Sunday, November 30, 2008

De Proef-Bell's Collaboration Announcement

Bell's Brewery named as partner for 2009 De Proef Brewmaster's Collaboration Series

Seattle, WA December 1, 2008 - SBS Imports of Seattle, Washington is pleased to announce that Bell's Brewery has agreed to be the 2009 partner for the latest brew in the De Proef Brewmaster's Collaboration Series. The yet to be designed beer will be brewed in March at De Proef in Lochristi, Belgium and released to the USA market in September 2009.

The initial beer in the series was Signature Ale - originally brewed in 2007 with Tomme Arthur of Port Brewing/Lost Abbey. Jason Perkins of Allagash collaborated in 2008 on Les Deux Brasseurs. Both beers have been exceptionally well-received by beer enthusiasts.

"Each year it is my pleasure to invite a noted American brewer to
participate in this series," noted SBS Founder Alan Shapiro. "I am thrilled that John Mallet & Bell's have agreed to be the 2009 partner."

"I am really looking forward to this project," added Bell's Production
Manager, John Mallet. "I have several family ties to the area which makes
this invite to brew with Dirk Naudts at De Proef even more special."

Bell's Brewery of Kalamazoo, MI is one of the most highly regarded and
creative breweries in the country, known for its bold, unfiltered,
bottle-conditioned beers. Since its founding in 1983 by Larry Bell it has
garnered numerous medals and accolades. Its 2007 production of over 90,000
barrels ranked it among the top 15 of American craft breweries. More
information on Bell's is available at

De Proef Brouwerij of Lochristi, Belgium was created in 1996 by highly
regarded brewing engineer and professor, Dirk Naudts. The ultra-scientific brewery blends modern equipment and technologies with both traditional and new world brewing techniques. SBS imports a unique range of beers from De Proef under the De Proef Brewmaster's Collection branding.

SBS Imports was created in 2002 by specialty beer industry veteran Alan
Shapiro. In addition to the DeProef brands, SBS represents Aspall Cyders
from Suffolk, England and Batemans beers from Wainfleet, England. More information on the SBS portfolio is available at

Friday, November 28, 2008

Flying Dog Beverage Stimulus Package

Were you one of those really "dedicated" (aka crazy) Christmas shoppers waiting in line this morning... just raring to run over anyone who got in your way for that supercallafragalisticlly priced "Black Friday" gift?

Well... hope ya had fun. If you're a beer geek, or looking for a sweet gift for a beer geek in your life... you didn't have to get up early. If fact, you didn't even have to leave the house.

WTF?! How is that possible?!

Introducing the “Flying Dog Beverage Stimulus Package”

All day today (Black Friday, November 28) Flying Dog Brewery is giving everyone 33% off at their online store (! Shop their site leisurely from the comfy confines of your home, suckin' down some morning after java in your PJs. When you're ready to check out use the discount code BEERDRINKERBAILOUT and you'll save 1/3 on everything from pint glass sets to T-shirts to cute women’s hoodies. Beer is not included 'cuz it’s completely illegal, but every other bit o' Flying Dog swag is eligible!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

13th annual Holiday Ale Festival

Are you "ale-ing" for a good time? If so... here's a possible cure!

The 13th annual Holiday Ale Festival will take place December 4 - 7 at
Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland. Yes, December can be nasty in the Great Northwest -- dark, cold and wet, but don't let that stop you because everyone will stay nice and toasty (and dry!) under the heated tents! Hey, Oregonians know how to party!

There will be more than 40 specialty and vintage beers from around the country, all of which have been brewed specifically to bring warmth and cheer to the holiday season. Each beer is uniquely crafted for the festival and can't be tasted outside the celebration. DOH! Take a look at the list of beers that will be on tap and you'll instantly turn Grinch green with envy! Oh man I wish I could go!!!

As readers of this blog know, I love me some Widmer. Their Hefeweizen was my first sortie into the craft beer bunker waaaay back in the day, so I'm pretty much a sucka for all their brews. Well, those of you lucky enough to be going can expect to taste a delicious holiday-inspired brew from Widmer in the form of the recently concocted Babushka's Secret, a Black Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout with an ABV of 9.0%. I WANT SOME OF THIS... NOW!!!!! How can I get some?!

