20080920

Attention home brewers: Beware the poppy

From the San Jose Mercury News:

SANTA CRUZ, CA -- Police raided a Westside house Friday morning where they suspected people were producing opiates and arrested a UC Santa Cruz PhD candidate who said he used dried poppy pods to flavor home-brewed beer a month ago.

"All I did was make a poppy beer," said Chad Renzelman, 28, who was arrested at his Bay Street home Friday. "I spent all morning in jail for brewing beer. I had no idea what I was doing was illegal."

But police reported that Renzelman, who studies chemistry, allegedly had used a chemical process to extract opium from poppy plant pods, then converted the opium to morphine. Morphine is the active opiate in heroin.

Police reported finding a pressurized canister of homemade beer laced with morphine in Renzelman's garage, as well as lab equipment contaminated with opium alkaloids and other hazardous chemicals.

Renzelman said in a phone interview Friday that he bought the dried poppy pods on eBay and used them more than a month ago to make beer. He and some friends have a "home-brew co-op" and brew beer together on the weekends.
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Alcohol energy drink debut halted

It obviously was targeted at the younger set, if its cartoonish Web site -- a portion of which is shown here -- is any indication.

That didn't set well with a lot of law enforcement types, and attorneys general from 25 states asked MillerCoors to keep its new caffeinated, alcohol-laced energy drink, off the market.

The product, Sparks Red, contains 8% alcohol. It was scheduled for an October 1 launch. The company said in a statement Friday that is will hold off on the debut even though it had said as late as Wednesday that it would proceed with the launch.

The attorneys general made the request because, they said, young people would be particularly vulnerable to the combined affects of caffeine and alcohol.

It should be noted that the federal government had earlier approved the Sparks Red formula.

The pullback seems to be a developing trend in the beverage industry. In June, Anheuser-Busch said it would reformulate its Tilt and Bud Extra brands to remove the stimulants they contain. The action was take as part of a settlement with 11 attorneys general who had objected to the drinks.

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20080915

National Beer Museum opens

If you're interested in learning all about the beer industry in the U.S., what better place to visit than the National Brewery Museum?

Of course, you'll have to get directions to little Potosi, WI, to do that. (Hint: Click here.) That's where the museum recently opened, in the setting of the Potosi Brewing Co. building that operated from 1852 to 1972.

The museum is a joint venture of the Potosi Brewery Foundation and the American Breweriana Association. Among its content are collections of beer bottles and cans, advertising materials, glasses, trays and other memorabilia.

The museum opened in June and is located within the historical setting of the Potosi Brewing Company building that operated from 1852 to 1972.

The restoration project began in 1995 when Gary David bought the ruined buildings that cover nearly a square block. Restoration cost $7 million and was handled through the two organizations, donations and grants.

The facility also houses the Great River Road Interpretive Center and the Potosi Brewing Co. Transportation Museum. And, beer again is being brewed in the facility for five labels: Good Old Potosi, Potosi Pure Malt Cave Ale, Snake Hollow IPA, Holiday Bock and Potosi Steamer Hefe Weiss. The company also brews root beer.

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20080913

All-American Bud finally goes ale

Budweiser beer is in the process of becoming a Belgian-owned product, but that isn't stopping brewer Anheuser-Busch from emphasizing its roots with its newest product, Budweiser American Ale.

Ale, which differs from beer in that it is a warmer-fermenting product that is a touch fruitier than beer, is a growing part of the domestic market, unlike in the UK, for example, where it is traditionally been hugely popular. Among the top American craft brewers, most have had their best success with ales as their lead product.

This is the first ale in Budweiser's history.

A-B is in the process of being purchased by InBev, the Belgian brewing giant.

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20080912

A mistake anyone could make

When patrons showed up at the Windsor Castle pub in Maidenhead, England, on Thursday to watch England vs. Croatia in a World Cup soccer qualifier and quaff beer, they had to be patient. Not with the TV set, but with the drink supply.

Turns out a truck carrying 12 barrels of beer had mistakenly tried to deliver the load to a place five miles away. That other Windsor Castle. The one with a queen in it.

Once guards at Queen Elizabeth's abode determined that no such shipment was expected, they called around and found out the pub was in need of its beer.

"It was a silly mistake. These things can happen. The barrels did eventually arrive, about three hours late, so there was no problem," pub landlord Misko Coric told reporters.

"We have received mail for the royal household here before, but I think this is the first time they have received anything meant for us," he said.

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20080910

Philippines beer fest claims world records

More than 15,000 people attended the annual Oktoberfest that began in Manila, The Philippines, last Friday.

While that beat the arrival of October by 25 days, it was intentional scheduling to create a 120-day Oktoberfest to be held in several major cities rather than the traditional 16-day event. That may not be a record in itself, but the event's organizers are claiming a pair of world records:

• The longest bar.
• The largest toast.

According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the length of San Miguel Avenue in Mandaluyong City was blocked off and lined with steel sheets to form a bar 603.5 meters long. The existing Guinness Book of World Records record is 220 meters, set in Taiwan.

The current record of 13,000 guests toasting with a glass of beer is held by las Vegas. The Manila event got 15,000 to do the same.

Now what's left in the process if to have an independent third party, usually Guinness, check and verify the statistics.

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