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Archive for August, 2008

Tonight we are going old school. To this day, one of my all time favorite ska/punk bands is REEL BIG FISH. In fact, I think that I have seen Reel Big Fish in concert more times that any other band or artist that I have seen thus far. Not to mention, they have put on some of the all time best performances that I have ever seen!!!

One of my favorite Reel Big Fish songs is absolutely perfect for this beer blog. And so I will subject you all to its music video. The song is Beer. And it is awesome.

Hopefully, many of you will recognize the song and reminisce with me. If not, I hope you at least find it humorous.

And now I think I’ll have myself a beer …

Want to sing along? Lyrics are posted underneath the video!

Cheers!

“BEER” by REEL BIG FISH

[verse]
She called me late last night, to say she loved me so
It didn’t matter anymore,
I say she never cared
And that she never will,
I’d do it all again
I guess I’ll have to wait until then

[chorus]
And if i get drunk well, I’ll pass out
On the floor now baby
You won’t bother me no more
And if you’re drinkin’ well, you know
That you’re my friend and I say
I think I’ll have myself a beer

[verse]
She called me late last night, to say she loved me so
but I guess you changed her mind.
Well I should have known, it wouldn’t be all right,
but I can’t live without her
So I won’t even try…

[chorus]
And if I get drunk well, I’ll pass out
On the floor now baby
You won’t bother me no more
And if you’re drinkin’ well, you know
That you’re my friend and I say
I think I’ll have myself a beer

[interlude]

Maybe some day, I’ll think of what to say
Maybe next time I’ll remember what to do
She looks like heaven, maybe this is hell
Said she’d do it all again, she’d promise not to tell!

[chorus]
And if I get drunk well, I’ll pass out
On the floor now baby
You won’t bother me no more
she said,
it’s okay boy cause you know
we’ll be go friends and I say
I think I’ll have myself a beer
I think I’ll have myself a beer

Woohoo etc
yeah yeah yeah
woo hoo hoo

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As with most humans, contraversial news always attracts my attention. Especially, when said controversy is in the beer community.

Mexican beer company, Cervececia Minerva, has recently been criticized for its new beer named Malverde – after Jesús Malverde, the “Narco Saint.”

Jesús Malverde is a folklore hero and celebrated folk saint in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. He is particularly celebrated among those involved in drug trafficking. BUT, Malverde is not officially recognized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.

For many people, Malverde is more than just a “Narco Saint.” He is revered by many across Mexico and the United States as a protector and defender of the poor. To them Jesús Malverde is the “Generous One,” or “The Angel of the Poor.” Many equate Malverde to Robin Hood.

The existence of Malverde is not historically verified. Biographical details of Jesús Malverde are sketchy at best. However, his story has gone to inspire thousands upon thousands of Mexicans.

Today, Jesus Malverde is most commonly known as the patron saints of drug dealers. Many drug traffickers carry symbols of him and Mexican prison cells are often decorated with his image. There is even a shrine dedicated to Malverde in Culiacán, Mexico – which attracts thousands of devotees each year.

Minerva Brewery is donating 1 percent of its profits to a chapel dedicated to Malverde in the city of Culiacán. The company says the beer is not meant to glamorize the drug trade.

“We’re just trying to honor a Mexican legend, that’s all,” said Jesús Briseño – the Minerva Brewery’s general manager.

Briseño said he got the idea for the beer after visiting Malverde’s chapel.

The name Malverde literally translates to “green evil”  – also considered a youthanism for marijuana.

Malverde’s green label features a hops plant, the mustache-wearing Malverde and the slogan “A hero, a legend, a beer.”

The beer itself is described as being a malty, European-style pilsner – with some of the barley being imported from Wisconsin. It is about twice as expensive as other Mexican beers.

The release of Malverde beer comes at a peek time of drug related crimes and turmoil in Mexico. There have been 2,000 drug-related murders in Mexico this year, including scores of ghastly beheadings. Hundreds of victims have been police officers.

Many civic groups in Sinaloa, including Los Mochis Area Business Owners’ Association, are outraged by the Malverde beer and have expressed sincere criticism and disdain towards it and the Minerva Brewery. Wal-Mart of Mexico has refused to carry the beer due to the connection between its name and the drug trade.

Some of you may be aware of my [ultra negative] sentiments towards Wal-Mart. Needless to say, if Wal-Mart [the KING of globalization and international controversy] is refusing to carry a product … it MUST be RIDICULOUSLY controversial.

