• Beer Makes Men Smarter

    According to new research out of the University of Illinois in Chicago men who drink a few beers perform better at solving brain teasers.

    To reach that surprising conclusion, the researchers devised a bar game in which 40 men were given three words and told to come up with a fourth that fits the pattern.

     

    For example, the word “cheese” could fit with words like “blue” or “cottage” or “Swiss.”

     

    Half the players were given two pints. The other half got nothing.

     

    The result? Those who imbibed solved 40% more of the problems that their sober counterparts.

     

    Also, the drinkers finished their problems in 12 seconds while it took the non-drinkers 15.5 seconds.

     

    “We found at 0.07 blood alcohol, people were worse at working memory tasks, but they were better at creative problem-solving tasks,” psychologist Jennifer Wiley reported on the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (FABBS) site.

    So if you find yourself in need of that extra edge in problem solving, looks like beer is once again the answer to your problems.

    Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/

  • InBev Threatens Beer Industry with Big Stick

     

    Looks like InBev is ready to play dirty to get its sales numbers up.  In a recent WSJ post Luiz Edmond, the president of North American operations for Anheuser-Busch InBev, let it be known the he was ready to strong arm out the competition.

    Last November, Anheuser also told more than 500 wholesalers who distribute its products across the U.S. that it wants them to sell fewer rival brews. The company warned that wholesalers who aren’t tightly “aligned” with Anheuser might be prevented from acquiring other wholesalers through equity agreements, a type of business contract, that Anheuser holds with the wholesalers.

     

    The toughening rhetoric has made a growing number of wholesalers “anxious,” said Joe Thompson, president of Independent Beverage Group, a beer-industry consultancy. Brewers and distillers are required to distribute alcohol through intermediaries instead of selling them directly to retailers.

     

    Mr. Edmond isn’t making any apologies, saying wholesalers will have to decide which brewer they want to partner with most closely. “I’m loyal to my wholesalers. Why would I not expect the same loyalty to me,” he said.

    Well, that seems a little anti-competitive in nature to say the least, and that isn’t InBev’s only bad marketing strategy.  In addition to doing what they can to stifle the competition, InBev will be bringing 19 new products to market:

    This year, Anheuser plans to launch 19 new products in the U.S., its biggest such push since Belgium’s InBev acquired St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch for$52 billion in 2008. New offerings include small-batch “craft” brews, cider and an expanded lineup of malt beverages that take their cues from tequila and tea instead of beer.

    Looks like they are finally reading the writing on the wall about the American consumer wants to drink, to bad their going to do their best to not the let consumer know they are drinking a mass produced product that could very well be taking away money from local, family owned breweries.  They’re just not getting that people don’t want to buy their products.

    Anheuser is trying to stabilize Budweiser, whose U.S. shipments have fallen 23 straight years

    I for one am going to stick with the independent beers, how about you?

     

    Source: http://online.wsj.com/

  • Are cans as good as bottles?

    Cans or bottles?  Which do you prefer? For a long time I wouldn’t drink beer from a can.  Call me a snob, but I always felt the bottle offered a superior taste.  With the can, you always seemed to get the slightly metallic taste.  Then I realized that the can may not meant to be drank from directly.  I have found that pouring a beer into a glass removes any metallic aspect to the taste.  Today, you’re seeing more and more craft beer arrive in cans.  Why this change in packaging?   There are a few of reasons.  First, safety:

    Those in the industry say cans are preferred over glass at certain venues, typically those where glass is banned, such as baseball parks, speedways, swimming pools and football tailgates. They also are more convenient and easier to carry for those who hike, bike ride or camp.

    And of course, how about protecting the beer itself:

    Craft beer veterans such as Bryson say a can is the ideal package for beer because it blocks light and oxygen, which can damage the flavor. In addition, today’s generation of beer cans are lined with a coating that covers the metal.

    And lastly, the almighty dollar (or whatever local currency you may use):

    Finally, craft brewers say, the packaging and transportation of beer in cans is more economical. Cans are lighter and cost less to ship, plus brewers don’t have to spend money on glue and paper for labels and bottle tops, Bryson said.

     

    Lancaster Brewing’s Moore says it costs the company about $4.50 to $5 less to produce a case of cans versus bottles. The savings is often passed on to the consumer.

     

    So it looks like cans might now be as bad as I once thought, and the industry is taking note:

    In 2009, about 50 small brewers were selling beer in cans. Now, according to craftcans.com, a website dedicated to news about the canned craft beer revolution, the number has grown to about 171 breweries in 43 states, including Washington, D.C.

    So what’s your thought on the cans vs. bottles debate?  Let us know in the comments below.

    Source: www.pennlive.com

  • Living on only beer for 46 days

    Living on Beer for 46 days, could you do it?  On beer alone?  J. Wilson did.  In a quest to give up something for Lent, and see if someone could survive on beer alone he set to out to make a beer that would sustain him during Lent.

    A homebrewer and certified beer judge who is passionate about the flavors and culture of craft beer, I am what they call a “beer geek,” and so the monastic origins of the doppelbock style of beer had long intrigued me.

