Found myself at Flip’s on Western last night. It was my first time there, and it’s a nice little place. I had the Italian calzone, which was great. Actually, really great. The marinara sauce didn’t do much for me, though, but the calzone was top-shelf. Also had the chance to sample a trio of beers I hadn’t had before. I wasn’t taking notes, so I’m not going to throw down full-fledged reviews with beagle-head scores, but I will provide mini-recaps.
1. La Fin Du Monde. A Belgian-style ale brewed in Quebec, Canada. This is a triple-fermented beer in the mold of Chimay, but La Fin Du Monde (which translates in English to “the end of the world,” which is what early European explorers thought they had found when the reached North America) is a little sweeter than Chimay. The tastes are fairly similar, though. One warning: This beer is of the 9 percent a.b.v. variety, so it’s a strong one. Overall, I’d give this one a thumbs up. It was a nice beer.
2. Samuel Smith’s Organic Ale. A pale ale from England. Samuel Smith brewery also produces an organic lager. Both beers are certified as organically made by the British Soil Association, described as the U.K.’s leading organization for organic food and farming. Speaking specifically about the ale, it’s a golden brew that for me was a little too fruity. I’ll probably steer clear of this one for a while.
3. Point Classic Amber. An amber lager from Stevens Point Brewery in Wisconsin. This was the featured tap beer at Flip’s, and they’ve picked a good one. A smooth beer with a distinctive hoppy kick. Very high on the drinkability list. Plus I’ve been favoring lager’s lately, so this really fit the bill. I enjoyed this one a lot and would recommend it to anyone.
The National Hockey League season is in full swing now, so you can bet — wait, what’s that? What’s a “Hockey League,” you ask? I’m pretty sure it’s a game played on ice with sticks and a rubberized disc called a puck. It used to be on TV, I think. Anyway, if you are a hockey fan, you know there’s nothing better to drink at a hockey game than beer. And if you’re looking for affordable beer at your professional hockey game, it turns out Pittsburgh is the place to go. A 16-ounce beer at a Penguins game costs $5.25, well under the league average of $6.06. The Thirsty Beagle will say this: With the lack of exposure the NHL gets in this country, you’d think they’d be giving beer away. Wait, my phone’s ringing. It’s the NHL. They’re looking for their next great marketing plan.
We can all acknowledge that having friends over for drinks and than running out of beer is a serious faux pas. But you might think the worst-case scenario is that your guests would up and leave in disgust. You’d be wrong. Poor Sergio Ramirez, of Moultrie, Ga., learned a hard lesson in party preparation when he ran out of beer at a recent gathering: His guests beat hm to a pulp. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest Sergio find some different people to hang out with.
The Thirsty Beagle has rejoiced at the pump recently. Imagine, only $28 to fill up the tank. It’s like a Christmas miracle come early. On a related note, we’ve all heard how the price of everything from bagels to beer has spiked recently, and we’ve all been told it’s been due to the increasing price of fuel for the delivery of such goods. So now that gas prices are falling like the Baylor Bears’ bowl game chances, shouldn’t we expect the price of our favorite goods to take a similar turn? Not so fast, financial analysts say. They say when food and beverage companies raise prices, like they did when fuel costs skyrocketed over the past few years, they seldom drop the prices back down to previous levels. In fact, while oil plunged more than 50 percent in cost, food and energy prices actually increased by a small margin, according to the country’s Consumer Price Index. Experts say the only thing that may now drive the price of goods down is a good old-fashioned price war. But they warn that since all competitors have raised their prices by similar levels, there’s little incentive to bring them back down.
A California graduate student/home brewer ran afoul of the law recently for an additive in his beer. Let’s cut the guy some slack. After all, who among us knew you couldn’t put heroin in your beer? Rumor has it his next brew will be Dirty Syringe Pale Ale.
Here is news making the rounds in the beer world:
-Buddhists and Muslims in Thailand are up in arms after that country’s largest brewery announced plans to have its shares listed on the country’s stock market. Opponents said they are concerned the listing will encourage more drinking, which is shunned in both religions.
-Hold shares of Sam Adams’ maker Boston Beer Co.? One financial analyst thinks it’s time to sell.
-Summer beer sales in Britain were at their lowest point in more than a decade.
-A Florida bar has a novel approach for getting out the vote: Free beer.
-Tampa Rays manager Joe Maddon, during a back-and-forth with a fan in Philadelphia on Saturday, gave the fan grief for drinking Coors Light in Philly, and not some other local beer like Rolling Rock or — wait for it — Schmidt’s. While we’re at it, why not throw out Lost Lake, Olympia or Minnesota Brew, too.