From a marketing perspective, the name of the beer and the label design are quite clever. While the story of Malverde is interesting,  this is probably not the appropriate time for such a marketing stint – considering the huge turmoil and devastation that Mexico is currently experiencing.

News Source: The Arizona Republic

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The other night I ventured out to Bodega – which in my [humble] opinion has the best beer list in all of Columbus, Ohio. One of my friends and fellow beer geeks showed up with a rather delightful surprise for me: a bottle of Founders Breakfast Stout – the latest release. Technically, its official release is in September. Lucky for me, I know people. [And yes, I feel special.]

I do not necessarily advocate smuggling beer into bars. BUT, when The Wench has no impulse control when it comes to beer. It was impossible to resist tasting it. And so taste it we did. [Secretly on the patio of course].

There is something quite creepy about drinking a beer with an image of a cartoon baby on it.

Once you get beyond the creepy baby – everything is golden.

We let the beer warm up almost to room temperature before tasting it. The beer poured super thick and oily – just like molasses. The color was so dark it was virtually black. The carbonation level was fairly low. Since I poured it into a small glass from a bottle, there was very little head. [Head color was light caramel.]

The beer had a ridiculously intense aroma of bitter coffee and dark chocolate with hints of oatmeal and roasted malt. If there was any hops in the aroma, I was none the wiser and did not detect them. The beer’s high level of alcohol subtly made its presence known in the aroma.

The taste most definitely delivered. Rich notes of coffee dominated the flavor. The beer was both very bitter and very sweet. Excellent balance of the two tastes. Alcohol also made its presence known in the taste – without being too overbearing. The beer had a very thick and oily mouth-feel and drank like a watered down glass of molasses – very similar to a good espresso. Thick body with minimal carbonation.

For me, this is a half a glass beer – meaning I can only drink it in small doses. Probably would never actually drink it for breakfast, though. However, it would make an excellent dessert beer. I would love to pour it over a few scoops of all-natural vanilla bean or coffee flavored ice cream. Put it in a glass and turn it into an ice cream float!! Mmmm!

I would also consider substituting the beer for water in baking recipes. Picture Breakfast Stout brownies and cupcakes (with a mocha frosting?). Oh my.

Here is Founder’s “official” description of its Breakfast Stout:

You’ve got to love coffee to truly appreciate this phenomenal brew. Brewed with an abundance of flaked oats, bitter and sweetened imported chocolates, Sumatra and Kona coffee. Breakfast Stout has an intense fresh roasted coffee nose topped with a cinnamon colored frothy head that seems to never fade and makes you wish breakfast could last forever. Specs:  8.3% ABV, 25 IBUs

A few months ago I had the opportunity to taste Founders Kentucky Breakfast, the sister beer to the Breakfast Stout. Kentucky Breakfast is brewed with a hint of coffee and vanilla then aged in oak bourbon barrels. Its brewing process ensures that strong bourbon undertones come through in the finish in every batch. And let me tell you, this beer definitely kicked me in the pants. The bourbon undertones are insanely strong and its high level of alcohol is very present in the taste!

According to the Founders website, they are in the process of building a tool that will help people find stores and establishments that sell or serve Founders Ales. Once completed, people can type in a zip code and the distance they willing to travel and be presented with a list of local vendors. Sounds pretty neat. But alas, it is not available yet. Until then, we shall be forced to scout out Founders beer on our own. That’s why its nice to “know” people, eh?

Special thanks to Wildman Dan for giving me the opportunity to enjoy Founders Breakfast Stout, creepy baby and all!!!

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The Wall Street Journal (UK) recently published an article online that slightly perturbed me. It was not the article itself that I found to be insulting. It was the content of the article that bothered me most.

Instead of trying to cleverly rewrite the article, I have decided to re-post the entire article in its original form – giving full credit to its author, Aaron O’Patrick. You can find it below my ramblings.

And so let the rambling begin …

I realize that I am an anomaly in the world of beer drinkers. The majority of women in this world prefer wine and spirits over beer. And when they drink beer, it is usually light beer. I have met very very few women who will drink and enjoy the bigger, fuller bodied styles of beers. They drink lagers – yes. Wheat beers – yes. Belgians – occasionally (especially the Lambics). Stouts or Porters – rarely. IPAs – almost never. Double IPAs and Barley Wines – forget about it.

