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/// HEARD IT THROUGH THE HOPVINE
 
DECEMBER 1998/JANUARY 1999 » BACK TO HOPVINE INDEX
 
HEARD IT THROUGH THE HOPVINE
World of Beer creator Steve Beaumont stumbled across the following description of milk stout by a Mr. Sullivan who seems utterly out of his league on the beer front. Sez Sullivan, “If, on the other hand, you're under the weather, try milk stout, the traditional Irish cure for rheumatic fever, anemia or any other form of weakness: half Guinness, half milk.” Sez M. Beaumont, “While we occasionally enjoy a mixed beer drink or two at WoB Central, we were quite frankly disgusted at the idea of mixing milk with our Guinness. Nevertheless, we felt bound by journalistic objectivity to give it a try, and after just one sip, we discovered that it is exactly as revolting as it sounds; sort of like bitter milk with a hint of really bad coffee! Please do not try this at home!” Thanks, Steve. We won’t milk the subject further…

Elimination Round: Japanese sumo wrestling champion Yasokichi Konichiki recently visited Prague for a UNESCO Fair Play awards ceremony. Organizers soon realized that the toilet in the hotel they for booked him could not possibly hold his 583 pounds. The Forum hotel said they could take him. Their toilets were attached to the floor, not the wall, and their beds “can hold up anything,” they promised. Organizers also had to be sure to keep enough beer on hand for Konichiki: the American-born athlete reportedly drinks as many as 50 cans a day…

If you felt bad about celebrating Oktoberfest without your pooch, get thee to Portland (the Oregon one), not Munich. According to Portland’s Bob Brewer (who does the best he can to live up to his name), the popular brewpub Lucky Labrador at 9th and Hawthorne hosted its howlingly popular DOGtoberfest during Oktoberfest. If you have a Labrador retriever (or a dog even vaguely related to one), the bitch gets washed for free (boy ones, too!). And, while Butch is getting a bath, you get to enjoy the great brews from the dog-loving crew at LL. Rain gear and a little umbrella for your pint glass are recommended…

Penn State Pintsters will bite the silver bullet and revamp the state’s antiquated liquor laws (hopefully to be completed to celebrate New Year’s Eve 2000!). The state has some of the more ridiculous blue laws still in existence. Under the new regime "Pennsylvanianians" may be able to buy beer in quantities of less than a case! (How this was supposed to encourage moderation is any bureaucrat's guess…)

Fund enough studies and you’ll eventually come up with something like this: Scientists revealed recently that beer must contain female hormones. To prove their theory, scientists fed 100 men 12 pints of beer per day and observed that 100 percent of them gained weight, talked excessively without making sense, became emotional, couldn't drive, and refused to apologize when wrong. No further testing is planned. (You can thank the redoubtable Kurt Epps for this bit of enlightenment)

The gang at Elysian Brewery in Seattle reports that they are brewing their Holiday Ale, which they are calling “Grinchentinus.” It’s a dark wheat doppelbock brewed with Weihenstephan yeast (Aventinus-like). If you’ve got a better name, they’re listening… But hurry, this brew won’t last long…

Our favorite Christmas beer name comes from the friendly folx at Golden Valley Brewery in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. This holiday season be sure to serve Tannen Bomb!…

Random factoid: The presidential candidate in 1904 for the Prohibition Party was a fellow named Silas Swallow (no relation to Monica Lewinsky, we presume)…

Could Bill Gates’ mighty Microsoft be brought down by a beer industry PR flack, er, communications director? According to the San Jose Mercury News a few weeks back, the Department of Justice is keenly interested in “a 1996 email from Benjamin Myers, an official [formerly] with Pyramid Breweries, a Seattle-based microbrewery that was building a Web site. According to Myers, if Pyramid removed all mentions of Netscape from their site, Microsoft would give Pyramid about $1,000 in free software, free exposure on a Microsoft ad and other perks. 'Professionally, it is difficult for us to turn down a chance to ride their promotional PR activities to the best of our ability,' Myers told Netscape." Can we expect Bert Grant to release an Antitrust Ale anytime soon?…

Those 20-year-old shirts with “Bear-whiz Beer” on them were indeed prophetic. According to Spagnol’s Tim Vandergrift, Foster’s Brewing in China just launched a new beer to capture the “upscale” Chinese market called… get ready… Whiz! The new brew is a pisser in the demanding Tianjin market, according to press reports. The name may sound a bit strange to our ears, but to the sophisticated 20-something Chinese drinkers, there is a new generation of “Whiz kids” evolving. Whiz, don’tcha know, means “qualities of heroism and intelligence.” Imagine just for a moment the Chinese version of Lord Nelson saying, “I have not yet begun to Whiz.” OK, now stop that… Now try to imagine the Whiz exhibited aboard the Chinese freighter that capsized recently dumping a half-million cans of beer into the sea. It happened! And the following letter to the editor resulted: “A half-million cans of beer into the sea, and you bury it on page A-22!? Where is your sense of proportion, man?” Signed, David Grenley, Fresno, CA. David, we like your style…

Competition in the beer industry is getting intense. Gordon Biersch San Francisco challenged the crosstown brewers from Anchor to a charity softball game. Anchor won 23 to 10. No ringers were used (so we were told). There will be a rematch in the spring. Stay tuned to this column…

 

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