Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Beyond Oktoberfest: A guide to German beer and wine festivals

The Local offers this guide to beer destinations around Germany:

  • Beer Festivals

    • August 6-8: Berlin Beer Festival

    • September 10 - October 4: Oktoberfest, Munich

  • Bars and Beer Halls

    • Augustinerkeller, Munich

    • Paulaner am Thielenplatz, Hannover

    • zum Uerige, Düsseldorf

  • Brewery Tours

    • Brauerei Erdinger, Erding

    • Andechser Klosterbräu, Ammersee

    • Brauerei Beck, Bremen

  • Bathe in beer

    • Kummeroer Hof, Neuzelle

Get all the details at The Local.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Beer raising money for oil spill relief is illegal in Alabama, Mississippi

More liquor-law stupidity.

One of the Gulf Coast's most famous breweries has crafted a new beer and promised to send a portion of the money earned on each bottle to oil spill relief efforts.

But Abita's Save Our Shores Charitable Pilsner won't be sold in two of the four states affected.
The beer is 7 percent alcohol, too potent to be sold in Mississippi, and it's served in a 22-ounce bottle that's too big under Alabama law.

"Because of a stupid, archaic, nonsensical restriction on container size, Alabamians are being prevented from taking part in a tasty way to help out the entire Gulf Coast."

Read the whole story at al.com. And if Abita's SOS beer is available in your state, buy it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Brewer banishes Bud to crown Hasseröder official World Cup beer

Anheuser-Busch was the official beer sponsor of the last World Cup, held in Germany in 2006. They didn't think their cunning plan all the way through...

When Germany hosted the World Cup in 2006, the country was awash in fuzzy feel-good patriotism. Only one thing threatened to ruin the party – crappy American beer.

In the months running up to the football tournament, panic spread through the nation after it emerged that the US beverage corporation and FIFA sponsor Anheuser Busch would only allow its official World Cup beer Budweiser to be sold at the matches. Rumours even circulated of a 1-kilometre-wide Bud-only zone around the stadiums.

Germans became gripped with such a bad case of “beer fear” that the sensationalist newspaper Bild even declared: "Watery Yankee beer in the 12 stadiums? No way!"

In the end it didn't happen because the makers of the German beer Bitburger raised objections when Budweiser attempted to shorten its name to "Bud" for World Cup advertising because of a legal dispute with a similarly named Czech brewery. This, Bitburger decided, was much too close to its marketing nickname "Bit."

Fearing a wider fiasco as German football fans raged against having American beer forced upon them, Anheuser Busch eventually relented and agreed to sell Bit next to Bud at all official World Cup stadiums and events.

This time around, Anheuser-Busch InBev is the official beer sponsor, and they've taken a more global tack.

When Argentina hits the pitch, viewers will see ads for Argentine beer Quilmes. Brazilian matches will feature Brahma. Germans fans will see ads for Hasseröder, an old East German favourite from a small town in Saxony-Anhalt.

But why not one of the better-known German beers in AB InBev's portfolio such as Beck's, Franziskaner, or Löwenbräu?

Hasseröder's official reasons offer an insight into the ruthless targeting of market strategies. "We're a proper man's brand, and we represent male friendship," says spokeswoman Claudia Klehr. "At the same time we are among the ten most famous sports sponsors in Germany." Hasseröder sponsors a number of different sports teams, including the Bundesliga club Hannover 96.

Klehr declines to compare the new strategy to 2006, but she says, "Anheuser Busch InBev has found an intelligent way to use the FIFA sponsoring rights as efficiently and synergistically as possible."

The article goes on to mention the great variety of German beers and the history of Hasseröder Brauerei. Read the whole story at The Local.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

8 great beer meccas are within a day's drive of Milwaukee

Wisconsin has a long-time reputation of being "Beer Central". Now Lucy "Beer Cook" Saunders has put together a guide to visiting Wisconsin's centers of beer.

Just as Napa and Sonoma offer wine tours, we have our beer meccas.

Did you know that Wisconsin is home to more than 70 brewing companies and brewpubs? Some 20 of them will be pouring at the first-ever Wisconsin Brewers Guild festival - the Summer Solstice - at Bayshore Town Center in Glendale on June 26 (www.welcometoglendale.com).

Better still, it's fun to visit the breweries, cafés and taverns that celebrate craft and imported specialty ales. To explore the places that put pints on the state map, here are eight beer meccas within a day's drive of Milwaukee (view on an interactive map here).

Lucy goes on to list destinations in these areas:

  • Milwaukee

  • Lake Mills

  • Madison and New Glarus

  • Mineral Point

  • Chippewa Falls, Dallas and Downsville

  • Ashland and Bayfield

  • Stevens Point and Wausau

  • Amherst and Waupaca

Good destinations all, even though Green Bay and Appleton are conspicuously absent. Still, I encourage you to visit the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and start planning your trip.

Monday, June 14, 2010

British Man Can Add Beer Taster to His Resume

I need to find out if Omaha needs an ale conner...

Steve Williams may have one of the most enviable jobs in the world.

He's just become the official ale taster of London.

Williams won the voluntary position in a tasting competition. It's not a full-time job, but he was given a beer budget equivalent to $1,500.

Read the whole (short) story at WXIA.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Beer Bloggers Conference

I just received word that the first-ever International Beer Bloggers & Online Media Conference is scheduled for this November in Boulder, Colorado. If you're interested in attending, you can get more information at http://beerbloggersconference.org/. It sounds like they're expecting space to fill up fast!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Outback Australians face 400 mile round trip to closest pub

This is some of the saddest news I've read in a long time.

Last weekend, The Ironclad Hotel, the only pub in Marble Bar, Western Australia, closed its doors for good. The town, with a population of just 300, is barely a dot on the map of the vast Pilbara region, and has no dedicated off-licence. Supermarkets in Australia are not allowed to sell liquor.

Temperatures in the town regularly top 113F and the average maximum temperature exceeds normal human body temperature for six months of the year.

So thirsty residents in search of a "tinnie", or cold beer, were forced to drive more than an hour by car to Nullagine. But now that pub is running low on supplies.

View Larger Map

There's more, but you'll have to read it at The Telegraph. Thanks to FARK.com for the link.