beer confessors... but it has soooo much more. This 36 x 48 inch, full color, two sided map includes locations and information for all of the 100+ brewery's in the state. The back-side has a close-up inset of South Denver to Fort Collins - what I like to call "Beer Alley" due to the numerous breweries in the area. But there's more! Additional info is included for ski resorts, 14ers, historic taverns, driving distances, and state & national parks. BUT WAIT! These bad boys are available in a few forms: flat and rolled for shipping, or folded to fit in your pocket or glovebox (both available for $12.95). There's even a special laminated version suitable for hanging ($29.95).

I know!

So what are you still doing here hop head? GET A MOVE ON! Clickety-click on over to their website and order a few for yourself (cuz you know you're gonna spill that luscious elixir on it at some point and who can afford to be WITHOUT one of these "treasure maps"?). While you're at it, order one for everyone you might deem beer worthy.

See ya on the open road (but always drink responsibly)!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Beer Can Furniture - Suhweeeet!

I love beer so much that I want to convert my coffee table into a "beer" table. Chairs? Why, beer-cheers of course! How about the couch? Beer-ouch. Night stand? Beer stand. You get the drift. Well, apparently I'm not the only one who thinks this is a swell idea. Fran prolly wouldn't like it though.

Enter Bernard Dier's version of beer-topia. Way back in 1936 ole Bernie soldered 420 Pabst Blue Ribbon cans into this decadent, envy-inducing set of furniture.

I want beer can furniture too!

Has anyone done something like this? If so, drop me a line and send me some photos! I wanna see your handy work.

Friday, January 11, 2008

TGIF Roundup!

Several nuggets o' knowledge to drop on ya on this magnificent Friday... so let's get right to it!

I'm going to Malt Disneyland!

This MSNBC bit by Lew Bryson focuses on what I like to call "The land o' milk(stouts) and honey(ales) - BELGIUM! Whatever we're doing over here in the good ole US of A with beer, Belgium has already done it. Like 1,000 years ago. Belgium is to beer what videotape is to the New England Patriots. Or Lidocaine is to Roger Clemens.

Fran (that's my incredible wife) and I just started planning our mega European trip in 2010, which coincides with the 200th Anniversary of Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. Coincidence? Not hardly. But I digress... Belgium will, if all things go according to plan, be included on the itinerary. I already have one Belgium bar on the "Bars to visit before you die" list (the Delirium Cafe in Brussels), but thanks to Lew's article I've just added another - the Tavern Dulle Griet in Ghent.

They offer over 250 different beers, including all the famous Trappist beers and an extensive range of exclusive Gueuze and Kriek beers. Their specialty truly is special! To get the “Max of the House” you must first take off a shoe, which then gets hoisted into a basket and raised to the ceiling. Hell, after a few hours at the Griet I'll give 'em more than a shoe!

Cicerone Certification Program Update

Got an Email from Ray Daniels - Director, Cicerone Certification Program - regarding a few new changes to the Cicerone Program. Check out the site for all the details, but here's a quick breakdown:
  1. A revised and updated Novice Syllabus is available. This can be reviewed (it appears in the registered user area) to see what will be on the Certified Beer Server Exam.
  2. You can now take the Certified Beer Server Exam ONLINE. This is required to become a full-fledged Certified Cicerone. The exam must be completed in 30 minutes or less, so be prepared if you decide to take it online.

Hop it like a monk!

Dean Biersch is the co-founder of Gordon Biersch, one of the top brewpub chains in the U.S. But that concept came about twenty years ago. Today he's got a new idea that he thinks can become yet another chain. One I'm very intrigued by because Fran (my soul-mate and "BDB" - Best Drinking Buddy) and I have designs on eventually opening our own pub.

Now a resident of Sonoma, California, Dean plans to start this new project by reopening the 105-year-old former electric-rail depot in Sebastopol and christening it - HopMonk Tavern. Dean plans on buying a house pilsner from Gordon Biersch while rotating 16 other draught selections, including one devoted to cask-conditioned beers, starting with one from Petaluma's Lagunitas Brewing Co. If you're an IPA fan, you'll absolutely dig their hoptastic version. While I was on holiday a few weeks ago I stumbled upon one of their rare seasonals - Cappuccino Stout. It fuggin rocked! These guys are great... and a bit wacky! They literally brew up whatever the hell they feel like and stick 'em in 22 ouncers. BAM First come first serve. But I digress...

