In 1516, the Reinheitsgebot or Law of Purity was decreed in Germany. It is apparently the oldest still-active piece of food health legislation.
"... we wish to emphasize that in future in all cities, markets and in the country, the only ingredients used for the brewing of beer must be Barley, Hops and Water. Whosoever knowingly disregards or transgresses upon this ordinance, shall be punished by the Court authorities' confiscating such barrels of beer, without fail."
However, legal action in Germany with respect to beer dates back to 1165.
I am a huge fan of the not blog Forgotten New York and its regular and comprehensive investigations of some aspect or another of New York's architectural heritage. This week we have a study on some of the oldest bars in New York City.
- Total attendance at movie theatres and drive-ins with sales of $1.2 billion in 2002/03: 15.3% of beer.
- All wheat at $2.47 billion: 31.5% of beer.
- The estimated budget of the Government of Nova Scotia for 2003 of $5.327 billion: 68% of beer.
- All charitable giving of $6,500,000,000: 71% of beer.
- Beer is smaller than the military, however, which has a $13.5 billion budget for 2006: 171% of beer in 2003.
Finally the wee truck from Fitzroy Harbour up on the Ottawa River near Arnprior made its way down to Kingston giving us a taste of this excellent local ale. This is a hoppy beer that reminds me a lot of my recollection of the Dragon's Breath Ale contract brewed and bottled by the old Hart Brewery of Carleton place about (without looking) 35 miles south of Fitzroy Harbour. Candy cane Goldings and grapefruity Chinook hops combine to provide quite a bit of a sour tang to this fairly lightly bodied clean ale. The finish is a nice combination of the slight rough edge of the hops and the light graininess of the pale ale.
The brewery has a pretty good web presence which provides the names of bars where you can buy a pint of tap. It also describes the Sgt. Major IPA as follows:
Our Sgt. Major's IPA is our most intense ale to date. It's a massively hoppy and quite bitter beer, yet one with a nice, full-bodied malt background. It weighs in at 5.5 percent Alcohol (balanced by its big body). It is hopped with lots of Chinook hops which impart a tasty white-grapefruit/spice/resin flavour and aroma (and a total of 68 IBU) making the ale wonderfully refreshing. Being at the low end of the alcohol range for the style, it's as close to a supping pint as tradition allows. While the Sgt. Major's rather considerable bitterness is nicely balanced by its full-bodied maltiness, this is overall a predominantly hoppy ale. The full body of our India Pale Ale comes from lots of English pale ale malt and crystal malt, with a very small amount of chocolate malt. Our all-natural draught ale uses no artificial additives or preservatives.I don't know if that means the bottled version does have artificial additives and preservatives. I would also think that the full-bodied characterization is pushing it a bit in a world where a drive as far south as this is north will get me a Middle Ages Wailing Wench or Druid Fluid. It is, for example, lighter but hopper than Propeller's ESB from Halifax, one of the nicer bodied ales in Canada, but according to the standard scheme of bitters and pale ales a grade below an IPA. But this all is not to distract from the ale, just the adjectives. Like Mill Street Tankhouse Ale, the lighter mouthfeel I think reflects the apparent or possibly emerging Canadian style of pale ale, as opposed to my suggested putative style sweeter fuller Canadian amber but less hoppy. Both are a degree or two off the standard for an American pale ale or its amber sibling and different again from English ones.
Nevertheless, this is very good beer and a worthy addition to quest for the National Six-Pack. The quality of the craftsmanship makes me think a wee trip to the Manx in Ottawa is in order to try out the brewer's draught only Session Ale, a rare ordinary bitter which - if true to style - should not hit 3.5% and ought to be as refreshingly quaffable as a good dark mild.
I bought at six of this beer in Hannaford's grocery store in Watertown, New York for $7.99. Customsman let it go. Declared but he no cared.
