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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Toasting Michael: Where Will You Be Sept. 30th at 9 p.m.?

If you enjoy craft beer you need to take a few minutes tomorrow evening to honor the man who probably had more to do with our collective understanding and love of great beer than anyone else.

Michael Jackson, The Beer Hunter, passed away last month. Beer bars and brewpubs nationwide will take time on Sunday, Sept. 30th at 9:00 p.m. for a national toast in his honor. The pubs will donate proceeds or pass the hat to raise funds to fight Parkinson's Disease, which Michael had valiantly fought for a number of years.

Visit www.michaeljacksonbeerhunter.com to find a location near you.

Friday, September 28, 2007

U.K. Brewers: Cask Sales are Not Dead

Can England's four largest beer marketers kill off cask ale? A report issued this week by boosters of handpulled real ale in pubs says no.

The report from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), Independent Family Brewers of Britain, Society of Independent Brewers, Cask Marque Trust and Why Handpull says that cask ale is actually undergoing a revival as large brewers move away from the category.

The groups say that media reports about the 5 percent decline in the cask ale market are misleading because the reduced volume can be traced to four multinational brewers who account for 56 percent of the total ale market. The groups say these brewers are not supporting cask ale.

In a report titled The Intelligent Choice, the cask ale boosters say there are now more United Kingdom brewers producing cask ale than at any time in the last 50 years. The report also says that more pubs now stock cask ale is increasing, CAMRA membership is up and attendance at real ale festivals is setting records.

The groups point to regional and local brewers growth of 7.5 percent annually as a positive for cask ale. The groups say that the current decline in cask ale will likely turnaround in a few years.

That's good news for British beer drinkers and tourists. A visit to a pub in London or the British countryside is not complete without a pint of handpulled fresh cask ale. In my humble opinion, the sun should never set on a good pint of British bitter.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Changing of the Guard Among NASCAR Beer Sponsors

Sponsorships at the top levels of NASCAR require fat check books. For years, Anheuser-Busch has been a major sugar daddy for the sport. While the folks in St. Louis will not disappear from America's top motorsports property next season, its brands will have a decidedly lower profile.

A few weeks ago Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced he was switching teams and sponsors. The sport's most popular driver will leave behind the Budweiser number 8 and go racing in the Mountain Dew/AMP Energy Drink 88 next season. The Budweiser sponsorship will go to the Gillett Evernham Motorsports car driven by Kasey Kahne.

Earlier, A-B announced its decision to end more than two decades as the naming sponsor for NASCAR's Busch Series. NASCAR is still trying to find a partner to pick up that sponsorship.

Now Coors Light has announced it will replace A-B as the sport's official beer sponsor, paying $20 million over five years for the rights. Part of the deal includes renaming the weekly Cup qualifying to the Coors Light Pole Award. To help pay for the deal, Coors has opted not to continue with its sponsorship of the number 40 car driven by David Stremme. That contract expires at the end of the year.

Miller Lite soldiers on in the sport as the sponsor of the number 2 car piloted by Kurt Busch, the only beer fueled car to make this year's Chase for the Nextel Cup.

NASCAR is recognized as a major power in marketing. It will be interesting to watch fan reaction to the A-B brands with all of the changes. The NASCAR fan base is among the most loyal in all of sports when it comes to buying sponsor products.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Giants Cut Beer Ad Spending and Boost Sales

According to TNS Media Inteligence, America's top three brewers cut traditional advertising spending by $131 million during the first half of 2007. At the same time beer shipments were up about 2 percent.

The cuts by Anheuser-Busch, SABMiller and Molson Coors amount to a drop of 24 percent so far this year, on top of a 12 percent cut in measured media spending last year. The brewers appear to be shifting money from broadcast, print and outdoor advertising to other forms of marketing, including sponsorships and events.

The brewers claim that shifts to other forms of marketing, including signage at sporting events, is not being properly counted by TNS and other measuring services. The brewers are looking to events and sponsorships as a way to involve brands with consumers, often at venues where they can enjoy the products.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Shot at Absolut Could Cost Drinks Giants $6 Billion

Sweden's government plans to auction off Vin & Spirit next month and the company's leading brand, Absolut vodka. The little Swedish garage sale is likely to bring in $6 billion according to sale watchers.

