YFGF on social media

Firkin a go-go (01)

Want even fresher beer news?

Go to YFGF's Facebook page:

Or scroll down.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tupper Cask Blast

Tuppers (03)

Columbia Firehouse Restaurant and Barroom
109 S. St. Asaph Street
Alexandria, Virginia
30 September 2010

Join us in the barroom tonight from 5:30 onward as we inaugurate our new cask beer program with very special guests Bob & Ellie Tupper of Tuppers Beers, on hand to pour their Tupper's Hop Pocket Ale both on tap and straight from a cask. To compare and contrast, we'll offer a 6 ounce pour of each for 6 bucks. This is a great opportunity to meet the mind behind the beer all the while getting schooled on the thrill of drinking cask ale straight from the source - not a bad way to knock back a Thursday either.

About Tupper's Hop Pocket

An interest in history and beer led Bob and Ellie Tupper to a quest throughout the United States and Europe to talk to brewers and sample classic examples of traditional brewing styles. In 1978 they began taking formal tasting notes on each new beer they could find.

By the early 1990s the Tuppers had tasted and evaluated over 6,000 beers and visited hundreds of breweries. They had found many excellent beers, but envisioned an ale that no one had made—one that would encompass bold American flavors and traditional European brewing techniques. They asked Old Dominion Brewing Co., which they felt was one of the very best craft breweries in the country, to work with them to develop this ideal ale. Tuppers’ Hop Pocket Ale was the result.

In 1997 the Tuppers again worked with the Old Dominion brewers to create Tuppers’ Hop Pocket Pils, based on the Keller or Hefe Pils style of Northern Bavaria, but with a unique American boldness to the flavor.

The Tuppers live in Bethesda, Maryland, where Bob teaches history. Ellie works in Washington as a production editor of scientific books. The Tuppers still travel and taste beers and now have notes on over 14,000 19,000 different brews.

About Cask Ale

Cask-conditioned beer, or 'real ale', is brewed from only traditional ingredients and allowed to mature naturally.

The unfiltered, unpasteurized beer still contains live yeast, which continues conditioning the beer in the cask (known as 'secondary fermentation'); this process creates a gentle, natural CO2 carbonation and allows malt and hop flavours to develop, resulting in a richer tasting drink with more character than standard keg ('brewery-conditioned') beers.

Some people have the notion that real ale is naturally "warm and flat". This is incorrect; cask ale is ideally served between 50-52 degrees - cool, but not cold like most keg beers - and should have a noticeable natural carbonation from the secondary fermentation in the cask. Look for the little bubbles, which swirl around when you agitate your pint, and a creamy taste.

READ THIS [emphasis mine]

However, anyone not used to real ale's true texture and correct serving temperature can easily get misled when sampling poorly-kept real ale - in all probability avoiding it in future under the assumption that all cask beer is supposed to be 'warm, flat, and generally unpalatable'. This is not the case; a well-kept pint is cool, refreshing, and packed with malt and hop aroma and flavor.

I don't often quote press releases verbatim, but I've done so here (with some minor redacting) because this one was written well, because Bob and Ellie Tupper are friends of mine, because I dig their beer ... and because, tonight, the beer will be cask-conditioned.

Cask vs. draught (01)

UPDATE: Pictures from the tapping

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Clamps & Gaskets: Roundup for 2010 Week 38

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundupWeek 38
19 September 2010 - 25 September 2010

  • 2010.09.25
    DC Brau receives its Federal Brewers' License. One step closer to becoming Washington D.C.'s first production brewery since 1956. http://bit.ly/agHfoF

  • hop bine
  • 2010.09.25
    USDA deals blow to U.S. organic hop industry, says non-organic IS organic: http://bit.ly/cxXwAC
  • 2010.09.25
    It's autumn!? Temperature of 98 °F at National Airport sets a record for Washington, D.C. http://bit.ly/cza6mq
  • 2010.09.24
    New list of French Cru Bourgeois announced. Already some controversy. http://ow.ly/2Jao4
  • 2010.09.24
    Professor Charlie Bamforth wrote it. Charlie Papazian reviews it. "Beer is Proof God Loves Us" due out 20 November 2010. http://exm.nr/8Xf0Uw
  • 2010.09.24
    To counter rapidly diminishing sales, Budweiser to give away free beer. http://bit.ly/b3IVsi
  • 2010.09.23
    Bricks and mortar vs. mobile: Food Truck Wars in Washington, D.C. http://bit.ly/9McMsq
  • 2010.09.23
    Three more lion cubs born at Washington DC National Zoo. http://bit.ly/c5CWCM

