20060918

007 returns to his beery roots


The late Ian Fleming's super spy James Bond has taken on a patina of sophistication over the decades that makes most fans forget his humble origins.

In the first Bond novel, "Casino Royale," the character who became known for his knowledge and enjoyment of wines and spirits actually drank beer. (Pause here for startled gasps by those reading this sacrilege for the first time.)

The 21st and latest latest Bond flick, a version of "Casino Royale" that is true to Fleming's novel rather than being twisted into a serio-satirical comedic mess that went under that title in 1967, has a definite beer tie-in.

Producers not only have the latest Bond actor, Daniel Craig, drinking beer, they have a six-figure deal with beermaker Heineken for a promotional partnership that includes a TV commercial shot on the Bond set featuring Bond girl Eva Green.

Quite a change for Bond who is remembered for some of his haughtier pronouncements. In 1962's "Dr. No" he turned up his nose at a 1955 Dom Perignon champagne, snootily telling his villainous host, "I prefer the '53 myself." Then, in 1964's "Goldfinger," Bond says of a brandy he is served, "I'd say it was a 30 year old Fine indifferently blended, with an overdose of Bon Bois."

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20060914

W. Va. finally gets new micro-brewery


West Virginia has not had a micro-brewery since the Little Switzerland Brewery in Huntington closed in 1971.

That is about to change, thanks to a helping hand from a Maryland operation.

Not that the Mountain State doesn't have brew pubs, but it has no true full-scale breweries. Mountaineer Brewing Co. is planning a full-blown brewery in Martinsburg, located in the West Virginia panhandle where the state joins Virginia and Maryland.

It is from Maryland where Mountaineer Brewing is shipping small quantities of beer to West Virginia from a sister company called Barley and Hops Grill & Microbrewery of Frederick, MD.

Mountaineer Brewing expects to begin its Martinsburg operation on a very small scale this month. Its product line includes amber ale, blonde lager, nut brown, pale ale, red ale and seasonal beers.

The state has just four so-called brew pubs, a number that Cindy Clark, who's in charge of beer at the state Alcohol Beverage Control Administration, told the Associated Press has stayed about the same.

"It's kind of rotating," Clark said. "We're always looking forward and hoping to increase the brew pubs business. Everyone who's involved seems like they really enjoy it."

Despite a lack of full-fledged breweries, brewing, distributing and selling beers from Budweiser to Blackwater Brewing Co.'s Black Diamond Stout contributes $369 million to West Virginia's economy, according to a recent study commissioned by the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

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20060913

Iron Hill racks up No. 6


Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, the Delaware/Pennsylvania chain making its own niche in the East Coast market, is opening a sixth location.

The newest will be in October in Phoenixville, PA, a Philadelphia suburb, in October.

“We’re thrilled to open in the heart of this up-and-coming area,” says Iron Hill founding partner Kevin Finn, who along with Kevin Davies and Mark Edelson began the Iron Hill concept in 1996. Edelson is in charge of the brewing operations at each unit.

Tim Stumpf will head the new brewery. Steve Ciampaglia, who was executive chef at Iron Hill’s Media, PA, location, will oversee the kitchen operations.

Iron Hill’s beers have been awarded top honors at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), including “Large Brewpub of the Year 2005.” In the nine years Iron Hill has participated in the GABF, it has received 19 medals for its beers including: Belgian Strong (Gold 2005); Kriek De Hill (Gold 2005); and Ironbound Ale (Bronze 2005).

The chain, named after a Revolutionary War landmark in Delaware, was chosen by Philadelphia Magazine as "Best Brewpub in the Mid-Atlantic Region" this year.

To mark the upcoming 10th anniversary of its first unit, in Newark, DE, Iron Hill is planning a Belgian-style Trappist ale, similar to a Rochefort 10, a strong brown ale with an alcohol content of 10 percent or more. It will be released on Nov. 14.

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Lake Placid selling out to sell more


The Lake Placid Craft Brewing Co. is on the way to going international.

The change, however, has nothing to do with the Plattsburgh, NY, company crossing the nearby international border. Rather, it is on the verge of being absorbed into a company from neighboring Montreal.

The New York company, owned by Lake Placid Pub and Brewery proprietor Chris Ericson, is being bought by Inter-Canadian Business Services, a business consulting and services firm that has signed a non-binding letter of intent with Ericson.

Consumers should care about the merger because Craft Brewing would increase its annual output from the current 4,000 barrels to an estimated 25,000 to 40,000 barrels. Ericson said market demand continues to outpace production.

Ericson started the Pub and Brewery in 1996 and opened the Plattsburgh brewing and bottling plant in 2001. He said any merger would not affect the Pub & Brewery (shown above).

