De Hopduvel

   09-Jun-92 From Vaughn Fletcher
I find the beer topic here is pompous. It's like people discussing some fine year in wine. What ever is on sale for $4.29 a twelve pack (CVR extra) gets me just as drunk as your $12.00 a six-pack imports. I used to go to that joint near Fairview and Hollister (I forget the name (I must have pissed those brain cells away)) and got one of those "I drank beer around the world at XXXXX" (Gee I wish I could remember the name) T-shirts. The only good imports were Giraffe and a Dutch thing that had a ceramic cap on it (Damn! More dead cells!) I would still have those brain cells if it weren't for drinking all that what's it called at what's his name's place.

   09-Jun-92 From Johnston Kinds
Well, Vaughn, we don't approach beer as a way to get drunk. If you just want to get drunk, why don't you buy some cheap whiskey or something? That works a lot faster. Our discussions of beer emphasize the craft of brewing and the aesthetics of appreciating it. We approach beer as a complex and interesting sense experience. If you don't like that approach, you're welcome to talk all you like about how you get drunk and piss away your mind. I'm much more interested in the comparative virtues of different kinds of stouts, however.

   11-Jun-92 From Johnston Kinds
I accidentally bought a six pack with 3 Doppel Darks and 3 Selects in it. I find the Select really weak, and not very interesting. There's one beer at Trader Joe's that's somehow brewed with orange, or orange blossom (or at least that's used in the name). Have you tried that, Brasserie? What do you know about it?

   11-Jun-92 From Brasserie d'Orval
Vaughn, you're wrong on all counts. First, alcohol content varies tremendously among beer-styles. Several imports (and domestics, for that matter) are over twice as strong as Budweiser. Belgium's St. Sixtus (a Trappist Ale), for example, has an original gravity of 1120; the alcohol content is over 10% by volume. Germany's Kulminator 28, an Eisbock (the beer is frozen, and the ice removed), has 13.5 percent alcohol by volume. Switzerland's Samichlaus, whose maturation lasts a year, has up to 14% alcohol by volume. Obviously, you'd get much more drunk on a six-pack of one of these than you would with any cheap mass-market product. The bar you're thinking of is Spike's Place; the products you describe as their "best" are Giraffe and Grolsch, two completely undistinguished lagers. Obviously, you haven't tried too many brews. Beer is a much more complex subject than you imagine; it deserves to be discussed.
     Renrat, I can't answer your question on brewpubs; there are too many variables involved. I could list some books on brewing, but I don't know much about the brewpub business. Have you ever made a beer?
     Colin, I haven't tried the local brewpub. I was interested in it initially, then I heard it was concentrating on pilsner, so I avoided it. However, I walked by a while ago, and noticed that people were drinking what could have been either porter or stout. The place might be worth trying.
     Johnston, I think you're talking about Oranjeboom. There's no orange in the beer (although that might be interesting); it's just another boring pseudo-pilsner, although it was once fairly strong. It's unfortunate that all the imports from the Netherlands seem to be in this style, because the country's full of interesting brewpubs and micros. For example, there's a brewery located on a remote Amsterdam Pier (the former location of a public bathhouse) that grinds its malt by windmill-power. Its brews -- all of which, interestingly, resemble Trappist ale -- have names like "Wet," "Drunk," and "Ostrich"; they're supposedly very tasty.

   12-Jun-92 From Renrat
Brasserie, The books would be most helpful and YES I am serious about the matter of opening a pub and brewing good beer. As for my personal experience, no. I have not been involved in actual brewing since a rather short period while I was still home with Dad. We do have some very fine brewers here locally who have been involved for quite some time and are anxious/willing to help with that aspect of the operation. As for "working" breweries, the closest is in Etna, some 30 miles to the NW. They appear to be making a living and are marketing the product in Or and No. CA ...

   12-Jun-92 From The Newstyle
Brass, you're really into beer.....