One problem with women and beer is the lack of proper education. I truly believe more women would enjoy beer if they knew more about it. There is a beer for every taste. BUT people, in general, do not know enough about the different styles of beer to find out what they like. Educated consumers are more likely to purchase products. If they do not know about your product, they will have doubts about investing in it. This is why beer tastings are so crucial for brewers. People want to make confident purchases. If they get the opportunity to taste a product and learn about its nuances and how it is made – it will make them confident about investing in that product.

Most women (and men) never get the opportunity to taste multiple styles and brands of beer. Since they do not know about all the different varieties available, they are usually not confident enough to purchase one at random.

Another big issue with women and beer is misperception. Many women associate beer with beer bellies and guts. Beer = fat. As with all consumable pleasures, whether they be food or drink, anything consumed in excess can lead to excess fat. Enjoying beer in moderation, however, will not make a person gain 5 pounds in one night. Enjoying a surplus of beers every night for several weeks might. But so will cocktails – especially the artificial ones that are loaded with copious amounts of sugar and chemicals.

Of course, beer is not ideal for those who are on diets. BUT, I am the quintessential ANTI-dieter and think that diet restrictions are ridiculous and masochistic. Too me, self-deprivation borders on insanity. I would rather have some extra junk in the trunk and a spare tire on the stomach than deprive myself of the things that give me the most pleasure. What would be the point? No one wants a skinny, but starving and cranky wench – am i right?

Back to women and beer.

I have a theory.

There is a beer for everyone.

Even one for my sister, who does not drink any form of alcohol and thinks she hates beer. I guarantee I could find a beer she would like. And I guarantee that I can find a beer for every person out there. Want to challenge me? Well bring it on.

Maybe I should change my name to “The Beer Yenta.” My tagline could be “The Matchmaker of Beers.”

Matchmaker, matchmaker. Make me a match. Find me a find. Catch me a catch … Night after night in the dark I’m alone. So find me a beer of my own.

Anyways, let’s get back on track. Here is the article:

U.K. Brewers Try to Tap Women’s Market

Aiming to Boost Sales, Beer Makers Offer
Orange-Slice Garnishes, ‘Watered-Down Guinness’
By AARON O. PATRICK
August 15, 2008; Page B6

LONDON — Trying to halt a big decline in beer sales, some brewers in the U.K. are reaching out to a largely untapped group of customers: women.

Coors, the U.K. arm of Molson Coors Brewing Co., set up a unit code-named Eve this year to develop beer brands and marketing techniques appealing to women. The unit’s mission, the company says, is to create “a world where women love beer as much as they love shoes.”

[photos]
Diageo PLC (top); Greene King PLC.
U.K. beer makers are pushing to attract more female customers with brews like Guinness Red, which tastes sweeter and doesn’t have as strong an aroma as traditional Guinness.

As part of the push, Coors recently began selling its Blue Moon label in London pubs. The beer, which hadn’t been available before in the U.K., is aimed at women with touches like serving it with an orange slice to accentuate its fruity taste. In the U.S., Blue Moon is mostly consumed by men, where it is also served with an orange slice. Coors is encouraging bar staffs in the U.K. to experiment with how they serve the slices. One pub coats the orange slices in brown sugar, says a Coors spokesman.

Coors, based in Denver and Montreal, aims to launch additional beers aimed at women in the next year or two, says Coors Chief Executive Mark Hunter.

Eve found that beer’s main competitors are wine and vodka, which both have become more popular with women in the past six years. A big reason is that women regard beer as fattening, Mr. Hunter says.

The beer industry made a mistake by neglecting half of the population, he says. “We’ve done something fundamentally wrong here.”

Greene King PLC, a 209-year-old brewer based in the east English county of Suffolk, launched a beer for women called St Edmunds in October. St Edmunds is stored colder than most beers, giving it a crisp taste that appeals to women, a spokeswoman says. She says the beer has been popular, but she declined to give figures.

The industry faces many hurdles. Persuading women to drink more beer has been tried elsewhere with little success. Research by brewers has found many women don’t like the smell and aftertaste of traditional beer.

It may be particularly tough in the U.K. Only 13% of U.K. women regularly buy beer, compared with 25% in the U.S., according to market researcher Taylor Nelson Sofres PLC.

And overall, beer sales fell about 4.5% in the second quarter to 7.85 million barrels from 8.22 million barrels in the second quarter a year earlier, according to the British Beer & Pub Association. That’s the least beer consumed on a daily basis since the Great Depression, the association said.

