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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Great American Beer Festival Medal Winners Announced

On the final day of the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, the Brewers Association announced the medal winners for the 25th annual event.

2006 Brewery and Brewer of the Year Awards

Large Brewery Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by Beer Institute
Pabst Brewing Co., Woodridge, IL
Bob Newman

Mid-Size Brewery Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by HopUnion CBS, LLC
New Glarus Brewing Co., New Glarus, WI
Daniel J. Carey

Small Brewery Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by Microstar Keg Management
Bear Republic Brewing Co., Healdsburg, CA
Richard G. Norgrove

Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Company Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by Brewery Supply Group
Pelican Pub & Brewery, Pacific City, OR
Darron R. S. Welch

Small Brewpub Company and Small Brewpub Company Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by Briess Malt & Ingredients Co.
Flossmoor Station Brewing Co., Flossmoor, IL
Matt Van Wyk

Category: 1 American Cream Ale or Lager - 24 Entries
Gold: Red Dog, Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, WI
Silver: Lone Star, Pabst Brewing Co., Woodridge, IL
Bronze: Henry Weinhard Private Reserve, Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, WI

Category: 2 American-Style Wheat Beer - 23 Entries
Gold: Pyramid Crystal Weizen, Pyramid Breweries, Seattle, WA
Silver: William Jones Wheat Beer, El Toro Brewing Co., Morgan Hill, CA
Bronze: Shiner Dunkelweizen, The Spoetzl Brewery, Shiner, TX

Category: 3 American-Style Hefeweizen - 37 Entries
Gold: Hefeweizen, Widmer Brothers Brewing Co., Portland, OR
Silver: American Wheat, Opa-Opa Brewing Co., Southampton, MA
Bronze: Mueller Unfiltered Wheat, Springfield Brewing Co., Springfield, MO

Category: 4 Fruit and Vegetable Beer - 46 Entries
Gold: Belgian Red, New Glarus Brewing Co., New Glarus, WI
Silver: Blue Moon Chardonnay Blonde, Blue Moon Brewing Co., Golden, CO
Bronze: Patty’s Chile Beer, Wynkoop Brewing Co., Denver, CO

Category: 5 Herb and Spice Beer - 64 Entries
Gold: The Wind Cried Mari, Cambridge Brewing Co., Cambridge, MA
Silver: Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co., Chippewa Falls, WI
Bronze: Fred Miller’s Classic Chocolate Lager, Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, WI

Category: 6 Coffee Flavored Beer - 28 Entries
Gold: Fuel, Capitol City Brewing Co., Arlington, VA
Silver: Black Magic Java Stout, Barley Island Brewing Co., Noblesville, IN
Bronze: Arctic Rhino Coffee Porter, Midnight Sun Brewing Co., Anchorage, AK

Category: 7 Specialty Beer - 16 Entries
Gold: Smokin’ Mesquite Ale, Humperdinks Restaurant and Brewery, Dallas, TX
Silver: Pullman Brown Ale, Flossmoor Station Brewing Co., Flossmoor, IL
Bronze: Maple Nut Brown Ale, Tommyknocker Brewery, Idaho Springs, CO

Category: 8 Rye Beer - 22 Entries
Gold: Worryin’ Ale, Piece Brewery, Chicago, IL
Silver: Sun Rye, Redhook Ale Brewery, Portsmouth, NH
Bronze: Surfer in the Rye, Huntington Beach Beer Co., Huntington Beach, CA

Category: 9 Specialty Honey Lager or Ale - 26 Entries
Gold: Blue Moon Honeymoon, Blue Moon Brewing Co., Golden, CO
Silver: Ray’s Honey Rye, Boscos, Memphis, TN
Bronze: Hummingbird Ale, Mountain Sun/Southern Sun Pub & Brewery, Boulder, CO

Category: 10 Experimental Beer - 37 Entries
Gold: New Grist, Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee, WI
Silver: Angry Mike’s Stoudt Creek, Flossmoor Station Brewing Co., Flossmoor, IL
Bronze: Samuel Adams Utopias 2003, The Boston Beer Co., Boston, MA

Category: 11 Wood- and Barrel-aged Beer - 29 Entries
Gold: Cherry Stout, New Glarus Brewing Co., New Glarus, WI
Silver: Barrel 001, Santa Barbara Brewing Co., Santa Barbara, CA
Bronze: Bourbon Ivan, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant - West Chester,
West Chester, PA

Category: 12 Wood- and Barrel-aged Strong Beer - 58 Entries
Gold: Bourbon Cherry Stout, Central Waters Brewing Co., Junction City, WI
Silver: Full Sail Black Gold Imperial Stout, Full Sail Brewing at River Place, Portland, OR
Bronze: Wooden Hell, Flossmoor Station Brewing Co., Flossmoor, IL

Category: 13 Aged Beer (Ale or Lager) - 28 Entries
Gold: Triple Exultation - 2004, Eel River Brewing Co., Fortuna, CA
Silver: Hibernation Ale 2005, Great Divide Brewing Co., Denver, CO
Bronze: World Wide Stout, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE

Category: 14 Cellar or Unfiltered Beer - 18 Entries
Gold: Kellerbier, Herkimer Pub and Brewery, Minneapolis, MN
Silver: U.C.I.P.A., Steelhead Brewery - Irvine, Irvine, CA
Bronze: Wild West Fest, Great American Restaurants, Centreville, VA

Category: 15 Smoke-Flavored Beer - 20 Entries
Gold: Smoke Creek Rauchbier, Great Basin Brewing Co., Sparks, NV
Silver: Smokestack Porter, Rocky River Brewing Co., Rocky River, OH
Bronze: Stewart’s Smoked Porter, Stewart’s Brewing Co., Bear, DE

Category: 16 German-Style Pilsener - 40 Entries
Gold: Organic Pilsner, Butte Creek Brewing Co., Chico, CA
Silver: Eagle Pride Pilsener, Elk Grove Brewery and Restaurant, Elk Grove, CA
Bronze: Dog Day’s Pils, Big Buck Brewery and Steakhouse - Auburn Hills,
Auburn Hills, MI

Category: 17 Bohemian-Style Pilsener - 33 Entries
Gold: Schtolen Pils, SandLot Brewery at Coors Field, Denver, CO
Silver: La Plata Pils, Carver Brewing Co., Durango, CO
Bronze: Papa’s Pilsner, 75th Street Brewery - Lawrence, Lawrence, KS

Category: 18 Münchner-Style Helles - 32 Entries
Gold: Sunfest Lager, Ham’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Greenville, NC
Silver: 6X Golden Lager, C.B. & Potts Big Horn Brewery - Fort Collins, Fort Collins, CO
Bronze: Gordon Biersch Golden Export, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group, Chattanooga, TN

Category: 19 European-Style Pilsener - 23 Entries
Gold: Gold Mt. Pilsner, Silver City Brewing Co., Silverdale, WA
Silver: Schell Pilsner, August Schell Brewing, New Ulm, MN
Bronze: Widmer Export Lager, Widmer Brothers Brewing Co., Portland, OR

Category: 20 American-Style Light Lager - 29 Entries
Gold: Old Milwaukee Light, Pabst Brewing Co., Woodridge, IL
Silver: Milwaukee’s Best Light, Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, WI
Bronze: Southpaw Light, Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, WI

Category: 21 American-Style Lager - 27 Entries
Gold: Pabst Blue Ribbon, Pabst Brewing Co., Woodridge, IL
Silver: Miller High Life, Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, WI
Bronze: Blatz, Pabst Brewing Co., Woodridge, IL

Category: 22 American-Style Specialty Lager - 19 Entries
Gold: Mickey’s Malt Liquor, Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, WI
Silver: Icehouse, Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, WI
Bronze: HG 800, Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, WI

Category: 23 Vienna-Style Lager - 20 Entries
Silver: Balto Marz Hon, Clipper City Brewing Co., Baltimore, MD
Bronze: Schild brau Amber, Millstream Brewing Co., Amana, IA

Category: 24 German-Style Märzen / Oktoberfest - 45 Entries
Gold: Samuel Adams Octoberfest, The Boston Beer Co., Boston, MA
Silver: Michelob Marzen, Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, MO
Bronze: Dominion Octoberfest, Old Dominion Brewing Co., Ashburn, VA

Category: 25 American-Style Amber Lager - 35 Entries
Gold: Steam Engine Lager, Steamworks Brewing Co., Durango/Bayfield, CO
Silver: Toasted Lager, Blue Point Brewing Co., Patchogue, NY
Bronze: Oktoberfist, Bluegrass Brewing Co., Louisville, KY

Category: 26 European-Style Dark / Münchner Dunkel - 21 Entries
Silver: Storm King, Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co., Glenwood Springs, CO
Bronze: Dunkel Rico, Stewart’s Brewing Co., Bear, DE

Category: 27 American-Style Dark Lager - 13 Entries
Gold: Leinenkugel’s Creamy Dark, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co., Chippewa Falls, WI
Silver: Freidafest, Humperdinks Restaurant and Brewery, Dallas, TX
Bronze: Ziegenbock, Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, MO

Category: 28 German-Style Schwarzbier - 21 Entries
Gold: Black Wolf Schwarzbier, Flossmoor Station Brewing Co., Flossmoor, IL
Silver: Schwarzbier, Rock Bottom Brewery - King of Prussia, King of Prussia, PA
Bronze: Iron Horse Lager, Great American Restaurants, Centreville, VA

Category: 29 Bock - 33 Entries
Gold: Maibock, Blind Tiger Brewery Pub & Play, Topeka, KS
Silver: Tröegenator Double Bock, Tröegs Brewing Co., Harrisburg, PA
Bronze: Fornicator Maibock, Piece Brewery, Chicago, IL

Category: 30 German-Style Strong Bock - 12 Entries
Gold: Autumnal Fire, Capital Brewery Co., Middleton, WI
Silver: Eisphyre, Capital Brewery Co., Middleton, WI
Bronze: Procrastinator, Back Street Brewery - Vista, Vista, CA

Category: 31 Baltic-Style Porter - 8 Entries
Silver: Raven, McKenzie Brew House, Glen Mills, PA
Bronze: Neptune’s Nemesis, Rocky River Brewing Co., Rocky River, OH

