Sep 22, 2011

Beer Quotes, the Third Installment...

Bill Shakespeare
I would give all my fame for a pot of ale and safety.

Shakespeare, Henry V

Make sure that the beer - four pints a week - goes to the troops under fire before any of the parties in the rear get a drop.

Winston Churchill to his Secretary of War, 1944

We old folks have to find our cushions and pillows in our tankards. Strong beer is the milk of the old.

Martin Luther

Beer will always have a definite role in the diet of an individual and can be considered a cog in the wheel of nutritional foods.

Bruce Carlton

[I recommend]...bread, meat, vegetables and beer.

Sophocles' philosophy of a moderate diet

24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence?

Stephen Wright

He was a wise man who invented beer.


Beer: So much more than just a breakfast drink.

Whitstran Brewery sign

"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day. "

Frank Sinatra

"Wine is but single broth, ale is meat, drink and cloth."

-- 16th Century English Proverb

Colonel Adolphus Busch

"You can only drink 30 or 40 glasses of beer a day, no matter how rich you are."

-- Colonel Adolphus Busch

"God bless the Woman who gives birth to a brewer."

-- Anonymous

"I'll be willing to take a lesser salary. How much do beer, cigars and peanuts cost anyway? I don't need much to have fun."

-- Brian Kilrea (winningest coach in Ottawa 67's history on his retirement)

"Payday came and with it beer."

-- Kipling

"Oh good, a coffee beer! Now you can stay up all night going to the bathroom."

-- Jay Leno, talking about Hart Brewing’s Espresso Stout

"What the sober man has in his heart, the drunken man has on his lips."

-- Danish Proverb

Sep 15, 2011

Beer Tattoo's

I've been thinking of getting a tattoo for years now, but can never think of what I want. I am thinking I do want it to be beer related however, so I was looking for ideas this morning, and I came across this article, and thought it was pretty wild! Check out (and vote) on these beer tattoos! Bigfoot is one of my favorite beers, but man, I am pretty sure I am not that big a fan of it! Just click the link below to check them out.

This is a great beer website too, check it out!

Craft Beer - Beer Tattoos


Sep 12, 2011

Oktoberfest, a brief look…

Well, August is over, and September is now in full swing, many around the country are starting to experience fall, and all the beauty that comes with it. Those of us here in Arizona, are finally just happy to see a forecast without triple digits in it! (After almost 35 days of temps over 110 this summer, today’s 98 feels almost cool by comparison!). One of the traditions of this time of year, is Oktoberfest. Many here in America and throughout the world look forward to this, and celebrate this event, without any real knowledge as to why. Much like St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco De Meyo, this “day” has become little more than an excuse to drink more beer then we normally would find prudent, or healthy. So, I thought I would take a little time and fill you in on why it is your drinking (not that we really need a reason, but its always good to know).

The first thing we must settle is, Oktoberfest, takes place, mostly in September. It is actually a festival that runs from between 2, to upwards of 3 weeks long, ending after the first Sunday in Oct. The first festival took place in 1810. In the 200+ plus years of the event, it has been cancelled a total of 24 times, for reasons ranging from war, disease, or other national emergencies.


The very first event took place in Munich, on Oct 12, 1810 to celebrate the marriage of the son of King Maxamillian, Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, to Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. They decided to make the wedding a sort of open invitation to all the people of Bavaria. An estimated 40,000 people showed up. An estimated 40,000 chickens, and 80,000 pork sausages were consumed, and some 1 million gallons of beer washed it all down. The main focus of the event (aside from the marriage) was a horse race. The race was still run until that aspect of the event was phased sometime in the 1960’s (I couldn’t find a reliable exact date). Later in the 1800’s, the festival was expanded to include a sort of agricultural fair to showcase all that Bavaria has to offer the world.

Can never have too many beer girls!

Got to love "beer girls"

Today, an estimated 6 million people attend the event, still held at the original location at Theresienwiese ("Theresa's fields"), by the entrance of of city of Munich's front gates. Only beer which is brewed within the city limits of Munich is allowed to be served in this festival. Once this criteria is proven to be the case, the beer can then be designated Oktoberfest Beer. Oktoberfest Beer is a registered Trademark by the Club of Munich Brewers. Those Breweries are members of this exclusive Club and include, Augustinerbräu, Hacker, Pschorr Bräu, Hofbräu , Löwenbräu, Paulanerbräu, Spatenbräu. The festival is almost as famous for its food as well as its beer. Lots of pork sausage, pretzels, potato pancakes and more are very popular.

Oktoberfest "tents" can hold over 2000 people!

