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FEBRUARY/MARCH 2005 » BACK TO HOPVINE INDEX
 
HEARD IT THROUGH THE HOPVINE
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?"… What, indeed…

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, Gregg…

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 an Elf…

 

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