  • Harvest Moon 2010
  • 2010.09.23
    The 'super' harvest moon and Jupiter made quite the show in the sky. http://bit.ly/aIv6zs
  • 2010.09.22
    Video on homebrewing from Slate: http://bit.ly/c6NWGL
  • 2010.09.22
    For Italian white wines, look past Pinot Grigio. http://bit.ly/9nUi7E
  • 2010.09.22
    Belgian India Pale Ale (BIPA): enough, already, says beer writer Lew Bryon: http://bit.ly/8Yff5F
  • 2010.09.22
    A review of "A History of Beer and Brewing", which includes research on beer among ancient civilizations. http://bit.ly/9IZrL7
  • 2010.09.22
    The ancient Israelites proudly drank beer —lots of it. http://bit.ly/dsVhl7
  • 2010.09.21
    The ancient Israelites proudly drank beer —lots of it. http://bit.ly/dsVhl7

  • Bordeaux red wine
  • 2010.09.21
    Decanter reports that 2010 will be among the great vintages of Bordeaux, but with a low yield. http://bit.ly/9knX1S
  • 2010.09.20
    What's new in Baltimore, Maryland? Frank Zappa's head. http://bit.ly/blF0Hp
  • 2010.09.20
    Victory Brewing Company in Pennsylvania installing a 345-panel solar energy roof. http://yfrog.com/mxfv8kj
  • 2010.09.19
    The life of a beer judge at the Great American Beer Festival. http://bit.ly/cuo2dM
  • 2010.09.19
    The awards festival at the Great American Beer Festival was streamed live by BeerTapTV.

  • Clamps and Gaskets is a weekly wrap-up of stories  not posted at Yours For Good Fermentables.com. Most 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.
  • The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gravity pour versus handpump

I'm sometimes asked by bar owners about how to install and use a beer engine to serve cask ale, also known as 'real ale.' The implication is that this simple hand-pump device will somehow 'improve' the cask ale that's being served, increasing the level of carbonation and extending the lifespan of the beer. That is, of course, patent nonsense. A handpump does neither; it's simply a hand-pump.

Firkin Thursday

To that point, here's a guest post by Steve Hamburg, one of the foremost cask cellarmen in the United States. It is taken from Cask-USA, an online forum devoted to cask-conditioned ale in the US, hosted at Yahoo! Groups, reprinted with permission.

In theory there should be NO difference between a beer served by gravity or handpump, unless you expect all your handpumped beers to be served through a tight sparkler. There's simply no way that gravity pour can replicate the thick, cascading head, but that doesn't mean the beer should be flat and lifeless.

The issue, as it almost always is with cask ale, is poor cellaring technique. Too many bars/pubs will over-vent their cask beers (breach the cask and leave the porous soft spile in too long) and then use the handpump and a tight sparkler fitting to artificially compensate for what is essentially a pretty flat beer in the cask.

The goal of the cellarman is to optimize the level of natural carbonation that's consistent with the beer style and to serve each beer in a manner that best expresses the aromas, flavors, and mouthfeel. Over-venting is poor practice - there's simply no way you can get conditioning back into flat beer. Then again, if the brewery doesn't understand cask conditioning and racks flat or under-primed beer into the cask, even proper cellar technique won't help.

Porter just right

When I cellar beers my goal is always the same: to maximize the natural sparkle and clarity, no matter how it's served. Again, you should NEVER need a tight sparkler to produce carbonation in a cask beer. I, for one, don't like sparklers at all. But I recognize that many people prefer the creaminess produced by them, and also that this may be a desirable characteristic in certain styles (e.g., mild, porter, stout).

