Red-garnet with orange tinge ale under a creamy off-white foam and rim head. The aroma is sweetly malty with some fruit-juicey notes. A combination of soft water and low carbonation makes this particularly moreish. In the mouth, rish sweet bisubuity malty with juicy cherry almond recollections. At the end drying hoppiness with a light tea-like astringency with a little heat in the last of the finish.
Even I suspect this study a little, though for now I am blaming the cold remedies filling my brain:
The report was paid for by the corporate parent of Lipton Tea, which is now using the scientists' advice to advertise tea's benefits. The nutritionists say they didn't know the extent of Lipton's marketing campaign, and the company didn't play a role in the recommendations, which generally urge people to drink more water.There is a point, however, to be made that beer - especially real ales and lagers - is not made up of empty calories so comparing them to sugared juices and soda pops should be expected to be a no-brainer, even if the remnants of the temperance movement are shocked.
But beverage industry spokesmen and other nutritionists found fault with several of the guidelines. For example, whole milk is out, but moderate alcohol is OK. In fact, the scientists say men can drink as much as 24 ounces of beer a day -- more than the 16 ounces of low-fat milk or soy drinks they suggest, and three times their recommended limit for fruit juice.
Old Horizontal from the Victory Brewing Company of southeast Pennsylvania is an 10.5% ale which is really a concentrate of pale ale. Medium-dark amber with maybe a garnet tinge under a faint rim, it has a strong whisky-orange aroma. In the mouth the beer opens through a ten second unfolding that ends in heat down the throat, after rich deep malt, orange hop, then spice and then green chewy hop. Really rather lovely late of an evening. All but 1% of BAers like a lot.
It leaves a spicy, orange zest and green hop sensation on the lips long after the sip. Nice.
You can't imagine what I felt when I read this great news:
All types of beer (2–4% dilution) were found to counteract these stimulation-induced effects and significant reduction of neopterin formation and tryptophan degradation was observed (p < 0.01). Data demonstrate that beer reduces production of neopterin and degradation of tryptophan, both these biochemical pathways are induced during cell-mediated immune response. Data suggest that the immunosuppressive capacity of beer may relate to its anti-inflammatory nature.Some more detail here but plainer English here.
Update: Another benefit is pointed out here:
This suppression might be connected with the calming effect of beer since its normalising effect on the tryptophan balance improves the availability of the "happiness hormone" serotonin.All hail Prof. Dietmar Fuchs!
Canned Beer Goodness
We get great emails around here and this week I had one of the most interesting exchanges with Marty Jones, Lead Singer of the Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, Colorado. Marty sent me some information about their two beers in cans and how they were bringing their ales to the New York marketplace. I was able to be clever...actually clever for once...and wrote back that I had bought a six of cans of their 8% Scots style ale, Old Chub, a couple of weeks ago when at Oswego, NY at the excellent C's Farm Market. So I thought I'd pose some questions to Marty and see what he said:
Good questions, here are some answers for you. Sorry it took me so long!Marty also forwarded a couple of news articles about what they are up to as well as a press release.
Q: Why cans?
We heard about the canning gear via an unsolicited FAX from Cask, the Canadian maker of our micro gear. Apparently every other microbrewer in the US ignored it. We thought the idea of our big, hoppy pale ale in a can was a riot, and a way for our fans to more easily take our beer into the outdoors.We laughed for several weeks, then made the move to buy the two-can filler in the FAX. Here are a couple quotes from Dale to answer this one:"The main reason we put our beer in cans was because the idea made us laugh," Katechis says. "Why cans? Cans keep beer especially fresh," Katechis says. "They fully protect beer from light, and they hold the lowest amounts of dissolved oxygen. Cans are also easier to recycle and less fuel-consuming to ship, and they make it easier for beer fiends to enjoy great beer outdoors. Plus," Katechis adds, "we're in this to have fun and put some extra joy on the planet. We love the way people's heads spin around after they try one of our monster canned beers. 'That came out of a can?' We hear it all the time."Q: What is the difference in production costs?
It's a little more expensive in time to hand can beer like we do, as opposed to having an automatic botting line. But we're not complaining. We are huge fans of the aluminum can. We no longer bottle our beer.
Q: Are you worried about not making it in the Prince Edward Island market? (inside Canadian joke - canned beverages are banned.)
We want to be succesful in the Prince Edward Island market. We're hoping we can do well enough there to warrant a trip out to harvest mussels and have mussels steamed in Dale's with the Prince.
Q: Do you face any regulatory barriers because of the canning?
