Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ain't the beer cold: Cheap Canned Beers Reviewed.

Fritz Hahn of the Going Out Gurus of the Washington Post tasted 6 cheap canned beers. Drank them. Rated them. And ...

... survived to write the story.

each individual beer had to cost less than $1, or no more than $6 a six-pack.

This was a blind tasting, with beers served in unmarked cups. Participants were asked to rate the beer on a scale of 1 to 5 on the overall taste -- this was relative, given the quality of beer -- and a separate score of 1 to 5 based on how refreshing the beer would feel on a hot summer day.

The entrants were Shaefer, Miller, National Bohemian, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Schlitz, and Bud Light.

Before we go any further, keep in mind that, even though American factory workers may have produced these beers, none of the breweries involved are independent.

In fact, Pabst does not even own a physical brewery; it exists merely as a marketing company —albeit,a clever one. The legacy brands of Shaefer, Schlitz, and, of course, PBR, are all brewed for Pabst by Miller.

Natty Boh (National Bohemian), many years ago was the pride of Baltimore. Now, however, it is brewed by Miller for Pabst in (gasp! hon!) Eden, North Carolina.

And Miller, itself, is owned by London-based South African Breweries (SAB) —and you're going to get dizzy now— which has merged its US operations with Molson (which owns Coors), and is called MolsonCoors.

Anheuser-Busch may still brew Bud Light, but the company was sold last year to Brazilian-Belgian conglomerate InBev, and is now called Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABIB).

I'm not saying anything, but ... I'm reminded of a Simpsons cartoon episode in which Barnie and Homer tour the Duff Brewery. They spy a pipe carrying beer into the bottling room from the fermentation cellar. There, it's split into a 3-way manifold, and bottled separately as Duff, Duff Light, Duff Dry.

The brave Going Out Gurus' decision?

At the back of the pack was Shaefer:
"Tasteless and slightly reminiscent of saliva."
Hey now!

The winner, so to speak, was National Bohemian. The last time I can claim to have tasted a Boh was 2001 at Sisson's, when the bottles were on the brewpub's guest list. I remember being very impressed ... impressed by the facility of a brewery (I believe at that time, a Texas location) to deliberately produce such a wretched beer.

Apparently, things have changed.
The surprise winner was Baltimore's own [not...see above] Natty Boh, which testers rated highest on flavor and third for refreshment. Some of the praise: "The best one -- actually tastes like beer!" "High carbonation and the most hops." "Zesty ... got a little more kick."

Yours For Good Fermentables.com can't be overly righteous. We were recently caught on camera guzzling a Corona ... from a bottle.

Good-Beer man busted ...
  • Baltimore Sun beer blog: reminiscences of past Natty Boh employers.
  • Is Baltimore a Beer Town: brief history of National Brewery in Baltimore.
  • During its long-past heyday, Shaefer had a commercial jingle that boasted that "Shafer is the one beer to have when you're having more than one."

Monday, June 29, 2009

Clamps & Gaskets: Roundup for Week 25

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly wrap-upClamps and Gaskets is a weekly wrap-up of stories that I have not posted at Yours For Good Fermentables.com, but that, nevertheless, I find interesting or germane.

Most are concerned with beer, or wine, or whisk(e)y. Some are not. But all are brief. And many are re-posts from my Twitter account: twitter.com/cizauskas.

This is Week 25:
21 June - 27 June 2009

  • 2009.06.26
    Jazz bassist Christian McBride poignantly remembers Michael Jackson: http://bit.ly/4X5gP

  • 2009.06.26
    ""#FollowFriday is the identifying hashmark from users of Twitter when they recommend other Twitter users (Tweeps). And, of course, these are posted on Fridays. Mine today: @stljmac: news from the 'big-boy' beer world. @Cfahooligan: Unvarnished beer views from the 'other' @BeerAdvocate. http://bit.ly/Go2k8

  • 2009.06.26
    Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, & Michael Jackson: St. Peter's 'green room' will be much more interesting than David Letterman's. [Via Twitter user @ccRytr.]

  • 2009.06.26
    One reason why Anheuser-Busch distributors have been buying craftbeer wholesalers. ABIB has floated a trial balloon about closing and/or consolidating many of its 600 distributors ... and DIRECTLY distributing. http://bit.ly/14fBW9

  • 2009.06.26
    Comprehensive list of summer US beer festivals. At AboutBeer.com http://bit.ly/Ll00W

  • Heavy Seas Big DIPA

  • 2009.06.26
    105-Minute Ale? No! It's Heavy Seas The Big DIPA (10.5% abv double India Pale Ale) Pre-release bottle review: http://bit.ly/vyjr8

  • 2009.06.26
    I checked yesterday's visits to MY blog http://www.yfgf.us. 62 hits were mistaken identity searches (Michael Jackson, the beer writer) for Michael Jackson (the pop singer).

  • 2009.06.25
    Twitter and other sites slow or fail under crush of news about Michael Jackson's death. http://bit.ly/14wct8

  • 2009.06.25
    It was wedding appetizer food: a so-so review of SAVOR national beer & food exposition. http://tr.im/pD54

  • 2009.06.25
    Cyclists drink good beer. And stay fit. http://tr.im/pIHp

  • Cask Pour 1

  • 2009.06.25
    I'm compiling annual cask ale production volume in US. Please contact me. http://bit.ly/kTDP3

  • 2009.06.25
    From the WTF department: Feeding rendered feedlot cow to fish in fish farms http://bit.ly/3HnahB

  • 2009.06.25
    1959. The greatest ... year ... for jazz ... ever? 6+ classic albums re-released as Legacy Editions. http://bit.ly/fj9uj

  • 2009.06.24
    A Beer, Please, and a (Good) Menu. Why is it so often either good beer & bad food, or good food & bad beer. But NOT good food AND good beer. From the NY Times: http://bit.ly/3W7Yzc

  • 2009.06.24
    I'm writing a blog post on the 12 MUST FOLLOW beer Twitter-ers. Please email me with your suggestions, and why: http://www.YoursForGoodFermentables.com.

  • 2009.06.24
    No GMOs allowed! The 2009 National Organic Homebrew Competiton: October 1-10, 2009. Details at 7 Bridges Cooperative: http://bit.ly/9eI2Q

  • 2009.06.24
    An interview with John Wampler, brewmaster for Legend Brewing Company of Richmond, Virginia. http://bit.ly/xyoYU

  • 2009.06.24
    From National Public Radio: S.C. Governor Sanford was in Argentina: http://tinyurl.com/kwu3kt Comment from @bruisinales: What?? Didn't know the Appalachian Trail was that long!

  • 2009.06.24
    A brief explanation of the US 3-tier system of alcohol distribution: http://bit.ly/F45j8

  • 2009.06.23
    Washington DC's historic Eastern Market officially re-opens on Friday June 26, 2009. open celebration Saturday, June 27. http://bit.ly/19X34e

  • 2009.06.23
    Blue & Gray Brewery in Fredericksburg, Va. is TEMPORARILY closing during its move to better digs. http://bit.ly/wfXJY

  • 2009.06.23
    Ed McMahon has died. http://bit.ly/913Xw

  • 2009.06.23
    A study by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found NO significant link between beer drinking and a beer belly. It's the foods you eat when drinking, and lack of exercise ... of course! http://tinyurl.com/mnj9y4

  • 2009.06.23
    Amazon imposes UNWRITTEN DRM restrictions on Kindle eReader. http://tinyurl.com/l59tk6 [No such problems with eReader eBooks.]

  • 2009.06.22
    Breaking News: Two dead, 55 injured in Washington, DC Metro Red Line train crash between the Fort Totten and Takoma stations. [Nine passengers would eventually die, in the Metro system's worst disaster.] http://bit.ly/XeDZ2

  • 2009.06.21
    Happy Summer Solstice! It's all downhill after today -fewer daylight hours, that is.