   12-Jun-92 From Brasserie d'Orval
Of course I'm into beer. That's why I'm leaving Santa Barbara in a few days. I'm going to intensively sample the numerous brewpubs and micros that have emerged on the East coast. I'll visit Boston's Samuel Adams, where they brew their Stock Ale (the lagers are actually produced in Pittsburgh and Oregon), and the nearby Doyle's pub, which serves local brews and some good imports. Also in Boston is the Commonwealth brewpub, with golden, amber, and bitter ales (the latter by far the best), and porter, stout, and a winey Special Old Ale. This brewpub unfortunately filters its lighter ales, which is completely unjustifiable as far as I'm concerned. Nonetheless, Commonwealth's darker products, especially the stout, are very worthwhile. They've also got good food. Another important Boston beer institution is the Wursthaus restaurant in Harvard Square, which serves German food and a huge assortment of beers (their Belgian selection is particularly strong). Boston has two other new brewpubs, which I'm going to try, and Mass Bay brewing, whose light-but-hoppy Harpoon Ale has won some awards recently in New England beer-competitions.
     I'll also visit the Geary's brewery, located in the weird city of Portland, Maine. This micro produces an excellent pale ale; its bottle is distinguished by a detailed illustration of a lobster. The brewmaster, David Geary, is known for disparaging brewers (Anchor, Harpoon, etc.) who add spices to their Winter ales. Geary's seasonal Hampshire Special Ale (o.g.:1070) is an amazing brew indeed.
     Another noted New England micro is Catamount, in Vermont. They produce good gold and amber ales, but by far their best regular product is their porter. This brew is darker and more chocolatey than Sierra Nevada's example; some experienced beer-drinkers think it's better. Catamount also has special Summer ales, but these are usually too light for my taste.

   12-Jun-92 From Skull Fracture
Yes, but *why* are you so into beer? Is there nothing else in your life?

   12-Jun-92 From Brasserie d'Orval
     It doesn't follow that because I'm interested and knowledgeable about beer that there's nothing else in my life. I have a lot of interests; this is the one I happen to be talking about here. There are subjects where my interest and knowledge are greater than my interest and knowledge in beer. In any case, I like drinking, reading about, and studying beer. My interest in it stems from my enjoyment of it; I act on my interest by learning as much as I can. So it's not surprising that someone as ignorant as you (in all the hundreds of malodorous, moronic messages you've scattered across this BBS like jackrabbit turds, I've discerned maybe 2 distinct thoughts) would be threatened.

   12-Jun-92 From Vaughn Fletcher
     I'll still take my $4.29 a 12-pack. It washes down my cheese and crackers just fine, and I don't cry if I spill any.

   24-Jul-92 From Johnston Kinds
I was doing some research today and I came across a book on hop production. The book discussed hop extracts as substitutes in brewing for real hop cones. Experiments done in Checkoslovak breweries led the author to believe only about 20% of the natural hops can be replaced with extracts before the flavor of the brew becomes seriously altered. The implicit contention, in my view, was that breweries that don't use actual hop cones are cheap; they're sacrificing flavor for convenience. The book was written last year. It was a good text; it gave a very detailed chemical analysis of hops -- which I didn't bother with -- but also discussed methods of growing hops.

   24-Jul-92 From Johnston Kinds
Oh, I also discovered that hops contains tiny amounts of morphine. I've known for a while that hops tea is used as a relaxant, but never knew that.

   28-Jul-92 From The Newstyle
Brasserie, I think 'Natural Pilsner' is the best beer in existence. :)

   03-Aug-92 From Johnston Kinds
I tried Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout and Anchor Steam's Liberty Ale tonight. I wasn't as fond of Imperial Stout as I was of Taddy Porter, which I just loved. I was surprised by Liberty Ale, though; I think it's a delightful brew. I don't like it as much as Grants or Sierra Nevada, but I had heard somewhat negative things about Anchor Steam and was expecting something worse. Continuing my search for the ultimate porter, I picked up a bottle of Anchor Porter as well. You know, there's something about the taste of Anchor Steam ale that reminds me of the smell of the ocean.

