Thursday, December 27, 2007

Auf Wiedersehen, 2007

The year's finally winding down. This week, we ran out of three beers, bringing our total on tap down to six. I transferred seven barrels of root beer into the cellar, cleaned the draft lines, filled kegs, delivered some root beer to Council Bluffs, filled more kegs, and made seven barrels of Red Cream Soda. The plan for the rest of the year and beyond:

  • Friday 12/28: Brew seven barrels of Uncle Ivan's Dunkelweizen.

  • Monday 12/31: Clean the brewhouse, and get ready for tomorrow's annual inventory extravaganza.

  • Tuesday 1/1: New Year's Day is always Inventory Day at Gottberg/Dusters. A team of accountants come in and watch us count every damn thing in the place, and ask us what every damn thing in the place is worth. It wouldn't be so bad if we could use the data to run the business, but we won't get the report back until September or later. It's a Complete Waste of Time. But I'll clean the draft lines and let them soak overnight, and maybe do the monthly taxes and the yearly production report.

  • Wednesday 1/2: Brew a batch of Empress of Darkness, an "imperial" Porter. We'll have it ready for the Extreme Beer Fest at the Crescent Moon Ale House on February 23.

  • There are some minor maintenance things that need doing; I'll get to them later in the week.

Beer losing its fizzle in Germany

More bad news from Germany, or rather, more bad news for German heritage. Do they just not realize how wonderful their German beer is? Do they really think that Miller Lite is what they should be drinking?

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germans are losing their taste for beer, according to the German brewery association.

Per-capita consumption of beer in Germany, once the world's largest consumer of the drink, fell by 3.5 liters in 2007 to 112.5 liters -- the eighth decline in the last nine years.

More details at Yahoo! News.

Clio Awards

OK, so they don't promote beer, but these award-winning advertisements for 42 Below Vodka are astoundingly entertaining.

42 Below Vodka Ad: Crabs

Click on the image above to view them all.

[Edit 2008-01-01] Here's a translation of the ad pictured above. You're on your own figuring out the rest of them.

  • Guy wakes up

  • takes a shower

  • eats his breakfast

  • brushes his teeth

  • drives to his office

  • takes a cab to the airport

  • and the plane takes off.

  • Stewardess brings him a drink

  • and another one

  • and another one.

  • He goes to the lavatory

  • and has sex with the stewardess.

  • He has another drink

  • and gets her phone number.

  • The flight arrives

  • and he takes a cab to his hotel.

  • He calls the stewardess

  • and has another drink.

  • She shows up with a friend.

  • They have a couple of drinks

  • and go to bed.

  • He has sex with both of them.

  • They have a smoke

  • and another drink.

  • He wakes up the next morning

  • takes a shower

  • and discovers he has crabs.

Got it?

Why hangovers can't be cured

We all know how we're going to feel next Tuesday. (Hey, I have to work next Tuesday!) Newsweek explains how we get into that unpleasant state, and why abstinence (yeah, right) is the only way around it.

While hangovers have plagued revelers since early hominids kicked back with some date-palm wine, science still doesn't have a good understanding of how your I-love-everybody yuletide cheer turns into such a biological bah-humbug. There are few studies that examine the hangover and the best way to cure it. But what science theorizes about the hangover may be enough to make any reveler skip the holiday binge.

Read all the bad news at Newsweek.

Mexican company launches beer in honor of unofficial drug saint

Here in the USA, we can't even put Santa Claus on a label in some states. You ever get the feeling there's way too many rules here?

Jesus Malverde is considered a Mexican Robin Hood and the patron saint of drug lords.

On Wednesday, he got his own beer.

[Cervecería Minerva] in the western city of Guadalajara began selling the Malverde beer in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, long considered one of the country's main drug strongholds.

Read the whole story at the Arizona Daily Star.

Help heroes by drinking beeros

A brewery has launched a new beer to help wounded troops.

All profits from Help For Heroes Spitfire Ale will go to the charity it is named after.

And brewer Shepherd Neame is even giving away 10,000 bottles to our Iraq heroes.

Read the entire article and find out how you can contribute at The Sun Online.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

No sugar tonight in my root beer

I drove out to Duncan this morning only to find that they couldn't spare any sugar, and that they might not have any for a week or more. Adam said he'll order 250 pounds of Emergency Backup Sugar from his kitchen supplier. It will be here on Friday, but I won't. And I won't have time to make the soda on Monday, and the pub is closed on Tuesday for some damn reason. I'll plan on making it next Wednesday, and maybe tapping the red pop on Thursday.

So instead of making root beer and red cream soda, I'm doing tomorrow's keg work today. Then tomorrow I'll...I'll...I'll think of something.

