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Archive | November, 2009

Thank you, Molson, for stopping by

Since most of you read this blog through a feed reader or perhaps only the most recent post I direct you to the comments that followed the one last week about Molson “microcarbonated” lager.

Most particularly because a representative of Molson M stopped by with more information (then even more).

By chance — and this is another sign I might not be normal — I was just reading notes from a presentation Tom Nielsen of Sierra Nevada made at the 2008 Craft Brewers Conference about how carbon dioxide can scrub out hop aroma. This isn’t Miller talking about “triple hopped” beer. I’m not guaranteeing you’ll love Molson M, just saying it’s a real issue.

 

Book Review: The Naked Pint

Alan McLeod totally nailed it with his review of The Naked Pint: An Unadulterated Guide to Craft Beer, answering the two biggest questions I had while reading the book.

- First, why are there homebrew recipes in this book? Can’t even a book for beginners be a bit specialized or must every introduction to craft beer tell us a little bit about everything? Look, I’m not exactly complaining because (disclaimer alert) they recommend Brew Like a Monk and it’s a good thing when a book that is going to rank ahead of yours at Amazon.com says nice things about it.

I like the analogy that Alan draws to The Yachtsman’s Week-end Book, writing that Naked Pint “harkens to a day when a book could purport to be an omnibus filled with everything you practically need to know to get from novice to pretty well capable.”

- Second, were you to give this book as a present who would you give it to? Again, quoting Alan, “This is a book for beer nerds to give their friends. It will tell the nerds a lot about good beer but it will also tell them a lot about their beer nerd pal.”

Indeed. Any copy coming from me would come complete with Post-it notes correcting a variety of niggling errors. I can’t help myself. I’ve already whined about “candi sugar,” though because almost everybody seems to get that crooked I’m giving them a pass. However you wonder who was in charge of editing when you see the phrase “bottom-fermenting ales.” Or why on page 130 they get it right in explaining misconceptions about dubbels and tripels after getting it wrong on page 23.

So you probably aren’t going to use this book to study for the Cicerone exam. But it’s easy to like. Authors Hallie Beaune and Christina Perozzi write in a breezy and sometimes brassy manner. (“A 5% ABV beer can make you friendly; an 8% ABV beer can make you French kiss a tree.”)

They consistently explain things about beer that can seem overwhelming at the outset. Consider their approach to presenting styles. They always begin with an easy-to-read blurb. Like this:

Bitter, but Not Angry: Bitters

This beer’s for you if you like: being surly but not mean, long discussions about Shakespearean themes. Notes of toffee. Staying on your stool. Evenings at the pub.

Far more interesting than any style guidelines you’ve ever read.

Alan got it perfect, but before you give it to your friends ready for a bit of beer education read it over yourself. You might find yourself better prepared to talk with them.

 

Innovation defined: Microcarbonated(TM) lager

Molson Coors has announced the launch of Molson M, the world’s only “microcarbonated” lager beer.

Microcarbonization is a revolutionary process implemened by Molson Coors at the company’s brewery on Notre-Dame Street in Montreal, a process during which the beer is injected with CO2 through smaller, finer bubbles with a high level of precision and consistency.

“The injection of smaller CO2 bubbles makes it possible to preserve not only the taste of the hops but also the delicate flavours generated by the yeast during fermentation,” explained Karine Brunelle, brewer with Molson Coors.

A patent is pending.

 

Weekend tidbits: Bass Museum saved

Roger Protz has the exclusive: “The (Bass) brewing museum and visitor centre in Burton-on-Trent has been saved and will reopen in 2010, possibly as early as Easter. This major victory is the result of a sustained campaign by beer lovers, brewery workers, the local MP and the Burton daily newspaper.”

Molson Coors had announced it would close the museum and historic brewery.

The key attraction will be a working 30-barrel brewery run by Steve Wellington, who currently runs the on-site White Shield Brewery. Visitors will see beer being made and the brews — all cask-conditioned beers — will go on sale commercially.

Yes, beer makes a beer museum a whole lot cooler.

– The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Tom Pastorius, founder and former CEO of the Pennsylvania Brewing Co., has been assured a $300,000 loan that will allow him to buy back Penn Brewing.

“I’m very optimistic” the deal to buy the business will be complete in December,” Pastorius said. “We need to brew some beer. Christmas is coming.”

Pastorius sold the business to Birchmere Capital in 2003. Birchmere since closed the brewery — although the equipment is said to be intact inside — and has the brands brewed under contract at the Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre.

– This factoid from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Budweiser sells for about eight times more than that of local Chinese beers, according to Anheuser-Busch InBev global advertising director Andrew Sneyd. He said one reason may be that the American brand seems to represent the American dream, which resonates with many hard-working and ambitious Chinese consumers.

Provide your own punch line.

 

The business of beer (redux)

This time from the Business of Big Beer.

Jeremiah McWilliams of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes about the possibility AB InBev could damage the Budweiser and Bud Light brands with line extensions, in the latter case Bud Light Lime and now Bud Light Wheat.

. . . critics argue that Anheuser-Busch’s line extensions may encourage once-loyal drinkers to wander away from the company. Line extensions, they say, remind drinkers of the endless variety on the beer menu, and may lead them to try offerings from other brewers.

Consultant David “Bump” Williams, who called the strategy of adding line extensions “a big mistake.”

“You’re now encouraging a loyal Bud Light shopper to try something new,” said Williams. If that drinker likes Bud Light Lime, Anheuser-Busch runs the risk of losing that once-loyal Bud Light shopper to other lime beers from other brewers.

And the next thing you know they are drinking IPAs?

(A bit of disclosure: Brewing with Wheat is due to reach bookshelves at the end of February, so perhaps I would benefit from the millions AB InBev is spending on advertising Bud Light Wheat. So I promise not to start drinking or endorsing it. I do, however, like the 2009 vintage of Michelob Bavarian Style Wheat.)

 

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