Thursday, December 30, 2010

Rochefort Brewery Damaged By Fire

Bad news from Belgium:

Yesterday evening there [was] a great fire in the abbey of Rochefort which [was] a big disaster. The church was saved as [well as] the Bibliothèque and the rooms of the monks, but the brewery and stables are completely destroyed. The fire started in the warm reserve places. All the new material is destroyed. There are no victims or injured persons.

You can find more details and links at The Brookston Beer Bulletin.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Expired: another update

Expired: another update. Thanks to Chad at RealBranding, it looks like is back on the air!

Expired: Update

I just got off the phone with a technical rep at RealBranding; he's actively working on getting the domain renewed. Watch this space for further news.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Apparently, the domain expired last Thursday. Renewal efforts are in progress. Thanks for your patience and support.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Beer Me! Party at Nebraska Brewing Company

The good folks at Nebraska Brewing Company were all set to dump a barrel of beer that had turned undrinkable. They even asked me to do the honors at the dumping party, scheduled for this Thursday, December 16.

But miracles do happen:

2 months ago, this beer totally sucked ass. It was the 3rd time we'd tasted this beer over its time in the barrel and we'd resigned ourselves to dumping this poor little experiment.

Fast forward to Friday... As we're emptying barrels for the Melange & Saison bottling, it came time to get the experiment from the oak barrel and into a keg for our little dumping party.

Moments prior to emptying, Tyson decided to taste it one last time - and get our final, personal laughs prior to execution.

As he raised an eyebrow and handed me the glass - it actually smelled pretty freakin' cool.
He had a smile on his face as I tasted it and remarked that this was a damn good beer...

So we kinda learned a few lessons here. First, don't rush things (it's now 8 months I think). Second, the maturation curve for barrel aged beer differs greatly from new oak through other variants. And maybe lastly, Vinnie said listen to your beer - it will tell you when it's ready.

This one was pretty tight lipped.
So they're still going to have a party on Thursday — tapping their new Chilli Vanilli Cask Smoked Porter with Ancho Chili and Mexican Vanilla Beans — and I'll still be there, but the only beer I'll be dumping will be going from my glass down my esophagus. Come down to Papillion and have a beer with me; I'll be at the bar around 6pm.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

November 2010

Hooray...I'm only eight days behind! I've finally caught up with November's batch of site updates.

Thanks to all who have contributed; keep those updates flowing in!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Weak Draft Beer Found At Several Local Venues

The implication here is that the sporting venues are somehow watering down their draft beer, although I'm not sure how they'd accomplish that. I would be interested to see more details from the lab regarding the analysis, and from the reporter regarding his sampling methods.

Label ABVTested ABV
Turner Field
Bud Light4.23.9
Samuel Adams Boston Lager4.84.4
Gwinnett Arena
Yuengling Lager4.43.1
Widmer Pale Ale5.03.2
Verizon Amphitheater
Bud Light4.22.9
Philips Arena
Molson Ice5.63.2
Miller Lite4.23.1
Bud Light4.23.1
Coors Light4.22.9

(Note that federal rules allow a ±0.3% variance between the label ABV and the actual ABV.)

The venues blame their concessionaires, the concessionaires blame the brewers, and the brewers say there's nothing wrong with their beer. The brewers' claim seems reasonable, since the reporter also bought beer at a local liquor store, and those beers' ABVs tested in agreement with their label. On the other hand, instead of testing bottled beer, the reporter probably should have tested draft beer dispensed from a local bar(s).

Read the whole story at WSB Atlanta.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Man fights for beer bottle pledge

I pledge allegiance to the can...oh, wait.

Don Sessions, 75, founder of the Oklahoma City-based Ol'Glory energy drink company, said he is expanding his business into Ol'Glory beer but he has run into a hurdle with the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which told him a federal statute prohibits use of images and statements related to the U.S. flag, The Oklahoman reported Tuesday.

Read the whole short story at UPI.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nebraska beer anniversaries

Happy birthday to three icons in the Nebraska beer scene:

Congratulations to all! We'll swing by to celebrate this afternoon.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Vertical Epic: Thanks, TABC, For Keeping A Coveted Beer Out Of Texas

WTF, Texas? It's beer, unless it's ale or malt liquor, in which case you not only can't label it "beer", you can't even refer to it as "beer"? Your labeling laws are stupid, archaic, confusing, and destructive to the marketplace.