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20060912

Ta da! The best of the beer flicks


The American Film Institute might cringe at this one, but the Miami Poetry Review has come up with its list of "The 10 Best Beer Movies Of All Time."

The catalyst for making the list is the current motion picture release of "Beerfest" which, says the Miami Poetry Review, "pays tributes to stupidity and the American pastime of over-drinking."

The AFI, by the way, is the organization of cimena buffs continually coming up with the 100 best love scenes, 100 best musicals, 100 funniest moments, etc.

Here's the MPR's beer film list:

1. "The Fatal Glass of Beer"
2. "Three Little Beers"
3. "The Lost Weekend"
4. "Leaving Las vegas"
5. "National Lampoon's Animal House"
6. "Blue Velvet"
7. "Smokey and The Bandit"
8. "Beer"
9. "American Beer"
10. "Sideways"

Some of these you may not have heard of (the winning film, with a still photo above showing start W.C. Fields, is from 1933). Some you may think are about something else ("Sideways" being known as a wine movie). I'll leave it up to the wags at the Miami Poetry Review to give you their reasoning.

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Beer champs come from everywhere


Beers and ales from 10 different states took top category honors in the 12th annual United States Beer Tasting Championship in Chicago.

A total of 339 beers from 126 breweries were examined across 11 different beer categories. Within each category, the USBTC determined both a Grand Champion and the best entry from each of six U.S. regions: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic/Southeast, Midwest, Rockies/Southwest, California and Northwest/Pacific.

The Grand Champions, by category:

Barleywine: Old Ruffian, Great Divide Brewing Co., Denver, CO.

Strong/Old Ale: Natty Red, Eugene City Brewery, Eugene, OR.

Imperial Stout: Bourbon County Stout, Goose Island Brewing Co., Chicago, IL.

Stout: Dragonstooth Stout, Elysian Brewing Co., Seattle, WA.

Porter: Robust Porter, Smuttynose Brewing Co., Portsmouth, NH.

Brown Ale: Legend Brown Ale, Legend Brewing Co., Richmond, VA.

Scottish-Style Ale: Kilt Tilter, Middle Ages Brewing Co., Syracuse, NY.

Belgian-Style Ale: The Reverend, Avery Brewing Co., Boulder, CO.

Belgian Tripel: Allagash Triple, Allagash Brewing Co., Portland, ME.

Dark Lager/Dunkel: Black Bavarian, Sprecher Brewing Co., Milwaukee, WI.

Vienna/Marzen Lager: Winter Skal, Capital Brewery, Middleton, WI.

Spice Beer: Red Nose Porter, Pike Brewing Co., Seattle, WA.

The regional winners from each category:

Northeast: Barleywine, Wheat Wine Ale, Smuttynose Brewing Co., Portsmouth, NH; Strong/Old Ale, Prelude Special Ale, The Shipard Brewing Co., Portland, ME; Imperial Stout, Imperial Stout from McNeill’s Brewery, Brattleboro, VT; Stout, Oatmeal Stout, McNeill’s Brewery; Porter, Robust Porter, Smuttynose; Brown Ale, Pig’s Ear Brown Ale, Woodstock Inn Brewery, North Woodstock, NH; Scottish-Style Ale, Samuel Adams Scotch Ale, Boston Beer Co., Boston, MA; Belgian-Style Ale, Four, Allagash Brewing Co., Portland, ME; Dunkels Lager, Humperdink German Style Black Beer, McNeill’s Brewery; Vienna/Marzen Lager, Octoberfest, Smuttynose; Spice Beer, Wassai, McNeill’s Brewery.

Mid-Atlantic/Southeast: Barleywine, Old Horizontal, Victory Brewing Co., Downington, PA; Strong/Old Ale, Loose Cannon, Clipper City Brewing Co., Baltimore, MD; Imperial Stout, Winter Stout, The St. George Brewing Co., Hampton, VA; Stout, Stony Man Stout, Shenandoah Brewing Co., Alexandria, VA; Porter, Suffern Station Porter, Ramapo Valley Brewery, Hillburn, NY; Brown Ale , Legend Brown Ale, Legend Brewing Co., Richmond, VA; Scottish-Style Ale, Kilt Tilter, Middle Ages Brewing Co., Syracuse, NY; Belgian-Style Ale, Twelve Victory Brewing Co., Downington, PA; Belgian Trippel, Triple, Stoudt’s Brewing Co., Adamstown, PA; Dunkels Lager, Saranac Nut Brown Lager, FX Matt Brewing Co., Utica, NY; Vienna/Marzen Lager, BaltoMarzHon, Clipper City Brewing Co.; Spice Beer, Festive Ale, Sweetwater Brewing Co., Atlanta, GA.

