Beer (& More) In Food

Beer: The Condiment With An Attitude!

Archive for April, 2007

Liberals In Oregon Eat Their Young And Wash Them Down With Higher-Taxed Beer

Posted by Bob Skilnik on April 26, 2007

beer-pitcher.jpgBusiness Week is reporting that “lawmakers from both parties are casting about for money to dedicate to Oregon’s depleted state highway patrol, and see the beer tax as a possible solution.”

However, when names are bantered about of moronic Oregon legislators who are behind the push to raise state beer taxes by “10 cents a drink,” the article just can’t seem to find a Republican for attribution. A staff member for state Sen. Bill Morrisette, D-Eugene, said raising the alcohol tax by 10 cents a drink would bring in $121.6 million — enough to set aside $24 million to hire 139 new state troopers, reinstituting 24/7 coverage of the state’s highways, and leaving nearly $100 million for addiction prevention and treatment programs. Notice please, there’s a “D” after Morrisette’s name, not an “R.” You might also note how the argument uses the benign “10 cents a drink” approach. In reality, translating the tax into its true impact gives you this;  the proposed tax increase would raise Oregon’s total beer tax to just more than $1.11 per gallon – replacing Alaska, at $1.07 per gallon, as the country’s highest. The median rate for all 50 states and the District of Columbia is just less than 19 cents per gallon.

Let’s take this a few steps further and demonstrate the reward a brewer could expect for pushing to the 200,000 barrel trigger point for the additional tax; 31 gallons in a barrel X $1.11 = $34.41 a barrel. If you hit a brew length of 200,000 barrels per year, your reward as a succesful brewer for your increased productivity would be an additional $6,882,000 in state taxes. Of course, the brewery owner isn’t going to dig into his pockets to cover the phantasies of liberal politicians — beer drinkers will. Just another socialistic example of redistribution of wealth.

Lies, damn lies, and Oregonian legislative bullshit. 

The beer tax is picking up some high-profile allies, including Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who sent a note of support to members of the House Revenue Committee after Wednesday’s hearing. H-m-m, this time it’s spelled out, D-e-m-o-c-r-a-t-i-c. The Governor, as do liberals who like to spend other people’s money, even has the chutzpah to add “As you consider increasing Oregon’s malt beverage surcharge, the opportunity before you is a ‘win-win’ that promises to improve the public’s health and safety by investing in addiction prevention and treatment on the front end — before law enforcement gets involved — and by ensuring adequate and stable funding for our Oregon State Police patrol efforts.”

Win-win? Says Gary Fish, president of the Deshutes Brewery, “…it would have a devastating impact on our company.”               logo.gif

What about the children? Well, as you can guess, that Simpson-ish line is dragged out somewhat later in the article to justify the tax increase, wrapped around the gauzy story of a woman whose oldest son was killed by a drunk driver. Interestingly, there’s no mention of the drunk having consumed beer, just that he was “a drunken driver.” What if he was drinking wine? Oregon has a nice little wine industry too. How about the hard stuff? I think there’s a few boutique distilleries in Oregon taking advantage of juniper berries growing in the region.

As any liberal will tell you, if you throw someone else’s money at a problem, every social ill in the world will be stilled. “More education programs about the dangers of driving while impaired would prevent future mothers from re-enacting that scene,” said Vickie Kibler, the Lake Oswego mother whose son was killed in 2004. Not possibly prevent, not slow down, no…a beer tax “would prevent future mothers from re-enacting that scene.”

Why raise Oregon beer taxes now? The answer is in this article from the Register-Guard. “The 2007 Oregon Legislature will be under Democratic control for the first time in 18 years, potentially opening the door for a state beer tax increase that has been locked out for 20 years by Republican leaders,” the article points out.

And here’s Senator Morrisette (D) flapping his lips again. “With a Democratic House, Senate and governor, I think we can pass the bill.”

In reality, the proposed tax increase would exempt breweries that produce less than 200,000 barrels per year. Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, is above the exemption limit and Deschutes Brewery in Bend is close approaching the cutoff number, causing Gary Fish to bemoan “I don’t know why that is – why it’s a Democratic or a Republican issue – but apparently it is.”

I’m putting Gary in for this month’s “Captain Obvious” award.

BTW, the Oregon Senate just passed another fine piece of legislation. By a vote of 20-9 on Thursday, April 26, 2007, the Oregon Senate has endorsed a bill that would make it a Class A misdemeanor to confine a pregnant pig, thanks to sponsor Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland.

Gee, maybe the next time Oregon brewers might try voting for a party that represents small business interests and not pregnant pigs.

