Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Sunday Blessing

My friend Jason, Beerblogger extraordinaire , has already mentioned the terrific New Yorker piece on craft brewing. I'll re-iterate here: it's a brilliant article, very well written and thoroughly researched. I learned quite a bit from reading it.

Here's the most important thing I learned: Dogfish Head brewing's founder, resident genius, and god to whom beer geeks genuflect, Sam Calagione, named his company for the piece of land off Southport Island (near Boothbay--surely you knew, SLM!) where he summered as a kid. Yes, it's true, Dogfish Head is locavore compliant. Some of the ingredients are trucked in, as is the case with any beer, but the name is strictly local.

During 2008 I have suffered mightily: the horrible 3 beer limit; the 10 day suspension order; the wretched trips to beer-starved Florida and Virginia; the gut-wrenching free-versus-local dilemma. I have endured it all. But the cruelest indignation, the most horrific challenge has been to deprive myself of the single best beer in the world: the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. I now know that my agony was unnecessary. So it is with pure joy mixed with a twinge of regret that I lift my glass and sing Hallelujah.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Quick Update

It is with a heavy heart that I report that the GLB was out of the Wee Heavy. They didn't even have a wee bit.

So I drank a Big Twitch, and I loved it. It is a great beer. I was in hops heaven. But, sadly, after a couple of sips I noticed my glass was empty.

So I switched from the Twitch to the Fedelta. I found this beer (Fedelta) to be an interesting experience. My first reaction was a bit unfavorable--the beer didn't quite seem done. As in, it'd be better next week or next month. I don't know enough about the brewing process of this particular beer to know if that's true, I only know that my initial reaction was that it needed more work. But then I drank more. The beer is very complex--smooth and a bit sweet, with hints of fruit intertwined amongst the hops and malts. I drank more and tried to figure it all out. I warmed to the beer and the task. I decided I quite liked it. I lifted my glass again and noted with great sadness that my glass was empty.

I was driving. Two of those beers is my limit. I got in the man bug and went home. My heart was a wee bit heavy but my sadness was bouyed by the knowledge that the weekend is only beginning, and I could Twitch again, and try to sort through the complexities of the Fedelta again. And maybe the Wee Heavy would be back, and the heavy would surely lighten my spirits.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Weekend Beer Plan

I'm jonesin' for the following beers, and will chase them down this weekend:

Geary's Seasonal "Wee Heavy", pictured here. Not likely to provide the hops flavor I'm looking for, but likely to be delicious.

The Big Twitch. One of my all time favorites. Evidently GLB has it on tap.

Allagash Fedelta. Brewed by Allagash in conjunction with 5 brewers from Belgium.

Pugsley Signature series Imperial Stout.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Two Terrific Beers and Some Terrific News!

Allen Pugsley's Signature Series Barleywine is terrific: an earthy malt bomb that's also fully infused with hops and is, in short, delicious. I recommend it strongly. Barleywine, by the way, is a kind of strong ale--it's brewed with grain and is a beer, not a wine.

Also fabulous is the Peak Organic Espresso Amber Ale. I was only moderately looking forward to trying this because it just didn't sound good to me. But it is! The espresso flavor is strong and vibrant and works really well with the already full-bodied ale. It's unique (at least in my experience) and original and tastes really good Interesting throughout, but crisp enough to be refreshing.

Finally (and this is a brief foray into the weight/size thing so skip this if you already worn out on that topic) I received some great news from my bathroom scale this morning. I'm actually a full pound heavier than when I began the tortuous three beer limit diet imposed by Dietitian Rached . While this may seem on the surface to be bad news it does prove inconclusively that the three beer rule complete and utter folly. I've suffered mightily with the harsh restrictions, am still recovering from a vicious man cold, had the economic setback resulting from the expensive but absolutely necessary purchase of 32 ounce beer steins, and yet actually gained weight. The three beer rule is now officially dead.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Small Beers

Even Condoleezza Rice and at least one other member of the (thank the gods) lameduck Bush administration seem to be really angry about the trend towards less than full size beers. It may be the only thing they've been right on in the past eight years.

Speaking of the gods, fate took me up the coast over the weekend and I was once again able to sample the marvelous Big Twitch and Cant Dog Ales from Marshall Wharf Brewing. Fate, and the barkeep at Three Tides (the magnificent bar adjacent to MW) allowed me (after an exchange of currency) to depart with a growler each of the stuff as well.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Quick Hits

The marvelous Allagash Curieux, pictured here, is available at Hanafords for under $10 per 750 ML bottle. This is a great price for a great beer!

At the opposite end of the great beer spectrum I have confirmed the PBR is not locavore compliant. The PBR we (not me) drink here in Maine is brewed in North Carolina, according to the folks at PBR. I had hoped that it might be my local beer of last resort.

Boston Beer Company, makers of Sam Adams, posted losses in the third quarter. The downturn was attributed to rising costs. I feel an obligation to help them by drinking some of their product. The beer is good, and squeeks in locavore range. In addition, the folks at Sam stepped up to help small brewers suffering from the hops shortage.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Size and Nutrition, again


One of the challenging aspect of the 3 beer a day rule is the concept of size. Clearly, a dixie cup or thimble of beer is hardly a beer. By the same token, a full liter of beer, it could be argued, is more than one, even if it is served in a single glass.

Many beers come in 12 ounce, or 330-350 ML bottles. Since a minimum standard is a pint, these 3/4 beers are confusing. Also, since I always pour the bottle into a glass, and the inevitable evaporation occurs, commonly accepted rounding principles would mandate that it takes two of these 3/4 beers to equate to one beer, as prescribed by dietitian Rached. The formula for this is simple: 2 x (3/4) - evaporation = 1.49 beer; rounded to one. However, using a conservative approach, I would consider 5, rather than 6, of these beers to equate to my limit of three.

But our local genius brewer Pugsley takes all the guess work out of this: his signature series comes only in 22 ounce bottles. No need to round, or multiply fractions or anything else. A beer is a beer. I plan to sample my allotted three today. I'll report back after the taste test.


Dr. Denke believes that beer is a more beneficial alcoholic drink than spirits because beer contains many more nutrients per serving, such as protein and B-vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, cadmium and iron.

More details on this important topic can be found in the comprehensive and authoritative medical periodical, All About Beer.

Needless to say, the sharp drop-off in these critical minerals was the contributing factor to my current severe illness. On a positive note, the authorities now think I'm going to pull through.