Some of the world's largest drinks firms have expressed an interest in Absolut. Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Bacardi and Fortune Brands have all been looking the company over and are said to be preparing bids.

Vin & Sprit was found by the Sweden as a state-run company in 1917 as an alcohol monopoly. In the United States it is the second largest selling vodka.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Beer and Light Wine on Ballot in Mississippi County

If you want to be able to buy beer or light wine -- whatever that is -- in Yalobusha County, Mississippi, you had better hope voters in a special election on Dec. 11th pull the "Yes" lever.

Yalobusha County Board of Supervisors agreed to hold a special election on legalizing the sale of beer and light wine. The Yalobusha Progressive Organization submitted a petition with 2,312 valid signatures. Even though the petition had more than the required 20 percent of the county's registered voters, it missed the deadline for the measure to appear on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

The group trying to repeal Prohibition in the county had hoped to benefit from a higher turnout during the general election, which includes the Mississippi gubernatorial race.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Drink Art: Bieres de la Meuse by Alphonse Mucha

Drink Art is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that looks at famous works of art depicting men and women enjoying life and drink.

Bieres de la Meuse
Alphonse Mucha
Czech (1860-1939)

Alphonse Mucha was an artist whose work ranged from painting theater sets to decorating the palaces of Central European royalty. While he created a variety of art nouveau paintings and even stained glass in Prague's St. Vitus Cathedral, some of Mucha's best known works are actually advertising posters.

Many of Mucha's works have common elements: pretty young women and plenty of floral motifs. In addition to beer posters, Mucha actually designed some of the first bank notes and postage stamps for Czechoslovakia when the country was granted independence as a result of World War I. A number of artists in the 1960s and 1970s picked up the Mucha style of art nouveau for advertising poster illustration.

When the Germans took control of Czechoslovakia as part of Nazi expansionism in 1939, Mucha was one of the people the Gestapo arrested. During his detention, Mucha fell ill with pneumonia and would die shortly after the Germans released the aging artist.

The Mucha Museum in Prague has a large exhibit of Mucha's work, plus details on his life. It is a good early day stop on any beer tourist's journey through the Czech capital.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tuesday Tasting: Mumm Napa Sparkling Wines

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 California for some sparkling wine.

It has been 20 years since Mumm Napa was established. Anyone interested in good quality sparkling wine at a reasonable price can toast this milestone. Mumm Napa produces a very nice range of sparkling wines that are drinkable and offer individual flavor ranges that hit a variety of delicious notes. I recently had the chance to sample a few different styles.

Mumm Napa Blanc de Noirs ($20): Nice salmon pink color and plenty of ripe fruit. There is a lacing of raspberry in this sparkler that makes it quite interesting. A great value in a California sparkler.

Mumm Napa Cuvee M ($20): Gold with hints of peach and apricot in a relaxed flavor profile. The slightly sweet edge to this wine offers a faint hint of honey.

Mumm Napa Brut Prestige ($20): Golden color, crisp peach and floral notes. Finishes with a whisp of citrus.

Mumm 2000 DMX ($50): Golden with a hint of pink around the edge, this California wine is dry with notes of firm berries and apples.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Whisky for the Next Generation

Each day there are scientists around the world working to solve global warming. Medical researchers run clinical trials on all sorts of new drugs designed to help fight all sorts of diseases. And there are economists and aid groups trying to combat poverty in the Third World.

All important issues very much worth solving, I will grant you that. However, later this year farmers, maltsters and distillers will meet in the United Kingdom in an effort to solve one of the most perplexing problems we will face during the next 20 years: where will all of the whisky come from?

The Maltsters Association of Great Britain is convening the meeting to discuss how to handle demand from existing markets as well as the new thirst for Scotch from places like China, India and Russia. Solving the problem is important to all drinkers, especially if you want to be able to afford a bottle of 18 year old 18 years from now.

The growing middle and upper classes in these countries drive demand for all luxury goods and raw materials like steel. Products like wine and Cognac have seen growth skyrocket from these markets. The problem for the makers of Scotch is that they need to correctly forecast demand as much as 20 years down the road. Build too fast and the weight of mortgage payments on unused distillery space can be crushing. Build too slow and you miss out on huge potential profits or risk upsetting when supplies run low.

