The LCBO has brought in a load of these little steel embottled mid-west brews and is selling them for $1.70 each. Kind of hard to photograph without making that metallic red look like bad lipstick. Lew Bryson has said of this beer
The fact is, this is a mainstream American lager that is not bad for what it is, has no overt off-flavors, and is loved by the local market. How can you argue with that?I am with Lew. I try to like a Rolling Rock or a High Life or a Genny Cream and there is always that tang or ting or twang. Sure it's snobbery and I know it but Iron City is all sweet and corn. Like a drink of corn flakes. There is a bit of edge of hops to give it some boudaries in the mouth and that is about it. Sometimes that is all you want.
I only paid half attention to the Polish elections this year, despite being there 14 years ago when the first democratic elections were held, when folks loved or hated Lech. But skimming through the parties vying for a place in the proportional representation of the Sejm, the lower house, I knew I would miss the old PPPP or Polska Partia Przyjaciól Piwa - the Polish Beer Lovers Party. In the October 27th election, they got 16 seats in the legislature. From this brief reference, the PPPP appears to have been a cross between the Canadian Rhino Party and simply a celebration that in democracy if you want a beer lovers party, well, you can have a beer lovers party.
Seeing as we are getting over 1,000 visits a day now...who the heck are you people?
Ever since I picked up a couple annual editions of the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, I have been wondering why such a thing does not exist for beer. We know that beer is a massive economic phenomena and that it is a pervasive habit. Yet, as far as I can tell, there is little discussion on the cultural event as far as I can tell. Sure there are histories of brewing in a region or a nation but I have yet to come across anything as a general effort to define the sociological aspects of beer. A co-mingling of study and ale not necessarily like this but not necessarily unlike it. Could we do that? It would require:
- interest - I need a group to discuss and plan a level of achievable feasibility. Creation of a trust account and a steering committee.
- money - for awards to trigger academics and lay folk to prepare papers. This could start with donations to a trust but could also include larger sponsorships from brewers.
- a panel - to read and judge the papers.
- a medium - presenting the best papers requires a medium. Cooperstown is a gathering of baseball nerds at that magic place but that sort of expense and formality need not exist at the start.
As I am going to a big US college sports event in a few weeks not to mention a few key temples to ale, I am quite interested in the phenomena of tail gating or tailgating or tail-gating. Some readers outside of North American might not even know what a tail gate is - it is the openable rear wall of the box at the back of a pick-up truck...or the back of a station wagon or an SUV. Some have special modifications like the built-in tap shown to the upper-right. Tail gating is taking a vehicle like that to a sports stadium before a big game - usually football and usually college football - opening it's back end up and running a BBQ and beer shack right there at the parking lot. The meaning has been extended to partying before the game and can refer to a party watching a game on TV or, as in this story, drinking during the walk to the game:
Many residents agreed that the tailgating was far less than feared at the big evening game last week. Neighbor Bill Hass, who was concerned earlier this year when Boston College asked to expand tailgating from two to three hours, said he did not hear of any complaints, which he believes is good news. "But I was impressed with the amount of police presence this weekend and hope that prevented anything before it started." Some residents participated in the festivities, drinking beer on their lawns, and said they did not mind the game traffic or tailgating. "Boston College was here before I was and if I don't like it, I can move out to Weston," said Margaret Grealish on Undine Road. "There's extra traffic, but they do a good job," added Lorraine McGrath of Larch Street, who works at Boston College and graduated from there as well.Because the US has a general minimum age limit for drinking of 21, most college students break the law when they drink. In Canada it is 19 so most do not. Open air drinking is also often a no-no. So the semi-illegality of the event is part of the event. I would imagine more than a million Americans will do it today.
In northern New England we have an expression that is quite useful in Fall: Leaf Peepers. This is defined as tourists that we can sell stuff to...from New Jersey, Massachusetts, etc...places where you figure they also have trees, but still. The economy depends on it. We have some pretty nice colors on the hills and mountains in September and October, and some would say ground zero in New Hampshire is the Kancamagas highway between Lincoln and Conway. Perhaps the prettiest area in the prettiest state in the prettiest season.
Anyway, Conway is the home of the Tuckerman Brewing Co., makers of Tuckerman Pale Ale. Tuckerman's Ravine is actually a bit north of Conway, on the back side of Mt Washington, the tallest mountain in the American northeast.
I have seen Tuckerman Pale Ale at the grocery store for years, and reached past it every time to get the Harpoon ales, which are on record as favorites of mine. Today, however, Tuckerman was on sale. It is a tiny brewery with limited distributorship in New England for the most part, especially New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Its location is also close to all of New Hampshire's big ski areas, and close to Maine and Vermonts, so this is a ski bum beer, pictured on the label too.
I was fascinated on first taste - what is this?. It tasted like a lager to me at first, then all those hops they boast of stepped in and it tasted more and more like an India pale ale, but somehow it remained a hoppy, ale/lager blend in my mind. I used to brew small batches of beer in my kitchen, and these guys warn on the label that there may be yeast goop on the bottle bottom because of in-bottle fermenting, just like home brew. This is a big plus in my mind, a reminder of the craft of brewing.
An outstanding brew, a place to visit soon also. The BAers have some questions but plenty say yea!
Beer never has a "bad year."
A co-worker who gets to drive a cop car called and said he had a delivery for me. Fine as long as it is not a summons, I thought. And lo and behold what were gifted me but a beer from the Basque area of France, bought by a pal of his when recently visiting St. Pierre and Miquelon, the tiny French province off Newfoundland. It cost 2.28 Euros for 330 ml at 5.5% and is from a small brewery called Akerbeltz, their amber or ambrée Gorrosta. Most neato of all is that no one has reviewed the beer on the Beer Advocate. Very interesting opportunity for me. Click on the picture for a close up of the label.
This well illustrates my policy on giving me things. You can. More when I open this.