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/// HEARD IT THROUGH THE HOPVINE
 
FEBRUARY/MARCH 1999 » BACK TO HOPVINE INDEX
 
HEARD IT THROUGH THE HOPVINE
Signs that the “good beer” revolution has matured: a Cleveland, OH, decorative paper design firm is doing a wallpaper border with different microbrewery labels. Call 330-467-3337 to find out which breweries are represented. … Remember our Clint Eastwood (he of the Pale Rider pale ale fame) beer names bit? Steve Beaumont checks in from the frozen north with a few more: “Play Märzen for Me; The Good, the Bad and the Ur-Bock”; and last but — painfully last — “Every Which Way But Gueuze!”… Ouch!

The Whiz Kid checks in: “As far as I know, Bear Whiz Beer didn't appear first on T-shirts,” reports Bryan Harrell from Tokyo (as though someone had asked). “It first appeared in the Firesign Theater's 1975 album 'Everything You Know Is Wrong.' It was in a short audio parody of those Big Nature–themed beer commercials on TV in the 1970s. 'Son, it's in the water. That's why it's yellow,'” Bryan recalls. The announcer then sez quickly, “Bear Whiz Beer, Liquid Beverage Brewery Products, Animal, Missouri.” Naturally, all the Bear Whiz Beer T-shirts and hats and other items were produced without giving credit (or royalties!) to the Firesign Theater… a sure acknowledgment of talent… Sudden thought: Does “Void Where Prohibited” mean “pee where you’re not supposed to?”…

Here’s the kind of e-mail I get: “Hey, Hop, you heard about Amoebae Beer? It's a microbe-brew!” Nice sediment, Jim…

Or how ’bout this: “A neutron goes into a bar and asks the bartender, ‘How much for a beer?’ The bartender replies, ‘For you, no charge.’”

This Beer Was Made for Puking Dept.: Inmates at a New Jersey prison were made violently ill by drinking prison homebrew made from rotten fruit and bread that was allowed to ferment to alcohol, according to an Associated Press story. When they drank the foul liquid, however, instead of copping an illicit buzz, they all came down with diarrhea and cramps. (Hmmmm, I think I’ve had that beer.) No disciplinary action was to be applied by the prison staff, according to the report, as they felt the inmates had suffered enough! Awwwww…

Trying hard not to be a one-hit wonder, Orson Welles-ish movie phenom Edward Burns, 30 (he of "Brothers McMullen" and "Saving Private Ryan" fame) got his mug in a recent edition of USA Weekend. He’s pictured in a pub with a proper pint of Guinness in his hand… but he’s wearing a Miller Genuine Draft T-shirt! Talk about yer cognitive dissonance…

Raise a glass to the newest member of the Leinenkugel lineage, Candice Leinenkugel (who just married John). Wisconsin’s famous family brewery celebrated with a special brew called Man & Wifezen Beer! Production will now include the introduction of the sixth generation of Leinenkugels…

Don Younger’s Horse Brass Pub has been upholding English drinking traditions in Portland, OR, for some 20-odd years (some of them very odd!). I recently had a “traditional English breakfast” there prior to a lengthy bus trip (seemed like a good idea at the time). Throw the cholesterol meter away on this one! On one plate were eggs, ham, back bacon, banger sausage, black pudding, baked beans, fried bread toast, stewed tomatoes (very close to vegetables) and fried potatoes. Thud. Those of you on a fat-free diet are missing one important thing… flavor! I opted for the “English breakfast lite,” however. Hold the black pudding…

On ’tuther side of the culinary chart, I wandered into the Napa Valley Grille in Yountville, CA (looking for good beer in the heart of the wine country, naturally!). I was amazed to find a wonderful amber ale on draught, only to discover that it was made by Alcatraz Brewing Co. Seems the brewery and the grille are owned by the same California Cafe group. The food was exceptional, and a real standout was the sashimi-grade Ahi tuna. Spectacular presentation, sort of a vertical tuna tostada with Napa cabbage (how apropos!). Great beer and great food! What a concept…

Further up Highway 29 past St. Helena is Greystone, the new/old cooking school in the former Christian Bros. Winery, now renovated and run by the Culinary Institute of America. The restaurant is operated by the students, both food prep and service, and the wine list is extraordinary. Equally great is the short but well-chosen beer list (all on draught, natch!): Sonoma Mountain Golden Pilsner, Anderson Valley High Rollers Wheat, Anchor Liberty and Mt. St. Helens Pale Ale. And, they ASK you if you want a lemon for your wheat beer! Very hip! (Let’s lobby for a porter or stout to complete the list, eh?) The experience is enough to make this beer geek want to go back to school!…

Tom Schlafly and his merry band of wackos at the SECOND largest brewery in St. Louis (if you can’t guess the FIRST you’re a sadder man bud wiser) were prepared for the visit of Pope John Paul II to that fair city. “We decided to honor him with a special brew and chose a Baltic-style porter, more or less characteristic of his homeland,” said Schlafly. “We altered it somewhat by brewing a smoked porter, reflecting the manner of signaling the election of a new Pope by sending white smoke up the chimney.” The name of their new brew? Holy Smoke Papal Porter!

 

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