Brooks on Beer: New Year’s Beer Resolutions

Written by Jay R. Brooks for and The Bay Area News Group

A bartender pours a glass of beer at a restaurant in the Pilsner Urquell factory in Pilsen, Czech Republic, Sunday, March 29, 2009. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (Petr David Josek)

Now that we’re safely into the new year, it’s time to make some new beer resolutions — and try some different kinds of beer this year.

For a number of years now, India Pale Ales have been the fastest-growing type of beer sold — and “seasonals” have been the biggest-selling category, which means people also are keen to try something new. But beer drinkers tend to stick to a small subset of the dozens of American craft beer styles. Last year, for example, seasonals were in the top spot again, and the next five best-selling beer categories were IPA, pale ale, amber ale, amber lager and wheat beer.

They’re all fine beer styles, and I drink my fair share of them, too, but they’re not exactly a diverse crowd. So this year, break out of your comfort zone and try one of these exceptional beers.

Craft pilsners

When microbreweries started making beer in the early ’80s, the vast majority made ales. They took less time to brew, required less aging and, some said, were more forgiving. But pilsners have been a popular beer style since their introduction in the 1840s. If you have enjoyed a beer by one of the big breweries, you’ve already had a version of a pilsner, with added corn, rice or other adjunct to lighten the color and flavor.

If you’ve had Pilsner Urquell, you’ve had the original all-malt pilsner. But a growing number of craft breweries now make a pilsner, and many of them are world class, too. Berkeley’s Trumer Pils, for example, is one of the best pilsners brewed anywhere. Moonlight Brewery’s Reality Czeck, a Czech-style Pils, and Lagunitas Brewing’s Pils are both excellent pilsners, also. They tend to be a little spicy — from the signature Saaz hop — and crisp and clean, but still very full-flavored.



In German, “alt” means old, as these ales continued to be popular in Germany even after lager brewing became all the rage in the 19th century, especially around Düsseldorf and other parts of northern Germany. But Rich Higgins, at Social Kitchen in San Francisco, is making a great example of this old style, calling his Old Time Alt. It’s slightly peppery with great toasted malt character. If you can’t make it to the source, Alaskan Amber is also an alt, and is available in six-packs. Altbiers are delicate and complex, with spicy hops and usually a dry finish, though sometimes they’re nutty or bittersweet.

Oatmeal stout


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Craft Beer Brewery Proposed for Downtown Fire Barn (Oswego, IL.)

Another interesting location for the brew business- The Professor

Written by Steven Jack for

May not be how the future brewery will look when done. Labelled as "A1" by Oswego Fire Protection's website- The Professor
The world of beer is no longer just Bud, Miller and Coors.

Craft brews have taken over the beer scene with double-digit increases in sales in the last few years. And now a group of three local guys want to bring their own brand of specialty beers to Oswego with a brewery proposed for the old Fire Barn location at 59 Main St.

Jason Thalman, Steve Woertendyke and Rafael Gomez are the co-owners of Misfit Craft Brewery. They will appear before the Oswego Plan Commission at 7 p.m. Thursday at Village Hall to discuss a special-use permit for the building that has sat vacant since 2009 when the Oswego Fire Protection District opened its new Station 1 on Woolley Road. If the commission recommends the project for approval, it could appear before the Village Board in the coming weeks.
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Drink Beer for a Healthy Heart

Written by Melissa D’costa for

Beer drinkers have something to cheer about if a recent report is to be believed: The consumption of beer in moderate quantities (that means one to two glasses only!) could reduce the risk of heart disease.

The findings are based on a meta-analysis of several different studies conducted worldwide from over 200,000 people’s drinking habits, conducted by Italy’s Fondazione di Ricerca e Cura. It showed that moderate consumption of beer decreases drinkers’ risk of heart disease by 31 per cent, just as much as moderate consumption of wine.

Beer Buzz: Filtered vs. Unfiltered Brews

Written by Andy Ingram for

You wouldn't think that something as seemingly mundane as filtration could elicit such strong emotions amongst brewers and beer drinkers, but it does. Image courtesy Thinkstock
You wouldn’t think that something as seemingly mundane as filtration could elicit such strong emotions among brewers and beer drinkers, but it does.

The underlying question is whether beer should be brilliantly clear — or “bright,” in brewer’s parlance — or if it’s OK to have a beer that’s hazy, even cloudy. This excludes, of course, American wheat beers and hefeweizens, which are cloudy according to style.
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From the Bottle Collection: Ten Beers to Have Before the Mayans Kill Us All

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


Over, or up, there!

Is it a bird?

Is it a million tornadoes, nuclear destruction, or fire, or a flood?

Is it a comet, or an asteroid?

Killer virus?

Or will the Mayans just give us the bird?

Being New Years and all, as you may of heard: and if you haven’t you really need to crawl out from under that Stone Mountain-size pebble you’ve been living under, this is the last year for humanity. The Mayans, who somehow missed Cortez and are now extinct, somehow managed to predict that this is the year we’ll all give up our holy, and less than holy, ghosts: or spirits if you will.

So, let’s par-tay!

But if I had to choose only ten beers before the calendar kacks us all… damn this is so hard… which ones would I choose? There’s so many that have been, oh, so delightful. No insult to those who didn’t make the list but still I love. Hey, I was headed to my apocalypse bunker so I grabbed quick.

So here are my top ten: not in order of best to better, or better to best; which is why I used letters instead of 1-10. They’re all just heavenly quaffs to have before I go to hell, or heaven, or the planet Beetlejuice where the death zombie bureaucrats will occupy my time as I avoid sandworms…

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Beer Profile for the New Year

Profiled by Ken Carman

The Vixen
Samuel Adams

If you have a beer for the New Year this is one I would recommend: chocolate dominates, slightly in the taste. Slight Bock lager sense but very much in the background. Deep malt complexity evident without a lot of very roast-y, or astringent sense, like over use of Black Patent. Munich seems evident in the malt mix but blends well. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel is full with slight sweet malt sense. Nose is sweet too with some Bock-lager yeast sense. No hops. Some chocolate in the nose too. The sweet is a light, sweet, pepper sense in the background. Hey! Tis a pepper beer too, which is very much in the background and probabky responsible, in part, for sweet. Very smooth; almost soft and cushion-y.

This beer doesn’t have a lot of nose, but it makes up for it with everything else with a deep malt in all of the other parameters: mouthfeel, taste and appearance. Appearance: black as midnight, pours thick with nice tan head, a mix between rock and mostly pillow. A sweet chocolate Bock in a glass, kind of a mix between dark and milk chocolate.

The complexity here is fascinating and I think with take a while to uncover, I shall “suffer” through it… with great joy. I am no lager fan, but this is a damn good beer.