The NovaBrewFest Crowd
Last week's Clamps and Gaskets round-up was delayed. I had been in Leesburg, Virginia at the Northern Virginia Summer Brewfest, doing cellarman duties. [Photos here.] So, in anticipation of future delays, I'll be moving publication of Clamps and Gaskets to Mondays.

The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by NotionsCapital.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cask Lineup at NoVa BrewFest

The weather-folk are saying that storms on Friday should clean out the air. Saturday will be sunny, less humid, and with temperatures in the low 90s. Sunday should be the same, but with a few more clouds.

That sounds like ideal summer beer festival weather... for the Northern Virginia Summer Brewfest in Leesburg, Virginia.

Northern Virginia Summer Brewfest

'A Celebration of American Beer' will be held at Morven Park in Leesburg, VA, from 11am-9pm Saturday, and 11am-7pm Sunday. The BrewFest will feature over 50 of America’s best breweries, a variety of food to complement the craft beers, and great Virginia local and regional bands to entertain you.

Admission tickets for the BrewFest purchased on the day of the event will be $25 for a sa
mpling ticket. Admission tickets are available prior to the opening of the event for $20.

For the first time, the festival will feature casks from several breweries in addition to the very large choice of kegged beer.

Here's the cask ale lineup:
  • Allagash (Maine): Cureiuex (Jim Beam-aged Triple); Black (Belgian-style stout)
  • Bells (Michigan): Oberon
  • Brooklyn (New York): Blast! (double India Pale Ale)
  • Clipper City (Maryland): Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale (double India Pale Ale)
  • Dogfish Head (Delaware): tbd
  • Duck Rabbit (North Carolina): tbd
  • Flying Dog (Maryland): Gonzo Imperial Porter
The firkins from Flying Dog and the Clipper City will be served via handpumps.

Fair Dinkum!
  • More on the festival from Musings over a Pint: lineup and shuttle bus.
  • Festival website: novabrewfest.com
  • If you're Tweeting at the fest, please use hashtag #novabrewfest. For Flickr, TwitPic, etc., please use NovaBrewFest as a tag.
UPDATE: photos from day one now posted.

VeggieDag Thursday: Chilled Pea Soup

A bowl of Chilled Pea Soup —paired with a cold draught Wolaver's Organic Brown Ale— was just the right meal and tonic for a warm June afternoon.

Chilled (but not ice-cold), thickened simply from the purée (but not unctuously so), highlighted with yogurt, and accented with pine nuts and fresh dill. The Brown Ale picked up on the toasted notes of the pignoli.

Chilled Pea Soup

Served yesterday at Vermilion Restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia; created by Chef Anthony Chittum, who graciously shared the recipe.

Ingredients
  • 4 cups English peas, shelled
  • 1 cups pea shoots
  • 2 TBS mint, roughly chopped
  • 1 TBS pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 TBS fresh dill,chopped
  • 2 TBS Greek yogurt
  • 3 garlic cloves, roasted
  • s & p, to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • 2 cups ice
  • 1 cup water

Method of Preparation
  • Bring large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Add peas and cook until soft …transfer to ice bath and chill.
  • Repeat this process with the pea shoots and mint.
  • Remove pea shoots and mint from the ice bath and rough chop.
  • Remove peas from water & place in blender with blanched mint, shoots, roasted garlic, s&p, ice and enough water to make a soup consistency.
  • Puree on high speed until very smooth.
  • Mix the pine nuts, dill and olive oil in a small mixing bowl.
  • Divide the soup among four soup bowls.
  • Spoon in the olive oil mix into the center of each bowl of soup.
  • Drizzle with the yogurt and serve immediately.
************************
Thursdays at Yours For Good Fermentables.com are meatless Thursdays —as inspired by VeggieDag in Ghent, Belgium.
Tom Balthazar [mayor of Ghent, Belgium] has officially declared Thursday meatless in his city of nearly a quarter million people. In an effort to make the connection between meat consumption and greenhouse gases (18 percent of which come from livestock production), Balthazar has asked his fellow civil servants to abstain from meat every Thursday.
Kim O'Donnel
Mighty Appetite
Washingtonpost.com
  • Keeping with the 'good fermentables' aspect, I'll often inveigle beer or wine (or spirits) into VeggieDag.
  • Submissions are welcome from chefs, homecooks, food writers, etc.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Dirty Dozen: The Best of Beer on Twitter

I am composing a blog post on the essential dozen Twitter-ers of beer.

I'd like your help.

If you're on Twitter, and have a candidate (and it could even be you), leave a comment below or email me. Obviously give me the @Twitter name, but also the reason(s) why this person should be followed on Twitter.

For instance, a candidate might post about the place in which they live, but they should also post about the beer world in general. Likewise, any one area of expertise would be a qualification, but more so would be an interest in several topics of beer.

And: Links to interesting stories should outnumber unconnected replies to unknown Tweets. Links to one's own blog should be only occasional. Clarity of composition preferred.

As an example, see this suggested list of wine's top Twittering dozen.

Mark Moynihan: A brother-in-beer passes away.

There are heroes in our brewing world, many of whom many of us will never know. But, behind the scenes, these unheralded folk do great work creating and bringing us our beers.

And sometimes they do more —much more— than that.

Around 10:00am on Friday, April 10 2009, Mark D. Moynihan was preparing to do a welding job inside a brewery vat at Calhoun's in Knoxville. While inside the vat he told others he was having a hard time breathing in the confined space. Someone opened a valve to pump oxygen into the cooler for him, and when Mark sparked the torch, it immediately exploded. Mark was able to climb out of the 18 inch opening where others extinguished the flames.

Mark was transported to UT Medical Center in Knoxville, where he was initiallyMark Moynihan assessed and the determination was made to transport him immediately to the burn unit at Vanderbilt Medical Center. Due to severe weather, the medical helicopters were grounded and he had to be transported via ambulance. During transit, there were severe thunderstorms and 6 tornadoes touched down in the path from Knoxville to Nashville. He arrived at Vanderbilt around 2:30pm CST, with family members arriving from various directions shortly after.

Dr Guy assessed Mark upon arrival and began him on hydrotherapy preparing him for surgery. He met with us at that time and gave us the report none of us were prepared to hear. Mark has third degree burns on 98% of his body.


After fighting what must have been an excruciatingly painful battle, Mark Moynihan —homebrewer and good beer partisan— passed away yesterday, 23 June 2009.

I never knew Mark personally, but I came to know him through the wonderful, loving blog his brother-in-law wrote. My condolences to Mark's family, and to all who knew this courageous man. All of us have a lost a brother-in-beer.

Read more at Mark's Marathon.

This can be a cautionary tale. Governmental safety watchdogs and their regulations —as officious and burdensome as they may occasionally be— exist to forestall tragedy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

So you want to to open a brewpub?

Bill Madden is a doyen of brewers in the Washington, D.C. area. For the past 14 years, he has brewed at other people's breweries.

Now, he's planning to open his own —Mad Fox Brewing Company— a brewpub in Falls Church, Virginia. Beer blogger HolzBrew recently interviewed him.