[Added 2007-12-19 4:44pm] Criminey. I'm all done with the kegs and the paperwork, and I'm relaxing (well, actually I was working on a side project) at the bar when the bartender says, "Jeez, this beer is foamy. I just can't get it to pour right. And it's warm, too." So I go to the cellar to check it out. Turns out the machine that keeps the draft lines cold has frozen up. The glycol reservoir is a solid block of ice. I melted all the ice with hot water, and siphoned out what was left. (Write this down: moldy glycol water doesn't taste good.) One of the two recirculation pumps was kaputt. Fortunately, Willie the Maintenance Guy showed up and helped me get the machine running. The working pump was sending coolant to some lines that we haven't used in years, so we swapped those lines for the ones we actually use, and all appears well now. One more beer, then I go home.

Monday, December 17, 2007

December, week 3

Last week's plan was almost completely successful! I got just about everything done that I intended to do.

This weekend, the Jack of Spades Schwarzbier ran out, as did the Red Cream Soda. I don't have anything to replace the Schwarzbier, and I probably won't for some time, but that's OK. I need to come up with 250 pounds of sugar so I can make a new batch of soda, though.

After physical therapy this morning, I'm cleaning the draft lines, and a pile of kegs, and three fermenters, and catching up some paperwork, and I should probably do the excise taxes too. The Chamber of Commerce is having some kind of party at a local car dealership tonight, and they asked me to pour some Hefeweizen, so I have to get all that stuff ready to go.

Tuesday: brew another batch of All-American Gold.

Wednesday: if there's any sugar at the plant, I'll run out there and pick it up, then make seven barrels of Red Cream Soda and 14 barrels of Root Beer.

Thursday: physical therapy again, and fill the keg orders.

Friday: pick up Paris at the airport. She's finally done with this project in New Jersey. Her next assignment may involve a week in Dublin; I need to be sure I'm all caught up so I can go along.

There's probably more, but that's all I can think of for now. Time to go rinse the fermenter.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Man drank 48 cans of lager a day

I agree with the judge: "It almost defies belief how anyone can drink 48 cans of lager a day and a bottle or two of spirits."

A chronic Preston alcoholic has told how he used to drink 48 cans of lager and two bottles of brandy every day.

But 28-year-old Sean Whiteside from Preston has pledged to beat his demons for good after cutting down his boozing - to 30 cans a day.

[He] gave up work 12 months ago after his addiction became too much.

He says he is unable to work and has put in a claim for incapacity benefit because of his illness.

Read the entire astonishing story at the Lancashire Evening Post.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Club tells pensioner to break wind outside

This story, erm...speaks for itself.

A retired bus driver who has drunk in the same social club for 20 years has been told to step outside when he breaks wind, because his flatulence is "disgusting" other customers.

Mr Fox said that he had tried to calm his flatulence by switching from cider to bitter, but admitted that the six pints of Bass he drinks a day still leave him feeling gassy.

There's more — lots more — at The Telegraph.

December at the brewery

December is a surprisingly slow time in the brewery. The restaurant does its best business this time of year, but I guess the shoppers don't drink much beer.

Last week:

  • Cleaned the lines, did the monthly taxes.

  • Made 14 barrels of root beer

  • Ordered some draft parts.

  • Filled a few kegs.

This week:

  • Monday: PT this morning, transfer 7 barrels of root beer this afternoon

  • Tuesday: Clean the lines, dump the old batch of Pale Ale, keg off the Novemberfest and Gold, clean the bright beer tanks

  • Wednesday: Filter the new batches of Gold and Pale, and transfer the Hefeweizen

  • Thursday: Pick up Paris in Omaha

  • Friday: PT in the morning, clean and fill kegs, clean the fermenters

That's the plan, anyway.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

No No No! to Santa beer label

Last year, Connecticut. This year, Maine and New York. When will the madness end?

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A beer distributor says Maine is being a Scrooge by barring it from selling a beer with a label depicting Santa Claus enjoying a pint of brew.

In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Shelton Brothers accuses the Maine Bureau of Liquor Enforcement of censorship for denying applications for labels for Santa's Butt Winter Porter [An excellent beer -RDS] and two other beers it wants to sell in Maine.

Read the entire article at Seacoast Online.

Police told how to spot a drunk

Someone in the UK government got paid to come up with this. They should have titled it "How to harass customers and workers in a pub".

Around 90 police basic command units in England and Wales are involved in the operation, which could see barstaff being hit with an £80 fixed-penalty fine if found “knowingly” selling to someone who is drunk.

However a fine can only be issued by a uniformed officer.

Selling to a drunk customer is an offence under the Licensing Act, but confusion over what defines “drunk” has engulfed the trade – until now.

Plain-clothed officers have been told that behaviour such as “rambling conversation”, “an unkempt appearance”, “being careless with money”, and “spilling drinks” is all evidence to prove somebody is drunk.