Sparkler 002

In practice, especially at festivals, it can be extremely difficult to maximize natural conditioning. That's because many beers, especially strong ales and barleywines, may require lengthier aging to build up suitable levels of carbonation. But pulling through a handpump will only give you the illusion of carbonation - the beer will be just as flat regardless of serving method, but the handpump just froths it up a bit.

First Draw

Based on your experience, I can understand why you guys generally prefer handpumped beers. Just understand that there's nothing really magical about pumps. The same beer - if cellared properly - should have the same sparkle regardless of how it's served.

And then there's the problem of over-primed casks, common in the U.S. That's a topic for another day.


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

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pic(k) of the Week: Ale from a Gourd

Pumpkin ale poured FROM a pumpkin!

When the folk at Heavy Seas threw a public party at their Baltimore, Maryland, brewery, they poured beer from a pumpkin.

The Great'er Pumpkin is brewed with a large measure of pumpkin pulp —itself a relatively innocuous ingredient— flavored with pumpkin spices (possibly cinnamon, mace, allspice, etc.) added to the traditional mash of barley malt, and hops in the kettle. After fermentation, the beer is aged in 53 gallon once-used oak bourbon barrels from the A. Smith-Bowman Distillery of Fredericksburg, Virginia.

The large (great?) pumpkin in the photo was grown by the brewery's cellarman in his suburban backyard. He hollowed it, whacked in a tap, and filled it with 10 gallons of the beer.

Great'er Pumpkin

The Great'er Pumpkin is quite the full-flavored beer (think of a bourbon/caramel/malty slice of sweet pumpkin pie) and it's a fairly strong one, at 9% alcohol-by-volume (abv). Its full name, by the way, is The Great'er Pumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale, a moniker which conjures up a Tim Burtonesque nightmare of a marching army of giant orange gourds intent upon world hegemony.

Happy Autumn!

  • The comparative in the beer's name suggests another beer, and indeed the brewery does brew The Great Pumpkin, nearly identical, except for not having been bourbon-aged.
  • Why is a bourbon barrel 53 US gallons? Here's why!
  • Caveat lector: As an employee of Select Wines, Inc. —a beer & wine wholesaler in northern Virginia— I sell the beers of Heavy Seas.
  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, usually posted on a Saturday, and often of a good fermentable as subject.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Clamps & Gaskets: Roundup for 2010 Week 37

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundupWeek 37
12 September 2010 - 18 September 2010

  • 2010.09.18
    Winners at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival, with analysis by Brookston Beer Bulletin: http://bit.ly/9d4fGz

  • Mädchen
  • 2010.09.18
    Happy Oktoberfest: today through 2 October. If you can't be in Munich, here are ten North American Oktoberfests. From USAToday: http://bit.ly/8ZpGfV
  • 2010.09.17
    Cuteness alert: Photos of the new Washington, D.C. National Zoo lion cubs. http://bit.ly/d2yQSC
  • 2010.09.16
    Cell phones are prohibited during judging sessions at the Great American Beer Festival. http://bit.ly/auiyhu
  • 2010.09.15
    Get to know Washington D.C.'s Heather Chittum, contestant on "Top Chef: Just Desserts." http://wapo.st/cfBCMr

  • Cask E.S.B.
  • 2010.09.15
    Alex Hall: "The Man Who Sold New York on Cask Ale." Via New York Observer: http://bit.ly/cLH4VY
  • 2010.09.15
    Washington, D.C. Election Results: Vincent Gray ousts incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty in the Democratic primary, and becomes the presumptive mayor-elect. http://huff.to/ci4pF2
  • 2010.09.14
    "So what IS the difference between barley wine and old ale?" Not much, says UK beer historian Martyn Cornell: http://bit.ly/dxrNcG
  • 2010.09.14
    How to give good [beer] head. Via Washington Post Food: http://wapo.st/cU2aeo
  • 2010.09.14
    Two beers of the new Virginia brewery Shooting Star reviewed at blog Musings Over A Pint: Rebel Ale (rye beer), Buffalo Brown Ale. http://bit.ly/aTCPlS
  • 2010.09.14
    Virginia's Governor McDonnell attempts to sell public on state liquor store sell-off http://is.gd/f9Rh1
  • 2010.09.12
    Ted Koppel: Nine years after 9/11, let's stop playing into bin Laden's hands. http://bit.ly/b6cYXt
  • 2010.09.12
    $52 million expansion plan announced by Bells Brewery in Michigan. http://wp.me/pevlF-3oV

