Beer (& More) In Food

Beer: The Condiment With An Attitude!

Archive for October, 2007

Chicago’s Mayor Daley Wants Tax Increase On Booze, Beer

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 30, 2007

mrdaleyscreaming.jpgFirst this moron wants to tax bottled water. Next he wants to raise property taxes. He’s been responsible for scores of mid and small-sized companies leaving Chicago because of the “tax-of-the-year-club” legislation he rams through with the help of his lackeys on the city council. He and his city council have banned foie gras in restaurants and cigarettes in bars. In order to cut down on the cock fights held in his beloved “sanctuary city,” he’s banned chickens as pets. He’s gentrified the city to the point that by the time that the Olympic Games possibly take place in Chicago in 2016, the city will be like Mid-Town Manhattan—a place to work, but unaffordable for most people to live in.

Cook County Board President Todd “Urkel” Stroger also wants to raise property taxes and country sales taxes and taxes on taxes on taxes. He’s actually a bigger idiot than Daley, but Daley is screwing around with beer and booze; Daley has crossed the line. Mayor Daley’s tax proposal, which was (quietly) “announced” October 10, calls for an 87.5 percent hike on all liquor sold in the city. The increase would raise the cost of beer 30 cents per gallon, or approximately eight cents per six-pack. Overall, the increase would cost Chicagoans $13.1 million. 

If you live in Chicago (my condolences), you can contact your puppet alderman or alderwoman here  through this link provided by the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois, and tell the alderidiots that they and the good mayor can pound spent mash with this stupid, stupid idea.

The funny thing is, however, while Chicagoans pay the highest gas prices in the country, watch their property taxes spiral ever upward, have their kids killed on school board property, grumble and do nothing about him seizing Meigs Field by digging holes in the runway in the middle of the night so planes couldn’t land, quickly forget the millions of dollars of cost overruns in building his legacy to his wife, Millenium Park, as they walk through it and “Oh-and-Ah,” about it with a straight face, tell every Chicago tax payer that if the Olympics come to Chicago, they won’t get stuck with the bill, and now this, an increase on the tax on beer—the part that amazes me the most is that too many morons, beer and booze-drinking morons, will vote him and all his hand puppets right back into office.

I moved out of the city and the county 12 years ago. Best thing I ever did.

Posted in Beer & Food In The News, Neo-Prohibition | 1 Comment »

Crumble A Jays Snack On The Curb For Another Former Homey Of Chicago Cuisine

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 30, 2007

jays_animation_chips01.gifIf you’ve ever lived in or visited Chicago, there are quintessential foods and drinks that you have to experience while you’re here, tasty treats that are part of Chicago’s cuisine. Vienna hot dogs (Chicago-style, and please, NO catsup—or Mr. Burns, is that ketchup?), Italian beef sandwiches, Old Style beer (although this is an illusion since Pabst contracts the brewing of the beer out to Miller, but more importantly, nobody drinks Old Style except out-of-towners who stop at Wrigley Field, say stupid things like “Go Cubbies” (aargh!), and throw down a few Old Styles as the Cubs lose, because they heard that it’s “Chicago’s Beer,” maybe a chunk of deep-dish pizza (even though most Chicagoans eat thin crust), and a bag of Jays Potato Chips.

Long story short on the history of Jays, but the company used to be named for its original owner, Leonard Japp, Sr., who started his bar snack business during Prohibition in Chicago. Since 8,000 licensed saloons were replaced with 10,000 to 15,000 speakeasies, Leonard did OK. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, however, the name “Japp” didn’t play too well with Chicagoans. The family was going to change the name to “Jax,” but there was a brewery in New Orleans with the same name, so “Jays” became the new name of the Chicago snack food business, more or less by default.

Jeffrey Dunn, president and CEO of Ubiquity Brands, the contemporary owner of Jays and Select Snacks has announced that the business has filed for Chapter 11. Reported more than $20 million in debt to unsecured non-bank creditors (how the hell this happens in “Big Business” is always beyond my comprehension. Go to your bank and ask for a $10,000 unsecured loan and watch how fast they show you the door), the rumor is that Synder, another snack food company, might reach into the bag of crumbs of what will be left of Jays after the owners scramble to pick up some quick cash from bits and pieces of the operation. The bankruptcy follows by three weeks the company’s sale of its Lincoln Snacks division to ConAgra Foods.