Brewer Bill Madden

Among the questions and answers, there are these exchanges that could be illustrative for anyone else who might wish to open their own brewpub:

Talk with someone who has business acumen
a great friend of mine and current business partner, Rick Garvin, started to mentor me on how to go about developing a business.
Have the time.
We would talk and then I would be given a task list to go out and work on and then I would get busy with a beer festival or some other distraction. The business took longer and longer to develop.
Have the experience
Rick has started numerous businesses over the years and I have helped in the opening or restarting of 7 brewpubs in the area
Seeding the finances is, obviously, ultimately critical
Rick put up startup capital and he has been instrumental in helping me to deal with the startup business issues. [Even lowballing the rent per square foot in Falls Church at $25, the rent check for the 8,000 square foot location would be a hefty $200,000 per year. That's a lot o'beer! ]
A brewpub is a restaurant first, brewery second
I have a number of consultants from investors who are successful local restaurateurs


The beers will be similar to those Madden brews now at Vintage 50 in Leesburg, Virginia, and to those he has brewed for other breweries in the Washington, D.C. area over the past 14 years. He has won several medals for his Kölsch and his Wee Heavy.

As to the food, Madden states that much will be locally sourced, and that the primary menu emphasis will be on pizza.
There are great pizza places in this town and there are great beer places but no one to date has put the two together. [Since there are some good-pizza-good-beer spots in the DC area, I think that Madden is referring to a dearth of DC area brewpubs specializing in pizza.]

Madden concedes that planning for a November 2009 opening might be overly sanguine, but he is confident that Mad Fox will be operating by the first quarter of 2010. [UPDATE: The latter projection seems on target, as reported in the Falls Church News-Press on 20 August 2009.]

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Clamps & Gaskets: Roundup for Week 24

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly wrap-upClamps and Gaskets is a weekly wrap-up of stories that I have not posted at Yours For Good Fermentables.com, but that, nevertheless, I find interesting or germane.

Most are concerned with beer, or wine, or whisk(e)y. Some are not. But all are brief. And many are re-posts from my Twitter account: twitter.com/cizauskas.

This is Week 24:
14 June - 20 June 2009

  • 2009.06.20
    NOT $4.8 billion but $421 mil. A New Zealand government study grossly (deliberately) exaggerated the social cost of illegal drug & alcohol abuse. http://bit.ly/7mrpv

  • 2009.06.20
    The flavor of autolyzed yeast cells creates the 'toasty' flavor of better Champagnes and sparking wines. But only certain grapes work well with those flavors. From the NY Times. http://bit.ly/Go2k8

  • 2009.06.19
    In brewing, the difference between a mash filter and a mash press. Read the comments. http://bit.ly/shR8n

  • 2009.06.19
    Want to balance the Federal budget? End the 'War on Drugs.' Via Lew Bryson: http://bit.ly/2yzeaL

  • 2009.06.19
    End of an era in Washington, D.C. Long-time supermarket local Magruders closes. Llewellyn King (WAMU.org) laments the demise of locally based businesses. http://bit.ly/iY7YD

  • 2009.06.19
    New York state-based Wegmans Markets continues its march into northern Virginia. A Fredericksburg, Virginia Wegmans opens at 7 am on Sunday. http://sn.im/wf621

  • 2009.06.19
    From the Washington City Paper, Young & Hungry's choices for the Best Washington, D.C. area restaurants. http://bit.ly/iiGXK

  • 2009.06.19
    Sad news. Legendary TV newsman Walter Cronkite is gravely ill: http://tr.im/p2X2

  • 2009.06.19
    From the Harvard School of Public Health: Eating meat ONLY once a week eliminates MOST of the risk of associated cancer and heart disease. http://bit.ly/nkLJ6

  • 2009.06.19
    #FollowFriday is a list of recommendations of interesting Twitter-ers. Mine today: @stljmac (observations on the macro-beer world); @laurbuzz (beer observations from the wine world)

  • 2009.06.19
    From WWII Britain: a philosophical exposition of the function of a pub. http://bit.ly/f8BBO

  • 2009.06.19
    Three new expressions for Highland Park whisky (Scotland), a personal favorite. In the fall, Highland Park 1964 and 1968. A 50 year old to be released early 2010. Via Twitter @JohnHansell

  • 2009.06.18
    Congratulations! 1st 'high gravity' beer dinner EVER in Alabama. Beer alcohol limit recently overturned. http://bit.ly/CvSgS

  • 2009.06.18
    Good news on brewing pioneer Jack McAuliffe. He's out of rehab, out of the hospital, and on the mend. http://bit.ly/CvSgS

  • 2009.06.18
    Cask ale has arrived on a permanent basis in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Frederickburg Pub is bringing in guest firkins. http://bit.ly/19zOuO

  • 2009.06.18
    What's the 5th ingredient in beer? With malt, hops, yeast, water, it's wooden barrels. So says Matt Brynildson, brewmaster for Firestone Walker, as reported by @macgruffus at the National Convention of the American Homebrew Association.

  • 2009.06.18
    The film Food, Inc. has begun airing in the Washington D.C. area. Washingtonian Magazine reviews it here: http://bit.ly/2GJxk4

  • 2009.06.18
    The bop has stopped for JazzTimes. The long-time jazz publication has 'suspended' publication. http://bit.ly/13DzhZ

  • 2009.06.18
    A Morgan-Stanley study shows that the recession is challenging U.S. beer industry, and more so, imported beer. http://bit.ly/liZxK

  • 2009.06.18
    Brewers and the growing global fresh water scarcity. What's the 'water footprint'? From the Washington Post: http://bit.ly/fW5fP

  • 2009.06.17
    The World Beer Festival travels to Richmond on 29 August. NO beer lineup listed yet. http://bit.ly/96yqG

  • 2009.06.17
    "To get the most out of your beer, you need to put a little effort into it." The Chicago Tribune positively reviews Randy Mosher's new book - "Tasting Beer." http://bit.ly/BJJtr

  • Rosé Chateau la Calisse 2007

  • 2009.06.17
    The difference- in technique and in flavor- between 'bled' rosé and saignee rosé. At the Washington Post, with reviews of various rosés. http://bit.ly/Pv7LX

  • 2009.06.17
    Notions Capitol 'Blogs with Bite' calls PigTown Pigout, a visually vibrant Baltimore, Md. foodie blog. http://bit.ly/N21VW

  • 2009.06.17
    British beer historian, Ron pattinson, reviews the new edition of Tim Webb's Good Beer Guide, and finds it ... good. http://bit.ly/4BPwA

  • 2009.06.17
    British beer historian, Ron Pattinson, reviews the new edition of Tim Webb's Good Beer Guide, and finds it ... good. http://bit.ly/4BPwA

  • 2009.06.17
    Bob Bogle, lead guitarist & co-founder of The Ventures, has died. He inspired guitarists to “Walk, Don’t Run.” http://bit.ly/NI9vk

  • 2009.06.17
    Christiane Amanpour's photos of the Iran post-election protests: http://bit.ly/5gwW0

  • 2009.06.17
    BeerAdvocate.com: The good, the bad, the ugly ... and its importance. Review by A Good Beer Blog. http://bit.ly/cep9R

  • 2009.06.16
    Food chemist says to soak meats in beer, before grilling, to reduce cancer-causing HCAs. http://bit.ly/cHWFG

  • 2009.06.16
    CNN reports that the US State Department had asked Twitter to CANCEL downtime maintenance in order to keep information flowing from Iran during the post-election protests. http://bit.ly/c48Ki

  • 2009.06.16
    The Voice of America boosts its service to Iran to fight jamming, like a game of electronic cat and mouse. http://tr.im/oJjh

  • 2009.06.16
    1,460 beer haiku! and counting! BeerHaikuDaily.com is 4 years old today: http://cli.gs/GdW56V

  • Roasted Asparagus

  • 2009.06.16
    Pairing asparagus with beer: a chef's opinion. http://bit.ly/16ngFJ

  • 2009.06.15
    Nanobreweries: By drinking local beer, one can contribute to a greater sense of community, AND promote green and sustainable business. http://bit.ly/yK6ND