No regulatory barriers with cans. The can actually gets us in a few places bottles can't go. Though the minimum batch order of cans (250,000) makes it tough to do seasonal beers. To get around that, this winter we did a pair of seasonal beers in plain cans that we hand labeled, just 400 cases of each one. Very artisanal! The cans are a mental barrier to many consumers, who equate cans with flavorless, factory beer. They also have the deep-seated misconception that cans impart metal flavors to beer. That is not true: the modern-day aluminum can is lined with a water-based polymer so the can and the beer never touch. Once people taste our big, rich beers, they are usually shocked they came from a can. They can't believe it. It's like hearing Big Maybelle's voice come out of Ashlee Simpson's mouth.
Q: What do you like most about Old Chub?
I dig Old Chub's skim-milk mouthfeel and texture, and the rich caramelly/chocolatey goodness in the flavor. I also love the little hint of smoke on the finale (to add a lovely farewell kiss and temper the gentle sweetness of the beer) and the beer's deceptive nature. Old Chub is immensely quaffable for a beer of its flavor and 8% ABV strength. I also love the fact that it's in a can. So do our fans.
Q: What other Scots ales do you like?
I've always been a fan of McEwans, very nice beer, a classic.
Q: Why did you decide to make a Scots ale your second brew?
When we looked at doing a second canned beer, we wanted a brew that pushed the envelope like Dale's Pale Ale - Dale's is 6.5% ABV and has 65 IBUs. Granted, we were hearing from stores and bars that we should make a lighter, more accessible beer than Dale's. But that idea didn't move us. And our mission is to shatter the perceptions of canned beer, and we do that by squeezing big beers into them. That idea makes us laugh. We had been making a Scotch ale called Hi Ya!, we tweaked the recipe, renamed it Old Chub (becuase we thought the name was fun to say) and here we are. The beer is really Scotch strong ale, but the BATF required the Scottish-style handle.
Q: Is the water naturally soft or is that something you have to do with water treatment?
We have lovely mountain water, we put a gentle filtering on the water, that's it.
Q: How long has you been selling retail and what are your hopes for the NY state market? We started hand-canning Dale's in November of 2002 and sold it only in our local area. We're now in 11 states with Dale's and Old Chub. We hope to do very well in New York, just arrived there, we're getting a very good response so far. NYC is the biggest and best city in the US, we like being in the big leagues despite our scrappy little size. (There are seven of us in the brewery.) We know there are large numbers of craft beer fans there, we want to move them, spin their heads around with our glorious canned goods.
Okay, Holler if you need more info.
I am really pleased to say with all this direct marketing (meaning if it is viral, I was the one the original sick guy sneezed on) that I really love Old Chub. I have poured the last one and have it before me now. It pours a deep mahogany with maybe a garnet note and sits under a really rich rocky mocha head. The 8% is simply indecernable amongst the grainy pumperknuckle and dry cocoa malt. It is a thick blanket of an ale, good as pie. The yeast is creamy and the water is soft making it very moreish even with the strength. There is very little hop, through it is there as a drying effect on the finish, yet the beer is not cloying. I am guessing that in the dryness of the cocoa there is a touch of black malt but it floats below if it is there. Every single BAer likes it with an average score of over 4/5. That is pretty darn good for something in a can.
I didn't grab a six of Dale's Pale when I was south of the border but I will next time. Too bad their pub is 2,713 km or 1,686 miles from here.
I have not yet gotten on to the great reviewing list out there even if I am on the great beer news PR consultant list. That's OK as I pretty much like most beer books that are put before me including this one.
Travels With Barley: A Journey Through Beer Culture In America, published in 2004, intregued me as soon as I saw the title. When I created the half-begun and definitely past deadline Journal of Culture and Brewing, ISSN 1715-7811, I had an idea that there was something in and around beer that had not really discussed much, something that I encountered in relation to baseball through the Cooperstown Symposium which looks at baseball as a cultural event and not just a sport. The call for papers for the 2006 Symposium stated:
Proposals for papers are invited from all disciplines and on all topics. For the 2006 symposium, preference will be given to those submissions which focus on the relationship of baseball to the African-American and other minority communities. Papers on baseball as baseball are not encouraged. Submission is by abstract only. Abstracts should be narrative, limited to three type-written pages and a one page vitae...So what would a study of beer not for beer's sake look like? For author Ken Wells that means hunting for the best beer joint in America following the track of the Mississippi river from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. Wells is a Wall Street Journal writer and a Pulitzer Prize finalist, according to the dust sleeve, and his writing style shows it. A good read. Light but substantive.