Admission into the festival is free, but if you want to taste beers... well, you're gonna have to pony(keg) up some dough (or would that be yeast?). To actually taste brew you have to purchase a $20 tasting package. Not bad considering you get a souvenir mug and 10 beer tickets. Additional tickets can be purchased for $1 each. Ouch. See, I'm not big on the whole "beer ticket" model at festivals. They're just.... meh.

But wait! There are various pour sizes and ticket amounts, so in scheme of things... not bad. A "taster" size pour at this festival is a whopping 4 ounces! Be warned: a few of the limited release and special tapping beers will require two tickets. You can get a full mug 'o beer (14 lushes ounces), but you'll have to drop four tickets, and some of the limited release and special tappings brewskis may not be available in full mug pours.

Ya, I want to go. I am super jealous of you Northwesters. Be sure to check out the Ale Festival website, there are tons of other things going on, including a sweet looking Sunday Belgian beer brunch.


I'm gonna go over in the corner now and throw a hissy fit. Screw the holiday spirit... ya lucky bastiches. :P


Monday, November 24, 2008

Do u Beerdo?

Are you a Twitter Freak? How about a Beer Geek? If you answered "yes" to either of these questions then Beerdo is right up your alley.

Beer-who? No, Beerdo! And what exactly does Beerdo... do? It's a little Twitter "application" that allows you to quickly rate beers on the fly that get posted across the Twitterverse.

It's so easy even a... well, I was going to say child could do it, but that's a bad analogy. Let's just say it's so easy that a drunken monkey could do it. Simply type the name of the beer you want to rate, followed with your rating (1 - 5 exclamation points depending on how good or bad it is) to @beerdo, and ba-blam... a few seconds later your rating is Twitterized.

Here are a few examples:

  • @beerdo Widmer Snow Plow !!!!! = 5 stars for Snow Plow
  • @beerdo Lost Abbey Witch's Wit !!!! = 4 stars for Witch's Wit
  • @beerdo Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat !!! = 3 stars for the Leiny
  • @beerdo Sam Adams Light !! = 2 stars for Sam Adams Light
  • @beerdo MGD ! = 1 star for MGD

Do the right thing and join the beer review revolution! Check out Beerdo today!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pike Brewing Company releases wood-aged stout

Pike Brewing Company up in Seattle, Washington, is set to release Pike Entire Wood-Aged Stout on Monday, November 24, 2008.

Pike Entire is actually and interesting blend of three beers:
  • Pike's XXXXX Extra Stout, original gravity 10.73, 7.00% ABV
  • Pike's XXXXX Extra Stout aged 6+ months in oak Bourbon barrels
  • Imperial Stout, original gravity of 10.98, massive 12% ABV

The blend contains 42.7% barrel aged beer and weighs in at a heft 9.5% alcohol. According to the PR sheet, "the taste is complex with velvety malt tones, a coffee aroma, and a palate and finish of bitter chocolate."

The pale and crystal malts, along with roasted barley, is balanced by a heaping dose of Yakima Valley Willamette, Goldings and Columbus hops in the boil, then finished off with even more Willamette and Goldings. Topping it off "are the underlying wood tones perfumed by the caramel sweetness of wood-aged Kentucky Bourbon."

Right off the bat I can say I probably won't care much for this beer, not only because of the hops, but because of the Kentucky Bourbon. I'm not a fan of bourbon or whiskey. Not even a little bit. With that said... I wasn't expecting to like their Auld Acquaintance Happy Holiday Ale, and I was very wrong about that!

As I (and hopefully you as well) have learned... Pike Brewing is different. They don't just release a PR sheet, they release a history lesson. And they've done it again with Pike Entire. This beerstory lesson comes straight from the press release:

Until the 18th century, malt was "kilned" over wood fires making most beers dark brown or black, and contributing significantly to the pollution in cities like London. The use of coal allowed brewers a little more control, but it was not until coke, a bi-product of coal, was introduced as a fuel that pale malt could be made. Pale malt yielded more sugar than black malt.

