Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Label Trivia

Spaten was first brewed in Germany in 1397. The German word "spaten" translates to "spade." This is illustrated on the brand's label by a depiction of a malt shovel.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Green Champagne

The Comité Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) recently announced the design of a lighter champagne bottle (2 ounces lighter, to be exact). This new design is being launched in an effort to reduce the region's carbon emissions. The resulting annual CO2 reduction that can be expected will be about 8,000 metric tons. This is the latest in an ongoing campaign to reduce CIVC carbon emissions by a total of 75% by 2050.

See more information in this Wine Spectator article.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Brewery Trivia

When Dogfish Head first opened in 1995, they were the first brewpub in Delaware, and the smallest commercial brewery in the country. They now produce over 20 different brews and their product is available in 25 states.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Beer Facts

In the 17th and 18th centuries, it was not uncommon for European doctors to recommend regular consumption of wheat beer to patients suffering from what would later be identified as vitamin deficiency. Due to its high yeast content, wheat beer is rich in certain vitamins and minerals, which could help to relieve the patients' symptoms.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

2010 Best Washington Wines

Seattle Magazine recently published their picks for 2010 Best Washington Wines. There are some great bottles on this list, and some are quite affordable. Check it out!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Value Wines

Check out the Washington Wine Report's Five Under Fifteen section. Every month they taste and rate 5 wines retailing at under $15.00 each. Not everything they try is a treasure, but they have identified some good value bottles.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Give it a Shot

So, you arrive in a new bar. You sit down, glance at the menu, and proceed to order the same beer you drank at the last bar you were at. Maybe it's your favorite, or maybe it's just the only beer on the list that you've had before, and therefore, know to be "safe." Sound familiar?

I've noticed that beer drinkers in particular tend to gravitate toward the Old Familiars. We've all done it. There's nothing wrong with brand loyalty and there's nothing wrong with ordering a pitcher of your favorite; but don't be afraid to change it up once in awhile. You might discover something new that you love. Even if you don't, at least you explored new territory. Give it a shot, and venture outside the box the next time you're ordering.

At Ankerhaus, we plan to have a couple of rotating taps precisely for this situation. It will offer the fun of an ever-changing menu, and will also allow us to bring in some of your favorites that might not have a permanent place in the line-up. You will be able to experience brews that you otherwise may not have been exposed to.

Sometimes it doesn't work out, but so what? You'll live to tell the tale. I once ordered a jalapeño beer, only to discover it was the worst thing I have ever tasted. I then spent the rest of the evening passing the glass to newly-arriving friends and saying "This is the worst beer ever. It's HORRIBLE - try it." They inevitably did - a fact which speaks volumes about my friends. Even though it was a vile beer, it still makes for a good story.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Label Trivia

The Red Triangle logo used by Bass was the very first trademark to be registered under the United Kingdom's Trademark Registration Act. In fact, the brewery sent a representative to wait outside the trademark registrar's office on December 31, 1875, to insure that he would be the first in line when the office opened and the Trademark Registration Act went into effect on January 1st, 1876.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Washington Wine

Washington State ranks second in the country in wine production (behind California), with over 31,000 acres of vineyards and over 600 wineries.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Brewery Trivia

In 1999, the New Belgium Brewing Company (producers of Fat Tire and all-around eco-conscious guys that they are) became the first wind-powered brewery. This made them the largest private consumer of wind energy at that time.

Bravo, New Belgium!

You can read more about their environmental efforts here.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Toast

Emily's last post ended with pure poetry, and it got me thinking about all the different toasts people drink to. I've heard some good ones in my day so every now and again I'll pop in and share one or more with you. Today we have two to offer up, hope you like them. I can take credit for neither of them, but the cool thing about toasts is nobody cares if you steal theirs.

"My grand-grandfather once told me, 'I have a desire to buy a house, but I have not the opportunity. I have the opportunity to buy a she-goat, but I have not the desire.' So let us drink to the correspondence of our desires and our opportunities."
- Traditional Russian Toast

"In Vino Veritas. In Cervesio Felicitas."
- Old Latin Toast
(In wine there is wisdom. In beer there is joy.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

For those of you who haven't met me, I am an Irish girl. It's in my blood, it's been part of my life for as long as I can remember, and this is one of my favorite days of the year. My brother and I were involved in an Irish dancing group in Illinois when we were kids, and every St. Paddy's was filled with parades, parties, dancing, and music. We would take the day off of school to go dance all over town and celebrate the day of Our People.

While no St. Patrick's Day has been quite as exciting since I stopped dancing, the day still holds a certain energy for me, and I am excited for it every year, even if I do nothing more than drink a pint of Guinness and listen to some Irish music on my ipod.

But I feel the magic returning. I look forward to the day when we can celebrate it together, at Ankerhaus. It will be a party to remember - old friends, new friends, music until the wee hours, and we will all be swimming in stout. I can think of nothing better.

Until then...

May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be ever at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon you,
May the rain fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wine and Philanthropy

Wine isn't strictly a for-profit enterprise. Every year, the Markham Vineyards of Napa Valley award two grants of $25,000 each to organizations committed to philanthropic efforts in their communities. Recipients of the 2009 grants were Long Island Sled Hockey in Lynbrook , NY, and the Paul Ruby Foundation in Geneva, IL. They have also dedicated two cabernets (The Philanthropist and The Altruist) to the recipients.

"Beer Wars"

Over the weekend, I watched great documentary on the brewing industry. It's called "Beer Wars," and I highly recommend you check it out. It's an engaging doc in the tradition of Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock, offering humorous commentary in conjunction with facts and figures to paint a picture of the state of affairs in the beer industry today, pitting the small, independent craft brewers against the big corporate giants.