So, for the hell of it, why not pick up a sixer of Old Style and a big bag of Jays (“Can’t Stop Eatin’ Em!) this weekend and spill a sip of beer and a greasy chip or two on the curb for all the homeys of Chicago’s former food and drink businesses who are no longer with us…

Or maybe try this recipe for Jays Potato Chip Cookies and wash them down with a cold Old Style.

Posted in Beer & Food In The News, Beer & Food Pairings, Food History | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Miller Brewing Apologizes for ‘Last Supper’ Poster

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 27, 2007

millerbeerboycott.jpgBy Randy Hall
CNSNews.com Staff Writer/Editor
October 26, 2007

(CNSNews.com) - The Miller Brewing Company issued a formal apology on Friday for any offense caused by the use of its logos on a poster promoting the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco during late September by replacing Jesus and his disciples in Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting of “The Last Supper” with half-naked homosexual sadomasochists.

In an email statement sent to Cybercast News Service by Senior Manager of Media Relations Julian Green, the company said it “has taken action to ensure that such an incident will not happen again.”

You can read the rest of the “apology” here, but it’s parsed, apologizing only for the poster, and not the open support of San Fran Miller beer drinkers who use their asses as more than a convenient bottle opener.

Bill Donohue from the Catholic League is even less impressed with Miller’s “apology.”

“The Miller Brewing Company and the Board of Directors of the Folsom Street Fair have both issued press statements this week apologizing for the offensive Last Supper poster that was used to promote the event. As such, they have insulted Catholics one more time. Let me be specific.


 

“The poster was the least offensive part of this Catholic-bashing forum. What was even more offensive was the sight of Christian symbols being sold at this Miller-sponsored fair as sex toys. The obscene and blasphemous names of these vulgar sex toys are so disgusting that no mainstream newspaper would print them. Then there was the incredible sight of a stripper and a man dressed as Jesus hoisted in cages above a Catholic church on a Sunday. This was done to provoke, taunt and insult Catholics. And who greeted everyone at the street fair? Men dressed as nuns Had they been dressed like Al Jolson–with blackened faces–they would have been run out of town as racists.


 

“The Folsom Street Fair news release on this subject shows how utterly clueless its officers are. It says, ‘The mission is to create volunteer-driven leather events that provide the adult alternative lifestyle community with safe venues for self-expression while emphasizing freedom, fun, frolic and fetish and raising funds to benefit charity.’


 

“To which I say: If your idea of a ‘safe venue’ ‘self-expression’ and ‘fun’ includes men being beaten with chains in broad daylight, men who masturbate in the street, and men who perform oral sex on each other in public—I have pictures of these acts—then spare Catholics of your ‘fun.’ Leave us out of it and you can do to each other whatever you want.


 

“The only thing Miller is worried about is its logo appearing on a poster for an event it could not possibly defend. Not until it pledges not to sponsor Catholic-bashing events will the Catholic League call off its boycott and its anti-Miller PR campaign. We’re like that proverbial fly who just won’t go away.”

Posted in Beer & Food In The News | Leave a Comment »

Saving A Historic Chicago Brewery Meeting Gets Pushed Back To November 1

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 26, 2007

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beer-history-cover.jpgWell, now our meeting with Alderman Manny Flores has been pushed back until November 1, the date that puts me out of town.

There might be follow-up testimony at a later date, and who knows; maybe the only guy to chronicle the history of Chicago’s brewing industry might be invited.   

In the meantime, I once again ask anyone out there who has some interesting historical or architectural info, pictures, plats of survey, etc. of the former brewery, to please contact me ASAP with whatever you have that might help save the Brand Brewery and possibly the Michael Brand Brewery (aka, the United States Brewing Company) across the street on Elston Avenue.    

With the lack of participation I’ve gotten thus far requesting readers to please send in beer/food recipes or short videos that I could post, which is slowly proving to me that I’m spinning my wheels posting to this blog, I’m betting that I’ll hear nothing from readers that might add to the efforts to save this piece of Chicago history.  

Might be time to shut down this site and move on to a more constructive venture.               MORE BREWERY INFO HERE                              

 

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Posted in Appearances, Beer History | Leave a Comment »

Saving A Historic Chicago Brewery (or Two)!

