Monday, June 23, 2008

InBev in bed with A-B?

A Belgian giant walks into an American bar, sits down and tries to order a Leffe Tripel.

"Sorry, got nothing like that here," the barkeep says.

The Belgian giant, perplexed, asks: "How about a Hoegaarden?"

"A ho gardening?"

"Hoegaarden," the Belgian replies dryly.

"I don't know what kinda weirdness you're into, but you might find some down the block standing on a street corner. Can't miss 'em."

The Belgian is so mystified he doesn't notice the big American walk in and take a seat next to him at the bar. The big American orders a Bud.

"Comin' right up," the bartender replies all to readily.

"A Bud?" the Belgian asks.

The American turns and looks at the Belgian with fire in his eyes. Thinking the Belgian has never heard of the great American Lager asks: "You're in a bar and you've never heard of a Budweiser?"

"Oh, a Budweiser. That's what you Americans call beer, right?"

"Damn straight!" the burly American barks.

"Well... we need to fix that now don't we?" the Belgian retorts.


For some reason that's how I imagine this potentially earth shaking buy-out went down. OK, maybe I had a few too many craft beers with high ABVs. Whatever the case... until today I didn't pay much notice to the enormity of this potential consolidation. What gigantic conglomerates do amongst themselves bores me to tears. And living in the "Napa of the Beer World" -- I frankly don't care all that much. I haven't voluntarily touched an A-B product (or any other macro-beer) in years. As the Warsteiner saying goes: "Life is too (damn) short to drink cheap (crappy) beer."

Earlier today I was contacted by Amanda Elend, who works for the CBS-owned news and politics web show MobLogic about this very topic. They did a really interesting webisode about the A-B takeover and wanted to know my thoughts. After watching it (I've embedded the show below), and reading the corresponding blog, A-B fights for America, it got me thinking.

Aside from the whole national pride thing, not wanting to give up the long held family biz, yadda yadda yadda... one has to wonder how many home grown jobs are going to be lost. InBev has to keep A-B in St. Louis because if they offshore it there will be serious negative PR ramifications. If InBev can guarantee this won't ever happen, A-B would be crazy to pass this offer up. A-B gets international PR while InBev gets American PR.

Take a gander at the MobLogic show, read the blog and come on back here to discuss. What are your thoughts on this monumental beer tapping?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Three Sheets vs. The Thirsty Traveler: TV drinking show showdown!

Do you get thirsty when you travel? Hell, I get thirsty when I "travel" from the couch to the bathroom. Fortunately, juxtaposed betwixt those two sacred things lies... The Beer Cave. Much like Batman's Bat Cave, mine is also filled with all the essential tools that any spandex wearing, caped crusader ("The Mad Beer Man") would need should someone dial in on the Beer Phone.

But I digress... as usual. (By the way, I don't wear spandex, but I do have a cape.)

As long time readers of this slice o' beery goodness know, I have a man crush on Zane Lamprey and his show, Three Sheets, which airs on MOJO HD. I pimp him (and the show) like a $2 hooker whenever I get the chance. Which is often. Ask anyone. Now for those spineless, Politically Correct (which is just another way of saying "I'm too afraid to have an opinion that might offend someone") nimrods shouting "conflict of interest" -- suck it. That is not what's going on here. I freelance for their community website (The Beer Bucket List on MOJO 135, every Wednesday - same beer time, same beer channel!) because I love the show. End of story.

For the last few months I've been hearing about another show similar in nature to Zane's, called The Thirsty Traveler. Well, Fran and I finally got a chance to catch several episodes (a big marathon ran over the weekend) which airs on the Fine Living Network. Sadly, it is not in High-Def in our neck of the woods (thanks Comcast), nor does it spell out which episode is which (thanks again Comcast). So I basically have to tape every episode. Strike one.

After doing some research (so I would sound edumacated because... that's what I do) for this particular article I discovered that Brad Schewaga was given a ROSIE award for "exemplary work as the series' Director of Photography" by the Alberta Motion Pictures Industry Association. Based on the episodes I saw, it is a well deserved award. By the way, this show needs to be in HD (talking to you Comcast; so far you're not so "Comcastic") because the cinematography is stunning.