This year’s festival will be held from September 17th, through October 3rd (17 days). So, when the time comes, grab your favorite Okoberfest beer, hoist your mug, and give a hearty “Prost!”, and take a little time to experience a little German culture!

Sep 9, 2011

120 Minutes and a Hungry Monk.....

The Hungry Monk, Beer Czar Approved!
So, a few days ago, a coworker of mine informed me that a local bar, called “The Hungry Monk” was having a special on Dogfish Head beers the following evening. They were tapping 60, 90, and most importantly, their 120 Minute IPA’s. 120 Minute being one of my wife’s favorite beers, I quickly informed her, and we made plans to go to the “Monk”.

Now, 120 Minute IPA is a pretty special, very unique beer. This is unlike any IPA I have ever had. To produce this beer, it is boiled for a full 2 hours (hence the 120 minute designation) while being continuously hopped throughout the entire boil. It is then dry hopped in the fermentor for a month, and if that wasn’t enough, it is then aged for an additional month with whole leaf hops.

The spec’s on this beer are equally as impressive. Depending on the year, the AVB will weigh in anywhere between 15 to 21%, with a lip curling 120 (coincidence) IBU’s (International Bittering Unit, a unit of measure to gauge the amount of hoppy bitterness in a beer). To compare, a light lager such as Bud Light clocks in at a wimpy (by comparison) 5 IBU’s.

The beer drinks more like a liquor, or cordial, than it does a beer. This is most certainly a “sipping” beer. It has a beautiful pale orange color, with a thin rim of porous head. A nose has a very citrusy, pine note, with a distinct alcohol presence as you would expect. The taste is like a sort of strong hybrid Barelywine rather than an Imperial IPA. Its malty sweetness is very pleasant, and surprisingly drinkable for a beer that is almost 40 proof.
A year or so ago, they had a major issue with the production of this beer (something went wrong with the yeast) and the batch had to be dumped. Demand for this beer was already high, due to its popularity and limited production. Since then, this beer has been almost impossible to find. When is shows up somewhere, it’s gone in minutes, literally, and last night at the Hungry Monk was no exception. We got there 45 minutes after they had tapped the keg, yet, we missed the final glass by almost a half hour. Needless to say, my wife and I were very disappointed. I’m not sure if the fact that we have had this beer before was a blessing or not. Since, we both knew what we were missing. Yet, we got chatting with gentlemen that showed up, to try this beer, having only heard of it, and I must say, he was equally as disappointed as we were.

We managed however, to make the most of our brief childless night out, and ordered a couple of rounds of Lost Abby’s Judgment Day, and some dinner, and still had a very enjoyable time. If you get a chance, you should check out "The Hungry Monk" in Chandler, on the NE Corner of Dobson and Chandler Blvd. Very good beer selection, great wings, and all very affordable. Two thumbs of from both my wife and I.

So keep your eyes out for Dogfish Heads 120 Minute IPA. It’s not cheap (around $10 for a single 12 oz bottle) but I feel, well worth the occasional threat. Even if you don’t want it, if you see it, buy it, and I will gladly buy it off you!

Sep 8, 2011

Guinness Black Lager

Guinness is setting its sights on the American Craft Beer market by introducing its new “Black Lager”, set to be released in the states this month. Has anyone seen this in stores yet? I’ve taken a look, and can’t find it. When I heard Guinness was coming out with another beer, I had mix feelings. When people hear I am a "beer person", then assume I drink almost nothing but Guinness, and normally say something like "o, you must love Guinness" or something to that effect. I am not a huge fan of Guinness, but I do like it, and will drink it from time to time, and I enjoy it. I am not, however a fan of other brews they produce. Most are less exciting than the original Guinness, which is not a very exciting beer to start with. Their 250th anniversary brew was like a summer version of Guinness, sort of light, with less body (and taste) than the original.

From what I have been reading, this new beer isn’t much more exciting, if not less so. I saw it has “Cold-Brewed” on the label? Did Coor’s buy out Guinness and no one notice? It’s not as strong as original Guinness, in both ABV and flavor (4.5%, as opposed to the originals already light weight 4.9%) with less flavor, and body. Unlike original Guinness, that is suppose to served slightly chilled, in a glass, this is designed to be enjoyed very cold, right out of the bottle, which if you are trying to capture craft beer fans, this is the exact opposite direction you should be heading, but that is just my opinion.
I'm not sure how making a less exciting beer then they already have on the market is going to lure anyone from the craft beer world to them, but I appreciate their effort. .
So, nothing to get too excited about, but I still would love to try it none the less. So, if anyone has seen it, or even tried it, please, let me know where you got it (or at least saw it), and what you thought of it, I would love to hear first hand.