Category: 32 Golden or Blonde Ale - 41 Entries
Gold: Kiwanda Cream Ale, Pelican Pub & Brewery, Pacific City, OR
Silver: Korruption Kölsch, Bottoms Up Brewing Co., Pinedale, WY
Bronze: Aud Blonde, Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, CA

Category: 33 German-Style Kölsch / Köln-Style Kölsch - 43 Entries
Gold: Chaser Pale, Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery, Nashville, TN
Silver: Clear Water Kolsch, RAM Restaurant and Big Horn Brewery - Boise, Boise, ID
Bronze: Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower Beer, Saint Arnold Brewing Co., Houston, TX

Category: 34 English-Style Summer Ale - 25 Entries
Gold: 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Goose Island Beer Co., Chicago, IL
Silver: Sandbagger Gold, Montana Brewing Co., Billings, MT
Bronze: True Blonde Ale, Ska Brewing Co., Durango, CO

Category: 35 Classic English-Style Pale Ale - 25 Entries
Gold: 5 Barrel Pale Ale, Odell Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO
Silver: Mac’s Ale, Pyramid Breweries, Seattle, WA
Bronze: Denver Pale Ale, Great Divide Brewing Co., Denver, CO

Category: 36 English-Style India Pale Ale - 26 Entries
Gold: India Pale Ale, Carolina Brewery, Chapel Hill, NC
Silver: Beech Street Bitter, Pizza Port - Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA
Bronze: Triumph Bengal Gold I.P.A., Triumph Brewing Co. of New Hope, New Hope, PA

Category: 37 American-Style Pale Ale - 83 Entries
Gold: Tumble Off Pale Ale, Barley Brown’s Brew Pub, Baker City, OR
Silver: Brewmasters’ Pale, Widmer Brothers Brewing Co., Portland, OR
Bronze: XP Pale Ale, Bear Republic Brewing Co., Healdsburg, CA

Category: 38 American-Style Strong Pale Ale - 66 Entries
Gold: Big Fish, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery - Chandler, Chandler, AZ
Silver: Racer’s, Bear Republic Brewing Co., Healdsburg, CA
Bronze: Hop Knot, Four Peaks Brewing Co., Tempe, AZ

Category: 39 American-Style India Pale Ale - 94 Entries
Gold: HopHead Imperial IPA, Bend Brewing Co., Bend, OR
Silver: Apex Ale, Bear Republic Brewing Co., Healdsburg, CA
Bronze: Taildragger IPA, RAM Restaurant and Big Horn Brewery - Boise, Boise, ID

Category: 40 Imperial or Double India Pale Ale - 57 Entries
Gold: Pliny the Elder, Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, CA
Silver: Poor Man’s IPA, Pizza Port - Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA
Bronze: Left Coast Hop Juice, Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Co., San Clemente, CA

Category: 41 American-Style Amber / Red Ale - 62 Entries
Gold: Anniversary Ale, Amherst Brewing Co., Amherst, MA
Silver: Amber Waves Ale, Capitol City Brewing Co., Arlington, VA
Bronze: Sharkbite Red Ale, Port Brewing Co., San Marcos, CA

Category: 42 Imperial or Double Red Ale - 24 Entries
Gold: Organic Deranger, Laurelwood Brewing Co., Portland, OR
Silver: Shark Attack, Pizza Port - Solana Beach, Solana Beach, CA
Bronze: Rock Opera Imperial IPA, Vino’s Pizza*Pub*Brewery, Little Rock, AR

Category: 43 Bitter - 33 Entries
Gold: Raccoon Red, Rock Bottom Brewery - Bethesda, Bethesda, MD
Silver: Alaskan Pale, Alaskan Brewing Co., Juneau, AK
Bronze: Cutthroat Pale Ale, Uinta Brewing Co., Salt Lake City, UT

Category: 44 Extra Special Bitter or Strong Bitter - 45 Entries
Gold: Firestone Walker IPA, Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA
Silver: Autumn Ale, Short’s Brewing Co., Bellaire, MI
Bronze: Stone Pale Ale, Stone Brewing Co., Escondido, CA

Category: 45 Scottish-Style Ale - 20 Entries
Gold: Laughing Lab Scottish Ale, Bristol Brewing Co., Colorado Springs, CO
Silver: MacPelican’s Scottish Style Ale, Pelican Pub & Brewery, Pacific City, OR
Bronze: Kiltlifter Scottish Ale, Pug Ryan’s Brewery, Dillon, CO

Category: 46 Irish-Style Red Ale - 32 Entries
Gold: TAPS Irish Red, TAPS Fish House & Brewery, Brea, CA
Silver: Red Rocks Red, Rock Bottom Brewery - Westminster, Westminster, CO
Bronze: St. James Red Ale, Walnut Brewery, Boulder, CO

Category: 47 English-Style Brown Ale - 44 Entries
Gold: Dawn Patrol Dark, Pizza Port - San Clemente, San Clemente, CA
Silver: Old Town Brown, Natty Greene’s Brewing Co., Greensboro, NC
Bronze: Balboa Brown, Newport Beach Brewing Co., Newport Beach, CA

Category: 48 American-Style Brown Ale - 45 Entries
Gold: Doryman’s Dark Ale, Pelican Pub & Brewery, Pacific City, OR
Silver: Great American Brown, Pizza Port - Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA
Bronze: Bear Tooth Ale, Moose’s Tooth Brewing Co., Anchorage, AK

Category: 49 German-Style Brown Ale / Düsseldorf-Style Alt Bier- 26 Entries
Gold: Otis Alt, Elk Grove Brewery and Restaurant, Elk Grove, CA
Silver: “Alt 45”, The Cambridge House Brewpub, Granby, CT
Bronze: Terrapin Alt, Rock Bottom Brewery - Bethesda, Bethesda, MD

Category: 50 South German-Style Hefeweizen / Hefeweissbier- 50 Entries
Gold: Mueller Hefeweizen, Springfield Brewing Co., Springfield, MO
Silver: Wapiti Wheat, Wolf Pack Brewing Co., West Yellowstone, MT
Bronze: In-Heat Wheat Hefeweizen, Flying Dog Brewery, Denver, CO

Category: 51 German-Style Wheat Ale - 34 Entries
Gold: Gordon Biersch Weizenbock, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group, Chattanooga, TN
Silver: Boscos Hefeweizen, Boscos, Memphis, TN
Bronze: Berliner Weiss, Bethlehem Brew Works, Bethlehem, PA

Category: 52 Belgian-Style White (or Wit) / Belgian Style Wheat- 36 Entries
Silver: Wits End, Great American Restaurants, Centreville, VA
Bronze: 35th Anniversary Ale, Bull & Bush Brewery, Denver, CO

Category: 53 French- Belgian-Style Saison - 44 Entries
Gold: Organic Farmhouse Ale, Bison Brewing Co., Berkeley, CA
Silver: Saison, Capitol City Brewing Co., Arlington, VA
Bronze: Hennepin Farmhouse Saison, Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY

Category: 54 Belgian- and French-Style Ale - 14 Entries
Gold: Le Fleur Misseur, New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO
Silver: Dim Wit, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery - Chandler, Chandler, AZ
Bronze: Belgian Double White Ale, Southampton Publick House, Southampton, NY

Category: 55 Belgian-Style Sour Ale - 24 Entries
Gold: La Folie, New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO
Silver: Beatification, Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, CA
Bronze: Festina Lente, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE

Category: 56 Belgian-Style Abbey Ale - 56 Entries
Gold: Tripel Ale, Allagash Brewing Co., Portland, ME
Silver: Adirondack Abbey Ale, Great Adirondack Brewing Co., Lake Placid, NY
Bronze: Bishop’s Tipple Tripel, Main Street Brewery, Corona, CA

Category: 57 Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale - 45 Entries
Gold: Golden Armor, C.B. & Potts Big Horn Brewery - Denver Tech Center, Englewood, CO
Silver: Interlude, Allagash Brewing Co., Portland, ME
Bronze: Reve II, Redrock Brewing Co., Salt Lake City, UT

Category: 58 Robust Porter - 71 Entries
Gold: Goddess Porter, Big Time Brewing Co., Seattle, WA
Silver: Pacemaker Porter, Flyers Restaurant and Brewery, Oak Harbor, WA
Bronze: Total Eclipse Black Ale, Hoppy Brewing Co., Sacramento, CA

Category: 59 Brown Porter - 29 Entries
Gold: Molly Titanic, Rock Bottom Brewery - Denver, Denver, CO
Silver: St. Charles Porter, Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery, Nashville, TN
Bronze: Peter Brown Tribute Ale, Bear Republic Brewing Co., Healdsburg, CA

Category: 60 Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout - 21 Entries
Gold: Maxwell’s Stout, Basil T’s Brewery & Italian Grill, Red Bank, NJ
Silver: Slapshot Stout, RAM Restaurant and Big Horn Brewery - Seattle, Seattle, WA
Bronze: Irish Stout, Schooner’s Grille & Brewery, Antioch, CA

Category: 61 Foreign (Export)-Style Stout - 19 Entries
Gold: Tsunami Stout, Pelican Pub & Brewery, Pacific City, OR
Silver: Black Bear XX Stout, Alameda Brewhouse, Portland, OR
Bronze: San Quentin’s Breakout Stout, Marin Brewing Co., Larkspur, CA

Category: 62 American-Style Stout - 20 Entries
Gold: Sticky Stout, Pizza Port - Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA
Silver: Oggi’s Black Majic Stout, Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Co., San Clemente, CA
Bronze: Terminal Oatmeal Stout, Rock Bottom Brewery - Chicago, Chicago, IL

Category: 63 Sweet Stout - 18 Entries
Gold: Udder Goodness, Rock Bottom Brewery - Desert Ridge, Phoenix, AZ
Silver: Steel Toe Stout, Ska Brewing Co., Durango, CO
Bronze: The Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout, The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, Farmville, NC

Category: 64 Oatmeal Stout - 37 Entries
Gold: Oatmeal Stout, Schooner’s Grille & Brewery, Antioch, CA
Silver: Seabright Oatmeal Stout, Seabright Brewery, Santa Cruz, CA
Bronze: Lasto’s Oatmeal Stout, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery - Portland, Portland, OR

Category: 65 Imperial Stout - 35 Entries
Gold: Russian Imperial Stout, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant - Media, Media, PA
Silver: TAPS Imperial Russian Stout, TAPS Fish House & Brewery, Brea, CA
Bronze: Siberian Night, Thirsty Dog Brewing Co., Independence, OH

