Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday brunch beers

Personally, I think the best choices are lighter beers with no added fruit flavors.

Try Pilsner Urquell, Maisel's Weisse Kristall, or Duvel. Blonde ales might pass with brunch fare, too, but I think big domestic light beers probably will not offer a real flavor profile.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dark beers in warm weather?

A recent Anheuser-Busch press release made a compelling case for keeping dark beers – especially the company’s Michelob Dunkel Weisse and Beck’s Dark – in the refrigerator during the spring and summer months.

“Explore how Michelob Dunkel Weisse’s toasted caramel malt complements smoked Gouda or contrasts the salty and milky flavors of feta,” the release said. “Save Beck’s Dark for dessert – on its own or as part of a vanilla ice cream float.”

After trying New South Brewing Co.’s Irish Stout with cheese cake during the Myrtle Beach Beer Fest’s Brewmaster Dinner last month, I have to say the Anheuser-Busch marketing folks have a fair point.

But it’s not likely to change the habits of beer drinkers. When Josh Quigley, of Quigley's Pint & Plate in Pawleys Island, was brewing at Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery in Myrtle Beach years ago, he could put a stout on in May and it might last all the way until September.

The inverse is true of lighter beers. “My lager sales definitely slow down in the winter and pick up in the summer,” Quigley said.

“This will be the last dark beer I’ll put on until September,” Quigley said of the Angels Share stout.
Contact Colin Burch - the Beerman - at

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Call for YOUR beer-drinking playlist

Beer-drinking needs the proper accompaniment.

Country-Western or classic rock, pop or heavy metal, there are some tunes that fit and some that don't.

What goes with classical? Heineken? What goes with rap? What's Ad-Rock's fav?

Anyway, hit the COMMENTS link below and paste in YOUR favorite beer-drinking playlist.

We'll pick the coolest and share it with readers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Beer beats wine on Earth Day

I can imagine some guys mocking this hippie Earth Day stuff, but let's face it: nothing honors Mother Earth quite like beer drinking.

Beer is made from water, yeast, hops, and grains -- an all-natural recipe far more complex than mere grapes and water, as a Highland Brewing Co. representative reminded me recently.

So beer is a far better way to celebrate Earth Day. Drink up!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Send the Federal Government on a beer run

Give the Federal Government $20 and send it on a beer run.

It will return with about $10 worth of cheap beer.

And there will be almost enough for everyone.

The Federal Government will need just $20 more to make another beer run, just to make sure everyone has enough.

And then it will return with about $9 worth of cheap beer.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Craft brewing makes strong showing

As economic health has declined, the U.S. craft-brewing industry is fit, strong, and growing.

Craft brewing is doing very well across the U.S., according to recently released statistics from the Brewers Association.

In one respect, the statistics don’t matter. The beer business tends to keep jogging along even when other economic sectors are panting and doubled-over.

“I don’t want to say beer is recession-proof, but it certainly stands up among consumables,” said Pete Velez, chief brewer at Gordon Biersch Restaurant Brewery at The Market Common on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base.

Recent statistics underscore beer’s thriving place in our economy.

Sixty-one brewpubs opened in 2007 in the U.S., and the same number opened in 2008, according to the Brewers Association.

Fifty-seven microbreweries opened in 2007, followed by 53 a year later.

The statistics on closings provide a sharper focus.

Fifty-three brewpubs closed in 2007, while only 42 closed in 2008.

Twenty microbreweries closed in 2007; only nine closed in 2008.

Look at this way – in 2008 alone, while the economy started getting sick, the U.S. had:

-A net gain of 19 brewpubs, and

-A net gain of 44 microbreweries.

The Brewers Association also said 1, 483 U.S. craft breweries were operating in 2008, an increase of 63 from the previous year. That figure combines regional craft breweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs.

When so many other industries are suffering layoffs and closings, the beer industry is as healthy as ever.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Beer-food pairing notes from Myrtle Beach

The night before the beer fest, I went to the Brewmasters Dinner at TBonz Gill & Grill in Myrtle Beach.

The five-course dinner was hosted by Epstein of New South Brewing, which makes the TBonz brand beers.

As the evening progressed, Epstein offered some pointers worth passing along.

1. Beer-and-food pairings are subjective, but the first rule is simple: “The stronger the flavor, the stronger the beer,” Epstein said. So lighter beers went with lighter fare. The Lowcountry Light Lager was paired with the Tomato Florentine Soup, and the Market Street Wheat went with the salad.

2. Spicy foods – like beer-boiled shrimp with Old Bay or calamari with a spicy marinara sauce – go well with beers like the India Pale Ale, which relies on the bitterness of hops. (That bitterness will strike some palates as spicy.)

3. For steaks, you probably want something robust, like a red ale. “The red still has a little bit of a hop bite to it, but it relies more on malt character,” Epstein said. The Cooper River Red paired well with the New York Strip.

The big surprise for me: Irish Stout is sublime with cheesecake drizzled with chocolate sauce.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

WSJ: Anheuser-Busch InBev might sell Rolling Rock

From the Wall Street Journal:

Brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev NV is exploring the sale of its storied but struggling Rolling Rock brand, according to people familiar with the matter.

The potential sale comes three years after Anheuser-Busch Cos. bought Rolling Rock from Belgian brewer InBev NV for $82 million.
[Visitors look over a display case of beers made by the Anheuser-Busch Cos. July 14, 2008 in St. Louis, Missouri. Anheuser-Busch Cos. ] Getty Images

Visitors look over a display case of beers made by the Anheuser-Busch InBev in St. Louis, Missouri.

InBev, whose brands include Stella Artois, acquired Anheuser-Busch for about $52 billion this past autumn to form the world's largest beer maker by sales, and is selling assets to help repay debt from the deal.

Sales of Rolling Rock, whose ad slogan is "Born Small Town," have been on the decline in recent years. But the brand could appeal to beer companies seeking to expand in the U.S. market by scooping up an established name. The pale lager, which originated 70 years ago in Latrobe, Pa., is sold in distinctive green bottles, and is most popular in the eastern U.S.

Full story here.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Winter Hook Winter Ale still in Redhook variety packs -- and still good

I was surprised that my purchase of a Redhook variety pack would contain a winter seasonal. It's April, right?

But the Winter Hook Winter Ale is still good.

The Redhook variety pack ($15.99 at a local Food Lion) comes in a cardboard box with no window on the contents inside, so the word "seasonal" on the outside didn't let me know what season I was allegedly in.

The pack included three of my personal favorite, Redhook ESB, along with three each of Long Hammer IPA, Blonde Ale, and Winter Hook.

I also tried the Long Hammer IPA last night (for the first time? I can't remember). I give Redhook credit for not over-hopping their IPA. Those highly hopped IPAs are fun for experimentation and maybe some pairings, but for drinkability, I'll stick with the basic IPA recipe.

By the way, I recently re-discovered the IPA produced by our local New South Brewing Co. -- outstanding.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Beer notes...

* The inaugural Myrtle Beach Beer Fest was a huge success. I'll have more to say about it soon.

* Pete Velez of Gordon Biersch told me (at the fest) that he was planning to have an oak-aged winter bock on tap earlier this week.

* I saw the design for New South Brewing's canned White Ale, and it hits all the right notes: it has a classy microbrew appeal while also appearing bright, fresh, and upbeat.

* Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery will soon have (if it doesn't already) a blackberry beer on tap. Eric Lamb told me that the price for raspberries has gone through the roof.