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 K├Âlsch 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.