Sep 7, 2011

One more Non Beer Related Post.....

If you follow this blog at all, you will know one of my favorite past times (besides beer) is “ghost town hunting”. My friend Brad and I, from time to time will head off into the Arizona desert in search of abandon towns, buildings, and other historic sites. This past winter, we planned another trip, and I wanted to take a moment to share it with you here. I hope you find this as interesting as we do.

Picacho Peak at 5:30am

It started around 5am, when Brad picked me up, and we started to head south (not before stopping at Dunkin Donuts). We made our way south, past Picacho Peak, through the city of Tucson, where the highway takes a turn to the east, towards New Mexico. We exited the I-10 between the towns of Benson and Wilcox, in a little town of Cochise. Cochise is actually listed on some lists of ghost towns, however, there is still an “active” post office, and most buildings appear lived in, and “sort of” cared for, so we continued down Rt 80, towards our first stop about 25 miles to our south. We rolled into the ghost town of Pearce about a half hour later.

Pearce Jailhouse
Pearce was founded in 1894, and as so many towns did at the time, seemed to spring up almost overnight. Cornish man James Pearce first settled and started mining here in 1894, and the first General Store opened in 1896, and the Post Office opened later that same year. It even got a railroad stop later in 1903. However, 1896 proved to be the peak production year for the mine, and in 1900, the stamp mill burned to the ground, but was rebuild that same year. A cave in halted production in 1904, and it never resumed. The town struggled mainly as a hangout for Cowboys that were being driven out by the law from nearby Tombstone. By 1919, the population was just 1900 residents. The great depression caused the rail road to pull up tracks, and the town died soon after. Today, only the store remains, and a home that now holds a pottery shop. The two jailhouses still stand, side by side, as they have for the last 100 years. The cemetery is also a great example of an old pioneer, old west cemetery where the remains of past residences have been laid to rest. The oldest we found was 1896, while the newest was just 4 years ago.

Jailhouse from the hill, looking down at the road

We left Pearce, to head a little further south to the northern most section of the old town of Courtland. We managed to find, completely by accident, the southern remains of this town almost a year prior, and I have since learned that there is another section, that includes a very well preserved jail house, and remains of a boarding house, and another residence. Courtland was really only a “town” for a dozen years or so, but in those dozen years, it was a very popular, well populated town, until, as is the case with so many towns in this area, the mines stopped producing, and people soon left.

Courtland Jailhouse from the road

So, 10 miles down the dust filled, stomach churning dirt road, we came across the Courtland jail house. Standing as it has for the last 100 years. All four walls, and ceiling still standing solid, a testament to how strong they built these structures! The bars still on most of the windows as well. Across the street from jail, was what we figured was the old boarding house I was told was there. Not much more than a cellar hole, cement porch, and noticeable fireplace still remains.

Ringo's Grave site

The Beer Czar at Ringo's Grave
From Courtland, we made our way 25 miles due east to the one site I was most excited about on this trip. Driving through a piece of Arizona, I had never even seen in pictures, and had no idea existed. With golden meadows, framed by creeks and rivers in the foreground, and rocky, snow capped mountains behind it all. We made our way to the site of the death and burial of Johnny Ringo. Made famous in the movie Tombstone, the show down between Ringo and Doc Holiday, in all likelihood, never happened. It was believed that Holiday and Earp were in Colorado at the time of Ringo's death. Ringo was found leaning up against a tree on the banks of Turkey Creek, with a single bullet hole in his head in 1882. Officially ruled a suicide, it is unclear how Ringo met his end, or who was responsible for it. Although the movie is mostly Hollywood, it is a great scene, and I must admit, wherever the filmed the scene for the movie, looks very much like the site we found. A pile of stones tells you wear Johnny Ringo was laid to rest, only a few feet from the tree he was found against. A nice stone monument that tells the quick story of Ringo is just a step away from Ringo’s head stone. Brad and I spent a few minutes in this very quiet; relaxing piece of Arizona that Ringo now calls home, before making our way due north another 30 miles to the remains of Fort Bowie.

