Friday, August 28, 2009

No...Did I hear that right?

I was flipping through a trade magazine the other day and I came across an ad for a new "Ed Hardy" branded beer. Now I have the up most respect for the man, Don Ed Hardy he is basically the god father of the modern tattoo and still remains in the tattoo industry as a fixture. Although long retired from tattooing, he has continued to produce legendary artwork in other medians. Sometime a few years ago he licensed some of this artwork to a clothing designer and people of a certain persuasion flocked to it. Seems like now it is turning into an empire, not that most of the people walking around in one of the numerous branded items from t-shirts, to sunglasses and shoes know any thing about the man himself.. But a beer? Come on, do we have to go there again? Does anyone remember the Harley Davidson beer by chance? In the days of private label wines, and designer vodkas I guess it was bound to happen but what will you do with all the beer that is left when the people who tried it (maybe because the design was the same as what was on their trucker hats) and have gone back to their Bud Lights and Mich Ultras? Ultimately what is in the bottle becomes most important after the "newness" wears off, and sadly the people who come up with ideas like this have little care how the beer tastes. Hell, they probably drink Vodka drinks anyways!


Friday, August 7, 2009

Beer Summit...commentary and beyond!

It was a historical event.. At least to CNN, Fox News, and all the other news agencies the "Beer Summit" something I am sure Obama surely did not plan to be covered the way it was. To me our new prez is kind of the man that is not used to making such a big deal over much of anything so trivial as having a beer with a few guys in the afternoon and discussing various issues they might or might not have in common with each other. This kind of thing is why I really support Obama, while I am not going to get into the political spectrum otherwise of health care, etc. the willingness of a president in office to sit down with two other somewhat public figures to discuss a dispute is something I think the world could take a hint from. In this government by the people, for the people, and all that other yada yada yada our govermental figures no matter what political party are for the most part too; well, stuffy and about their own agendas to the point that I would never expect them to sit with us commoners to have a drink so to see our president do it tells me that we do have someone who at least thinks a little differently about things..

After reading article after article about this little "meeting of the minds" (Biden even showed up!) I came across a few that were a little bit different than all of the others. Seems like craft brewers across America, and even more so the beer press, writers, and bloggers, have a lot to say about the beer choices during the "Beer Summit". Most of these folks who have been writing articles, blogs, and editorials being part of the craft beer industry had the most crucial opinions of Obama's choice of Bud Light as his beer of choice for the evening. Bud Light? I know, I know when you think of the finer things in life Bud Light is not even flowing through the toilets in the bathrooms in your fantasies believe me, I would not use the stuff to put out a fire but that isn't the point here..
One writer in his weekly column mentioned how Obama had drank craft beer on campaign stops (there was also a PBR in there if I remember), and enjoyed it but now his choice of the most unholiest brews available in the USA to the nation's craft brewers is almost a kin to treason. I mean come on as this writer stated in the course of his article that Obama's choice told craft brewers he did not care about them. Seriously?
Yes, I understand that a big reason for this is that technically AB is now not an American company but Bud Light IS the best selling beer in the US, and while in terms of taste, flavor, or (again for a different reason) taste it was not a good choice; it was one that the majority of beer drinkers could identify with. The beer itself of course was not nearly as important as the subject at hand, but if you think about, the president drinking the most popular beer in America might have been doing it to show the public that he was just a regular guy too.

Let's face it, maybe the man didn't even specify what he wanted he is, after all pretty busy. I wonder what kind of beer the White House does keep on hand and if they would accept beer from breweries directly for the president should he ever be in the mood for a real beer? Would be worth a try, but for now:

Hey Obama! Hows about an invite to the White House sometime to have a chat and a brew? I'll bring the beers! It will be a blast..

That should fix it.. Bring your own, and some for him then you won't have to worry about him drinking that swill!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Colorado 2007 ( A look back)

From a trip in 2007 to the GABF, what would a trip to Colorado be for a couple of Florida beer geeks without a trip up to Ft. Collins? We managed to hit a couple few of them including New Belgium and O'Dell which I have included a few pictures of. Notice the hop bags from O'Dell? That's nice, so was their I.P.A. we drank 5 gallons of it even in that high altitude where the beer buzz creeps in quicker!

