Beer (& More) In Food

Beer: The Condiment With An Attitude!

Archive for March, 2007

Meet Me Today At The John Crerar Library At The University Of Chicago

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 30, 2007

Just a reminder…I’ll be yapping about the history of beer and brewing in Chicago while trying to promote my latest books, Beer: A History of Brewing in Chicago and Beer & Food: An American History at the John Crerar Library at the U. of C. at 4 P.M.

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A-B Files With TTB For Bacardi Silver Mojito Label Approval

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 28, 2007

A few weeks ago it was Chelada; this week it’s a malt-based variation of the classic Mojito. The Cuban-inspired mixed drink typically consist of rum, simple syrup, crushed mint leaves and a topping of seltzer water, all swimming in a tall glass of ice. They make a great one at the little bar off the check-in area at the Bellagio in Vegas.

Anheuser-Busch, however, has come up with a Mojito extension of its Bacardi Silver flavored malt beverage lineup. Maybe it’s me, but I just can’t envision drinking a Mojito out of a 24-ounce “shorty-forty” nor a 12-ounce can. The Bacardi Silver brand’s share of all malt-based beverages (including beer) in supermarkets was flat at 0.2 percent during the 52 weeks ended March 17, so this looks to be another “Run the flag up the pole and see if someone salutes it” A-B approach to stopping weak sales for their malt-flavored beverage segment.

Brew Blog has more on the brewery’s label application with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and a look at the proposed label for Bacardi Silver Mojito with this Word file download here.

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Four Points Sheraton Chief Beer Officer Installed

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 26, 2007

four-points.jpgJay Brooks over at Brookston Beer Bulletin has the full story today on the installation of Four Points by Sheridan’s CBO – Chief Beer Officer.

Of course, I’m jealous as old hell, but I had to leave this comment on Jay’s blog;

“I know this will sound like sour grapes since I was one of the last 15 contestants chosen out of 7,800, but I’m amazed that the last 4 candidates were all from out West (Utah, ColoradoArizona and California — FYI, in Chicago, everywhere west of the Mississippi is considered “out West”). I see know that Scott Kerkmans, the winner and the reigning CBO is from Arizona, not Colorado — make it Utah, Arizona and California.

You can’t tell me that no one from the Midwest or the East Coast could make the final 4?”

Did anybody else out there make the Final 15 who is NOT from out West? 

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Canadian Chef Discovers Beer’s Use In Food

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 23, 2007

Says suds has good appeal for veal

The 22-year old Canadian chef’s choice of beers, however, are suspect. Heineken and Big Rock Honey Brown top his beer list, but the link to the article includes an interesting recipe for Beer-braised Veal Cheek

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Beatle McCartney Bellies Up To Guinness

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 23, 2007

With an acrimonious divorce dragging on through the courts, you’d think a 64-year old man might learn paulmccartney.jpgsomething. 

Not Sir Paul McCartney.

He’s formed a bond with Sabrina Guinness, a former girlfriend of Prince Charles and heiress to the beer dynasty. After Australia’s Herald Sun finishes listing her laundry list of suitors, you get the feeling that “The Cute One” is reaching for the bottom of the barrel.


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“This isn’t just a brew pub, it’s a church”

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 22, 2007

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–“How about beer with your Bible?”

That’s the question NBC’s “Today” show host Campbell Brown asked March 4 on national television to introduce a report titled “Beer and Bibles: New Churches Lure Young Members.”

… The “church” in reality is the Schlafly Bottleworks where The Journey reaches out to younger adults who might not consider going to a traditional church setting.

…“Followers say they may come for the beer, but they stay for the Bible,” London said. “And back at the brew pub, it’s about saving souls, one beer at a time.”

Wow! It’s enough to make me convert.


Jay Brooks over at Brookston Beer Bulletin, however, cites a study that gives much different response to beer and religion.

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Book Review: Beer and Food by Bob Skilnik

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 22, 2007

Beer & Food: An American History received a nice endorsement from Alan McLeod up in Ontario on his “A Good Beer Blog.”

