2005 | COLUMN | HOP CAEN
Heard It Through The Hopvine
By Hop Caen
Brewery turning from beer to water? In
the face of one of the largest natural disasters in modern
times, Sri Lanka's top brewery, which normally produces 160,000
bottles of beer a day, changed over production to potable
water for the survivors of the Asian tsunami disaster. But
the Lion Brewery had a problem because of the color and labeling
of the bottles. An urgent request to get white glass bottles
was answered, and the much-needed water was soon available.
Meanwhile, our friends at Pelican Pub & Brewery in Pacific
City, Ore., stepped up and are donating a portion of the sales
of Pelican's signature Tsunami Stout (named in 1996) to tsunami
disaster relief. Brewers with a heart…
Secret to a long life? Beer! OK, we knew
that. Now the world's oldest man corroborates that the secret
of long life is a good beer every day. German Hermann Doernemann,
age 111, recently took the title of World’s Oldest Man
after the death of American Fred Hale. The retired electrical
engineer said a daily dose of a good dark beer kept him feeling
great as he waited patiently for those ahead of him to, er,
relinquish their titles to Oldest Man. And Prosit to you,
sir!… BTW, people who track such things say that there
are 26 women ahead of him in the oldest category.
Czech this out! "They just don’t
make beer like they used to in the Czech Republic." At
least, that’s the way they see it at Britain’s
Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the world's largest beer-consumer
group. CAMRA’s Iain Loe says iconic Czech beers such
as Pilsner Urquell are no longer the world-class examples
of the style they used to be. "The quality of Czech beer
produced by some of these breweries has deteriorated. They
are perhaps skimping on the quality with cheaper malt and
hops and reduced lagering times. There is also less choice
of brands for consumers," Loe said. Loe singled out Plzensky
Prazdroj, owned by the SABMiller group, which controls 47
percent of the Czech beer market. That brewer makes the world-famous
Pilsner Urquell and has expanded beer production under license
in neighboring Poland, Slovakia and, more recently, Russia!
Them's fightin' words to the Czechs. Jan Vesely, chairman
of the Czech Brewing and Malthouse Association, described
the accusations as "unfair, incompetent and insulting.
What can the Brits tell us Czechs about the quality of beer?"…
Beer writer John Foyston of Portland's Oregonian
was the first to wonder if Rogue's
Dead Guy Ale is a big fave among the speed/death metal set.
It seems that fans were leaving bottles of Dead Guy Ale in
memory of Damageplan guitarist Dimebag Darrell Abbott, the
late heavy-metal artist who was shot dead while performing…
During his record $2.5 million run, "Jeopardy!"
champion Ken Jennings encountered a question about Corona
beer, the numero uno–selling imported beer in the United
States. The question, "The name of this Mexican beer
is Spanish for crown," was answered correctly by Jennings
when he buzzed in first with "What is Corona?"
The worshippers at St. Mark’s Episcopal
Church on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., are doubly blessed.
In a throwback to ecclesiastical practices of a few hundred
years ago, the faithful flock drinks the parish’s own
beer as they socialize after Sunday services. Spirits, no
doubt, are rising, as is attendance. Perhaps some blessed
beer names are in order? How about Papal Porter, Mary's Veil
Pale Ale, Transsubstantiationator, He Is Risin' Hefeweizen?
Since our man Gregg Wiggins is on the scene, he kicked in
with "Deuteronomy Doppelbock, Pentecostal Porter, Manna
Barley Wine and Jezebel Red? OK, how about Bethlehem Bock,
or Cast the First Steinbier?" Hmmm… too Old Testament,
Whoever stole the baby Jesus from a nativity
scene in Adelaide, Australia, is in deep doo-doo. The Southern
Australia Brewing Company has offered six cases of beer for
the quick return of the missing savior. The nativity scene
is part of the brewery's wider Christmas display, now a tradition
after some 45 years. Brewery Managing Director Mark Powell
said security footage showed a man scaling a fence and swiping
baby Jesus from his manger. As of this writing, no one has
claimed the six cases, and the case remains, er, unredeemed…
A Bethlehem (Pa.) brewery was forced to
drop its Rudolph's Reserve ale after a copyright suit last
year. This past holiday season saw the release of "Rude
Elf's Reserve," with a label featuring a red-nosed elf
holding an open bottle, with a reindeer visible in the background.
Cheeky? You bet. About 500 cases of the Belgian-style ale
were produced for 2004 and were contract brewed at Easton's
Weyerbacher Brewing Company, according to Bethlehem Brew Works'
owner Jeff Fegley. Where there's a Will (Farrell), there's