And therein lies the rub... I thought I was watching recent episodes. Not. Apparently there are 4 seasons of the show, which started airing way back in January of 2002. Who knew?! I've never heard of this show until a few months ago. Good advertising people! The episodes we watched were: Absolutely Aquavit and Alaskan Beer (the first two episodes from Season 2); My Dear Maderia and Ga Ga for Cognac (from Season 3), and Wines Down Under (last episode of Season 4, which appears to be the last episode taped).

None of the seasons are available on DVD. At least not that I could find. Granted, I only spent a few minutes looking, but if it's not easy to find... it ain't easy to buy either. The websites for FLN and TTT are very well done, but there is no online store on either one. TTT's website is flashy and cool, but not very updated. Which leaves me wondering if this show is actually shooting new episodes, or has been canned. Strike two.

It's all too much work to be honest because, while the show is good and offers a lot of great information, it's not nearly Three Sheets good. And the host, Kevin Brauch, whom I'm sure is a decent enough fellow and I have absolutely nothing against him personally -- I just don't like him. Kevin just doesn't make me feel like pulling up a barstool and having a beer with him. Zane does. Strike three.

Now, I totally understand that the show isn't trying to be Three Sheets, and Kevin isn't trying to be Zane, but... Fran and I both came away feeling like we could have lived without watching the show. Which ain't the same feeling we get when we watch Three Sheets. We simply cannot get enough of Pleepleus and his human sidekick, Zane.

Speaking of... there's an incredibly good interview with Zane on, which lets us in on the wild and wacky Lamprey, including the origin of the show and his furry friend Pleepleus (apparently it started with his wife, naming their first born Pleepleus, a traveling companion, and secret messages). It's a must read if you're a fan!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

More Medical Misnomers: Beer is Bad for you!

You know the "great" thing about medical studies? They're almost always wrong. Kind of like weathermen. One month a study will say "so and so" (take your pick, it happens to virtually everything) is bad for you, the next they say "oh no, we were wrong, it's actually good for." Then it's back to being bad for you. WTF?! How did they become doctors again?

Case in point: beer (and pork rinds)!

According to a study of over 18,000 men conducted by Brainiacs at Harvard they found those who had an average of two drinks every single day, five to seven days a week mind you, had the LOWEST risk of heart attack. THE LOWEST! Additionally, some Smarty Pants at the University of Buffalo found that men who sucked that same amount of suds every day had lower levels of abdominal fat than those who had four drinks at a time, once or twice a week. LOWER!

HA! Is it a shock? Nope. I mean, look at how many decades the nutrition pyramid was WRONG. So go ahead, toss in a cold one or two into your daily diet. I know I am.

BREAKING NEWS! New Belgium Brewing is releasing their flagship beer, Fat Tire, in cans starting Monday. Denver and Ft. Collins will be the first to get them, followed by the rest of the state, then the country! *Big thanks to John "The Beer Hermit" Morrissey (the Foam on the Range beer ranger) for dropping me the 411 about this!


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sam Adam's Beer Lover's Choice

The 4th annual Samuel Adams Beer Lover's Choice program will soon be appearing at beer fests everywhere. This year's nominees are:

Samuel Adams Blackberry Witbier
Blackberry notes with a subtle spice character. A traditional witbier with orange peel and coriander, smacked with "a hint" of blackberry. Complex flavor with malt and cereal notes, intense spice and citrus flavors and a smooth, sweet/tart finish.

Man, my mouth is watering just thinking about this beer! I can already tell ya this is the one I'm voting for! Yup, I like fruit in my beer and I'm secure enough in my manhood to say it loud and proud. Not be a wuss and bend under "peer pressure" to say you like beers that are so hopped up it feels like a prison riot going on in your mouth. Ya, I'm talking to you boyo! ;)

Samuel Adams Coffee Stout
"Dry beaned" with coffee beans from Rwanda. This full-bodied stout is brewed with a special blend of roasted barley and dark crystal malt, aged for two weeks on whole coffee beans- ¾ of a pound per barrel. Has a rich roasty flavor with a smooth finish.