Stone Brewing Company's Vertical Epic, which has a once-a-year release and is part of a very important beer plan, was sitting in a warehouse in Houston waiting to be sent to stores, according to Austin Tefteller, a beer manager at Spec's.

That's when TABC agents stepped in and decided the beer had to be shipped back to California. [Update: Vertical Epic 10.10.10 is available in kegs in Texas, but not in bottles.]

The problem, according to Tefteller, was on the label. The Vertical Epic contains more than 5 percent alcohol (quite a bit more), and in Texas, you can't call that a beer. And somewhere on Stone's label, it said the word "beer."

"That's the reason a lot of craft brewers don't come to Texas," [Stone regional manager Jason] Armstrong says. "There are some amazing Belgium beers that don't come to Texas. You can get them in Louisiana, you can get them in New Mexico, but not Texas. What brewer or monk is going to change his label he's had for 500 years?"

Read the whole stupid story at Houston News.

Rock Bottom Restaurants and Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group Combine to Become CraftWorks Restaurants and Breweries, Inc.

Apparently, big mergers aren't restricted to big breweries.

Chattanooga, TN (November 15, 2010) – Centerbridge Capital Partners, L.P. and its related entities ("Centerbridge"), formed CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries, Inc. (“CraftWorks”) by closing on concurrent acquisitions of Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc. (“Rock Bottom”) and Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group, Inc. (“Gordon Biersch”) today. The companies will operate as subsidiaries of CraftWorks and will retain their brands. The combined business becomes the nation’s leading operator and franchisor of brewery and craft beer-focused casual dining restaurants with nearly 200 owned and franchised locations across the United States. CraftWorks’ primary concepts include Old Chicago, Rock Bottom and Gordon Biersch.

CraftWorks is led by Frank Day and Allen Corey. Frank Day, founder of Rock Bottom, serves as Chairman of the Board and brings over 45 years of restaurant experience to the newly formed company. Allen Corey, an original investor and 13 year CEO of Gordon Biersch, is the President and CEO of CraftWorks and brings over 18 years of restaurant experience to the position.

Read the whole press release at the CraftWorks site.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Photoreport from festival ALE FestivAle 2010 in Brewery Kocour (Tomcat) in Varnsdorf , north Bohemia, Czech republic

Czech correspondent Libor Vojáček traveled to a beer festival in Varnsdorf, Bohemia, a couple of weeks ago; here's his report:

Hello my dear beer friends,

On October 30 . 2010 (yesterday) in Brewery Kocour (Tomcat) in Varnsdorf City (north Bohemia, Usti n.L. region, Czech republic) took place beer festival ALE FestivAle 2010 . I am bringing you short photoreport . See attached. CzechBeerMan was (of course) there .. Event was a "child" of spiritual father of this brewery who
is mr.Jan Kocka (Cat) ... and I thank him very very much for that . If we have not such a people willing to do something, we have nothing at all. If there are not such a beer fanatics like like, nothing is coming up. So : Thanks Jan ! Festival took place inside of old ceramic tiles plant (it suppose to be soon bottle filling station of Kocour brewery) , but it could be taken outside as well ... it was beautiful , a bit windy, autumn (fall) sunny day. Starting at 11 AM , finishing about 8 PM. Event was dedicated to ALE beers (top fermented beers) so all exhibitors (breweries) cares not to "spoil party" by seling lager ... haha. Ales, stouts, wheats , all those beers were on sale . Some ales were really really delicious. As those from Trebonicky rukodelny pivovar (Trebonice Handcrafted Brewery ) and their 14° Otmar or 15° Bohatyr ( Heroine . . hero , not heroin ... haha) . I guess some 10 - 15 czech microbrewries took part , like Brewery Coutryard Zvikov, Famiyl Brewery Velky Rybnik (Watersprite) , local Kocour , of course with their excellent EPA (English Pale Ale ) Samurai ...... you can see there few shops with foreign beers (from Scotland, England , Belgium, The States) .... .... generaly : event was very succesfull and good, and I am sure I will see you there in 2011 !! Positives were much bigger than its negatives (bad singning and direction to event !) . Refreshement was great .... grilled sausages, meat , potatoes, simple and tasty bread slices with lard and pork cracklings !! .... food in brewery pub was decent and tasty (goulash inside bread for 75 CZK , beef goulash with fair amount of meat and 4 czech dumplings for 75 CZK (Czech Crowns) .. glass of beer around 30 CZK. .... glass cleaning station ready ..... all simple and good !!! And that I like ...... everybody knows criticise , but few know to act and do something . I am happy for such a beer events . Thanks Jan again , thanks to all organisers, .... and if you are near Varnsdorf City ( .... in english and german too) ... do not hesitate to taste out "Tomcat" .... welcome ! As the
logo of brewery ( is saying : "Tomcat - by little cat hair better beer" ....
Pivovar Kocour - celkový pohled
Kocour Brewery - overview