Here’s just a preview, but you really should put his blog on your saved feeds and regularly stop by the site;

“The full title is Beer and Food: An American History and it could not be a plainer truth. Bob leads us through the generations of US brewing and cuisine from colonial days to the present and shows how beer has experienced more than one rise and fall as an ingredient in the American kitchen. His research and explanations are primary – by which I mean he cites cookbooks from at least the early eighteenth century to the favorite recipes of modern craft brewers. He also ties them into the prevailing technologies and context whether it is on the frontier or in the days of prohibition. There is a good sized bibliography including booklets and papers giving confidence in the authority backing up what he tells us.”

Book Review: Beer and Food by Bob Skilnik

Buy Beer & Food: An American History

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Cooking With Beer, Day 7, Enjoying St. Paddy’s Day With An Original Recipe For Corned Beef

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 17, 2007

By now, everyone probably knows that the Irish do not eat corned beef and cabbage on March clog-dancer.gif17. Instead, the Americanized recipe seems to have evolved from earlier British-American practice of boiling beef, typically with root vegetables.

Nonetheless, every St. Patrick’s Day, innumerable slow-cooked beef brisket or corned beef recipes, usually adding Guinness or Harp to the pot for “authenticy,” are rolled out by food writers in the food sections of U.S. newspapers and magazines.

This recipe from 1803 “To Stew Brisket Of Beef” looks to be a stepping stone for today’s now-cliched corned beef and cabbage recipes and uses a healthy dose of beer;

“Having rubbed the brisket with common salt and saltpetre [salt peter], let it lie four days. Then lard the skin with fat bacon, and put it into a stew pan with a quart of water, a pint of red wine, or strong beer, half a pound of butter, a bunch of sweet herbs, three or four shallots, some pepper and half a nutmeg grated.

Cover the pan very close. Stew it over a gentle fire for six hours. Then fry some pieces of boiled turnips very brown. Strain the liquor the beef was stewed in, thicken it with butter, and having mixed the turnips in it, pour all together over the beef in a large dish. Serve it up hot, and garnish with lemon sliced.

An ox cheek or leg of beef may be served up in the same manner.”

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Piss On A Leprechaun — New Online Bar Game For St. Pat’s

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 16, 2007

A new and free online game, described as “…a fun time-waster for the beloved, beer-drinking holiday, St. Patrick’s Day,” looks to be geared towards developing good hand/eye coordination. At least that’s my assumption since the game “challenges players to control their urine stream in order to pee on leprechauns and avoid other bar patrons. With green beer consumption as ammunition, players are taunted by the leprechauns as they whiz by.”


Start Pissin’

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Something’s Brewing. The Art, Science and Technology of Beer Brewing

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 15, 2007

This is one of those things that seems to have fallen under the radar screen of most beer history geeks, a real shame, especially in a history-laden city like Chicago. The John Crerar Library at the University of Chicago is holding a special exhibit that “…explores the development of brewing, from the ancient Sumerians’ rice-based beverages to the rise and fall of the Chicago brewing industry.”

The exhibit will be featured until March 31.

The info on the Crerar website says this exhibit ends on March 31. The picture below says it ends on March 24. Ignore it. I just called Crerar (773-702-7715) and the exhibit runs through the 31st. 


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Meet Me At The U. of Chicago, John Crerar Library, March 30

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 15, 2007

I’ll be yapping about the history of beer and brewing in Chicago while trying to promote my latest books, Beer: A History of Brewing in Chicago and Beer & Food: An American History at the John Crerar Library at the U. of C.

The library has one hell of a history, including getting its start in 1897 on the 6th floor of the Marshall Field Building.

More Info

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Cooking With Beer, Day 6, Counting Down To St. Paddy’s Day With Potato Salad Dosed With Harp

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 14, 2007

Potatoes and Harp beer. Culinary symmetry. Get it

Harp-ed Potato Salad

2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
3 each eggs, hard boiled, chopped

Beer Dressing:

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup Harp Lager
1/4 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon sugar
3 pinches salt
3 pinches white pepper

To make salad:

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until done, about 20-25 minutes. Remove, drain and cool slightly. While potatoes are cooling make beer dressing .

Slice unpeeled potatoes. Place into mixing bowl. While potatoes are still warm, add eggs, parsley, celery and beer dressing. Toss slightly. Do not overmix or the potatoes may break into pieces. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped chives.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until just soft, about 5 minutes. Add the Harp Lager, vinegar and sugar and boil for 5 minutes.