Category: 66 Strong Scotch Ale - 25 Entries
Gold: Kilt Sniffer Strong Scotch Ale, Big Dog’s Brewing Co., Las Vegas, NV
Silver: Highland Scotch Reserve, Boundary Bay Brewery, Bellingham, WA
Bronze: Rambeaux, RAM Restaurant and Big Horn Brewery - Seattle, Seattle, WA

Category: 67 Old Ale / Strong Ale - 34 Entries
Gold: Vintage Ale, The Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co., Madison, WI
Silver: Tripel Exultation, Eel River Brewing Co., Fortuna, CA
Bronze: Curmudgeons Nip, Odell Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO

Category: 68 Other Strong Ale or Lager - 30 Entries
Gold: Winter Wheatwine, Rubicon Brewing Co., Sacramento, CA
Silver: Dragonstooth Stout, Elysian Brewing Co., Seattle, WA
Bronze: Pit Bull High Gravity Ice Malt Liquor, Pig’s Eye Brewing Co., St. Paul, MN

Category: 69 Barley Wine-Style Ale - 55 Entries
Gold: Old Ruffian Barley Wine, Great Divide Brewing Co., Denver, CO
Silver: Stormwatcher’s Winterfest, Pelican Pub & Brewery, Pacific City, OR
Bronze: Arctic Devil Barley Wine, Midnight Sun Brewing Co., Anchorage, AK

Ambitious Brew by Maureen Ogle

Historian and author Maureen Ogle is in Denver this week at the Great American Beer Festival promoting her new book, Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer. I had a chance to sit down with Ogle between events on Friday to discuss the book.

The idea for the 384 page book (Harcourt, $25) was conceived by Ogle when she came across a Budweiser delivery truck on her way to the grocery store. She was in search of a topic for a new book and was surprised to find out no one from outside of the beer world had ever written a history about the evolution of the industry. The book chronicles many of the large brewing companies, including Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Coors, Pabst and Schlitz, and smaller breweries like F.X. Matt, Ortleib and Yuengling.

Ogle says in researching the book she was surprised to see the level of animosity among some in the craft beer industry toward Anheuser-Busch and found that the common perception that the makers of Budweiser had driven many small brewers out of business in the 1950s and 1960s was wrong.

"After Prohibition the vast majority of the 650-700 breweries that opened in 1933 were owned by people who got in the business to make money and didn't know anything about brewing," Ogle said. She said "plain old incompetence" was the primary reason the number of breweries in the U.S. dropped to 250 during the 1950s and 45 by 1970.

"America's passion for bland food" is another reason that lighter lagers ruled the day for much of the mid- to late-20th Century, Ogle says. She points to Wonderbread and other mass produced food products and says that vodka became popular in America during this same time because it had less flavor than other spirits.

She said the growth of microbreweries and brewpubs is being fueled by America's evolving tastes and the fact the "the majority of brewers in the business are passionate about beer. They like making beer. In the 1950s, most brewers liked making money more than they liked making good beer."

Could the U.S. ever return to a period like Prohibition? Ogle says the similarities between the Anti-Saloon League and the tactics of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, "scares the hell out of me. One hundred years ago people used to say 'Prohibition can't happen here.' MADD is chipping away one step at a time, just like the Anti-Saloon League did to get alcohol outlawed."

GABF: News and Notes Day 3

One of the quirkiest additions to the 25th anniversary Great American Beer Festival is the "Silent Disco" sponsored by Dale's Pale Ale from Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, Colo. The dancers put on head phones and shake it on the dance floor to music the rest of the crowd cannot hear. The dance floor gets a bit more crowded as each tasting session progresses.

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Tim Bruening is enjoying this year's Great American Beer Festival as the guest of the Brewers Association after winning the Great American Beer Tour in May. Bruening visited eight different breweries a total of 32 times to earn the trip. The Brewers Association promotes the week-long event as a way to get people to visit local brewpubs and microbreweries. You can compete for a trip to the 2007 GABF from May 14-20, 2007. Check out www.beertown.org for details.

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Importers from Holland, the United Kingdom and China are attending the GABF to observe the beer culture in the U.S. and meet with brewers gathered in Denver to discuss potential export deals. It's part of the Brewers Association's Export Development Program, an effort funded by federal agricultural and export development grants.

GABF: Day 2 Round Up

The Friday night session at the Great American Beer Festival was a sellout, with scalpers hawking tickets in front of the Colorado Convention Center. Some fans unloaded extra tickets at face value, while others got as much as $90 per ticket for the four and a half hour tasting session.

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Prior to the start of the session, the International Mead Association and several meaderies hosted a reception at the Hyatt. Mead, the oldest alcohol beverage, is made from honey. Products like braggot, made with malt and mead; cyser, made with mead and apple cider, apple juice or apples; and melomel, mead and any fruit other than apples or grapes; demonstrate the range of the beverage.

David Myers, Chairman of the Mead at Redstone Meadery in Colorado, said the $20 million U.S. mead industry has the potential to double in size during the next five years. He says the rallying cry for the industry is "Ask for Mead."

The 2007 International Mead Festival will be held Feb. 9-10, 2007, in Denver.

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Starwood Hotels has launched a program for the Four Points by Sheraton chain to make it "The Beer Hotel." The Best Brews effort beefs up the beer selection at each property. The company has become the official hotel of the Brewers Association, which plans to provide assistance with staff training.

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I was able to sample a wide range of beers at the Great American Beer Festival Friday evening. A few of the highlights included:

Tommyknocker Cocoa Porter Winter Warmer: This Colorado brewer adds cocoa powder and honey to a well hopped beer to create a sweet, but balanced brew.

New Holland Brewing Dragon's Milk: A big flavored dark beer with honey notes.

Elysian Avatar Jasmine IPA: The addition of jasmine puts an interesting twist on the traditional India pale ale flavor profile.

Dogfish Head Pumpkin Ale: One of the few pumpkin beers being poured at the GABF, this 7 percent alcohol by volume brew is a real treat. Plenty of pumpkin and spice flavor in the profile.

Prescott Pilsner 500: A very nice Czech style pilsner beer that in a festival where big beers can dominate your taste buds did a great job bringing through the classic hop and malt balance.

Stone Brewing 10th Anniversary IPA: This San Diego brewery is quickly becoming a west coast powerhouse. The celebratory IPA is hoppy, rich and chewy.

Lazy Magnolia Amber Jack Rye: A clean and crisp beer with rye notes that emerge pleasantly. This Mississippi brewery makes one of the best of this style I've ever had.

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The winners of Great American Beer Festival medals will be announced on Saturday. A record 2,425 beers -- up 3 percent from last year -- have been judged during this week in Denver. Winning a medal can be a marketing bonanza for a brewery.

The most crowded category is the American-style India pale ale, which attracted 94 entries this year. Other highly contested categories include the wood and barrel aged, 87 entries; American-style pale ale, 84; American-style strong pale ale, 66; herb and spice beer, 62; and American-style amber/red ale, 61.

GABF: Boundary Bay Imperial IPA Takes Alpha King Challenge

I was happy to join a group of more than a dozen beer journalists and beer judges for the annual Alpha King Challenge, a blind tasting to determine the best hoppy beer in America. The event, held Friday in the basement of the Falling Rock Tap House, featured 65 entries.

The majority of the beers entered were high quality, heavily hopped brews. Tasting these brews was a hop head's dream. The brewers held nothing back, with several of the brews obviously dry hopped for an extra level of flavor. It was difficult to separate many of the beers, but the best of the bunch emerged offering wonderful aromas and fresh hop flavors that were balanced with the right level of malt.

Because of the volume of beers entered, the judges were split into three teams, with each judging either 21 or 22 beers in the initial round. There were few disagreements when it came to narrowing down the selections of the best brews. The judging teams picked out the best from each division and 14 beers faced off in the final. All of the judges then ranked each of those beers of a 1-5 scale.

In the end, Boundary Bay Imperial IPA from Washington took the title. Two beers from defending Alpha King champion Pizza Port Brewing Co. of Carlsbad, Calif., took second and third place. Pizza Port Hop Suey Double IPA was the second place finisher, while Pizza Port Wipeout IPA finished third.

A raucous crowd cheered the Alpha King as he appeared for the awards ceremony. More than anything, the title carries with it bragging rights for the winning brewer -- and the chance for Boundary's Ed Bennett to wear the Alpha King crown around the GABF floor on Friday evening.

GABF: Brewers Association Pushes Beer and Food Pairings for the Holidays

The Brewers Association hosted a lunch for journalists on Friday to showcase a new initiative by the craft brewing trade group designed to position beer as the perfect holiday meal beverage. A panel of beer and food experts talked as the journalists tasted a traditional Thanksgiving meal that was paired with New Belgium Trippel, a golden 7.8 percent alcohol by volume Belgian style ale, and Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre, an 8 percent alcohol by volume brew that is brewed with Belgian sugars and green raisins.

Jorge de la Torre, Dean of Culinary Education at Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts, said that a Thanksgiving plate full of spicy foods, gravy and stuffing is "a tough sell for a wine to match, but beer can."

Beer writer Randy Mosher said that "Beer has many more connecting points with holiday meals than wine," noting that roasted meats and the grains used in classic holiday side dishes have the same "chemistry" as beer.

Beer and cooking author Lucy Saunders urged holiday cooks to "experiment with using beer as a cooking ingredient."

Friday, September 29, 2006

GABF Day 1 Recap

The Great American Beer Festival 25th anniversary kicked off Thursday night and along with the great beer were some interesting sights and sounds.

The Safari Grill & Brewing Co. from Chanute, Kansas, featured costumed hosts that likely had the folks from Anheuser-Busch wondering if activists have a double standard when it comes to big and small companies. A-B recently pulled the Steve and Zagar campaign for Bud Light. I doubt the same type of pressure will be directed at Safari.

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Many breweries have come and gone during the 25 years that the festival has been in operation. That's not surprising since brewpubs and microbreweries are small businesses and have to compete in a crowded category. Only eight companies have had a booth at all 25 of the GABF events:

Anchor Brewing Company
August Schell Brewing Company
Boulder Beer
Coors Brewing Company
F.X. Matt Brewing Company
Joseph Huber Brewing Company
Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Only three brands of beer, Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve, Genesee Cream Ale and Rainier, that were available at the GABF in 1982 were being poured last night.