Because the Thames was polluted, soft water was drawn from wells, ideal for dark beers, but yielding unpleasant flavor to black beers unless they were blended with the paler beers made by country brewers who had access to hard water. These country brewers also bought dark beers from London and aged them in large oak casks.

After aging they sold them back to the London brew pubs as highly desirable, "stale" (aged) beer. Home brew houses then began to blend the black, pale, and stale beers and the result became known as "three threads", a corruption of "three thirds."

Ralph Harwood's Bell Brewhouse, one of London's original common brewers, was the first to market an already blended beer to other pubs called "Entire". It is believed that he blended his own black beer with purchased pale and stale. Since it saved publicans the chore of blending their own three threads, it became an immediate success and the beer style of choice that was sold by London's train porters. Ultimately the style became known as Porter.

As brewing moved away from the brew pub to common brewers, Harwood's creation became London's great contribution to beer. As the British Empire expanded, "Porter," later known as "Stout Porter," then simply "Stout," became the world's most widely distributed beer style.

I love Pike Brewing! As much for their ability to teach us about beer's past as for the great beers they make in the present.

To keep with tradition, but also to make a distinctly American beer, Pike acquired oak Bourbon barrels in April 2008 and filled them full of Pike XXXXX Extra Stout to be blended back. Pike Head Brewer, Drew Cluley, says the beer is "complex and chocolaty with a great vanilla wood overtone."

Come Monday, November 24, Pike Entire will be released in 22 oz. bombers, complete with wax-dipped caps. It will have very limited availability at the Pike Pub and in select bottle shops, primarily in the Seattle area. Only a few quarter-barrels are being released for sale on draft. The Pike Pub will tap its one and only quarter-barrel of Pike Entire on Friday, November 28.

So if you want some... you better skedaddle to Seattle!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hoppy days are here again!

CSU's Brewing Science Class Partners with Odell Brewing on Third Brew

Thursday, November 13, students from Colorado State University's Brewing Science and Technology course gathered at Odell Brewing Company's Tap Room to celebrate the release of their class beer, Hoppy Days IPA. The class, along with Professor Jack Avens joined Doug Odell on October 25th to brew the beer on Odell Brewing's five barrel pilot system. Hoppy Days IPA is the third beer brewed at Odell Brewing by the CSU class which is now in its fourth year.

"This is a capstone event in the total course learning experience for these students, and it exemplifies the continuing cooperation of Odell Brewing Company in the education of students at Colorado State University," said Professor Jack Avens.

Hoppy Days IPA, an American style IPA, was first developed and brewed by the students in class at CSU on a ten gallon brewing system donated by Odell Brewing Co. The recipe for the ale, which features generous amounts of Columbus, Amarillo, and Centennial hops, was then modified to be brewed on Odell Brewing's pilot system.

Eli Kolodny, a student in the class and avid homebrewer said, "Brew days in lab and at Odell's were my favorite because they afforded us the opportunity to experience brewing on both a smaller and larger scale." Kolodny, who came up with the name Hoppy Days, will be a brewmaster for the class next semester.

Hoppy Days IPA will be available at Odell Brewing and at CSU's Ramskeller beginning November 14th.

What I want to know is this: where the hell were classes like this when I was in college?! HELLO!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Great Divide Brewing dines with AiX

AiX & Great Divide Brewing Company present... a tasting dinner!

When: Thursday, November 20, 2008

Four-course dinner pairing AiX's modern cuisine with the ales from Great Divide

AiX Restaurant (719 East 17th Ave., Denver, CO 80203)

$35 per person (excluding tax and 18% gratuity)

What's on the menu?
  • Ahi tartare marinated in sake vinaigrette with cucumber discs appetizer paired with Samurai Unfiltered Rice Ale
  • Mussels in a white wine garlic butter paired with Hades Belgian Style Ale
  • Braised pork carnita tacos with gouda paired with Hercules Double IPA
  • Grilled vegetable duck ragu with chorizo and duck confit paired with Hibernation Ale
  • House made chocolate truffles paired with Old Ruffian Barleywine
WOW! My taste buds are telling me to go!

As one might expect if you plan on going, don't just show up, you must call and make reservations (AiX at 303-831-1296.) A credit card is required when making the reservation and there is a 24-hour cancellation policy for this particular dinner. Seating is super limited, so call ASAP!