  • Clamps and Gaskets is a weekly wrap-up of stories  not posted at Yours For Good Fermentables.com. Most 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.
  • The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The nonsense of 'true to [beer] style'

Martyn Cornell writes a beer blog out of the UK called Zythophile. Think of it as the thinking person's beer blog, Mr. Cornell being the thinker. Here, he's thought about the importance (or not) of beer styles:

I’m sure we all agree that the style label stuck on any given beer doesn’t matter a rat’s arse as far as the drinker’s enjoyment of that beer goes: the liquid in the glass is all that ultimately matters. I’m equally sure we’ve all drunk and enjoyed beers that fit no known or defined style.

I think style labels are important for the overwhelming majority of consumers, however, who need some sort of guide as to what they’re going to be getting. I know little enough about wine, for example, to be glad of the New World habit of putting the grape variety on the label, which the French in particular are only slowly catching up on, since I hate Chardonnay. If I hated hoppy beers but liked dark malty ones, I’d be glad to see “IPA” and “porter” on labels/beer taps, since I could then make an informed choice.

Would it help me make my choice to know that the IPA I had just rejected was nothing like the beer Hodgson’s brewery sent east, or the porter I was drinking was just like the one Barclay Perkins made in 1850? No. Not me, and not, I suspect, the majority of “craft beer” drinkers. I don’t think even beer enthusiasts, generally, care much beyond whether what is in their glass is any good – and why should they?

I like writing about beer styles and their histories, you may have noticed, but I certainly don’t think styles should be fetishised: it’s interesting, for a tiny number of us, to know where today’s beer styles have come from. It’s more important, though, for consumer confidence, to be able to tell drinkers what they can expect by reference to a particular style in its modern incarnation. The relevance of past beer styles to the present is, as Ron and I have shown, limited. As is the nonsense of “true to style”
[emphasis mine].

Mr. Cornell wrote this as a response to a post by fellow beer blogger (in the US) Stan Hieronymous. In quite the circular blog reference, Mr. Hieronymous had mentioned Mr. Cornell's blog post about the difference (or not) between the 'Old Ale' beer style and the 'Barleywine' beer style as another demonstrable reason why readers should purchase Mr. Cornell's book Amber, Gold, & Black.

I would (and did) concur.

The 'Ron' in this case is Ron Pattinson, also a UK beer historian. He writes the beer blog Shut Up About Barclay Perkins.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

G-O-O-O-L-D! & other GABF medals for DMV breweries

The Great American Beer Festival is held annually in Denver, Colorado. Breweries throughout the United State enter their beers to be judged in a controlled, 'blind' manner. Many people consider the winners to be the best examples in the nation in their respective categories.

This year was the 29th year for the festival. 3,521 beers were entered by 516 breweries. 151 judges came from 10 countries. 4,900 people attended. On average, each of the 79 categories had 44 entries. The most in in any one category was the American-style India Pale Ale with 142 entries.

The best name for a winning beer was "Clueless Beer Writer," a silver medal winner in the Vienna style Lager category for The Sandlot Brewery of Denver, Colorado. The strangest category had to be "Out of category - traditionally brewed beer" —appropriately enough, Category 13. That's a head-scratcher.

Congratulations to all the winners, but here, today, we'll only mention those from Virginia and Maryland, which is where this blog is written. There were no winning entries from Washington, D.C. —the 'D' in 'DMV'— but we'll claim an honorary mention for the District. The national brewpub chain Gordon-Biersch garnered two medals, and one of its locations, although not necessarily the location which brewed the winners, is indeed in D.C.

Devils Backbone of Roseland, Virginia, took 4 medals, 2 gold; Blue Mountain Brewery of Afton, Virginia, took 2 medals, one gold; Heavy Seas of Baltimore, Maryland took 2 medals, both bronze; Sweetwater Tavern of Centreville, Virginia, took one medal, a gold.