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 21, 2007

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mbrandbrewery_usbrewingcobranch1.jpgI just received word that I’ll be participating in a meeting with Alderman Manny Flores this Wednesday at City Hall. And for once, I’ll actually be happy to shake hands with a Chicago politico. Last year I was contacted by the Logan Square Preservation organization for whatever historical input I could offer about the Brand Bros. Brewery and their father’s brewery across the street the Michael Brand Brewery, later known as the United States Brewing Company. Years of “progress” have chipped away at these structures, but Ward Miller, who heads up this organization, wants to try to stop it.

God bless ‘em! I’ve been doing tours of Chicago’s dwindling number of still-standing breweries but the wrecking ball keeps on showing up, and as someone once noted, my tour may eventually consist of showing empty lots and saying something like “At one time, the XYZ brewery stood here.” But now there’s some hope.

I also steered Ward to Susan Appel, who as some of you might know, is an expert on preProh brewing structures and someone I knew who had to be contacted for her expertise in offering whatever valuable architectural and historical background she could. But we could also use your help here. If you have any pictures of either brewery, interior or exterior, or any historical or architectural info that could help us plead out cause, PLEASE contact me immediately at toddlintown@comcast.net or by phone at 1.815.557.4608 ASAP. Anything you can think of that might help us make a better argument as to why these structures should stay, are needed for our meeting. I know this is short notice, but we have to operate on the alderman’s schedule, not ours, especially when the man might be able to help us save a little bit of Chicago brewing history.

As Ward notes in this passage to Alderman Flores;

Thank you both, for the opportunity to consider the orange-rated (Virgil) Brand Brewing Administration Building, for Chicago Landmark Designation.  This is a tremendous opportunity, to not only include this special building, but some of the other remaining structures affiliated with the (Virgil Brand/Brand Bros) Brand Brewing Company and the Michael Brand Brewing Company/United States Brewing Company buildings, located directly across the street and to the immediate South on the 2400 and 2500 blocks of Elston Avenue.

Several of these structures may have been modified (or even re-faced with superficial new brick) on the Elston Avenue elevation of the buildings, but they do remain intact on the side and Riverfront elevations/facades.  Perhaps even including a bifurcated “brewery designation” on several of these types of plants throughout the City may also be of interest and could even include the various company-run taverns (e.g.-The Schlitz Taverns), many which are also orange-rated in such a designation. 

Providing such protection, would indeed “cement the storied history” of the brewing industry in Chicago, while providing protection and incentives for creative redevelopment schemes, which would “in-turn”, preserve important historical and architectural features of these once prominent structures.  Used as a planning tool, Chicago Landmark Designation would ensure the right type of preservation and reuse, looking to the future of our community and City.

I’ve included noted author and historian, Bob Skilnik and Susan K. Appel, PhD, Professor of Art & Architectural History at Illinois State University in this email, since they will be joining us at our upcoming meeting on October 25, 2007 @ 3:00pm at your City Hall office…

With the demolition of a historic 1900s-era building this week, several blocks to the south of this site and complex on Elston Avenue, I would encourage that with the incredible volume of information and photos supplied in the past week, by Dr. Appel and Mr. Skilnik (attached to my 25-page packet and hand-delivered letter), that DPD-Landmarks move as quickly as possible towards issuing a report and “Preliminary Determination” re these strucutres.

Sincerely and With Best Regards,

Ward Miller, Vice President

Logan Square Preservation    

UPDATE HERE!!                                                                                        

Posted in Appearances, Beer History | 1 Comment »

A-B Deflects Greenpeace Charges And YouTube Video Of Using Genetically Engineered Rice

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 9, 2007

A few years ago, I was invited out to Anheuser-Busch headquarters in St. Louis to have my brain picked for information about the connection to beer and carbohydrates, a result of a few TV appearances on Fox and ESPN2 I had done while promoting my book, The Drink Beer, Get Thin Diet: A Low- Carbohydrate Approach. After dispensing with business and meeting most of the brewery’s higher-ups, I received a private tour of the brewery and eventually, the opportunity to sit down with the department heads as they tasted 12 samples of beer that had been brought in from all of A-B’s breweries. There was also a 13th sample, this one using rice from a possible new purveyor and the panel, including myself, tasting sample #13 to ensure that it had no noticeable change in the taste and character of the control sample of Budweiser.

