Tag Archives: beer is awesome

Pint-Sized Reviews: Traquair House Jacobite Ale

Wow. It has been six months since my last review. I almost feel guilty.

But not guilty enough to keep from telling you all how awesome Traquair House is as a brewery. According to the website,

The brewery currently produces around 600 - 700 barrels per annum. (200,000 bottles and the remainder draught) Brewing takes place all year round with the exception of August. The brewery expanded its premises in 1993 but continues to ferment its total production in the original oak vessels. At present there is room to increase production by a further 20% but there are no plans to expand beyond this as it is intended to retain brewing in the original style and premises.

I'm pretty sure that I sold this line at the old basement as well, in a review of the utterly awesome Traquair House Ale (if you see this in your local bottle shop, BUY IT!!!).

Today, I'm moving on to taunt, err, regale you with another bottle of awesomeness (and I don't mean donkey-sauce awesome, I mean reality awesome) from Traquair House: the Jacobite Ale "wee heavy" flavored ale.
Continue reading Pint-Sized Reviews: Traquair House Jacobite Ale

The Two Man Gentlemen Band – Fancy Beer + Prime Numbers

My expression of fraternal esteem to everyone here at the WGOM. In song form, of course.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Me5TNc9BuJQ

Make the jump for "Prime Numbers," which is sort of like musical Number Munchers, but in a song about ladies' measurements monogamy vs. polyamory . Continue reading The Two Man Gentlemen Band – Fancy Beer + Prime Numbers

4 votes, average: 6.75 out of 104 votes, average: 6.75 out of 104 votes, average: 6.75 out of 104 votes, average: 6.75 out of 104 votes, average: 6.75 out of 104 votes, average: 6.75 out of 104 votes, average: 6.75 out of 104 votes, average: 6.75 out of 104 votes, average: 6.75 out of 104 votes, average: 6.75 out of 10 (4 votes, average: 6.75 out of 10)
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First Monday Book Day: Beer Me

Sorry for the delay, kids. Life happens sometimes.

Ambitious Brew by Maureen OgleBut the set-back allowed me to see this link on the burgeoning brew scene in Duhloot. Combined with the awesomeness that is the Northern Waters Smokehaus, and Duluth suddenly is a destination city.

Back to the book biz. This month's selection, Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer by Maureen Ogle, is after my own heart. I received this book as a holiday gift from my kids, love them.

Ogle entertainingly chronicles the personalities and travails of America's founding beer dynasties -- the Bests, Buschs, Millers, Schlitzs and so forth, through the heady expansion years of the late antebellum and throughout the postbellum period, the culture wars that led to Prohibition, the triumphant return and then consolidation of the industry in the decades after repeal, and finally the giddy resurrection of craft brewing in the late 1970s through today. It was fun to read her descriptions of the origins of the Best family's brewing operation in 1840s Milwaukee, interlaced with a smidge of malting and brewing chemistry.

This is not great history on a par with The Roommate or Robert Caro or Robert K. Massie, despite the occasional pretension. Some of the treatment of the economics, politics and social aspects, particularly early in the book, is rather amateurish. Her treatment of the consolidation in the industry during the 1950s and 1960s is pretty limited. For example, while she devotes a few lines to the adoption of "accelerated batch fermentation" in her depiction of the fall of Schlitz, I think she underplays the importance of technological innovations as well as the growing use of rice and corn adjuncts in place of malted barley as paving stones on the road to beer hell.

The beer market stagnated in the 1950s and 1960s, thanks to watered-down quality, but also several other factors that Ogle identifies -- a demographic lull in prime beer-drinking aged consumers, a tremendous rebound in consumption of hard liquor, and the rise of the diet industry (infamously culminating in the insidious triumph of Light/Lite "beer").

Some of her prose and analysis left me wanting to drink. E.g., "But beer also fell victim to a national palate that, since the 1920s, had gravitated toward the sugary and the bland, both of which can be seen as hallmarks of a modernizing society" (p.227). Ugh. She then goes on to tie those trends to "a more casual attitude toward sex, to name one example" of "modern" attitudes. Double ugh.

Ogle is at her best mining correspondence, press coverage and other contemporary accounts to tell the personal stories of intrigue and competition between the beer baron families, and, later, sketching the lives of modern pioneers, such as Anchor Steam's founder, Fritz Maytag, Sierra Nevada's founder, Ken Grossman, and Boston Brewing Co.'s Jim Koch. This is entertaining reading.

When she stays away from Deep Thoughts, this is a fun book, worthy of the beach or late-night bedtime reading. You'll come away with a much deeper appreciation for the place of the brewing industry in American history, and some great anecdotes.

What are you reading?