Slate has an interesting article on the economics of being a beer seller at a baseball game.
I've never been to one of these beer festival thingies. I wonder if I would actually like it?
Throughout the evening, which ended at 10 p.m., the atmosphere became increasingly raucous. Every time somebody dropped something, a shout went up and spread throughout the arena until the whole place was filled with cries. A group of people in lederhosen walked by arm in arm. There was an unusual number of T-shirts asserting Irish nationality and more T-shirts encouraging drunkenness. By 8 p.m., all of the more sober things like cooking demonstrations and tasting classes were over and people were losing all reserve. Some of the breweries ran out of beer and closed up shop.The weird thing about the Great American Beer Festival is that they appear to have been limited to one ounce servings despite paying 55 bucks US to get in. How much better the British beer festival format like the Scottish Traditional Beer Festival 2005 held last June where you play 3 pounds and get pints.
There is a line in a Hemingway short story where a nice European lady running a nice restaurant in the American west asks why the men drink like pigs. Paying 55 bucks for one ounce glasses seems to be one reason.
If there is one style of beer that can confuse it is brown ale. Beer, after all, is pretty much brown. There are any number of Belgian ales that can be thought of as brown but called Flemish brown or reds, quadruples or just browns. But there are also dubbles which are big and earthy and brown. There are heartily hopped US or Texas browns . There are tangy northern English browns like Samuel Smith makes. These two New Englanders, however, represent another softer type of brown - maybe like Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale. They are a throwback to a style of brown from London England and are often called nut browns from the lucious taste gleaned from their combination of pale, brown and crystal malts - though the twang yeasty Samuel Smith's uses the name too.
- Wachusett Nut Brown Ale: from Westminster, Massachusetts. Slightly red oaky brown under a off white dissipating head. A very simple brown - soft, grainy with a bit of sweetness but none of the raisininess of the Shipyard. There is other autumn fruit, however, as well something of an oaky cask reference in the vanilla and twiggy hop. Maybe a note of chocolate as well. Very nice and a very quaffable. BAers mostly like.
- Shipyard Brown Ale: from Portland, Maine. One slight notch lighter in colour than the Wachussetts with a head one slight notch towards tan. As far as I am concerned one of the most moreish beers I have ever had. There is a fair amount of sweet sultana in this very soft water ale. The hops sit back on the rim of the flavour. The aroma is all Shipyard with their signiture salty, tangy yeast - the ringwood strain, I think. There malt also has grain with the sweet. It reminds me a lot of a lighter hopped version of Shipyard's Chamberlain, another favorite of mine. BAer's are a little confused by it.
Each beer will have a 6.3 percent alcohol reading and will contain three milligrams of nicotine.
Holy adjuncts! The Canadian version of this ale - found by surprise at the LCBO this weekend - has to have ingredient listings in English and French plastered on the neck with a bubble jet quality label. And what secrets it reveals: water (ok), malt (of course), hops (fine), yeast (sure, sure), chicory (well, that is its name), coffee (huh?), st. john's wort (whaat?), licorice root (wow). Me thinks these Delawariarian guys are up to something.
The beer pours a deep mahogany under a quickly dissipating mocha head. It is fairly light bodied for the style. The first thing you notice is a pronounced acidic lemoniness, then multi-layered roasty coffee huskiness underneath. Below that is creamy yeast. It is not unlike the idea of a black forest cake with lemon rather than cherry. Yes, that makes it a bit weird. The brewery says this. The beer advocates say this. They are having a hard time describing what I am calling the lemon. It could well be the st. john's wort - some say "astringent", some "fruitiness". It is balanced and I don't think this is an off bottle - but just don't expect what you have thought was a stout before. Should you?
Later: ...you know...if they had called with chicory old style porter I think it would make more sense.
I have been away for about half a week on short notice as some of you might know but on the road I had a moment to check in with Knut in Norway and thought "good Lord, he's a great beer blogger!"
Go read Knut.
Risking braggery, I suppose it is because we are ranked #1 on that new Google Blog search all the kids are talking about (not to mention #29 today just for the word "beer" on Lord Goog itself) but sometimes I get some slightly odd emails from very nice people working hard at doing their PR jobs. Consider this one:
...Baltimore resident, Sean McCreary was named the three millionth visitor to the Guinness Storehouse, home of Guinness, located in the heart of St. James' Gate Brewery in Dublin, Ireland. McCreary is the first American ever to be written into the famed Guinness Storehouse archive - a carefully kept record of Guinness employees since 1759... Below is a news release with more details. If you would like to set up an interview with Sean to chat about his experience as the three millionth visitor, please don’t hesitate to contact me at...I can't think of a single question I might ask Sean McCreary so if you can maybe I will send them on.