     

    According to legend, the 17th century monks of Neudeck ob der Au outside Munich, Germany, developed the rich-and-malty beer to sustain them during Lenten fasts, the traditional 46-day lead-up to Easter.

     

    Unfiltered, the bold elixir was nicknamed “liquid bread” and is packed with carbohydrates, calories and vitamins.

    After the story went main stream he was inundated with requests from media outlets around the world for interviews.  After a week of calls and emails it was time to unplug and let the experience wash over him.

    At the beginning of my fast, I felt hunger for the first two days. My body then switched gears, replaced hunger with focus, and I found myself operating in a tunnel of clarity unlike anything I’d ever experienced.

    Ultimately, it turned out to be a very good experience for him.

    Though I lost 25.5 pounds, I gained so much more. The benefits of self-discipline can’t be overstated in today’s world of instant gratification. The fast provided a long-overdue tune-up and detox, and I’ve never felt so rejuvenated, physically or mentally.

    As for the monks upon which he based the experiment:

    The experience proved that the origin story of monks fasting on doppelbock was not only possible, but probable. It left me with the realization that the monks must have been keenly aware of their own humanity and imperfections. In order to refocus on God, they engaged this annual practice not only to endure sacrifice, but to stress and rediscover their own shortcomings in an effort to continually refine themselves.

     

    Though they lived out their faith at a higher degree of daily devotion than the average person, they could sense their loss of focus. Taking nothing for granted, they took steps to rectify that problem on an annual basis. Shouldn’t we all, whether or not our religious tradition includes Lent?

     

    Source:  cnn.com

  • Sam Adams is brewing special beer for the Boston Marathon

    I don’t like the idea of a low-alcohol beer to commemorate the Boston Marathon. As an avid runner I love a race that has beer on tap at the post race celebration. The best part of drinking at that point is knowing that regardless of what is in the beer (alcohol, carbs, calories, etc.), I’ve earned the right to drink the beer without worrying about those factors.

    I’m not alone in this regard, either. Just do a search for something like “Drinkers with a running problem” and you’ll get an idea of the how many people enjoy the activity of a post race drink. I have even participated in a race where you drink while running.

    Low-alcohol beer? Sounds more like  marketing (to those not running) than anything else. Anyone who has qualified for the Boston Marathon knows that carb loading is a something that needs to be done for longer races, and as such, I think a heavy beer, not a light one, would be better beer to commemorate the Boston Marathon.

    Most details about the special beer will be disclosed at the event, but in a media advisory, the company noted, “This unique brew is fitting for both runners and spectators on race day,” because it is a lighter body beer with a slightly lower alcohol level than many of the other beers in the Samuel Adams line-up.

    Source: boston.com

  • Beijing, China Craft Beer Scene Growing

    It seems that the craft beer movement has started to catch on in Beijing , China.  The city now has two microbreweries.

    But according to both brewers, there’s a growing and largely untapped market in China’s capital as disposable income rises and beer-swilling residents clamor for more variety at the pub.

    This is good news for the residents of Beijing, who until now may not have not the joy of drinking a finely crafted beer.

    Mr. Jurinka and Slow Boat co-founder Daniel Hebert are looking to open a tap room and sell their beer directly to local bars and restaurants in the meantime, with each pint typically retailing for about 40 to 50 yuan ($6.35 to $7.90). The brewery currently carries six standard beers, with a new seasonal beer introduced each month. At the moment it produces 60 hectoliters per month — about 100 kegs — but plans to expand to three times that capacity.

    This upswing in activity isn’t too much of a surprise, after all, craft beer being imported into China is on the rise.

    U.S. microbrew beer exports to China hit a record in 2010, with sales reaching $546,000, five times the level just five years ago, according to figures from the U.S. Agricultural Trade Office in Beijing. And beer consumption overall is rising, too: SABMiller reported that China saw volume growth in beer consumption of 6%from 2005 to 2010, higher than the world average growth rate of 3.3% or the emerging-market average of 5.7%. In 2010, Chinese drinkers consumed 31 liters per capita, or 40.89 billion liters, according to Credit Suisse.

    Those visiting Beijing will no doubt seek out the small craft beer scene, but the locals are still just beginning to find their love of good beer.

    Foreigners are among the breweries’ most loyal customers, but both said they’ve been heartened by interest from locals.

    “We didn’t think that would be the case right off,” said Mr. Jurinka, but in Beijing, “the disposable income and wealth levels have reached a level where these things are now accessible.”

    With relatively low per-capita rates of beer drinking, China has plenty of room for growth, Mr. Jurinka said. Besides, he added, “Why would you ever order a Tsingtao when you can order a craft beer?

     

    Source: wsj.com

  • How Indy Brewers are Outpacing Beer Industry Growth

    The folks over at intuit.com put together a great graphic showing how small, independent breweries are growing.

    Though large breweries dwarf independent craft breweries in volume of production, the growth of small breweries has eclipsed overall beer industry growth in the last few decades. By tapping into local tastes and offering unique brews, craft brewers are now experiencing the heaviest level of growth they’ve seen since 1900.  In this infographic, we look at where the movement stands today and what really defines a craft brewery. Click on the infographic below for an enlarged view.