Beer sales are suffering because of a decline in the popularity of pubs, analysts say. Factors making this year particularly bad include a ban on smoking in pubs, the weakening economy and a cold start to the summer.

The decline is also big compared with consumption elsewhere. In the U.S., sales of beer rose 1.9% in the first half compared with a year ago, according to the Beer Institute, a trade group in Washington.

Even with the decline in consumption, the British government is concerned about alcohol-related illness and binge drinking — and brewers don’t want to run afoul of the government’s health emphasis in any new marketing campaigns. The Department of Health recently said it is considering tough new restrictions on the drinks industry. One option under consideration is requiring pubs to offer drinks in small glasses.

In targeting female drinkers, the beer industry also risks a backlash from its most loyal customers, men. Some brewers are trying to strike a delicate balance in promoting beers as “unisex” to try to attract female drinkers without losing male ones.

One beer that could appeal to women is Guinness Red, a beer introduced by drinks company Diageo PLC last year that tastes sweeter and doesn’t have as strong an aroma as traditional Guinness.

At O’Neill’s pub in central London, few women have tried Guinness Red because they don’t know it is different than the traditional version, says manager Frank Donlon. “Advertising would help explain that it’s like a watered-down Guinness,” he says. “A TV ad would be good.”

A Diageo spokesman says Guinness Red has been promoted through radio ads, billboards and in newspapers, but there isn’t national advertising because it isn’t available everywhere in Britain.

Others are trying marketing. London-based SABMiller PLC is planning an ad campaign to run in October for Peroni Nastro Azzurro, which will connect the beer to Italian culture, an effort to appeal to men and women, a spokeswoman says. Female drinkers account for 30% of Peroni drinkers, more than twice the industry average. Last year, Peroni sponsored London Fashion Week.

Still, even if more British women drink beer, it is unlikely that brewers can reverse the decline in beer sales, analysts say. “They don’t consume the volume — and that is crucial — that men do,” says Graham Page, an alcohol consultant at research company Nielsen Co.

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Guess what?! I am blind. Well, not legally blind – but I sure as hell cannot see for the life of me. And each year, my vision seems to keep getting worse and worse. Although my glasses serve their purpose, I see best with contacts. Without either, I can see my hand clearly about 8 inches from my face – and lose vision with every inch after that.

THE BEER WENCH

THE BEER WENCH

So you can look at this in two ways: 1. People are more attractive to me because I cannot see clearly naturally … or 2. I am more critical of beauty because my vision is corrected beyond 20-20 and I am capable of noticing flaws that others may not.

Relax. I am not superficial. Unless you are food, wine and beer – I will not judge you based on your appearance. HONEST. AND even for all the aforementioned, it really is the inside that counts most. Looks can be deceiving, eh? The proof is in the “pudding,” whatever the pudding may be … right?

Hmmm blah blah, something about the eye of the beholder … yada yada yada.

This brings me to the subject of “Beer Googles.” After consuming alcohol, do people actually find others to be more attractive than they would if sober? British researchers say – YES!

Scientists at the University of Bristol found that study subjects who consumed alcohol considered people to be about 10 per cent more attractive than did people who did not consume alcohol.

The researchers asked 84 subjects to drink a lime-flavored beverage that either contained alcohol or did not. [Damn, I feel bad for the people in the control group. Placebo = LAME.)

The amount of alcohol equaled a large glass of wine or one-and-a-half pints of beer.

About 15 minutes after consuming their drinks, the subjects looked at pictures of men and women on a computer screen and rated how attractive they found each person.

Both the male and female subjects not only found members of the opposite sex more attractive, they also found members of the same gender more attractive, too.

The researchers also found that men deemed women to be more attractive for up to 24 hours after they consumed alcohol. (Yeah, yeah)

___________________________________________________________________

The findings are published in the online edition of Alcohol and Alcoholism.

Abstract:

Effects of acute alcohol consumption on ratings of attractiveness of facial stimuli: Evidence of long-term encoding

Lycia L. C. Parker, Ian S. Penton-Voak, Angela S. Attwood and Marcus R. Munafò

Aim: A strongly held popular belief is that alcohol increases the perceived attractiveness of members of the opposite sex. Despite this, there are no experimental data that investigate this possibility. We therefore explored the relationship between acute alcohol consumption and ratings of attractiveness of facial stimuli.