The film is an underdog story of sorts, showing the struggle of all of the small breweries out there, trying year after year to produce new, exciting and quality beer, while the corporate brewers eat up the majority of the market share with inferior products and dirty tactics. The cameras spent time with a couple of independent brewers - most notably Sam Calagione, the founder of Dogfish Head. These guys are incredible; they love the fact that they get to wake up every day and go make beer, and they put a lot of effort and pride into their craft and their products as a result.

This film comes highly recommended, and is a must-see for anyone with a love for beer and beer culture. Definitely check it out if you get the opportunity, and appreciate all of the amazing work that is being done out there by the independent brewers. "Beer Wars" is available on dvd and is making the rounds on the cable Video-On-Demand services.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Label Trivia

The five-pointed star on the Newcastle Brown Ale label represents the five original breweries in Newcastle, England. The star was added to the logo in 1928, a year after the beer first went into production.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Accidental Wine

The Seattle Times ran an article last week about the Accidental Wine Company in Los Angeles. This looks to be a fantastic place to buy quality wine at a discounted price. Basically, they obtain wine with damaged or otherwise compromised labels and sell it through their internet store at discounted rates.

This is a great way to try different bottles without breaking the bank. The only catch is that you don't know ahead of time exactly what you're going to get. Due to the nature of the business, they don't really know what they're going to have in stock, so you while you can request a certain type of wine, you really can't get more specific than that.

I, for one, am looking forward to trying it out.

Independent British Breweries Up

An update on yesterday's post: it seems independent British breweries saw an increase in sales in 2009 as well.

Monday, March 8, 2010

U.S. Embraces Craft Beer

Check it out, beer lovers! The Brewers Association just released the preliminary info for beer sales in 2009, and the current trend seems to be an increase in sales of independently-produced craft beers. Additionally, the number of craft brewers has grown as well. There are a lot of small breweries out there producing some great beers; it's great to see consumers embracing them. Beeradvocate has all of the details.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

New Wine Pairing App

If you are one of the smart-phone-toting cool kids, you might want to check this out. A new wine pairing app was just launched. With the power of technology, you now have the perfect pairing for any meal at your fingertips. It's basically an upgrade of the Drinks Matcher app, with additions of wine reviews, articles, recipes, winery listings, and a gazillion other things.

As I am currently not one of the smart-phone-toting cool kids, be sure to tell me how well it works.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Beer Facts

Did you know that in Medieval times, Monks would brew beer for sustenance?

Of course you did - everybody knows that. What you may not know is that the practice still continues today. Seven Trappist monasteries in Europe still continue to brew a variety of ales. The proceeds go to fund the works of the monasteries, or to other similar causes.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The High Five Club

Ah, Happy Hour. Is there any better time of day? That was rhetorical, of course there isn't. Happy Hour is the carrot we all endure eight hours of the stick for every day, and we all have our own names for the group we celebrate it with. My current group calls themselves the High Five Club, due largely to watching way too much Scrubs when we started the group. I have no excuse for this.
Happy Hour is about the simple things. Grab a pint, something to snack on, and just enjoy a couple hours goofing off with friends. Soon all the stress of the day seems like a thing of the past. It's where you find yourself in stimulating debates such as:
"Who's hotter? Sarah Michelle Gellar or Eliza Dushku?" (Dushku)
"Why hasn't soccer taken off in this country?" (I have no idea, soccer is awesome)
"What do I have to do to get a drink around here?" (Oh, you must be at that OTHER pub)
Regardless of who you spend it with, what you call yourselves or how often you find yourself a part of it, Happy Hour is a cleansing ritual that washes off the stink of the workday. Most establishments offer specials of some kind during this time; some places do it better then others. The Ankerhaus Pub is committed to bringing out every ounce of magic this event holds, and making an already memorable time unforgettable for those who choose to enjoy it with us.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Art of Customer Service

The words "customer service" get thrown around a lot, and they tend to evoke a different reaction depending on who's saying them and who's hearing them.

At the very lowest end of the spectrum, the words conjure images of soulless teenagers in stained uniforms, staring blankly past registers where the buttons are just pictures of the food.

From many job-seekers' (and hiring managers', for that matter) points of view, "customer service" represents the least desirable opportunity, a skill-free, entry-level plebeian position to be avoided like the plague. A warm body with low standards.

Comparably few people see the words for what they ought to represent: a very tricky job that takes a lot of time and attention to master. A customer service environment is one of life's most educational laboratories for human nature and communication - show me a waiter or bartender who's good at what he or she does, and I'll show you someone who can talk their way out of any conflict.

Truly excellent customer service isn't about remembering that the customer is always right - that's never been true. Point in fact, the customer is typically quite wrong, or misinformed, or unreasonable, or scheming to get something they didn't pay for. The key isn't behaving as though the customer is right, it's in making sure that the customer always understands they've been taken care of. Being able to identify what a person needs, reconcile that against what you're able to provide them, and consciously direct the entire encounter towards an end where they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you listened and did the best for them that could be done - that's the heart of good customer service. There's not a thing easy, unskilled, or entry-level about that. It's one part tapdancing, one part sleight of hand, and three parts willingness to invest genuine attention into a human being you've possibly never met before.

It's a memorable cocktail, and one we're going to sell en masse to the Seattle populace.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Brewery Trivia

When Arthur Guinness began brewing our favorite stout in 1759, he signed a 9,000 year lease on the St. James Gate Brewery, which is where Guinness is still housed to this day.

Points for long-term planning.