Tag Archives: beer

GQ’s best brews

Lisa the beer goddess has called my attention to an article in which GQ calls out the 50 best beers. These things are such a matter of opinion and experience it doesn’t make sense to argue much, but I think they hit a lot of good ones.

I’ve previously mentioned the Duchesse as a favorite. I’m also a fan of Southern Tier who didn’t make the list. Que sera.

SxSW – what’s a beerdrinker to do?

N and I are heading down to Austin shortly to catch the SxSW interactive conference and spend some time with her sister who moved there from somewhere I didn’t want to visit about 6 months ago. So I think I can find my way around a conference. But what about the city? Any tips…beer, BBQ, texmex, or whatnot. Cheers.

PS. Just saw the Tron Legacy preview and it looks pretty awesome.

Happy New Year!

It’s a new year and I have a lot of resolutions on my mind, and I’m working through what I want to really focus on. But two really stick in my mind as relevant and important. The first is to continue on the path that I set out on mid-year last year, cultivating relationships and habits that really help me move forward. The second is to make and drink more of my own beer, and specialty beers, and to spend less time drinking commodity beers, even from the great microbreweries.

These are the adventures that I will be sharing over the course of this new year in this space, I hope that you will join me!

cheers,
rick

Brewing for the impatient: The process

The process of turning raw ingredients into delicious beer is an extremely complicated one. It involves chemistry, biology, physics, and magic, plus a potentially infinite budget for copper, stainless, and rubber whizbangs. I have only scratched the surface of the possibilities. That is by design.

Alchemy thanks to Princeton.  I owe a beer.

So, completely neglecting the science involved, and getting to the sequence of events that need to take place to make beer, here is the brewing process in a nutshell.

  1. Extract sugars from grains, producing wort.
  2. Boil wort, adding ingredients at appropriate times
  3. cool wort and transfer to fermenter
  4. add (pitch) yeast
  5. let yeast work magic
  6. transfer beer to delivery vessel

That’s it. Extract, boil, cool, wait, drink. You can say “Every boy can wear dresses” to help you remember. In upcoming articles, I’ll go into some details around what happens in these phases, and how to git’er done.

Brewing for the Impatient

I’ve been thinking long and hard about writing a series on homebrewing. By no means am I a great homebrewer…in fact I am only beginning to dabble in brewing all-grain beers. However, after surveying the various writings on the internets about the subject, I have found that most have one flaw in common: they go too deep.

To make good (often very good) beer, it doesn’t take a deep understanding of flocculation curves or the dynamics of viscous fluids. It takes a cursory understanding of a number of interrelated phenomena, the ability to execute on simple instructions, some gear, and a lot of water.

This series will not prepare you to enter competitions. It will not even scratch on the esoteric knowledge that is possessed by a number of brewers I admire. It will show you some places where you can cut corners.

If you read this, and it makes your brewing better (or worse) please, let me know. Also, many areas have clubs where homebrewers gather to share their experiences and learn or bitch about stuff. The people are typically friendly (often in a curmudgeonly way), and are happy to help.

cheers
rick

Beer zen

This is brilliant!

props chris h from the OBC

Oregon HB2641

Rob L of the Oregon Brew Crew posted this to our listserv in a conversation about a new beer tax proposed in Oregon. He makes a number of lucid points. And doesn’t just complain but proposes action.

Oregon HB2461 surprised me. Actually, at first it was shock, then
disbelief and anger. Now I’m ready to do something about it.

Jim P wrote:
> Cost of producing each keg (tax is production cost) would go up $25.
> Average distributor markup is 20-30 percent. Average pub markup is
> 300-350 percent. You get 100-120 pints per keg. You can do the math.

Not everyone finds it easy to do the math, so here goes:
$100 keg today, about $1/pint
$1.30/pint from wholesalers
$4.00/pint at a pub

After the punitive “death to local beer” tax (using same markups):
$125/keg, or $1.25/pint
$1.63/pint from wholesalers
$5.00/pint at a pub

All of a sudden, that “15 cents a bottle” sounds downright misleading, when realistically it is an extra $1 for your pint!