All in all, it was extremely interesting, but I always wondered why the possible change in rice suppliers? Probably, I figured, A-B was just playing it safe, just in case their main supplier came up short or had a problem with a harvest. Looks like A-B does this on a regular basis (reaching out to new or back-up suppliers, that is).

Greenpeace, however, is now claiming that Anheuser-Busch is using an experimental, genetically engineered rice strain, according to an analysis released yesterday by the environmental organization. Three of four samples of unprocessed rice from the beer maker’s mill in Arkansas showed the presence of the strain, Bayer LL601. Doug Muhleman, Anheuser-Busch’s vice president of brewing says the rice strain “is fully approved” by federal regulators, who deemed it “perfectly safe for human consumption.” Muhleman adds that Greenpeace’s “false and defamatory” allegations came as retaliation for the company’s spurning Greenpeace’s call to boycott US farmers.

Greenpeace’s Doreen Stabinsky, however, said US consumers have a right to know that genetically modified rice is used to create their beer. To that end, the group has cobbled together an off-color [read: lame] YouTube video, “Wassup With Your Beer?” The one-minute, 16-second video closes with a display advertisement reminiscent of a Budweiser commercial, except that it replaces the beer’s foam with a mound of rice, and notes in capital letters that the beer is made with genetically engineered rice.

Posted in Beer & Food In The News | Leave a Comment »

Nutritional Info For Bitburger Pils

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 8, 2007

bitburgerpilsbottle.jpgBitburger  Pils                  12 oz   9.05 g carbs                 146 calories     4.8% abv

Posted in Beer And Carbohydrates, beer diet, Beer Nutritional Info, calories in beer, carbohydrates in beer | 1 Comment »

Expect to get less beer for your buck

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 6, 2007

There are already some grumblings in the Chicagoland area about one particular brewery raising its prices. Looks like more are to follow;

Sharpest rise in decades in cost of hops, barley hits smaller breweries the hardest

October 5, 2007 – 10:51PM

That six-pack of high-brow beer is about to come at a higher price, thanks to the sharpest surge in decades in the cost of the hops and barley that give each brew its distinctive taste.

Consumers could pay 50 cents to $1 more per six-pack in the coming months for many small-batch “craft beers,” as brewers pass on rising hops and barley costs from an unpalatable brew of poor harvests, the weak dollar and farmers’ shift to more profitable crops. Other makers of craft beers, the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. brewing industry, say they may eat the higher ingredient costs, which will pare their profits…

 Craft beer makers have faced escalating costs over the past year. Prices for malting barley, which accounts for a beer’s color and sweetness, have jumped as farmers increasingly shifted to planting corn, which has been bringing higher prices because of high demand from makers of biofuels such as ethanol. The weak dollar has also made it more expensive for U.S. brewers to buy commodities from Europe.

The news worsened for craft brewers significantly in recent weeks. Firms that turn barley into brewing malt informed craft brewers of price increases ranging from 40 percent to 80 percent, and hops suppliers announced increases ranging from 20 percent to 100 percent, depending on the variety of hops.

The price of hops — which give beers their bitterness and aroma — has risen because of shortages across the globe, due in part to poor crops in Europe. Some European brewers are competing with American brewers for hops grown in the Pacific Northwest.

Posted in Beer & Food In The News | Leave a Comment »

Kugelis—Break Out A Baltic Porter And Eat Like A Lithuanian

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 5, 2007

For Your Kugelis Kravings

For Your Kugelis Kravings

UPDATE:  I totally forgot about posting this info until I saw that there has been a recent run on hits to this particular  post. Some of you wanted info on purchasing a mechanized potato grinder, a “Kugelis machine,” to quicken the time needed for grinding 5, 10 or more pounds of peeled potatoes. When grinding, time is of the essence if you want to retain nice, white ground potatoes. They’ll oxidize after being ground and will turn greyish. This won’t change the taste; it just looks funky.

Here’s the info:   http://www.granddukesrestaurant.com/

They have a Lithuanian store/deli down the road from the restaurant. The restaurant site is  http://www.granddukesrestaurant.com/ .  The link to the store/deli is on the restaurant website, it’s Lietuvele    http://lietuvele.com/

That’s where you can definitely get the machine with links at the site in English and Lithunian, with some Lugan songs playing (too loudly) in the background on the index page.  You should call before making the trip  (Phone 1-773-788 1362 or e-mail lietuvele@sbcglobal.net  ). Here’s a direct link to the potato grater  http://www.lietuvele.com/osc/index.php?cPath=17

Check to see if it comes with a 120v motor or a 220v. If it’s a 220v, you’ll need a stepdown transformer too.
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thumb_the_session_beer_food.gifI think I was about 18 years old, too young to legally enjoy a beer in my hometown of Chicago, but already trying my damndest to try to get used to the taste of beer.