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Dry Manhattan: Prohibition in New York City

Posted by Bob Skilnik on April 22, 2007

dry-manhattan-bookcover.jpgAs you might have surmised, I’m a beer/brewing history nut.

I’ve been reading good things about Dry Manhattan: Prohibition in New York by Michael A. Lerner. The book (Harvard University, $28.95) hits some of the same notes that I played in Beer: A History of Brewing in Chicago. National Prohibition was a creature of prejudice– against Irish, Italians, Germans, and East Europeans — for whom drinking, chiefly wine and beer, was as much a custom as a practice. Evidence that the United States Brewers Association (USBA) was pouring large amounts of money into lobbying against prohibition helped fuel the Anti-Saloon position that “provided handy demons, and [as a result] ‘the un-American, pro-German, crime-producing, food-wasting, youth-corrupting, home-wrecking, treasonable liquor traffic’ took on a Teutonic diabolism,” as reviewer Katherine A. Powers of the Boston Globe contends.

I just went to Amazon to pick up a copy and will give a review of the book at a later date, but it looks like a good one.

If you want to help out a starving book writer, stop by www.beerinfood.com and click on any of the ads/links to Amazon to purchase Dry Manhattan and allow me a meager kickback.

P.S. And buy a copy of Beer & Food: An American History too!

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Beer & Food Book Review From Appellation Beer

Posted by Bob Skilnik on April 16, 2007

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Stan Hieronymus ask the question in his review that does come up with Beer & Food: An American History — is it a history book, or is it a cookbook? H-m-m, how ’bout a historical cookbook?

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Choo-chooing Down To Chattanooga

Posted by Bob Skilnik on April 10, 2007

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April 13, Friday (Uh-oh!)
Bob Skilnik reading and signing, 7 p.m., . Author of Beer and Food. 401 Broad St. Chattanooga. Free and open to the public. (423) 756-2855.

Beer lovers will agree that good beer goes with good food, whether it’s simply a small plate of artisan cheeses or regional specialties such as New England Cheddar Cheese, a grilled Wisconsin bratwurst or a steaming bowl of Louisiana Jambalaya. But these foods, like others that we almost instinctively pair today with contemporary beers, have their origins in our culinary past, when “making do” also helped to inspire the creation of some classic American dishes. Please join us on Friday, April 13th at 7PM for Bob Skilnik’s reading and signing of Beer & Food.Beer & Food lays out the historical origins of how and why we Americans pair certain foods with a variety of beers, starting with the earliest recorded example of colonial housewives taking their last bit of homebrew and transforming an ordinary beef stew into a dish that surely had the household coming back to the hearth for more!After penning an article for the Chicago Tribune’s Good Eating section in 2003 titled “The Lightening of American Beer,” author and beer history expert Bob Skilnik wondered if—having chronicled the differences between today’s beers and those of the generations before us—could he shed some light on beer’s historical use in America. This is Skilnik’s sixth book, featuring over 90 beer-related recipes and a fascinating, mouth-watering account of the birth and rise of our nation’s brewing industry and its lasting influence on American cuisine.

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New Beer Book Pairs Well with A&E’s ‘The American Brew’

Posted by Bob Skilnik on April 10, 2007

CHICAGO, Ill. – Apr. 9 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — Like a grilled bratwurst and a satisfying brew, beer historian Bob Skilnik’s latest book, “Beer & Food: An American History” ($24.95, hardcover, 280 pages, Jefferson Press, ISBN: 0977808610) is the perfect complement to A&E’s recent television airing of “The American Brew.” From the quirky brews of the colonial era, the food rationing of world wars and the devastation of National Prohibition, Skilnik’s sixth book weaves a tale of beer’s movement from a homebrewed colonial staple, the key to saloons with their “Free Lunch” practice, and today, as a growing part of contemporary American cuisine.

Bob Skilnik book - (c) Send2Press“The convergence of centuries of brewing technology and the introduction of refrigeration into American households in the 1920s, plus the return of legal beer in 1933, probably led to one brave man hollering out to his wife in her Repeal-era kitchen, ‘Honey, while you’re up; can you get me a beer from the fridge?’ While it’s an amusing anecdote, it demonstrates that historically, beer’s role as an everyday household commodity is a relatively recent occurrence.”

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Ithaca Journal Gives Beer & Food: An American History A Thumbs Up

Posted by Bob Skilnik on April 9, 2007

“If you don’t know the difference between beer and ale or you always wondered why your Pops drank his beer with a dish of pig’s feet you’ll be interested in this book. Recipes from colonial, prohibition and repeal era cookbooks give you a glimpse into how cooks incorporated beer into everything from pastries to stew. You might even want to try a few out.” 14fdbeerfood.jpg

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