The Thirsty Beagle went on a camping trip over the weekend. I managed to dodge the remnants of Hurricane Ike and have a good time, and got the chance to reflect on a couple of things we sometimes take for granted. One is a cooler with ice. Where would we be without it? The other is the grill. I can’t say enough about the inherent satisfaction of enjoying a cold beer (a little Sam Adams Light this time) and tending to a nice piece of meat on the grill. And that brings me to a point of beer etiquette that shouldn’t go unmentioned. A man should not be forced to drink beer and tend the grill alone. I’ll even go as far as to label this a beer commandment. This might not be as much of a problem while camping, where the natural tendency is to gather around the grill or fire pit. But it can definitely pop up in domestic situations, say, like when you invite friends over to watch football on a Saturday. If everyone’s inside watching a game, the host should not be shunned outside while he tends the grill. I believe it’s a guest’s obligation to take up a beer and join the host in the backyard. It’s exactly the kind of camaraderie the moment calls for. Do your duty friends, don’t let a man grill alone!
Speaking of watching football, let me step over to the world of sports for a side note here. The Monday night football game was a thriller, and will be remembered for one of the bonehead plays of all time, when Eagles rookie receiver DeSean Jackson casually flipped the ball behind him to celebrate a touchdown. One problem: Jackson had not yet crossed the goal line when said flip occurred. Truly a classically dumb move. Unless, like me, you had Eagles running back Brian Westbrook on your fantasy team. Then it was a great move. The refs blew the play dead, and after a review, gave Philly the ball on the 1-yard line. Immediately I thought, “cue the touchdown machine Westbrook.” Needless to say, I am a fantasy football winner this week!
There is much hand-wringing about the proposed Belgian takeover of Anheuser-Busch. After all, Miller was bought out by South African Breweries – the company was called SABMiller — in 2002. Then Coors merged with Canadian beer giant Molson in 2005. Then SABMiller and MolsonCoors merged last year, taking the name MillerCoors. That left good old Anheuser-Busch to carry the American flag. Enter the sneaky Belgians. Overall, I’ve got nothing against the Belgians. They make great beers (hello, Chimay) and I’m sure they’re nice people. But now this:
Sept. 10 (Bloomberg) — InBev NV‘s planned $52 billion purchase of Anheuser-Busch Cos. would limit consumer choice and violate U.S. antitrust laws, 10 beer buyers said in a lawsuit against the two brewers.
The plaintiffs, who include bar and restaurant owners, today asked a federal judge in St. Louis to block the acquisition announced on July 14. They aren’t seeking money damages, their lawyer, Joseph M. Alioto, said in a telephone interview.
“If InBev is allowed to purchase Anheuser-Busch, there no longer would be any significant major potential competitor to influence pricing and marketing practices in the United States,” according to the complaint.
Anheuser-Busch accepted Leuven, Belgium-based InBev’s sweetened buyout offer after initially suing in the same court in June, calling the takeover bid illegal. InBev’s brands include Beck’s, Bass and Stella Artois. St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch makes Budweiser, Busch and Michelob.
“We believe that the claims alleged in the lawsuit are without merit and we intend to vigorously defend against them,” Anheuser-Busch Vice President Gary L. Rutledge today said in an e-mailed statement.
Robin Gillilandof New York’s Brunswick Group, an outside spokesman for InBev, declined to address the merits of the lawsuit.
“The InBev combination is in the best interest of all stakeholders including consumers,” Gilliland said in a phone interview. The companies remain committed to respecting Anheuser- Busch’s traditions and brands, he said.
The brewers plan to complete the deal by year’s end, creating a company called Anheuser-Busch InBev. That would leave two companies in control of at least 80 percent of the U.S. beer market following the merger of U.S. operations of SABMiller Plc and Molson Coors Brewing Co., Alioto said.
“The great American lager just went flat,” he said.
Anheuser-Busch controlled 49.4 percent of the U.S. beer market in 2006, according to data from Euromonitor International. InBev’s market share was 1.7 percent.
Anheuser-Busch rose 12 cents to $68.14 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have climbed 30 percent this year.