Midwest: Barleywine, Behemoth Blonde, Three Floyd’s Brewing Co., Munster, IN; Strong/Old Ale, Winter Ale, Summit Brewing Co., St. Paul, MN; Imperial Stout, Bourbon County Stout, Goose Island Brewing Co., Chicago, IL; Stout, Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout, Bell’s Brewing Co., Galesburg, MI; Porter , Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Great Lakes Brewing Co., Cleveland, OH; Brown Ale, Rocky’s Revenge, Tyanena Brewing Co., Lake Mills, WI; Scottish-Style Ale, Warped Speed Scotch Ale, Lake Louie Brewing, Arena, WI; Belgian-Style Ale, Pere Jacques, Goose Island Brewing Co.; Dunkels Lager, Black Bavarian, Sprecher Brewing Co., Glendale, WI; Vienna/Marzen Lager, Winter Skal, Capital Brewery, Middleton, WI; Spice Beer, Christmas Ale, Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Rockies/Southwest: Barleywine, Old Ruffian, Great Divide Brewing Co., Denver, CO; Strong/Old Ale, Old Jubilation, Avery Brewing Co., Boulder, CO; Imperial Stout, The Czar, Avery Brewing Co., Boulder, CO; Stout, Zonker Stout, Snake River Brewing Co., Jackson Hole, WY; Porter, Black Jack Porter, Left Hand Brewing Co., Longmont, CO; Brown Ale, Ellie’s Brown Ale, Avery Brewing Co.; Scottish-Style Ale, Old Chubb, Oskar Blues Grill & Brewery, Lyons, CO: Belgian-Style Ale, The Reverend, Avery Brewing Co., Boulder, CO; Tripel, New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO; Dunkels Lager, Kidd Lager, Fort Collins Brewery, Fort Collins, CO; Vienna/Marzen Lager, Alpinefest, Snake River Brewing Co.; Spice Beer, Z Lager, The Fort Collins Brewery, Fort Collins, CO.

California: Barleywine, Old Blarney, Moylan’s Brewing Co., Novato, CA; Strong/Old Ale, White Knuckle Double IPA, Marlin Brewing Co., Marin Brewing Co., Larkspur, CA; Imperial Stout, Santa’s Little Helper, Pizza Port Brewery, Solana Beach, CA; Stout, Steelhead Stout, Mad River Brewing Co., Blue Lake, CA; Porter, Marin Brewing Co., Larkspur, CA; Brown Ale, Acme California Brown Ale, North Coast Brewing Co., Fort Bragg, CA; Scottish-Style Ale , Kiltlifter Scotch Ale, Moylan’s Brewing Co., Novato, CA; Belgian-Style Ale, Brother David’s Double, Anderson Valley Brewing Co., Booneville, CA; Dunkels Lager, no winner declared; Vienna/Marzen Lager, no winner declared; Spice Beer, Happy Holidaze, Marin Brewing Co.

Northwest/Pacific: Barleywine, Old Woody Fish Brewing Co., Newport, OR; Stong/Old Ale, Natty Red, Eugene City Brewery, Eugene, OR; Imperial Stout, Imperial Stout, Rogue Brewery, Newport, OR; Stout, Dragonstooth Stout, Elysian Brewing Co., Seattle, WA; Porter, Mocha Porter, Rogue Brewery; Brown Ale, Frozen Lake Winter Ale, Coeur d’Alene Brewing Co., Coeur d’Alene, ID; Scottish-style Ale, Kilt Lifter, Pike Brewing Co., Seattle, WA; Belgian-Style Ale, Biere De Noel, Big Sky Brewing Co., Missoula, MT; Trippel, Rose, Hair of the Dog Brewery, Portland, OR; Dunkels Lager, Siletz Wooly Bully, Renegade Brewing Co., Siletz, OR; Vienna/Marzen Lager, Amber Lager, Missoula, MT; Spice Beer, Red Nose Porter, Pike Brewing Co.

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20060901

Cape Cod Beer x 2


Heavy tourism areas usually have their own food or drink that people remember year-round and can't wait to have during the next visit.

Cape Cod Beer, brewed in Hyannis, is such a beverage. The brewery (motto: "A Vacation In Every Pint") opened in March, then found its product so successful it had trouble meeting demand during the summer.

Technology to the rescue: Three new fermentation vessels have been installed, doubling the facility's production capacity. Two tanks came from China and one from the Czech Republic. They were ordered some time ago, but there have been shortages in the stainless steel industry, creating a tight market.

Beer Advocate.com has a thorough report on the Cape Cod operation.

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