  • 2009.06.15
    The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee said that the committee is "concerned about unfair penalties on small businesses.” The implication is that it will NOT propose increases in beer excise taxes. http://bit.ly/ijixr

  • 2009.06.15
    An on-line interview with Mike Gerhart, past brewer at Dogfish Head, now brewmaster for Otter Creek Brewing in Vermont. http://bit.ly/3Pque

  • 2009.06.15
    Albemarle CiderWorks, a new Virginia cidery, is slated to open in mid-July,located just south of Charlottesville, Virginia. http://www.albemarleciderworks.com/

  • 2009.06.15
    Jazz & beer are natural friends. 'Summery' beers (inclunding stout) are paired with jazz LPs, er, mp3s. From NPR and the Washington City Paper. http://bit.ly/ONz0l

  • 2009.06.15
    Cask-a-looza! The Northern Virginia Summer Brewfest to have cask beers, among others, from Allagash, Brooklyn, Clipper City, and Flying Dog. http://tinyurl.com/mfx5fp

  • 2009.06.15
    Hugh Hopper, the bassist for the 1960s/70s jazz-rock band Soft Machine,has passed away: http://bit.ly/MnYFs

  • 2009.06.14
    Happy Flag Day! From Brookston Beer Bulletin: Beer In Art #32. http://bit.ly/wnsM2

  • 2009.06.14
    Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic reports on purported OPPOSITE results of the Iran election. http://tiny.cc/8K4qK

  • 2009.06.14
    Amazing times. Israeli Prie Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepts a limited Palestinian state. First, it must demilitarize and recognize Israel. http://tinyurl.com/nphjr3

  • 2009.06.14
    "Brewpubs are restaurants first, breweries second" FullSteam Brewery -to offer "Southern experimental beers'- signs lease in Durham, NC. http://bit.ly/2lB3B3

  • 2009.06.14
    Sunscreen: Summer reading from the Washington Post Book World (which is at least for this issue again a separate section). http://bit.ly/PqqwB

  • 2009.06.14
    "Could someone please throw a shoe at Ahmadinejad? What a smirking, lying little putz." http://is.gd/11i9t

  • 2009.06.14
    NPR News reports that Iran shut down text messaging but forgot about Twitter: 2nd Day Of Protests Over Ahmadinejad's Win http://tinyurl.com/mtphky


The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by NotionsCapital.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

So you want to open a bar?

So you want to open a bar?

Apply pockets of indebted money, gobs of time, catch-22 frustrations ... and inspired lunacy.

Julia Battaglini owns a wine/beer/cheese shop in the Careytown district of Richmond, Virginia. For nearly two years, she's been transforming the old building next door into a shiny-new wine bar.River City Cellars

The first year was background: financing, and permits, and paying rent on an empty building. Now, she's demolishing, rehabbing, remodeling, re-doing.

Follow along with Julia's adventures at the shop's eponymous blog: River City Cellars. She recounts the saga: sometimes hilarious, sometimes frustrating, sometimes small victories.

Such as just this past Friday when she exultantly broke through the wall between the two buildings:

More real evidence of progress! It only seems symbolic if you haven't heard the screaming saws and huffed the billowing orange dust for two days (oh, and dodged the less than enthusiastic store neighbors). I could wax poetic about brick structures and the heartwarming permanency of old school east coast architecture but WE HAVE A PORTAL!

Or when she was scraping at old walls:
I HATE WALLPAPER!! There is a special circle in hell for those who create 90 years' of layered paint, paper and glue. I can't lift my arms higher than my waist without wincing and my face feels windburned from all that 'exfoliation': thousands of tiny paint chips pinging my face for hours. Is it lead paint? Who cares--I can't possibly get any dumber considering I'm opening a restaurant ;)

As a side note, I do not recommend applying lipgloss immediately before sanding. Sigh. At least the beer flowed freely.

Secco Wine Bar is scheduled to open in late 2009.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

VeggieDag Thursday: Farm to Table

Today: two links to audio of radio programs on food and food issues.

National Public Radio (NPR) Morning Edition ran a story on Zucchini Blossoms. "Squash blossoms are nature's way of giving you ravioli."

The edible flower of a zucchini is a delicate and ephemeral treat. Blossom fans at a farmers market in Washington, D.C., recommend them stuffed with cheese and baked, fried in batter or eaten raw. But prepare them quickly —they won't last longer than a day!
Audio here.

WAMU —the Washington, D.C., outlet for NPR— hosted a radio forum on the logistics of eating locally. (I detest the ugly sound of the neologism 'locavore'.)
Over the last decade, restaurant owners, food lovers and public health advocates have placed a new premium on eating fresh, nutritious produce from nearby farms. But they encounter major obstacles trying to bring fresh seasonal ingredients to consumers in the Washington region. We get a local perspective on the challenges of getting healthy food from the farm to the dinner table.

Host Kojo Nnamdi's guests were
  • Michael F. Curtin, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, D.C. Central Kitchen
  • Ann Harvey Yonkers, Co-Director, FRESHFARM Markets
  • Lee Hauter, Owner, Bull Run Mountain Vegetable Farms (The Plains, Virginia)
  • Mark Toigo, Owner, Toigo Orchards (Shippensburg, Pennsylvania)
  • Cathal Armstrong, Owner and Chef, Restaurant Eve (Alexandria, Virginia)
  • Anthony Chittum, Executive Chef, Vermilion Restaurant (Alexandria, Virginia)
Audio here.

************************

Thursdays at Yours For Good Fermentables.com are meatless Thursdays —as inspired by Veggiedag in Ghent, Belgium.
Tom Balthazar [mayor of Ghent, Belgium] has officially declared Thursday meatless in his city of nearly a quarter million people. In an effort to make the connection between meat consumption and greenhouse gases (18 percent of which come from livestock production), Balthazar has asked his fellow civil servants to abstain from meat every Thursday.
Kim O'Donnel
Mighty Appetite
Washingtonpost.com
Keeping with the 'good fermentables' aspect, I'll often inveigle beer or wine (or spirits) into the posts.

Craft beer: no holy standard

There are times when bons mots may figuratively threaten to jump out at me from a written page or from my computer screen, and I may almost drop my beer glass out of surprised delight, or as in this case, because it was early morning, I may almost scald myself with hot coffee, which was, by the way, Ethiopian Yurgicheffe.

Causing this ruckus was Alan McLeod of A Good Beer Blog and his contribution to a written rhubarb that had begun elsewhere (with a review of a rhubarb beer).

There is no absolute concept of "craft beer" that somehow sits as a holy standard against which our experiences as beer fans are measured. It is, in fact, not enough to say "respect beer" - it should be "respect good beer" with the fight sitting only within the meaning of "good" with each glass making its own case in the overall debate.

Penumbrae of Mills and Plato!
It is not that it is “just beer” so much as running after the increasing parade of the highly priced precious few dulls the true experience of the actually wonderful.

Yet, I do have a stalk in this rhubarb. It was, after all, Alan who thought to write this, and not I. My coffee cup needs refreshing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

1st Mid-Atlantic craft beer can: Blue Mountain

At some point in July, Blue Mountain Brewery —in central Virginia— will have become the first post-1979 brewery in Virginia, Maryland, or Washington, D.C. to package beer in aluminum cans.

Using a hand-operated filler and seamer, owner Taylor Smack will package his Full Nelson Pale Ale in 12-ounce aluminum cylinders —at a laborious 20 cases per hour —and ship it to better beer outlets around the commonwealth.

Small Brewers Test Their Metal By Greg Kitsock Washington Post Wednesday, June 17, 2009

At this point, no other brewery in the tri-state area has announced plans to can its beers (except, of course, for Anheuser-Bush InBev which does so at its plant in Willliamsburg, Virginia).