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Probably the longest line of the night, with the exception of those for the bathrooms, was at the Alaskan Brewing booth. To celebrate the GABF's 25th, Alaskan is pouring 11 vintages of its multi-award winning Alaskan Smoked Porter . The beer has won 13 GABF medals­­ over the years, more than any other beer in festival history. On Thursday the brewery served the 1994, 1998 and 2001 vintages; On Friday, 1996, 2000 and 2003; Saturday afternoon: 1993, 1997 and 2004; and Saturday evening: 1999, 2002 and 2004.

GABF: Distinguished Brands Reception

Distinguished Brands used an aged double decker bus to shuttle media from the Colorado Convention Center to the Chinook Beer Hall & Tavern in the Cherry Creek area of Denver for an Oktoberfest Celebration. Half liter steins of Erdinger Oktober-Weizen were waiting as we arrived. Tradition German sausages were also available.

One of the highlights of the event was the Helmut Fricker Band, which performed a variety of tradition German tunes.

Great American Beer Festival Kicks Off

With several thousand beer fans waiting outside of the Colorado Convention Center for the Great American Beer Festival to officially open, Brewers Association founder Charlie Papazian treated the media to the GABF 25th Anniversary Beer brewed by Boulder Brewing and sliced a chocolate cake on Thursday evening in Denver.

Papazian talked about the original beer festival held in Boulder in 1982, "when the tradition of American brewing was almost lost." He said the GABF has grown to be the largest of its kind in the U.S. "The GABF is unique in all the world because it emphasizes and really is all about the beer drinker," Papazian said.

Once the doors opened beer fans found the largest collection of American beers ever gather in a single location. The GABF is spread across four sessions and is a bit overwhelming because of the beer options it provides. Among the beers that I enjoyed during the evening were:

Maui Brewing Coconut Porter: This brew has a hint of chocolate and coconut.

Southampton 10th Anniversary Old Ale: This hearty brew has plenty of flavor, with hints of fruit.

Iron Hill Russian Imperial Stout: Dryer than most Russian imperial stouts, this brew has a pleasant smokey finish.

Pumphouse Backdraft Imperial Stout: This is a 3-year-old beer flavored with cherries that has an appealing sour flavor base.

Sierra Nevada Wood Aged Big Foot Barleywine: This variation of one of my all-time favorite high-alcohol beers has an interesting oaky flavor and crisp hop flavor profile.

Wolf Pack Storm Castle Stout: A rich stout with a roasted malt base flavor that is inviting and habit forming.

Big Time Brewing IPA: Plenty of flowery hops with a fresh and inviting flavor.

Dogfish Head Hop Infussed 90 Minute IPA: More hops than you might find in three normal IPAs. Worth looking for at your local beer bar.

Brooklyn Brewery Fortitude: A Belgian-style strong ale that is a golden colored flavorful brew. Hints of fruit and spice throughout.

Stewart's Brewing Oktoberfest: A malty, rich brew that finishes with a slight sweetness.

GABF: Anheuser-Busch Hosts Reception

Anheuser-Busch welcomed guests to the 27th floor of the Hyatt in downtown Denver just prior to the opening of the Great American Beer Festival on Thursday. The view was spectacular from the venue and attendees had a chance to get tastes of an amazing range of beers that the makers of Budweiser have unleashed on the market.

Two of the more interesting offerings are holiday seasonal beers under the Michelob Celebrate brand. One is an Oak Vanilla, while the other is Chocolate. According to A-B Staff Brewer Nathaniel Davis, the Celebrate Vanilla is a 10 percent alcohol by volume brew that uses milled fresh vanilla beans. The Celebrate Chocolate is 8.5 percent alcohol by volume. Both beers are finished in used Bourbon barrels. According to Davis, A-B uses barrels that were originally heavily toasted so that they impart a deep and rich flavor to the beers. Of the two, the Oak Vanilla was my favorite and would be a perfect holiday dinner dessert brew.

GABF: Unleashing Flying Dog Colorado Saison

Flying Dog, a creative Colorado brewery, used Thursday as an opportunity to roll out a new farmhouse ale, Flying Dog Colorado Saison, at a reception at the Blake Street Tavern that is the brewery's Denver home.

The 7.3 percent alcohol by volume brew is a cloudy golden color and has a classic saison flavor. Flying Dog used imported Belgian barley and wheat malt, along with Belgian candi sugar. Styrian Goldings, Czech Saaz hops and a range of spices are used to build the brew's flavor profile. The result is a fruity beer that has a nice lingering aftertaste.

GABF: Great Divide Brewing Kick Off Party

A tradition of the Great American Beer Festival is the reception that the Great Divide Brewing Co. holds for brewers and media in Denver on the first day of the event. The reception this year was well attended and offered a chance for old friends to catch up.

Great Divide was pouring a variety of it beers, served a nice buffet and gave tours of its newly expanded operation. I tried two of their beers that I had previous not sampled: Great Divide Samari, a brew that is made using 20 percent rice, and a Fresh Hop Ale, which was pulled from the aging tank.

The easy going nature of the event was a welcomed contrast from the frenzy that would take place later in the day as thousands gathered for the opening GABF session.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

GABF: A Special Delivery

A friend from Charlotte, Dick Rees mentioned to me a few months ago that his son was working at the Great Divide Brewing Co. in Denver. When I scheduled the trip out for the Great American Beer Festival I told Dick I'd be happy to take anything he wanted out to Taylor and personally deliver it to him.

Dick came up with a great idea. Taylor had recently taken up fly fishing and Dick had a vest that was gift from his wife three decades ago. I came up with a strange story about some guy stopping me in Charlotte Douglas Airport after hearing I was going to Denver and asking me to deliver a package to a guy named Taylor Rees at Great Divide. Taylor only caught on when he saw the vest and the attached note from his Dad.

It was fun playing postman for the day.

GABF: Having a Beer with a Living Legend

After the Rockies vs. Dodgers game we headed to the Falling Rock Tap House about a block away from Coors Field. Canadian beer writer Stephen Beaumont had tipped us off earlier in the day that some special beers were going to poured at Falling Rock starting around 9 p.m. We didn't realize we'd also have the chance to see a performance of the Rolling Boil Blues Band, plus get a chance to share a beer with a living beer legend.

Rolling Boil is the creation of Celebrator Beer News Editor and Publisher Tom Dalldorf that is made up of musicians from various breweries. I had heard about the group before, but had never seen them perform. There set was great fun and our group came away impressed. A line from one tune was "I might drink a porter, I might drink a stout. If I don't get some service here I might shout."

We ended up near the stage and at a table with the legendary Pierre Celis. At 81, Pierre is in Denver promoting his Signature Selection and told me that he plans to be brewing beer in Texas again starting next year. The Celis Brewery in Austin was a great addition to the craft beer scene until it was purchased by Miller Brewing. They did not keep the brewery operation and sold the brand to a Michigan company. I asked Celis if he would do the deal all over again if he had the chance and he shock his head no and made a slashing motion across his throat, "Big brewers, never again. They are only in it for the money. They come in smiling at the meetings, but they are only in it for the money."

During our time at the Falling Rock I sampled three brews:

Pierre Celis Signature Selection Grotten Flemish Ale: golden ale weighs in at 7.7 percent and has hints of herbs and spice in its flavor profile. The brewers suggest this ale will age well and I imagine different complexities would develop over time. We did not allow this bottle to age and shared a glass with Pierre Celis.

Trippel Warlock, at 19.4 percent it is said to be the strongest beer made in Colorado, was tasty and clearly powerful. I offered a sip to Celis who put it on the mark saying: "Now that's something special." The brew has rich raisin and date characteristics, perfect for a cold evening.

Meantime London Porter from Greenwich, England, was a great brew. It uses seven different malts to construct a rich dark character.

GABF: SandLot Brewery at Coors Field

The plan was to head to Coors Field, grab some tickets to see the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers, stop in the stadium's SandLot Brewery for a quick beer and sandwich, and enjoy the game. Things started off well when a few steps from the Wynkoop we ran into a scalper selling tickets for $5 each. They would soon get even better.

When we walked into the SandLot we were greeted by a young woman who was screening visitors for some research that was going on for the Blue Moon brand, which was first brewed at SandLot before being launched nationally by Coors. We were ushered into a screened off area where they served each of us three beers in plastic cups and gave us a form to complete. Each of the beers was well made and had a cloudy pumpkin pie-like color. One, which was my favorite had a fruity raspberry or cherry flavor. If the folks behind Blue Moon want to keep the brand close the Belgian theme started with the original, I'd recommend they do the fruit beer.

After enjoying these free beers, I asked if either Tom Hail or John Legnard, the brewing minds behind the place, were around. We were directed to the basement area where beer brewed at SandLot is always aging. There we found both Tom and John, along with another SandLot brewer, Bill Hasse, talking to a couple of guests. They had a pigstail connected to one of the tanks. A pigstail allows a brewer to sample product while it ages. Our hosts were nice enough to give us tastes of several of the freshest beers on the planet. The Pils was crisp and a beautiful golden color, while a Doppelbock was a wonderful malty beer.

We chatted with the brewers and found out that the SandLot is now only open when the Rockies play. You need a ticket to get inside, but it's worth the effort. The rest of the year, SandLot is still brewing, producing about a third of all of the Blue Moon that is sold in Colorado.

We ended up missing the first three innings of the game, but had a ball. By the way, the Dodgers won the game 6-4.

GABF: Wynkoop Brewing Co.

No visit to Denver -- especially during the GABF -- is truly complete without a stop at the Wynkoop Brewing Co. Located at 18th Street and Wynkoop, this place fueled the rebirth of LoDo. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper founded Wynkoop in 1986. Just a couple of blocks from Coors Field, it made the perfect stop for a pre-game beer.

Mike, Darrin and I ordered a number of 5 ounce samples, which at $1 each, is one of the best beer values you will find anywhere. It's also the only way you can really attempt to take on the long list of regular and seasonal brews the Wynkoop has on tap.

We had several favorites during this visit. The Ba Dunkel Dunk, is a 5.2 percent alcohol by volume dark weiss that has a mild roasted malt character and a great banana flavor profile.