Distillers have begun to build new production capacity and have even reopened several long-closed distilleries. Still, whisky that is made today is years away from the market. Hopefully the talks later this year will produce a framework for increasing production so that we can be sure the next generation can still get a wee dram.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Anheuser-Busch Said to be Negotiating for Budvar Buy

According to the German magazine Euro am Sonntag, Anheuser-Busch Companies is in the midst of negotiations with the Czech government to buy Budejovicky Budvar. The two companies have had a long running series of legal battles in courtrooms around the globe over the Budweiser brand name. The magazine cited sources in the Czech Parliament.

Czech Trade Minister Martin Riman has estimated the brewery could fetch $1.5 billion. Some officials and the Czech public have been critical of a potential sale of the brewery to foreign companies, especially Anheuser-Busch fearing that the Budvar brand could be eliminated.

Besides Anheuser-Busch, several other companies have been rumored to be in the running for the brewery. Belgian mega brewer InBev, along with British firms Fuller, Smith and Turner and Young & Co., have all been reportedly interested in buying Budvar.

Martha Stewart Teams With Gallo on Wine Launch

She has cooking and entertainment books, television and radio shows, craft and housewares lines, and even entire suburban neighborhoods under her brand, now Martha Stewart has a wine label.

Martha Stewart Vintage is being launched by E.&J. Gallo Winery, the giant California winery. The wine is expected to sell for $15 a bottle and will feature Sonoma County chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and merlot.

Starting early next year the limited release will be available in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Denver, Phoenix, and Portland, Ore. Depending on sales, the wine's distribution could expand to other markets.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sunday Sales Approved in Lexington

Lexington sits on the edge of Bourbon Country in the heart of Kentucky. You would think you could get a drink almost any time, any where that you would like. That's not the case, but it will get easier come Dec. 16.

The Urban County Council approved a measure this week that will allow consumers to buy bottles of wine, liters of gin and six-packs of beer on Sundays, the first time by-the-drink and packaged alcohol has been available in most locations in Fayette County on Sundays.

Consumers used to have to go to a restaurant with more than 100 seats that had food sales of more than 50 percent of total revenue, a hotel, convention center or race track to get a glass of beer, wine or spirits.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sierra Nevada Goes Green with Solar Power

In the coming weeks Sierra Nevada Brewery will be operating almost entirely off solar energy and fuel cells at the company's facility in Chico, Calif.

The brewery is aready generating 70 to 75 percent of its electrical needs using fuel cell technology. The addition of solar energy will help the brewery approach 100 percent self-sufficiency when the sun is shining during peak operational hours.

Sierra Nevada has a sustainable environment approach, including recycling, heat recovery, carbon dioxide recovery, water conservation and energy efficiency.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Voters in Mesquite to Decide on Beer and Mixed Drink Sales

Voters in Mesquite, Texas, have the chance in November to approve the sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption and the sale of mixed drinks in restaurants.

The Mesquite City Council has certified signatures on petitions to get both propositions on the ballot. A group called Save Our Stores is behind the measures, saying it is all about economic development in the community.

The dry lobby is not going quietly. Save Our Community is encouraging voters to cast ballots against the two proposals.

Recently, beer and wine sales for off-premise consumption have been approved in nearby Balch Springs, Dallas, Garland, Rowlett and Sachse.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Brew Zoo: One More Dog for the Act

The Session #7: The Brew Zoo is officially over, but as the zoo keeper for this month's edition I reserve the right to let in one last animal. Jay Brooks over at Brookston Beer Bulletin got caught up in the sixth birthday celebration of his son, Porter, and had to file his report a little late. But it was worth waiting for, and not just for the review of Nethergate Old Growler Porter -- check out the great birthday party picture of Porter.

Hey, Jay, just like a beer writer to get his wife to go along with the name Porter for his son. I had two daughters and didn't figure my wife would go for either of my favorite two beer styles, Stout and Bitter -- even for their middle names!

The zoo gate is closed!

Italian Military Police Get Sommelier Training to Combat Fraud

Stopping wine fraud is getting plenty of attention these days. Vineyards worldwide are applying everything from tongues to technology in the fight to outsmart counterfeiters.