Other indicators, according to the document, are “fumbling for cigarettes” and “bumping into furniture”.

Police in each area will visit two “nominated” premises on two nights each weekend up until Christmas Eve, with up to 1,500 premises being targeted in total.

The actual list of drunken traits appears later in the article, which you can read in its entirety at The Publican.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Crescent Moon Holiday Beer Fest

Crescent Moon Ale House in Omaha hosted its Holiday Beer Fest this past Saturday night. It was phenomenally well-attended, with more than 200 tickets sold in advance, and at least 50 more sold at the door. Brewery and wholesaler representatives as well as local homebrewers were on hand, pouring samples of at least 60 different beers.

Everybody had a program listing all the beers, and more than a few said they were going to try to taste them all. I'd sure like to hear from anybody who did; we're talking about a total of more than a gallon of high-test beers.

As always, Bill put on a great show, and I can't wait for the next one. Maybe by then I'll have replaced my antique camera so I can show you the good times you missed.

How to build a kegerator

If you haven't done so, do it now. The parts exclusive of the refrigerator will set you back less than $100.

You can find the instructions at wikiHow.

Wyoming lawmakers consider higher tax on beer

Wyoming beer drinkers: contact your state legislators to oppose this proposed 225% increase in the state beer tax.

CHEYENNE - Here's a tax increase sure to make people cry in their beer.

That's right: Lawmakers are considering a tax increase on beer, and proponents say the mental health and substance abuse treatment that would benefit are good causes.

Wyoming currently taxes beer at 2 cents per gallon. A draft bill before the Select Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse would raise that to 6.5 cents per gallon.

Read the entire article at the Billings Gazette.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Canadian Beer Drinkers Threaten Planet

I'll have to check to see if my beer fridge is Energy Star-rated now.

Scientists have found a new threat to the planet: Canadian beer drinkers.

The government-commissioned study says the old, inefficient "beer fridges" that one in three Canadian households use to store their Molson and Labatt's contribute significantly to global warming by guzzling gas- and coal-fired electricity.

Read the entire article at Fox News.

Around the world in 60 pubs

This is my kind of vacation! Maybe next year...

Around the world in 60 pubs - map

  1. London

  2. Düsseldorf

  3. Praha

  4. Maria Alm

  5. München

  6. Reykjavik

  7. Phuket

  8. Auckland

  9. Queenstown

  10. Honolulu

  11. Cancun

You can find all the details at World's Biggest Pub Crawl.

Thou shalt not buy too much of our beer

Westvleteren: the best beer you'll probably never taste.

In bars from Brussels to Boston, and online, it sells for more than $15 for an 11-ounce bottle -- 10 times what the monks ask -- if you can get it.

For the 26 monks at St. Sixtus, however, success has brought a spiritual hangover as they fight to keep an insatiable market in tune with their life of contemplation.

The monks are doing their best to resist getting bigger. They don't advertise and don't put labels on their bottles. They haven't increased production since 1946. They sell only from their front gate. You have to make an appointment and there's a limit: two, 24-bottle cases a month. Because scarcity has created a high-priced gray market online, the monks search the net for resellers and try to get them to stop.

"We sell beer to live, and not vice versa," says Brother Joris, the white-robed brewery director. Beer lovers, however, seem to live for Westvleteren.

Read the entire article at the Wall Street Journal. Thanks to Bryce Hinsch for the link!

Last orders for Guinness?

Granted, Guinness isn't the beer it used to be. It's lighter and less flavorful than it was 15 or 20 years ago, back when it was my favorite beer. Then again, maybe that's why their business has been declining all this time. And if that's the case, Guinness Red ain't gonna help.

Guinness is one of Britain's best loved brands, yet sales of the famous black stout have been falling year after year both in the UK and Ireland.

But with nearly 250 years of history behind it, Guinness is not about to go quietly.

It has launched a fight back with a new lighter, sweeter version, Guinness Red, and a much hyped multi-million pound advertising campaign.

Will it be enough to reverse the decline?

Read the entire obituary at the BBC.

Man shoots goat after wife wouldn't bring him beer

That'll teach it.

WAUPACA — A rural New London man faces charges for killing one of his family's two pet goats after he became upset with his wife for not buying beer.

It goes on to say that the man "was arrested later that day at a local bar". Big surprise there. (How I do miss Wisconsin!)

Read the rest of this wacky story at the Oshkosh Northwestern


Celebrate Repeal Day!

Prohibition in the United States was ended by the ratification of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution on December 5, 1933.

Amendment XXI

Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2. The transportation or importation into any state, territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several states, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the states by the Congress.

So raise a glass of your favorite libation today in honor of Repeal Day!