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/// HEARD IT THROUGH THE HOPVINE
 
DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012 » BACK TO HOPVINE INDEX
 
HEARD IT THROUGH THE HOPVINE
Congratulations to Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield, who founded the iconic Vanberg & DeWulf import house, dedicated to bringing classic Belgian beers to the U.S. They are celebrating 30 years in a very challenging business, especially so in the early days, when hardly anyone knew about these exotic (weird?) beers from small breweries and monasteries across the pond. Pop the cap/cork on one of their imports (Scaldis is no bush-league brew) and toast a great 30-year run! And by the way, there is NO truth to the rumor that the brewer at New Belgium will join their company to form Peter & DeWulf. None whatsoever…

Like, really? Like, want to be liked? At least in the Facebook sense? Helps to get a snootful of beer, according to research. A recent study by the American Journal of Men’s Health determined that, at least on Facebook, beer equals buddies. Undergrad dudes (average age of 20) who frequently mention boozy doings or post pix of alcoholic excesses have more Facebook friends than those who don’t. And, when underage kids imbibe, they often binge drink (five or more drinks in a session) and do it in groups, which lends itself to photo ops — and lots of FB followers, apparently. Like, wasted? Like, hangover?… My favorite T-shirt is the one that says, “In Dog Beers… I’ve Only Had One.” Woof.

Bar 35, a Hawaiian bar in Honolulu’s Chinatown, has unveiled its Beer Below Zero (BBZ) freezer, a new freezing device that’s designed to bring beer almost to the freezing point for the frostiest brew possible. Bar 35 has become the first venue in the U.S. to use the technology, according to Honolulu Magazine. According to the company, beers come out between 14°F and 21.2°F, depending on the beer. Truly a great way to make crappy beer taste less crappy, doncha think? Freeze it and you don’t have to taste it or smell it. Please don’t get my Pliny anywhere near that thing, thankyouverymuch… And just when we thought we were making progress on the beer appreciation front…

This bud’s for you, pothead! That’s right, I’m talking about marijuana beer. Stoner suds. Ganja brew. Miller “Really High” Life. It’s commercially unavailable, obviously, due to federal drug and alcohol laws. But now that several states have OK’d the sale and use of marijuana for medical purposes, the beer is cropping up in private circles. There have been reports of California dispensaries selling behind-the-counter homemade pot beer at 20 bucks a bottle. And there’s a growing discussion about homebrew recipes online. The emergence of marijuana in liquid form shouldn’t be surprising. Before its possession was criminalized with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, marijuana was commonly ingested via liquid tincture alcohol. Today, tinctures (sometimes made instead with glycerin) are increasingly popular in legal marijuana dispensaries. Still, California marijuana activist Ed Rosenthal (who wrote a book on the subject) doubts that, even as pot laws are relaxed nationwide, we’ll ever see legal pot brew. The closest so far might be the hilariously named Metacool Maltuwanna from Wynkoop Brewing Company in Denver, Colo. As it’s not packaged, the beer didn’t have to go through federal label review. That means the only place to score some, er, buy it is at the company’s brewpub in Denver, now called America’s “mile-high medical marijuana capital.” According to Wynkoop spokesman Marty Jones, “It’s an imperial amber ale that’s exceptionally smooth and malty but not overly sweet.” But does it give you the munchies? Inquiring minds want to know…

San Diego is truly a craft beer haven. The recent San Diego Beer Week scheduled some 500 events for the less-than-two-week run. Stone Brewing of Escondido alone was responsible for some 40 different events. Across the San Diego region, 40 breweries and an amazing assortment of pubs and alehouses delivered some of the best beers in the country to a huge and enthusiastic fan base. One would assume that the home of the San Diego Chargers, Qualcomm Stadium, would be chockablock with great craft beers on offer. One would be wrong. Oh sure, you can get the house cabernet sauvignon (from the Napa Valley, no less), but try to get a Stone or Pizza Port beer. Nada. Why is it that Chargers fans get to buy a Napa cabernet (don’t they have an award-winning wine district in Temecula?) but it’s all crap on tap for beer? Obviously, some lobbying needs to be done in support of the good-beer movement in San Diego. Maybe the Chargers would step up to a winning season if some winning craft beers were offered at the stadium concession stands. Don’t bet on it…

At a wedding party recently, someone yelled, “All the married men, please stand next to the one person who has made your life worth living.” The bartender was nearly crushed to death…
 

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