In fact, canned craft beer is still an uncommon thing nationwide. As recently as 2005, two DC-area good beer retailers harrumphed to me about beers in cans. To their credit, both soon changed their minds; they now (successfully) stock canned craft beers.
better beer in cans is still relatively rare. Of the 446 microbreweries and 990 brew pubs known to be operating in the United States, only about 40 can their beer.

So, congratulations to Blue Mountain for being a Mid-Atlantic beer pioneer ... and, also, by the way, for growing some of its own hops. The brewery's grounds include a field of Cascade hops.

Blue Mountain Brewery
All this good work and tasty beers have not gone unnoticed by consumers. Since Blue Mountain began operations in 2007, its sales have increased enough for the brewery to double production capacity.

**************************

Greg Kitsock continues his Post piece with a brief history of canned beer in the US (and Virginia):
The beer can is nearing its 75th birthday. It all started in Richmond, where the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Co. of Newark, N.J., test-marketed the first commercially available canned beer to jump-start sales after the end of Prohibition.

Beer cans were originally made of steel. The switch to aluminum, resisted by a lot of the industry, was first adopted by Coors in 1959.

There are potential health issues associated with beverage cans. They are lined with an epoxy resin which contains biocides. And, recently, there has been worry about cancerous properties of a chemical used in can linings called bisphenol A.
The Web site for the North American Metal Packaging Alliance claims "an average adult would have to ingest more than 500 pounds of canned food and beverages every day for an entire lifetime to exceed the safe level of BPA set by EPA."

The issue may yet turn out to be a mere dust-up similar to the apple and alar situation of the late 1980s. But there still should be an independent health safety investigation.

Fear not, beer drinkers! Bottles are not lined with any epoxy or coating; neither are kegs or casks.
  • More on canned beer history -with nice photographs- here. [Corrected link: see comments.]
  • 1979, by the way, was the year Jimmy Carter in which corrected the Prohibition-repeal error that had effectively prohibited the brewing of beer at home. Soon after he signed HR 1337, SR 3534 into law, what were then called microbreweries began to open, many of which were owned and operated by former homebrewers.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Primer on Beer Photography

PhotoPop Magazine ran an article in its April 2009 issue on how commercial photographer Robert Bowen uses Photoshop to create beer-in-glass images.

PopPhoto.com

The piece is informative for anyone who's good with a camera. (My Flickr photos could certainly use a lot of work!) And the images themselves are eye-candy, er, beer-candy.

Thanks to Albert Cizauskas for the tip. He's an award-winning amateur photographer ... and my brother.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Dozen Wine Twitterers

From TwiTip, a suggested list of a top dozen wine Twitterers:

  • @garyvee - Gary Vaynerchuk is the undisputed heavyweight champion of wine and new media. It’s Gary’s wine world - we’re just living in it.

  • @billdaley - Bill Daley writes about food and wine for the Chicago Tribune. He’s one of the few old media types who seems to get new media.

  • @binendswine - Craig Drollett created Twitter Taste Live, an online Twitter platform uniting wine drinkers around the world for virtual tastings.

  • @winecast - Tim Elliott and crew create a consistently entertaining and enlightening wine audio podcast. The choicest tidbits end up on Twitter.

  • @pmabray - Paul Mabray and his company VinTank unleashed a wine social media white paper. Hopefully they’ll focus on wine bloggers next.

  • @ryanopaz and @gabriellaopaz - A twofer: Ryan and Gabriella Opaz are American expatriots living in Spain. Together they are a wonderful pair of international wine ambassadors.

  • Wine tasting sheet
  • @1winedude - Joe Roberts is smart, often clever, funny, unusually insightful, and always interesting to read.

  • @eljefetwisted - Jeff Stai is the owner and wine maker at Twisted Oak Winery in California. What’s not to like about his weird rubber chicken fetish?

  • @lenndevours - Forget California, Oregon, and Washington State wines. Lenn Thompson is on a mission to showcase the wines of New York State.

  • @kevinzraly - Kevin Zraly wrote the “Windows On The World Complete Wine Course,” considered by many to be THE wine book.

  • @sonadora - Megan Kenney is a government minion by day, wine blogger by night, and a great read all day long.

The 12th nomination is the creator of this list himself —Darren Rowse.
Twitter has opened up amazing opportunity in my life - it helps grow my personal brand, drives traffic to my online businesses and on a daily basis opens up new relationships and networks that I could never have dreamed of having access to.

Clamps & Gaskets: Roundup for Week 23

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly wrap-upClamps and Gaskets is a weekly wrap-up of stories that I have not posted at Yours For Good Fermentables.com, but that, nevertheless, I find interesting or germane.

Most are concerned with beer, or wine, or whisk(e)y. Some are not. But all are brief. And many are re-posts from my Twitter account: twitter.com/cizauskas.

This is Week 23:
7 June - 13 June 2009

  • 2009.06.13
    Booooo. POLKA out-of-step at Grammy's. Dropped as category. http://bit.ly/SLAaN

  • 2009.06.13
    Capital Ale House Fredericksburg is named "Best New Draft Dispensary" by Northern Virginia Magazine http://tinyurl.com/n875u9

  • 2009.06.13
    "Grandiose plans" crash. Virginia Brewing Company: the brewery that never was. http://tinyurl.com/nzsxb2

  • 2009.06.13
    Jean Hugel, 12th generation Alsace winemaker and pioneer of good wine standards and practises, has died. http://bit.ly/GHxfK.

  • 2009.06.13
    20 varieties of deviled eggs paired with beers! At Philadelphia’s Supper restaurant. Details from Beer chef/author Lucy Saunders. http://bit.ly/Pgyij.

  • 2009.06.13
    Ruddy Duck Brewpub and Grill opens on Solomons Island, Maryland. http://bit.ly/J3ijm

  • 2009.06.12
    Guest blogger at Baltimore Sun's beer blog 'Kasper on Tap' answers: Where would you take a beer-loving visitor? http://bit.ly/wHIri

  • 2009.06.12
    1959: amazing year for jazz. Dave Brubeck discusses his album "Take 5": http://bit.ly/4fhxO

  • Spike and Julie
  • 2009.06.12
    It's TWO beer foxes today for my #FollowFriday on Twitter. Bella OnLine's Carolyn Smagalski @BeerFoxTM. Beerlanthropist Julie Atallah @bruisinales.

  • 2009.06.12
    The wait is over. Beer Wars is now available on DVD. http://bit.ly/18ONQY

  • 2009.06.12
    SABMiller reports on the economic & social contributions by its Ugandan subsidiary, Nile Breweries. 100x job multiplier; locally-sourced ingredients. http://bit.ly/seZeo

  • 2009.06.12
    The end of Anheuser-Busch's independence as an American brewery began 1 year ago today. STL Today.com reminisces: http://bit.ly/sXHrn.

  • 2009.06.12
    TV goes digital in the US at 12 noon ET today. You must rescan TV after switch. http://tr.im/nz3g

  • 2009.06.12
    To ensure that you are who you say you are, Twitter launches verified accounts- for VIPs only. http://tinyurl.com/mzuzfr

  • 2009.06.11
    Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware, USA to assist Belgian lambic brewery Drie Fonteinen after its catastrophic beer loss. http://bit.ly/gBEcR

  • 2009.06.11
    South Carolina legislature favors wine over beer. A bill that would have allowed breweries to offer samples in their tasting room has died. http://bit.ly/aQwaM

  • 2009.06.11
    The - best - beer bottle opener - ever? The "Girl Likes Beer" blog re-posts a commercial for Ariana, a Bulgarian beer, now owned by Heineken. http://bit.ly/twsKt

  • 2009.06.10
    If Budweiser -and Bud Light- are too heavy for you ... there soon will be Bud Select 55 (calories) ultra-light. http://bit.ly/15B7Q9

  • 2009.06.10
    Malt Advocate's John Hansell discussed how he differentiates between the use of his Twitter, Facebook, and blog accounts. http://bit.ly/6UYq6

  • 2009.06.10
    Traveling brewer news: @OtterMidd at Twitter reports that Mike Gerhart former brewer at Dogfish Head is now Brewmaster at Otter Creek/Wolavers.