It would be sweeter for that bonus but could it be? I really like this brew. Medium body. Lots of green hops almost to the point there is a green pea, mint and orange peel thing happening. Under that some crystal malt sweet and nice grainy pale malt. Some pear juice among the grain in the finish. Quality from the north country and just over the border
More as I think about it. Top cap design.
The next day: Lake Placid Craft Bewing is not in Lake Placid though it used to be. The brewery explains:
Founded in 1996, The Lake Placid Pub & Brewery began as a small brewpub, brewing less than 400 barrels each year for sale on site. Our great-tasting, fresh beer quickly grew in popularity and requests for our products poured in from area restaurant and bar owners. Production increased exponentially to keep up with demand, and we sold every last drop of beer we produced. In November 2001, the LPP&B expanded to a second brewing facility in Plattsburgh, New York, known as The Lake Placid Craft Brewing Company, quadrupling our brewing capacity and adding bottles to our product lineup.That is a success of scale and smart growth - and when it is on the Hannaford's in Watertown shelf 200 miles west as well as on tap at the Blue Tusk (look far right) 350 miles south west, Lake Placid is making a mark for itself. They are smart, too, in keeping it to two bottlings this pale ale and the heavier, maltier Ubu ale which I brought back way back last spring. Just so you know, the pale ale comes in at 6% with the Ubu at 7%. My man Lew Bryson tells me they have a milk stout on tap at the brew pub as well as an even hoppier Frostbite Pale Ale. He also says:
A "46'er" is someone who's climbed all forty-six "high peaks" of the AdirondacksI really do not understand the experience of the lower end of the beer advocate scale. Maybe they all had shelf stung bottles. Mine are definately fresh and displaying nothing other than loveliness. I would like to do a side by side with some Southern Tier IPA, maybe a Ithaca Flower Power and even a Syracuse Pale Ale to get some sense of the Lake Erie, Finger Lakes to Lake Champlain brewing arcing axis and what it all means.
This article from the BBC asks the question "Is beer less fattening than wine?" It provides evidence that beer is, in fact, not as fattening as we have been lead to believe -- that it is less fattening than wine and far less fattening than spirits. It claims the beer bellies that abound in the world's pubs are not a result of the beer, but of the beer-drinking lifestyle, which includes a lot of greasy pub food and a lack of physical activity.
Here's a "calories per 100 ml" table they include in the article:
Beer (4.6% alc): 41 calories
Wine (12% alc): 77 calories
Spirits: 250 calories
Milk: 64 calories
Orange juice: 42 calories
Apple juice: 47 calories
By that measure, beer is even less fattening than apple juice.
However, one must consider two things: first, not many people spend three or four nights a week sitting around a bar knocking back two or three litres of apple juice. Secondly, much of the information in the article comes from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), so it is not unbiased.
However, it is an eye-opening read for the moderate drinker. If your sweetie tut-tuts over your one or two "medicinal" beers per evening, you can show her the article and smile -- as long as you stay away from the poutine and the fish & chips while doing so.
The last of what Lew Bryson has called "the triumvirate" of Syracuse's temples to ale, the Blue Tusk, was my favorite for the mood of the day. Much Middle Ages on tap as well as Stone and Victory and even Blue Lite for who knows why. Loud and chatty, we walked in and immediately got into a two and a half hour conversation about Canadian and American differences with a couple of chemical engineers who were regulars. SU had just won a basketball game at the Dome and the place and the streets were loaded with fully grown men dressed in orange. The staff were happy to please and, though busy, a pleasure. One thing I liked is that the place smelled like beer. Not fried food and not smoke.
The real surprise of the night was the Syracuse Pale Ale on tap, a revelation of simplicity and quality over complexity and gimmick. If I had one beef it was the understocking of lower alcohol styles. There are some great milds and ordinary bitters out there and, unless you are aiming at getting plastered, a session of 8% to 10% beers is a bit much. Even with that being said, as with Clark's, the Blue Tusk is all about the quality and handling of real ale but with the hubbub that you sometimes want with your brew.