Bowie Cemetery

Fort Bowie was an outpost built in 1862 to protect the old Butterfield Overland Mail Coach route that runs about a half mile north of the fort, as well as Apache Springs, just a few hundred yards from the fort. The fort was the first stop for Geronimo after his surrender and move up to the San Carlos Reservation, before going to Winslow, and onto Florida (in fact, Geronimo has a young son buried in the post cemetery). The Battle of Apache Pass took place just a mile or so from the fort, one of the western most battles of the Civil War. The site is now a National Historic Site, and one the best I have been to. You cannot drive to the site of the old fort (unless you have handicapped plates, or have other mobility limitations). You park in a small parking area, where you find a trail head, and a trail that is about a mile and half to the old fort site, that takes you past an old miners cabin, ruins of the old stage stop house, across the Butterfield Overland Mail route, the post cemetery, remains of the old Indian Affairs building, the site of the Battle of Apache Pass, the Apache Springs, and then finally to the site of the fort, where there are interpretive signs to explain what the ruins are you are looking at, as well as a visitors center that houses a small museum of artifacts found at the site of the fort, and surrounding areas. The museum, although small was very informative, and well done.

Old Cavalry Barracks, Fort Bowie

Keeping with tradition
Brad and I spent some time looking at the displays, visiting with the Park Ranger, and purchasing a few nick knacks for his kids, and made out way back the mile and a half to the truck for a celebratory cigar and beer (a little tradition we always do on these trips) and then the long ride home.

We stopped in Wilcox for a quite bite to eat at a great BBQ joint that was in an old railroad dining car. Food was great, beer selection, not so much, which was fine, since I was enjoying the ice tea far too much to mind at that point.

South Eastern Arizona
If you are ever looking for a fun, interesting and educational day trip from the Phoenix area, I would recommend heading to Cochise County, tucked quietly into the southeastern tip of this beautiful state. The history in this area at times appears ancient, and at others, seems to still be alive. The beauty combined with the rich history of this area make this one of my favorite parts of this great state I now call home. The people we met seemed to be proud, and embrace and respect the recent history of this area, and are almost always willing to offer a tip, a bit of info, or even directions to a site that may not be on the map. It’s about two and a half hours drive from the Phoenix area, but well worth the time it takes. If you would like more info on how to get to any of these areas, by all means, drop me a line and I would be happy to talk with you about any of them.

Fall Beers

It’s that time of year again! One of the greatest seasons for beer lovers if you ask me. Autumn beers are fast becoming some of the most popular seasonal beer offerings in America. I think part of this has to do with the wide range of styles that seem to work themselves into the fall seasonal beer line ups. Personally, these seasonal brews are among some of my favorite styles, they tend to be fuller bodied, dark, rich beers that are perfect while sipping in the cool outdoors of autumn. Some of the beers below are meant as a sort of tribute to the season, and brewed and marketed as such. Some are year round brews that just happen to fit the sort of feel and taste of fall, and have also been included. So light a fire, warm your hands and enjoy.

The Bruery "Autumn Maple"

This is “The Bruery’s” take on the popular fall pumpkin ale. This is Belgian style brown ale, brewed with a cornucopia of fall flavors! Yams, maple syrup, allspice, vanilla, molasses, cinnamon and nutmeg are all included in this beer, making this beer a very complex, flavorful take on a fall beer. At 10% ABV, it will also keep you warm on those chilly October evenings! A very good, albeit a little more expensive fall option.

Buffalo Bill's Brewery "Original Pumpkin Ale"

I really only included this one for one reason. It claims to be “the original” pumpkin ale. I have no idea if it is or not, but if it is, it is a perfect example of someone coming up with a great idea, but failing to follow through to its full potential. I love pumpkin ales, and this is not a bad one, it is not however, the best one, far from it. It is pretty light on the pumpkin flavor, which isn’t always a bad thing; it is however, because there isn’t much else to back up the flavor. No real spice notes or anything, it does smell great however. A decent option if it’s all there is, but there are far better pumpkin ales on the market.

Dogfish Heads Punkin Ale.

I think this is the best pumpkin ale on the market. There is a subtle pumpkin note, but there is so much else in this beer, the slight pumpkin taste works well. There is brown sugar, and other fall spices that make this a well rounded, very drinkable fall offering.

Aecht Schlenkerla "Rauchbier-Märzen"

I wrote recently of my first experience with Rauchbiers not long ago. I’ve since found this one. Probably the most well known, easy to find Rauchbier here in the states. A very traditional Rauchbier with tons of smoke and a rich malty body that grows stronger as you get closer and closer to the bottom of your glass, and the beer as a chance to warm. This beer made me want light a fire and enjoy some cooler temperatures.

Chimay Grand Reserve

One of the best!
One of the greatest beers in the world, if you ask me. It also works well in the fall. This beer is a Trappist Ale that offers up rich, caramel malts, with a hint of sort of a raisin, fig tastes. This bottle conditioned ale is a very strong (9%, but drinks a little stronger) but at the same time, drinkable. It does tend to be a little more expensive but it is also fairly easy to find, and well worth a few extra bucks.