We also spent some time hiking in Estes Park, there are a few of those pictures mixed in. Not beer related I know but you can't spend the entire time in the brewery or bar! Got to stretch those legs..

How's that for cold beer in Colorado...
Good old Redpoint E.S.B. perfect during a hike, heavy to pack in and out but at this elevation you only want to have one or two so you don't get really buzzed..

For some reason I really like this ad..

Beers like Rodenbach do not even need advertising but it is nice to see something that inspires my thirst as does this one!

The good Doctor, keeping watch over the old Flying Dog Brewery in Denver!

The "Mothership" New Belgium Brewing

If you have not been, you are late Colorado is a great place to visit and there is so much more! These are just a few of the pictures I have from the multitudes of breweries I have visited there. Truly a beer drinkers paradise, there is something for everyone and it is all fresh and served by very friendly people who love living life. I think that helps the beer ferment..Happily!

More later..


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Excise Tax Increase

This is an important issue for all of us who love beer from small breweries check it out..

I am adding this from the Brewer's Association website, and numerous beer blogs, brewery websites, and anyone else who is in the industry to get informed and act against this proposed excise tax:

Date: June 8, 2009

Subject: Proposed Increase of Federal Excise Tax a Serious Threat to Small Brewers and Your Beer Choice – Contact Your Senators Now

Dear Beer Enthusiast,

Small brewers are facing an imminent and extremely serious threat to their businesses. The consequences of remaining silent have the very real potential of reducing your choice of beer and dramatically increasing the price of any beer that you purchase.

The Senate Finance Committee in Washington, DC is currently considering a proposal to increase and equalize the excise tax for alcohol beverages as part of healthcare reform deliberations. This proposal would triple the excise tax for 4.5% ABV beer and impose even higher excise tax rates for higher ABV beers.

If such a proposal becomes reality, there is no question that many small brewery businesses will suffer, some will close and consumers will face higher prices and diminished choice in the marketplace.

The Brewers Association brewery members and leadership have been actively engaged in building the case against an excise tax increase, recently submitting a letter to the Committee outlining our opposition.

We need you to speak out now. Today or tomorrow at the latest.

If you live in the following states it is most urgent that you contact your Senator who is on the Senate Finance Committee:

Arizona Nevada
Arkansas New Jersey
Delaware New Mexico
Florida New York
Idaho North Dakota
Iowa Oregon
Kansas Texas
Kentucky Utah
Maine Washington
Massachusetts West Virginia
Michigan Wyoming

If your Senators are not members of that committee, ask them to contact their Finance Committee colleagues and express their opposition to this proposal moving forward.

Your ask of them is simple:

Oppose the Tax Increase. Let them know that you oppose, in the strongest possible terms, raising the federal excise tax on beer because of the serious consequences it would have on small brewers and the craft beer they brew. Additional talking points appear below.

Once again: If one of your Senators sits on the Senate Finance Committee (roster of members below), urge them to oppose this proposal in committee deliberations.

If your Senators are not members of that committee, ask them to contact their Finance Committee colleagues and express their opposition to this proposal moving forward.

Take Action - Call and/or email your Senators’ Washington or district offices and make your personal case against this massive excise tax increase.

As always, thanks for your support.

Charlie Papazian
President, Brewers Association

This is a very serious issue for the handful of small breweries in the Tampa Bay area as well as anywhere else, even to consumers it will mean an increase in the price from retailers which no one likes!

Sounds to me like someone needs to stage a tea party.. I'll let you know.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Upon trying to get some resolve from the organization I spoke of in my last post I was informed that the discussion of correct information was overly dramatic. Correct Information=Drama? Then call me a drama queen because I like my information to be correct in nature. Don't you?

Also, in the beer world "BA" can be construed as more than one organization and I am NOT referring to the one in Boulder CO that exists to help the brewing industry with a open minded approach. I am referring to the organization that judges almost every brewery in the nation and most in the world as well based on their interpretation of the products produced at these breweries. Just wanted to clarify that. One has good intentions, the other?