   03-Aug-92 From Brasserie d'Orval
Anchor's products are controversial with me. A lot of people insist that "Anchor Steam is the best"; in most cases, I think, these individuals haven't kept up with the advances made by microbreweries in the past decade. Anchor's brews are definitely real (they don't use extracts, etc.), but I don't regard their various products as stylistic models. Their principal product, Anchor Steam beer, is unique in the sense that it's an ale-lager hybrid. Fritz Maytag, who runs Anchor, says the aim is to combine the cleanness of a German lager with the assertiveness of a good British ale. Anchor Steam is very pleasant, in my opinion, but not unusual enough -- despite the process by which it's produced -- to drink regularly.
     I loved Liberty Ale's unusual, hoppy aroma when I first tried it. The problem is that that intense hoppiness is all the brew has; it gets boring after a while. (Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale, for example, is more complex and drinkable thanks to it's maltiness and bottle-conditioning.) Anchor Porter is another beer I'm ambivalent towards. It has to be served at room temperature, in my opinion. It's got plenty of flavor (including licorice undertones), and, like the label says, it's rich, with a creamy texture. But the brew -- which is actually bottom-fermented -- just doesn't taste like porter to me.
     My favorite Anchor product is their seasonal Holiday Ale. Each year, its label depicts a different tree. The recipe also varies slightly, but the ale invariably incorporates dark-roasted malts, a slightly higher-than average original gravity, and spices, such as nutmeg (a trend started in the U.S. with Grant's Mulled Ale). Anchor's also produced several interesting sounding brews which I haven't been able to find; these include Old Foghorn (a barley-wine), Ninkasi (a beer made from bread), and a Spruce Beer (which generated a lot of excitement at the latest Great American Beer Festival).

   03-Aug-92 From Johnston Kinds
I tried a bottle of Grant's Scottish ale tonight. It's luscious! It has pretty strong hops, by my taste, but an interesting, mild sweetness in the background. I think I enjoy this even more than Grants' pale ale. Speaking of pale ale, I picked up a bottle of Samuel Smith's pale ale as well, and plan to have it sometime later tonight. How would you rate that, Brasserie, in comparison with Sierra Nevadas and Grants' pale ales?

   03-Aug-92 From Brasserie d'Orval
All of Samuel Smith's products are first-rate, and their Old Brewery Pale Ale (known in its domestic market in cask-conditioned form as Museum Ale) is one of my favorites. Being an English ale, it's obviously very different from Sierra Nevada's and Grant's products, both of which rely on Washington-grown Cascade hops. Even among English ales, Samuel Smith's products are unique in that they ferment in stone vessels; this results in very smooth-textured beer. (This creaminess is also evident in the products of England's Theakston brewery, another proponent of the so-called Yorkshire brewing-system.) In the winter, Samuel Smith comes out with an ale called "Winter Welcome." Along with their Imperial Stout, this is my favorite Samuel Smith product; it's like a richer version of their Pale Ale.

   10-Aug-92 From bloodline
I bought a bottle of Eye of the Hawk ale last night. It was fairly strong, fairly hoppy, over-priced, but overall, pretty good.

   20-Aug-92 From The Evil Metronome
I've been drinking American coffee this week, and it became apparent to me that these beans are coffee's equivalent of conventional-gravitied lagers: pilsners, Dortmunders, and so forth. Like these beers, the coffees of Costa Rica and Columbia are light-bodied, balanced, and mild -- the sort of thing anyone could drink. Pale malts and relatively high hop rates make pilsners "clean-tasting" and brisk, just like the acidic coffees of the Americas. The best of these, in my opinion, are the relatively complex Estate-grown Guatemalan coffees. A fairly dark roast brings out subtle smoky, chocolatey undertones in this coffee, making it comparable to smooth, dark lagers such as Kulmbacher Monschoff's Kloster-Schwarz-Bier, or Spaten's Dunkel Export.

   21-Aug-92 From bloodline
Spaten's Dunkel Export. That sounds really silly. Spaten Dunkel. Brasserie, does Samuel Adams have a seasonal stout? Someone on Internet mentioned something like that.