Recently, Kodak (a client of the marketing firm where I work) announced that several of Napa Valley’s top wineries have employed a new high tech anti-counterfeiting technology to protect their brands and wine consumers. Colgin Cellars, HL Vineyards, Vineyard 29 and Staglin Family Vineyard are using a Kodak Security Solutions technology that uses invisible markers that can be added to printing inks, paper and other packaging elements allowing easy authentication of their products.

Now the Italian military is getting into the act and has qualified a team of military police as professional sommeliers. A team of 150 lucky officers have completed the 18-month course and are ready to fight counterfeit Italian wines.

The Italian Sommeliers' Association encouraged the police to take the training. It is said to be the largest wine crime fighting unit in Europe. Italy is now the largest exporter of wine in the world, having recently passed France.

Italian police say that counterfeiters often use cheap table grapes and chemicals to attempt to mirror the taste of expensive bottles of wine. The fakes can easily fool consumers and often even get past experts. In the case of wines like Brunello di Montalcino, which has to be aged for at least five years in oak barrels, the imitations can defraud consumers of substantial amounts of money. The fakes can also flood the market and push down prices of legitimate wine.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Brew Zoo: 33 Bloggers Contribute to the Menagerie

The month's edition of The Session is dedicated to Michael Jackson, who passed away in London on Aug. 30th. Michael was an inspiration to drinks journalists and helped remind the world of the significant part that beer plays in our daily lives, culture and history. Michael became known as The Beer Hunter, after the name of his television series. With this in mind, I think The Beer Hunter would have been proud of the animal beers bagged by the blogging community on Friday.

We had 33 bloggers take part in The Session #7. They delivered the following to the gates of The Brew Zoo:

11 Dogs
1 Cat
1 Lion
1 Wolf
4 Monkeys
3 Moose
2 Squirrels
1 Goat
2 Horses
4 Elephants
2 Hogs
1 Duck
1 Rabbit
1 Duck Rabbit
1 Badger
1 Cow
1 Camel
2 Otter
1 Stag
1 Seal
1 Ram
1 Pine Marten
3 Hawks
1 Owl
1 Buzzard
1 Swallow
1 Eagle
2 Cocks
1 Hen
3 Geese
2 Turtles
1 Frog
1 Snake
1 Snail
1 Dogfish
1 Tuna
1 Trout
3 Fish
1 Crustacean
1 Dragon
1 Griffin
1 Bigfoot

We may need a bigger zoo!

The Session #8 in October is being hosted by Captain Hops over at Beer Haiku Daily. I cannot wait to hear the lyrical assignment.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Brew Zoo: Picking Up a Few Strays

It's been fun being the host of this month's edition of The Session. The Brew Zoo is getting pretty full and we found a few strays at the gates this morning. I plan to do one more sweep of the bushes on Sunday and will post a formal wrap up. For now, enjoy these additional posts from hard working beer bloggers:

Tedo at the Barley Vine takes us to Austin to taste an old ale named for a brewer's dog.

Spence at Brewerman lands us an owl -- Kiuchi Brewery's Hitachino Nest White Ale to be exact for the birds of prey section of The Brew Zoo.

At Flossmoor Beer Blog they brew up a discussion of their own Black Wolf Schwarzbier and give a mention to the Camel Toe and Moose Knuckle brewed at Piece Brewery & Pizzeria in Chicago.

Adam at Beer Bits 2 gets our goat with some Cinderbock for the petting zoo section of The Brew Zoo.

Paul Arthur who posts at Flowerysong rides in on a Kelpie. A Kelpie is some type of fairy prankster that often takes the shape of a horse, but I'll let Paul explain.

At Beer from the Motherland they take us to New Zealand for some favorites from Pink Elephant Brewery in Blenheim, including Golden Tusk and Imperious Rushin Stowt.

This is last call for the Beer Ark. If you have been holding back, send your Beer Blogging Friday entry to me at rick.lyke@gmail.com.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Brew Zoo: The Wild Kingdom Comes to The Session

Lyke2Drink has been tracking wild beasts all day as The Session #7: The Brew Zoo rolls along. Here is the latest from the participants in Beer Blogging Friday.

Justin Davis over at Bottle Conditioned takes us on a safari that captures a Black Cat, Otter, Monkey and the elusive Duck Rabbit.

KevBrews dives in for a tasting under the seas for some truly old Old Crustacean -- vintage 2002!