Browar Brackie - Cieszyn, Polsko
Brackie Brewery - Cieszyn, Poland

Třebonický rukodělný pivovárek
Trebonicky handcrafted brewery

moment z festivalu
a moment at the festival

ve 4 odpoledne bylo již pěkně plno
at 4pm it was already pretty crowded

venkovní občerstvení
outdoor refreshment

zdravím od Kocoura
to the health of the Cat

moment z festivalu
a moment at the festival

varna . Pivovar Kocour
Kocour Brewery's equipment

pípa v restauraci
tap in the restaurant

ukázka domácí plničky lahví
example of a homemade bottle filler

před pivovarem
the brewery

celkový pohled na festival
overall view of the festival

plné petky připravené být koupeny
ready to be purchased

pivovarská hospoda
brewery pub

nashledanou příští rok u Kocoura
see you next year at the Cat

p. Jan Kočka (v černém) v rozhovoru
interview with Mr. Jan Kocka (in black)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Beer Lubricated the Rise of Civilization, Study Suggests

Brian Hayden, an archaeologist at Canada's Simon Fraser University, is working on research that links the brewing of beer to the birth of civilization.

"In traditional feasts throughout the world, there are three ingredients that are almost universally present," he said. "One is meat. The second is some kind of cereal grain, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, in the form of breads or porridge or the like. The third is alcohol, and because you need surplus grain to put into it, as well as time and effort, it's produced almost only in traditional societies for special occasions to impress guests, make them happy, and alter their attitudes favorably toward hosts."

The brewing of alcohol seems to have been a very early development linked with initial domestication, seen during Neolithic times in China, the Sudan, the first pottery in Greece and possibly with the first use of maize. Hayden said circumstantial evidence for brewing has been seen in the Natufian, in that all the technology needed to make it is there — cultivated yeast, grindstones, vessels for brewing and fire-cracked rocks as signs of the heating needed to prepare the mash.

Read the whole story at

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Raise Your Glass: 10 Intoxicating Beer Facts

LiveScience gives us a few details on these ten beer facts:

10. What's in a glass?
9. Hop to it!
8. Who drank beer then...
7. And who drinks it now
6. Alternative uses for beer
5. Brewers are unwitting yeast geneticists
4. Light makes beer go bad
3. Beer is good for the bones...
2. ...But bad for the head
1. What floats down...

Get all the facts at

Monday, October 25, 2010

Goose Island to brew at ‘partner’ brewery Redhook

This just in via ProBrewer:

Goose Island Beer Company has announced an agreement to brew some of their beers at Redhook Ales' facility in Portsmouth, New Hampshire over the next three years. The agreement will allow Goose Island to look at expanding into new markets..

Goose Island is expecting a 20 percent growth in 2010 and has almost reached the capacity of its Fulton Street brewery in Chicago. Built in 1995 for a maximum output of 100,000 barrels annually, the brewery is now capable of producing 130,000 barrels of beer.

Read the whole article at ProBrewer.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Is the Molson's (Canadian) beer sold in the U.S. watered down?

Today's Straight Dope column is a reprint from 1986, in which Cecil Adams tackles this question:

Does my jaded palate deceive me, or is the beer exported to the U.S. by Canada and other countries in fact different from what they sell at home under the same label? I am sure you can appreciate the international significance of this issue.

Read Cecil's answer at The Straight Dope.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Beer Me!" for Android

Good news: I've finally resumed work on the "Beer Me!" app for Android devices! It'll take me a short while to re-learn how my own code works, but after that I won't be too far from finishing the job.

Stay tuned; I'll be asking for testers in the near future.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Humans Made Flour 30,000 Years Ago

If you subscribe to the "beer-before-civilization" theory, this finding could push back the origin of beer by thousands of years.

Researchers collected stone tools from three archaeological sites in Italy, Russia and the Czech Republic. Our Paleolithic ancestors called these digs home some 30,000 years ago. The markings on the recovered tools suggest that they were used like grindstones and pestles for processing grains. And they still contained traces of flour.