Ever dream of a world where robots will pour a beer for you?
I couldn’t seem to find the video promised on the site. If you can track it down, drop me a note in the comments section.
Few people — OK, no people — predicted baseball’s World Series would feature the Philadelphia Phillies against the artist formerly known as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Perhaps some picked the Phillies to make it this far. Interesting enough batting order, decent starting pitching and a lights-out closer gave pundits something to hang their hats on. But Tampa? No way, no how could Tampa make the World Series. Well, pigs are flying through the frigid skies of the underworld this week, because the Rays are indeed playing for the whole ball of wax. So what’s this got to do with beer? In light of the unlikely nature of the matchup, there is a highly coincidental beer tie-in involved in this series. Allow The Thirsty Beagle to expand: Yuengling beeris brewed in the town of Pottsville, Pa. It’s the oldest family-owned brewery in the country and the beer is a favorite among Phillies fans. Well, Yuengling is brewed in only one other place in America: In a brewery at 11111 N 30th St. in none other than Tampa, Fla. Maybe the brewers at the two Yuengling breweries have weaved some magical hops into the beer that have somehow influenced the Gods of baseball. Well, at least at the brewery in Tampa. I can’t think of any better way to explain the Rays making the World Series.
I feel like here on The Thirsty Beagle, I’ve been overloaded lately with British beer news. Several recent posts have been inspired by the goings on with beer over there. What can I say? Those guys are just so serious about their beer, the good drink is always making the news. I mean, they’ve set up a special government panel to find ways to save a struggling local pub industry. A 400-person panel. Really? 400 people to talk about pubs? Seems you could do that more efficiently. Although if you’re looking for re-election, you probably don’t want to be the British politician who crosses Samuel-Six-Pack by not sticking up for beer. And just when you thought the British couldn’t be any more serious about their beer, down the Internet pipe comes this. When people over there talk about ordering a pint, it’s not just some colloquial term, they are actually getting a glass that measures one pint. Now the government wants to introduce a new glass: The two-thirds pint. Forget about just filling a pint glass two-thirds full. They need a government-approved two-thirds-of-a-pint glass. How can you not love the Brits’ completely over-the-top fixation on beer? The Thirsty Beagle, for one, is on board. How about this quote from a British student, who backs the new two-thirds-pint glass:
“It’s hard ordering a drink on a date,” said Emma Ross, 28, a postgraduate student having a beer with lunch in a London pub. “If I order a half-pint, it’s ladylike, but where’s my sense of adventure? If I order a pint, I know how to have a good time, but I don’t want to advertise it to every guy standing at the bar.”
I’m convinced that only in Britain could this scenario possibly exist.
There’s a dispute brewing about a bar at the University of Wisconsin’s football stadium. City leaders in Madison say they are concerned that the beer garden at the Stadium Bar and Eatery is being packed beyond capacity and that proprietors there aren’t doing enough to clear the place out by the mandatory 10 p.m. clear-out deadline on game days. Now, there’s something to be said about having a bar at your football stadium of choice. Your team’s winning? Raise a glass in celebration. Your team’s getting roundly beat down? Raise a glass in disbelief. Then again, Wisconsin’s football team is in a free-fall at the moment, losers of four in a row after starting the season with three straight wins. Maybe the players there have become a little too familiar with the Stadium Bar and Eatery.
Speaking of college football, the Bowl Championship Series is all the rage around these parts. The Thirsty Beagle would like to go on the record to say that while all this BCS talk is fun, he is a big proponent of a college football playoff. That belief was solidified even more when during a recent visit to the official BCS Web site, I found these ”news headlines” about the BCS:
I lifted those clearly non-self serving ”headlines” straight off the Web site www.bcsfootball.org. The most common argument for not instituting a playoff — after all the lame arguments about “too many games” and “what about the history and tradition of all the bowls” and so on are exhausted — is that somehow a playoff would devalue college football’s regular season. Well you know who feels devalued? An undefeated Auburn team that didn’t get a sniff of the national title game. But don’t worry Auburn, the BCS said you didn’t deserve a chance to play for the title because some people — coaches, people who make computer programs — decided they didn’t feel like you did. No matter how you want to break it down, that simply is how it worked. The BCS is a random process based on the random opinions of some random (Hello, Schnelly!) people. That, my friends, is a devaluation of the regular season at its utmost. And that is why the BCS needs to go.