I have just realized that the ill-placed use of the cursed character known as an ampersand in a few recent titles has cut out the RSS feed for A Good Beer Blog so just to be fair to the 50% of you who read this blog via aggregation, we are having a contest with real prizes. Join in.
- Hitachino Nest Lacto Sweet Stout: From Kiuchi Brewery, Naka-gun, Japan. I think I am in luck. This stout pours a dark chestnut mocha head that resolves fairly quickly to a rim. Milk chocolate aroma. This is a dandy light beer if you like light beer. There isn't the body you might expect from a stout but that is maybe a relative matter. There is plenty of roast malt and minty hop. I can think of at least one lighter stout that that has way less to offer - and especially oddly so given how nice its sibling porter is. There is a quite a tang to this beer which at mid-mouth veers a little close to a cola note but all is saved or maybe salvaged with the finish and its creamy yeast note. Not at all as sweet as it might be, the use of lactose is very reserved. Given the thinness and a tang is maybe more than it could be, One full third of BAers say no. If someone had called this a chocolate lambic, it might pull that off...well, ok, not really well. I would like to try this again colder on a hot day. You know, that tang would suit a white beer...which is good as I picked up a large format on of those from the same brewer.
- Mother's Milk Stout: from Keegan Ales in Kingston, New York. A notch darker and another notch fuller under dark cream foam and rim. This is a smokey, coffee and chocolate stout with not a lot of lactose if the name was to indicate a milk stout...which it is. There is a different sort of tang, far less vegetative than in its Japanese neighbour - more from the roast barley burnt toastiness. The yeast has a firmer presence as well, but also creamy. A good licorice seam through the middle of the coffee and chocolate that is quite attractive. The brewer says there are some oats on there, too. All the BAers love it. Really attractive. And the brewery sponsors a hockey team. You have to like that.
- O'hara's Celtic Stout: from the Carlow Brewing Company, Carlow, Ireland. Nothing brings out the sweet roundness of a milk stout than trying an dry Irish stout next to it. Darkest mahogany under rich mocha lacing foam. Unlike many roasty stouts and certainly Guinness, though, I am not thinking this has minty Nothern Brewer hops as there is pretty much only twig and even a note of German steel to off-set the roast. Effect: brushfire aftermath. In the nose when you raise the glass, there is also an aroma I do not associate with stout but I can't put my finger on it - there is smoke and cream but also an licorice oiliness that might be more expected in a Baltic porter. Also a sweet grassiness that reminds me of Polish bison grass vodka which I only know about because I once worked in Poland and had no TV. In the swish in the mouth, there is also a lightness...water. I suppose this is to be expected at 4.3%. Desiccating finish. Yet only two out of a hundred BAers do not like this beer. If I had placed it next to other dry stouts I might even be with them. Placed next to a plate of sweet plump raw oysters I might be thinking that the 2% are nuts. Steam some Digby scallops over this stuff with a little dulse and you might be in heaven.
So Kim sent some swag in the form of three copies of the CD for a give away as well as some other compelling material to make it easier for me to see the benefit of helping the band out. Lesson: I do things for good swag...good swag that is. But to ensure that this was not a one-sided relationship, I demanded input from the band itself even though they are on tour. Tonight, for example, they are playing Cedar Falls, Iowa. So here are my hard hitting rock and beer questions. I am sure you will appreciate my journalistic integrity:
Hey this is Tha Wolf, Manager of Psychostick. Here is your interview sir! If you have any questions, please contact me. My contact information is below. The boy's filled this out. Enjoy!Excellent. So what about that contest? What I would like before 30 September are fifty word or less essays on the question "What is the best beer reference in art and why?" But no cheating: the reference in Wind in the Willows is already taken. The top three answers will win a copy of the band's CD which I will mail out when I get the winner's postal address. Please leave your response in the comments. This means that everyone will see the responses as they are filed and that is not really fair but as you can give as many responses as you like, really, you can just steal from the guy that stole from you. Think about that.