The St. Charles ESB, a very mild extra special bitter using Brewers, Willamete and Cascade hops, reminded me of bitters I enjoyed while spending time in England during college.

Adulterator Dopplebock was a very smooth dark lager and a 6.6 percent kick.

The two most interesting brews we tried was actual a single beer finished two different ways. Tripel Sixes, a Belgian style brew made of 6/6/06, had an interesting nose as a result of the use of three sugars, two malts and two yeasts in the brewing process. At 10.1 alcohol by volume this was big beer, but it did not fully prepare us for Tripel Barrel. Starting with the Tripel Sixes brew, it was finished in used Woodford Reserve Bourbon barrels. This beer was very different than most you will ever taste. It has a sweet taste that finishes with a touch of tart green apple. I'm not sure if I'd like to down more than one pint, but the five ounce sample was a treat.

GABF: Breckenridge Ball Park Brewery & Pub

The first thing we did after checking into our hotel in Denver was to head to the Breckenridge Ball Park Brewery & Pub on Blake Street in the shadow of Coors Field. Blake Street is Denver's 5th Avenue of beer, with several brewpubs and beer bars along this part of Lower Denver -- or LoDo as the locals call it.

I enjoyed a bison burger and sampled several of the Breckenridge beers. The group's clear favorite was the 471 IPA, which had plenty of fresh hops. Breckenridge double hops the 417 IPA using Simcoe, Fuggles, Chinook and Centennial. The other brew that deserves a try is the 471 Thunder Stout. Breckenridge takes its semi-dry Oatmeal Stout and pours it using nitrogen and carbon dioxide. The gas mixture creates a rich, creamy brew.

This lunch was a great start to our Denver adventure. As our server Jim would say, a stop at Breckenridge is "Right On!"

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

GABF: Denver Day 1

The Germans celebrating Oktoberfest in might beg to differ, but the epicenter of the beer universe for the next several days is undeniably Denver, Colorado. While millions of liters of beer have been hoisted outside of Munich during the last couple of weeks, Denver lays claim the crown thanks to one ounce samples that will be handed out to 30,000 beer fans over the next several days.

The Great American Beer Festival is taking place in Denver from Thursday to Saturday. Consumers will have the chance to taste more than 1,600 beers from nearly 400 American breweries during four tasting sessions. This is the Super Bowl, World Series, U.S. Open, Final Four and Daytona 500 of beer all rolled into one neat package. Nearly all of the best beers from pretty much all of the best American brewers are in one place and I’m in that city. The challenge is to find the best beer among the rows and rows of brewery booths. There are plenty of good beers, along with a few mediocre, being poured. The goal is to taste as many great beers as possible, not wasting your taste buds on the merely very good.

This is my fourth GABF and my first in eight years. I’m being joined on the pilgrimage by my Brother-in-Law, Darrin Pikarsky (his third GABF), and a friend, Mike Coffey (a GABF rookie). They are going to help me try to avoid palate fatigue – a nearly impossible task when you have an array of hoppy IPA’s, malty Vienna lagers and extreme brews ranging from coffee stouts to cherry lambics. Along the way they will help select the GABF All-Festival Case – the 24 best beers we run across during our visit. Where to start? Answering that question is complicated by the fact that in addition to the GABF sessions our dance cards are filled with brewery open houses, importer tastings and media events. Along the way I also want to squeeze in a stop at a Denver micro-distillery, hit a mead tasting and get to see the Rockies play the Dodgers.

To survive an event like the GABF you need to have a strategy. First, it is important to remember that this event by its very size is the Boston Marathon of beer drinking. You must pace yourself and save something so you have a kick left for finish. Second, you need to cooperate with your taste buds in approaching each session. I’m a big fan of dark beers and flavorful specialty products. However, going for a smoked porter in the first half hour of any session means that you won’t be able to properly taste a crisp golden ale at another booth 10 minutes later. Third, you need to keep in mind this is a sampling event. I try to skip old favorites in favor of trying new beers and new brewers. Finally, you need to approach each session with a plan in mind. My four session plan is as follows:

Thursday: I’ve printed out the list of medal winners from 2003, 2004 and 2005. My goal is to sample the best beers from the last several years as selected by the professional judging panels, a dedicated group of about 100 souls who review the entries in the 67 GABF categories.

Friday: Big beers are the order of the evening. I’m a fan of Belgian ales and English barleywines, for flavor reasons and not so much the alcohol levels. Many of the brewers attending the GABF bring along their manly man beers. That’s why this session is devoted to beers above 8 percent alcohol by volume.

Saturday Afternoon: During this session they will announce the 2006 medal winners and the breweries of the year. Consumers will drink many of the gold medal winners dry before long, so my targets are the gold, silver and bronze beers I’ve not yet sampled.

Saturday Evening: This is the wild card night. Whatever is left of my taste buds will like enjoy stouts and IPAs, with the occasional spiced or fruit beer tossed into the mix.

Now it’s time to explore Denver. Check back in throughout the weekend for updates.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mile High: The GABF Kicks Off Thursday

Could you use a beer? If so, Denver is the place to be this week. Lyke2Drink is heading to the Mile High City for the Great American Beer Festival and will be filing reports starting on Wednesday. We have four full days of fun planned -- including seeing some other parts of Denver besides the inside of the Colorado Convention Center. If you happen to be heading to the GABF, here are a few places you might want to check out:

Buffalo Bill's Grave & Museum: See memorabilia honoring the famous frontier scout, showman and Pony Express rider, William F. Cody. Gun collections and posters from the Wild West Show, along with his grave site. (303) 526-0747.

Butterfly Pavilion & Insect Center: Lush tropical forest filled with up to 1,600 free-flying butterflies. There is also an insect center and gift shop. (303) 469-5441.

Colorado State Capitol: Find the plaque on the 15th step that marks the spot that is exactly 5,280 feet -- one mile -- high. The dome is covered with 200 ounces of gold and you can see a distance of over 150 miles from the observation area. (303) 866-2604.

Denver Art Museum: Recognized for one of the finest collection of Native American art. (720) 865-5000.

Denver Botanic Gardens: Includes an alpine garden with rare tiny flowers, a Japanese tea garden, as well as a water garden with hundreds of water lilies that bloom in late summer. (303) 331-4000.

Denver Museum of Nature & Science: Famous for its interactive children's discovery center, Egyptian mummies, wildlife exhibits, colorful gems and minerals, the Hall of Life health center, IMAX films and dynamic temporary exhibits. (303) 322-7009

The Denver Zoo: Rated as one of the top 10 zoos in America with 3,500 animals. The Zoo celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1996. (303) 376-4800.

Downtown Aquarium: A world-class aquarium that opened in 1999. (303) 561-4450.

The U.S. Mint: More than five billion coins are made here each year. It is also the second largest storehouse of gold bullion in the U.S. Tours must be arranged in advance. The gift shop has many unique coins not available anywhere else and there is a small museum on the history of money. (303) 844-3582.

Tuesday Tasting: Three Smooth Reds from Out West

Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we head out west to sample three very smooth and moderately priced red wines.

One of the great things about writing about beer, wine and spirits is that I always have an excuse to try new products. I'm again thankful for this fact because I recently had the chance on three different occasions to try domestic reds that were flavorful, smooth and affordable. Whenever I feel like wine prices are getting a bit out of hand I run across wines like these and I'm reminded that you can drink some great wine without breaking the bank.

Sawtooth Winery 2002 Syrah: From Idaho's Snake River Valley, this wine was aged for 17 months in French oak barrels and comes out exceptionally smooth with deep plum flavors. The winemaker used 96 percent Syrah grapes, 2 percent gin sault, 1 percent mourvedre and 1 percent grenache to build the flavor profile. This is the perfect wine for the perfect steak.

Mankas Hills Vineyards 2004 Amelie: From the Suisun Valley in California, this wine is a blend of 75 percent cabernet sauvignon and 25 percent merlot. Aged for 12 months in French, European and American oak, 1,000 cases were produced. There are a ton of black berries and plums in the flavor profile, which lingers pleasantly. Perfect for sipping on a deck during a crisp Fall evening.

Dominican Oaks 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon: Want a really good Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon for around $15? I suggest you give this one a try. Produced by Rutherford Wine Co., which also makes the Rutherford Ranch and Round Hill labels, this wine is full bodied and rich. This is an excellent choice if you are hosting an event and want your wine to have a Napa pedigree without feeling like you have just purchased the winery.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Regulators: Criminal Charities Serving Beer and Wine

If you believe as Thomas Jefferson did that ""The government is best which governs least," the actions of alcohol regulators in two states will just drive you up the wall.

Case #1: The California Alcoholic Beverage Control Board is holding a hearing on Tuesday regarding the actions of Eagle Eye Wine, Elkhorn Peak Cellars and StoneFly Vineyard. The alleged violation? Pouring donated wine at charity events. The winery industry is one of the most generous among corporate America in its support of non-profit organizations. The action by the California ABC could jeopardize fundraisers for a great many charities.

According to news reports, some winery licenses in California allow the companies to donate wine and pour at events. Many smaller wineries hold so-called Class 2 permits that do not allow this activity. These Napa wineries are being singled out and the result could have a chilling influence others who would like to help worthy organizations.

The ABC says it is acting after receiving a complaint involving the three wineries. It would indeed be unfortunate if the complaint came from another winery, but I think the source is someone outside the industry. While these wineries will now have to miss the promotional opportunity of the tasting events, the causes served by the charities would ultimately suffer the most through lost revenue.

Case #2: Four Pennsylvania Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement officers raided a fundraiser for a 13-year-old suffering from cystic fibrosis at Holy Child Grove in Sheatown this past weekend. The crime? The organizers were selling beer to attendees at the fundraiser without a permit. The officials carted away the offending kegs of beer.

According to news reports, organizers asked for donations for cystic fibrosis research in exchange for beer. Officers said they responded to the event after a complaint by a neighbor. Several people attending the event who have relatives suffering from the disease were angry and in tears after the raid.

It is amazing that law abiding citizens are turned into criminals because they happen to be serving beer or wine as part of fundraising efforts for legitimate charities that are trying to address the needs of less fortunate people. The cases in California and Pennsylvania are just the two most recent reminders that alcohol regulators can get out of control and there are people inside and outside of government who really do want to limit -- or even eliminate -- our legal rights to have an adult beverage.