The type of draughts will focus on seasonal selections. According to Colorado-based (the #1 brewing state in the country mind you) Brewers Association spokeswoman Julia Herz, seasonals rank #2 in sales only behind pale ales. People love 'em! I know I do! And I hope this thing takes off like a rocket! One free of lidocaine and B-12 that is. ;)

Have a great weekend, and imbibe some good brews while watching football! Zivjeli!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Eighth Annual Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival

If you're not doing anything this weekend (January 10 - 12, 2008) - the shenanigans actually kick off tonight - and are a fan of the three B's (Big, Belgian and Barleywine) then you might want to head up to Vail, Colorado, and check out the 8th annual BIG Beer Festival.

This has turned into a rather hifalutin affair over the years. Well, as hifalutin as craft beer fests get that is. This year they have some serious heavyweight guests in attendance, including:
Over the next three days there's a brewmaster's dinner, a homebrew competition, seminars and a tasting event. Damn I wish I could go! Wish I knew about it sooner. Or remembered it. Whatever. At 40 I can't remember which - DOH!

For all the details (and there are quite a few), check out the website. If you do go, be sure to drop a few comments here (and photos if you have 'em) and let me know how it was.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Three Sheets NYC Pub Crawl

I'm a big fan of the Mojo HD show Three Sheets. The hilarious Zane Lamprey, perhaps the greatest host the world has ever seen, zips around the globe sucking down suds and booze in every port. Truly, a worldwide pub crawl. Oh what I wouldn't do for a gig like his!

But did you know there's a new episode?!? I didn't until my buddy Steven dropped the 411 on me. In this one-hour special Zane comes back to the good ole USA and bounces around New York City for a New Year's Eve pub crawl. In case you missed it the first time (like I did), Mojo has rebroadcast it several times (with more to be aired, check the schedule), but if you like you can watch the entire episode online. What's more, you can inspect and print off the actual pub route that Zane takes through NYC by going here. Very cool!

My favorite place was the Burp Castle. Anyone who watches the show regularly knows what you must do when you burp (it's a real drinking game). I like it so much that I've included it on the list of bars one must visit before they die. Here is how Zane describes the Castle: Say excuse me, wipe your feet, and come on in to the Burp Castle–The name says it all. Hidden behind a group of aggressive shrubbery and a shabby white fence, the monastery-styled bar describes itself as a “temple of beer worship.” Sporting a drink menu of 12 draft beers imported from Belgium, Germany and Britain, this popular abbey themed pub captures the quirky medieval style while maintaining its modern twist.

Oh yes... one other thing. Want to party with Zane? Cuz my wife and I sure as hell do! Well, now you can - but it'll cost you. Check out the official "Zane Crawl" website for all the details. The site doesn't officially launch until tomorrow, but you can get some of the facts ahead of time.

Until next time... Zivjeli!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Beer Buggy

If there's one thing I like more than beer it's gadgets. When you combine the two... oh it's a hoppy, hoppy day indeed.

The Consumer Electronics Show is in full swing in Las Vegas and one of the nifty - and completely useless - gizmos to be revealed is The Beer Buggy. This remote control buggy allows you to plop two cold bottles of your favorite brew into the driver and passenger seats and drive them (remotely) to their intended location. For a mere $40 (available at Spencers), what's not to like?

Friday, January 4, 2008

Hoppy New Year!

Sorry for the lack of any timely posts, but you know how this time of year gets. However, with the holidays out of the way it's time to rev the beer confessional back up! Without getting into a lot of detail, here's what happened over the last few weeks:
  • Spent Christmas with the wife's folks in California.
  • Got a bunch of beeraphernalia, including a new beer fridge from my wife! Thanks honey!
  • Visited the world famous Russian River Brewing Company (which is only 10 minutes from the in-laws) and tasted most of their beers! Pliny the Elder will knock your socks off if your an IPA fan (8.0%ABV and 100 BUs), but my fave was Salvation, which of course I couldn't buy in a growler or in their 750s.

  • Our gang of professional drinkers spent New Year's Eve in downtown Colorado Springs, mostly hanging at Phantom Canyon and imbibing a great many of their various excellent brews. We listened to the rockin' tunes of our friend's band Mystic 7, who sounded great despite the wind chill induced MINUS 15 degree temps! Great job guys!

Over the next few weeks you'll be seeing some serious changes around here. I'm adding more features, plus I have a few things in the works that will absolutely be of interest to you (like moving the blog to a dedicated hosted website; a potential project with the gang at the Beer Drinker's Guide to Colorado, another project with my friend the Beer Philosopher, and more)!

Stay tuned... 2008 is gonna be hoppin!