Devils Backbone in Roseland, Virginia.
Jason Oliver, brewer
*Gold - American or International style Pilsner
          Gold Leaf Lager
*Gold - Coffee flavored beer 
          Baltic Coffee
*Bronze - English style Mild Ale
          Ale of Fergus
*Bronze - South German style Hefeweizen
          Wintergreen Weiss

Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, Virginia.
Taylor Smack, brewer
*Gold - American style wheat 
          Sandy Bottom Wheat
*Bronze - German style Kölsch

Great American Restaurants (aka Sweetwater Tavern) in Centreville, Virginia.
Nick Funnell, brewer
*Gold - Extra Special Bitter or Strong Bitter
          GAR Pale Ale

Heavy Seas Brewing in Baltimore, Maryland.
Ernesto Igot, brewer
*Bronze- Vienna style Lager
          Heavy Seas Märzen
*Bronze - Golden or Blonde Ale
          Heavy Seas Gold Ale

See the full list of all winners here at the festival website or as a pdf file download here. More information here. As per usual, there's good analysis of the results at BeerNews.org. And, a 'thank you' to BeerTap.tv for streaming the awards ceremony, live on the web.

Pic(k) of the Week: Krausen for priming

krausen for priming

A cellarman —very carefully— is  collecting wort from a fermentation tank at high krausen. He'll use it to prime a cask.

  • wort: unfermented beer, or beer during fermentation.
  • high krausen: the most active stage of fermentation, with millions of yeast cells per milliliter.
  • prime a cask: as a rule of thumb, a liter or so of high krausen wort contains sufficient yeast and unfermented sugar to carbonate 10.8 gallons of beer in a cask.

  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, usually posted on a Saturday, and often of a good fermentable as subject.
  • Specifically, this photo is one in a photo montage depicting cask production at Heavy Seas Brewery in Baltimore, Maryland.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Drinking, Again: Legend Oktoberfest

Beer reviews

There's a touch of cool foggy mist this morning. Were it afternoon, I might reach for an Oktoberfest lager, which I in fact did do recently on the outdoor patio at Legend Brewing in Richmond, Virginia.

Oktoberfest lagers —and this fine example from Legend— emphasize the flavor of high-dried malts rather than great bitterness from hops. They are stronger in alcohol than 'average' beer —from just under 5% to nearly 6% by volume— yet not excessively so as to forestall the enjoyment of two or three in a session.

Legend Brewery has produced a beautiful reddish-amber lager with good clarity and head retention. There's good toasted malt flavor with a just a hint of Juicy Fruit yeastiness. Noble hops are more evident in the dry finish than as a grassy aroma.

Oktoberfest stein

A liter stein holds 33.184 U.S. fluid ounces, which is a scosche more than 2 U.S. 16-ounce pints (or not quite 3 12-ounce bottles).

Hop heads and extreme-beer zealots often eschew lagers, but millions of other beer drinkers (including me), do not. Oktoberfest officially begins tomorrow, 18 September, at noon in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, and will continue through 2 October. It's arguably the world's biggest beer party. I didn't look up last year's figures, but here are a few statistics from 1995:
  • 6.5 million attendees
  • 5.8 million liters of beer sold
  • 589,000 rotisserie chickens consumed
  • 320,000 pork sausages
  • 200,000 fish served
  • 84 cows (consumed, not attended)
  • 60 deer (the same!)

If you won't be in Munich, there are alternatives. USAToday has a list of ten North American Oktoberfest celebrations.

  • For the Mid-Atlantic region, refer to this calendar of events from the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News.
  • Albert Einstein —yes, that Einstein— figures in the history of Oktoberfest. Read more here.
  • Drinking Again is a series of occasional reviews of beer (and wine and spirits). More: here.
  • The Drinking Again graphic was created by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A *secret* recipe

On numerous occasions, and again just recently, I've been told or asked about 'secret' recipes for beers. Well, listen folks: it ain't no secret.

The recipe for beer is barley malt, hops, water, and yeast ... with some variations here or there. A recipe is —maybe— 10% of the taste of a good beer. If the importance of a recipe truly were greater, the restaurant world, for example, would have many more 5-star Michelin chefs. They'd simply look them 'secret' recipes in Julia Child's cookbooks.

What's needed are procedures and ingredients, and procedures more so. The ability to make and follow appropriate procedures is necessary. And cleanliness. And repeatability of good results.