Beverage Bulletin: Notes from the Drinks World

I Doubt They'll Have it on Draught at Shea Stadium: Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver has been getting plenty of press the last few months for his GTS Winery, craved out of a slope on Diamond Mountain overlooking the Napa Valley. Seaver's boutique winery is small and will produce just one type of wine: cabernet sauvignon. The first wine is in barrels at the moment and is set to be released in 2008.

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How Much is a Ticket to London?: To promote the 25th anniversary of the Good Pub Guide, a required guide for good beer fans in the United Kingdom, pubs around Britain will be selling beer at 1982 prices next week. That means a pint will cost around $1.20, instead of the current average of $4.45. Pubs will also slash prices for traditional pub grub. There are around 60,000 pubs in Britain, but no word on how many plan to take part in the promotion.

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U.K. Keg Shortage: British tabloids are fanning fears that pubs could run out of beer during the holiday season because kegs are being lost or stolen. According to the reports, a million of the steel containers are lost annually.

Brewers are blaming theives who are reselling the kegs as scrap metal. The thieves can get $30.50 per keg, while it costs brewers $105 to replace them. It often takes up to six months for foreign-made kegs to be delivered.

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Have the English Gone Soft?: British drinkers are increasingly turning away from lagers such as Stella Artois and Beck’s, which contain about 5% alcohol, to sister brands with less alcohol. Brewers are rushing new products to market to meet the demand for these less potent brews. Beck’s Green Lemon, a citrus-flavoured beer containing 2.5 percent alcohol, and Bud Silver, a 4 percent beer in a pint bottle with a handle, are about to join Peeterman Artois, Beck’s Vier and Carling's C2, a 2 percent lager. In Ireland, Guinness Mid-Strength, a 2.8% version of its stout, is said to be doing well.

Other brewers have reduced the alcohol content of their leading brands. Both Tennents and Old Speckled Hen are now just 4.5 percent alcohol by volume.

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Never Shaken, Never Stirred: In the upcoming installment of the James Bond movie series, Casino Royale, media reports are that the signature vodka martini is being dropped in favor of Heineken lager. The new 007, Daniel Craig, will order a Heineken as part of promotional deal signed with the brewer.

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Italian Winemakers Want to Can Paris: Italian prosecco makers are protesting a new canned brand of the sparkling wine called Rich that is being promoted by Paris Hilton. The vintners claim that Rich makes a mockery of Italian sparkling wine and goes against regulations which prohibit canned prosecco from being sold in Italy. Rich is being exported to other European markets, but the competing vintners say the canned version will hurt consumer attitudes toward all prosecco. Prosecco comes from Italy's Veneto vineyard region.

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Russians Hoisting a Few:: The beer market in Russia is expected to climbed by 4 to 6 percent in 2006, according to the Russian Brewers' Union. Beer volume in 2005 was up 6 percent.

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Fetzer Goes to Germany for New Riesling: Two German growing regions, the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer and the Rheinhessen, are supplying grapes for a new Fetzer Valley Oaks Riesling. The wine is an off-dry riesling, similar to Fetzer’s California Riesling. The German riesling will allow Fetzer to meet rising demand for this varietal, which has been steadily increasing with each vintage. The wine is priced at $8.99 per bottle and is now available in 13 states.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Weekend Watering Hole: Cooter Brown's, New Orleans, La.

As a regular weekend feature, Lyke2Drink will visit some of the world's great watering holes. This week we head to New Orleans to visit a stop worth leaving Bourbon Street to visit.

Cooter Brown's Tavern & Oyster Bar
509 S. Carrollton Ave.
New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans has been slow to recover from Hurricane Katrina, but the return of the National Football League's Saints to the Superdome on Monday marks one key milestone for the city. It took $163 million to build the Superdome back in the mid-1970s. The repair and renovation work that is still being completed has a $180 million price tag. To reopen the place the pre-game festivities include U2, Green Day, the Goo Goo Dolls and former President George H.W. Bush. In a city known for its party atmosphere, there are a number of great watering holes. Since 1977, Cooter Brown's, located in the Riverbend area, has been known for its beer selection and sandwiches.

Cooter Brown's is about a 30 minute street car ride away from the French Quarter. It is worth the trip. You'll find 400 brands of domestic and imported bottled beers and 45 beers on tap. Raw oysters, boiled crawfish, seafood and poor boys (New Orleans-style sub sandwiches) will give you something to wash down with all of that beer.

Cooter Brown's is a great place to catch a game, thanks to 15 television sets with satellite feeds. The bar has a collection of caricature wood carvings of more than 100 dead celebrities on its walls. You can shoot pool or play video poker.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Who Will Buy A Round of Absolut?

With the election of a new center-right government in Sweden, a number of state owned businesses are likely to be sold and privatized. On of the most interesting is Vin & Spirit, which owns the Absolut brand.

Lehman Brothers is predicting the sale could happen in about a year. Others predict it could take longer in order to maximize the value of the company and the world's most recognizable vodka brand. It would certainly take a company with pretty substantial holdings to buy the brand, but several appear to be prepared to at least consider the opportunity.

Pernod Ricard, the French drinks giant, said it would be interested in examining the opportunity should the Swedish government put it on the market. Other possible owners could be Fortune Brands, which owns the Jim Beam Bourbon and Geyser Peak wine brands, Brown-Forman, the Louisville company best know for its strength in brown goods such as Jack Daniels and Diageo, although some analysts point out the company could face government hurdles over potential monopoly issues. One of the more intriguing potential suitors is Anheuser-Busch, which has stated its desire to grown its beverage business beyond beer and launched the Jekyll & Hyde liqueur brand earlier this year.

Why does it matter who controls the Absolut brand? Well, for one thing they will gain increased sales and marketing clout. The brand can help the parent company sell in new products and revenues can help fund additional new product development. Brands change hand in the drinks business on a regular basis, but it is rare when a marquis brand is available. This will be an interesting auction to watch.

Friday, September 22, 2006

From Blues Brother to Icewine Maker: Dan Aykroyd Launches Ontario Dessert Wine

Dan Aykroyd, the Canadian actor who exploded on the scene in the late 1970s as part of the Saturday Night Live cast and went on to make box office hits such as The Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters and Tommy Boy, is now launching a line of wines under his name from Diamond Estates Wine & Spirits. Aykroyd made a $1 million investment in the company last year.

Aykroyd appeared this week at the Niagara Wine Festival to make the announcement. Two different Aykroyd labels will be made at Lakeview Cellars, a Signature Reserve series of super premium wines and a Discovery Series of mid-priced wines. The first wine to be released next year, Dan Aykroyd Signature Reserve VQA Vidal Icewine 2005 is being aged in French oak barrels.

The Niagara Peninsula is recognized as one of the world's best locations for making icewine, a hard to make style that requires vintners to leave grapes on the vine after the normal harvest and wait for freezing temperatures before picking. The result is an intense, sweet wine that is perfect after a great meal.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Has Bud Light Given Zagar His Walking Papers?

According to several reports on Internet websites hosted by Native American groups, diversity organizations and activists, Anheuser-Busch has bowed to growing criticism and announced it would pull its "Zagar and Steve" advertising campaign for Bud Light. In the campaign the oddball couple of Zagar, who appeared to be the member of a tribe that had yet to come in contact with the modern world, and Steve, an Every Man sort of guy who just happens to attract a bevy of beautiful women, were roommates. The two worlds would collide in an attempt to move cases of Bud Light.

Native American organizations and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility charged Zagar closely resembles a Yanomamo tribesman, indigenous to Brazil, and was offensive to all native peoples.

According to the website DiversityInc.com, A-B's Vice President of Communications and Consumer Affairs Francine Katz released a statement this week saying the brewer did not intend to offend anyone and would pull the campaign at the end of the month. A check of the A-B website finds no statement regarding the matter and the website supporting the campaign, www.zagarandsteve.com, was still operating this evening -- complete with spears, arrows and blowpipe darts.

Their Name is on the Bottle, Just Not the Wine They Make

Cecil DeLoach, Mike Hogue and Michael Mondavi all share one thing in common. They run wineries, but others sell wine with their names on the label. This is what happens when you use your name to build a wine brand, the company is sold and then you decide to go back into the vineyards.

DeLoach, a San Francisco fireman, started his Russian River winery in 1975. The company made some great chardonnay and a number of other varietals. I was lucky enough to meet Cecil DeLoach and try some of his wines at a festival just as his label was taking off in popularity. In the super heated vineyard economy of the 1990s, DeLoach rapidly expanded. Along the way the brand lost some of its cache and DeLoach found it difficult to keep up the debt service. After filing Chapter 11, the company was sold to Boisset, a French firm, in 2003. While the DeLoach brand continues on, the DeLoach family found another Russian River plot of land and created Hook & Ladder Winery in 2004.

Mondavi left his family business after internal squabbles. Named after his father, the Robert Mondavi Winery had been in business since 1966. Constellation Brands purchased the company in 2004. Mondavi and some family members, using the Folio Wine Co. name, have since purchased the Francis Mahoney Estate Winery in the Carneros Creek area of Napa Valley and Aetna Springs Vineyard in Pope Valley, part of the Napa Valley appellation. Mondavi is making I'M, Oberon, Bocce and Hangtime wines at the facilities.

Hogue is the most recent brand name vintner to be back in the business without the use of his name. He founded Hogue Cellars with his brother Gary in 1981. In 2001, they sold it for $36.4 million to Vincor International, a Canadian wine company that Constellation Brands purchased earlier this year. Mike Hogue is part of a group that recently paid $184,000 for nine acres of land under the Mercer Wine Estates label. One of the company's neighbors will be the Hogue Winery.

So the question is when are you actually drinking a DeLoach wine? Does it say DeLoach on the label or Hook & Ladder? Companies and brands are sold in America on a daily basis, but it is a little different when there is a living brand icon who is suddenly disconnected from the namesake brand. When brands change hands production methods, raw ingredients and recipes can change, too. Even if those things stay the same, there is a loss of personality and individualism behind the label when the founders leave. While the new owners want to maximize the equity in the brand they just purchased, it is difficult for loyal customers to stay loyal when the first thing to happen is for the person behind the brand name to leave the company -- usually with a suitcase full of cash.

