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HEARD IT THROUGH THE HOPVINE
Earthquake in Beervana: Maybe the world is upside down, but California has been drenched in rainstorm after rainstorm this winter, and Seattle and Portland suffered a 6.8 earthquake, Richter-wise. Belmont Station owner/manager Joy Campbell said, “I was just reading this thing about the Belgian beer Delirium Tremens, and we had an earthquake!” Homebrewer Bob Farrell shot back, “Try reading about La Fin du Monde and see what happens.” Ah, the French. They have a different name for everything. Since the quake was centered near Olympia, home of Miller Brewing Company, perhaps it was just Gambrinus, god of beer, getting even for the Stroh/Miller deal and the demise of the historic Henry Weinhard brewery in Portland. It’s not nice to mess with Gambrinus… the god, not the distribution company or the maltster. Maybe it’s not nice to mess with them either…

This just in: By the conclusion of the 20th century, the United States had a total of more than 480,000 retail beer outlets serving nearly 2,400 brands from approximately 1,700 domestic brewers. Is this a great time to be a beer lover or what? And shame on all those local “popular press” rags around the country that can’t seem to find the editorial space for regular beer columns! Sure, the Celebrator and the many other fine beer rags around the country do their part to bring fresh beer-babble to the true believers, but it’s not the same as getting your local paper to write about beer once in a while in order to bring the message to the rest of the population who don’t know what they are missing in the good beer renaissance. Sadly, this includes two papers in what has been called Munich on the Willamette or “Beervana,” the city of beer itself, Portland, Ore.! Both the Oregonian and the Willamette Weekly have cut back or discontinued regular beer columns. Time to give the Fifth Estate a good slap and perhaps the media barons will come to their senses…

Panty Peeler Belgian Wit, anyone? So you thought Mardi Gras was a big deal in New Orleans. Those frostbitten shut-ins in Anchorage, Alaska, get their Fat Tuesday jollies too, you know. Barb Miller, La Femme de Marketing for Midnight Sun Brewing in Anchortown, had a blurb in the company e-missive that said, “Bring your own beads for wearing, trading and/or bargaining with. Oh, keep your shirts on. It's your pants we want! Okay, maybe not. But we will be featuring Midnight Sun's Official Beer of the Mardi Gras celebration, The Panty Peeler (or The Debriefer, to be fair), which is aka Extreme Polar White Bier… that Belgian-style triple spiced with orange peel and coriander like a Belgian-style witbier. It's fun and fruity; it's spicy and earthy; it packs a big punch. Wear a mask and beads… and possibly an extra set of undies?” Land of the Midnight Fun, eh?…

It’s all over the Internet, but we’ll give Caustic Bob a “first in” with Why Men Aren’t Secretaries: “Husband's note to his wife: ‘Doctor's office called: Said Pabst beer is normal.’” Is this male bashing? Hope so…

Now that Israel has its own brewpub in Tel Aviv, no doubt they will need our help in thinking up snappy beer names. Beat the heat with a glass of Wailing Wall Wheat? How about Rabbi Red, Dead Sea Dark, Passover Pils or maybe Chutzpah Hefe? Don’t blame us (we have real Jews on staff to help with this sort of thing!); Jeremy Cohen started it with his He’Brew, the Chosen Beer…

Brewing tip: Steelhead Burlingame’s GABF gold medal–winning Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Stout was made by “placing the chocolates in pantyhose and leaving them to ferment for three weeks.” Sure hope the brewer washed ’em out pretty good before putting them back in his girlfriend’s dresser…

There's been a lot of controversy over Bill Clinton's last-minute presidential pardons. While not wanting to drag politics into the world of whiskey, it is a fact that whiskey and pardons have a lot more in common than you might realize. According to Lawrence L. Knutson for the Associated Press: “The right to pardon or to commute a prison sentence has been exercised by virtually every president since George Washington in 1795 pardoned violent anti-tax protesters in the Whiskey Rebellion.” Note to George Bush II: In 1992, President George Bush I pardoned a man convicted in 1963 of stealing 12 six-packs of beer on an Indian reservation. (Ya jez don’t mess with a man’s right to bear arms… full of beer.) He also pardoned a Kentuckian convicted in 1947 of moonshining. Moonshining, BTW, is what all you backyard distillers out there are doing, and the federal gumment still wants a serious piece of your hide…

And speaking of presidential politics: Did anyone notice the dichotomy between states voting for Gore and those voting for Bush in terms of “good beer” and “light industrial beer” states? Go ahead, get out the electoral map. With the exceptions of Oregon and possibly Alaska, almost all the Gore states are “good beer” states and the rest… well, take a look. And don’t get me started about Florida. As the great philosopher Pogo once observed, “We has met the enemy… and he is us.”

 

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