Beer (& More) In Food

Beer: The Condiment With An Attitude!

Home Made Sauerkraut

Posted by Bob Skilnik on May 12, 2007

cabbage.jpg I put this recipe under “Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer.”

Sauerkraut has a long history, including as a staple for Revolutionary War soldiers — both sides.  But other ethnic groups ate it too: during the winter of 1775/76, British forces in Boston allotted 1/2 pound of Sauerkraut per man and week; in neighboring Rhode Island a soldier was to get as much as 2 pounds per week. Their Sauerkraut was shipped all the way from England and Ireland, but it was of course available in America too, where the Continental Congress in July 1777, ordered the Board of War to procure Sauerkraut for the soldiers of the Continental forces.

Sauerkraut was also stored on ships during the 1700s as a preventative against scurvy and probably washed down with “Ship’s Beere.”

As my mother-in-law points out in the video, sauerkeraut is good for you. Fresh, raw cabbage is very rich in Vitamin C; one cup or 200 grams contains a whole day’s supply. Sauerkraut, which is also an excellent source of Vitamin K, has about half as much Vitamin C as raw kraut. Sauerkraut is also rich in cruciferous phytochemicals, long known for their disease-fighting powers. Recent research has shown moreover that the process of fermentation of the raw kraut produces a substance called isothiocynates, which prevent cancer growth, particularly in the breast, colon, lung, and liver.

Our Recipe:

20 lbs. raw cabbage, chopped thin. You can also downsize this by working in 5 lb. increments.
3 level tablespoons kosher salt per 5 lbs. of raw cabbage
For each 5 lbs. raw cabbage (per layer), you can add
   1/2 teaspoon of caraway seeds
   1/4 small green apple, peeled and seeded and finely chopped
   2-4 dried juniper berries
   1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and finely chopped


In a clean and sterilized food grade plastic container (with lid), layer in 5 lbs. of raw cabbage.

Sprinkle 3 level tablespoons of salt over each 5 lb. layer, and if desired, add caraway seeds, apple, juniper berries, and/or carrot. Repeat for each 5 lbs. Sofija likes to skip everything (caraway, apple, etc.) except the necessary salt and pour about a 1/2 cup of fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice over the last layer of cabbage. I think this helps quicken the fermentation.

Make sure you FIRMLY PACK each layer. I actually pound it down with my fist and pretend it’s a book critic.

After adding your final 5 lb. layer of raw cabbage, cover with a sturdy plate that covers all the cabbage. If there’s any on the side of the fermenter, push the pieces back down under the plate. Take a weight (or brick) enclosed in a sealed plastic bag and place on plate. Cover. If you’re going to use a fermenter as I have, put in an air trap and fill it with a little vodka.

Keep at room temperature and in about 48 hours, you should see liquid in the container. The salt draws out the water from the cabbage and sets up wild fermentation. The salt actually helps to inhibit any mold as the cabbage begins to ferment. After a few more days, check to see if there’s any foam on top of the liquid. If so, use a clean spoon to remove.

Place fermenter in a cooler area, about 65 F or so.

Depending on how sour you want the kraut, you can let it go 2 weeks to a month. Taste to make sure. If the kraut is a bit salty, before you prepare it for the table, you can drain and store the liquid and thoroughly rinse the kraut. Then very gradually, keep adding back some of the liquid to taste.

Serve hot or cold. While we customarily seem to always cook sauerkraut, it’s excellent served as a cold side dish and is actually more healthy in this form. If you go “cold,” start enjoying in 7-10 days. Lotta crunch and really fresh tasting. Its amazing what lactobacilli can do, that is, aside from ruining beer or making Belgian brewers wealthy.


Posted in Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer, Video Recipes | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Nitrosamines In Beer

Posted by Bob Skilnik on May 10, 2007

In 1978, the United States Brewers Association learned of an on-going study in Germany in which traces of nitrosamines (DMNA) had been discovered in some European beers at an average level of 2 or 3 parts per billion (ppb). Some nitrosamines had been found to cause cancer in laboratory animals. The USBA immediately informed appropriate US federal agencies and issued a public release to that effect.

Researchers had found that DMNA could be formed in the malting process, causing a complete revamping in how barley would be malted for American beers. This new malting technique included the use of sulfur during the malting procedure to inhibit the formation of DMNA. So spooked was the American beer industry that consumers would stop drinking beer that brewers, like the Coors Brewing Company, took out full-page ads extolling the fact that their original and costly processing of malt insured the fact that “There are no detectable nitrosamines in Coors beer.”

The Food and Drug Administration had been randomly testing beers manufactured in the United States and foreign imports as soon as the nitrosamine scare had begun. Their results were startling. Of the 30 American brands of beers tested, none of the domestics were found to have exceed the 5 ppb level that the FDA had established as the the maximum accepted level of DMNA in beer. Some domestics did, however, test very close to the acceptable level but the government refused to say which ones. What’s interesting about this FDA test, however, was that 3 import brands were named as exceeding the 5 ppm level. India Beer, made by Cerveceria India of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, San Miguel Dark Beer of San Miguel Corporation of Manila, Philippines and Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery Pale Ale from Tadcaster Ltd. Of Yorks, England.