Yes, raising taxes will reduce access to beer for kids; in fact, that 25% price hike will reduce access to beer for many adults, as well. In fact, this is already an extremely challenging time for the brewing industry, and it would likely drive a significant number of local breweries and pubs out of business.

If the problem is insufficient money for particular services, instead of proposing these punitive taxes that would throw more people out of work during the 2nd biggest recession in 200 years, then from the $140 million in “alcohol taxes” already being levied, why is less than 6 percent going to substance abuse treatment and prevention? Why not simply amend the bill to fund those services from the taxes already collected for that purpose?

If the authors of this bill actually have the well-being of high school youths as their primary concern, then they should recognize that most of the industrialized world allows drinking at age 16 (or so), and those countries have lower incidences of alcohol and drug abuse. They should provide sources for their outlandish claims such as “half of the students in every 11th grade classroom in Oregon drink” (really–in the classroom? Heck, not even half my adult co-workers drink!). And where is the causality — the connection between “having a beer” and having a “chronic, relapsing brain disease”? Beer is the healthy alcohol beverage of moderation. It just doesn’t make sense.

It also doesn’t add up economically.

Breweries and wineries in Oregon are locally-managed, world-class, family-owned, high-employment, tourist-attracting businesses. If we want to cripple our local economy because some businesses make products which might be mis-used, why are we only taxing beer? Should we also be taxing the local wineries and micro-distilleries? Isn’t obesity a leading health concern — should we be taxing our cheese, fruit, and filbert industries out of existence, too?

No! Oregon is famous for these specialty products, often hand-crafted or grown by businesses which often operate on thin margins; yet these historic mainstays of our economy could too easily be closed by sudden, thoughtless, extreme government over-taxation like this. I want Oregon to be a place that we’re proud of, and when tourists from all over the world come to the “Oregon Brewers Festival” — drawing over 70,000 people — it seems like our internationally renown breweries must be doing something right; something to be encouraged, not penalized.

Forcing draconian economic neo-Prohibitionism on our local world-class breweries, with built-in yearly escalating penalties, is short-sighted and misguided for our kids, our economy, and the standing of Oregon in the eyes of the world.

I love good beer, I love to share good beer with friends, and I believe responsibly enjoying good beer should have a greater role in our society.

I love Portland in part because of great (amazingly delicious!) beer, good biking and hiking, good coffee, wonderful food, nice wineries, beautiful rivers, the mountain and ocean nearby. We have great public spaces like museums, music, theatre, lovely parks, bookstores, brewpubs, and coffee shops. The casual wonders of our city are reflected in the people — we are generally the most polite, friendly, nice bunch of folks you could find.

I want to keep and cherish these things. If this bill was about creating a 2000% coffee tax, or taxing bike and parks usage, or driving local bookstores out of business, I think a huge number of us would be angry about those things, too, because they are special to us.

So what are we going to do about it? Well, I’m going to:

1) Write my state senator and state representative.

http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/

2) Encourage my friends to “speak up, if you don’t want beer taxes
to increase 2000 percent, about $1/pint, if HB2461 passes”.
I’ll offer to let them join me in taking action, too.

3) Volunteer for Zwickelmania on Saturday Feb 14th, to help
publicize this misguided government attempt to destroy
our local “good brewery” culture, and those good jobs.

4) Keep homebrewing, stay active in the Oregon Brew Crew, and keep
my ears open about other ways we can help prevent this disaster.

And finally, I’m going to relax and have a beer. A delicious local beer. Like none other in the world, brewed just a few miles from my house; at a brewery open for all to visit. And I’m going to smile, because I firmly believe that by working together, we are going to find a way to prevent a catastrophe like Oregon HB2461 from happening this year. And if we’re really, really smart we might even find a way to introduce legislation to prevent this ridiculousness from happening in the future, as well. And all that time, my friends and family, you and I, will have the pleasure of living in one of the best places on earth.

>> To Oregon’s fresh, local, delicious, healthy BEER! <<

Cheers and Prosit,
Robert L

Happy 75th, Repeal!