1. Belgian or PBR?PBR is crappy punk rock beer. Alex and Josh will buy it just to piss off the other band members.2. Is beer a means or an end?An end. We drink it at the end of the day after playing shows. Or when we're not playing shows.3. Do you know what shooting a beer means?Yes.4. If yes to #3, where is the best place to shoot a beer?If you're in Texas, the best place would probably be your pasture. With a 12 gauge slug.5. Is your song "Beer" really about beer or something else like sex or drugs?Beer is about beer. Hence the title of the song, "Beer".6. Queen? Lame or not? [I suggest you review Queen II as part of your answer.]Not.7. Zep? Lame or not? [Again, I suggest you renew your acquaintance with Houses of the Holy as part of your preparations in answering this question.]Not.8. If yes to both or either #6 or #7, best beer related Queen and/or Zep tune?Stairway to Heaven or Kashmir. They are long, therefore you can drink more beers in the duration of the song.9. Best non-Queen or non-Zep beer related song?Anything by Alkaline Trio. Half of their songs are about drinking.10. When Billy Bragg sang "Whoops there goes another year, whoops there goes another pint of beer" was he describing a good thing or a bad thing? Was he right?I would say a bad thing in this case. He seems pretty whooped by the new brunette.11. What was the year in rock that beer played the most important role?I would have to say every year.12. What was the event in your lives that beer played the most important role?We had some buddies in Phoenix in a band called "Detox", and we would have an annual Beerfest. Which turned into a regular annual event.13. What questions should I have asked?"What is your favorite beer?"14. How big is beer?How vast is the universe?15. How big are you?See answer to #14.16. Is beer a means or an end? [Crap, asked that one already.]It's a means. Drinking beer means we will be drinking beer.
By the way, these guys call their music humor-core: heavy and dumb. But fun. Sort of like the Dead Milkmen or Dayglo Abortions in their knuckleheaded humour with a Metallica sort of headbang. If you don't like My Name Is Earl or if you were never a fourteen year old boy who liked gross humour, you may not like the jokes. But but if you were a moron during your teen years and think back on it fondly, you may well get into this music.
Kölsch in a land without kölsch. Canada has found a way to be a kölsch-free zone. Why import a rare style when no one could possible understand it. I once saw this style of beer in Petawawa. I see it only in Ithaca now. Or when in Maine. Gaze at Gaffel branded stuff to make it up to yourself. Someone buy me a kölschkranz - QUICK!
Brilliant gold ale under a fine white foam and rim. The softest water in a low acid beer. Big round malt with that milky rich yeast that reminds me of maltesers or rich tea biscuits. Is there fruit in the malt? Maybe sultanas and a note of white pepper. The malt bomb is framed by a touch of graininess and even lighter touch of steely hops. Whiskey in the finish from the hop and slight warmth which fades to a dry minimal mineralism. 5% of BAers say no. I say yes.
Especially sweet in the design is the way you can gaze lovingly into a room filled with exotic and well handled kegs with elves contantly cleaning lines, adding rarer and rarer firkins of this or that ale or setting up a gravity drop of a dry hopped special release IPA. Heck, I would put beachers in for that kind of floor show. Do that and you may become a hub of the nation's beer culture.
I want the van...a life-sized one please
I get emails every day. Some people tell me how my beer blog would benefit from linking to their blog about wine or podcasting or viagara and yet sometimes they have a "do not reply to" notice on their email. Some others invite me to promote movies about, say, beer festivals but then haughtily refuse to send money or good swag to cover their advertising costs even though they represent billionaires. Yet others, a fine example of which you will soon learn about, do in fact send quality swag which encourages me to enter into a deep and abiding relationship of mutual respect.
And then some folk send me emails about what they are doing in their corner of the global beer culture and earn my immediate adoration:
Hi,Fantastic! I now want this book, this toy and this vehicle...no, the actual one. Please go have a look at Clive's work of love.
