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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Half-hitch secure.

Half-hitch secure

With a half-hitch, the winch was secured. Onboard a boat in Sarasota, Florida...for a three-hour cruise. 5 October 2019.

As a friend says, "Everything is better in black and white."



Saturday, October 05, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Maintaining his cool

Maintaining his cool

Not John Goodman, maintaining his cool.

28 September 2019: a very hot and humid late September day for the East Atlanta Strut, in Atlanta (East Atlanta Village), Georgia, USA.

The East Atlanta Strut is East Atlanta's free annual one-day neighborhood festival, always on the third Saturday in September featuring a parade, food, live music, art, and events. The festival is held to highlight the businesses in East Atlanta Village as well as raise funds for schools, senior programs, and Neighbor In Need East Atlanta. The festival is run completely with volunteers.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Still life with Oktoberfest, pretzels, & radishes

Still life with Oktoberfest, pretzels, & radishes

So that you won't have to, Virginia, USA-based beer blogger Alistair Reece (at Fuggled) blind taste-tested 18 Oktoberfest beers this year, imported and USA-domestic. He began here; winnowed things down in round two, here; and concluded here.

Spoiler alert:
Do not look at the photo above (or read below) for his choice as winner.


Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest

For the past few summer/autumns, California, USA-headquartered Sierra Nevada Brewing has collaborated with a different German brewery each year to brew an Oktoberfest lager. This fascinating exercise has organoleptically demonstrated the brewing creativity possible using only barley malt, hops, water, and yeast, within a strict set of parameters. No extraneous froufrou needed or used.

This year, its partner is Bitburger Brauerei, of Bitburg, Germany.

We teamed up with Germany’s Bitburger Brewery for a festbier [with] a rich amber color and smooth malty flavor. We brewed Oktoberfest with Bitburger’s custom yeast and secret hop blend called Siegelhopfen, meaning 'Sealed Hops'—two house ingredients never shared outside their walls until now.

  • Malts: Pilsner, Munich, caramelized malts.
  • Hops: Bitburger Siegelhopfen, German Magnum, Loral.
  • Yeast: Lager
  • Alcohol: 6% (by volume)
  • IBUS (international bittering units): 20


And the winner is

In case you hadn't guessed it yet, Fuggled's 2019 choice for Oktoberfest (and I concur) is...

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2019, brewed by Sierra Nevada Brewing, at its Mills River, North Carolina plant.

Mr. Reece wrote:
  • Sight - deep orange, tight ivory head, excellent retention
  • Smell - toasted cereal, light cinnamon, bready malt
  • Taste - brown sugar, juicy sweet malt, citrus hops, subtle lemon and lime, clean finish
  • Sweet - 2.5/5
  • Bitter - 2.5/5
If you are having a session and want a beer that doesn't just fade into the background, go for the Sierra Nevada.

I say:
Orange-red appearance, Sierra Nevada/Bitburger Oktoberfest pours from the bottle with a scant head but lasting carbonation. There's an aroma of toasted cracker...and, in distant second and third: plums and spent matches. In flavor, add brown sugar and hints of lemon peel and mowed grass (the "secret" hop blend?). The finish is Goldilocksean: not too sweet, not too bitter, not too short, not too long. American Oktoberfests sometimes have a fruity/marshmallow character and/or a burned malt flavor. Not this.

I enjoyed (that is, drank) my bottle, purchased in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, on 25 September 2019. It's this week's Pic(k) of the Week.


Saturday, September 21, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Pray for Zinfandel

Pray for Zinfandel

Pray for Zinfandel!

Or, as Benjamin Franklin wrote to his friend, André Morellet, a 18th-century French economist, philosopher and theologian:
On parle de la conversion de l’eau en vin, à la nôce de Cana, comme d’un miracle. Mais cette conversion est faite tous les jours par la bonté de Dieu, sous nos yeux. Voilà l’eau qui tombe des cieux sur nos vignobles, et alors elle entre dans les racines des vignes pour-être changée en vin. Preuve constante que Dieu nous aime, et qu’il aime à nous voir heureux.

Translated into English, this reads:
We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage in Cana, as of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy!

Sorry, cerevisaphile. Contrary to your myth, Mr. Franklin did NOT write, "Beer is proof that God loves us." But we can forgive him his trespass.

As to the photo itself: residents of the Oakhurst neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia, USA, have installed various whimsical found-art sculptures in their front yards and on the median of their street. I snapped the photo on 19 September 2018.


Thursday, September 19, 2019

VeggieDag Thursday: Banana Malt Bread

When life gives you brown bananas, you make Banana Malt Bread.

Banana Malt Bread

I adapted this recipe, almost intact, from Easy Vegan Banana Bread by Nora Cooks Vegan but with a beery twist: for the sweetness, a barley malt substitution à la beer-food writer Melissa Cole. Have your beer and eat it too.



    • 2-3 medium overripe bananas
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1/3 cup barley malt syrup
    • 1/3 cup extra virgin oil oil
    • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
    • 5 tablespoons water
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup garbanzo flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts

    Banana Malt Bread (02)

    1. 1) Preheat the oven to 350 °F.

    2. 2) Lightly oil a 9-inch loaf pan and arrange a strip of parchment paper width-wise along the center, with just a bit hanging out over each side.

    3. 3) Make two flax 'eggs.' Use a coffee grinder or mortar-and-pestle to grind the seeds. In a bowl, mix together the ground flaxseed meal with six tablespoons of water. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set up and thicken.

    4. 4) Mash peeled bananas in bowl.

    5. 5) Add malt syrup, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla to bowl. Mix well.

    6. 6) Add the flour to the bowl. Mix well. Add baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and reserved flax 'eggs.' Mix well.

    7. 7) Fold in walnuts.

    8. 8) Spoon the batter into loaf pan. Cover with aluminum foil.

    9. 9) Bake, covered, for 30 minutes.

    10. 10) Remove aluminum foil and return loaf to oven, baking for additional ~20 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick or fork tine into the center. If it comes out easily and clean, it's done. Don't burn the top!

    11. 11) Remove from the oven and allow the loaf to cool before removing it from the pan.

    12. 12) Slice and serve.

VeggieDag Thursday
VeggieDag Thursday is an occasional Thursday post
on an animal-free diet and on environmental and ecological issues.