Checking Out a Lot of Beers, Without the Hangover

The Beer Expert is among the programs that can help users make sense of all the beers on the market. Second picture: the “Find Craft Beer” iPhone app.

Written by Bob Tedeschi for The NYT

My attention was elsewhere when the craft beer craze started, so I was caught off guard when my friends started talking about ales with a kind of snootiness one normally finds at a Grand Cru wine tasting.

I still lack the time, budget and liver to keep pace with those guys. But with an iPhone or a Droid, I can definitely fake it.

Spend a little beer money loading a handful of apps onto your smartphone, and the wretchedly complex world of brews becomes as clear as a Belgian wheat ale.
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From the Bottle Collection

Without intent, I have collected well over 1,000 beer bottles since the early 70s. When something finally had to be done about the cheap paneling in this old modular, I had a choice. Tear down the walls while, oh, so carefully, replacing the often rotted 1X3s. Or: cover them with…

…The Bottle Collection.

Written by Ken Carman

OK, I admit, the picture stinks, thanks to Ken’s erratic camera.

New Knoxville was a brewer in, well, where else but Knoxville, Tennessee? I have spoken with several homebrewers from the area who agree: not that impressive. This was supposed to be their Mild Ale. More like an indistinct, bland ale. Plus, to add to the distraction the bottles we bought were a bit skunky: light struck, cardboard-like.

Cardboard. Yum!

Wasn’t hoppy. That’s expected for the style. Wasn’t all that malty: that is necessary for the style. This was beyond “light,” as in almost an ale version of “lite.” What made this a “mild?” If I remember right the color was OK. Carbonation OK. Head light, not long lasting… but that’s OK for the style. I seem to remember clarity a bit on the foggy side: could have been cold chill. Mouth feel OK, if you can get beyond the skunk and the inappropriate “lite.”

I willingly admit: hard to remember otherwise. But I do remember a few of their other entries into the market were a bit better, but I tend to agree with my fellow brewers. Eh, not that impressive.

Beer Profile: Big Flats

Picture courtesy

Profiled by Ken Carman

First impression: a corn nose. Not unexpected in this style. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if they used corn in the brewing, since Miller uses it too. Bud is made with rice as an adjunct.

This is Walgreen’s generic brand, sold for a whopping 3.68 a six. Made by Brewmasters out of Rochester. They have pretty much become a hired gun brewer, which is not an insult at all. Someone has to do it. Just depends on how well it’s done. I’d be curious to taste the west coast version, if there is one. According to one site: “brewed by Winery Exchange Inc., a brewery in Novato, California.” I suspect not. Not only do the same sources conflate it with “Genessee Brewing,” but Winery Exchange’s site says nothing about brewing, only that they are a “company that sources beer.” And Genessee Brewing isn’t quite an accurate descriptive either. Brewmasters may brew the version of Genessee now on the market, but the original Genessee Brewery died a long time ago. If you saw the water in the Genessee River that they use fr brewing, you’d be thankful. Let’s just say you’d be all set for St. Patty’s Day before brewing begins, and it might double as a natural fertilizer-colored brown too. There are more colors, but why make you even more thirsty?

I’ve read a lot of nasty bouncing around the web in regard to Big Flats, but honestly I don’t see where this is all that different, or off, when considering the style: American Lager. A pale urine yellow, which is also normal. Clarity is good. Head doesn’t last as long as it should, but that’s minor and the head at first was, well, I hate to keep typing this but “as expected for the style.” Just about the right carbonation in the mouthfeel. Yes, Big Flats when it comes to long lasting head is a little “flat.”

The taste is light corn, light malt, the slightest hint of hops… German/Noble? Hallertauer? There’s really not a lot more. I suggest getting it real cold and use it whenever you would use what some call a “lawnmower beer.” And putting on my future telling hat let me predict, if you mow and drink you might find out you’re just not an idiot, but possibly a toe-less, eye-less or finger-less idiot.

Reminds me a bit of Matt’s: a past tense brew from Matt Brewing who makes mostly their own craft brand, Saranac, now. Yes, “Matt’s,” actually a slightly superior brew brewed back then, well superior to what damn near every brewery in America was putting out: almost exclusively, up until 30-40 years ago.
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Beer Extra: East End meets West Wing?

Oval Office: Steeling itself from Pittsburgh beer. (Photo by David J. Phillip of the AP)

Written by Greg Kitsock for The Washington Post

Sometimes, you just can’t give beer away.

That’s the dilemma of Scott Smith, founder of East End Brewing Co. in Pittsburgh. His microbrewery will turn out perhaps 2,000 barrels in 2011, and Smith is content to sell most of that in his hometown. But when he heard that the White House had ordered a special shipment of beer from Hinterland Brewing Co. in Green Bay, Wis. for President Obama’s Superbowl party this Sunday, he figured the celebration, in the spirit of bipartisanship, should include a Pittsburgh brew, too.
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10th Annual Winterfest Craft Beer Show

Written by M.A. Rosko for FOX 9 News

MINNEAPOLIS – Cold temperatures mean local brewers are putting out their biggest, burliest beers. Those stouts, porters, ales, from 22 Minnesota breweries, will be sampled Friday night at the 10th annual Winterfest.

The event at the Minnesota History Center sold out in 30 seconds–all 700 tickets–and that should
give you an idea of how popular local brews have become.

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Brooks on Beer: SF Beer Week

Sounds like FUN!- The Professor

Guest brewer Christian Kazakoff, left, of Iron Springs Pub & Brewery in Fairfax, Calif., toasts patrons of the newly-opened Beer Revolution bar in the Jack London Square neighborhood of Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010. Kazakoff brought samples of his Belgian Dubble style beer as part of San Francisco Beer Week. (D. Ross Cameron/Staff) ( D. ROSS CAMERON )

Written by Jay R. Brooks for

In other parts of the country, February is traditionally one of the sleepiest months. But here in semi-sunny San Francisco, it’s just the opposite. Yes, I’m talking about SF Beer Week, now in its third big year.

I’m not just a big supporter of SF Beer Week, I’m also a co-founder and organizer — and this showcase for the Bay Area’s beer culture and community is near and dear to my heart. Last year, more than 225 events took place over the 10 days of SF Beer Week. This year’s festivities, slated for Feb. 11-20, promise more than 250 diverse events of every possible variety — specialty tastings, talks, beer-pairings, dinners and even beer brunches.

Join us for opening day at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, where more than 35 Bay Area breweries will be pouring unusual, rare and collaboration brews from 5-9 p.m. There will be live music and food booths as well.
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Ye Olde Scribe’s Drink What You #@!% Want Report’

(Image courtesy

Hey “judging” beer is fine. But “snobbery?” Who thought up that crap? Winos? Stouts only with steak, only light Lagers with fish?

Snobs, that’s who thought it up. Not beer lovers.

Scribe has been drinking beer since the early 60s, and not just the kind of swill American brewers insisted on pouring down our throats, thanks to being able to travel out of country a long, long time before you got free crotch grope.

Scribe wasn’t joking when he chose, “Ye Olde,” as a moniker.

Extra Stouts are delicious with fish. A true Kolsch makes a steak taste even better. Or switch them. You choose. Not them. And if it isn’t right, the greatest thing is you get to try again, and again, and again. Some dishes may seem to go best with some beer TO YOU, but that is highly subjective.

If anyone insists on convincing you otherwise, they don’t know $#@! about beer. Tell them to take a bottle of their favorite wine and shove…