  • 2009.06.10
    dcbeer.com returns to blogging after 1-1/2 months "in a barn" with limited internet access Disagrees with higher beer taxes. http://bit.ly/mGUvS

  • 2009.06.10
    Washington City Paper offers an analysis of PROOF-BASED-TAXATION of beer and all alcoholic beverages. And opposes it. http://bit.ly/pPWwv

  • 2009.06.10
    Leave your condolences for Stephen T. Johns, the heroic guard who protected all inside the Holocaust Museum: http://bit.ly/18ASrz

  • 2009.06.10
    "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." "Farm To Table" offers mixed review of Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food." http://bit.ly/15AD3Z

  • 2009.06.10
    Love or hate him, but say goodbye. Long-time sports columnist Tony Kornheiser departs the Washington Post. http://bit.ly/OmobU

  • 2009.06.10
    Virginia's Blue Mountain Brewery to DOUBLE production capacity. http://bit.ly/kp6gy

  • The Brewer with the Golden Boots
  • 2009.06.10
    Capitol City Brewing (Washington, D.C. area) begins an organic line with a saison: http://bit.ly/127Dy0


  • 2009.06.10
    Senate Finance Commitee Chair Max Baucus says beer excise tax increases are "on life support. They're not at the top of the list." Via @BeerBizDaily on Twitter.

  • 2009.06.09
    "To those who say newspapers are obsolete, I have 2 words for you: 'Creigh Deeds.' " Come from behind win for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Deeds gained a lot of momentum after Washington Post endorsement. http://bit.ly/269n2k

  • 2009.06.09
    Ed Whitacre —who pushed Anheuser-Busch's sale to InBev— has been selected as new chairman of GM. http://tinyurl.com/mhyzy7

  • 2009.06.09
    It's NOT only water bottles but beer cans (and other beverage and food containers) that are lined with bisphenol A. http://bit.ly/185YfD

  • 2009.06.09
    Is Washington, D.C. a food destination? Yes: http://bit.ly/UTnle. No: http://tinyurl.com/kljk4e

  • 2009.06.09
    4 Ways to Tweet to Success, 1 Way to Destroy It. Content & grammar: Make the most of Twitter's 140 characters. http://bit.ly/lBGR3

  • 2009.06.08
    "Enjoy life," and other legacy beer commercials, as collated by Washington City Paper. http://bit.ly/WfxFp

  • 2009.06.08
    Matching beer with cheese and chocolate: the Baltimore Sun disagrees with the SAVOR crowd. http://bit.ly/366bHf

  • 2009.06.08
    What's 'drink-up'? What's 'shooting the boot'? They are rugby, camaraderie, and what you do when you lose a bar bet. http://bit.ly/15o6Nc

  • Tegernseerhof Zweigelt Rosé
  • The European Union has abandoned plans to allow wines blended from red and white wines to be labeled as rosé. http://bit.ly/12wYIa

  • 2009.06.08
    How Genesee beer got its name back: http://bit.ly/7hcY1

  • 2009.06.08
    Via @civileater on Twitter. The economic danger of healthy eating: If Americans were to cut 100 calories per day, the mega-food industry would lose $31-36 billion per year.
The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by NotionsCapital.

Wine list schadenfreude

Beer writers, in their attempt to promulgate the pleasures of beer, can sometimes throw up their hands in Sisyphean frustration at lack of success.

Restaurants, after crafting gorgeous meals and fine wine lists, can sometimes toss bland International light lagers onto their beer lists as lazy afterthoughts.

So it was a moment of schadenfreude for me when I noticed this 'demerit' in an otherwise effusive review of a Japanese restaurant in Washington, D.C.

Sushi Taro's wine list appears to have been designed by someone who would rather you drink saké or beer.
Revamped and Revelatory
Sushi Taro has transformed itself into the city's finest Japanese restaurant
Tom Siestma
Washington Post
June 14, 2009
Ah! Turnaround is such fair, sweet satisfaction!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

D.C. Good Beer Guides

Now and again, the beer guy takes a detour.

And last evening, on a warm Washington, D.C. almost-summer night, it was to a gimlet, concocted with Scotland's Hendricks Gin.

Hendricks Gin Gimlet
But if I had wanted a beer, I might have consulted the blog DC Beer for its mashup guides to good-beer bars and restaurants, listed by neighborhood.

dc beer.comNow ... plan your own Washington, D.C. good-beer pub crawl.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

VeggieDag Thursday: Baseball

Going to a major league baseball game in Washington, D.C. might leave you frustrated. That is, if you're a fan of competent baseball.

But if you're a good-beer-loving vegetarian, you won't leave Nationals Park thirsty or hungry.

Nationals Home Opener 2009

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has released its list of Top 10 vegetarian-friendly ballparks. The Washington Nationals received an honorable mention:
Nationals Park (Washington Nationals):
Veggie burgers, hummus and vegetables, fresh fruit salads, pear and walnut salads with lemon vinaigrette, Healthy Kids meals (PB&J, juice box, and fruits and veggies)

Washington's neighbor to the north —Baltimore, Maryland— did even better, coming in at the 9th position:
Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles):
Birds fans would be disgusted to know that the meat industry drugs chickens and turkeys, making them grow so fat that their legs often become crippled under their own weight. Luckily, Orioles diehards can help prevent such cruelty by choosing mouthwatering vegetarian options such as veggie burgers, veggie dogs, vegetable wraps, vegetable panini, various salads, made-to-order sandwiches, and fresh fruit cups as Camden Yards cracks PETA's list for the first time.

Here's the full list:
1. Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia Phillies)
2. AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants)
3. Coors Field (Colorado Rockies)
4. Turner Field (Atlanta Braves)
5. Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros)
6. PETCO Park (San Diego Padres)
7. Comerica Park (Detroit Tigers)
8. U.S. Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox)
9. Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles)
10. (tie) Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers)
(tie) Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs)

Comparing the good-beer choices between those two ballparks, I might give the nod to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, for its support of local breweries. Fans will recall the heyday of the mid to late 1990s, when the ballpark sported three Maryland beer stands. Now there's only one, located on the Eutaw Street pavilion.

At Nationals Park, although much improved over its initial efforts, there's less overt support for local beer. (Clipper City Brewing is the closest brewery to the ballpark, located only 35 miles north, but its beers are not offered.)

But the D.C. ballpark has the greater variety of good beer —and better access to it.

Beltway Bar

The vendors walking in the stands only hawk Industrial Light Lagers and food like hot dogs. Food booths and the stand-alone 'Beltway Bars' offer a few better choices (such as Dominion and Wild Goose).

But the best draught options can be found at the Red Porch stand, overlooking left field. There, on Opening Day, I had a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA (9% alcohol by volume).

Of course, you can always get some peanuts or crackerjacks. On a summer afternoon, together with a good beer, they just might be anodyne for the bad baseball blues.

UPDATE: After reading A Washington City Paper on-line column today that referenced this post, I realized that I hadn't followed my own code of ethics. I had neglected to mention that until July 2008 I had been the Territory Manager for the Clipper City Brewing Company, and that currently I am a representative for a wine and beer wholesaler in northern Virginia, one of whose product is, indeed, Clipper City!

