Michael Jackson is the only authority on beer.
Now he’s gone.
Anyone who takes an active interest in beer would be familiar with the man who brought beer to the forefront of conversation.
In his 65 years, Mr. Jackson published numerous books on beer and whisky, and tirelessly advocated the beer conversation.
Without Michael Jackson I doubt very much that I’d be blogging about beer today.
I never met the man, but I’ve devoured his writings and hung on every word uttered by someone who had met him or heard him speak.
Mr. Jackson had Parkinson’s disease, but he never let that excuse him from being a voice in the world of beer.
Please join me and lift your pint in his honor,
Michael Jackson 1942 — 2007
Ed K passed along this particular article, read it here, in answer to my question about the history of growlers. It’s a good beer read. I love these guys who collect beer memorabilia. It’s fascinating to see how much beer culture there has been in this country. Many towns have had several reincarnations of breweries, and each has contributed to the beer culture of today.
Or so the saying goes.
Oskar Blues, of Lyons, Colorado, is making/perfecting beer in a can.
After a hard ride down some blazing single track at Blue Mountain, I had a big thirst and a refrigerator full of heavy Belgian beer. What’s a guy to do?
Somewhere in between the hummus and my mom’s homemade pickles, a shiny blue can was waiting to be noticed.
I have been searching/hoping for a beer in a can with a slightly lighter profile, you know, one you can take with you on a game of disc golf or throw in the river to drink when changing flies.
Dale’s Pale Ale is that beer.
When I popped it open last night, the hop profile hit me right away. I was surprised at home much I could smell even though I drank it from the can.
The beer was refreshing, with enough IBUs, 65, to keep it interesting. It’s also brewed using Centennial hops, a variety that I’m very partial to.
I know Tim O’Leary down at Kettlehouse is talking about canning Eddie Out Pale Ale next year, and I can’t wait. But until then, I’ll be picking up a few Dale’s Pale Ales for after those fall hikes and afternoon disc golf games.
I’ve been interested in the term “rushing the growler” for a long time. Well, as long as I’ve lived in Montana anyway. Missoula has a great growler culture. The brown or clear growlers are everywhere in town, and people even walk around with growler carriers and special coolers.
I wondered about where growlers came from, and I don’t know about the glass, but the name growler came from an American tradition that dates back to the 1800s.
“Rushing the growler” was a term used for taking an aluminum pale to the pub to fill, a chore often done by children. Basically, a small valve on the pale would emit the gases after the beer was poured, giving off a shrieking, or growling sound.
What I’d like to know is: How did we get from growling metal pales to glass? What happened in the interim?
Anybody have any more information on growler history? I’d love to hear it.
I’ve been reading up on a brewing (pun intended) controversy.
What is craft brew, real beer, micro brew, etc. etc.?
There is a lot here I could put in, but I won’t. I just want to know what you all think about the definition of craft beer.
I definitely have an opinion here, but I’d love to hear some responses, preferably as off the cuff as you can make them.
I’m on Belgian beers this summer, which is typical for warm weather, or when I’m near a good selection.
Belgian beers are great with food. Heck, they’re great by themselves, with a cigar, a good friend, on the back porch, front porch and after you mow the lawn. They’re great beers.
I’ve not been as intrigued by the way American brewers interpret Belgian brew, but occasionally you find a gem out there.
I love Belgian beers with spicy food, or food with a ton of character. The beer has a ton of character, so it’s a natural partner to full-flavored food. I love Belgian beers with Thai food like Pad Thai or basil noodles.
Victory’s Golden Monkey is a perfected match for spicy food of the Asiatic variety.
One of our favorite family dishes is called Raj’s Chickpeas. It’s a spicy bean dish with onions, diced tomatoes and cumin seed served over basmati rice. We started making it in college when we needed a fast, inexpensive meal, and it has become a staple for us.
When I popped open the Golden Monkey, the nose was all banana ether, which is very typical in Belgian beers. The color was cloudy straw. On the tongue it was all champagne bubbles and fruit. This beer has many unique characteristics so that it takes a few to figure out just what it is about one in particular.
So if you’re eating Thai or Indian for dinner, grab a few Golden Monkeys to go along. You’re palate and your guests will thank you.
Jay baniya banja hakim, to gajab khuda,
I didn’t go to the brew fest at Big Mountain this week.
And the reason I didn’t go is delicate.
On July 4, my wife’s close friend and co-worker, Micaela Maestas, was a passenger in the front seat of a friend’s car.
Micaela’s airbag did not deploy, and she spent two weeks in the hospital in a medically induced coma while friends and family prayed that the swelling would subside.
When it did, doctors found no brain activity.
The ridiculously sweet girl with bright eyes and chipmunk cheeks died a few days later on July 14.
Her death was painful for many reasons, but it hurt that something as stupid as driving under the influence of alcohol could end a life that shined so bright on many of us who knew and loved her.
My wife and kids joined me in Montana a week before Micaela died and so did not get to say goodbye to her.
And just two weeks before that, my wife’s father passed away from complications relating to his paralysis. Several years ago he’d fallen down some stairs in his home and was paralyzed from the neck down.
My wife didn’t have a close relationship with her father, who was an alcoholic, but to lose a family connection is always tough.
Because I blog about beer as part of my job as a news reporter at the Missoulian and not just as a hobby, I have to think about how I portray drinking.
The deaths of two people, one directly related to alcohol use and the other indirectly, made me think a lot about my own behavior when it comes to attending festivals, beer tastings or even Friday nights out with friends.
