COMMERCIAL BEER REVIEWS
by Kendall Staggs
Here are some brief reviews of beers which I recently tasted.
For a few weeks Young's Double Chocolate Stout was available at Shop 'n' Go in Corvallis. My only regret is that I did not buy more bottles, because it is out of stock and may not be back for awhile. This beer, from the famous Young's Ram Brewery in London (makers of Ram Rod and Old Nick Barley Wine), was first released as an Easter specialty in the spring of 1997. It is brewed with Mars Otter and Chocolate malt, Fuggles, East Kent Goldings, and Styrian Goldings hops, and extract of cacao. At five percent alcohol by volume, it is very drinkable. The aroma is chocolate and licorice, the palate is sweet chocolate malt, with very little roasted or bitter flavor. The finish is slightly woody and dry, like Young's other beers, but the dominant flavor is chocolate fudge. This beer is extremely delicious and worth seeking.
New Belgium Frambozen is still available at Shop 'n' Go. This beer is based roughly on Liefman's Frambozenbier, a tart, Flemish Brown Ale flavored with raspberries. This version is not as sour as the one from Belgium, nor does it have authentic lactobacillus character of the original. But it is a very well made beer, and the raspberries are subtly sweet, not cloying like many American fruit beers. This is a good winter specialty brew.
Among our traditional winter beer favorites, I recommend, in this order, Jubelale (Deschutes), Snowcap (Pyramid), Wassail (Full Sail), Samuel Adams Winter Lager, Jack Frost Doppelbock (Saxer), Ebenezer (Bridgeport), and Bobby Dazzler (Portland). I'm still waiting to try North Coast Wintertime, Winternacht (Widmer) Powder Hound (Big Sky), Winter Solstice (Anderson Valley), Winterfish (Fish Tale), Deep Powder (Grant's), Winterhook (Redhook), and Alaskan Winter Ale. Then there are my favorite domestic winter seasonals, Alaskan Smoked Porter and Anchor's Our Own Special Ale, which have not yet been released.
ARTICLES FROM THE REAL BEER PAGE
LUG WORMS FED WITH BEER MAY
REVOLUTIONIZE FISH FARMING
Scientists at Newcastle University in the U.K. have found that beer really is good for you, as long as you're a lug worm. Lug worms fed on brewery waste can grow three or four times faster than they do in the wild. Researchers believe that the worms, fed on waste produce from Gateshead's Federation Breweries, may revolutionize the world of fish farming. The beer-fed worms produce omega oils that make them a perfect food source for fish. At present fish farms feed their stocks with omega oils from wild fish. This means that they kill nearly as many fish as they breed. The worms are grown by Seabait, an offshoot company from Newcastle University, based in Lynemouth, Northumberland. The company is now ready to start supplying ale-guzzling lug worms to fish farms in Ecuador and Mexico.
THE ROCKIES RIVAL TO RODENBACH
Michael Jackson visits a thoroughly modern Colorado microbrewery that also features magnificent, ceiling-high, oak tuns maturing a range of unusual beers.
NAUGHTY OR NICE?
Holiday beers have begun to hit the shelves of retail stores, so it must be time to start making your holiday wish list. At Real Beer, we've started adding suggestions in our Gift Guide and we welcome your ideas.
FLYING WITH BEER
Speaking of the holidays, this is one of our favorite times to haul home beer we collect on trips, or to take special beers to special friends. How have changes in airline regulations since September 11 affected flying with beer? Real Beer readers tell us about their experiences.
THE TRUTH ABOUT DUTCH BEER
When most people think of Amsterdam, beer is not the first thing that comes to mind. Amsterdam is usually thought to be synonymous with Heineken, but beer writer Stephen Beaumont discovers there is a hidden layer of Dutch beer culture that begs investigation.
ALASKAN BREWING COMPANY
Celebrating 15 years of brewing world class beer, the Juneau-based brewery produces Alaskan Amber, Pale, ESB, and Stout year round. Alaskan Winter Ale and Smoked Porter make limited edition seasonal appearances. Distribution extends throughout the Pacific Northwest, encompassing Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, northern California, and northern Nevada.
MAGIC HAT BREWING COMPANY
"Where Ancient Alchemy meets Modern Day Science to Create the Best Tasting Beer on the Planet." Our mysterious mix of time-honored ingredients, chaotic chemistry, humble patience and blind faith age into the secret brew we share in the rousing company of good spirits.
Tyne has more than 300 licensees in one square mile, which is a big part of the reason it was voted one of the top 10 cities in the world for partying. That gives Newcastle Brown's website something to live up to, and the Ultimate Party does. http://www.newcastlebrown.com
CHEMISTS SAY THEY'VE FOUND
SOURCE OF SKUNKY BEER
Chemists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill say they have figured out precisely what goes wrong with beer to give it that offensive "light-struck" flavor that is often referred to as "skunky." Much of what they learned is not new. "This light problem is a phenomenon that was reported in the literature as early as 1875, but until now the detailed mechanism has not been unraveled," said Dr. Malcolm D. Forbes, professor of chemistry. "The final product of the reaction turns out to be what we call "skunky thiol," an analog of a compound found in skunk glands that produces a very bad taste and smell. This molecule has an extremely low taste and smell threshold in humans, just a few parts per trillion." He added that Understanding mechanisms behind changes in beer tastes is important "because the world beer industry is hoping to save money by storing, shipping and selling beer in less expensive clear glass."
UTAH BEER CONTROVERSY
from Dianna Fisher
Polygyny used to be legal in Utah, and civic leaders apparently don't want to be reminded of it. Wasatch Beer is facing a boycott over their ad campaign that makes comical reference to the state's former marriage sanction. Slogans for beer include "Why have just one?" and "Take some home for your wives." The beer company insists the ad campaign is all in good fun, but civic leaders disagree. In fact, two local billboard companies believe the slogans are offensive and refuse to display the ads. Also, the Utah Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission tried to hinder the campaign by banning ads with religious themes or symbols. The owner of Wasatch Beer, Greg Schirf, thinks they are all taking the ads too seriously: "They're being thick-headed. With everyone watching because of the Winter Olympics, they don't seem to realize they are drawing more attention to themselves. I couldn't pay for this kind of publicity."
ANOTHER CRIMINAL MASTERMIND
from Dianna Fisher
A cold beer didn't taste so hot for a bank robber in Longview, Washington. Edmond D. Alexander, 54, believed that the best place to hide was in plain view. After pulling his caper he purchased a beer at a convenience store and sat down on a park bench about 100 yards from the bank, hoping his casual attitude would throw off suspicion. It didn't work. Sergeant Ed Jones saw that Alexander fit the description of the bank robber and walked across the street to arrest him. According to Jones, the robber was "pretty blase about the whole thing." Jones went on to explain that Alexander held up a teller at the U.S. Bank by putting his hand in his sweater pocket and pointing his finger at her. The money was found on Alexander's person when they arrested him.