Josh Mishell, Creative Director at Flying Dog Brewery in Denver checks in with a discussion of the Ralph Steadman illustrations used for the brand's labels and the work underway to update the look of the packaging.

Craig at Beers Beers Beers keeps us on the canine trail with a review of Smuttynose Old Brown Dog. While Craig explains he is no big fan of the Brew Zoo theme selection, he turns out a nice recap of this man's best friend beer.

Greg Clow at Beer Beats Bites in Canada follows up with another doggishly good brew, Stoudt's Fat Dog Stout.

We must being really going to the dogs as Bam Biere, a farmhouse ale from Jolly Pumpkin gets delivered to the brew zoo courtesy of Alan McLeod of A Good Beer Blog in Ontario.

Beer Sage at My Beer Pix takes us to Nimbus Brewing in Tucson, Ariz., for his contribution to the menagerie. No a Nimbus is not some type of recently discovered sea creature found at depths of 12,000 feet or greater, it's the halo around a persons head in early paintings to depict sainthood. Nimbus Brewing does have a monkey as its mascot, which is reason enough to allow it on the beer ark.

Boak and Bailey, a U.K. beer blog, gives us the bird -- a bird of prey that is -- with a nice review of Cotleigh Buzzard Dark Ale, then doubles up on us with Aguila (Eagle) from Amstel's brewery in Spain.

We get to taste some amphibian as Maeib's Beer Blog in the U.K. takes us to try some Frog Island Brewing Croak & Stagger.

Willie Moe at Beerjanglin' might just have set a Beer Blogging Friday record with his contribution to The Brew Zoo. If I was a little more ambitious at this hour I might run a contest to count all of the animals and to identify all of the species listed in his post, but this zoo keeper is a little tuckered out. Sufficed to say that I hope he has all of the dogs on leashes, enough water in the aquarium, a good sized box of bird seed and a diaper for that monkey.

We will check in later to see if any more creatures were left at the gate. That's it for now.

The Brew Zoo: It's Starting to Get a Little Gamey in Here

The Session #7: The Brew Zoo, is picking up some steam as we head through the day. We have a variety of new beasts to add to our exhibit of creatures from the brewing world.

Here are the latest to arrive at the zoo gate:

Tim Hynds over at Sioux Brew has a bit of Boris Badenov in him this month as he kills off a Moose and Squirrel for his entry to the Brew Zoo.

The Dude from the Akelas Biggins delivers up some classic collectible beer cans to remind us that beer and animals have been closely associated for years. Check out the Black Horse Ale can from Koch's in Dunkirk, N.Y.

We might just have found the smallest creature for our brew zoo thanks to J. Wilson at Brewvana. He talks up Brasserie Caracole and makes us all long for Belgium and brewers who take the time to do it right. Caracole is the Spanish word for snail. A great find for our exhibit hall.

Al at Hop Talk goes whole hog on us with Hop Hog IPA from Lancaster Brewing Co. in Pennsylvania.

Over at Beer Haiku Daily, Captain Hops gives a little goose -- a Wild Goose Brewery -- and some haiku that fits the theme for good measure. By the way, Captain Hops is the host of the October edition of The Session. I'm sure he'll post the topic shortly.

We get a reminder from Stonch's Beer Blog that United Kingdom brewers are nuts over the idea of using a variety of animals. Everything from a griffin to a ram to a stag to a cockerel to an eagle to a hen to a chimp to a weasel.

Chris O'Brien at The Beer Activist takes us on a trip to Vietnam and an encounter with snake wine, which is fermented using rice. His advice is to avoid the ruou made with cobra. A big 10-4 on that one, Chris.

Jon Abernathy at The Brew Site mercifully gets us back to a place where my stomach is on a little more solid ground with his review of three beers from Cascade Lakes Brewing in Oregon. We now have a rooster, pine marten and monkey in our midst.

Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer urges an Arizona brewery to please take up the cause of the Road Runner, while chronicling Chicken Killer Barleywine and Turtle Mountain's Fat Squirrel.

If you have a Beer Blogging Friday post to contribute to The session #7 this month, there is still time to take part. Please email me your link at rick.lyke@gmail.com.