I am only fifty pages in but, hey, I'm the guy who wrote the paper on the six discourses of Descartes after finishing the third one...it was Friday afternoon, what do you expect? So far I am liking this book. I don't know if it will come to any conclusions about beer and culture on the big river and maybe that is OK. What I like is it is not an atlas, not a history and not a style guide. It is a travel with beer that takes beer serious as a travel mate. I will give more notes as I work through it.
Interesting to note this news about the marketing of a new light beer from Heineken:
Heineken is backing the launch of its new light beer with its first major step into digital marketing, part of a $50m (£28.5m) launch campaign devised by New York-based creative agency Berlin Cameron United. The introduction of Heineken Premium Light will be the biggest launch of a light beer in the US and the most Heineken has ever spent on a launch campaign. To reach its intended audience of 25- to 29-year-old men, the company will begin with a barrage of advertising from March 1 on sites including ESPN.com, FoxSports.com, Maxim.com and StuffMagazine.com. Heineken has also launched its own site for the beer. A viral campaign will be followed later in the month by television and radio commercials, print advertisements, promotions and a campaign aimed at Spanish-speaking consumers.I think I caught the virus this afternoon when I got an email from Jonathon of Strategic Name Development, a consulting firm, about this new beer. The lads at SND actually have a blog and were kind enough to mention A Good Beer Blog in their post about this new brew. Having worked in Holland exactly 20 years ago right now I am a big fan of Heineken and will try the light beer if I find it. If you try it let is know what you think by posting a comment.
The last one of these post yesterday was not really a quick note at all. As Mike already mentioned this beer in October 2004, it should be quick noteablity itself.
Hobgoblin is a great alternate take on an English bitter compared to my usual buy from the Wychwood shelf, the hoppy chewy Fiddler's Elbow. By comparison, Hobgoblin is raisiny crystal malty up front like a lighter version of Bombardier. Notes of chocolate as opposed but not roasty coffee - it teams up nicely with the yeast to create creamy richness. Maybe even plummy. Water soft. Twiggy hop just cutting the malt nicely.
A great day yesterday...perhaps. Under the judicious but incomprehensible plan for the parcelling out of microbrews of Ontario by the LCBO, Kingston got a 2-4 of Hockley Dark Ale. One whole case. Importantly for understanding the dark world of Ontario micro distribution, Sgt. Major IPA was nowhere to be seen. Anyway, I bought a whole four cans to share at lunch with family and I must say the privilege was worth it - not that I have tried it yet...I am just grateful to the suits who know my needs. It is nice to have a system where I get to try a new beer ever 11 weeks like clockwork.
Hockley appears to be somewhat of a small operation focusing somewhere other than web design, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Like the delightful Old Chub recently found, this is a canned micro. Unlike Old Chub, it is not in a can so thin that picking one up can buckle the side and create a opening through which air can leak in and spoil the beer unbeknownst to the future drinker who created the buckle when carefully putting them away.
The ale pours a deep mahogany with mocha foam and rim. The can says "mild, light body, full flavour" and I suppose it is but at 5% it is a little strong for the style and the alcohol stands out a tad. What is nice is that it a somewhat of a softer water beer, really necessary for a dark, though not as soft as possible. There is good nuttiness to the malt, coffee and dry cocoa as well as some raisiny notes. If I were a quibbling man I would wonder about the hops which are sort of minerally twiggy. But style and quibble be damned. This is a pretty good dark and certainly comparable to another Ontario dark ale, Neustadt 10W30.
At my house Mardi Gras is the biggest celebration of the year. Bigger than Christmas. We go all out -- ordering boxes of beads and other purple, gold, and green baubles and silly hats. We spend hours cooking up pots of red beans and rice and jambalaya for all of our friends. And, of course, I always have plenty of Abita beer on hand to wet the whistle. Since Abita has already been covered recently on this blog, I'll tell you about my impressions of another Louisiana beer.
I bought a few bottles of Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager and Dixie Crimson Voodoo Lager to try. Dixie Brewing Company is located in New Orleans. The labels on these beers are cool, but the contents of the bottles isn't all that great. Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager tastes of caramel and butterscotch, but has funky aroma (it's a little nutty). The body is thin though and the bottle I sampled was a little oxidized -- probably because it sat on the shelf at the beer store too long.
Dixie Crimson Voodoo Lager is supposed to be a Red Ale but it's more sweet and less bitter than I like. It has that same funky aroma as the Blackened Voodoo Lager. I suspect the specimens that I have access to here on Long Island are not the freshest product, so I'm still willing to give this beer another chance. Next time I'm in New Orleans, I'll make a point of trying to find some fresh Voodoo Lager.