Put into a food processor with the Dijon mustard. With the motor running, slowly pour the remaining olive oil in. Salt and pepper to taste.

Yields 6 servings

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Cooking Again With Stout, Day 5, Counting Down To St. Paddy’s Day With Lamb Stew

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 14, 2007

Here’s a more contemporary recipe for Irish Lamb Stew from the Anchorage Daily News with a nice history of the dish plus one more non-beer stew recipe too. Of course, it includes stew in the recipe. I’ve included the recipe below, but the full article can be found here;

Irish stout lamb stew

• ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

• 2 teaspoons salt plus more to taste

• Freshly ground pepper

• 3 pounds cubed lamb shoulder

• 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

• 1 16-ounce can stout or dark beer

• 1 ½ pounds red potatoes, quartered

• 3 parsnips peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks

• 3 carrots peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks

• 2 large yellow onions, coarsely chopped

• 4 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch pieces

• 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

• 3 14 ½-ounce cans low-sodium beef broth

• 1 cup pearl barley

• 12 sprigs parsley

• 3 sprigs thyme

• 2 sprigs rosemary

» Mix ½ cup of the flour, 1 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste in a resealable bag; add lamb. Shake to coat lamb. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear the lamb in batches, until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes per batch. Remove each batch to a plate.

» Stir remaining 2 tablespoons of the flour into the Dutch oven. Cook, stirring, over medium heat, 1 minute. Stir in the stout, scraping up the browned bits. Add the potatoes, parsnips, carrots, onions, celery and garlic. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 20 minutes.

» Return meat to the Dutch oven. Add the broth and barley. Tie the parsley, thyme and rosemary in a bundle with kitchen string; add to Dutch oven. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lamb is fork-tender, about 2 ½ hours. Skim off any fat. Season with remaining teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste.

» Makes 10 servings.

— chef Steve Perlstein of the Irish American Heritage Center (Perlstein? Must be from the County Cork).

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Beer & Food: An American History Gets A Thumbs-Up From Canton, Ohio’s “The Repository”

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 14, 2007

“Beer lovers and foodies alike will enjoy a new book by Bob Skilnik called ‘Beer & Food, An American History’ (Jefferson Press, $24.95). Skilnik is an alum of Chicago’s Institute of Technology, the oldest brewing school in the U.S., where he earned his degree in brewing technology.

His book gives a fascinating account of the birth and growth of our country’s brewing industry and its influence on American cuisine. A mouth-watering 90 recipes are included, from beer soup and beer pudding to Samuel Adams roast beef and roast pork loin with Rhinelander Bock.”


It also includes a foreword by Jim Koch, Founder of the Boston Beer Co., brewer of Samuel Adams.


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Cooking With Beer, Day 4, Counting Down To St. Paddy’s Day With Beef Kidney With Beer

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 14, 2007

When it came to cuisine, my mother’s taste was as Irish as Paddy’s pig. She never relented on having my Dad periodically prepare one of her favorite dishes, Beef Kidney With Beer. It was comfort food to her; a taste that brought her back to memories of sitting down with her parents and her seven siblings.

To my sister and me, it was pure horror. There are few kitchens today where you can still “enjoy” the aroma of broken down warm urea, but this dish kept my Mom and her family quite content, while gluek-beer.jpglater driving my sister and me from the house. 

For the more adventurous, however, I give you this very Irish recipe of Beef Kidneys & Beer from the Gluek Brewing Company of Cold Spring, MN (and still in business) during the 1940s.

2 beef kidneys
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups beer
6 slices crisp toast

Cut kidneys into small cubes. Remove skin and white core (gettin’ hungry yet?). Cover with cold water. Bring to boiling point. Drain. Repeat. Drain well. Saute in butter until brown. Add flour. Mix well until blended. Add salt and beer. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, for 35 minutes or until kidney is tender and beer cooked down to a thickened sauce. Serve on toast.