I had a friend at the time who’s parents were a bit understanding about teen-age boys and beer drinking and would allow us the occasional beer drinking party, as long as we spent the night and dropped our car keys into their hands before the beer came out.

My buddy’s parents were Lithuanian, having come “over on the boat” sometime after World War II. At the time, it was necessary for WW II refugees to get on a list and arrange sponsorship with a family here and prove that their was a job waiting for them before they could arrive in the U.S.                                                                   

Typically the sponsors here in the U.S. were second generation Lithuanian-Americans whose parents had been in the States since the Third Great Migration, anywhere between 1885 and before World War I.

They did it the right way, no sneaking over and demanding signs and voting ballots in English and Lithuanian, learned English as soon as possible once they arrived here, and practiced a frugality that most cradle-born Americans never learned. Work hard, pay cash and eat hearty, even if the food had its origins in farmer-like simplicities.

My friend’s mom would ensure that we kept somewhat sober by serving this weird dish called kugelis, a baked potato pudding that was loaded with bacon and all its drippings, butter, onions, and all kinds of different ingredients that each Lithuanian mother usually kept secret. It’s the kind of deceptive practice that prize-winning chili makers exercise; they give you (almost) all the ingredients of their prize-winning chili, but for some reason, yours never comes out quite as tasty as theirs. If you’ve ever seen the “Everybody Loves Raymond” episode where Marie relabels some of her spices so poor Deborah could never get the taste of some Italian specialty quite the same as Marie’s, you know what I’m talking about.

Lithuanian kugelis makers like to practice the same bit of deception, but no matter what the end result, as I learned many years ago, a piece of two of warm kugelis, maybe with a dollop of sour cream on top, goes so good with beer. Doesn’t really have to be a beer from the Baltic States; any beer will do with a hearty dish like this.

While kugelis is considered a unique Lithuanian food, there are European food similarities, including the Jewish potato kugel, and the somewhat similar potato pancake, potato-based recipes that a number of Central and Eastern European countries enjoy. While the small neighboring countries of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are lumped together as “the Baltic States,” this dish is truly indigenous to Lithuania. There is no regional influence in this recipe, but kugelis has developed into a very hearty peasant dish that took advantage of Lithuania’s abundant and perennial crop of potatoes and pork (bacon) as a meat staple.

So at the risk of having my mother-in-law—who’s also Lithuanian—banish me from her house, I’m going to give you her “secret” formula for one of the most satisfying things you could ever eat with a beer wash. And like chili, I play around with this recipe. Add a few more eggs and the dish will be fluffier or use one or two less and the kugelis will be heavier. Same with the bacon. I sometimes use 1 1/4 pounds (and all the bacon grease) and switch to a large onion rather than a medium-sized one.

Making kugelis is like making homebrew; there’s an artistry involved, so once you get the hang of this, improvise to your heart’s (and stomach’s) content!

One other tip. Don’t ever tell a Lithuanian woman that her kugelis is good, but that Mrs. Stankus down the block makes a tastier version. I once told my mother-in-law about an old girl friend’s mother (also Lithuanian—I’ve got a thing about Lithuanian girls, I guess) who used to make a fluffier—and I thought, tastier—version. That was 25 years ago, and now I understand why the Russians left Lithuania.

Sofija’s Kugelis (Potato Pudding)

Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Cooking Time: 2 Hours

 

5 pounds of Idaho white potatoes. Years of experience have proven that Idahos make the best kugelis.

6 eggs, beaten

1 pound bacon

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 stick butter

1 cup heated milk

1 tablespoon sour cream

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon ascorbic acid (or 4 vitamin C tablets, crushed)

Preheat oven to 425F.

