Thursday, December 31, 2009

Once in a blue moon

"Life's not all beer and skittles," so, on this last day of 2009, here is an astronomical observation.

Moon over Ashburn
In the early 20th century, the editors of the Maine Farmers' Almanac suggested that if any of the four seasons in that year contained four full Moons rather than three, the third full Moon should be called a Blue Moon. This was related to the issues of a lunar calendar (29+ days) versus a solar calendar (28, 29, 30, 31 days per month). It was also related to Christian Church methods of determining Easter Sunday, and other arcana.

Confused yet?

In the 1940s, venerable magazine Sky and Telescope was also confused. It misinterpreted the Almanac to mean a Blue Moon to be the second full moon in one calendar month. It repeated this error in 1980 on its Stardate radio broadcast.

So ... If we follow Sky and Telescope's definition, tonight is the Blue Moon —in North America. The next Blue Moon —that is, the next 2nd full moon in one calendar month— will not occur until 31 August 2012. If we follow the Farmer's Almanac, the next Blue Moon (the 3rd in one season) arrives earlier: November 21, 2010.

Tonight, here in YFGF-land, we'll have to wait for either definition of blue moon: the sky is overcast.

Happy (and safe) New Year's Eve.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Clamps & Gaskets: Roundup for Week 51

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundupClamps 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 of the pieces deal with beer (or wine, or whisky); some do not. But all are brief, and many are re-posts from my Twitter account: twitter.com/cizauskas.

This is Week 51:
20 December - 26 December 2009


  • 2009.12.26
    A succinct look at Christmas#beer, including secrets of Anchor Brewing's Our Special Ale. From NY Times: http://bit.ly/5NdcL7

  • 2009.12.26
    Final Christmas Tweet: Bad news for kids in 2010 as Santa's Workshop announces restructuring and outsourcing: http://bit.ly/6dPPaG

  • 2009.12.24
    Legendary Channel 4/WRC sportscaster George Michael has died of cancer. http://bit.ly/PpD57

  • 2009.12.24
    A Christmas gift: the US Senate approves the Health Care Reform bill. http://su.pr/27kme5


  • mulled beer

  • 2009.12.24
    Mulling and warming a beer? It's delicious ... just use the right spiced beer. Wassail! http://bit.ly/5dnuCv

  • 2009.12.23
    Paradigm shift? Stone Brewing in California is considering opening a brewery in Europe: http://bit.ly/5e0tgW


  • Christmas Pannetone

  • 2009.12.23
    Panettone – Traditional Italian Christmas bread made with pure butter and beer yeast. From Blogs with Bite: http://bit.ly/6zktng

  • 2009.12.23
    Wassail -strong, spiced ale for Xmas- profiled in the Washington Post: http://bit.ly/6qvdoB

  • 2009.12.22
    Strategic wallet depleter. BrewDog Tactical Nuclear Penguin 12 oz-ers may retail for $65-70 in U.S in March. http://3.ly/i7C

  • 2009.12.22
    Blogging a brew step-by-step: "Bishop's Indulgence" spiced beer at Pratt Street Alehouse, Baltimore, MD: http://bit.ly/8StWl4

  • 2009.12.22
    NASA satellite view of East Coast snow storm as it ended: http://bit.ly/4C2Td9.

  • 2009.12.21
    The Clipper City brand-name to end in early 2010. Call it Heavy Seas Beer instead. http://bit.ly/7zhHmr

  • 2009.12.21
    The Winter Solstice - the least amount of daylight & the start of winter- occurs today (in Washington, DC at 12:47pm). http://bit.ly/6e7Gic

  • 2009.12.21
    See a glass-bottomed firkin cask. Photo via Pratt Street Alehouse in Baltimore, MD: http://bit.ly/8L0ApC
The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by NotionsCapital.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Pic(k) of the Week: Shadows in the Snow

Shadows in the snow (02)


The Great DC Blizzard of Aught-Nine! A major snowstorm hit Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland (and later, the northeast US east coast) Friday night, 18 December, through Saturday evening.

It was a classic nor'easter, in which moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, moving north, combines with frigid air coming south from Canada. A counter-clockwise flow created by the low pressure, brings in more moisture from the Atlantic.

In northern Virginia, 16 inches of snow fell in Falls Church, Virginia. Some areas in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area received up to two feet.

This photograph was taken on Sunday, when we all began to dig out. I was fascinated by the patterns of snow-reflected sunshine and shadows of snow-laden boughs. Notice the lawn furniture, in the background, buried in the drifts.
  • More pictures from the snowstorm here.
  • Pic(k) of the Week: entire series here.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve memories

At the Christmas Eve Kucios dinners of my childhood, my father would recount a special story from his, in the early 1930s.

Christmas Eve at my childhood home in Brooklyn, New York was a time of joyous fulfillment, when the four weeks of preparation during Advent culminated in the ceremony of Kucios, the traditional Lithuanian Christmas Eve meal. It was the most important family event of the year, when all its members, even those who had married and left home to live in faraway places, felt drawn to join in the ritual.

My wife and I try to carry on the Kucios tradition in our own family. When the bright star of Christmas Eve becomes visible in the winter sky, we gather around our table for family prayers. Then we kiss the family crucifix, share our Christmas wafers (plotkeles), and one large apple.

As years pass, I repeat those stories that accompany these old customs, just as my father used to do: of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit, an act whose disobedience involved us all and required the birth of the Savior to redeem, and of the sharing the wafer and the apple, which symbolized the family's unity and its spiritual kinship with the rest of mankind through Adam.

One year not too long ago, a chair at our Kucios table was empty for the first time. Our daughter, who was then studying at the University of Innsbruck, planned to visit St. Peter's in Rome on Christmas Eve for the midnight mass. She had asked that we keep open a place at the table for her. Since the family Kucios began at 6 PM, it would coincide with the ceremonial opening of the Christmas Eve mass at St. Peter's celebrated by the Pope himself.

Looking at my daughter's empty chair, I was reminded of another empty seat, many year's ago, in my parents' home on a Christmas Eve.

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

It was the depth of the Great Depression, jobs were scarce in Brooklyn, and my parents could not even afford to buy a Christmas tree. The empty chair belonged to my grandfather. My family was celebrating Kucios and grandfather was missing.

The Empty Chair, continued.


Snow angel


May your empty chair be filled ... and your beer stein, too.

Linksmu Kaledu!