A brewery might have a shiny bright brewhouse and use "the finest ingredients", but if it handles and packages its beer in a sloppy fashion, its beer won't be tasting too well in a very short time. Find a good brewery that can handle downstream operations, and you'll find good beer.

... my random thought (rant) this morning

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Clamps & Gaskets: Roundup for 2010 Week 36

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundupWeek 36
5 September 2010 - 11 September 2010

  • 2010.09.11
    Virginia governor proclaims 9/11 moment of silence at 9:37, the time Amererican Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. http://bit.ly/c0lwyL
  • 2010.09.11
    First Responders Appreciation at Blue & Gray Brewing in Fredericksburg, Virginia. http://t.co/OL175PF
  • 2010.09.10
    A paradigm shift. Users spent more time on Facebook than Google in August. http://bit.ly/a1Ljzn
  • 2010.09.10
    A printing company balks at printing Flossmoor Brewery beer labels "Collaborative Evil" and "Beelzebeer." http://bit.ly/c5SfyM

  • Beer Tray
  • 2010.09.10
    In regard to growth patterns, 'craft' beer is the new wine, says Boston Beer's Jim Koch. http://bit.ly/9VuWch
  • 2010.09.10
    The 'real story' on the connection between Westvleteren and St. Bernardus. Via beer writer Chuck Cook: http://bit.ly/cInEo6
  • 2010.09.09
    Reason TV's Interview with Fritz Maytag, ex of Anchor Brewing: http://bit.ly/bGPsDi
  • 2010.09.09
    Washington D.C.'s first production brewery since 1956 -DC Brau- gets its canning line. Brewhouse to follow in December. http://bit.ly/adaPYH. The Session interview with DC Brau: http://bit.ly/d6oeH6
  • 2010.09.09
    Poetic summation of what makes a great pizza pie, from the New York Times' Frank Bruni: http://nyti.ms/a4KlCo
  • 2010.09.09
    Primer on cooking Belgian Beer Mussels. http://bit.ly/cdivhh
  • 2010.09.09
    Virginia Governor unveils plan to privatize the state's liquor sales. Excise tax to exceed local rates, national average. http://bit.ly/9kr0J3

  • Falls Church Market (05)
  • 2010.09.09
    The Farmers Market in Falls Church, Virginia is voted best 'mid-sized' market in US; the best in Virginia market. http://bit.ly/cN7DNm
  • 2010.09.09
    US wine consumption rises for the 16th straight year: 0.8% increase to 297 million cases. http://bit.ly/a4MjTH

  • Westover Beer Garden (02)
  • 2010.09.08
    Arlington County, Virginia, may close the popular Westover beer garden. http://ow.ly/2B4Gj
  • 2010.08.08
    In a costly mistake, AB InBev accidentally mixes ten thousand gallons of Stella with Leffe, two very different beers. http://bit.ly/a4IKaW
  • 2010.08.07
    Happy birthday, Sonny Rollins! The great jazz tenor saxophone player and composer is 80 years old today. http://bit.ly/c819p
  • 2010.08.07
    "Most craft whiskeys suck!" A guest post at John Hansell's (Malt Advocate Magazine) blog: http://bit.ly/du9mfk
  • 2010.08.07
    For homebrewers: The dates & locations of every past American Homebrew Association National Hombrew Championship. http://bit.ly/cujPVt

  • Flag Ponds Nature Park
  • 2010.08.06
    The summer of 2010 has been the warmest on record for Washington, D.C. http://bit.ly/dcQ6J5
  • 2010.08.06
    Welcome to the worst Labor Day in the memory of most Americans. Robert Reich on "The Real Lesson of Labor Day." http://bit.ly/bS4Sl2
  • 2010.08.05
    Long-time beer reviewer Tom Bedell offers thoughtful reviews of autumn beers. Some 'non-traditional' choices. http://bit.ly/d36XIm
  • 2010.08.05
    Long-time beer reviewer Tom Bedell offers thoughtful reviews of autumn beers. Some 'non-traditional' choices. http://bit.ly/d36XIm

  • Clamps and Gaskets is a weekly wrap-up of stories  not posted at Yours For Good Fermentables.com. Most 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.
  • The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pic(k) of the Week: A Big, Wet Smooch

Dog tongue

Emma Dog loving the camera. Towel, anyone?

Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, usually posted on a Saturday, and often of a good fermentable as subject.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

VeggieDag Thursday: Zucchini Risotto

Stephanie and Tim Weber

Thanks to Stephanie Weber of the wonderfully named brew.cook.pair.joy for this recipe for Zucchini Risotto:

As the end of August draws near, I find myself shocked that zucchini season is almost over! (At least, that’s what the garden seems to be telling me. Our poor zucchini plants seem to be getting less and less abundant as the summer comes to a close.) But I’m not done yet! I give you — Zucchini Risotto. I love this dish. It uses up a ton of zucchini in a very sneaky way.

'Veganizing' the recipe, I omitted the parmesan cheese, substituting with nutritional yeast —dried, spent yeast from the brewing process— which contributes a 'cheesey' flavor. And, rather than the wine Stephanie used in her stock, I added 4 ounces of beer.

Risotto and ale

Here's her original recipe. Here's my take. By the way, day-old risotto is delicious pan-fried.

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

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Clamps & Gaskets: Roundup for 2010 Week 35

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundupWeek 35
29 August 2010 - 4 September 2010

  • 2010.09.04
    The 'World's Oldest Beer' pulled from an early 19th century shipwreck in the Baltic Sea. http://bit.ly/dbnuS2

  • Young's Pin (circa 1985)
  • 2010.09.04
    This September and October, Young's Ram Rod will be available on cask, the first time in 5 years, but only in the UK. http://bit.ly/anvD04
  • 2010.09.03
    Shark Week on the Potomac River? Fishermen catch TWO 8 ft+ bull sharks. http://bit.ly/alyfZS
  • 2010.09.03
    A national survey claims that the nation's worst drivers are found in the Washington, D.C. / Baltimore, Maryland area. http://bit.ly/aUMgIf
  • 2010.09.03
    Bottles of wine to be lowered to trapped miners in Chile. http://retwt.me/1OBXV
  • 2010.09.03
    The problem with the Black India Pale Ale beer style: it has no connection to India and it is in no way pale. From Andy Crouch at Beer Scribe: http://bit.ly/dBKdcN
  • 2010.09.02
    It was this photo [http://yfrog.com/2mhdmdj] posted to Twitter that fist alerted the 'traditional' media to the gunman and hostage situation at the Discovery Channel building in Maryland. http://bit.ly/9KoSYD
  • 2010.09.02
    1996 was the zenith for 'craft' beer ; 1997, only one year later, its nadir. http://bit.ly/c91m2R
  • 2010.09.01
    A Tale of Two Wine Harvests. Hot and early in Virginia; cold and late in California. http://bit.ly/bozWNA

  • Tilt!
  • 2010.09.01
    35 years later, heroes of the Vietnam War are reunited, decorated: http://n.pr/cX6wRC
  • 2010.09.01
    "I expected DC Beer Week to be a bacchanale, but it turned out more of a wedding ceremony." Via Greg Kitsock of the Washington Post: http://bit.ly/9JHlX2

  • Hausbrau Herren
  • 2010.09.01
    Oktoberfest comes twice to Fredericksburg, Virginia, in September. http://bit.ly/bNZ1fg
  • 2010.08.31
    Pairing jazz and beer: National Public Radio listens to Miles Davis' Bitches Brew while tasting Dogfish Head's homage beer of same name. http://ff.im/-pXXqa

  • Chris Rafferty pulls the pint
  • 2010.08.31
    Should a brewpub fill growlers with cask-conditioned ale? Several brewers respond: http://bit.ly/br0QiQ
  • 2010.08.31
    Sleuthing the mysterious origins of the words 'beer' and 'ale': http://bit.ly/cFEi7I
  • 2010.08.30
    National Beer Wholesalers Association's online Alcohol Law Forum can help keep you up-to-date on legal developments: http://bit.ly/bM13UQ
  • 2010.08.30
    What economic malaise? Washington State brewery boom: ~20 applications in 2 months http://wp.me/pevlF-3lR
  • 2010.08.29
    What's a 'CE'? Know your beer volumetrics: http://bit.ly/d2vlIE
  • 2010.08.29
    What's a 'CE'? Know your beer volumetrics: http://bit.ly/d2vlIE

  • Clamps and Gaskets is a weekly wrap-up of stories  not posted at Yours For Good Fermentables.com. Most 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.
  • The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Pic(k) of the Week: A Good Lunch

A Good Lunch

Slices of Tallegio & Cheddar cheese, sips of Italian red wines, chunks from a fresh baguette: what more lunches SHOULD be!