No telling how this mess is settled, but if it somehow brings down the price of a bottle of Chimay, cheers!
Check out this beer development at Colorado State University:
On September 4, 2008, Odell Brewing Company presented a one-half barrel brewing system to the Brewing Science and Technology class at Colorado State University. Odell Brewing has collaborated with the class since its first year. The class, offered to students aged 21 and over, covers the science and technology involved with brewing, fermenting, finishing and evaluating beers. The donated brewing system will now allow students to brew regularly in a classroom environment. Last year, students also brewed Easy – A IPA (India Pale Ale) on Odell’s five barrel pilot brewing system. The class will once again select a recipe to brew at Odell Brewing. ‘This system will allow recipe repeatability in brewing from semester to semester, and is a huge step beyond the home brewing equipment we used previously,’ said class instructor Professor Jack Avens Ph.D. ‘The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and I have enjoyed a long relationship with Odell Brewing Company, and I want to continue this supportive relationship for the educational benefit of my students.’”
The “Brewing Science and Technology class”? Where was this development when I was in college? Take part in a class where I could not only learn about beer, but also evaluate (read: drink) beer? Sign me up. Hmmm, elective poetry class or beer class?
Like judging and evaluating a fine wine, deciphering what makes a beer good is a complex process. In beer competitions, there is a standardized beer judging system — the Beer Judge Certification Program, or BJCP — used by judges. The process of becoming a judge at the highest levels of beer competition can take years, or even decades. Passing BJCP tests merely get you in the door. The most highly regarded beer judges have to earn their reputation through years of study, beer tasting practice and judging experience. Weighing all this, where does that leave The Thirsty Beagle as I prepare for my first beer review? Let’s see:
Passing BJCP tests? Nope. Having years of judging experience? Nope. Having years of practice tasting beer? Wait a minute, I think we’re on to something here! I may not be able to discern the slight difference between once- or twice-roasted barley, but I’m pretty sure I can convey in my own unorthodox way if you — the average beer-enjoying chap — should partake in a few sips. That said, on with the review:
Sam Adams OctoberFest
What they say: “This hearty lager is rich with a blend of five malts, carefully balanced with hand-selected Noble hops,” and “…the largest selling Octoberfest brew in the world is not German, but the delicious brew in your hand.”
What The Thirsty Beagle says: OctoberFest is a medium-to-dark-amber-colored lager. On looks alone, this beer has got it going. The amber hue really lures you in. As far as flavor goes, the hops give it a slight bitterness, but nothing that would make you grimace. Those hops work to balance the sweetness of the caramel flavor added to the beer. As with most lagers, it has a cleanness that makes it quite easy to drink, but the flavor is definitely more rich than a standard domestic lager. In fact, Sam Adams describes the beer as a good transition from summer’s light brew’s to the heartier varieties offered in the winter, and that’s a very apt description. To me, the beer had an ever-so-slight heaviness in the mouth and left more than a hint of a lingering aftertaste. Overall, a very enjoyable seasonal beer that goes great with a steak and even better with a grilled smoked sausage.
Score: 4 out of 5 beagles.
Greetings fellow beer appreciators, and welcome to this corner of NewsOK.com. This is the first post in what hopefully will be a fun journey through the world of beer and brewing. Along the way I’ll provide beer news, information and some beer reviews. I’ll also post reader reviews and recommendations, for those inclined to share them. I plan to post daily or every other day, so check back often for insight and commentary on beer and the beer world.
Some people have already asked: Why call the blog “The Thirsty Beagle”? Pretty simple, really. My wife and I, while enjoying a nice Belgian brew several years ago, decided we should open our own pub and name it The Thirsty Beagle. We have a beagle — the lovable/mischievous/stubborn Buster — and were enamored with the idea of a pub with a wooden beagle carving on the sign. Long story short, we never opened our own pub, but held on to the dream that something should be named The Thirsty Beagle. And now you have it.
My next post: Sam Adams seasonal brew OctoberFest is hitting liquor store shelves. How does it stack up? Stay tuned.