My 12 'Beer' Books this Christmas: a recap

New World Guide to Beer
Michael Jackson changed my life: not the pop performer, but a rumpled English writer (and, I learned later, an ancestral countryman. His father had emigrated to Yorkshire from Lithuania, as had my grandparents to New York).

By 1988, I was an enjoyer of better beers, and a homebrewer, but it was Jackson's book of that year, The New World Guide To Beer, that propelled me toward a vocation of beer. I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to thank him in person. Jackson died in 2007.

I recently posted a series of reviews of 12 'beer' books. It was not a best of 2009; it was a list of personal recommendations for good gifts and good reads on Christmas Day. Some of the twelve were specifically about beer, others tangentially related.

None of Mr. Jackson's oeuvre were on that list. Why? Because they sit above any such list. In the 1970s, when Jackson began to write about beer, literature on its provenance was scant.

The world always knew that beer was a noble and complex drink, but, for a moment in history, that was forgotten. Now it is being remembered. in every country that can afford such luxuries, traditional styles of beer are being revived and new ones are being created.

His many books since then, erudite, witty, and cyclopedic, should be required reading for anyone serious about beer, or just wishing to learn more. They stand the test of time.

So, here's my (non-Jackson) list: 12 'Beer' Books for Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all, and fruitful reading in the new year.

***********************************************
The original edition of The New World Guide To Beer was published in 1977, but without the adjective "New." There was a reprint in 1997. All editions are currently out-of-print.

Monday, December 21, 2009

12 'Beer' Books for Christmas, #1: Hops and Glory

And now, 12 drummers drumming ...

announcing ...

The #1 Book for Christmas


Hops and Glory


Hops and Glory: One Man's Search For The Beer That Built The British Empire
Pete Brown
MacMillan: 2009
ISBN: 978-0-230-70635-4

I know it would not be very much in the Christmas spirit to say this, but: I hate Pete Brown.

He is the 2009 British Guild of Beer Writers Beer Writer of the Year. His 2009 book, Hops and Glory, is one of the best books about beer that I have ever read. It's the book that I will never be able to write.

Hops and Glory is one man's literal search for the historical India Pale Ale (I.P.A.), but unlike many other 'beer' books, it would be an enjoyable read even for someone who is not a beer geek.
India Pale Ale was the greatest beer that ever lived. <...> The journey that gave birth to IPA, the old sea route from England to India around the Cape of Good Hope, remains the greatest journey beer has ever made, and was made at at time when most brewers couldn't even deliver their beer to the next town in good condition. <...>

And then I realized something else. <...> For all the experimentation that had happened in the [United] States: the recreation of old recipes, the use of new ingredients, the super-high levels of hops, the alcohol levels on a par with wine — the one thing no twentieth or twenty-first century brewer had done was recreate the journey that gave birth to the style in the first place.


In Hops and Glory, Mr. Brown channels Bill Bryson, creating a vividly described travelogue. He has an English brewery create a cask of pale ale, and takes it with him from England to India. Along the way, he shares hilarious glimpses of the absurdities of modern life.

It's also an intertwined history of of Britain, ale, and the Industrial Revolution. Brown abstains from meretriciously repeating beer canards. Á la historian Maureen Ogle, he uses original and primary records, highlighting new ideas about IPA's origin and formulation. (The bibliography of sources could itself be the basis for year-long reading.)

Like George Plimpton, Mr. Brown records the foibles of a man undertaking a task for which he he is woefully unprepared (in this case, sailing). Like writers of confessions, he can be brutally honest at times, exposing his personal doubts. And, like, dare I say, the late Michael Jackson —the sine qua non of 20th century beer writers— Mr. Brown writes very well.
Whatever happens when we reach Brazil [the sailing routes were from Europe to Brazil, then around the tip of Africa into the Indian Ocean], nothing changes the fact that I am sailing —not flying, not powering — sailing across the Atlantic, on a ship that takes your breath away. This ship, which I'd feel privileges even to see, is my home for three weeks. This journey, even this moment, makes everything worth while. I've consummated my relationship with the sea, and I'm head over heels. I suspect there will be higher peaks of stress and lower troughs of despair to come (and I'm so right), but here and now the waxing moon has risen, sewing a wide silver swathe across the sea, turning it into the carpet of a magical playground, a fairy-tale theater and oh you devious, obstreperous cow, how the fuck did you sneak on to one-ninety? [He was having difficulty holding the helm to the proper compass point.]

Here's a synopsis (warning: plot spoiler):
Man drinks with buddies in his local pub; gets a good buzz on; hatches the idea of recreating the historical voyages of Pale Ales from Burton-on-Trent to Calcutta; abandons his significant other for six months; learns how Britain used beer and opium to dominate a sub-continent; crosses the Atlantic in a sailing vessel; loses his cask; get a new one with literally minutes to spare; fights with bureaucracy; taps the cask in India, and ...

... for the climax, you'll have to turn to page 411 of your own copy.

The bad news is that Mr. Brown has not found a publisher in the USA (although I obtained my copy via Amazon Canada). More bad news: the initial printing is sold out. Good news: a paperback edition arrives in 2010.

In the spirit of the season, I retract my initial statement. Thank you, Pete Brown, for this wonderful book.


***********************
12 'Beer' Books for Christmas: Today being the Winter Soltice, this is the final post in a a series of 12 recommendations for beer-themed books.

This is not a Top 12 list. It's my list of 12 books, personal delights. On Christmas Day: put your feet up, pour yourself a good beer, and read a good book. Better yet: give a friend the gift of a beer and a book. The entire list here.

Clamps & Gaskets: Roundup for Week 50

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundupClamps 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 of the pieces deal with beer (or wine, or whisky); some do not. But all are brief, and many are re-posts from my Twitter account: twitter.com/cizauskas.

