Sunday, February 24, 2008

There's a scallop in my beer

In Great Britain, a brewer has produced a beer using scallops. I thought I had heard it all.

The Shepherd Neame brewery's Scallop Stout is like Guinness, and made with traditional methods, except a handful of scallops are thrown in for an hour, according to the Web site

"There's a hint of smokiness and a slight taste of the sea but no fishiness. I can find no scientific reason for why it works, but it does," brewer Stewart Main told the Web site.

Shepherd Neame, based in Kent, is planning to release a crab beer and a winkle beer, too.

(For news and commentary on religion and culture, click here.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Labels add to wine's message on Valentine's Day

From my column in the Weekly Surge:

If you buy wine for your Valentine's Day beloved, you're probably dropping a hint about your intentions, and these days, the wine labels often say a bit more. Here are some labels that will add something to the message of the wine.

Be Direct: 7 Deadly Zins, a 2006 Zinfadel, makes it clear that the evening is all about gluttony and lust. And maybe envy, if the dates at the other tables look hotter. Retails around $16-$17.

Get Serious: Nothing says commitment like diamonds, so break out the Red Diamond 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon or the Red Diamond 2003 Merlot. Around $11.

Behave Yourself: Want this evening to remain chaste? Put a bottle of Blue Nun between you and your date. This 2005 Qualitatswein from Germany retails around $9.

Express Disappointment: Ladies, if you're not happy with how your boyfriend has handled the evening, hand him a bottle of Dog House Charlie's Chard 2005 chardonnay. With a twist-off top, he won't need a cork screw to drink with the pooch. Around $11.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Magic Hat releases Pandora's Box

It looks like opening Pandora's Box is a pretty cool thing.

Pandora's Box, coming soon to a grocer or beer store near you, is a special package from Magic Hat Brewing Company in Burlington, Vermont.

Distributors should soon have the Pandora's Box Spring Variety 12-Pak in markets that already carry Magic Hat.

The theme of the box is totally Sixties: Day-Glo colors, dove's foot peace symbols, and the proclamation "Make Beer Not War." Everything about it screams youth and rock-and-roll.

Inside are three bottles each of the following brews, each of which I was allowed an advanced tasting:

#9, the "not quite pale ale." With the funky flower-child package of Pandora's Box, it's hard not to hear "Love Potion No. Nine" in the background. This remains a favorite. The not-quite-pale-ale factor reminds me of a Bass, but Magic Hat's brew wizards have added some subtle, unspecified flavorings, too. Try it, you won't regret it.

h I.P.A., a "highly hopped" India pale ale. This one definitely lives up to its name - the hops linger in your mouth with a peppery staying power, but it's not crazy hopped like some of the Dogfish Head offerings.

Circus Boy, "The Hefeweizen." I thought this was smoother and slightly heavier in body than most hefeweizens, but still crisp and good for warmer weather. Dang it, I had no lemon for my tasting of this one.

Odd Notion, an Irish-style red ale. This is a red ale that tastes red, almost with a cherry undercurrent. This is one of the sweeter, lighter, and more unique experiences I've had with a red ale. Much better than Killian's!

-From my column in Weekly Surge; see

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