The flour grains came mostly from cattails and ferns, plants whose roots are rich in starch, kind of like a potato. Processing these plants probably involved peeling, drying and grinding their roots. The resulting flour could then be whisked into a dough and cooked.

Read the whole story and/or listen to the podcast at Scientific American.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Look, will you all stop misusing the word ‘ale’. Thank you

Thanks to Jay Brooks for this link to an interesting article from Zythophile, a blog I will start following as of today.

I realise I’m whistling into a gale here. But if you want an expression that will cover everything from Kölsch to porter, taking in saison, IPA, mild, Oud Bruin and Alt on the way, then it’s “warm-fermented beers”. Not “ale”. Please. Because if you use “ale” in a broad, ahistoric sense to mean “any beer made with top-fermenting yeast”, then you’re making my job harder than it should be.

[...] “ale”, a word derived from the Old English alu, which once meant “unhopped malt liquor”, in contrast to the continental hopped bere that arrived in Britain in the 15th century. By the 18th century, brewers were adding at least some hops to everything, so that “ale” now meant “malt liquor that is hopped, but not as much as beer is”. Thus the Encyclopedia Britannica of 1773 defined the word “ale” as “a fermented liquor obtained from an infusion of malt and differing only from beer in having a less proportion of hops.”

It’s important, if you study the history of brewing, to know this, to know that porter was a beer, not an ale, because it was heavily hopped, that all the many varieties of ale brewed around Britain – Burton Ale, Windsor Ale, Dorchester Ale, and others – were called ale because they were lightly hopped, to know why recipes for pale ale and pale beer in 1773 could differ so much, with the pale ale only lightly hopped while the pale beer was stuffed with hopcones; and to know that the London ale brewers were a completely different set of people to the London porter brewers. (Spot the two terrible errors at that link, btw.)

Martyn makes some very good points about the etymology of "ale", and now I understand why old (and some newer) brewery signs advertised "Ales, Stout, and Porter". And I agree that "lager" and "ale" are inaccurate distinctions arbitrarily defining the two great families of "beer". But as with his own examples — soon, presently, decimate, fulsome — the meanings of "beer" and "ale" have changed over the centuries, and we have now what we have now, for better or worse.

It's a fascinating article, and you can read it in its entirety at Zythophile.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Happy National German-American Day

Happy National German-American Day!

The proclamation noted that the Tricentennial was celebrated on the 6th of October 1983 “in honor of the contributions made by German immigrants to the life and culture of the United States” and that “such contributions should be recognized and celebrated every year.”

Read the history of National German-American Day, written by the man who made it happen, at Germerica. Then celebrate with a tasty beer from either country...or both!

Biting the Hand That Feeds You

Here's the most idiotic statement I've seen in a long time:

These people claim to collect money for breast cancer awareness and research, but they're picky about where the money comes from? The same people who want breweries to pay for the "harm" they do won't take breweries' money to pay for that supposed harm? Their hypocrisy is demonstrated most clearly by this exchange:

But perhaps the most telling part of the interview was when the MSNBC reporter remarked that one alcohol company had donated $500,000 to breast cancer awareness causes and then she asked a simple, direct question of [Angela Wall of Breast Cancer Action]. “Do you think that money should be given back?” Wall hems and haws, but refuses to give a yes or no answer, indeed never really even addresses the question. Clearly, she’s not giving the money back. But the brewing industry, we’re the hypocrites?

Read Jay Brooks' proper and in-depth excoriation of these people at The Brookston Beer Bulletin.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Uber Dispensing Company Multi-Spout Beer Tap

According to David Pollak at the San Jose Mercury News, Cornell-educated Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray had a hand in inventing this nifty device that allows up to three beers to be poured from the same keg simultaneously.

The Ubertap

Learn more at the Uber Dispensing Company.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Oktoberfest - the beer

There are only six breweries serving beer at Oktoberfest, and they're all Munich breweries:

If some Beck's representatives showed up one day and asked to set up a little stall at the entrance, they'd be condemned according to ancient law without trial and taken to a Munich prison, where they'd have to share a cell with a frisky wild Bavarian boar that had been captured in the forest “within the last month.”

Get all the details at The Local.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Žatec Hop Harvest Festival 2010

Thanks to enthusiastic Beer Me! contributor Libor "CzechBeerMan" Vojáček for a look at this year's Hop Harvest Festival in Žatec (Saaz), Bohemia.