WLS-TV in Chicago, IL decided to do their own testing of beers while the very real scare was building in intensity. Thermo Electron Laboratory in Waltham, Massachusetts came up with some startling figures for the beers that they had tested:

Domestics Brand of Beer with Nitrosamines in PPM in 12 oz.

Stroh 2.0

Pabst 2.2

Old Style 2.5

Lowenbrau Light 2.7

Miller High Life 2.8

Olympia 3.1

Budweiser 3.3

Lowenbrau Dark 3.7

Schlitz Lite 3.8

Michelob 5.5

Schlitz Malt Liquor 7.7

Schlitz 7.7

Old Milwaukee 9.2

Erlanger 18.8


Heineken 6.9

Heineken Special Dark 23.4

American and foreign brewers were given 6 months to demonstrate that their beers contained no detectable amounts of DMNA.

Here it is, 2007, and the Alcohol, Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is still dragging its feet on a comprehensive labeling requirement that at a minimum, would tell the consumer how many calories, carbohydrates and various other nutritional components are in beer, let alone ingredients.

Posted in Beer History | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

‘Beer & Food Traces the Triumph of Beer Over Grain Scarcity, War and Prohibition and Serves Up Its Frothy Influence on American Cuisine, Past and Present

Posted by Bob Skilnik on May 9, 2007

bf_front.jpgCHICAGO, Ill. – May 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.

“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 the first 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.”
Post-Prohibition is also the time when beer’s pairing with food became solidified, in large part due to the efforts of the now defunct United States Brewers Association. It’s not an accident that when we think of certain foods, we also think of enjoying a beer with them. The U.S.B.A. was responsible for one of the most effective marketing campaigns in U.S. history, promoting the idea that at home or away, “Beer Belongs.” The success of its post-Prohibition efforts helps explain why there might be a beer in your refrigerator today.

With a foreword by Jim Koch, founder of the Boston Beer Company and its growing portfolio of Samuel Adams beers, “Beer & Food: An American History” weaves a fascinating history of the evolution of American beer and its eventual pairing with food. The book also contains over 90 beer-related food recipes, including contributions from contemporary breweries, brewpubs and beer trade organizations.

About the Author
Bob Skilnik is an alumnus of Chicago’s Siebel Institute of Technology – the oldest brewing school in the U.S. – where he earned a degree in brewing technology. He is the former associate editor for the American Breweriana Journal, and has contributed to the Chicago Tribune’s Good Eating food section, trade journals, magazines and newspapers.                                                                                 foxscreengrab.jpg

He has appeared on ABC’s “The View,” the Fox News Channel, ESPN2, and Chicago Public Television. “Beer & Food: An American History” is his sixth book. For more information about Bob Skilnik and “Beer & Food: An American History,” visit provided by the news source.
Story filed under: U.S. and World News : Entertainment : Books and Publishing

–>NEWS SOURCE: Bob Skilnik 

 Send2Press® is the originating wire service for this story.

# # #



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One For My Homeys

Posted by Bob Skilnik on May 7, 2007

stides.jpgIn June of 1991, while the reorganized G. Heileman Brewing Company was once again trying to get back on its financial feet after a series of business setbacks, the brewery announced the creation of a new malt liquor called PowerMaster. This new brew would be added to its collection of other high-octane brews, including its best seller, Colt 45. PowerMaster would have an alcoholic content of about 5.5 to 6 percent, depending on the legal restrictions on alcohol content in beer by some western states.

“Upper strength malt liquors, those with a higher alcohol content, are growing,” noted a brewery spokesman, ” in an industry trade journal. Some industry observers, however, weren’t too sure about bringing one more malt liquor into the beer market, especially with the growing wave of neo-prohibitionism and a trend towards moderation in the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

“It’s a gutsy move on Heileman’s part,” said an industry observer, “but I’m not sure they can pull it off.” But one could also see Heileman’s logic in introducing yet another malt liquor. The national malt liquor market had shown increases of 300,000 barrels in each of the last two years to 6.1 barrels in 1990. In an otherwise stagnant market and in a rebuilding phase, Heileman was willing to bring on PowerMaster and pit it against the Stroh brewery’s Schlitz Malt Liquor, Anheuser-Busch’s King Cobra and Miller’s Magnum.

About the same time that PowerMaster was making its debut in Chicagoland, Reverends George Clements and the bete noire of the Chicago Roman Catholic Archdiocese, Father Michael Pfleger showed up at Heileman’s La Crosse, Wisconsin offices and demanded to speak with the brewery’s president, Thomas Rattigan. The priests contended that the new PowerMaster with its high alcohol kick was being targeted at black communities. When the duo was informed that Rattigan was out-of-town and that no other member of the brewery’s management team was willing to meet with them, they refused to leave the company offices. Company officials called the police who promptly arrested the Chicago clerics for trespassing. 

In the courtroom of La Crosse Municipal Court Judge Robert Joanis, the two priests were released on $85 signature bonds and admonished by the judge that any future protests could land them in jail. He also ordered that they return to La Crosse in late August to answer the trespassing charges. In typical defiant fashion, the priests vowed that they would return to the brewery and continue the fight against the marketing and selling of the new PowerMaster product.  