This is Week 50:
13 December - 19 December 2009


  • 2009.12.19
    US House honors Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue", with not one dissenting vote. http://bit.ly/8WlSO5

  • 2009.12.19
    Dave Alexander of Brickskeller is unwitting 'hand-model in Honorable Mention-winning photo: 2009 Good Beer Blog Yuletide Contest. http://bit.ly/7t6MQ6

  • 2009.12.19
    Around 9am, National Weather Service declares blizzard for Washington DC area. http://twitpic.com/u68ur


  • Sisson & Barse(s)
  • 2009.12.18
    Clipper City officially introduced its casks of Maryland-hop Loose Cannon, Friday evening at Judge's Bench, in Ellicott City, MD. Photos: http://bit.ly/8VlNbS

  • 2009.12.18
    Maybe the only production Finnish Sahti being exported to the US: http://bit.ly/6uTgiP

  • 2009.12.18
    Gorgeous beer porn. Review, with photographs, of Birch & Barley/Churchkey in Brightest Young Things web-magazine. http://bit.ly/7dt1Ss

  • 2009.12.18
    #FollowFriday: Steve Jones @oliverale, brewer, Pratt Street Alehouse (Baltimore MD). More DC/MD/VA breweries on Twitter: http://bit.ly/dd31X


  • 130+ @ Brix Xmas 2009 (02)
  • 2009.12.17
    24th(?) annual Winter/Christmas Beer Tasting at the Brickskeller in Washington, D.C. Photos: http://bit.ly/8n9GLP

  • 2009.12.17
    Merry Christmas, Washington D.C. football fans! Vinny Cerrato has resigned from Washington Redskins: http://is.gd/5rcn9

  • 2009.12.16
    5th principle: serve beer! 4 Principles for Planning Brain-Friendly Annual Meetings: http://bit.ly/93aQ7P

  • 2009.12.15
    The best Flickr photos of 2009: http://bit.ly/6YE5eG.

  • 2009.12.14
    (Happy) Enron Collapse 8th Anniversary, Wendy Gramm! http://bit.ly/901Cn7

  • 2009.12.13
    The best beer sommelier? Van Til, of
    Elite Brands in Michigan, is first to ever pass the Master Cicerone Certification Program exam: http://bit.ly/8LTrh6.
The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by NotionsCapital.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

12 'Beer' Books for Christmas, #2: Ambitious Brew

The 2nd Book for Christmas


Ambitious Brew

Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer
Maureen Ogle
Harvest Books (Harcourt): 2006
ISBN: 978-0-15-101012-7

The short history of American brewing is:
American brewing peaked in 1873, when there were 4,131 breweries. By 1978, the industry’s low point, forty-one brewers operated eighty-nine plants. Today breweries number nearly 1,500.

The accepted wisdom has been that
Big Brewers scorned honest beer in favor of water swill brewed from cheap corn and rice. The Big Brewers added insult to injury by using crass commercial, linked mostly to professional sporting events, to sell their foul brew to working-class people.

Maureen Ogle is a historian who had written previous books on the history of Key West and ... plumbing in America! She began to question this history of beer.
As I dug through archives and and old trade journals, I discovered that almost every aspect of that oft-told tale of skulduggery, greed, and woe was false [emphasis mine] and that the truth was considerably more interesting and complex.

The result was Ambitious Brew. As Ogle has pointed out (at her entertaining blog), a historian tells a story weaved from facts gleaned from research. The narrative is an essential partner of the scholarship.
Late summer, 1844. Milwaukee, Wisconsin Territory. Phillip Best elbowed his way among plank walkways jammed with barrels, boxes, pushcarts, and people. He was headed for the canal, or the "Water power," as the locals called it, a mile-long millrace powered by a tree-trunk-and-gravel dam on the Milwaukee River. Plank docks punctuated its tumbling flow and small manufactories—a few mills, a handful of smithies and wheelwrights, a tannery or two—lined its length. <...> He had been in the United Sates only a few weeks, and Milwaukee's bustle marked a sharp contrast to the drowsy German village where he and his three brothers had worked for their father, Jacob, Sr., a brewer and vintner.

It's a wonderfully evocative opening that draws you in, hooked. Along the way, Ogle punctures many myth-balloons, doing what a real historian does: researching the record.

You can see Ogle in action, the skeptical historian, during a panel discussion included on a DVD of the beer industry documentary Beer Wars, released earlier this year. Watching her question the statements of the brewers and beer experts on the panel, one is viscerally reminded how male dominated the beer industry —and the 'craft beer' industry— was and is. She gives 'em hell ... gently.

***********************
12 'Beer' Books for Christmas: This is another in a a series of 12 recommendations for beer-themed books —one per day, until the Winter Solstice, 21 December.

This is not a Top 12 list. It's my list of 12 books, personal delights. On Christmas Day: put your feet up, pour yourself a good beer, and read a good book. Better yet: give a friend the gift of a beer and a book. The entire list here.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

12 'Beer' Books for Christmas, #3: The Brewmaster's Table

The 3rd Book for Christmas


The Brewmaster's Table

The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food
Garrett Oliver
Ecco (Harper Collins): 2003
ISBN: 0-06-000570-x

The sartorially resplendent Garrett Oliver is the author of this primer on beer-with-food. The Brewmaster's Table contains no recipes: (only) the enthusiastic prose of an epicurean who has the elegant vocabulary with which to tell us why something tastes good.
When we are matching beer and food, the most important thing we're looking for is balance. We want the beer and food to engage in a lively dance, not a football tackle. In order to achieve the balance we seek, we need to think about the sensory impact of both the beer and its prospective food partner. "Impact" refers to the weight and intensity of the food on the palate."

The book is arranged by the beer styles of international regions and traditions; there are a few additional chapters on beer basics and beer-enjoying "principles." Marvelous photographs of beers, brewers, and brewers are interspersed throughout.

Oliver is a busy man, by the way. In addition to his duties overseeing brewing operations at the Brooklyn Brewery (which is undergoing an expansion in 2010, doubling the physical size of its plant), he is the Editor-In-Chief for the The Oxford Companion to Beer, to be published by Oxford University Press in 2011.

***********************
12 'Beer' Books for Christmas: This is another in a a series of 12 recommendations for beer-themed books —one per day, until the Winter Solstice, 21 December.

This is not a Top 12 list. It's my list of 12 books, personal delights. On Christmas Day: put your feet up, pour yourself a good beer, and read a good book. Better yet: give a friend the gift of a beer and a book. The entire list here.

Pic(k) of the Week: Below Decks at Brickskeller

Considering the snow falling on the East Coast today —in my neck of the woods, at 3pm, it's at 14 inches and counting— a barleywine might be just the ticket to beat the cold.

Dave Alexander pours Below Decks

That's Dave Alexander in the photo. He owns and operates the Brickskeller —Dining House & Down Home Saloon— which has been pouring good beer in Washington, D.C. since 1959 (which was before Dave's time!).

Here, from February 2008, Dave is pouring pitchers of cask-conditioned Below Decks, a 10% alcohol-by-volume (abv) barleywine-style ale from Clipper City Brewing of Baltimore, Maryland. The occasion was his annual Strong Beer Tasting. The pitchers had been filled via handpump from a firkin (10.8 gallon cask) of Below Decks.