If you do go, be sure to let me know how it was!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

InBev finally gets Anheuser-Busch

Well, it's official. The jolly Belgian giant has snatched up Anheuser-Busch and scurried back up the hop stalk. Here's the official press release:

InBev (Euronext: INB) announced today that it has completed its acquisition of Anheuser-Busch (NYSE: BUD), following approval from shareholders of both companies. The combination creates the global leader in beer and one of the world’s top five consumer products companies. Under the terms of the merger agreement, all shares of Anheuser-Busch will be acquired for 70 USD per share in cash, for an aggregate of 52 billion USD.

Effective today, InBev has changed its name to Anheuser-Busch InBev to reflect the heritage and traditions of Anheuser-Busch. Starting November 20, 2008, the company will trade under the new ticker symbol ABI on the Euronext Brussels stock exchange. Anheuser-Busch has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev and will retain its current headquarters in St. Louis, MO. St. Louis will also become the North American headquarters for the combined company. The new Anheuser-Busch InBev is geographically diversified, benefiting from a balanced exposure to developed and developing markets. The company manages a portfolio of over 200 brands that includes global flagship brands Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s, fast growing multi-country brands like Leffe and Hoegaarden, and strong “local jewels” such as Bud Light, Skol, Brahma, Quilmes, Michelob, Harbin, Sedrin, Cass, Klinskoye, Sibirskaya Korona, Chernigivske, and Jupiler, among others.

Carlos Brito, CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev, said, “We are extremely pleased to announce the closing of this historic transaction. By bringing together these two great businesses, we have created a stronger, more competitive global company with a leading international brand portfolio and distribution network, and great potential for growth all over the world. We look forward to leveraging the operational and cultural strengths of both companies.

“Today also marks an important step towards achieving our shared dream of becoming the best beer company in a better world. Anheuser-Busch and InBev both have rich brewing traditions and a commitment to quality and integrity. We will succeed by celebrating and integrating both companies’ strong brands, heritages and values and by incorporating the best practices of both to create opportunities for all of our stakeholders worldwide."August A. Busch IV, President and CEO of Anheuser-Busch said, “By combining with InBev, we have created a first-class international consumer products company and, without a doubt, the premier global brewer. Together, we will achieve our goals far more effectively than either company could on its own.”


InBev has received all regulatory clearances required to be obtained in order to proceed with completion. Prior to completion, InBev reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") that permitted the completion of the acquisition provided that certain actions to address competition concerns relating to the combination of InBev USA’s sales of Labatt branded beer and Anheuser-Busch’s sales of beer in upstate New York are implemented following closing of the deal. The terms of the consent final judgment with the DOJ were filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on November 14, 2008.


Several management and board of director changes became effective today as a result of closing the transaction. Luiz Fernando Edmond, currently Zone President Latin America North and AmBev's Chief Executive Officer, becomes Zone President North America. Dave Peacock, who most recently served as Vice President of Marketing of Anheuser-Busch Incorporated and Chief Executive Officer of Wholesaler Equity Development Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc., becomes President of Anheuser-Busch.

Additionally, Joao Castro Neves becomes Zone President Latin America North and AmBev's Chief Executive Officer, and the incumbent Zone President for North America, Bernardo Pinto Paiva, has become Zone President Latin America South, replacing Joao.

The Board of Directors of the combined company will be comprised of the existing directors of the InBev Board and former Anheuser-Busch President and CEO August A. Busch IV.


Effective as of the close of trading yesterday, Anheuser-Busch common stock (NYSE: BUD) has ceased trading. Every shareholder of Anheuser-Busch common stock will receive 70 USD per share in cash. Anheuser-Busch’s shareholders holding through a broker or bank should receive information regarding their Anheuser-Busch common shares from the broker or bank.

InBev has appointed BNY Mellon Shareowner Services as paying agent in connection with the acquisition. Anheuser-Busch shareholders with any questions regarding the payment for their Anheuser-Busch common stock should contact BNY Mellon Shareowner Services at 1-888-213-0964 from within the U.S. and 1-201-683-6884 from outside the U.S. Additional information will be mailed to all Anheuser-Busch common shareholders as well.