K-smacky alerted me to this. Prohibition ended 75 years ago, an event which opened the door to true American innovation. After the innovation of Prohibition expired…speakeasies, booze runners with false bottoms, etc, opened the doors to a new age of enlightenment. In fact, some would argue that it was the repeal of Prohibition that directly contributed to the space program, nuclear physics, and the internet.

A Moist Weekend

Well, it was definitely Moist over the Memorial Day. We had a great showing of ballers and their friends and family. As seems to frequently be the case, the various Moist squads had some difficulty putting the ball into the back of the net. I don’t think it’s due to any shortage of talent on the teams, probably more because all of the teams are just mixes of dudes and ladies who haven’t necessarily played together. And it actually takes some team dynamics (beyond awesomeness) to compose a nice goal-scoring opportunity.

Moco means snot in Spanish, we discovered.

One of the hallmarks of the Moist Coalition is the hair thing. Originally it was “mustaches and mullets” but we’ve grown. We’re far more mature, and while some of us haven’t left our roots (to which I still aspire), others have skyrocketed past them.

Here are my picks for the winners of Best Face:

The ladies of moist, Real Moist, showed well this year. Overall they took 4th, and stayed in strong spirits after opening the tourney against two very strong teams. The women’s side of the tournament suffers because there is only one division, so there’s a broad range of talent you need to face. The ladies suffered because I lacked the foresight/abllity to specifically recruit a keeper for them. They did great and MB and Sara did a great job filling in.

Moist United, our hero team playing D-2, scored the most goals of the tourney (for a Moist Squad). The braggart Jay pointed out that he scored more goals than my entire team ;) I don’t hate him for that. Sadly, a bottomless supply of goals isn’t enough when your keeper and sweeper are injured, allowing a few too many goals into the wrong net. Overall, United placed 7th.

Moist ST was a solid squad. Unfortunately 500 breakaways and connected crosses don’t mean much if they all sail wide or high. They only allowed three goals throughout the tourney (regular time), but they lost on PKs at pivotal moments and ended up placing 8th.

FC Moist was the winner of the surprisingly annual Moist on Moist match, placing them into the top half of the table. As usual, this game is an exciting one, despite the lack of regulation goals. Both sides had a lot of scoring opportunities, but none were capitalized on. FC eventually won in penalty kicks, with their keeper saving two of the first five. And despite allowing 5 goals and only scoring one, FC took third in the tournament.

Virtual and real gameballs go to: Jason (FC Keeper), Greg (United keeper), Maribeth (Real keeper), and ?? from ST. We love our goalies, especially when we have trouble scoring ourselves!

St. Peter’s English Ale

St. Peter’s English Ale comes in a sweet old-style medicine bottle. This organic ale from England opens with a nicely rounded bitterness and has an interesing fruity finish. It drinks clean, not syrupy at all, and has a nice light carbonation with the medium body. This beer is less sweet than typical English ales, and a bit more bittered than I typically find in the genre. No complaints here.

The aroma is lightly malty and fruity, with a nice hoppy aroma from the Hallertau hops. The flavor runs a bit towards a Belgian as well, which is pretty fun.

Overall, this is an enjoyable English ale. And it’s really a nice English ale to checkout if you’re a fan of the West Coast IPAs. The bottle’s pretty cool too.

Lazy Boy Brewing IPA

Lazy Boy…just jumped out at me tonite as I picked up some veggies to make a lentil curry. “Locally Brewed,” they claimed. Where the heck is local because I’ve never heard of you. Everett, WA. I guess it’s kind of local. But what about those guys getting their Vermont bottle deposit back? Enough of that crap…I’m caring about what’s inside the bottle.

A lightly amber-hued IPA is what I found. The first taste had a slightly unpleasant sharpness to the bitter, but it really wasn’t overpowering, and I’m finding this IPA to be pleasant and refreshing. It is definitely not one of the uber-hopped mega IPAs, which is totally fine for me. The flavor does not linger, that bitterness slowly but surely fades to black.

Pretty good, the Lazy Boy is a great option to check out as an alternative to your standby IPA.