Beer for Troops

I saw this tidbit in Draft Magazine….

Thanks to a Chicago-based group called Pizza 4 Patriots, American troops at VA hospitals around the country will receive another shipment of beer and pizza this fall. The organization, which sent 2,000 pizzas to soldiers in Iraq last July 4th and helped them drink Schlitz during the Super Bowl, has gotten donations of over 6,000 beers to spread around the country on Veteran’s Day.

Troops serving on active duty are banned from drinking while on base — with the exception of the Super Bowl — but vets in hospitals can imbibe accordingly.

Price is relative

I want to get something off my chest. I do not care what beer costs. There, I said it. And I don’t regret it.

I just had Magic Hat # 9 recently. It was one of the best beers I have had in a while. It really made an impression. I could have been charged $8.00 for it and it would have been worth it.

How can I say that when I am “at liberty” employment wise. Shouldn’t I be going cheap. NO. I want to taste the best beer, not any beer. The point is not to get drunk. The point is to savor and explore. That is part of the reason why I started this blog. I want to guide people to better beer.

I firmly believe that it is better to have one really awesome experience of 16 ounces than it is to get a sixer and feel woozy.

The esteemed Garrett Oliver explains via cheese and bread this same theory. Are you going to buy white bread and pre-packaged cheese slices or would it be better to have great farmhouse cheddar on a baguette from the local bakery?

Same goes with beer. I’ll skimp elsewhere.

Beer DVD reviews


Today, I watched “Beer Wars” and “The American Brew” back to back. I think that they both have their strong points but American Brew wins my Beer Oscar.

The American Brew is way too short (in a good way) and I really enjoyed the clips left on the cutting room floor. It shows the basics of making beer along with a brief history of beer in America. And it has great commentators including Daniel Okrent, Charlie Papazian, Fritz Maytag and Dick Cantwell among others. It has a specific aim and it hits it straight on. Since, I love educating people about beer and its turbulent history in America, this is a great tool to use.

Beer Wars on the other hand has a major beer flaw in it, though it is not a dramatic flaw. The focus is on Sam Calagione from the wonderful Dogfish Head and on the creator of Moonshot Caffeine Beer and Edison Light, Rhonda Kallman. To a lesser extent it is a screed against the three-tiered distribution system and the dominance of ABINBEV / SABMILLERCOORS.

Both Sam and Rhonda have wonderful entrepreneurial spirit. But Sam understands that he is a brewer first and second and third and a salesman fourth. Rhonda is all sales all the time and that hurts her. She becomes a product not a craft. I totally understand why the beer community is so mixed on this movie. On one hand it celebrates creative beer and then extols the wonders of marketed beer. It is good drama but not good beer.

It could be worse…

…whenever you have had a bad beer or the barkeep is having a bad attitude day. Remember that it could be worse. You could be drinking….
miller clear

Clear Beer. That’s right. The most unholy of abominations. The forerunner to Zima and all things bad about corporate beer.

Rules for Beer Festivals

Summer means outdoor beer festivals. So the following are my rules for getting the most out of the next beer fest you attend.

1. Research – Check out who is pouring and, if available, find out what they are pouring. This way you can plan what beer you MUST have versus what would be good to have. After five or six beers your palate may lose its edge and a really good beer that you taste after nine other beers may not taste as good as if you had drunk it first.

2. Water & Food – Have water after every beer. I cannot stress this enough. It will help keep you hydrated and clear the palate. And have food before you go and during, if possible, to keep you on an even keel.

3. Take Notes – Take a small notepad and write down your initial observations on aroma, color and taste. Trust me, you will forgot what beer was your favorite and what was good about it.

4. Bring someone new to beer – A festival with the small tasters is a great way to introduce someone to beer that they might never have had before and it will provide some great debates as you argue about which beer is the best.

5. Get there early & Wait to leave – You do not want to miss the popular beers and you don’t want to wait in line to get in. So bring a book or the paper and wait for the doors to open. On the flip side, do not leave until you are 200% sure that you are good to drive unless you have a designated driver. The book or paper comes in handy again here.

L.A. Times Beer Travels

Let me set the scene, it is Sunday morning, I am a little groggy still and looking forward to the Maltose Falcons club meeting. I open up the Sunday paper and there on the cover BEER!

I am thinking this is great. Then I read the articles. The San Diego beer tour article is the best of the two but lacking much beer descriptions or interviews with brewers. And why column space was used repeatedly about getting drunk and unruly behavior is beyond me.

But it is a paragon of journalism compared to the other article about the beer scene on the central coast and San Francisco. Mike Pitsker and Don Erickson who cover this section of California for the Celebrator magazine could have written a more informative article in their sleep. The writer goes to Santa Barbara and passes on Telegraph and Hollister. He can’t even find Russian River Brewing! Then while in San Francisco doesn’t talk about 21st Amendment, Toronado, Lagunitas. The list of missed opportunities could go on forever.

I beseech the L.A. Times to use the guys who know beer to write about it.

So sad…..

… I walk into my local grocery store (o.k. it was Ralphs). On the way in, a couple is leaving and they are carrying (together) their beer for the party. I look down. Miller Lite. I cringe. Hopefully they did not see me make the “I am about to throw up face”. Then to add insult to injury. The person checking out before me has a case of Landshark Lager. In CLEAR BOTTLES!!!

When I get my business cards made, I may have to start handing them out to the clueless among us.

This is why I started this blog. People my age and younger should know better. No one eats Hot Pockets or pre-sliced cheese and likes it. So why do the same with beer?

Not to get all philosophical but we all need to honor the time we have on this earth. Don’t buy a McCafe latte when your local roastery can make you something out of this world. Go to your Farmer’s markets. Buy the organic meat. It may take more time and it WILL cost more money but I would rather have one FANTASTIC beer with a great hormone free burger than a case of MGD and a whopper.

Wherever you are there is a brewery that is local and trying HARD to make a great pint. Drive that extra mile and get it. Don’t be the lazy, Landshark guy!

The BeerGauge

This is a great tool if you want to stoke controversy at your beer establishment of choice or if you just want to antagonize your barkeep.

The Beer Gauge measures the perfect pint for you and makes sure you do not get less than what you rightly deserve.