Monday, January 31, 2011

Discovery's How beer Saved the World

The Discovery channel seems to be pretty interested in programs about beer lately. And I seem to be writing about them a lot. Last night they premiered "How Beer Saved the World" which was a one hour single program about beer. Mostly it furthered incorrect stereotypes about beer. The ubiquitous Ben Franklin misquote made an appearance, of course. It was a cliff notes version of beer history from the Egyptians to present day. The most shocking thing about it is that it was an obvious, wholesale advert for MillerCoors. That fact might go a ways to explain why they completely skipped over prohibition and the temperance movement which gave birth to both organized crime in America, as well as shitty beer like Coors. Discovery's other beer program, Brew Masters, is as shameless an advertisement, but at least they get their facts straight.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Afraid of the Dark

Thanks to all who gave advice for my upcoming trip. Everything seems to be in order (except, maybe, for the weather). I think I've become a bit more agoraphobic as I age. Generally, what I look forward to in lieu of a real vacation, is just having a night where I have no obligations the next morning, and I can have some relax-time with some good beer and something to read or watch on TV (the wonderful, 6-month Minnesota winter only enables my tendencies, which I am thankful for). Why venture out into the dark when I know I've got all the things I like at home? Well, man does not live by bread alone, he also needs beer and some r&r, as I believe the saying goes.  So I venture out into the dark. And now that I'm past the anxiety-ridden planning stage of the trip, I'm very excited and grateful to have it.

Which has had me thinking* about beer, Irish beer, and dark beer.

"I don't drink dark beer". I can't say how many times I've heard someone say this. We probably all have.  I can't help but wonder where this instinct comes from. It's usually said by someone who "doesn't like beer" or simply doesn't enjoy it all that much. People whose tastes have been corrupted by terrible beer. But it really makes me wonder, why don't these people drink dark beer? Is it just a general assumption that dark beer will be heavy, thick, and alcoholic, like people seem to assume, or is it based on a specific bad experience at the hands of [the most ubiquitous dark beer in the world] Guinness? I wonder. Especially since Guinness was one of my gateway beers in the embryonic stages of my beer snobbery. Which is to say, it was one of the first non-lager beers I ever had, and which I enjoyed, and which will probably always cause me to have some nostalgia for it, regardless of what the company has probably done to stifle beer in far-off parts of the globe.

That's a bit of a ramble. Let's bring on home with a simple question: why do you think some "don't drink dark beer"? Pride, prejudice, or preference?

*insert crappy joke about me thinking here

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Exactly one week from now, I will be on a plane to Ireland. Wow, that's a shot of anxiety as I write that. I should really make sure the non-beer related parts of my trip are arranged before I go.

The last time I was overseas was almost 10 years ago and it's not something I have a chance to do very often. When the opportunity arose, I thought I ought to go to my favorite country on the planet. Not having been there since I was barely old enough to drink, though, I'm all ears (or eyes*, as it were) on can't-miss places in Ireland. I'm sure I'll blog as much as possible upon my return. Right now we have on the list: the Porterhouse, Messrs Maguire, The Franciscan Well (Cork), The Guinness storehouse, and quite a laundry list of non-beer related places to go.

*Not a great mental image

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Worst Beer Lists of 2011

By my calander we're 3 days into 2011 and I can already do a roundup of the worst beer list put forth in 2011. If someone can find a list that bests this one, well... I will amend my post.

Some AOL-affiliated company's list of the 20 best cities in the world to drink a beer

Some highlights: Prague is not on the list. No English cities are on the list. Northampton, Massachusetts is on the list (if you're wondering where Northampton is, so is most of Massachusetts). There is also this fact filled gem about San Francisco:

For any lover of American craft beer, San Francisco could be considered the Mecca of the American beer world. It was here that Fritz Maytag purchased the floundering Anchor Steam Brewery in the mid-1960s, reviving not only the brewery but several near-extinct beer styles, and re-introduced Americans to styles like Barleywine, Winter Warmer and IPA.

Sorry Portland, San Francisco is the American beer mecca. Because of Anchor who not only brew, but re-invented IPA, (and perhaps not steam beer) apparently.