It will be interesting to see if DeLoach, Mondavi and Hogue can make magic strike their vines again -- this time without the power of their brand names.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Alberta Brewer Buying Joseph Huber Brewing

The Joseph Huber Brewing Co., which has been brewing beer in Wisconsin for 160 years, is being sold to a Canadian company. Mountain Crest Brewing of Calgary, Alberta, is buying Huber's Monroe, Wisc., brewery along with the company's Huber, Rhinelander and Wisconsin Club beer brands, and Blumer's soda brand.

As a result of the deal, Huber's former management has formed the Berghoff Brewing Co. and will continue to market that line of beers. A contract brewing agreement has been signed with Mountain Crest to continue to make the Berghoff beers in Monroe.

Mountain Crest has been brewing beer at Huber and is growing dramatically in Canada. The company says it plans to hire brewery workers and will use the added capacity to meet demands in the Canadian market, as well as expanding distribution for its Mountain Creek brand in the U.S.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tuesday Tasting: Old Forester Bourbon

Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we head to Kentucky to taste one of the most storied brands of Bourbon.

Old Forester lays claim to the title of being the first bottled Bourbon. Before 1870, if you wanted Bourbon you had to find a tavern with a keg or a pharmacist. Unfortunately, after barrels had left distilleries they went to rectifiers, who often would add water to stretch the Bourbon and flavor and coloring agents such as tobacco and cumin to hide the fact it had been diluted.

George Garvin Brown began bottling Bourbon and signing each bottle as a guarantee of quality. Brown was a pharmaceutical salesman who listened to doctors and druggists who complained that the whisky they prescribed as medicine had been tampered with, so he decided to launch Old Forester in sealed bottles to guarantee quality.

Fast forward 136 years and Brown-Forman Corp. is placing renewed emphasis behind the Old Forester label. Besides the 86-proof blended Old Forester Bourbon, the company is marketing Old Forester Birthday Bourbon and Old Forester Signature.

For this tasting we sampled the 2005 and 2006 editions of Birthday Bourbon – both from the 1993 vintage – and the Old Forester Signature Bourbon.

Old Forester 2005 Birthday Bourbon: Less than 7,000 bottles of this 95 proof whisky were released on Sept. 2, 2005, in honor of George Garvin Brown’s birthday. The whisky is a beautiful copper color. It has a sweet, maple nose. There are nice hints of oak and vanilla in the flavor profile, with bits of pepper.

Old Forester 2006 Birthday Bourbon: Less than 8,500 bottles of this 95 proof whisky were released on Sept. 2, 2006. Master Distiller Chris Morris selects the barrels to be used in the vintage Bourbon from a single day’s distilling. This whisky aged one additional year than the 2005 version. It has a slightly browner tone in color. The vanilla aroma combines with notes of caramel and orange. The flavor has bits of orange peel, spice, mint and nuts in the finish.

Old Forester Signature Kentucky Straight Bourbon: This is a brownish-orange colored 100-proof whisky that has a maple nose and a great smoky flavor profile. There is a nice caramel and nut flavor base throughout. A firm flavor profile sets this whisky apart from the everyday drink.

Monday, September 18, 2006

To Your Health: Study Finds Cabernet Sauvignon Fights Alzheimer's Disease

An apple a day might help keep the doctor away, but a growing body of evidence supports the fact that a drink or two has healthful benefits. A new study by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine has found moderate red wine consumption in the form of cabernet sauvignon may help reduce the incidence of Alzheimer's Disease. The study is set to be published in the November issue of the FASEB Journal and will be presented at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Atlanta in October.

In the Mount Sinai research, cabernet sauvignon was diluted with water and given to mice. Researchers Dr. Giulio Maria Pasinetti and Dr. Jun Wang wrote, "This study supports epidemiological evidence indicating that moderate wine consumption, within the range recommended by the FDA dietary guidelines of one drink per day for women and two for men, may help reduce the relative risk for Alzheimer's Disease clinical dementia."

People with Alzheimer's Disease have elevated levels of amyloid peptides that cause plaque to buildup in blood vessels in the brain. An estimated 4.5 million Americans suffer from the disease. The research suggests that moderate red wine consumption helps the body safely process amyloid peptides.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Weekend Watering Hole: Brewery De Halve Maan, Bruges, Belgium

As a regular weekend feature, Lyke2Drink will visit some of the world's great watering holes. This week we head to the historic Belgian city of Bruges to visit a classic brewpub.

Brewery De Halve Maan
Walplein 26
8000 Brugge, Belgium
Phone : 32 50 332697

Bruges (Brugge), located in West Flanders, is known as the "Venice of the North" for its canals. Like Venice, Bruges was once a European maritime trading capital. Port cities like Antwerp handle today's modern ocean freighters, while Bruges' cargo is tourists who flock to see one of the best preserved medieval towns on the continent. I was lucky to visit with my family a few years ago and, in addition to buying some lace, enjoying lots of chocolate, taking a boat ride along the Reien and making a pilgrimage to the Basilica of the Sacred Blood, I had the chance to stop at The Halve Maan (The Half Moon) for a glass of Straffe Hendrik, a strong blonde ale.

The brewery has been active since 1856, although records can trace a brewery called Die Maene (The Moon) in Bruges back to 1564. The Halve Maan continues to be owned by the Maes family and during the 1980s they created a hospitality area and started offering tours. The brewery's brands were acquired in 1988 by Riva NV and that company continued brewing Straffe Hendrik (Strong Henri) until 2002.

In 2005 the old brewery came back to life when Xavier Vanneste, a Maes family descendent, renovated the old operation and launched the Brugse Zot brand. The beer takes its name from a legend that goes back to a visit by Maximilian of Austria to Bruges in the 1400s. The people of Bruges organized a colorful parade of merrymakers and fools. When they asked Maximilian at the end of the day to provide money for a new madhouse he replied: "Today I have seen nothing but fools. Bruges is already one large madhouse !" Since then the people of Bruges are called "‘Brugse Zotten" (fools of Bruges).

Belgium is a country of many great beers. The range of styles is quite incredible. The Halve Maan's Brugse Zotten may not be as well known in America as many of the brands, but the brewery -- like the city of Bruges - is very much worth a side trip.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

If it's September it Must be Oktoberfest in Munich

In a few hours at noon local time the Lord Mayor of Munich will climb on to a stage in the Schottenhamel tent and tap a keg of beer to set off a huge 18-day party otherwise known as Oktoberfest.

If all goes as planned, more than 6 million people will attend the Sept. 16-Oct. 1 party. It's the 173rd time people have ventured to the Theresienwiese for the celebration, first held in 1810 in honor of Crown Prince Ludwig´s (King Ludwig I) marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.

Attendees will pay a bit more for ein mass (a liter mug) of beer this year, $8.80 to $9.50, but don't expect the price to slow anyone down. It's estimated that about 30 percent of the annual production of Munich's six major breweries in consumed during the festival. Organizers believe they will top last year's totals when Oktoberfest fans consumed 6.1 million liters of beer, 95 oxen, 55,913 pork knuckles, 479,610 fried chickens and 179,557 pairs of sausages. Not to mention tons of giant pretzels, bushels of fish on a stick and enough sauerkraut to be concerning. There are 14 large tents at Oktoberfest where you can kick up your heels with anywhere from just over 1,000 of your best friends in the smallest one to nearly 10,000 close pals in the largest. There are about an equal number of smaller tents, many focusing more on traditional Bavarian foods and even German wine. On the grounds there are seats for 100,000 festival fanatics.

It's more than every fraternity brother's dream. Whenever you put 6 million happy people in one place marketers are sure to follow. The first to do so were the six Munich breweries -- Lowenbrau, Spaten, Augustiner, Hofbrau, Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr . This year among the hawkers will be Paris Hilton, expected to show up pushing canned prosecco.

Just in case anyone escapes Oktoberfest thirsty, Munich Airport has microbrewery and biergarten, Airbrau, which has brewed up 6,000 liters of a special festival or "“Wiesn" beer they are calling Jet A1.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Men's Journal Top 25 Beers

Are these the 25 best beers America has to offer? The editors at Men's Journal think so. In the magazine's October issue, Christian Debenedetti and Seth Fletcher write about the publication's third annual survey of American beers.

It's hard to argue with any list of great beers that has the likes of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Bell's Expedition Stout or Smuttynose Big A IPA on it. However, I think the great things about these types of lists is that they get you thinking and talking to friends about what is missing. My three complaints about this list are:

(a) Some of the beers on the list are not the best beers from the breweries that brew them. Four cases in point: Stoudt's Pils at number 3? I'd suggest Stoudt's Double MaiBock. Ommegang Hennepin? Good beer for sure, but Ommegang Three Philosophers gets my vote. New Glarus Yokel? It's hard to find fault with one of their beers, but I'd tell you that New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red is one of the best cherry beers in the world. Don't even get me started about the fact they list Alaskan Amber and not Alaskan Smoked Porter.

(b) The list spends a good amount of time on the east and west coasts, with a couple of stops in the Midwest, but it ignores chunks of the country. I count only one beer from Colorado (Avery is indeed a great brewery), but others deserve attention. There is nothing from the southeast. I'd argue that room could have been made for Highland Kashmir IPA, Cottonwood Endo IPA (both out of North Carolina) or Terrapin Golden Ale from Georgia.

(c) A list like this needs to tip its hat to pioneering breweries like Sierra Nevada, Anchor or Harpoon that have introduced many a palate to craft beer.

All that said, I would not throw any of the beers on this list out of my fridge.

