Thursday, July 29, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Nothing beats a summer beer in July (now that summer has finally decided to join us). Over the weekend, I grabbed a six-pack of Deschutes Twilight Summer Ale and kicked back to enjoy - and enjoy I did!
This is a golden-colored brew that balances a citrusy, hoppy taste with a rich, malty finish. I love it for summer because it packs a lot of flavor while still remaining a fairly light-bodied beer. Not too heavy, and great for warm weather. It's available though September, so grab a six-pack for your next cook-out.
Monday, July 26, 2010
The event will run from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm on Saturday, July 31st. Registration information and a schedule of events can be found on the Tour de Fat's website.
Friday, July 23, 2010
30 bottles of Champagne were recovered from a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea. It is believed that the wine was made by Clicquot in the 1780s. The bottles have been shipped back to France for testing, but if confirmed, this will be the oldest drinkable Champagne in existence, and each bottle could fetch about $69,000 at auction.
The wine was well-preserved thanks to the dark, cold conditions of the seabed. The divers who discovered the treasure popped a bottle and sampled it (and wouldn't you?), calling it "fantastic."
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Like Tesla and Bell and Oppenheimer before them, the boys at BrewDog have swung the spongy gray sledgehammer of human brainpower at the problem and smashed out an innovation: The End Of History, the official World's Strongest Beer. Poured from the mouth of a squirrel. No foolies.
When your eyeballs have stopped screaming, click below to hear two attractive men with Scottish brogues explain it to you.
Your eyeballs may now resume screaming, if they'd like.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Can I get both for a dollar extra?
Travel back in time with me once again to those halcyon days of yore, bartending at Les's Lounge in Urbana. The amber light from recessed ceiling cans glinting off spotless glassware on burgundy foam mats. Ice crystals shimmering on a chiller full of 10-ounce beer mugs. David Allan Coe warming cockles from the jukebox.
Back in 2002, the Chicago Bears were without a home base while aliens and bureaucrats began renovations on their mighty fortress, Soldier Field. They needed a new place to wage football war, and through some series of events that likely involved mafia hits and dark arcane rituals, the University of Illinois' Memorial Stadium won the honor. For an entire season, the Bears would climb aboard their jewel-encrusted buses and head down to Champaign, an armada of pierogi-scented Bears fans in their wake. Local business rejoiced, local hotels stocked up on polish sausage, and local bars played host to a whole new crowd of Chicagoland hooligans.
Ditka said knock you out.
It was on one of these game nights (dark and stormy, for our purposes) that I found myself once again dutifully slinging brew at the Lounge. The place was packed with refugees from the overcrowded Lincoln Motel down the road, and the kegs of Heileman's Old Style were draining faster than I could tap them.
For the most part, it was a manageable crowd. Large, loud and mustachioed, as these mighty Northmen often were, but of a generally agreeable disposition.
Except for one guy. Oh man, this guy. He sat at the head of the bar, angrily sucking down Jack and Cokes as though they were incrementally adding up to some heinous violent crime he wasn't quite tanked enough to commit. He looked as though someone had taken a dump in his very best shoes. Different liquors have different effects on the brain of your average bar patron; wine drinkers don't leave the bar alone, tequila drinkers are very loud singers, and Jack Daniels drinkers usually end up participating in a complex economy of supply and demand for black eyes and loose teeth. So as each Jack and Coke disappeared into his angry gullet, I added an extra layer of gird to my loins.
Seriously, Jack Daniel. Dentists owe you everything.
Eventually the inevitable happened. Someone brushed up against him, or maybe accidentally caught his eye. Maybe a butterfly flapped its wings in Tokyo and the resulting air currents called his mom unclean names. Either way, he tossed back the remaining half of whatever glass of evil he'd been working on, and began making mistakes. Names were called. Threats were issued. Tensions began to climb.
Enter the bartender. "Hey, buddy. Take it easy." In the language of my people, this is a traditional greeting which roughly translates to "Hello, friend. This is your first warning." Normally, these words are enough to interrupt whatever unpleaant momentum has been building, and inject enough embarassment into the situation to awkwardly defuse any further disturbance.
But not this guy. Oh man, this guy. He responds with an up-and-down sizing glance, the universal sign language for "can I totally take this guy?" At this point, time freezes. The bartender must make a split second decision - am I backing down and taking this guy's crap all night long, including the eventual call to the police, or am I going to put all my chips on the table and rise to the challenge? It's a bluff - the law has very clear things to say about bar staff laying hands on the the clientele despite what movies might tell you - but it's a strong bluff, and I'm an excellent poker player.