Financing for the transaction was provided by a group of leading financial institutions. The lending group provided 45 billion USD in debt financing and 9.8 billion USD in equity bridge financing.

Dutch and French versions of this press release will be posted on as soon as possible.

About Anheuser-Busch InBev

Anheuser-Busch InBev is a publicly traded company based in Leuven, Belgium. It is the leading global brewer and one of the world's top five consumer products companies. A true consumer-centric, sales driven company, Anheuser-Busch InBev manages a portfolio of over 200 brands that includes global flagship brands Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s, fast growing multi-country Brands like Leffe and Hoegaarden, and strong "local jewels" such as Bud Light, Skol, Brahma, Quilmes, Michelob, Harbin, Sedrin, Cass, Klinskoye, Sibirskaya Korona, Chernigivske, and Jupiler, among others. In addition, the company owns a 50 percent share in Grupo Modelo, Mexico's leading brewer and owner of the global Corona brand, and a 27 percent share in China brewer Tsingtao, whose namesake beer brand is the country's best-selling premium beer. Anheuser-Busch InBev’s dedication to heritage and quality is rooted in brewing traditions that originate from the Den Hoorn brewery in Leuven, Belgium, dating back to 1366 and the pioneering spirit of the Anheuser & Co brewery, established in 1860 in St. Louis, USA. Geographically diversified with a balanced exposure to developed and developing markets, Anheuser-Busch InBev leverages the collective strengths of its 120,000 employees based in operations in over 30 countries across the world. The Company strives to be the Best Beer Company in a Better World. On a pro-forma basis for 2007, the combined company would have generated revenues of 26.4 billion euro.

So there you have it.

This merger will create one of the world’s top five consumer products companies. Now that the deal is done, I'd like to know what you think... so chime in!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pike packs the holidays into Auld Acquaintance

I received a 22 oz. bomber of Pike Brewing Company's Auld Acquaintance Happy Holiday Ale at the confessional last week. The official press release went like this:

Brewed as a perfect complement to holiday meals, the alcohol is a restrained 5% by volume with an original gravity of 1.052. In addition to generous batches of Yakima Valley Magnum, Willamette and East Kent Goldings hops, Auld Acquaintance is subtly seasoned with orange peel, coriander, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Our goal, then and now, is to brew a luxurious beer to be enjoyed with splendid winter fare, like hearty soups, cheeses, turkey, hams and joints of meat.

Considering this thing is full of hops from Yakima Valley, Willamette and East Kent I was expecting a massive hop storm.

Not... even... close.

Since I don't care to have my palate carpet bombed by hops, I didn't think I was going to dig this beer very much. Boy, was I wrong! I had some of this wonderful winter warmer the other night while we filmed the latest "Taste Buds" for Beer tap TV.

As you know... I'm not big on "formal" reviews. I never understood why anyone would care so much about the exact color a beer pours -- describing it in such exacting detail that you use adjectives and terminology that NO ONE UNDERSTANDS! Or that you could taste the slightest bit of something that's probably not even in the beer. Maybe I'm not SMRT enuff for that (there are lots of people who are), but most likely... I just don't care. It's good, bad, or not my type of beer. Pretty easy analysis when ya boil it all down. But then that's how I roll.

Anywho... I digress.

The beer poured nicely into my glass, and came to rest with a sweet head. I didn't smell or taste any hops. What I did taste was a soothing, tasty mix of orange peel (probably the most predominant taste, which comes at the end of the swig) coriander, cinnamon and nutmeg. I love it! Don't let all the hop hubbub fool ya... there's just enough of cannabis' cousin here to tame all the spices without going completely over the edge and making your mouth feel violated.

Pike's PR sheet says Auld Acquaintance is "festive and flavorful with subtle spices on the nose and palate that marry perfectly with holiday foods." That pretty much sums it up... complete with a nifty bow on top!

So if you can get a hold of this sensational seasonal... do so! I'm going to get in touch with our Pike peeps and beg for more.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oskar Blues releases Ten FIDY Imperial Stout

According to the PR release, Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, Colorado, has just released a small amount of its winter seasonal -- Ten FIDY Imperial Stout. The beer will be showing up in stores in Colorado, Southern California, Texas and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Limited amounts will reach other markets later this year.