    Source: intuit.com

  • The World’s Best Beers 2012

    At the end of January ratebeer did their 11th annual “ratebeer best” competition.  The 2012 results are in and the list can be found at http://www.ratebeer.com/RateBeerBest/.

    The overall winner for 2012 was Westvleteren 12 from Westvleteren Abdij St. Sixtus.

    The areas of competition were:

    THE BEST BEERS IN THE WORLD BY STYLE CATEGORY
    All beers listed are gold medal winners. (Note: In some instances the displayed scores are equal for beers of different places. This is not an error. Our calculations simply render much greater detail than we can display.) 

     

    THE BEST BREWERS IN THE WORLD
    All brewers listed are RateBeer Best 2012 Gold Medal winners. (The total number of brewers in our contest is over 12000. The 100 listed represents less than the top 1% of all brewers — the creme de la creme of world brewing. For comparison, more than double the percentage of the population qualifies as genius.) 

     

    THE 2012 TOP NEW BREWERS IN THE WORLD
    From the list of all new brewers – a whopping 1473 this year, these elite few have risen to the top. We anticipate these are the brewers to watch in the coming years. All are RateBeer Best 2012 Gold Medal winners.

     

    THE BEST BEERS IN THE WORLD – OVERALL
    The best 100 beers in the world as rated by tens of thousands of our worldwide tasters. All beers listed are RateBeer Best 2012 Gold Medal winners.

     

    BEST BEERS BY COUNTRY
    Ratings are by RateBeer representatives living around the world and tasting the beers available in each country except British Isles. Only countries with statistically adequate membership representation are listed below. All listed are RateBeer Best 2012 Gold Medal winners.

    Australia and New Zealand- Best beers
    Belgium – Best beers
    Canada – Best beers
    Denmark – Best beers
    Germany – Best beers
    Italy – Best beers
    The Netherlands – Best beers
    Sweden – Best beers
    British Isles – Best beers
    United States – Best beers

    The 15 best beers in the world overall were:

    1. Westvleteren 12 Westvleteren Abdij St. Sixtus
    2. Närke Kaggen Stormaktsporter Närke Kulturbryggeri
    3. Goose Island Rare Bourbon County Stout Goose Island Beer Company (AB-InBev)
    4. Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) Founders Brewing Company
    5. Rochefort Trappistes 10 Brasserie Rochefort
    6. Bells Hopslam Bells Brewery
    7. Russian River Pliny the Younger Russian River Brewing
    8. Cigar City Pilot Series Passionfruit and Dragonfruit Berliner Weisse Cigar City Brewing
    9. AleSmith Speedway Stout AleSmith Brewing Company
    10. Deschutes The Abyss Deschutes Brewery
    11. Cigar City Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout Cigar City Brewing
    12. Bells Expedition Stout Bells Brewery
    13. Three Floyds Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout Three Floyds Brewing Company
    14. 3 Fonteinen Armand’4 Oude Geuze Lente 3 Fonteinen
    15. Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel Mikkeller

     

    CNBC did a great sildeshow of the top 15, which can be found at http://www.cnbc.com/id/46327587.

    Source : http://www.ratebeer.com/

  • The quest for every Dogfish Head beer ever made

    Dogfish Head has long been a favorite among many craft beer enthusiasts, and this loyal following has an interesting fan base.  It seems that Mat Pipno made it his personal quest to find and try every single Dogfish Head beer ever made since 1996.  He did well in finding all but one of the beers, the Festina Lente.  To get this last beer, he arranged a trade of beers with Dogfish Head owner Sam Calagione.  The video below is the exchange they made.

     

  • Was Ancient Sumerian Beer Alcohol-Free?

    So it seems that ancient Sumerian beer may not have had alcohol in it.  According to new research:

    Despite being able to pull information from various sources, Damerow concluded that the remnants of Mesopotamia held little clue to the brewing techniques of the Sumerians, and expressed doubts that the popular beverage could be considered beer.

     

    “Given our limited knowledge about the Sumerian brewing processes, we cannot say for sure whether their end product even contained alcohol,” Damerow wrote in his study, first published in November in the Cuneiform Digital Library Journal.

    I’m not so sure I agree with this thought, as it seems like if you were going to go to the trouble to have all the ingredients what then would be the point of such a beverage?

    Looking over the cuneiform texts, Damerow found that many contained records of brewery deliveries of emmer wheat, barley and malt, but hardly a scrap of information on the beer production processes. While seemingly surprising, the lack of a beer recipe makes sense, as the administrative documents were likely written for an audience already familiar with the details of brewing, according to Damerow.

     

    Whatever information Damerow could glean from the documents was clouded by the fact that the methods used for recording the information differed between locations and time periods. Moreover, the Sumerian bureaucrats didn’t base their records and calculations on any consistent number system.

    Well, maybe Mr. Damerow is just trying to make a name for himself and this will amount to nothing.  As for me, I’m not sure I buy into the philosophy.

    Source: msn.com