The Men's Journal Top 25

1 - Firestone Walker Pale Ale: Paso Robles, CA
2 - Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA: Milton, DE
3 - Stoudt's Pils: Adamstown, PA
4 - Russian River Temptation Ale: Santa Rosa, CA
5 - Avery Mephistopheles' Stout: Boulder, CO
6 - Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale: Boonville, CA
7 - Great Lakes Holy Moses White Ale: Cleveland, OH
8 - Full Sail Session Lager: Hood River, OR
9 - Rogue Brutal Bitter: Newport, OR
10 - Bell's Expedition Stout: Comstock, MI
11 - Southampton Double White: Southampton, NY
12 - Smuttynose Big A IPA: Portsmouth, NH
13 - Penn Weizen: Pittsburgh, PA
14 - Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale: Cleveland, OH
15 - Ommegang Hennepin: Cooperstown, NY
16 - Samuel Adams Black Lager: Boston, MA
17 - Sprecher Hefe Weiss: Milwaukee, WI
18 - Alaskan Amber: Juneau, AK
19 - Deschutes Broken Top Bock: Bend, OR
20 - Lost Abbey Avant Garde: San Marcos, CA
21 - Jolly Pumpkin Bam Bière: Dexter, MI
22 - Victory St. Victorious Doppelbock: Downington, PA
23 - Allagash Interlude: Portland, ME
24 - Alesmith Speedway Stout: San Diego, CA
25 - New Glarus Yokel: New Glarus, WI

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Programming Note: Live Reports from the GABF

The 25th edition of the Great American Beer Festival kicks off in Denver two weeks from today and Lyke2Drink will be on hand to bring you all the excitement. From Sept. 27th to Oct. 1st we'll be blogging live from the Mile High City.

The GABF is heaven for lovers of American craft beer. The single largest collection of U.S. beers and breweries in any one place will be found at the Colorado Convention Center. It is truly a marathon for the taste buds spread across four sessions, plus special events around town.

We'll take you to the floor of the GABF to sample some of the 1,600 beers that are expected to be poured and visit some of the great brewpubs and beer bars around Denver. Lyke2Drink will also be attending a number industry events and parties, plus taking part in judging the Alpha King Challenge to determine the best hoppy beer in America. We even plan to take some time to catch the Colorado Rockies vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers, visit a local craft distillery, try some Colorado mead and see some sites around Denver.

If you are attending the GABF look for us. If you're not able to make the event, be sure to check out our daily reports.

Want a Raise? Have a Drink

A study being released today by the Reason Foundation (www.reason.org) finds that social drinkers earn more than non-drinkers. When you combine this with dozens of studies that show moderate alcohol consumption offers numerous health benefits, it appears that a couple of drinks each day helps us live longer, wealthier lives.

According to the Reason Foundation report, male drinkers earn 10 percent more and women drinkers 14 percent more money at their jobs than non-drinkers. The report was developed by economists Bethany Peters, Ph.D., and Edward Stringham, Ph.D.

"Social drinking builds social capital," said Stringham, an economics professor at San Jose State University. "Social drinkers are networking, building relationships, and adding contacts to their Blackberries that result in bigger paychecks."

The study is published in the latest edition of the Journal of Labor Research. The study raises questions about anti-alcohol legislation at state and local levels, and whether these laws might harm local economies and individual finances. The study cited efforts to impose tax increases on alcohol, to restrict alcohol sales through zoning laws and prohibit alcohol advertisements.

"We're quick to ban beer at sports stadiums and festivals. The legal blood alcohol level is dropping everywhere, and we're barraged with overhyped warnings about binge and underage drinking," Stringham said. "Instead of fear mongering we should step back and acknowledge the proven health and economic benefits that come with the responsible use of alcohol."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

If Hops Can Control Hay Fever, I'm Certain Bourbon Can Cure the Common Cold

Researchers in Japan claim the cure to hay fever and other allergies might just come from a key ingredient in beer. Sapporo Breweries Ltd. and Sapporo Beverages Co. say they have proven that flavonol glycoside extracted from hops prevents histamine, an allergy-inducing substance. Sapporo believes the findings suggest a new beverage they are developing might be effective in mitigating hay fever symptoms.

Sapporo, one of Japan's major brewers, conducted a joint study with Dr. Tadao Enomoto at the Japanese Red Cross Society's medical center in Wakayama Prefecture. The brewer asked 20 people suffering from hay fever to drink water containing the hops flavonol on a daily basis. It claims the drink alleviated sneezing for 60 percent of test subjects and combated running noses for 55 percent.

The hops flavonol is removed from the hops by soaking pulverized hops in water. Sapporo has filed a patent application for its method to extract hops flavonol and its use in fighting hay fever. They expect to present the findings to the Palynological Society of Japan in October. The company hopes to start selling a new beverage in Japan containing the hops flavonol before next spring. Flavonols are a large group of metabolites produced by plants that are nutritionally beneficial.

Hay fever is caused by the pollen of trees, plants and weeds. According to Japan's Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, about 16 percent of the population suffers from hay fever. Sapporo plans to study the use of beer on curing other allergies.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tuesday Tasting: Anejo Tequila

Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we head south of the border to taste the juice of the blue agave.

Tequila is named after a town in the Mexican state of Jalisco. I've often wondered how someone first got the idea to cook the massive blue agave -- the pinas weigh around 150 pounds when they reach maturity at 8-12 years old -- but I'm glad they did. After being heated for 24-36 hours and processed, the resulting aguamiel or honey water, is distilled down to Tequila. Tequila, similar to vodka or gin which go straight to market after distillation, can be on a store shelf with just a relatively few days or weeks of aging. However, by paying attention to the label you can find a 100 percent agave Tequila that is aged up to a year -- called a reposado, or product that has been in the barrel for one to three years -- called anejo. Hold the salt and lime, you want to experience the flavor.

Today we taste six fine anejo Tequilas.

Don Julio Anejo ($50): A light golden color that has crisp fresh wood tones. The slightly sweet flavor finishes with pepper. Good balance throughout.

Gran Centenario Anejo ($55): This 80-proof Tequila is copper colored and has a classic agave nose. Aged for 18 months in French oak, it has a very smooth flavor profile with finishes of pepper and spices. Worth finding and trying.

Herradura Anjeo ($50): A nice copper color, this 80-proof Tequila is aged for two years offering mellow, with an oak base, a hint of vanilla and a long finish. A very nicely put together drink.

Sauza Tres Generaciones Anejo ($40): This Tequila is light gold with a hint of honey in the nose. It has a very flavorful finish with tones of pepper, nuts and agave throughout.

Tequila El Conquistador Anejo ($52): This 100 percent agave Tequila is golden in color and has a slightly floral nose. The flavor profile is a pleasing combination of pepper, green grass and citrus.

Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia ($100): Whiskey bronze in color, this Tequila has deep rich agave character with hints of grass and spices. Made from a blend of anejos, some aged for 10 and 30 years, this Tequila is sold in artist-designed keepsake boxes. The barrel aging comes through with mellow hints of wood in the finish.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Windows on the World 1976-2001

Five years ago today a series of terrorist attacks set in motion events that have touched the lives of all Americans. The news media and entertainment community have been preparing for the anniversary and coverage of the actual day began some time ago. Yesterday, President Bush and a list of other elected officials were at the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan for memorial observances. Thousands died in the attacks that day and many more in the military actions that have followed. As long as there is hate in the world and fanatics who view destruction as a better avenue to take than positive change we will continue to see war. Each life lost needs to be remembered. Fathers, Mothers, Sons, Daughters, Brothers and Sisters. All of them important and all of them missed.

Today I am turning this space over to the memory of Windows on the World and 72 employees of the restaurant, one security guard and six carpenters working on a renovation of its famed wine cellar who were killed that day. When American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center there were also 16 Walters Financial employees and 71 conference guests attending a technology seminar Walters was hosting at Windows on the World. Everyone of these people lost their lives. The restaurant was located on the 106th and 107th floors. There was no way out.

Windows on the World was more than just a restaurant in the sky. It was 50,000 square feet space that people went to in order to celebrate special moments in their lives. In 2000, Windows reported revenues of $37.5 million, making it the highest grossing restaurant in the United States. The views were incredible, the food quality high and the bar a great place for a drink. Windows on the World's wine list was one of the best in the country and the Windows on the World Complete Wine Course created by Windows wine guru Kevin Zraly survives to this day as part of the restaurant's legacy. Other reminders of Windows exist as surviving employees have worked to rebuild their lives. A new restaurant opened in Manhattan earlier this year called Colors (www.colors-nyc.com) with about 25 former Windows employees on its staff. Port House New York in the Time Warner Center, run by Windows Executive Chef Michael Lomonaco, opens soon. Other staff are making contributions to the world of food and drink throughout New York and elsewhere.

Today we remember those who did nothing more than get up, say goodbye to the people they loved and head to a job in one of the world's greatest restaurants. They paid for this simple act with their lives and they need to be remembered.

Windows on the World Staff Killed on Sept. 11, 2001

Stephen Adams, Sophia Buruwa Addo, Shabbir Ahmed, Antonio J. Alvarez, Telmo Alvear, Manuel O. Asitimbay, Samuel Ayala, Ivhan Luis Carpio Bautista, Veronique (Ronnie) Bowers, Jonathan Briley, Jesus Cabezas, Manuel-Gregorio Chavez, Luis Chimbo, Mohammed S. Chowdhury, Jeffrey Coale, Jaime Concepcion, Annette Dataram, Jose De Pena, Nancy Diaz, Luke Dudek, Doris Eng, Sadie Ette, Henry Fernandez, Lucille Virgen Francis, Enrique A. Gomez, Jose B. Gomez, Wilder Gomez, Victor Paz-Gutierrez, Norberto Hernandez, Ysidro Hidalgo-Tejada, Clara Hinds, Heather Ho, John Holland, Francois Jean-Pierre, Eliezer (Junior) Jimenez Jr., Howard Kane, Eugene Kniazev, Abdoulaye Kone, Victor Kwarkye, Alan Lafrance, Jeffrey LaTouche, Yang-Der Lee, Orasri Liangthanasarn, Leobardo Lopez, Jan Maciejewski, Jay Magazine, Charles Mauro, Manuel Mejia, Antonio Melendez, Nana Akwasi Minkah, Martin Morales, Blanca Morocho, Leonel Morocho, Carlos Munoz, Jerome Nedd, Juan Nieves Jr., Jose R. Nunez, Christine Olender, Isidro Ottenwalder, Jesus Ovalles, Manuel Patrocino, Alejo Perez, John F. Puckett, Moises N. Rivas, David B. Rodriguez-Vargas, Gilbert Ruiz, Juan Salas, Jacqueline Sayegh, Khamladai K. (Khami) Singh, Roshan (Sean) Singh, Abdoul Karim Traore and Jupiter Yambem.

Security Guard

Mohammed Jawara

Carpenters Working on the Wine Cellar

Manuel DaMota, Thomas F. Hughes, Frank Mancini, Joe Mistrulli, Joshua Poptean and Obduilio Ruiz-Diaz