Yield: 6 servings

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Cooking With National Premium, Day 3, Counting Down To St. Paddy’s Day With Irish Beer Stew

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 12, 2007

In 1948, the National Brewing Company of Baltimore, MD published a little guide to cooking with beer, actually, cooking with National Premium Beer. This booklet’s approach was unique because it targeted MEN as cooks. From Repeal on, virtually all the beer-in-food booklets that were either published by the United States Brewers Association (USBA) or individual breweries were addressed towards women. They, after all, were the Queens of Cuisine, the shoppers of groceries. But Natty Bo turned towards the idea of men as cooks, noting that at one time “…cooking was so deplorably a purely feminine function…” Brew in Your Stew and all its beer related food recipes was “…designed for men,” including the following recipe for Irish Beer Stew; National Premium Beer, 1948

From the Emerald Isle, where Shamrocks and Shillelaghs are still considered the best in low-rate insurance policies, comes this mealtime favorite with a flavor Mother never knew was there. And you can thank your National Premium for that very special flavor!

2.5 lbs. stewing lamb
2 tbsps. fat
1.5 cups National Premium Beer
1.5 cups boiling water
salt & pepper
12 small onions
9 small potatoes
1 bunch carrots
2 cups cooked peas

Have lamb cut in serving-size pieces at meat market. Dredge with seasoned flour. Brown on all sides in hot fat. Add National Premium and water. Cover; simmer 1.5 hours. Add onions, potatoes and carrots cut lengthwise. Add enough boiling water to cover vegetables. Simmer until vegetables are tender (about 1 hour). Add peas. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Thicken gravy if desired. Serves 4 to 6 depending upon your appetites.

But sure to check out Beer & Food: An American History for more manly beer/food recipes, including an interesting recipe for Welsh Rabbit by bandleader Spike Jones.

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Malt Extract Cooking, Day 2, Counting Down To St. Paddy’s Day With Oatmeal Cookies

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 11, 2007

Oatmeal is almost as much a part of the Irish food culture as the potato. With that thought in mind, how about a oatmeal cookie recipe from a 1928 publication titled Schlitz Malt Syrup in the Home? An industry wide attempt to guise the use of malt syrup as merely one more food item in the kitchen — and not the reality of malt extract chiefly used as a base for homebrewing — was fortified with numerousSchlitz Malt Syrup Ad attempts by once big-named brewers (now malt extract manufacturers — wink, wink) in publishing food recipe pamphlets that promoted the use of extract as a key ingredient. This recipe for oatmeal cookies using Schlitz Malt Syrup, “the World’s Finest Malt Syrup,” is but one example.

Check out Beer & Food: An  American History for more.

Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter or lard
1 tablespoon Schlitz Malt Syrup (plain)
2 eggs
2/3 teaspoon baking soda
10 tablespoons sour milk (leave out overnight or simply add a few drops of lemon juice to the milk)
1 cup raisins

Sift the flour, salt and cinnamon together, and add the oatmeal. Cream the sugar, butter and Schlitz Malt Syrup. Add the eggs to the creamed mixture. Dissolve soda in sour milk. Add the flour to creamed mixture, alternating with the sour milk and soda mixture. Add the raisins. Bake in a moderate oven (350°-375° for 10 minutes or less).           

Posted in Beer History, Cooking With Malt Extract, Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Stout Cooking, Day 1, Counting Down To St. Paddy’s Day With A Double Chocolate Cake

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 10, 2007

Well, St. Paddy’s Day is on its way, and I’m sure my Irish mother, Mick McCarthy (no joke!), would have appreciated this week’s worth of beer & food recipes, splashed with some stout and layered with a bit o’ blarney. Let’s begin with this quick and easy recipe for a double chocolate cake with a wee bit of stout (your choice).

Whether your Irish heritage is Shanty or Lace Curtain, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this cake receipe that came over from the Old Sod nearly 100 years ago. As least that’s what the Irish bricklayer who was buying beers in Schaller’s Pump in Bridgeport in Chicago told me. I wanted to ask him how the recipe was 100 years old when it starts out “One package of Duncan Hines,” but hell, he was buying.Murphys Irish Stout

1 package of Duncan Hines Devils Food Cake mix
1  12-ounce package of bittersweet chocolate chips
1 small package of instant chocolate pudding
1.5 cups of sour cream
12-ounces of stout

Preheat your oven to 350F. Throw everything except the stout into a Kitchen-Aide stainless steel bowl. Drink 8 ounces of the stout and pour the last 4 ounces into the bowl. Beat it on “slow” until the conncoction is thoroughly mixed, stopping the beater to push the mix off the sides of the bowl. Spray a bundt pan with vegetable oil and sprinkle it with some flour so it’s completly coated with the flour. Pour the batter into the pan.