I mention this because the photograph has received an honorable mention in the 4th annual Good Beer Blog Yuletide Photo Contest . Organizer Alan McLeod wrote that he awarded my photo the honor because
I want to be right there and I want to know that guy and be there with him ... even if TOM CAN"T COUNT!!!

Alan's rules stipulated five photographs as entries. Somehow (!), I had entered six.

Thank you to Alan for the time-consuming task of organizing, prodding, and judging (he called it his "Marital Patience Examination"), and, despite that, still summoning the enthusiasm to secure prizes for us ruck.

Jump here for the other winning entries. The photograph which garnered the Grand Prize is of a cask ale in all its magnificent, active, glory.

Pic(k) of the Week: entire series here.

Friday, December 18, 2009

12 'Beer' Books for Christmas, #4: Christmas Beer

The 4th Book for Christmas

Christmas Beer
Christmas Beer: The Cheeriest, Tastiest, and Most Unusual Holiday Brews
Don Russell
Universe: 2008
ISBN: 0-78931796-6

I can remember a time not too long ago when Christmas/winter/holiday beers seemed to be limited to only a few, such as: Anchor Our Special Ale, Sierra Nevada Celebration, Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome, and some local brewery and brewpub offerings. Now, it's a blizzard (sorry) of options.

Don Russell is the "Joe Sixpack" beer columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. His book Christmas Beer is part breezy history (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was created by an ad writer for Montgomery Ward department store in 1939), descriptions of Christmas customs around the world (Nicholas of Myna in what is now Turkey —the patron saint of brewers— became Dutch Sinterklaas, who then became our Santa Claus) and even some recipes, such as Wassail, Pffeffernuse, Bier Fisch.

First and foremost, however, Christmas Beer is a compendium and review of 'Christmas' beers, with honorable mentions and a Top 50 list. The beers chosen comprise a wide variety of styles and flavors, quite a contrast to the relatively recent past. Such lists may eventually become obsolete, but even so, they gain their own historical value.

Russell is not reticent about calling the beers 'Christmas' beers rather than winter or holiday. He has influential friends. Here's part of his interview with Fritz Maytag of Anchor Brewing —the granddaddy of the craft beer movement in America, and maker of one of the first revivalist spiced 'Christmas' beers in the US.
[Initially, in 1975, unspiced] "it was designed to be as noncommercial as it could possibly be, so we wouldn't offend anyone," Maytag notes. "I knew perfectly well it was a bit naughty to mix a religious holiday with beer ... but I don't think I've heard a single word of criticism from anyone." The following year, Maytag boldly labeled his holiday beer, "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year: Our Special Ale."

And what exactly is a 'Christmas' or 'winter' beer? Although Russell comes down on the side of spiced beers — Anchor wouldn't begin to add spices to theirs until 1987— he disputes that there is any one 'Christmas' style. Rather:
Christmas beers are ales and lagers made by breweries around the world once a year, as a gift to all of us kids at heart. Full of flavor, they often contain secret ingredients ; typically, they have a bit more alcohol, for a nice way to settle into a long winter's nap.

I won't spoil your fun of discovering which beers Russell anoints in his 'best-of' list, but, as there's a blizzard outside tonight, I will mention Heavy Seas Winter Storm, at position #35.
this ale features no less than five hop varieties, including those northwestern darlings, Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook. You'll find an underlying sweet malt base that tones down the tang a bit, but with all those aromatic hops, that's a little like saying the sun was shining until that massive nor'easter barreled down the coast and shut down I-95.

***********************
12 'Beer' Books for Christmas: This is another in a a series of 12 recommendations for beer-themed books —one per day, until the Winter Solstice, 21 December.

This is not a Top 12 list. It's my list of 12 books, personal delights. On Christmas Day: put your feet up, pour yourself a good beer, and read a good book. Better yet: give a friend the gift of a beer and a book. The entire list here.


Caveat lector: As an employee of a beer/wine wholesaler in northern Virginia, I sell the beers of Heavy Seas (Clipper City Brewing).

Thursday, December 17, 2009

VeggieDag Thursday: 12 'Beer' Books for Christmas #5: beerbistro cookbook

beer bistro Cookbook

The 5th Book for Christmas


the beerbistro cookbook
Brian Morin, Stephen Beaumont
Key Porter Books: 2009
ISBN: 1-55470140-6

Like 2007's The Best of American Beer & Food by chef Lucy Saunders this year's the beer bistro cookbook (lowercase, à la e.e. cummings) by beer writer Stephen Beaumont and chef Brian Morin is less a book of recipes with beer as an ingredient than a book of recipes to enjoy with a beer.

Morin is chef at beerbistro in Toronto, Canada. Beaumont was instrumental in its creation.
At its most basic, beer cuisine is any dish that uses beer in its creation, from full-bodied chili to foie gras pate spiced with blonde Belgian ale. <...> Brian and his staff go out of their way to develop new and delicious ways to highlight the myriad flavors found in the taps and bottles at beer bistro.

There are expected chapters on what beer is, how to taste it, etc. Beaumont and Morin also offer a unique but elegant manner by which to categorize beers, which might be especially useful to other-than-beer-geeks who might otherwise be befuddled by the arcana of beer styles (currently 140, as listed by the Brewers Association):
  • Appetizing (tart or dry)
  • Sociable (well-balanced and not high alcohol)
  • Satisfying (gently bitter or roasty)
  • Bold (bitter with yeast-derived fruitiness)
  • Smoky
  • Spicy
  • Robust (malty)
  • Soothing (robust but with a "profound depth of flavor")
  • Contemplative (full-bodied lagers)
  • Fruity
Then, there are eleven chapters of recipes, including desserts. For example, there's an entire chapter on mussels: not only recipes, but a buying and preparing guide. And, there's a very helpful chapter on beer and cheese:
Forget all that talk you've heard about wine and cheese. The real partner for everything from cheddar to stilton is beer. But don't take our word for it —ask a sommelier! Any honest wine professional will admit that the motto in the grape trade is "taste with bread, sell with cheese," primarily because the fats in cheese wil help blot out the tannins that my show up in youthful or aggressive wines.

This is a gorgeous coffee-table book or would that be beer-table book?— filled with what others might refer to as beer and food porn: photographs that excite the juices ... in an epicurean way. The recipes ain't bad either. The book begs for a field trip to Toronto.

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

With this post, worlds collide, or at least, blog posts do. It combines two different series.

First:
VeggieDag is an occasional Thursday post. Why the name? Here.
Suggestions and submissions from chefs and homecooks welcomed! Here.