Then again I love stouts... and this sounds fantastic! Just not in the middle of the hot summer. I'm a seasonal beer drinker, and I wonder if chugging a thick, heavy stout in the heat will have a direct impact on who votes for what.

I'm looking forward to casting my vote since I'll be hitting up several beer fests in the next few months. So... which one are you voting for?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Beer contains female hormones! News @ 11!

Last month, scientists at the National University of Lesotho released the results of a recent analysis that revealed the presence of female hormones in beer.

Men should take a concerned look at their beer consumption.

The theory is that beer contains female hormones (hops contain phytoestrogens) and that by drinking enough beer, men turn into women. To test the theory, 100 men drank 8 pints of beer each within a 1 hour period. It was then observed that 100% of the test subjects:
  1. Argued over nothing.
  2. Refused to apologize when obviously wrong.
  3. Gained weight.
  4. Talked excessively without making sense.
  5. Became overly emotional.
  6. Couldn't drive.
  7. Failed to think rationally.
  8. Had to sit down while urinating.
No further testing was considered necessary.

*Thanks for passing this along to me Nay Nay!

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Global Warming Open

One of the many great things about the craft beer industry is this: it doesn't take itself too damn seriously. Case in point, the Great Lakes Brewing News tournaments. A few months ago they held an NCAA "March Madness" styled tournament involving IPAs. Pale Ales from around the country were randomly picked to go heads up against each other, ala the March Madness brackets, for a final National IPA Champion. Users who visited their site and signed up could make their own bracket picks. It was pure genius. Since I unfortunately am not a genius I came in waaaay down near the bottom of the list.

Well, Great Lakes is back with another tournament -- the Global Warming Open! This one matches "refreshing summer beers against one another to determine the most refreshing beer in America." Now we're talking! As before, users can participate by picking the winners in each round. Go check out the brackets, sign up and make your predictions.

Think you can you beat the Mad Beer Man in a summertime throw down? I dare ya! No... I double dog dare ya! ;)

Weekend Brew Event Alert:

Bristol Brewing here in the Springs is having a small get-together for no particular reason on Saturday. Gotta love the BB Gang! Join 'em from 3pm - 5pm for original music from local favorite John Stone!

Rocky Mountain Brewery (625 Paonia St., Colorado Springs, just off Powers Blvd. near Platte -- the location of the defunct Blick's Brewery) is having their "official" unveiling Saturday. I have no details, but swing by and check it out if you can!

Great Divide is having their 14th Anniversary party up at their newly expanded brewery in Denver Saturday from 2pm - 6pm. A ten spot (all of which is being donated to charity) will get you beer, BBQ and live music from three different bands. Check out the 411 here!

Have a great weekend all!


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Mojo + AOL + SoCoBX = no time!

The old adage "I bit off more than I could chew" is one I'm rather familiar with of late. You'll never hear me say "I drank more beer than I could swallow," but the chewing thing... ya. At least metaphorically speaking.

So what's with all the gibberish in the title? Mojo refers to my weekly Beer Bucket List column I write for Mojo 135, which I'm having a ball with. AOL = the two video game websites (Massively and Big Download) that I write for - daily. But what the hell is SoCoBX?

Weeeeellll... that's my latest gig. Like I had nothing else to do, right? SoCoBX is a cute lil acronym I came up with for Southern Colorado Beer Examiner. As of yesterday, I'm the new SoCoBX - a place where I get to rant and rave specifically about Colorado beer. What better place to be a beer writer than in the Napa Valley of the Beer World, right?

All of that = no time to write here. At least for the moment. I'm in the midst of getting a schedule down so I get in a nice comfortable routine... a nirvana where I have time to play video games, drink beer and write about both of them! Bwaaaaaaaaahahaha!

Oh ya, and I'm working on a new website design. So if anyone out there in the great vastness of the Interweb has some mad HTML skillz they'd like to contribute -- give me a shout.

Please be patient and hang with me during this process. I promise it will be worth the wait!