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Archive | September, 2006

Great American beer and pizzas

Headed to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival (tomorrow through Saturday)?

The Rocky Mountain News has some beer and pizza tips for you. The Rocky asked chef Jorge de la Torre, dean of culinary education at Johnson & Wales University, to recommend a beer style and brand best suited for complementing the taste of eight local pizzas.

“Beer is forgiving to any type of pizza. It’s nice and cooling, it cuts through the fat of the cheese and provides a great contrast. It can hold up to the powerful taste of tomato sauce, garlic, anchovies – things that are sometimes hard to pair with other drinks,” de la Torre said.

His picks.

Another tale of dumbed down beer

Today’s Wall Street Journal (sorry, the story is in the subscriber only part of the site) examines the ongoing cutbacks at InBev.

The “hook” is that InBev is closing its brewery in Hoegaarden, which has been widely reported. You wouldn’t run out and buy WSJ to learn that, but there’s more to the story:

- How has InBev responded to cultural shifts are leading increasing numbers of drinkers to wine? “We don’t think it is going to reverse,” said InBev regional director Stefan Descheemaeker. “We have nicknamed Western Europe as the ‘mother of all challenges.’ ”

One initiative has been to close about a dozen breweries. “How many breweries do we need? It’s an ongoing study. “Technically speaking, we don’t need many,” Descheemaeker said. So much for the days when Interbrew liked to bill itself as the “World’s Local Brewer.”

- The company has launched Hoegaarden Citrons, flavored with lemon and lime.

- In Hoegaarden, David Duerinckx, a worker at the brewery, says the traditional the white beer has lost its original flavor. “Twenty years ago it was more acidic,” he said. “You used to be able to compare different batches. Now it is sweeter and it is standardized. This is our tradition that is going away.”

But the last word goes to Iain Lowe, a spokesman for CAMRA (Britain’s Campaign for Real Ale, but a defender of other traditions as well):

“InBev is debasing beer. By all means, come out with new beers but don’t abandon existing ones, [simplifying] the taste so no one dislikes it but no one really likes it, either.”

Will blog for beer

Not everybody likes the “Will Blog for Beer” feature in the StatesmanJournal in Salem, Oregon.

The blogs author, Dan de Carbonel and Tim Akimoff, found themselves getting a little bit of heat this week. Here’s a letter their editors received:

“The promotion of the use of beer and wine, etc., by the newspaper is a disappointment. Please do discontinue the beer blog. These articles, in effect, encourage alcoholism. Note the media accounts of traffic accidents, drug abuse, etc., causing injuries, deaths and other problems to society (broken marriages, erratic driving of vehicles, thefts, robberies, etc.)”

All the responses are worth reading, but this is my favorite:

Who knows, mabye some of us might like beer.
Not too many of us like death, but they continue to run those dang obits.

Quick aside: Their blog does not have an rss feed and can be a little tricky to find. The easiest way to browse through the entries is to start with one – such at The Tao of Beer – and use the navigation on the lower right.

Beer babes

Beer Babe

Today a post at Hop Talk begins, “One of the ways American megabrewers distract you from the fact that their beers have no taste is by aggressive, expensive, often imaginative, advertising.”

And then points to Barbax Beer Babes, adding “If hot women and beer are inextricably linked in your mind, then this site is for you.”

In the interest of offering an alternative, here’s a vintage bit of beer advertising (it happened to be for Budweiser) in which an atractive woman (in this case via illustration) didn’t plaster her body with Miller Lite stickers.

Beer & food: Best of friends

Full disclosure: I came across link about how to taste beer while reading a blog about baseball (we all have secret vices).

It would seem terribly snide to pick at the various nits here, but this “tip” is just plain wrong:

Do not taste new beers with food or soon after eating. The lingering flavors from food can greatly affect your impression of the brew.

Yes, they can. And that’s a good thing. Granted, not every beer tastes better with food, and certainly not every beer goes with every dish. However, beer often makes food better and vice versa.

When evaluating beer in a contest (judging) setting, which this article also deals with, there are reasons to filter out distractions. Just don’t forget that beer is not meant to be consumed in a sterile environment. Take that into account when evaluating it for yourself.

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