Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Like a pig in slop

Ten years ago, I was the brewer for the Manayunk Brewing Company, a brewpub in Philadelphia, PA.

Harry, the owner, would vacation in the islands.

During one of his trips, he was drinking at a bar that had penned a pig on its premises. The employees would feed the pig unopened cans of beer. The pig would break open the cans and slop up the beer.

Returning to Manayunk, Harry announced that Philly itself should experience the joy of such a thing.

We protested, pointing out that there might be legal and community hurdles to mount.

Harry paused ... but only for a moment. "I can take care of the politicians," he said. "And if any of those animal-loving PETA do-gooders protest, we'll just slaughter the pig and have a barbecue!"

We prevailed, and Harry moved onto other things.

Thoughts on strong beer

Beer of greater than 9 or 10% seems to lose some of its essential beeriness. What it gains isn't a bad thing, and often is quite delicious.

But these strong beers should serve as accents and exclamation points to our standard beer menus, not as replacements.

Some beer-drinking sessions begin with a strong beer and then return to more alcoholicly pedestrian if not flavor-deprived fare for the remainder. The reverse is also practised, that is, sipping a strong beer afterwards, as a postprandial.

I would rather, as an example, finish the evening with ONE Aventinus Eisbock and wake the next day happy and clear-headed, than fill the evening with several Aventin(ae) and wake with a fuzzy head.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Old Dominion Beer Festival wrap-up

Clipper City owner Hugh Sisson
talking with Whole Foods (Arlington, VA) asst beer buyer.
Old Dominion Beer Festival, Friday, 23 June 2006.

See a few more festival pix

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Old Dominion Festival update

r to l: Tom Cizauskas, Territory Manager, Clipper City Brewing; Hugh Sisson, General Partner and founder, Clipper City Brewing
With the (yet) pending sale of Old Dominion Brewing, there have been a lot of rumors concerning the brewery, one of which has been about the future viability of its Festival. Here's a comment on that gossip, which I've re-posted from DC-Beer.

Date: Sat, 24 Jun 2006 09:13:45 -0500
From: "Gregg Wiggins"
Subject: [DC-Beer] RE: Future of OD Fest

Since this latest version of the rumor that there won't be another Old Dominion Beer Festival is getting very broad distribution I thought I should jump in and bring my notes from a conversation I had earlier this week with Terry Fife. I'm planning to mention this in my next MABN column, but because by the time that hits the bar counters this will be a month-old story I doubt I'll go into the subject as extensively as I will here.

After we both had a laugh that Jerry Bailey used to have to knock down this rumor every couple of years and now it was his turn, Terry told me the land on which the festival is being held this year has been sold as part of a larger plan. "They’re going to start development on it, probably, in August. But, nobody really knows when that particular field, they’re going to start on that," he told me. "It could be this year, it could be years from now". Terry doubts this will be the last
year at the current site because there are other parts of the land in question that would be more logical to build on first.

And, saying "but we'll always have one," the inevitable development will mean the festival would move, not end, according to Terry Fife. (ooh, good sentence, I think I'll have to use that one in the column) "There is a possibility this is the last year we’ll be able to have it there. It may not be right out in our backyard. But it’ll always be somewhere."

I'm not doing this to trash our friendly brewspaper competition, and I don't remember having seen the column or article that contained the statement about future festivals. But, frankly, if they wrote "will" instead of "might" on this, ASN got it wrong.

Old Dominion Beer Festival

The Old Dominon Beer Festival this year has been a soggy one.

Friday night, we were fortunate ... a storm threatened to occur but only brought cooling breezes and some drizzle later in the evening.

Saturday was a different story, as you tell from this happy reveller, enjoying the mud after a few good pours. But the two huge downpours, one in the afternoon and another early evening didn't seem to put too much of a damp-er (couldn't resist that pun) on attendees. We may have set a record at the Clipper City tent during the first cloudburst, when our firkin of Loose Cannon Hop^3 Ale was tapped and drained in 45 minutes!

Clipper City owner Hugh Sisson was with me Friday; head brewer Matt Saindon Saturday; today, Sales Manager Pat Helsel will be there.

It's raining heavily now (Sunday morning 8am) as I'm loading up the car to drive out to Ashburn. The forecast is 90% chance of rain through 1pm when it decreases to 40% with the possibility of thunderstorms. Ah, the wet life of beer!

I'll post more pictures tomorrow (even though my recent track record of blogging has been less than stalwart.)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Beer and Coffee (for men)

Yesterday results of a study were released which touted some healthy benefits - especially for men - of hops.

PORTLAND, Ore. - For many men, a finding by Oregon researchers sounds too good to be true: an ingredient in beer seems to help prevent prostate cancer, at least in lab experiments.

The trouble is you'd theoretically have to drink about 17 beers a day for any potential benefit. And no one's advising that.

Researchers at Oregon State University say that the compound xanthohumol, found in hops, inhibits a protein in the cells along the surface of the prostate gland. The protein acts like a switch that turns on a variety cancers, including prostate cancer.

Since industrial lagers contain a very small quantity of hops, maybe craft beers with their much greater hop content (sometimes on a magnitude of 10) do not have to be consumed in such huge quantities for the benefits described in the study.

In a truth-can-be-stranger-than-fiction coincidence, the following report was released at the same time:

Drinking coffee may shield the liver from the ravages of alcohol, according to a long-term study.

A study of more than 125,000 people found that the risk of developing alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver dropped with each cup of coffee they drank per day.

"Consuming coffee seems to have some protective benefits against alcoholic cirrhosis, and the more coffee a person consumes the less risk they seem to have of being hospitalized or dying of alcoholic cirrhosis," said Doctor Arthur Klatsky, an investigator with Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research and the lead author of the study.

Researchers found that people drinking one cup of coffee a day were, on average, 20 percent less likely to have alcoholic cirrhosis. For people drinking two or three cups the reduction was 40 percent, and for those drinking four or more cups of coffee a day the reduction in risk was 80 percent.

More on beer and health ... in moderation!