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Archive | March, 2007

Write it again, Sam: Another book

The things you learn reading the Wine Enthusiast Online: Sommelier Marnie Old and Dogfish Head Brewery founder Sam Calagione are writing a book called He Said Beer, She Said Wine. It’s due in the spring of 2008.

Vinnie Cilurzo & Sam CalagioneCalagione (pictured here in plaid; that’s Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing with him, not Old – and that’s beer in their glasses, not wine) and Old recently have been conducting a series of dinner competitions.

They each pick a beverage to go with a series of dishes from star chefs. Diners sample both a wine and a beer with each of the dishes, make a selection as to which choice was better, and turn in a ballot voting for their preference.

The Wine Enthusiast explains:

While this was the eighth time Sam and Marnie had gotten together for their “He Said Beer, She Said Wine” Event, the outcomes have always been quite similar. “It always seems to come down to the last match,” Marnie notes, “but our main goal is to get wine lovers to appreciate good beer and beer lovers to appreciate good wine.” With the vast assortment of Dogfish Head brews and fine wine selections chosen by Old, that did not seem to be too difficult of a task.

Dogfish Head sales were up 37% in 2006, but Calagione is still able to churn out books almost as quickly as beer. The first – Brewing up a Business – targeted entrepreneurs; the second – Extreme Brewing – homebrewers; and this one from the prestigious combination of Penguin and Dorling Kinderlsey may reach the widest audience yet.

Have you heard about Bud Dubbel?

The SessionHow excited must the people at Anheuser-Busch be about the advent of The Session?

Certainly they must have been disappointed that nobody blogged about Bare Knuckle Stout for the first round of The Session.

Apparently they don’t want to be left out again.

Is it coincidence that Alan McLeod has chosen dubbels as the topic for April 6 and A-B seems to be brewing a beer to that style?

They are. Really. OK, we won’t be looking for it before April 6. Instead of pretending they did it for us it’s time to remove tongue from cheek (thus making it easier to properly taste beer).

Miller’s Brew Blog reports that A-B filed a certificate of label approval application with the Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for three new beers under the Faust banner. Of course that doesn’t guarantee anything, particularly widespread distribution.

The beers are Faust Belgian Style Dubbel (7% abv), Faust Dortmunder Style Lager (5.5%), and Faust Early American Pilsner (5%). (And how about a collective hmmm for that last one?) The brands are attributed to the Beechwood Brewing Group.

The SessionA-B first created a Faust beer for the Oyster House and Restaurant, naming it for its owner, A. E. Tony Faust (best friend of brewery founder Adolphus Busch). In the 1990s the brewery experimented with a series of specialty beers called American Originals. These included American Hop Ale and a golden colored lager called Faust.

The Brew Blog has a long list of other A-B products recently killed or possibly in the works, but these Faust beers look the most interesting.

Even if the Dubbel isn’t in time for what Alan’s calling the “Son of Session.”

Tuppers’ beer comes with a guarantee

An obvious question now that the sale of Old Dominion has been completed is: What about the beers (such at Tuppers’ Hop Pocket and New River Pale Ale) that Old Dominion brewers under contract?

Bob Tupper addresses this at the Tuppers’ website (link courtesy of DC-Beer).

He’s confident about the continuing integrity of the products bearing his family name.

Ellie and I are excited about the new possibilities for distribution that this arrangement offers. And we believe that the new company will be as committed to brewing exceptionally high quality beers for us as Old Dominion has during our 11 years together. Those who are concerned about A-B’s influence should note the continuing quality and creativity of the Goose Island Brewing Company after A-B’s purchase of a minority ownership. The ultimate guarantee is that Ellie and I both have day jobs and a kid who will finish college next year. No amount of money will entice us to put our name on a product of which we are not truly proud.

Granted you wouldn’t expected him to say much different, but the image of a man standing behind the quality of his beers (and that would be the point, he considers them his beers) is reassuring.

Truth in beer advertising

WBC logoWe watched enough basketball over the weekend that once in a while we didn’t manage to hit mute when a commercial came on.

Thus I finally heard the words that accompany the footage where Miller Brewing employees hoist a banner celebrating Miller Lite’s victory in the 2006 World Beer Cup. The banner hangs beside several others.

Viewers learn that 2,221 beers from 540 breweries were judged in the World Beer Cup.

Should I think that Miller Lite was judged better than any other? If I didn’t know better I might have gone back to basketball with that impression.

In fact, Lite beat out 21 other beers to win American-Style Light Lager. This is no small accomplishment. Half the beer sold in the United States fits in this category. It’s not easy to make. As beer judges will tell you, “There’s no place to hide.” Flaws are easy to spot. For instance, winning that category was probably just as hard as capturing gold in European-Style Pilsener (61 entries).

Miller also brewed the second-place light beer, Lone Star Light, under contract.

I hope I’m not just picking on Miller. If you listen to the words that come after 2,221 beers, 540 breweries, etc. the narrator clearly says Miller won the light category. Just not, “There were 22 beers in our category.”

So give them credit for promoting the World Beer Cup. Perhaps viewers will Google the results and learn that a small brewery nearby also won a medal. Give them credit for shooting a commercial right there in the brewery, hanging those banners and being proud of their beer.

Just don’t hear those numbers – 2,221 beers, 540 breweries – and think they were all competing for the same banner.

Extreme, um, well, extreme

Extreme church

Extreme beer. Extreme cheese. What next?

In fact, I’ve been looking for extreme olive oil but that’s another story.

This picture tells its own story.

Thanks to Merchant du Vin marketing manager Craig Hartinger for sending it along. He saw the church in the smallish town of Kittitas (population 1,000) east of Ellensburg, Wash. He pulled over, backed up and dug out his camera.

Buy that man a Rochefort 10.

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