Friday, February 26, 2010

Munich's answer to Lent: stronger beer

Starkbierzeit is my favorite time of year in Germany.

The end of Fasching, what Bavarian Catholics call Carnival, heralds the beginning of Lent, the Christian season of fasting. Normally considered a period of abstinence, in beer-crazy Bavaria it's time to crack open extra strong Starkbier brews.

Starkbierzeit has become such a fixture of Munich's annual event calendar that locals refer to it as the year's 'fifth season.' The supermarkets are stocked with the strong Doppelbock lager beer brewed only during this time.

The festival hearkens back to the fasting Paulaner monks who brewed the extra strong beer to sustain themselves between Shrove Tuesday and Easter. Today the beer is served only during Lent - but is now quaffed for less pious reasons.

The article continues to provide a history of Starkbier and tips on where in Munich to participate in Starkbierzeit festivities. Read it all at The Local.

Wish I was there!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bid to allow stronger beer on tap to pass this session

Iowa is about to move (some of) its beer laws into the 21st century!

The discrimination, they say, centers on longtime Iowa laws that prohibit breweries in the state from making and selling beer that has more than 5 percent alcohol content.

Out-of-state breweries have sold higher-alcohol beer to Iowans for years.

"As far as we're concerned, it is a matter of equality," said Dave Coy, president of the Iowa Brewers Guild and brewmaster for Raccoon River Brewery in Des Moines.

Iowa's 20 or so breweries could produce beer with up to 12 percent alcohol content under a section of Senate File 2088, a government reorganization bill that could receive final approval from the Senate by Monday.

So far, so good.

(Rep. Mark Smith, D-Marshalltown) is concerned that the change could lead to more substance abuse and drunken driving.

"When you increase the availability of alcohol or any other drug, you increase the social problems that are associated with use," Smith said. "While we have major concerns with other drugs, consistently, the drug that has been most related to crime has been alcohol."

This is typical neo-prohibitionist bullshit. Wine is higher in alcohol than beer, and is universally available. (And is exempt from the current restrictive law, by the way.) Distilled spirits are much higher in alcohol than beer, and are universally available. I was going to say that Smith's position on beer requires a fantastic leap of logic, but the fact is, there's no logic involved at all.

Read the whole story at the Des Moines Register.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sink the Bismarck!: Brewery Releases World's Strongest Beer At 41% ABV

When will the madness end? BrewDog make great beers, but this ethanol escalation is just getting ridiculous.

The flamboyantly competitive Scottish brewery BrewDog has released Sink the Bismarck!, a "quadruple IPA" that they say is the most alcoholic in the world at 41%. BrewDog had previously earned similar attention last year with their then-record-setting 32% ABV beer, Tactical Nuclear Penguin, but rival brewery Schorschbrau just weeks ago (briefly) reclaimed the beer potency title with their Schorschbock, at 40% ABV, prompting Brewdog's latest counterattack.

Read the entire article, including a great quote from BrewDog's James Watt, at The Huffington Post.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Stating the obvious

Guy comes into the store today looking for dark German beers. I suggest, among others, Kulmbacher Mönchshof Schwarz.

He says it looks interesting, but his son recently brewed a Schwarzbier, so he'll pass on this one.

He asks me if I brew.

"Not at the moment."

"Oh, you should learn how. You'd love it."


Friday, February 5, 2010

Android > BlackBerry

The bad news: after three weeks of banging my head against their dysfunctional development tools, I've given up on writing a BlackBerry version of my Beer Me! mobile smartphone app.

The good news: work on the Android version is progressing nicely. I should be ready to ask for field-testers by the end of this month.

I might revisit the BlackBerry problem once the Android version is deployed. Maybe.

iPhone? Who knows.

The Palm version has sold 78 copies already, and the free trial version has been downloaded almost 250 times! That's kinda fun.

Monday, February 1, 2010


A couple of guys came into the store Sunday afternoon. They spent about fifteen minutes checking out everything in the coolers, displaying their satisfaction with the beer selection by exclaiming "DOOD" this and "DOOD" that at every turn.

They left with only a six-pack of Bud Light apiece.

And a Schneider Weisse glass to drink it out of.