 

Peel the potatoes into a large bowl. Cover with cold water. Finely grate potatoes and add the ascorbic acid to the potato mush keep the potatoes white. Don’t try to cheat and use a Cuisinart since the texture just won’t be the same. Without the inclusion of ascorbic acid or the vitamin C, the grated potatoes will turn grey before completion of the dish. We always like to think that the occasional grated skin from a finger or two also adds a flavor enhancement to the final product, so if you knick a knuckle or two, just think of how you’ll answer the question, “I can’t put my finger on it. What’s that delightful other meaty flavor in this?”

 

“My secret ingredient. Don’t worry about it. Did you watch the Cubs fold last night? Need another beer?”

 

Cut bacon into small pieces and add to a 12-14 inch frying pan. Cook on medium heat and stir occasionally. When the bacon is very lightly cooked, add the chopped onion. Although it can be a minor balancing act, the bacon should be almost cooked through while the onions become translucent. Remove pan from heat and add the stick of butter to the bacon, onions and grease and stir until the butter’s melted

 

Into the grated potatoes, pour the bacon and ALL the grease. Stir lightly and add the 6 beaten eggs. Add salt, pepper and sour cream. Mix thoroughly.

 

Liberally grease a 9” x 13″ x 2″ pan with butter. A Pyrex-type glass pan will help control any excess browning of the edges, but a metal pan will work fine. Pour in the potato mixture.

 

Place in preheated oven (425F) and cook ½ hour. When kugelis shows slight browning around the edges of the pan, bring oven temperature down to 350F and cook another 45-60 minutes until top is golden brown. Cover pan with aluminum foil and cook another 30 until pudding is firm. Give the pan a slight shake to test for firmness. Remove from oven and let sit ½ hour.

 

Serve as a stand alone entrée or as a side dish. Top off each individual serving with a generous dollop of sour cream.

If you need to double this recipe, it’s best to use two 9” x 13” x 2” pans rather than one large one. The cooking can be uneven with a larger pan.

 

If you have any kugelis left over, slice it thin the next morning—about the thickness of a slice of bread—and fry it on both sides in unsalted, sweet butter until heated through and golden brown. Look, the grease will probably kill you anyway, so have a breakfast beer with your kugelis and get over it.

 

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Posted in Beer & Food Pairings, Beer And Food Pairing, Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer | Tagged: , , | 8 Comments »

Pilsner Urquell Celebrates The Birth Of Golden Beer On October 5

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 4, 2007

pilsnerurquelllogo.gifIn 1842, a small brewery in Pilsen (Plzen), a town in western Bohemia, hired German brewer Josef Groll to replicate the lager style of beer that had become so popular in the German states. Taking advantage of a more sophisticated and controlled method of kilning malt, which gave the grain just the slightest hint of a golden hue, Groll oversaw the brewing operations at the brewery known today as Pilsner Urquell (Plzensky Prozdroj) and produced the world’s first pilsner (or Pilzner/Pilsener) beer.

 

The good folks at today’s Pilsner Urquell have designated October 5, 1842 as the exact date that Groll turned lager beer on its head (yes, pun intended). Groll’s creamy creation was described as a lager beer with brilliant clarity, somewhat lighter in body—and most unusual as compared with typical dark lager beers of the time—it was golden-colored. In the next few decades, this golden beer would sweep through Europe, making its way to Vienna in 1856, and Paris and London by 1862. Around 1871, the pilsner style of beer would jump the Atlantic to the shores of the U.S. and push its way westward where German-American brewers were especially receptive in emulating the chic style of this new European lager.

 

Through war and political change, the Czech Republic brewery has continued to ship its beer throughout the world, currently exporting to over 50 countries, including markets in Europe, North America, Australia, and Asia. Nearly 90% of the lager beer consumed today is a variation of this original golden beer.

 

My first experience with Pilsner Urquell was while I lived in West Germany. Since the village I lived in was not too far away from the border, it was easy to get my hands on this beer; better yet, it was usually in the draft version. While I thoroughly enjoyed the very malty beers of Bavaria, Pilsner Urquell has that nice snap from the locally-grown Saaz (Zatec) variety of hops, still considered by today’s lager brewers as one of the “noble” hops.

 

The folks at PR firm Weber Shandwick sent me a reminder of this momentous event with a nice cigar humidor, stuffed with two bottles of Pilsner Urquell and a few Limited Edition cigars from renowned cigar man Rocky Patel, a perfectionist when it comes to blending fine tobaccos, and a tobacco artist who takes great pride in offering the most rich-tasting, complex, and highest quality cigars imaginable. Stop by his site, the Rocky Patel Premium Cigar Company and see what he has to offer. If you’re a cigar smoker, I guarantee you’ll bookmark his site.