Bake for 1 hour or the time it takes you to go through 4 more bottles of stout. If you haven’t hit the 1 hour mark but have drunk 4 bottles of stout, grab another stout and be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

In an hour, both you and the cake should be baked. Since the cake will be very moist, don’t rely on the old “clean toothpick” method to see if it’s actually cooked. Better yet, take it out of the oven and give it a thump to see if it’s done. If so, carefully remove the cake from the bundt pan and allow to cool on a wire rack. Now you have to wait.

If you have any Jameson’s on hand, relax and have a few. You deserve it!

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Will Craft Brewers Finally Lighten Up?

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 10, 2007

beerdietpyramidgood.gifA few years ago, I wrote a book titled The Drink Beer, Get Thin Diet: A Low-Carbohydrate Approach. The premise was a simple one; design a low-carb diet around the moderate consumption of beer…even high carb brews. By knowing the carbohydrate content of your favorite brew, you (as the dieter) could determine how many carbs you took in daily.

The problem was getting brewers to cooperate in this little literary endeavor by giving me information that I could use to calculate carbohydrate counts for their beers. In the case of the bigger breweries, that wasn’t a problem. They had already done a nutritional analysis on their products and willingly gave out the information to inquiring minds.

In the case of craft brewers, however, it became a daliy battle. Some breweries, such as New Belgium or Bricktown Brewery (a brewpub) were extremely cooperative, others were downright combative. One brewer demonstrated that he understood the emerging market. “Health is about information, choices and moderation.”

Others, however, told me to do sexually impossible tasks, adding that “We don’t brew our beer for nutrition, we brew it for taste,” while their websites were filled with references to the vitamins in yeast and grain. When I would bring up the argument that what the customer wanted was probably more important than the opinions of the brewer (and maybe better for sales), well, let’s just say that it wasn’t pretty.

Slowly but surely, since 2003 or so, I’m finding more and more brewpubs experimenting with their own interpretations of “light” beer. Things are also changing with bottling craft breweries as Brew Blog has pointed out. Why the change in attitude? As BB notes “In short, they’re going after light for the same reason Willie Sutton robbed banks: Because that’s where the money is.”

But there’ still a long battle to wage before every craft brewery has at least one “light” beer in its portfolio, and the nutritional analysis info to back it up.  West Coast beer writer and reviewer William Brand has a different opinion about craft-brewed light beer…”My opinion of light beer: Argggggg.  Personally, I’m going to crack open a bottle of Double IPA tonight.” And Bill’s not alone with this kind of opinion.

But when 50% of beer sales come from the light sector, what’s a brewer to do?

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There’s Chelada…And Then There’s Chelada — A-B vs Miller

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 10, 2007

CheladaAnheuser-Busch’s Clamato and Bud (or Bud Light) will meet some head-on competition in the marketplace this summer when Miller Chill is introduced. Described as a “Chelada-style” superpremium light beer, it will contain lime and salt, actually more in line with this beer-based drink of Mexican origin

You can actually make your own version and all its variations at home, including this recipe for CHELADA POPS

A refreshing beer concoction that is a Mexican favorite, originating in the 1950’s when Tecate introduced beer in a can and promoted the now ritualistic lime wedge and salt on the rim. The tradition evolved along the Mexican Rivera into the “chelada” – a slang variation of “helada” – which means “iced”. This evolved even further into Michelada, or “My iced beer.” The variations created are as numerous as the regions of Mexico, but the foundation is always the same…Mexican Lager served over ice with a slice of lime and a salted rim.

GATO:  fresh squeezed lime, ice and a salted rim

TRADITIONAL: Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and pepper

ROJO: Spicy tomato juice, Tabasco & Worcestershire sauce

Go can also go to Michemix at and make an instant version

Posted in Beer & Food In The News, Beer Styles | 3 Comments »

As We Like It, Beer Promotional Film (ca. 1952)

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 10, 2007

Nice propaganda piece from the United States Brewers Association (USBA)

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Henry Weinhard Documentary, Part 3

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 10, 2007

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Henry Weinhard Documentary, Part 2

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 10, 2007

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Henry Weinhard Documentary, Part 1

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 10, 2007

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Blitz Weinhard Brewery Pre-Tour

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 10, 2007

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