Sep 3, 2011

Even More Beer Myths and Truths..

I had a lot of interest in the last “Beer Myths” that I did, so I figured I would do another one. Since there are dozens of “myths” revolving around beer, I could (and just may) do many more of them. Again, if you know of one you would like to see on here, or would like looked into, by all means, drop me a comment, or an email, and I would love to take a look for you.


The people at Guinness estimate that in Great Britain alone, 92,749 liters of beer each year are lost in beer drinker’s moustaches and beards. They estimate that each pint (approx. ½ l) is raised 10 times, and each time, 0.56 ml is absorbed into the facial hair.

Draft Beer is always better then bottled beer- Again, this is one of those “myths” that is mostly just preference. When someone asks me, or more often “tells” me this, I simply say “I would rather have a great beer out of a bottle, then a bad one on tap”. There are, however, a few aspects of this myth that we can look at. The original statement holds true for a majority of the beers sold in the states, that being ones from “the big 3”, Anheuser Busch, Coors, and Miller (actually, it’s really only 2, because Coors and Miller are now the same company). From the tap, these are often unpasteurized and “fresher” making them taste better. However, a lot of craft and Belgian beers are bottle conditioned. These beers are given an extra chance to “condition” in their own yeast longer, sometimes improving over several years.

One method of checking a beer's quality is the way in which the foam adheres to the side of the glass after each sip. Beer connoisseurs call this "Brussels lace."

The famous "Sam Adams" glass

A glass's shape can affect the flavor of beer. I’ve had a lot of discussions with people about marketing gimmicks in beer advertising, (i.e. Vortex Bottles, frost brewed, cold filters, triple hops brewed etc that in reality, are either complete BS, or are not really unique, different or ever really understandable (does anyone know what they mean by “triple hops brewed” anyway? More on these gimmick to come later) however, the one that a lot people laugh at, is one that actually holds some truth, and is backed up my hundreds of years of tradition, and even modern day science. The glass DOES affect the taste. Most people wouldn’t dare drink wine from a Dixie up, or, god forbid, right out of the bottle right? Why is that? The wine glass is designed to promote various aspects of that particular varietal. The shape of the beer glass can promote head (foam) formation and retention, trap aromatics in the bulb of the glass, among many other things. I plan on writing more about glassware later.

Chimay Monk
Historians report that during the middle Ages, when monks were brewing their beer in their monasteries, each monk was allowed to drink 5 quarts of beer a day.

“Bud, Miller and Coors are great American Beers”. Sadly, if you want to drink American beers, now Sam Adams is the largest American owned breweries. Bud, Miller and Coors (Miller Coors) are now as much American beers are Toyota is an American car. They are brewed here this is true, (they were founded here as well, Toyota was not, I know that) but have since been sold to large conglomerates that are not based here in America. One more reason to “buy American” and support your local breweries right!

Not a myth, just some interesting facts none the less. In 1900, there were 1,800 breweries in America. In 1980, there were 44. In 2007, there were 1,449 breweries. As of 2010 (the latest number available) there were 1,759 breweries.

AS of 2010 there were
1,033 brewpubs
603 microbrewers
80 Regional Craft Brewers

1716 total Craft Brewers
20 large, none craft breweries
23 listed as “other”

1,759 total breweries in America.

By far, this is the smartest thing you will ever see on this blog!
The best beers have green bottles I’ve actually had people tell me “I’ll drink any beer that comes in a green bottle” Really? Why? Another myth that was started and circulated from and for imported beers. Brown glass is the best color to protect beer from light, which is why most beers are bottled with it. A shortage of brown glass in Europe during the last century led to many breweries using green glass to bottle their beer – therefore, green bottles represented imported beer for many years and people incorrectly assumed the color indicated a better beer. In fact, green glass is actually bad for beer. sunlight affects beer a lot, and as those of us in Arizona are well aware, it affects everything else on this planet except for pure evil. Left too long in light, beer can become "skunked," (Heineken anyone?). Skunked beer is the result of a molecule in hops — isohumulones — that breaks down in light, and the broken-down version of isohumulones resembles the stink molecule release by skunks. Glass bottles let in light; brown glass let in very little, cans let in none.

You can’t get a hangover from drinking organic beer If only being eco-friendly was this rewarding, Al Gore would be an alcoholic, and I would be driving a Prius!! This myth is based on the idea that organic beer is cleaner or purer than other beer, but there’s no existing proof that it manages to avoid giving hangovers when consumed in sufficient quantities. It’s not the impurities in the beer that cause the hang over anyway.