Second:
12 'Beer' Books for Christmas: This is another in a a series of 12 recommendations for beer-themed books —one per day, until the Winter Solstice, 21 December.

This is not a Top 12 list. It's my list of 12 books, personal delights. On Christmas Day: put your feet up, pour yourself a good beer, and read a good book. Better yet: give a friend the gift of a beer and a book. The entire list here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

12 'Beer' Books for Christmas, #6: Malting and Brewing Science

Malting and Brewing Science

The 6th Book for Christmas


Malting and Brewing Science
J. S. Hough, D.E. Briggs, R. Stevens, T.W. Young
Chapman & Hall (2nd edition) 1982
ISBN: 0-41216590-2

When you're really, really, really ready to begin to, well, really learn the science behind malting and brewing, you might want to pony up a couple hundred bucks for the two volumes of Malting and Brewing Science. [Brewmaster Steve Parkes —owner of the American Brewers Guild brewing school— points out that a newer, rewritten, and re-titled version of the tomes is now available: Brewing: Science and Practice.]

Volume One
covers barley, malting, and other things. Volume Two (pictured above) covers hops, wort, and beer. The science of beer, by the way? It's called zymurgy.

Here's the syllabus of Volume Two:
  • Hops
  • The chemistry of hop constituents
  • Chemistry of wort boiling and hop extraction
  • Methods of wort boiling and hop extraction
  • Biology of yeasts
  • Metabolism of wort by yeast
  • Yeast growth
  • Brewery fermentations
  • Beer treatment [me: includes cask-conditioning!]
  • Microbial contamination in breweries
  • Chemical and physical properties of beer
  • Beer flavour and beer quality
Well, then!

There's a lot more to learn, and these two textbooks don't include much on mechanical issues, and they were originally published in the 1980s. But if your vocational intent is indeed serious, you'll study them until they are dog-eared.

For more avocational purposes (and that implies no disrespect), read instead Brewing Lager Beer by Greg Noonan and Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles by Ray Daniels. Both are superlative primers, and less of a drag on your wallet. There are many other how-to-brew books, but this is my list of one book at a time, and I've already cheated with four suggestions.

Happy brewing to you: it's an all-consuming passion.


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

This is another in a a series of 12 recommendations for beer-themed books —one per day, until the Winter Solstice, 21 December.

This is not a Top 12 list. It's my list of 12 books, personal delights. On Christmas Day: put your feet up, pour yourself a good beer, and read a good book. Better yet: give a friend the gift of a beer and a book.


12 'Beer' Books For Christmas: the entire list here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

12 'Beer' Books for Christmas, #7: The Naked Pint


The 7th Book for Christmas


The Naked Pint: An Unadulterated Guide to Craft Beer
Christina Perozzi, Hallie Beaune
Perigee Trade (1st edition) USA: 2009
ISBN: 0-39953534-9

Christina Perozzi goes by the Twitter name of @BeerChick. Hallie Beaune could as well.Together, they've written 2009's newest beer book: The Naked Pint. Nothing groundbreaking here; history of beer, zymurgy 101, beer styles, beer terminology, beer cookery, homebrewing. They include a nice appendix of resources.

Their mantra is simple: "Beer is good." It's the approach they take in the book —introducing neophytes to beer, minus any haughtiness— and that's the strength of the book.

Alan McLeod at A Good Beer Blog has found just the right turn of phrase to describe this approach:
Well written and breezy, perhaps in the Papazian way but without all that freaky magic mushroomy stuff. I like it. This is a book for beer nerds to give their friends. It will tell the friends a lot about good beer but it will also tell them a lot about their odd wee beer nerd pal. [Charlie Papazian, among other things, is the author of several how-to-homebrew books.]

Rather than throwing all the world's beer styles at you (of which there are 140(!), according to the Brewers Association), they ask what at what stage of beer discovery you are, and offer suggestions. For example, for the person who doesn't like the taste of beer, they suggest fruit-flavored wheat beers:
No, no, no! We don't want that reaction! We don't want you to like this beer because it doesn't taste like beer! We want you to love this beer because it's representative of the variety of beer flavors that exist, the imagination that brewers have, and the skill with which they apply their knowledge and art. We've said it before and we'll say it again: There is a beer out there for every person, even the haters. There are beers that "don't taste like beer" but do indeed taste like beer. [emphasis mine: right on sisters!].

In addition to "The Neophyte" (for which are suggested many other non-fruit beers), the other 'categories' are "The Sophomore," "The Devout," and "The Promiscuous." For the last group, the authors recommend beers such as 'imperial stouts,' sour beers, bitter beers, and 'extreme' styles.

Bubbling up from just below the surface is the authors' reach out to a large group of potential beer drinkers who have been understandably put off by macho descriptions and male marketing of beer, including even (and sometimes, especially) those of the 'craft beer' ambit. As Chris O'Brien put it: putting the ale back in female.

The Naked Pint might be best for those just beginning to learn about beer. But you know, I thoroughly enjoyed the book myself.
  • Caveat emptor: I received a complimentary press copy (read: free) at a book signing in Washington, D.C., hosted by the National Beer Wholesalers Association. The event included a demonstration of the versatility of beer with food. Perozzi and Beaune —and a local chef— paired 5 beers with 'small plates, ' ranging from fried risotto balls to flour-less chocolate brownies. "We want to de-mystify beer education," they told us, using terminology all can understand, rather than jargon: butter rather than diacetyl, chocolatey, grassy, etc.
  • The Naked Pint is also available as an ebook for the Kindle: here.
  • Not everyone liked the book. "It's easy to like" but with some technical problems. Here's another opinion.

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This is another in a a series of 12 recommendations for beer-themed books —one per day, until the Winter Solstice, 21 December.

This is not a Top 12 list. It's my list of 12 books, personal delights. On Christmas Day: put your feet up, pour yourself a good beer, and read a good book. Better yet: give a friend the gift of a beer and a book.


12 'Beer' Books For Christmas: the entire list here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

12 'Beer' Books for Christmas, #8: The Great Good Place


The 8th Book for Christmas

The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community
Ray Oldenburg
Da Capo Press (3rd edition) USA: 1999
ISBN: 1-56924681-5

Originally written in 1989, The Great Good Place is about the missing community forums of modern American life, and the essential need for those meeting places to be re-discovered and re-nurtured. The author, Ray Oldenburg, is Professor Emeritus at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of West Florida in Pensacola.

Oldenburg takes his title from a Henry James short story, in which the Great Good Place is a place of brief supernatural respite. Oldenburg's vision isn't quite so passive or mysterious. His so-called 'third places' are real places, such as brewpubs (and bars).