   21-Aug-92 From The Evil Metronome
You shouldn't laugh. Spaten is one of the most influential breweries in the world, in terms of brewing methods and beer styles. Several of their products, including their Dunkel and Marzen/Oktoberfest, are considered the definitive examples of their styles. Spaten also brews pilsners, wheat beers, a pale bock called Franziskus, and -- my favorite -- a dark double bock called Doppelspaten (spaten translates to "spade," the brewery's logo). However, bock beers -- along with barley wines and imperial stouts -- aren't appropriate for regular consumption in warm weather. Like Indonesian coffees, their richness, earthiness, and full-bodiedness make them most enjoyable in the fall and, especially, winter.
     I'm not aware of a stout produced by Samuel Adams, but living on the west coast, I wouldn't necessarily expect to be. I'd be very interested in obtaining the brew, if/when it exists. Samuel Adams' other top-fermenting product, their Boston Stock Ale, is definitely a good brew.

   21-Aug-92 From bloodline
Someone else more or less confirmed it; Samuel Adams apparently has a product called Cream Stout, which is evidently available (one person wrote) on draught in a Pennsylvania pub. I'm anxious to try Duvel. I think I'll go get some tonight.

   23-Aug-92 From The Evil Metronome
Cream stout, what an odd choice. Then again, there are already a fairly large number of dry stouts being made; and milk stouts have, I think, the potential to get trendy. On the other hand, the brew might stay available exclusively at the brewpub (are you sure it's not in Philadelphia?), as has been the case with a Samuel Adams porter.

   30-Aug-92 From The Evil Metronome
     I recently came into possession of a small quantity of Ethiopian Harrar, a very rare coffee. When I added water to the beans (ground seconds earlier, of course), they gave off a striking, pungent, cinnamon aroma. The coffee is medium-bodied, with some acidity, and a strong, complex flavor. There's no question that high-grade African and Arabian beans are coffee's equivalent to Belgian Ale.

   30-Aug-92 From colin campbell
     The harrar! The harrar!

   31-Aug-92 From bloodline
What did that mean? I drank a bottle of Young's winter ale again last night, and enjoyed it quite a bit. I had over-dramatized its quality in my memory, but it was still good. I heard a commercial for Samuel Adams on the radio again today. That Koch guy is annoying me. He's too boastful; he brags that Samuel Adams is the _only_ American beer imported to Germany (which I doubt) and declares that his beer wins Best American Beer contests left and right. Blah. On a list of American beer companies I'd probably put SA forth or fifth, below Grants, Sierra Nevada, and maybe Anchor Steam and Mendocino.

   31-Aug-92 From David the Grey
I've been rather experimenting with different beers lately, just for the fun of it. I bought a 6-pack of Killian's IrishRed last week which I found very tasty. Interesting color too. I was expecting more of a dark-beer taste, but it was fairly mild.

   31-Aug-92 From The Evil Metronome
     I prefer Sierra Nevada and Grant's products (not to mention numerous British and Belgian breweries) to Samuel Adams also, mainly because I tend to prefer styles of ale to styles of lager. If had to subsist on only 10 beers for the rest of my life, 2 or 3 would be lagers. Still, Samuel Adams products are high-quality, and they include some interesting styles. If it's true that Samuel Adams' beers are the only U.S. ones imported into Germany, it's because 1) they adhere to the Reinheitsgebot (which doesn't set them apart from many micro-products); and 2) they tend to follow classic German styles, such as Pilsner, Marzen/Oktoberfest, Doppelbock, etc. Most of the good U.S. microbreweries emulate British ale, and the Germans are notoriously conservative when it comes to what they consider beer. (Some German beer styles, such as Rauchbier, Eisbock, and Berlinner Weisse are nonetheless very unique in terms of how they taste and how they're made.)
     Samuel Adams' Oktoberfest should be out in mid- to late-September, and if it's anything like it was last year, I recommend it. (It might even be one of the 2 or 3 lagers on my list.) It was darker than most German Oktoberfests, in fact reddish in color, sweet-but-hoppy, fragrant and complex.