The Brew Zoo: We're Off to a Good Start

This edition of The Session is dedicated to Michael Jackson. The Beer Hunter passed away a few days ago and will be missed by all who were fortunate enough to have known him or lucky enough to be introduced to great beer or whiskey through his books, articles, television appearances, DVDs or websites. The beer and whiskey world has lost a passionate and eloquent journalist. An international toast is being planned to honor and remember Michael Jackson on Sept. 30th. Details of the event will be listed on The Beer Hunter website and you may want to check with your local brewpub or beer bar to see what they have planned.

The Session #7 is The Brew Zoo. We can expect a Noah's Ark full of beers to arrive through Beer Blogging Friday, which was created by Stan Hieronymus over at Appellation Beer. My plan is to post an update a couple of times today as bloggers bag their animal brews and post them, with a final wrap up coming over the weekend. If you have a Beer Blogging Friday post to contribute to The session #7 this month, please email me a link at rick.lyke@gmail.com.

Here goes with a few of the early posts:

Mattias Willefors at the mattias-beer-experience from Sweden introduces us to Dugges Holy Cow India Pale Ale from a small microbrewery on the west coast of his country. He gets bovine style points for a truly strange piece of label art. Then he gives us a look at a seasonal label from Dugges called Rudolf, giving us our first reindeer for this -- and I believe any other edition of The Session.

Over at the food blog Make Mine Potato, they posted on that wonderful Belgian treat Delirium Nocturnum and reminisced about a visit to Belgium, while lamenting the difficulty in finding great beer in Missouri.

Ethan Cox at Beer-O-Vision gives us our first truly mythical creature with a report on Orkney’s Dragonshead.

Ray at The Barley Blog donned a pith helmet and caught two stouts for the Brew Zoo: Blue Fin Stout and Black Hawk Stout. He decides that these two old favorites deserve a more frequent return to his fridge.

Over at the Brew Brain Blog, Lyle McCulloch brings us a family pet for The Brew Zoo with Spanish Peak's Black Dog Ale.

We hear from Dublin, as The Beer Nut delivers three suggested additions to the menagerie: Badger Ales' Tanglefoot, Goose Island's Honkers Ale and Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot Barleywine. Bigfoot may indeed get his own wing at The Brew Zoo.

Knut Albert from Oslo, Norway, decided to take us to London and collect an entire public house so we would have a place to go to enjoy all of the zoo brews. Welcome to the Black Lion, a gastropub with some of the best value lodging in the British capital.

We're off to a good start filling the Beer Ark. Keep them coming and please form a two-by-two line at the right.

The Brew Zoo: A Six Pack of Animal Beers

I'm the host for The Session #7: The Brew Zoo, so I have been thinking about animal beers the last few weeks. Beer Blogging Friday is a pretty liberal operation, allowing beer bloggers some decent leeway to take a theme and run with it. My personal preference for The Brew Zoo is to write about beers that either come from a brewery named after an animal or the actual brand is named for an actual living, breathing creature.

That said, I fully expect that a number of beers that feature animal art on their labels, but not in their names, will show up at the zoo gate. I've had several recently, from Saratoga Lager with its horse to Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale and its fish to Bell's Concecrator Dopplebock with its pair of billy goat heads. I also decided personally to avoid mythical creatures for my personal contribution. Bigfoot and Flying Dog may show up, too, and that's just fine. All of these beers will be allowed through the gate. We want to see how many creatures big and small that we can cram into the menagerie.

Without further delay, here are my six animal brews for The Brew Zoo. They come from the land, sea and air.

Avery Hog Heaven: This reddish brew has a big amount of hops to carry it through almost any situation, but the malt comes in to play heavily, making this a complex and balanced barleywine. This beer packs flavor and a punch.

Carlsberg Elephant Malt Liquor: I wanted to see if I could bag the biggest animal for The Session. This beer from Denmark has a slightly sweet nose and clear golden color. The semi-thick white head hung around. The flavor is a bit on the bitter side and it has a lingering alcoholic note.

Goose Island Summertime Kolsch: A clean and crisp beer that is fairly light, but carries with it citrus notes and just a hint of hop bitterness. A nice hot weather beer from Chicago.

Otter Creek World Beer Tour Otteroo Australian Sparkling Ale: This beer from Vermont was slightly hazy, with a nice fruity base. Fairly light body for all that was going on with the beer's flavor.

Steelhead Extra Stout: From Mad River Brewing in Blue Lake, Calif., this dark as night beer has pronounced roasted characteristics from start to finish. It offers a solid tan head and a slight bitter chocolate finish.