I'll cheat and crib from Wikipedia's entry:
Life without community has produced, for many, a life style consisting mainly of a home-to-work-and-back-again shuttle. Social well-being and psychological health depend upon community. It is no coincidence that the 'helping professions' became a major industry in the United States as suburban planning helped destroy local public life and the community support it once lent. <...>

Most needed are those 'third places' which lend a public balance to the increased privatization of home life. Third places are nothing more than informal public gathering places. The phrase 'third places' derives from considering our homes to be the 'first' places in our lives, and our work places the 'second.'

Now, skip to the very last paragraph in Oldenburg's book (which will not be a plot spoiler):
The environment in which we live out our lives is not a cafeteria containing an endless variety of passively arrayed settings and experiences. It is an active, dictatorial force that adds experiences or subtracts them according to the way it has been shaped. When Americans begin to grasp that lesson, the path to the planners' offices will be more heavily trod than that to the psychiatrists' couches. And when that lesson is learned, community may again be possible and celebrated each day in a rich new spawning of third places.

Its message applied, The Great Good Place can be a manifesto for true community activism, democracy in conversation. To "think globally, yet drink locally" can be one, enjoyable, portion of thriving locally.

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  • This is the third in a a series of 12 recommendations for beer-themed books —one per day, until the Winter Solstice, 21 December.
  • This is not a Top 12 list. It's my list of 12 books, personal delights. On Christmas Day: put your feet up, pour yourself a good beer, and read a good book. Better yet: give a friend the gift of a beer and a book.
  • 12 'Beer' Books For Christmas: the full list here.

Clamps & Gaskets: Roundup for Week 49

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundupClamps 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 of the pieces deal with beer (or wine, or whisky); some do not. But all are brief, and many are re-posts from my Twitter account: twitter.com/cizauskas.

This is Week 49:
6 December - 12 December 2009


  • 2009.12.12
    Via @allagashbeer: "At Day of the Lambic Fest in Brussels. Our 1st spontaneous beer -in French oak for 2 yrs- is being poured alongside Belgian Lambics."

  • 2009.12.11
    Falls Church restaurants react to new Virginia smoking ban. http://bit.ly/6b2kz3


  • Brewery warehouse manager

  • 2009.12.11
    Has cask ale become a gimmick in the US? Post your opinion at Beer Advocate: http://bit.ly/8xuFV0

  • 2009.12.11
    Fire-brewed! Mad Fox Brewing to buy direct-fire brewhouse for its Falls Church, VA brewpub. Opening 2010: http://bit.ly/5SB6QD

  • 2009.12.11
    #FollowFriday is Pete Brown @PeteBrownBeer. Beer writer of the year in the UK. Author of "Hops and Glory."

  • 2009.12.10
    Happy Birthday to Slow Food. It's 20 today. Celebrate by eating locally: Terra Madre Day. http://bit.ly/5ThVHK

  • 2009.12.10
    Lew Bryson on un-aged whisk(e)y: "You can almost feel the sunlight in young rye whiskey." http://bit.ly/90M4eS

  • 2009.12.09
    Hops for prostates. Flavanoid in hops may retard cancer: http://ow.ly/K7YJ

  • 2009.12.09
    The Top 25 bars of Baltimore, MD. Via Baltimore Magazine: http://bit.ly/6FRbrP

  • 2009.12.09
    Washington DC area top 11 beer bars? From the Going Out Gurus at the Washington Post: http://bit.ly/4I73A3

  • 2009.12.09
    What a difference a decade makes. AOL on its own, once again. Does it matter? http://bit.ly/4weDwD

  • 2009.12.09
    Washington Post's Tom Sietsma reviews Birch & Barley. He likes the beer, food, servers, beer director. http://bit.ly/6SaY1P

  • 2009.12.08
    At the US Congress for the Small Brewers Caucus, the National Beer Wholesalers Association [and the Brewers Association] co-hosted a sampling of beer from many of America's 1,500 breweries. http://bit.ly/5K9MCm

  • 2009.12.08
    Andrew Van Til of Elite Brands Michigan is the first ever Master Cicerone of beer. News release: http://bit.ly/8HX32k

  • 2009.12.08
    Beer geeks and foodies save the date: 6/5/2010. SAVOR –An American Craft Beer and Food Experience– returns to Washington, DC. http://bit.ly/SxWMw

  • 2009.12.08
    A trend at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival: the emergence of lager beer from its protective craft brewers' cocoon. Via Andy Crouch at Beer Scribe: http://bit.ly/67Ou2p

  • 2009.12.08
    World Beer Festival announced for 12 June 2010 in Richmond, Virginia. No other details posted: http://bit.ly/55jn5x

  • 2009.12.08
    Complex alliance of two brewing conglomerates: Indian UB Group (which owns Mendocino which makes Kingfisher in US) and Heineken: http://bit.ly/8AkSB8

  • 2009.12.06
    Today is St. Nicholas Day, a.k.a. Santa Claus- Patron Saint of Brewers. http://bit.ly/6GJ8Fb

  • 2009.12.06
    Wow factor: Hubble Telescope new photos. http://bit.ly/4QDZqB

The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by NotionsCapital.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

12 'Beer' Books for Christmas, #9: Emperor of Scent

Emperor of Scent

The 9th Book for Christmas


The Emperor of Scent: A Story of Perfume, Obsession, and the Last Mystery of the Senses
Chandler Burr
Random House, USA: 2003
ISBN: 0-37550797-3

After the six or so basic tastes —salty, sweet, sour, bitter, savory, and fat— the sense of smell is essential to flavor. It might be the most important contributor, but science is still not quite sure of how it works.

The Emperor of Scent is the fascinating tale of Dr. Luca Turin, a biophysicist at the University College of London, who set out to prove that aroma is detected by the vibrations of molecules. It's a theory that has been soundly rejected by peer review ... with no theory offered to fully replace it.

New York Times writer (and perfume critic!) Chandler Burr writes about Turin's work for (and against) the perfume industry, but the general principles of this still infant science of smell apply as well to good fermentables. If you can't smell it, you can't taste it.


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This is one in a a series of 12 recommendations for beer-themed books —one per day, until the Winter Solstice, 21 December.

This is not a Top 12 list. It's my list of 12 books, personal delights. On Christmas Day: put your feet up, pour yourself a good beer, and read a good book. Better yet: give a friend the gift of a beer and a book.


12 'Beer' Books For Christmas: the full list here.