Sampling 'big' Italian reds —Nero d'Avola, Chianti Classico, Brunello, Barbera, Barolo, Amarone— on an early afternoon at Planet Wine, in Alexandria (Del Ray), Virginia.

  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, usually posted on a Saturday, and often of a good fermentable as subject.
  • Caveat lector. As a representative for northern Virginia wine & beer wholesaler Select Wines, Inc., I sell many of the wines imported by Winebow.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Clamps & Gaskets: Roundup for 2010 Week 34

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundupWeek 34
22 August 2010 - 28 August 2010

  • 2010.08.28
    Mayan 2012 prediction? Sun storm to hit with 'force of 100m bombs.' http://bit.ly/bNQS6W
  • 2010.08.28
    From beernews.org, more analysis of the 11.9% growth of US 'craft' beer during the first 6 months of 2010: http://bit.ly/bnlNWw
  • 2010.08.28
    If pumpkins aren't yet in season, how can 'pumpkin' beer already be on the shelves? A Baltimore, Maryland brewer waits for the harvest. http://bit.ly/9DcuHo

  • 14
  • 2010.08.28
    Virginia brewery Starr Hill stars on cable network's 'Top Chef'. http://fb.me/F77Zhcds
  • 2010.08.27
    Howard Mandel's Twitter campaign '#jazzlives' is one year old and thriving. http://goo.gl/fb/npsdE
  • 2010.08.27
    Stevie Ray Vaughan: the blues guitar legend died 20 years ago today. http://bit.ly/9uPzzO
  • 2010.08.26
    Pending national legislation that would limit interstate beer and wine distribution: http://bit.ly/9leet8

  • Virginia Heirloom Tomato 'Carpaccio'
  • 2010.08.26
    The 1st Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival (aka Tomato) announced for 24 September in Washington, D.C. http://bit.ly/cNCjOE
  • 2010.08.25
    The City of Philadelphia proposes a license and fee for bloggers. http://bit.ly/90bg7b
  • 2010.08.25
    Chablis: the gold standard of unoaked chardonnay. http://bit.ly/bClrBI
  • 2010.08.25
    The father of US 'craft' beer comes out of retirement. The story of Jack McAuliffe and New Albion, 34 years later: http://bit.ly/alrYg6
  • 2010.08.24
    Oscar Wong, owner of Asheville, North Carolina's Highland Brewing Company to be first recipient of Savannah Craft Brew Fest Craft Brew Pioneer Award. http://bit.ly/cOB4p4 [pdf]
  • 2010.08.24
    "Malt vinegar was beer once, and it seems to remember." -Garret Oliver, of Brooklyn Brewing, on pairing French fries & English bitter. Quote via Orr Schtull of Washington City Paper.
  • 2010.08.24
    "The use of modern techniques & equipment to ensure quality beer doesn't mean the beer isn't a worthy product." An essay on technology by an English brewer: http://bit.ly/cffs8t
  • 2010.08.23
    Why Twitter can work for your business, and how it can. A primer. http://bit.ly/94GfZH
  • 2010.08.23
    How do you pronounce "Nevada?" You're probably wrong! http://su.pr/22TeMz

  • Cooking liquid
  • 2010.08.23
    Once 26% of the US beer market, the mighty Budweiser beer has fallen to 9.3% share, and is still falling. http://bit.ly/aYgVOF
  • 2010.08.23
    Once 26% of the US beer market, the mighty Budweiser beer has fallen to 9.3% share, and is still falling. http://bit.ly/aYgVOF

  • Clamps and Gaskets is a weekly wrap-up of stories  not posted at Yours For Good Fermentables.com. Most 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.
  • The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.