Terrapin Rye Pale Ale: This ale from Georgia has an enormous hop base (45 IBUs), thanks to the five varieties that are used. I has a cloudy, amber color and it is fairly unique because of its use of rye. A great beer of draught.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Opera and Beer Come Together in Knoxville

The Knoxville Opera has come up with an interesting way to celebrate its 30th anniversary and perhaps draw in a few new fans. On Oct. 5th the company will feature highlights from Sigmund Romberg’s operetta “The Student Prince” served up with a German buffet and unlimited beer and wine.

The Oktoberfest themed event will include the “Drinking Song” and “Overhead the Moon is Beaming” with a cast that features tenor Ta’u Pupu’a, a former National Football League player with the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens.

We are not sure if the all-the-beer-you-can-drink promotion with spread to other operas or symphony orchestras, but we can hope.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Allentown Bike Race to be Run Through Brewpub

I don't think they will be adding this to the Tour de France next year, but on Sunday the Tour de Brew will run through the Allentown Brew Works.

The Fat Tire Crit is the final race of a nine event cycling festival being held in Allentown, Pa. Nine of the 15 laps in the mountain bike race will pass through the Allentown Brew Works while the brewpub is open serving food and drinks.

"I think this is probably the coolest idea that anyone has come up with yet," Mayor Ed Pawlowski is quoted as saying by the Allentown Morning Call.

Race organizers believe it is the first time an event sanctioned by the U.S. Cycling Federation includes an indoor section through a brewery.

Drink Art: A Bar at the Folies-Bergere by Edouard Manet

Drink Art is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that looks at famous works of art depicting men and women enjoying life and drink.

A Bar at the Folies-Bergere
Edouard Manet
French, 1832-1883

Edouard Manet was a French painter involved in the transition from Realism to Impressionism styles. Early in his career many of Manet's works were controversial and he sometimes struggled to get exposure for his paintings as conservative galleries rejected them. He painted people in every day scenes and became well respected for his work, even though his last major piece, A Bar at the Folies-Bergere was criticized when it was first shown in 1882. It still creates debate today, with some suggesting the woman reflected in the mirror is the barmaid talking to a man and that Manet was making a point about prostitution in Paris at the time.

Manet's painting depicts a bar at the Folies-Bergere nightclub in Paris. The barmaid is waiting to serve customers a range of drinks from Champagne to Bass Ale. One can almost imagine throwing back a few in the club as the floor show unfolded, with its lively dancers and young ladies above on trapeze.

A Bar at the Folies-Bergere is part of the collection of the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Tuesday Tasting: Parker's Heritage Collection 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 try a new limited release Bourbon.

Heaven Hill Distilleries makes some of the most interesting whiskeys on the market, with the likes of Elijah Craig Bourbon, Rittenhouse Rye and Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey coming from the company. That's why when the sample of Parker's Heritage Collection cask-strength Bourbon arrived at Lyke2Drink it was greeted with much anticipation.

This is the first edition of Parker's Heritage Collection, which pays tribute to 6th generation Master Distiller Parker Beam. The whiskey is the first in a series and Parker Beam persoanally picked the Bourbon from Heaven Hill's 49 rickhouses. A total of just 68 barrels were selected for the first edition. The 6,400 bottles will reach retail during September and October and have an $80 price tag.

This is the first barrel strength Bourbon from Heaven Hill and the sample I had was an impressive 122.6 proof. The whiskey had a huge amount of vanilla in the nose, which did not show itself much in the flavor profile. Instead, a rich and heavily wooded tone took over. The Bourbon had a long, smooth finish with very slight hints of nut. This is a Bourbon fan's delight.

Monday, September 03, 2007

To Your Health: Red Wine Blocks Prostate Tumors

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham say that a compound found in red wine helped prevent tumors in lab mice. Resveratrol given to male mice cut the incidence of prostate tumors.

The study was published in the Journal of Carcinogenesis. Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in grapes, raspberries, peanuts and blueberries. In the study, mice fed resveratrol had an 87 percent reduction in prostate tumors. Even mice given resveratrol who developed tumors were said to be much more likely to respond to treatment to halt the growth of the tumors.

The United States Department of Defense and the National Cancer Institute funded the study.