Pic(k) of the Week: Quercus Vitis Humulus

Quercus Vitis Humulus (2)


Sunlight frames a trio enjoying sips from a bottle of Quercus Vitis Humulus (meaning oak, grape, hop): a 12 % abv barleywine beer from Otter Creek Brewing (of Vermont) .

At Rustico Restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia. 9 December 2009.

Pic(k) of the Week: entire series here.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

12 'Beer' Books for Christmas, #10: Fermenting Revolution

Fermenting Revolution


The 10th Book for Christmas


Fermenting Revolution (How to Drink Beer and Save the World)
Chris O'Brien
New Society Publishers, USA: 2006
ISBN-10: 0-86571556-4

Chris O'Brien is the Director of Sustainability at American University in Washington, D.C. In his book, Fermenting Revolution, he lays out the case that beer, as a global industry, has become non-sustainable and an exacerbator of social ills.
If beer created urban society, which then led to large-scale exploitation of nature, which may now be leading us toward our own extinction, then beer must bear some of the blame.

But like many of us who enjoy a good beer, he also believes passionately in the transformative power for good of beer itself and of smaller scale, 'craft' breweries.
Beer could be part of the solution. Many brewers and beer drinkers are now helping to reverse, or at least slow down, the negative trends associated with our modern consumer lifestyles, and innovating sustainable wasy of living.

He offers his evidence in chapters on the history of the industrialization of beer—the 'masculization' of of a previously feminine craft, on organic beer, on sustainable models, on global warming, on beer and health, on indigenous brews.

Like many of us, O'Brien believes maybe too passionately in the good power of good beer. Thus, he may be at his most convincing when he offers his research. Some of what he reveals can be unexpected: even the "corporate pig-dog" mega breweries, while not promoting community development, are leaders in new sustainable methods and models on, of course, a large scale.
The A-B [Anheuser-Busch] Recycling Corporation is the world's largest aluminum can recycler —recycling more beer cans than they ship worldwide, which is about twenty billion every year. In 2003, the amount of energy saved from recycling aluminum cans was equivalent to 15 million barrels of oil. With all this recycled aluminum, it stands to reason that A-B is also one of the nation's largest purchasers of recycled-content products, purchasing more than one billion pounds of post-consumer content products in 1999.

O'Brien ultimately holds drinkers accountable. He concludes Fermenting Revolution with a challenge, a "Twenty-four Point Action Plan" for would-be beer activists.

A sustainable world could indeed be created without beer, but it would be a dry, thirsty place.

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

This is the third in a a series of 12 recommendations for beer-themed books —one per day, until the Winter Solstice, 21 December.

This is not a Top 12 list. It's my list of 12 books, personal delights. On Christmas Day: put your feet up, pour yourself a good beer, and read a good book. Better yet: give a friend the gift of a beer and a book.


12 'Beer' Books For Christmas: the entire list here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

12 'Beer' Books for Christmas, #11: How to Read a French Fry

The 11th Book for Christmas

How to Read A French Fry
How To Read a French Fry and Other Stories of Intriguing Kitchen Science
Russ Parsons
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, USA: 2001
ISBN:0-61837943-6

At its heart, making beer begins with cooking: kilning sprouted grains, then stewing them and boiling their juice. Understanding the science of cooking —the chemical reactions that occur— is essential for success for both professional chef and brewer.

If you were a pro, you'd be studying scientific sources. If you're not, reading How to Read A French Fry by Russ Parsons —the food editor and columnist of the Los Angeles Times— would be an enjoyable introduction to some of that science.

This is not a textbook; it's a short non-technical overview to the principles of various methods of cooking food. Parsons provides recipes to accompany each. (Try the recipe for Butternut Squash Puree. I'd never thought of using vinegar with the gourd.)

Why the title?
Everyone loves deep-fried foods, as a glance at any fast-food menu will prove. Yet most people would sooner tune their own car or perform minor surgery on a family member before they would try to fry in their own kitchen. <...> Perhaps no other type of cooking involves quite as many variables or requires as many decisions on the part of the cook.

If an aspiring brewer, you might want to turn to page 229 where Parsons writes about the Maillard reaction. The browning of food is one of the more important flavor developments when barley is kilned, and there's a lot of science involved. Parsons, of course, talks about this not in relation to beer, but to solid food.

Although browning bears some resemblance to both burning and caramelization, it's neither. It's actually more closely related to what happens when bread bakes than to anything else <...> attributed to something called the Maillard reaction, named after the nineteenth-century French scientist Louis-Camille Maillard. He found out that the brown of roasted meat and the brown of the crust of bread are both due to a chemical reaction that occurs when you heat amino acids and sugars.

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

This is the second in a a series of 12 recommendations for beer-themed books —one per day, until the Winter Solstice, 21 December.

This is not a Top 12 list. It's my list of 12 books, personal delights. On Christmas Day: put your feet up, pour yourself a good beer, and read a good book. Better yet: give a friend the gift of a beer and a book.


12 'Beer' Books For Christmas: the entire list here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

12 'Beer' Books for Christmas, #12: Buzz

Today, I begin a series of 12 recommendations for beer-themed books —one per day, until the Winter Solstice, 21 December.

This is not a Top 12 list. It is my list of 12 beer books, personal delights. On Christmas Day: put your feet up, pour yourself a good beer, and read a good book. Better yet: give a friend the gift of a beer and a book.

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

The 12th Book for Christmas

Buzz

Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine
Stephen Braun
Oxford University Press, USA: 1996
ISBN: 0-19-509289-9

The science is over a decade old, but I would guess that much remains correct in this book. Stephen Braun is a science writer, so he writes 'scientifically' for a lay audience. If you're a user (that is, lover) of beer, wine, or spirits, it might behoove you to understand alcohol's good and bad, how and what.
Far from being a simple depressant, alcohol is a subtle, complicated drug that exerts a wide range of pharmacological effects. <...> By releasing endorphins, alcohol resembles opium, giving users a rush of pleasure similar to the "natural high" experienced after a vigorous workout.

And the caffeine in your coffee or tea?
The brain resembles a car with several brake pedals and several accelerators. <...> Caffeine works by getting in the way of the adenosine brake. [Adenosine functions as a kind of thermostat: it keeps neuronal activity within safe limits.]
<...>

Beyond [one and four cups of coffee], pouring more caffeine into the brain probably won't increase stimulation —and it may have the reverse effect [a depressant effect] because of caffeine's actions on other molecular subsystems.

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

12 'Beer' Books For Christmas: the full list here.