My dear beer friends ,

From Friday to yesterday, the Hop Harvest Festival 2010 in Zatec (Saaz) City , north-west Bohemia, Czech republic,
took place . Sure .. I was there and I am bringing now some pictures to you. Everybody knows Zatec ! Right ?
It is hop capital of the world .... no disscusion about ... haha. VITEJ V ZATCI (Welcome in Zatec in czech) .. This year over pictures ... next year I wanna see you there personaly , ... I will guide you ! Remember ....
More about Zatec --- . more about festival ... more about Zatec´s hop
traditions and companies .... (in english too ... in czech Hop is Chmel !!) ... ot click on ... and read about Our Proud Tradition ! Thanks ....

With best regards


alias CzechBeerMan

Expert in "beerology"

beer promoter , reporter and taster (worldwide beer memmorables divided to sections ) (my own collection - beers I drunk myself !)

Postal address : (mr) Libor VOJACEK, Litomericka 8 , CZ - 415 01 Teplice , Czech republic (Europe)

tel: 00420 723 418 233 (mobile)

Skype name : czechbeerman

.... and beer odyssey just begins !

welcome on Hop Harvest Festival 2010 in Zatec City

small hop plant on main square - hop is given free to visitors !

Zatec Brewery front

Little America in Zatec -.... hahaha - my kids on left side

vaults around Zatec´s main square

Cerna Hora Brewery nstand from back side

beer souveniers

beer cosmetics on sale

Krusovice Brewery stand (morning)

main tent of Zatec Brewery - the sing says - The Lager from Region wher Beer is Home !! (true)

main stage

Fredinand Brewery wagon

good stock ready

ZAtec City free booklet

Hop Harvest Festival in Zatec 2010

view on main square

Rebel Brewery van

hop. hop. hop .....

just Zatec

my Chyse Microbrewery unfiltered beer.

beer everywhere - you are in ZAtec !! In Czech republic !!!

Hello from Zatec ... getting a bit hungry.

Bakalar Brewery tap

cleaning company will have lot of work ....

Czech Beer Man

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ancient Brew Masters Tapped Antibiotic Secrets

More evidence that beer is good for you.

A chemical analysis of the bones of ancient Nubians shows that they were regularly consuming tetracycline, most likely in their beer. The finding is the strongest evidence yet that the art of making antibiotics, which officially dates to the discovery of penicillin in 1928, was common practice nearly 2,000 years ago.

"We tend to associate drugs that cure diseases with modern medicine," Armelagos says. "But it's becoming increasingly clear that this prehistoric population was using empirical evidence to develop therapeutic agents. I have no doubt that they knew what they were doing."

It's interesting that modern pharmaceutical companies use genetically-engineered Saccharomyces yeast to produce their drugs.

Read the whole story at ScienceDaily.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Beer Milkshakes? Our Top Seven Flavors

Dave Lister would approve. (Although none of these particular combinations sounds appetizing to me.)

7. Peak Organic Espresso Amber Ale with Vanilla Ice Cream

6. Sea Dog Raspberry Wheat Ale with Chocolate Ice Cream

5. Michelob Honey Lager and Orange Sherbet

4. Michelob Honey Lager and Vanilla Ice Cream

3. Shock Top Belgian White and Orange Sherbet

2. Shock Top Belgian White and Vanilla Ice Cream

1. Sea Dog Raspberry Wheat Ale with Vanilla Ice Cream

Pour yourself a Stout Float and read the tasting notes at the Broward Palm Beach New Times.

Synthetic corneas restore vision

Yeast: is there anything it can't do?

(Video from Reuters.)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Öchslebräu Inaugural Brew: The Princess of Darkness

I brewed yesterday for the first time in well over a year; it was my first small-scale batch since 2005. The recipe was the Princess of Darkness Porter, a 13.5°P beauty of a black beer.

Nebraska Brewing Company kindly donated the ingredients and the use of their mill.



Milling the malt

Milling the malt

Mashing in

Strike water

Mashing in

Mashing in



Running off

Running off





The \

The "full" fermenter

Apparently, I underestimated the sparge water volume. Instead of a 13.5°P beauty of a black beer, we have a 21°P beauty of an intense black beer: The Empress of Darkness.

As soon as I can get my hands on another carboy, we'll give it another try.