P.S. I promise to lighten it up next time, this kind of thing just "flattens my beer" and that makes me agitated.

Friday, May 22, 2009

BA or BS?

I recently was flipping through a random beer magazine while sitting in a bar and found that they had done a review of Tampa beer establishments, effectively leaving out some of the best places in the Tampa Bay area to get a pint. Upon checking the website attached to this magazine I saw there was already a post about this which made me happy although with a print periodical once the magazine is already out the damage has been done.

This organization which has a history of being a very reputable place to learn about beer and beer culture for some seems to in the last few years become more of an outlet for the two brothers who run it to voice their own opinions instead of the unbiased promotion of the beer culture in America and abroad it once was. While I have always been more of an independent student of all things fermentation related (yes, even bread and wine too!) I did once have a respect for this site that has slowly waned as the quality of both the magazine and website slipped. Looking back at issues I have kept from the past it is evident that somewhere along the line what they had preached about better beer went out the window to make a living which I would not fault them for except that most people would not sell out their beliefs to make a buck. Funny, I see ads in these magazines from the large breweries they at one time ostracised for their sub par beers, brewing techniques, and methods to exude power over the smaller independent breweries that they claim to be such large supporters of. Hypocrisy? Again probably not, just trying to pay bills but how is that any different that those same large breweries that spend more on their advertising than actually making their beers? Furthermore is this really a place people who are interested in learning about beer should come for information? Not in my opinion. You would be better off buying a mixed 6 pack and looking up every brewery's website, a much better way to learn about the products and as far as opinions go.. Use your brain and create your own! Want to share it? Step away from the computer and go out to one of your local better beer establishments and talk to the people sitting on the stools next to you. I guarantee this will be 100% more fufilling than inputing them into a computer, and you might learn something you did not even expect to!

When I started drinking and cataloging the beer I was experiencing there was no website that existed for rating beer or beer establishments it was all done with my trusty notebook and believe me, I have some notes that are easier to read than others depending on the amount of beer that was consumed in the night. Those I did not feel I accurately experienced I revisited, but it was all for my knowledge and advancement for something I truely have a passion for and not a quest for the maximum number of beers I could experience or ratings I could write.

These days as with any other quest men seem to be on, he who dies with the most toys (or in this case, beer ratings) wins according to this and one or two other related websites. Does that sound right to you? If it does, then by all means don't let my opinion sway you just don't expect me to want to hear you theorize beer culture as you follow the rest of the lemmings to the next big beer release from a brewery that has released wonderful beers for years but only gains attention for one product that everyone on their computers decides is now going to be sought after. I'll form my own thoughts and opinions thanks and if I "miss" out on it there is probably a reason. This lemming has turned away from the cliff.

Perhaps you agree, perhaps you don't.. Some people like to be told what to like, some don't and I am one of the latter.


Friday, May 8, 2009

The Travelers..

Did you ever notice the different between a traveler and someone who just goes on vacation? There is a difference, perhaps not in the sights that have been seen, or the activities and attractions experienced. A person can go anywhere but to me the traveler takes a life lesson of some sort home with them along with the other usual goodies. Often the vacationer brings only the t-shirts.. Or in our case, beer! Which is good of course and "to each his own", but to go somewhere and not become involved in the local culture at all to me is a trip wasted.

I thought of this while talking to a few people yesterday about different locations they had been to and were going to. In this handful of people, by the way our discussions went there both types of people. Some wanted to go someplace to relax and could care less about where they actually were and the local culture, others wanted to go an experience a location and see the sights and take something with them they will remember forever. One person, younger and thirsty to experience life just wanted to go SOMEWHERE!! I can't wait to hear his story when he makes it somewhere, where ever that is.

To me I consider myself a traveler and when I go somewhere I enjoy the journey, the location, and the people. When I go someplace I like to try to do as the locals as much as possible, eat local food, drink local beer, and hang out in local places to meet local people. It can be across the state, or across the world it all works the same way. Try it! Pass up the hotel bar, and go where the locals drink, don't eat at the big chain restaurant, hit the little cafe that is packed with local people. There is a reason it's packed! Find out and have fun!

Just a rant, not about beer but something on my mind..