************************

Thursdays at Yours For Good Fermentables.com are meatless Thursdays —as inspired by Veggiedag in Ghent, Belgium.
Tom Balthazar [mayor of Ghent, Belgium] has officially declared Thursday meatless in his city of nearly a quarter million people. In an effort to make the connection between meat consumption and greenhouse gases (18 percent of which come from livestock production), Balthazar has asked his fellow civil servants to abstain from meat every Thursday.
Kim O'Donnel
Mighty Appetite
Washingtonpost.com
Keeping with the 'good fermentables' aspect, I'll often inveigle beer or wine (or spirits) into the posts.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Server failure

The mirror addresses for Yours For Good Fermentable.com — www.yfgf.biz and www.yfgf.us — are hosted by GoDaddy.com. As of 6:11 this morning, it appears that GoDaddy's servers are down and out, or at least suffering massive failures.

The principal address at www.YoursForGoodFermentables.com is hosted by Google and so has not been affected.

I apologize for any inconvenience. [UPDATE: As of 10am ET, things seem to be back to normal.]

Maybe a larger point is as David Turley of Musings Over A Pint said (at my Facebook page):

We're reminded that no matter how large and pervasive 'the internet' becomes, it remains a chain of weak links.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Requesting US cask ale production statistics

To the US beer community: a request for assistance.

Would anyone have statistics on annual production volume of cask ale in the US?

Alex Hall regularly updates his —labor of love— website with names of bars and restaurants (including brewpubs) that serve cask ale.

But to analyze the growth of cask ale in the US, I'm looking for the names and annual cask ale production volume of those breweries and brewpubs that produce cask ale (and kellerbier).

Please contact me by leaving a comment below or sending an email here.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The demise of the US beer cask (circa 1903)

I've often wondered when cask ale died off in the US. When was the use of kegs —and pressurized gas draught— introduced? Was it just before or after Prohibition, or was it earlier?

Here's some evidence pointing to the latter. Beer blogger Ron Pattinson has posted a segment from a report on a trip to Britain by some American brewers about the turn of the 20th century.

Drawing by means of gas or air pressure has been tried, but the cost and the fact that the English casks are not made to withstand this additional pressure, have much retarded the application of such systems. It is probable, however, that within the near future a gradual disappearance of the pumping systems, to which there are many objections, will take place.

"Transactions of the American Brewing Institute" 1907, pages 255-256

The implication is that the Americans were practicing pressurized draught.

More overt evidence is provided by a comment left to Ron's post that leaves a link to this passage from 100 Years of Brewing, a reliable historical brewing text, published in 1903.


In the year 1888, liquefied carbonic gas [CO2] was introduced by Jacob Bauer, who afterward organized the Liquid Carbonic Acid Manufacturing Company, of Chicago. At first it was used by the mineral water trade only, but soon thereafter was introduced for the drawing and preservation of beer, and at the present time practically seventy-five per cent of all the beer supplied in wood is preserved with and drawn with and under carbonic acid gas pressure, so at this time it is no longer a question or a matter of doubt as to the successful use of carbonic gas for drawing beer.

By 1903, most kegs may still have been manufactured from wood, but it appears that at least in the US, they were being served by pressurized CO2 draught systems. Handpulled beer, and by implication, cask-conditioned beer, was fast on its way out.

That is, until recent history.

2009 RAMMYS announced

Here —courtesy Michael Birchenall, editor and publisher of Foodservice Monthly— is the list of winners in the 2009 RAMMYs, the annual awards of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, only announced last evening.

  • Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year: Restaurant Eve
  • Chef of the Year: Robert Wiedmaier of Marcel's, Brasserie Beck and Brabo
  • New Restaurant of the Year: Cork
  • Wine & Beverage Program: CityZen
  • Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year: Rasika
  • Neighborhood Gathering Place: The Liberty Tavern
  • Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene: CoCo. Sala
  • Pastry Chef of the Year: Kate Jansen – Willow
  • Rising Culinary Star: Tony Chittum – Vermilion
  • Restaurant Manager of the Year: Ryland Johnson – Zola
  • Restaurant Employee of the Year: Juan Francisco Lopez – Marcel’s/Brasserie Beck
  • Joan Hisaoka Associate Member: Belair Produce Inc./Watermark Foods
  • Power Spot of the Year: Central Michel Richard
  • Your Favorite Restaurant of the Year: Teatro Goldoni
  • 2009 RAMMY 'Where Magazine' Visitors' Choice Award: The Prime Rib
  • RAMW 2009 Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award: Dimitri Mallios
  • 2009 RAMMY Honorary Award: Billy Martin’s Tavern
Congratulations to all.

YFGF usually covers only things beer, and in a general manner. Then again, I am based in the greater Washington, D.C. area, and I do occasionally eat out.

But ... why no award for best beer & spirits program?

The Blues and Whisky: Koko Taylor

I wrote this about beer and jazz:

Good beer is like good music: with an introduction, an exposition, and a coda, it tells a story.

Beer raconteur Bob Tupper has his own jazz allusion for beer:
Ale is like "a jazz quartet. Each member goes his own way, but all finish together. A lager, in contrast, is like a string quartet. It is a seamless composition."

But the Blues ... the Blues is a shot of whisky.

In the early 1980s, I became familiar with blues singer Koko Taylor through her recordings: a big, cutting, chainsaw of a voice.

But those recordings did not prepare me for the one time I saw —and heard— Ms. Tayor live at her club in Chicago in 1992, after her successful comeback from health complications. Her take that night on Mannish Boy —I'm a W-O-M-A-N— was so gutsy, so real, so scary, that it was —at the least— the equal of Muddy Waters' male manifesto.

At the time, I was in Chicago studying brewing at the Siebel Institute. But that evening, amazed and thrilled, I had whiskey.

Koko Taylor died Wednesday 3 June 2009 at age 80.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Beer as ONE ingredient

Seemingly neglected in recent fervid discussions of pairing beer with food has been the technique of preparing food with beer.

The better recipes do not shout: I'm beer! I'm here! Rather, they introduce beer ingeniously and quietly, both as a cooking liquid and as an ingredient that is only one subtle part of a tapestry of flavor.

Chef Patrick Dinh of Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg, Virginia is a practitioner.

Chef Patrick Dinh

Witness Dinh's use of beer at a Clipper City Brewing Beer Dinner (3 June 2009).

He braised pheasant with a weizen dopplebock and finished it with a pale ale velouté sauce. (A velouté is one of the classic French sauces: stock thickened with a roux.) The ale added a meaty character to the velouté and a nuance of spicy bitterness. But if you hadn't known that Chef Dinh had used beer, you would have just appreciated the depth of flavor.

He also made a béarnaise, substituting a maerzen (German-style amber lager) for the wine normally found in this reduction sauce of vinegar, wine, tarragon, shallots, egg yolk, and butter.

More photos here. The entire menu:

Welcoming Beer
Small Craft Warning Uber Pils

Crispy Soft Shell Crab Fingers
with curry aioli, pickled daikon.

Paired with Red Sky at Night Saison (cask)

Beer-Braised Pheasant
with mushrooms, ale veloute.

Paired with Hang Ten Weizen Dopplebock (vintage 2008)

Pork & Pork
Roast Loin with braised fresh bacon, spiced cabbage with sultanas

Paired with Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale

Main course: NY Strip au Poivre

New York Strip au Poivre
with 'beer Bearnaise', whipped potatoes, Brussels sprouts, smoked bacon.

Paired with Winter Storm Imperial ESB (draught)

Raspberry Cheesecake
Paired with Peg Leg Imperial Stout

Clamps & Gaskets: Roundup for Week 22

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly wrap-upClamps and Gaskets is a weekly wrap-up of stories that I have not posted at Yours For Good Fermentables.com, but that, nevertheless, I find interesting or germane.