Methods: We investigated male and female participants (n = 84), using male and female facial stimuli, in order to investigate possible sex differences, and whether any effects of alcohol are selective for opposite-sex facial stimuli. We tested participants immediately following consumption of alcohol or placebo and one day later, in order to investigate whether any effects of alcohol persist beyond acute effects.

Results: Attractiveness ratings were higher in the alcohol compared to the placebo group (F[1, 80] = 4.35, P = 0.040), but there was no evidence that this differed between males and females or was selective for opposite-sex faces. We did not observe marked effects of alcohol on self-reported measures of mood, suggesting that the effects on ratings of attractiveness were not due simply to global hedonic effects or reporting biases.

Conclusions: Alcohol consumption increases ratings of attractiveness of facial stimuli, and this effect is not selective for opposite-sex faces. In addition, the effects of alcohol consumption on ratings of attractiveness persist for up to 24 h after consumption, but only in male participants when rating female (i.e. opposite-sex) faces.

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Today is a monumental day all around the world on multiple levels. What is so important about August 8th 2008? AH ha. Glad you asked!

First of all, today marks the official start for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China. I am very honored to know a handful of athletes competing in this year’s Olympic Games. A few 2008 Summer Olympians are fellow ex Ohio State student-athletes and teammates. I send to all of them my love and best wishes! Go Bucks!

The 2008 Summer Olympic Opening Ceremonies is airing at this very moment in the United State, EST. Most of you may not be aware of this, but the Olympic Games have always been extremely important to me.

Being a competitive athlete for the majority of my childhood and early adulthood predisposed me to love the Olympics and its celebration of sport. For my sport of swimming, the Olympics is like the Super Bowl for football. It is the highest level in which a swimmer can compete. Olympic swimmers are our celebrities, the “pro football players” if you will.

My family received a tremendous opportunity back in the Summer of 1996. My father was employed by IBM at the time, which was one of the main sponsors for the 96′ Atlanta Olympic Games. My parents were accepted as volunteers for the games and we were able to live in Atlanta that summer for a few weeks. Even though I was only 13 at the time, my parents gave me free reign of the city while they worked during the day. It was amazing, truly amazing. My family and I were able to attend at least 9 different sporting events while there. And of course, one of those was swimming.

Then in 2002, I was offered a once in the lifetime opportunity to run the Olympic Torch in Albany, NY for the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. My mother ended up buying the very torch with which I ran the relay. To this day, I still have the uniform and torch – both in almost mint condition. The charred remainents of THE Olympic flame still coat the glass on my torch.

But I digress, this post is not all about The Olympics (although it very well could be … I have more content on it than you probably want to know!)

Today also marks the date in which the 7th annual Stone Vertical Epic Ale should be consumed – AKA 08.08.08!

Stone Brewing Company started brewing its Vertical Epic Ale annually in 2001. The first release was 02.02.02 and every release thereafter has been one year, one month and one day from the previous year. Stone describes its Vertical Epic as follows:

As with any good epic, herein lies the promise of larger-than-life experiences, heroics and twists & turns as the adventure unfolds. These bottle-conditioned ales are specifically designed to be aged until sometime after December 12th, 2012. Provided you can wait that long. At that time, enjoy them in a “vertical” tasting. Each one unique to it’s year of release. Each with its own “twist & turn” in the plotline. Each one released one year, one month and one day from the previous year’s edition.

This year’s Verical Epic Ale is a strong Belgian golden ale, similar to the style of Duvel. Belgian golden ale is characterized by a very high ABV, hovering around 9%. Stone Vertical Epic comes in at 8.6% ABV. This style bares a resemblance to the abbey style tripel, but with a few significant differences. Tripels are frequently cloudy where Belgian golden ales are quite clear, although bottle conditioned. Golden ales are a touch paler in color and has a less fluffy, dense head. They also tend to have a cleaner taste, revealing malt and hops more than fruity esters or the character of yeast.

Now, whereas I would love to have the patience to cellar such a jewel for another four years – let us not kid ourselves. My impulsive nature wants it NOW NOW NOW. Perhaps after the initial tasting, I will be compelled to buy a bottle of two for cellaring. We shall see.

AND NOW … drum roll please … THE TASTING! (Yes, yes. I understand that it has been a long time since I last reviewed a beer. So long, in fact, that I am sure many of you do not believe in my tasting powers anymore. For this I apologize and promise to post tasting notes more frequently!!!)