VeggieDag Thursday: A very veggie Thanksgiving

"You're convincing no one on Turkey Day with your parsnip/veggie loaf talk," was the comment.

Well, this was our Thanksgiving menu. We started with Cranberry-Apple Relish. Then, Potato/Parnsip Latkes and Zucchini Pancakes, topped with Citrus-Creamy Spinach.

Creamy Spinach

The main course was a Seitan Loaf in Cremini Mushroom Gravy. On the side were Cider-Braised Brussels Sprouts and Dark Ale-Roasted Carrots and Parsnips.


Thanksgiving09_Cooking Finished!


For beverages, we served, for wine, a Cru Beaujolias 2006, a Gruner Veltliner, and for beer, two saisons: Hennepin from Brewery Ommegang and Local 1 from Brooklyn Brewery. (For more on pairing beer with the Thanksgiving meal, read this piece from The Wine Enthusiast.)

Thanksgiving09_Dinner Table


There was a Honey-Roasted Ham for the meat-eaters, but by the time all the veggie courses had been served, most of the ham remained. Dessert was a store-bought Blueberry Pie and a home-cooked Tofu-Pumpkin Pie.

Pumpkinator Pie 04


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VeggieDag is an occasional Thursday post. Why the name? Here.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Firkin Dimensions

I was asked. I didn't know. I took out the tape, and measured. Now I do know, and you can too.

Here are the exterior dimensions of a stainless steel firkin.


  • The diameter or width of the head from the outside lip of the chimb is 12 1/2 inches. [red arrows]
  • The width of the firkin at its widest point at its belly is 16-17 inches. [green arrows]
  • The circumference of the firkin at its widest point at its belly is 49 inches. [green arrows]
  • The length of the firkin from chimb to chimb is 19 1/4 inches. [blue arrows]
  • The length of the firkin from back chimb [blue arrows] to the protruding end of the tap [black arrow] is 23 3/4 inches. An inserted cask widge provides a similar measurement. This is a critical measurement when installing a firkin in a small space, such as underneath a bartop.
  • The diameter of the keystone bung is 1 3/8 inches. [black arrow]
  • The diameter of the shive bung is 2 inches. [yellow arrow]
A firkin is a beer cask that approximately contains: 10.8 US gallons = 9 UK gallons = 40.8 liters = 86 US pints. There are no legal standards of construction for beer casks. Dimensions may differ per manufacturer. More on firkin volumes: here.


***************
Fobbing at the Tut, by Cizauskas
This post is one in a series on Cask Ale: Fobbing at the Tut.

  • The length of a cask with a tap inserted was something I had somehow neglected to measure. Thanks to Charlie Buettner, brewer at Mad Fox Brewing Company, who took some of the measurements for me.
  • Monday, December 07, 2009

    Clamps & Gaskets: Roundup for Week 48

    Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundupClamps 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 of the pieces deal with beer (or wine, or whisky); some do not. But all are brief, and many are re-posts from my Twitter account: twitter.com/cizauskas.

    This is Week 48:
    29 November - 5 December 2009


    • 2009.12.04
      Craftbeer.com- new website for craft beer enthusiasts run by the Brewers Association. http://tr.im/GF3V

    • 2009.12.04
      Congratulations to Pete Brown: Beer Writer of the Year at the British Guild of Beer Writers. http://tinyurl.com/yh8krxp

    • 2009.12.04
      The great disappearing 'inner city' brewpub: urban costs force out urban breweries. http://bit.ly/8t1vOP

    • 2009.12.04
      #FollowFriday is @DeirdreReid: tech, social media, and ... beer!

    • 2009.12.04
      One reason that the new #Twitter retweets are pieces of s**t: http://ow.ly/166xSe

    • 2009.12.03
      Another best of list for 2009: Top 10 Jazz CDs: http://bit.ly/74s3Ou [Considering music file downloads, we need a better name for albums.]

    • 2009.12.03
      Grammy nominations announced in 109 categories. http://bit.ly/6N7K1m


    • Oxford Amber Ale and Gruyere

    • 2009.12.03
      Word on the street: Clipper City Brewing to discontinue its Oxford Organic line of beer.

    • 2009.12.03
      How does this pass anti-trust muster? Comcast to pay $30B for 51% of NBC Universal. http://bit.ly/56vQBT

    • 2009.12.02
      November was National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo). Prizes were awarded to the most active NaBloPoMo participants. http://bit.ly/7yBIBH

    • 2009.12.02
      59 Christmas beers tasted. Favorites determined. By the Baltimore Sun: http://bit.ly/6MpDwm

    • 2009.12.02
      The FDA to nix the use of caffeine in alcoholic beverages, but maybe not, per se, the flavoring of beer with coffee. http://bit.ly/67tdeL

    • 2009.12.02
      Two Big Beer Companies own 265+ Brands. A 'who owns whom' list: http://bit.ly/4DPMU0

    • 2009.12.01
      Washington DC's upscale Belgian-themed bistro —Brasserie Beck— to open 2nd location, in Atlantic City. Chef/owner Robert Wiedmaier not ruling out Budweiser on beer menu. http://bit.ly/7WhZ53


    • Otter Creek Oktoberfest

    • 2009.12.01
      It's official. Vermont's Long Trail Brewing signs letter of intent to buy Vermont's Otter Creek (woalver's0 Brewing. http://ff.im/-cgyS0

    • 2009.11.30
      Wine Enthusiast magazine's Top 25 beers of 2009: http://tinyurl.com/yaqh32y

    • 2009.11.30
      Charting US 'craft' beer with infographics: http://cli.gs/Lz53e

    • 2009.11.30
      Good Maryland beer news indeed. Frisco Grille in Columbia MD plans to expand to 40+ taps. http://bit.ly/77Cvst

    • 2009.11.30
      Mmm, Marmite: "English condiment that is perhaps the foulest compound legally sold for human consumption." http://bit.ly/8IbliC.

    • 2009.11.29
      The Moon Under Water: George Orwell defines a good pub. http://bit.ly/4JPZ7P

    • 2009.11.29
      The Western Christian ecclesiastical year begins this Sunday. http://bit.ly/hQLgj

    • 2009.11.29
      Why do many beer writers 'trash' lagers, as if bocks, pilsners, etc. didn't exist? From The Hop Press: "Trashy Beer." http://bit.ly/7T9s6X

    • 2009.11.29
      Walmart won the Thanksgiving online shopping battle: 14.97% of of traffic. Amazon was #2 at 12.41%. http://bit.ly/7TUpAd

    The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by NotionsCapital.