Those deaths also made me think a lot about my wife and how she perceives alcohol use.
The truth is that nobody is careful enough, and I include myself in that.
Oh, I’m careful to the point of keeping track of how many beers I have when I know I’m going to drive, but I very rarely police others around me.
Had I been drinking with the fellow who plowed his car into the vehicle my friend Micaela was in, I could never forgive myself for letting him drive. Yet we do this everyday. There is always some friend who has had too much to drink, and we all know it.
But we don’t want to hurt feelings or upset someone, and so they get behind the wheel.
What does this have to do with the Big Mountain Brew Fest?
I didn’t go to the beer fest out of respect for my wife, who is still suffering from the deaths of people in her life. It just wasn’t time to be so far away and to leave her with thoughts of drunken drivers at every turn.
My point here is this: Craft brew is a wonderful thing for so many reasons. It is unique and creative. It is often representative of an area and its inhabitants. Craft beer provides a base around which conversations can happen and friendships blossom. But craft beer is as dangerous as any other form of alcohol, and when abused, it can have the same drastic consequences.
I have many wonderful friends who are part of Alcoholics Anonymous, and in previous blogs, I’ve worked with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to create awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving. Some of my friends in Alcoholics Anonymous read the blog because they love the discussion about craft beer even if they can’t drink it. I value their input and advice about how drinking is perceived in the media.
So as school is starting up, as we slip into the season of fall beers and as another brew fest sits just around the corner, let’s all think about ourselves and others when we drink. Someone’s life, any life, is worth taking the keys away for.
St. Rogue Red is an IPA in an amber body. This dry-hopped American amber ale is a fantastic segue into fall beers, and therefore it is my first pick of the fall beer selection.
I’ve had a pint or three of this beer at the brewery in Newport, Oregon. In fact, one of the difficult things about moving to the mountains has been giving up crabbing trips to the Oregon coast. We’d invariably end up at Rogue for a bowl of steamed clams and cheese bread.
As the weather cools, palates will start to change toward a preference for darker, stronger beers. But in these interim months when it’s likely to be warm some days and cool others, it’s nice to have transitional beers that offer something a little different.
St. Rogue Red is a deep mahogany that pours a clear, white head out of the bottle. The nose is floral and the body is medium light. This beer is perfect when the warmth of daylight gives way to the cool of evening, and it’s perfect company for seafood, especially shellfish.
This might be a stretch, but I read this article last night, and it got me thinking. Several years ago a home-brewing genius brought a dusty old bottle up from his cellar, gently popped the cork (that’s right, I wrote cork) and poured a dark nectar into a strangely shaped glass. It was my first foray into cellared beer, and I wasn’t prepared for what I tasted.
First, when he popped the cork, it was like a half-liter champagne bottle going off in his hand. And second, when I tasted the beer I realized an entirely new experience.
A zillion tiny bubbles erupted through my mouth followed by the subtle taste of raspberry, a taste you might find in a bottle of Chambord.
I didn’t know you could do this with beer.
Dozens of home brews later, I experimented with my own cellar beer. I brewed a dry-hopped imperial stout that came out about eight percent and was as black as midnight. I drank most of it during the fall after the summer I brewed it, but when I moved several years later I found two bottles tucked away in the back of my improvised cellar.
I called my home-brewing buddy and set out for his place and a couple of funny-shaped glasses. We popped the cork, which didn’t quite go off like champagne and poured the beer. It tasted incredible, as if all the flavor potential in the beer had swirled together for just such a time.
I don’t cellar much beer, though I’ve thought about it from time to time. Beer, for me, has always been about what’s new for each season and the variations from season to season. I like diversity. But this article got me thinking about long-term diversity, about letting the beer age and tasting it all along its path to perfection.
What do you think about drinking aged beer? What about beer snobs who add too much pretentiousness to a subject that never had it and doesn’t need it? These are just a few thoughts this article brought to mind, and I’d like to hear yours.
You’re in the beer aisle of the grocery store and clumsily palm the number pad on your cell phone to call your wife.
“Honey, what’s for dinner?”
“Pesto, why aren’t you home yet?”
“Nevermind that, what goes with pesto?”
Yes, that was an overuse of the question mark, but I assure you it’s a likely scenario.
So you’re standing in the beer aisle, having utterly confused yourself in the wine aisle, and you’re wondering if beer would go well with pesto.
Well, my beer-swilling friends, I’m going to help you solve this question once and for all.
When you’re in the beer aisle and you don’t know what kind of beer to match with what kind of meal, start with this simple idea: when in doubt, wheat.
Wheat beers, with their medium body, semi-sweet malted wheat, citrusy hops and moderate alcohol, may be the most versatile beer out there.
With that in mind, I tried two Montana wheats with a batch of my wife’s home-grown basil pesto.
Red Lodge Ales Hefeweizen is a light wheat with a pale gold color. The body is medium to light and there is a pleasant little bite on the end of the finish.
Bayern Brewing St. Wilbur Weizen is a true German hef with all the bells and whistles. It’s got more body than the Red Lodge hef, but it’s less sweet. The Hallertauer Perle hops used at Bayern are the original citrus bombs that give hef its reputation and cause American beer drinkers to drop a lemon wedge in their wheats. I detected a strong banana ether on this particular bottle that I didn’t taste when I tried it on tap.
Each of these beers paired well with the pesto, as they do with many other dishes. Wheat beers tend to be easy to match with food because they are not an over-the-top beer, something to remember next time you’re in the grocery store on the phone with your wife.
I bought this batch of Montana wheat at Liquid Planet.