STONE VERTICAL EPIC ALE 08.08.08

Glass: The Tulip. [Notes from Beer Advocate: The Tulip is a stemmed glass, obviously tulip-shaped, wherein the top of the glass pushes out a bit to form a lip in order to capture the head and the body is bulbous. Benefits: Captures and enhances volatiles, while it induces and supports large foamy heads.] It is suggested for American IPAs and most Belgian Ales.

APPEARANCE: The ale pours a mostly clear, pale gold with hint of copper and a white, thick and foamy head. The head disappears rather rapidly, leaving a very thin lacing on the glass.

AROMA: Ridiculously fruity, with subtle hints of spice. Fruity aroma is strong banana with a small essence of tropical fruits (sounds crazy, but a bit coconut-esque). Subtle hints of clove, which is typical to many Belgian yeast strands. Doughy yeast also protrudes the nose, with a subtle hint of alcohol. Hops are almost nonexistent in the aroma.

TASTE: WHAM BAM THANK YOU MAM. Where the heck were those hops hiding? Where the aroma lacked in hops, the taste definitely makes up in flavor. Initially, the ale yields a subtle fruity taste of banana and malt. Mild acidity also makes its way through. But the fruity taste of the Belgian yeast and any hints of acidity are quickly beaten aside by the powerful punch of American hops. Please sir, can I have some more?

PALATE: This is a medium light bodied ale with a slight alcoholic undertone. Carbonation is moderate, with a pleasant amount of effervescence. The bitterness of the hops completely coats the tongue, leaving behind a very bitter finish that lingers … and lingers … and lingers.

OVERALL: Could this ale be the best of both worlds? We all know The Beer Wench loves her hops, but she also loves her thick and malty Belgian ales. I thoroughly enjoyed being kicked in the pants by the American hops of this ale, all the while loving the super fruity aroma and subtle taste of the Belgian yeast. Once again, Stone has impressed my ever-learning palate.

And so now, I find myself at a bitter sweet moment. Simultaneously, as I pour the last of the Vertical Epic Ale 08′ into my glass – the parade of Olympic athletes has commenced in Beijing, China. I raise my glass to the finest athletes in all the world. Cheers! Good luck to all! May the best man and woman win!!!

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This September, Dogfish Head -one of my all-time favorite American craft breweries- is releasing a rather unique and delicious sounding ale. Naturally, the name of the ale -Theobroma- is as off-centered as the ingredients used to brew it.

The scientific name Theobroma translates to food of the gods.” It is the genus name for 22 different species, one of which is cacao. Theobroma cacao, or the cocoa plant, is a small evergreen tree. Its seeds are used to make cocoa and chocolate.

The Mayan believed that the kakaw (cacao) was discovered by the gods in a mountain that also contained other delectable foods to be used by the Mayans. According to Mayan mythology, the Plumed Serpent gave cacao to the Mayans after humans were created from maize by the divine grandmother goddess Xmucane.

The first Europeans to encounter cacao were Christopher Columbus and his crew in 1502. The first real European knowledge about chocolate came in the form of a beverage, which was first introduced to the Spanish at their meeting with Montezuma in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan in 1519.

And now in 2008, Dogfish Head Brewery has bravely constructed its own godly recipe combining the “nectar of the gods” with the “food of the gods.” Fortunately, one does not need to be a god to enjoy this heavenly off-centered ale. Unfortunately, it is a limited release – which means you may need the power of the gods to find it. Either that or you may have to engage in some sort of Mayan ritual and animal sacrifice to appease the gods into sharing it with you. You can guarantee I will be doing back flips over hot flaming coals if it means I get to taste this ale!!!

Here is Dogfish Head’s description of Theobroma from its website:

Theobroma

Availability: Limited Release – 750ml bottles

Release Date: September 2008

This beer is based on chemical analysis of pottery fragments found in Honduras which revealed the earliest known alcoholic chocolate drink used by early civilizations to toast special occasions. The discovery of this beverage pushed back the earliest use of cocoa for human consumption more than 500 years to 1200 BC. As per the analysis, Dogfish Head’s Theobroma (translated into ‘food of the gods’) is brewed with Aztec cocoa powder and cocoa nibs (from our friends at Askinosie Chocolate), honey, chilies, and annatto (fragrant tree seeds).

Theobroma is 10% abv and will be available in Champagne bottles for a September 2008 release.

Special kegs from our test batches may be available earlier in the year at Dogfish events around the country… keep yer eyes peeled!