     31-Aug-92 From bloodline
Speaking of Weis, I found Grant's Weis Beer and Yakima Cider at Fairview liquor tonight, and tried bottles of both. Weis beer is hilarious; it's almost just like his Pale Ale, only toned down. Unlike Sierra Nevada's wheat beer, it seems to have -- no surprise, knowing Grant's products -- fairly prominent hops in it. I wasn't expecting much from the yakima cider, since the idea of cider isn't exactly a turn-on for me, but I did enjoy it somewhat; it has a strong taste but if I didn't know better I might say its from wine grapes, not apples. Anyway, the color of the cider is light, golden yellow; the weis beer is bit orangy. Grant's little labels on the beers are so funny I wanted to type them up here. Here's what he wrote for his Yakima cider: "Are all apples the same? No. There are bad apples and good ones. Adam's apple must have been a bad one, for instance. Positively sinful. Yet the apple that Sir Isaac Newton considered a matter of such gravity must certainly have been a good one. I make Yakima Cider with only good apples. Real Washington apples. Brewed right, with pure water from the Cascade Mountains and premium yeast from my native Britain. And nothing else. So give my cider a try. And see how you like _them_ apples!" The writing for Weis Beer is even better: "Weis beer, wheat beer, White Beer; whatever you call it, I think you'll find this to be one of the most refreshing brews you've ever had. But serve it _cold_. Glacial, in fact. So cold that the glass shivers. And try it with a twist of lemon or a touch of fruit juice. I even mix the whole concoction with ice on those hot Yakima summer days when the thermometer threatens to burst. Then sit back, sip your Weis Beer, and do absolutely nothing. _Nothing_. So stop reading. Enjoy."

   31-Aug-92 From Luminary Coremaster
Exchuse me, mam'...Could ya spare a dollar so a poor man can get a *hic* cup of coffee.

   01-Sep-92 From Busman
I find that unless you try your finer beers out of the tap, that they lose a lot in the transition. I absolutely LOVE McEwan's Ale on tap, so figgered I get a sixer and have the taste in the comfort of my own home, when I tried it was like cough syrup, it was terrible. I can only imagine what the beers that taste good out of the bottle taste like on tap. I find that Samuel Adams Lager to be quite good, I enjoy darker beers on the whole, which is why I cant stand american beers they are all piss water as far as I am concerned. Miller, bud, and coors, that is. About Sams commercials, however, he manages to whine throughout his entire boasting speil as well, it is quite trying.

   01-Sep-92 From bloodline
Where do you get McEwan's on tap? I tried a bottle of their scotch (or was it scottish?) ale a few nights ago and was pretty happy with it (but then, I wasn't comparing it to anything on tap). What are some other beers you like, Busman?

   01-Sep-92 From The Evil Metronome
     Yeah, Bert Grant's comments are great. I like his labels, with their dramatic symbols that suggest the style's place of origin. Of all his products, the Weiss Beer is the one that has least in common with its ancestors. German Weisses are much more tart, even sour. I wonder why they don't call it a Weizenbier; it much more closely fits this South German style.
     McEwan's Scotch ale is a little too sweet for me to consume regularly. I really like some aggressively malty beers, like Celebrator Doppelbock, because there's enough hoppiness to give the beer complexity. With McEwan's (they also make a bland pale ale), the sweetness is almost sugary. McAndrews has a Scotch ale which is much better, an interesting, pale version of the style called Caledonian. Oh, and even better still, if you can find (and afford) it, is Traquair House Ale. It's a dark, very interesting Scotch ale, fermented in uncoated wooden vessels.

   01-Sep-92 From Busman
Unfortunately the place I used to get all my good beers on tap is in San Marcos, down near Escondido, my home when I wasn't up here at school, I used to go home every summer just to enjoy The Camelot. I hear that there is a good English Pub in Ventura, i haven't been yet, but I plan to go before School starts up again (for the last time yeah!). I also enjoy Watney's. Guiness is good, I haven't tried it in bottles yet, i an a little gun shy. One also cant find a good Barn o' da Gods (Liquor Barn) around here either, or am I just ignant? I've tried many of the beers round the world at spikes, I find red tail ale to be good, even outta the bottle. I am hoping to be on a dart team coming up here in a bout two weeks, soon I should be an encyclopedia on good bars to go get good beer on tap, we shall see.

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