 

Since October 5 is a Friday, it looks like I’ll be hard at work tomorrow, enjoying a Rocky Patel cigar and a few Pilsner Urquells. Actually, 2 bottles won’t be enough so I’ll be ending this post and making my way to my favorite liquor store for another sixer of this great, great beer.

 

Why not do the same today or tomorrow and enjoy The pilsner beer that started it all?

 

Don’t forget. You can also read more about Pilsner Urquell and the rise of the pilsner style of beer in the U.S. in my latest book, Beer & Food: An American History.

 

Posted in Beer & Food In The News, Beer History, Plugs | Leave a Comment »

When Did They Take The “Lager” Out Of Lager Beer?

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 2, 2007

beerandfoodfrontcoverwebforum.jpgAs you read throughout the pages of Beer & Food: An American History, you’ll note the numerous instances of American beer being tweaked for one reason or another. Going back the Colonial Era, for instance, the availability of malted barley was a continuous problem in the brew house. Why grow barley in the colonies when there were few malt houses to convert the barely to malt? On the other hand, why build malt houses if farmers found no reason to grow barley?

The temporary answer to this brewing problem was the importation of malted barley from England. Because of the transportation expense involved and a demand that rolled right over supply, brewers supplemented their grain bill with anything that could be used as a fermentable; corn, cornstalks and husks, persimmons, spruce, molasses, and so much more. 

But as the book details, the very act of brewing continued to evolve—from the Colonial Era, the importation of lager beer yeast, the techniques of brewing a golden-colored pilsner beer,  the end of the decoction technique, food control bills, wars, and on and on. Those who argue that Prohibition was the single event that caused the irrevocable change in American beer don’t understand that U.S. beer’s change in quality and character has been subtle, but continuous. And as we see below, it looks like more change is coming from ingredients group, DMS.

“With the margins of a beer manufacturers recently falling on the back of declining beer sales and inflated commodity costs, brewers are looking for means to increase productivity. By removing the need for cold stabilisation in brewing (re: lagering), DSM claims to have made a massive breakthrough in beer production. The company added that using the enzyme along with accelerated maturation processes could soon make beer production within less then one week a reality.”

“According to DSM’s testing, the use of Brewers Clarex also prevents the grouping of haze proteins and polyphenols that create cloudy less stable beer, without need for cold stabilisation.”

For you amateur beer historians out there, let me say one word that might make you recall another brewery that once thought that they too had the enzymatic answer to protein haze and the answer to a short maturation period—”Schlitz.” I might be giving my age away, but when I was a kid, there used to be an old tagline from DuPont (I believe); “Better living through chemistry.” But there are some things that simply shouldn’t be tampered with…starting with beer.

Posted in Beer & Food In The News, Beer History | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

MILLER ANNOUNCES IMMEDIATE AUDIT: MARKETING POLICIES UNDER REVIEW

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 1, 2007

According to Catholic League President, Bill Donohue, Miller is taking a second look at their sponsorship of event like last Sunday’s Folsum Street Fair. After the San Francisco Chronicle listed some of the going-ons on the public streets of San Francisco (“…couples led each other up and down the street with dog collars and leashes, men in thong underwear played Twister….’ There was also a man who was flogged to such an extent that ‘red lash marks covered his back.’ Other gay men decided to ‘walk around naked’ in front of women and children. In addition to the homosexuals who dressed as nuns—ridiculing the women who have given selflessly of their lives in service to the dispossessed—there was a female stripper who was hoisted in a cage over a Roman Catholic church (on a Sunday when Masses were being said). The lead sponsor for the incredible spectacle is the Miller Brewing Company.”)

Donohue reported that Miller said it took exception to the use of its logo on an offensive poster mocking the Last Supper. “Today, it extended its original statement by apologizing for the misuse of its logo, ‘particularly [to] members of the Christian community who have contacted us to express their concern.’ It also said, ‘We are conducting an immediate audit of our procedures for approving local marketing and sales sponsorships to ensure that this does not happen again.’”

Donohue added: “We called Miller today asking for clarification of this statement, and we are pleased to note that a full-scale review of all its promotional policies is underway.”

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