Deutschland gewinnt!

Sorry…. I’m totally amped right now! Germany has prevailed over Argentina and persevered to the next round, in which they’ll beat up on the hapless Italians! This calls for Spaten!

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Belgium+Cooperstown=fun

I wound up talking to the sales rep from Cooperstown’s last night. Being owned by Duvel, They’re about as Belgian as a brewery located in New York State can get.

Anyway, they’re hosting the annual Belgium Comes to Cooperstown festival on the 15th of July. Now, with the Baseball Hall of Fame and two excellent breweries, Cooperstown is worth a visit all on its own. Add a Belgian beer festival with a bunch of European breweries, and you’ve got the best thing that’ll happen all summer.

Just a little plug for the guy who was providing me with free all night.

-Mark

Independent brewing for Independence Day

July 4 is almost here, and I’d like to take a moment to suggest that We as a people take this opportunity to remember the independent breweries, free from the tyranny of A-B, Miller, and Coors. Remember the small producers struggling to survive against industry giants bent on market-cornering and bland homogeny.

(cue patriotic music)

Remember the brave pioneers that first pitched yeast back in the ’70s so we could truly have regional choice in our time. For, were it not for those brave souls who brewed against the grain, the beer coolers of this nation would look very different today.

Drink independent this Independence Day!

Friday’s overrated beer- Blue Moon

You ever go out with the office crew for Friday happy hour? That one giggly chick always orders She likes the taste and thinks it’s sophisticated. She’s also got a boyfriend, so forget it.

Hey, you like what you like, and what you choose to drink is not a measure of sophistication. But Blue Moon is a pale imitation of Belgian witbeer. Oh, and it’s also a phony microbrewery. The stuff is made by Coors. Think of it as money laundering but with beer.

I can’t really lambaste anyone for enjoying this beer, just don’t expect it to taste authentic; its like lasagna from the Olive Garden. If you want to try a real Belgian wit, go for You can thank me later.

-Mark

I’m pissed off.

The US played like balls today, badly enough to get beaten by that troupe of pantomime artists, Ghana. This sets US soccer back ten years.

Anyway, I should be writing about beer, but I’m taking a break for today. I just might go have a cold one at the a working-class bar up on Ridge Rd. next to Kodak Park with an amazing beer selection. Six kinds of Scotch Ale. Whitbread, John Courage, Augustiner Edelstoff… this place has it all.

Now that Kodak tanked, patronage has been waning for the ‘Haus. They could use some support. If you like great beer, let ’em know.

-Mark

Off topic: Rochester soccer crucified

My friend, and long-time soccer hater Mike Cialini(KROC)finally gave in to my constant cajoling and attended a soccer game with us. Needless to say, he came away less than impressed.

His review is funny as hell though, and he’s spot on about the annoying music and overpriced beer.

-Mark

Beercraft newspaper column #16- Beers of the World Cup

Ole, Ole, Ole. Beers of the World Cup

By Mark Tichenor and Bruce Lish

The World Cup is underway, and we are so into it. Watching from a pub, amid a crowd of Europeans, Argentinians, and fellow Yanks, you really get into the electrifying atmosphere of the tournament. Each goal is orgasmic. Every near miss is like passing a kidney stone. A loss is a catastrophe.

Obviously, this environment is perfect for drinking beer. And since this is a global tournament, it behooves the serious spectator to sample global beer. Let’s take a look at some of the offerings from World Cup countries, shall we?

Brazil is the favorite, and everybody loves them. The American commentators on ESPN2 can barely pause for breath betwixt bouts of smooching Brazilian butt. Admittedly, their team is fantastic; they run, show creativity, and make devastating plays.

We don’t know what the Brazilian players drink, but chances are it’s Xingu Black Beer. As the name would imply, it’s dark, brewed in the German Schwarzbier style. Xingu is brewed with roasted malt, so there’s a robust, toasty flavor with a lot of sweetness. Since the body is light, Xingu manages to refresh despite its sweet and strong flavor characteristics.

Poland hasn’t done so well in the Tournament, but they’re aces when it comes to dark, sweet Baltic porter. Zywiec (zee-vich) and Okocim are two locally available examples. Stronger than English and American porter, with a medium body and strong chocolate and coffee flavors, these porters hearken back to the days of the Imperial Russia, when English breweries would export to the imperial court of the Czar. The beer was made extra strong to preserve it during the lengthy journey.

The style was picked up in the English merchant ships’ ports of call all along the Baltic Sea, and today features some of the most complex and satisfying beers made in Europe today.

The Czech Republic’s soccer team completely outmatched the US team, and Czechvar Pils, from the town of Budweis, does the same to American Budweiser. A furious legal grudge match finally forced the Czech Budweiser to change its brand name to Czechvar in the USA at the behest of Anheuser-Busch. And that’s fair, since the Czechs have only owned the name since the 1300s.

Yeah, we’re bitter on this point, but fortunately so is Czechvar. Hop bitterness is a primary characteristic of the Pilsner style, as is a fresh, grassy flavor, pale golden color and foamy, lingering head. Czechvar is a most refreshing beer, wonderful on a hot summer day when you’re watching your team get destroyed by a squad from a small Central European Republic one-sixteenth the size of the USA.

And of course there’s the host country, Germany. And one of the most interesting beers available from Der Vaterland is Aecht Sclenkerla Rauchbier, from Bamberg. The dark and robust beer is made with smoked malt, giving it a strongly smoky flavor that absolutely dominates from start to finish.

Some people think it’s awesome, some think it tastes like sausage. Whether you love the Rauchbier, or hate it, you’ll have at least had the pleasure of drinking one of the most unique beers in the world.

We’ll certainly be trying more as the Tournament goes on (We’re rooting for the US and Germany, by the way). The thing runs for a month, so the last few days will be a bit of an alcoholic endurance test. Still, if anyone can manage it, it’s your favorite intrepid beer columnists. GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAL!

In other beers:
Swan Market will be putting one of our favorites, Warsteiner Dunkel, back on draft soon. There was a big push for Warsteiner in the area a couple of years ago, and the Dunkel is a superior dark beer. It hasn’t been available for a while, so this is a hell of a treat. Add the Swan atmosphere, and you have a half-day of work waiting to happen.

Bruce is a certified beer judge and former commercial brewer. Mark owns a laptop and likes beer. For more on beer, check out the beercraft blog, updated regularly, at http://beercraft.blogspot.com. Send your questions, suggestions, or comments to beercraft@rochester.rr.com