Label art for Theobroma was designed by our friend Marq Spusta.

Source: Dogfish Head Brewery

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Schlitz, aka “The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous” — once the world’s best-selling brew — is making a surprisingly welcomed return thanks to Pabst Brewing Co.

After decades of being the world’s best selling beer, Schlitz’s reign came to an abrupt end in the late 1970’s-early 80’s. Ultimately, Schlitz’s downfall can be contributed to faulty recipe alterations and a failure to conduct proper damage control.

Poor quality control of barley, which caused the beer to go flat quickly, amplified the problem. To fix the flat problem, Schlitz brewers added a seaweed extract to give the beer some foam and fizz. After sitting on the shelf for three or four months, the extract turned into a solid, meaning drinkers got mouthfuls of “floaters.”

For Schlitz, flatness and floaters spelled recipe for disaster.

Instead of pulling the product off the shelves and apologizing to loyal consumers, the company decided to weather the storm and sell the bad product. And by 1981 the Schlitz brewery closed. The owners sold the brand to the Stroh Brewery Co. in Detroit in 1982, which eventually sold some of its lines to Pabst.

Pabst reissued the beer [with "real gusto"] in its original brown bottles in June using notes and interviews with former brew masters to recreate the “classic 1960s formula.” Currently, Schlitz can be found in its home town of Milwaukee as well as a few select cities.

In Milwaukee, the comeback is creating a HUGE buzz. Stores are depleted of their stock within days, with some taking names for waiting lists and being forced to limit customers to just a few six or 12 packs each.

Lucky for Schlitz enthusiasts, the beer is to be released in keg form in mid-August — just on time for an event being hosted by the Milwaukee Museum of Beer & Brewing. The event will take place on August 18th at the old Brown Bottle, now Libiamo Restaurant. The Brown Bottle, the old Schlitz brewery’s tavern, is now 70 years old.

The event agenda consists of a happy hour and a display of brewing memorabilia, a talk by museum president Jim Haertel, and a presentation by Schlitz historian Leonard Jurgensen with a Q&A session.

A look at the history of Schlitz beer:

1849: German immigrant August Krug opens a small restaurant and tavern in Milwaukee, begins to brew beer and turns it into a brewery.

1850: Joseph A. Schlitz, 20, immigrates from Germany and works for Krug as a bookkeeper.

1856: Krug dies, leaving no offspring, and Schlitz takes over management of the brewery.

1858: Schlitz marries Krug’s widow, Ann Marie.

1861: The brewery is renamed the Joseph Schlitz Brewery. Schlitz runs it with Krug’s four nephews, the Uihlein brothers.

1871: The Great Chicago Fire destroys many of that city’s breweries, giving Schlitz an opening to expand his business.

1875: Schlitz travels to Germany and is presumed dead when his ship sinks in a storm. Since he had no children with Krug’s widow, the Uihlein brothers take over the brewery.

1893: The company introduces the slogan “The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous.”

1902: Schlitz surpasses Pabst as the world’s best-selling beer after selling 1 million barrels that year.

1912: Schlitz bottles its beer in brown bottles, marking the first time a brewer does so. The dark color prevents light from spoiling the beer.

1920: Prohibition begins. The brewery makes soda, malt syrup and candy. It survives because the Uihlein brothers have extensive real estate holdings.

1934: Prohibition ends, Schlitz resumes production and retakes No. 1 sales spot.

1953: Strike by Milwaukee brewery workers hurts brewers like Pabst, Blatz and Schlitz, which lose market share to rivals such as Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. of St. Louis.

1954: Schlitz briefly rebounds to again be the world’s best-selling beer.

1955: Anheuser-Busch takes over the top spot, which it still holds.

1975: Immediate family management of Schlitz ends and distant relatives and outsiders take over the operation.

Mid-to-late 1970s: Schlitz still sells well, so the new owners try to make more by shortening the fermenting process. But the beer has no foam and is flat, so managers add a seaweed extract. But that turns solid after sitting in bottles for a few months. Schlitz sales fall and the old formula is gone.

1981: Production of Schlitz ends in Milwaukee when workers strike.

1982: Detroit’s Stroh Brewery Co. acquires Schlitz and sells off many of Schlitz’s plants to pay for the acquisition. It focuses on promoting Schlitz’ secondary brand, Old Milwaukee.

1999: Pabst Brewing Co. buys Schlitz from Stroh.

2008: Schlitz reintroduces the classic formula.

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