That's pretty odd distribution if you ask me. I'll have to ask Marty Jones at Oskar's why it's so seemingly haphazard. Anywho... Ten FIDY is "an immensely rich imperial stout" that's raved about here in The Napa Valley of the Beer World and has won several honors and accolades: “Beer of the Year” by The Denver Post, “100 Rating” from, “This one puts the ‘A’ in ‘Holy Crap!’” exclcaims Beer Advocate Magazine, and “The biggest, baddest, boldest beer in a can” from Celebrator Beer News. Ya, it's good.

Verbatim from the PR sheet:

Ten FIDY is dramatically viscous and loaded with neck-deep flavors of chocolate, malt, coffee and oats. It’s the beer equivalent of a decadently rich milkshake made with malted milk balls and Heaven’s best chocolate ice cream. Ten FIDY is about 10% ABV and made with enormous amounts of two-row malts, chocolate malts, roasted barley, flaked oats and hops. Its huge-but-comforting flavors hide a hefty 98 IBUs that are deftly tucked underneath the beer’s blankets of malty goodness. The beer will retail for approximately $12 a fourpack.

Now that it's winter time here in the Rocky Mountains it's time to crack out the stouts and porters! A Ten FIDY sounds good right about now.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Beer Geeks & Foodies unite at Moylan's Brewery

Listen up all you beer lovin' foodies!

The Moylan's Brewery & Restaurant is hosting an event you can not miss. Sadly, I won't be able to make it this time around. It sure would be nice to to kick around in my old stompin' grounds. Anywho, for those of you who can make it, here's the info:

What: Join Moylan's Brewmaster Denise Jones for the 2nd Annual Brewmaster's Dinner (see the full menu below).

Thursday, November 13th at 7:00pm

Noonan's Bar and Grill, 2233 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur, CA 94939

Need to know: Reservations (required) are $79.00 a person and can be made by calling 415.464.8711 or visit the Noonan's Bar and Grill website.

Reception starts at 7:00 PM
A trio of hors d 'oeuvres will be dished out including poached white prawns with spicy tomato & pepper relish, dungeness crab crostinis with tarragon aioli, and smoked Point Reyes oysters. All served with Moylan's Extra Special Bitter.

Dinner begins at 7:30 PM
The menu includes:

Marinated Niman Ranch Tenderloin of Beef on a bed of arugula, fennel & orange with cilantro vinaigrette, served with Moylan's Oktoberfest Marzen

Banana Leaf Wrapped Pacific Rockfish in Adobo sauce with vegetable filled pasilla pepper & queso fresco served with Moylan's White Christmas Winter Lager

A little Wheat Ale & Lemon Granita to cleanse the palate...

Pan Roasted Quail filled with a dried cranberries, wild mushrooms& spinach, sauce Bernaise served with Moylan's IPA.

For dessert... walnut bread pudding with a malted barley caramel reduction served with three of Moylan's Ryan Sullivan Imperial Stout variations:
  • Bourbon Barrel
  • Espresso & Chocolate Infused
  • Fresh Raspberry
All that for a mere $79.00 a person?! My mouth is watering. Hmmm... I think I can get a round trip Southwest flight for about that. Maybe I will make it out there! ;)

For those who actually do attend I would love to hear how the dinner was, so please let me know!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pike Brewing Releases Auld Acquaintance Hoppy Holiday Ale

From Pike Brewing Company press release:

Seattle, Washington, November 2, 2008.

As Jack Frost approaches each year, King Gambrinus, dressed as Santa, introduces special ales meant especially for drinking with old friends that gather for good cheer.

According to the Association of Brewer's who represent over 1400 microbreweries nationally, seasonal beer, and especially holiday beer, has become the most popular style of craft beer, outselling pale ale, wheat beer and other classic styles.