I interrupt his assessment of me by quickly leaning into the whisper zone. "Hey pal," I quietly intone, "you see any bouncers in here?"
He swings his whiskey-soaked head from side to side. I'm the only staff in the building.
"No," he wheezes, a brown skull-shaped cloud of whiskey fumes issuing forth from his mouth.
"What does that tell you about me?" Silence. Sustained eye contact.
He slumps back in his stool. I keep up the eye contact for a few seconds more, as a victory lap, and then return to washing the glasses. By the time I've turned around again, he's gone, a $20 bill tucked under his empty rocks glass.
Patrick Swayze, may you rest in peace. We continue your work down here on Terra Firma. This ain't one body's Tell, it's the Tell of us all. Listen it and member.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
We've all been there. But thanks to Josh Wade of DrinkNectar.com, the next time your wallet is light, you won't have to suffer through an inferior bottle. Yesterday, he published a list of quality wines with a price tag of under $10 each. There is a little bit of everything on this list, so you are bound to find something to suite your tastes. Thanks Josh, for making value wines a little easier to navigate.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
The festival will be held on October 1st and 2nd. Check out the festival website for additional information. Tickets will be on sale soon.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The event will run from 5-7 pm PT/8-10 pm ET on Thursday, July 15th. Details can be found here.
As I have said before, nothing beats tasting and chatting about wine from the comfort of your own couch and PJs. Grab your favorite bottle and join the conversation!
Friday, July 9, 2010
It is brewed with barley, honey and white muscat grapes - each of these ingredients makes a very distinct contribution. This beer has a very wine-like quality, with the grapes being very present on the nose (very Chardonnay-like). The barley comes into play in the initial taste, (reminding you that you are, in fact, drinking beer), offsetting some of the sweetness provided by the grapes. The honey helps it to finish off with a very rich, warm quality.
Midas Touch is light and sweet enough to be appealing to someone new to beer, or to someone who doesn't enjoy darker, heavier beers, but still offers enough complexity to be appealing to a seasoned beer-drinker. If you haven't sampled it yet, it's definitely worth checking out. For most people, it's probably not for everyday drinking, but absolutely offers an interesting, worthy option when you want to shake things up a bit.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Craft Beer sales have been on the rise, and an informative show led by a host with the personality and charisma of Calagione (featured in Beerwars ,which I cannot recommend enough), will only strengthen this movement. It sounds like it could definitely be an interesting series.
Check out the press release below for more details. Delawareonline.com also has an interesting piece about the show's development.
EXPERIENCING THE WORLD ONE PINT AT A TIME DISCOVERY CHANNEL RAISES A GLASS FOR BREWED, NEW SERIES ON THE WORLD OF BEER ANNOUNCED FOR FALL 2010
(Silver Spring, Md.) Beer is the drink of the masses. If you look into a glass of beer you can see the past, present and future of mankind. Cicero lauded it, Genghis Khan fought for it and now Discovery Channel celebrates it with a world premiere series, BREWED, exploring the culture, history and variety of beer.
Meet Sam Calagione: maverick entrepreneur, family man and owner of Dogfish Head Brewery in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. As an ambassador to the world of craft beer, Sam travels the world to experience what every culture brings to its own special brew.
In BREWED, Sam shows viewers the other side of the bottle, sharing the stories of beer sub-cultures as well as exploring life inside The Dogfish Head Brewery. BREWED goes behind the scenes at Dogfish Head as Sam's merry band of creative brewmasters concoct new taste varieties.
"BREWED taps more than just kegs and barrels, it unlocks a fascinating history of beer making, showcasing the ingenuity and passion behind our love affair with those alluring suds and how it played a role in building civilizations," said Clark Bunting, President and General Manager of Discovery Channel.
Running a successful business also requires inspiration, so BREWED hits the road for the ultimate beer tasting road trip. Along with archaeologist and beer expert Pat McGovern, Sam sets out to recreate "ancient ales" that have been discovered at sites around the world from Egypt to Peru. He travels to Rome to research old world Italian beers as inspiration for a new site in New York with Mario Batali. A visit to New Zealand introduces the idea of making the "first tomato based beer." And back home, Sam is tasked to come up with a commemorative beer called "Bitches Brew" to celebrate the 40th anniversary release of Miles Davis' famous recording.
"Beer has always been my passion. It is so much more than what you see in the glass. I'm excited to share the diligence, daring and creativity that we pour into our work," said Calagione.
BREWED is produced for Discovery Channel by Zero Point Zero Productions. Chris Collins and Lydia Tenaglia are executive producers. Tim Pastore is executive producer for Discovery Channel.