I just found your website today and have added it to My Favourites. I have been a Campaign for Real Ale member since 1979 (with the expanded midriff to prove it) and have always had an interest in real beer and trucks. Quite a few years ago (I can’t remember when it was exactly that I got the first) I started collecting models of beer trucks and vans and, to-date, I have over 900 models covering 368 world-wide breweries. As you may imagine, I would have needed a large house to exhibit all of my (expanding) collection so I decided to share it with the world and created www.modelbeertrucks.com, an online exhibition-space, if-you-will.
If you have anywhere on your blog site to place a link to my collection it would be much-appreciated, as I always look-forward to hearing from fellow collectors. I would also appreciate any comments or suggestions you might like to make about the website which is not created by a professional, just by an enthusiastic-amateur.
Best of luck with your blog site, I shall keep reading it regularly now I’ve found it.
Clive Luff (The Drayman)
Interesting article in the Globe and Mail today on how Labatt is largely managed not Canadians so much, oddly, as Brazilians.
...most people say the change in attitude was swift. Interbrew's slow reform was replaced by InBev's urgency. "It's not the way Interbrew came in. It's a very marked difference," Mr. McClelland said. "It's ‘We're in charge now and this is how we do things.'" One of Mr. Brito's first moves was to close the company's Toronto brewery and to sack 20 per cent of Labatt's white-collar workers. Those things might have happened anyway, given the profit pressure from the discount brewers. But local autonomy was also weakened. "There's a much stronger drive to central decision making, central authority," said the ex-InBev insider....and soccer on the beach. All they go one about is the rotten beach soccer opportunities here in Canada.
A few weeks ago, I took the express bus to Gothenburg, a city about four hour's drive from Oslo. The event was a gathering of fellow beer drinkers who usually congregate at RateBeer, but on occasion meet to have a few beers and swap tall tales. I missed the main event - the grand tasting, but I managed to sample some of the best Swedish beers available - as well as a number of Belgian beers not very much to my liking.
One event on the programme - a bit too early in the morning for some participants - was a porter tasting held in the grounds of the old Carnegie brewery. Gothenburg is the main port of Sweden, and also has been an important industrial town. One of these industries was the Carnegie Porter brewery, with its main building, today a hotel, still towering over the harbour. The Carnegie brewery was established in the early years of the 19th century, and flourished together with the Swedish shipping of the period. Beer was useful as a ballast, and their porter was exported to the far corners of the globe.
In the 20th century, there were several blows to the Carnegie porter. Lager beers became fashionable, and strong beer was banned - the only way to get it was through a doctor's prescription. Though this was liberalized later, it was too late to save the brewery, though the beer is still in production, today brewed by Pripps/Carlsberg. There was a Carnegie Porter drinker's association in the 1930ies, and this was revived by students in more recent years. These guys arrange porter tastings in a prime location - a tun formerly used for storing porter. The tun, with a 93 000 litre capacity, seats about a dozen people, and you get to sample various stouts and porters, including the present day Carnegie Porter. Our tutor was Otto Lundell, who gave us a briefing on the history of Carnegie and other stouts and porters. The best beer served on that Saturday morning was, IMHO, the Imperial Stout from Slottskällan, a Swedish micro brewery.
This brief report in no way does justice to the event. They arrange tastings by appointment, so get in touch if you are in the area.
According to the Statscan report released Wednesday, national wines sales reached $4.2-billion compared with $4-billion sold in spirits in 2004/2005. Beer still outsells both in the Canada, accounting for $8.4-billion in sales last year. But wine sales increased at much higher rate (6.5 per cent) in 2005 than either beer (3.3 per cent) or spirits (2.3 per cent).$8.4 billion in 2005 is up from $7.8 billion in 2003 - which is the figure that I used back here to consider what the things are out there that beer is actually bigger than. Along that line, it is interesting to note that the sale of beer in Ontario at $3.2 billion is roughly 125% the operating budget for the Nova Scotia's entire Department of Health of $2.56 billion.