Most are concerned with beer, or wine, or whisk(e)y. Some are not. But all are brief. And many are re-posts from my Twitter account: twitter.com/cizauskas.

This is Week 22:
31 May - 6 June 2009

  • 2009.06.06
    From Washington DC-area good beer fan Stephen Lipps: his map of good beer bars/shops in Paris. Yes, good beer in Paris, France. http://bit.ly/E4io8

  • 2009.06.06
    "Beer is the new wine," says Hugh Sisson of Clipper City Brewing in Baltimore. The story at the Washington Times http://bit.ly/TAJyB

  • 2009.06.06
    Brewer at Washington DC's Capitol City Brewing reviews SAVOR as an indication of an "ever increasing profile and support for American craft beer." http://bit.ly/L4li2

  • 2009.06.06
    DC Foodies on Twitter: 40 Foodies, 3 Chefs, 13 Restaurants, 3 Food Trucks, 1 Gourmet Storehttp://bit.ly/127Kcf.

  • 2009.06.06
    Baltimore, Maryland, Oriole's Camden Yards is No. 9 on PETA's top 10 list of vegetarian friendly major league baseball ballparks. http://bit.ly/H77X7.

  • 2009.06.06
    Bowie, Maryland minor league baseball Baysox (Class AA) have a "Beers of Munich" Beer and Baseball Dinner on Thursday, June 18 at 6pm, for their game vs the Reading Phillies.http://bit.ly/d2iKI

  • 2009.06.06
    In Tennessee, it will soon to be illegal to serve alcohol to anyone with a CONCEALED weapon. Umm, how will the bartender know? http://bit.ly/PcuNV

  • 2009.06.06
    14 dirty words: the EU bans any non-European wines with these words on the bottle label: http://bit.ly/3xrPu

  • 2009.06.06
    Interested in writing beer history? A British beer historian offers a quick lesson in how to find brewing records: http://bit.ly/Htf7S.

  • 2009.06.05
    Albert Sisson, founder of pioneering Maryland brewpub Sisson's, has passed away. An appreciation: http://bit.ly/IgSPk

  • 2009.06.05
    States with low beer taxes have 2.2 times more breweries per capita than high excise tax states. http://tinyurl.com/nlg3p4

  • 2009.06.05
    91.4 % of polled SAVOR attendees said economy has NOT affected beer purchases. (Those attendees could afford the $95 ticket!) The rest of the stats http://bit.ly/6D6VW.
  • Heavy Seas Big DIPA
  • 2009.06.05
    Heavy Seas Big DIPA (as in Double India Pale Ale): 10.6 abv, 76 IBUs in 22-oz bottles, and draft, should arrive by late June. From Clipper City Brewing of Baltimore, Maryland. http://snurl.com/heavyseas

  • 2009.06.05
    Clipper City Brewing is now on Twitter: @HeavySeasBeer. A list of the 5 DC/MD/VA brewers on Twitter: http://bit.ly/dd31X

  • 2009.06.05
    Scotch whisky companies have pledged to cut their use of fossil fuels by 80% by 2050 http://bit.ly/60Yus

  • 2009.06.05
    John Hansell of Malt Advocate on drinks writers: They're divorced, unhealthy, childless, and with little free time to enjoy life. http://bit.ly/pRuqI

  • 2009.06.05
    It is NOT okay to Tweet during dinner ... and other Twitter etiquette, including how to re-Tweet. http://bit.ly/ABFtw

  • 2009.06.05
    Congratulations to 300-game winning baseball pitcher Randy Johnson. At least the inept Washington Nationals created history with their loss. http://bit.ly/w41N5

  • 2009.06.04
    DCist.com reviews SAVOR Craft Beer and Food Exposition. Asks: Too much of a good thing? And discusses beer/cheese/chocolate pairings http://bit.ly/A7DcV

  • 2009.06.03
    After exercise, it's better to drink beer than water: new research from Granada University in Spain. http://bit.ly/7hXE7

  • 2009.06.02
    Sour news from Belgium: 100,000 bottles of lambic and gueuze ruined at Drie Fontenien. http://viigo.im/LYw

  • 2009.06.02
    From Chef Bruce Paton: the ABCs of pairing food with beer, AND cooking with beer. Concise and unfussy. http://bit.ly/PTaJa

  • 2009.06.02
    After 6 month hiatus, Hugh Sisson of Clipper City Brewing returns to blogging. He asks: Organic Beer - What's the Point? (But responds favorably.) http://bit.ly/owF91

  • 2009.06.02
    A mixed review of SAVOR 2009 from BarlowBrewing Blog: Beer good. But "the food was just ... boring." http://cli.gs/sRj9XT

  • 2009.06.02
    Study finds 10% of Twitter users produce 90% of the tweets. Unlike most other social networks, men are the most active. http://bit.ly/v4kb0

  • 2009.06.02
    Study shows that HIGH state excise taxes lead to REDUCED revenues: 1999 study on cross-state-border beer buying. http://bit.ly/Fmx4G

  • 2009.06.02
    China blocks Twitter, Blogger, and other sites in lead-up to 20th anniversary of Tiananmen Square massacre. http://tcrn.ch/2zn

  • Chef Barton Seaver

  • 2009.06.01
    Metrocurean blog reports Washington DC's 'Sustainable Seafood' Chef Barton Seaver has returned to the kitchen. He's the chef at new Blue Ridge Restaurant. http://bit.ly/m96lJ

  • 2009.06.01
    Clipper City Brewing's Red Sky at Night Saison: Baltimore Examiner Beer of the Week. Flavorful alternative to standard 'summer wheat ales'. http://bit.ly/LAsN6

  • 2009.06.01
    Map of current US beer excise taxes, by state: http://bit.ly/OepQ2

  • 2009.06.01
    An analysis --with many useful links-- of the folly of heavy beer excise taxes. http://bit.ly/9Phnp

  • 2009.06.01
    For brewers: a 1917 analysis of the advantage of using' invert sugar' vs. refined sugar: http://bit.ly/UTnle

  • 2009.05.31
    General Motors to declare bankruptcy on Monday. US gov stake to be 60%. Union vs investor issues. http://bit.ly/PqGQu

  • Azalea sunrise

  • 2009.05.31
    "the flowers /Stream from the hawthorn on the wind away . . . / Pass me the can, lad; there's an end of May" -A.E. Housman

  • 2009.05.31
    Nine Twitter Tips For Business. It's FREE guerrilla marketing. Just don't abuse it. http://bit.ly/dfB78

  • 2009.05.31
    Jill Richardson's new book-- Recipe for America: Why Our Food System is Broken http://tr.im/mZ6x

  • 2009.05.31
    Hockey's Stanley Cup is the only sports trophy out of which the winners drink beer. From Draft Magazine: http://viigo.im/Kbl

  • 2009.05.31
    The Mad Fermentationist reviews SAVOR: mostly good for the beer (Russian River Consecration), but only so-so for the food. http://bit.ly/rHFB8

  • 2009.05.31
    'You must name and blame the good guys.' Paraphrasing Marc Fisher who has written his last column for the Washington Post. http://bit.ly/10GDVH

  • 2009.05.31
    Austrian and German health ministries find traces of cocaine in Red Bull Cola. Company says 'de-cocained' coca leaf only. http://bit.ly/HaIor

  • 2009.05.31
    In the 2000s, the Brewers Assoc (US) rejects corn and rice in craft beer. In 1880s England, the use of sugar was decried. http://bit.ly/RM2fH

  • 2009.05.31
    2nd wettest month of May on record in the Washington DC area. 10.10" of rain at Dulles by yesterday - and more today. http://tr.im/mVxj
The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by NotionsCapital.