Pike first brewed Auld Acquaintance in 1990 and it was an immediate hit with customers. At the time, most American's were not familiar with seasonal beers. Each year Pike brews a limited amount, bottled in 22oz. bottles and on draft. Brewed as a perfect complement to holiday meals, the alcohol is a restrained 5% by volume with an original gravity of 1.052. In addition to generous batches of Yakima Valley Magnum, Willamette and East Kent Goldings hops, Auld Acquaintance is subtly seasoned with orange peel, coriander, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Our goal, then and now, is to brew a luxurious beer to be enjoyed with splendid winter fare, like hearty soups, cheeses, turkey, hams and joints of meat.

Pike Auld Acquaintance is now available at better stores, restaurants and, of course, at our own Pike Pub.

While this tradition is fairly new to American beer-bibers, the custom of brewing flavorful, spiced beer dates back well over a thousand years to what is now England. When the Vikings arrived, the Britons drank primarily megithin (mead), a brew of honey with spices (the origin of our word for medicine); cider from crab apples; perry from pears, and wine from grapes. Though there is evidence of cerevista (a beverage made from cereal) being brewed, it was a little known part of British life until the recipes for ales, the technique for cultivating and malting barley, and the art of brewing, were imported from the Middle East by the monasteries. The church did an exceptional job of promoting ale as an elixir superior to all other drinks. The Danes and Norwegians, at odds with the church about most things, agreed with them about their delicious strong malt liquor. Over a period of a couple of hundred years, the Danish word "Øl" (oyl) became the English word "Ale," a name for the drink as well as the festival where it was served. The Jüle or Yule winter festival had a long tradition before the Vikings and the monks. Jüle, introduced by the Celts, in honor of the sun god, promised a period of warmth and plenty.

As Britons converted to Christianity, the Jüle (Xmas) Ale became the most popular winter festival. Before the Norman Conquest the Scandinavians were uninvited guests at Christmas parties throughout the land. As time passed, many of them converted and turned their lives around. While the tradition of holiday beers nearly became extinct in The British Isles, Jüle Øl from Norway and Weinachts Bock from Bavaria never completely died out; but it is in America that the style grew dramatically to become an important part of every beer lover's calendar.

Notice anything different about this press release? That's right, it's filled with beer history! Not the superficial kind either, this is like going to history class and getting some cool, useful knowledge dropped on ya. How freakin' cool is that?! Long time readers of my blog should know that learning new tidbits about the history of beer is just as exciting as drinking a new beer for me. Heck, my very first post here was all about how beer has shaped the world we live in.

But that's how Pike Brewing Company rolls. They love to spill knowledge. Go to their website and click on the "Brewery" link on the main page; then click on the "history" link. What you'll find is six detailed pages of how Pike Brewing Company and its illustrious owner, Charles Finkel, was born. Does that name sound familiar? It should. Charles Finkel is a legend in the craft beer world. He not only created Pike and Merchant du Vin, but has been involved with many famous breweries and people, and has quite literally helped shape the craft beer industry in the United States.

Don Russell (aka Joe Sixpack) wrote an article about Charles in the July/August '07 issue of Draft Magazine where he says, "You can't understate the impact of his quest." He goes on to say that "The exotic flavors of Merchant do Vin import's later influenced a whole generation of craft brewers." The man who started out as a wine merchant shaped the American craft beer scene. Cheers to Charles and all that he's done!

With that... stay tuned for some "Mad Beer Man" style reviews of Pike Brewing beers coming soon, here and on Beer Tap TV.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Save Three Sheets!

The high definition cable channel MOJO HD will close up shop on December 1. MOJO as you know is the home of my much beloved show, Three Sheets, with "host" Pleepleus and his constant companion (and "co-host") Zane Lamprey.

But all is not lost. Not yet anways... and that's why Zane and Pleepleus need your help! It would seem the most likely place for Three Sheets to end up is over on the Travel Channel. Zane has put out a call to all 3S fans to head over to the Travel Channel forums and besiege them with posts saying how stupid it would be for them NOT to pick up and continue the global pub crawl!

According to Zane's MySpace page they've already filmed 15 episodes (with 5 more in the works) for the as yet unaired Season 4!

Zane loves his job. Fran and I love watching Zane love his job. Most of all... we love Pleepleus! Don't let this magnificent show fade away. SAVE THREE SHEETS NOW!