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Malty mocha madness - the ultimate Seattle experience: With breweries opening as fast as Starbucks Coffee outlets, maybe it was only a matter of time before the two would get together. Redhook Ale Breweries announced that it would do a special brew in conjunction with the Starbucks folks that would have the roasty flavor of an Imperial stout and the rich flavor of arabica coffee. The beer, which has some caffeine in it, is being sold in alehouses in the Seattle and Portland areas. I can just hear Jay Leno now: "Oh, swell, a beer that keeps you up all night going to the bathroom!"

Brewing in the Big Apple: The original owners of Commonwealth Brewing in Boston will open a 20- bbl brewery in Rockefeller Plaza in downtown Manhattan next to NBC studios. I wonder if the Today Show will go live from the brewery?

Meanwhile, New York City's shining beer star Kirby Shyer sees his business expanding almost as fast as his wife (she's with child) -a new site in upstate, and new tanks and some filling equipment at Midtown store. Look for Zip City in bottles (expect to see Jennifer's Baby Bock any day). Now that small brewing has finally caught on in Manhattan, look for Kirby to be speaking at conferences in the Catskills, at the Smithsonian and at various cooking schools on the East Coast. New York beer attitudes are changing - you got a problem with that?

My Favorite Martin Dept.: While we're on the new baby report: Berkeley's John Martin (of 20 Tank, Jupiter and Triple Rock fame) and his wife, Linda, just had a baby girl. Kelly is her name and beer is her legacy. She should be waiting tables soon. ... Thanks to a lot of hard work by John and his staff, this year's Berkeley Beer Festival (benefiting the CA Small Brewers Association) was a tremendous success. It was held on grass (not that kind, silly) in a city park across from the Berkeley Community Theater. The whole feel was more like the Oregon Brewers Festival, which is a compliment to both events.

The California Cafe group is set to open their first brewpub in Indianapolis. The theme is said to promote the California lifestyle. Since it will be called "Alcatraz Brewing Co.," may we assume that the CA lifestyle warrants incarceration? All beer names for Alcatraz Brewing are hereby welcome. Birdman Bitter comes to mind. How 'bout Isolation IPA? Slammer Stout? Execu-tor Doppelbock?! Your turn.

And speaking of beer names, the new Powerhouse Brewing Company in Sebastopol, CA, is in the hometown of Charles Shultz, creator of the Peanuts cartoon. Should we be expecting Peanuts Pale Ale, Linus and Lucy Lager and (dare I say it) Charlie Brown Ale?...

And now, for something completely different: Palestinian Pilsner! Nadim Khoury is the man behind a new beer that has given the West Bank its own local brew. Considering that 95 percent of the population is Muslim and is forbidden alcohol, that's yer basic niche market, pal. The beer is called Taybeh after its hometown. The bottle states that it is "the best in the Middle East." (Yeah, relative to what?) Why didn't they call it "The beer that made Taybeh famous?" Their slogan is: "Drink locally, think globally." Hey, didn't Jim Parker coin that phrase in Fort Collins, CO, about five years ago? Anyway, Palestinian newspapers won't run his ads, and the Israelis (who granted him a license) think he's nuts, according to an account in the San Francisco Chronicle. Nuts like the Desert Fox! "Tourists like Taybeh because it is Palestinian," said the report. "More malty and more bitter than Israeli beer." Sadly, the Arabs are reported to have said that "it needs more gas!" They must get all the Bud they want!...

Cruising the Internet occasionally turns up a gem of an item. Not this time, however. Do you know the difference between a pig and a man? A pig doesn't turn into a man after a few beers. ... Well, if it weren't for the Net I'd never know that Swans brewpub in Victoria, B.C., has a Deficit Ale on tap! For every pint sold, they send $1 to Ottawa to help pay off the national debt!!! (Of course, those are Canadian dollars...) I'll check it out at the Great Canadian Beer Festival this November, where I will do my part to retire the debt.

Bermuda Shorts: If your brewer is missing, consider that the new Bermuda Triangle Brewing Company is seeking a brewer to join their team. I think I'd want to know what happened to the last one! (Actually, they are just starting up and haven't lost a brewer yet!!! About that malt shipment, however...)

Another new beer out of Orange County, CA, features six lovely models on the labels and in their advertising, which they describe as the "Ultimate Six-pack." Wanker Beer is being distributed first in Southern California. Soon we may be hearing, "Hey, buddy, how 'bout a Wanker?" or "That's a nice Wanker ya got there." If I were Mr. Wanker, I'd brew a lager at ale temperature and call it Wanker Steam! (Hello? Oh, hi, Fritz...)

Random Factoids Dept.: "Any random group of children ages 8-12 can identify more brands of beer than names of U.S. presidents." Ya... so? The name of the general manager at Whisky Creek pub in Mammoth Lakes, CA, is Chip Wood!... The Celebrator Beer News has grown to be a quarter-pounder of beer news! (You want fries with that?)... The crumpled Coors can is the state flower of New Mexico and is protected! (OK, I made that up...)




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