Clements and Pfleger, however, were just a small part of a nationwide campaign to usurp the placement of PowerMaster in the retail beer market. Various black leaders, Surgeon General Antonia Novello and representatives of anti-drinking groups had caught the attention of Washington, and in doing so, stirred the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) into action. In early July, BATF representatives descended on the La Crosse brewery, and in a two-hour meeting, informed Heileman that they were pulling approval of the PowerMaster label. Citing laws established by the Federal Alcohol Administration Act of 1935, the BATF claimed that they were invoking a passage in the Act that forbade the labeling or advertising of beer as being “strong, full strength, extra strength or high test,” all words that could be construed as an indication of alcoholic strength.

After the United States brewing industry had lost its eight month exclusive right to manufacture 3.2 percent beer with the repeal of Prohibition on December 5, 1933, many breweries came out with a line of what were commonly referred to at the time as “headache beers,” malted beverages with a high alcohol content. These beers were brewed strong in an attempt to blunt a possible loss of market share to distilled spirits manufacturers. Claiming since the nineteenth century that beer was really a nourishing “drink of moderation,” the move by brewers to manufacture and advertise high alcohol products seemed a bit hypocritical and left the industry in a sensitive position. Still gun-shy that the federal government could giveth and taketh away the right to brew beer again, the United States brewing industry had grudgingly accepted the labeling restrictions.

Decades later, and following a very wide interpretation of these post-Prohibition guidelines, the BATF claimed that the word “Power” violated federal law. Heileman was allowed to sell its existing stock of PowerMaster for the next four months but would have to stop any further advertising of the product. In a statement by G. Heileman after the BATF’s decision, the brewery acknowledged the financial burden that continued litigation over the issue would entail. In the midst of reorganization, the brewery decided to take their medicine and move on. When pressed by reporters as to how the PowerMaster label could have been approved by the BATF and then suddenly pulled after lobbying by anti-drink proponents, Dan Black, deputy director of the bureau and associate director of compliance operations at the BATF explained away the action. “With upwards of 80,000 labels a year…sometimes these things happened.” 

St. Sabina pastor Pfleger, was overjoyed by the BATF ruling. “When we are spiritually strong, there’s no problem we cannot overcome. We have a serious alcohol problem in the [Chicagoland African-American] community, and this means that something worse won’t be added to it,” said Pfleger, then added “Big business better watch out if it’s doing wrong.” St. Ides malt liquor was gaining popularity in the black community, especially after rap and movie star Ice Cube was making commercials for the beer. After the beer was highlighted in the movie, Boyz n the Hood, sales took off. “Get your girl in the mood quicker,” sang Ice Cube in one of the commercials he did for the powerful malt liquor, “and get your jimmy thicker with St. Ides malt liquor.” Today, the Colt .45, St. Ides and St. Ides Special Brew labels are owned by the Pabst Brewing Company. For you readers who have never succumbed to the ass-kicking qualities of this powerhouse genre of beer, I present the following qualities with one caveat. Though I use the word “ounce” in this article to describe the fluid amount of malt liquor in any given container, it’s customary to instead described the liquid measurement as oz., as in “O-O-O-Z-E-E.” Dead giveaway you’re a writer from the suburbs if you use the full-written word;

*   Malt liquors range in alcohol content from 5.6 percent (Colt 45) to 8.0 percent (St. Ides) by volume. Regular beer averages 4.6 percent alcohol by volume.

*   Four, 12-ounce cans of malt liquor can have as much alcohol as five to eight cans of beer. Malt liquor is often promoted, however, in single 40-ounce bottles. 24-ounce cans are also available and known as “shorty forties.”

*   One 12-ounce can of regular beer has approximately the same alcohol as a standard shot of whiskey. All have an average of a half-ounce of alcohol. Drinking one 40-ounce bottle of St. Ides is equivalent to drinking a little more than five shots of whiskey.

*   Standard etiquette for drinking malt liquor in Chicago is to stand on a street corner with a menacing group of your friends and drink it from a new paper bag. No plastic bags, please! That would be gauche and so not “green.”

*   It gets your jimmy thicker.

Posted in Beer History, Beer Styles | 1 Comment »

Beer & Baseball

Posted by Bob Skilnik on May 2, 2007

baseball-poster-1910.jpgIn the 1870s, Chris Von der Ache, a saloonkeeper in St, Louis, noted that every time the St. Louis Brown Stockings pulled into town, sales of beer in his saloon skyrocketed. It didn’t take a genius to realize that there was something brewing between sports enthusiasts, in this case, baseball fans, and beer drinking. In 1880, he tried to get permission to sell his lager beer directly to fans in Sportsman’s Park, where the Browns played, but was rebuffed by the team’s owners. A year later, he purchased a controlling interest in the team and began selling beer directly to baseball fans at Sportsman’s. It was the beginning of an American duo that still reigns bigger today than ice cream and apple pie, ham and eggs or the double charms of Morganna, the “Kissing Bandit.” It began the courtship of baseball and beer.budfinebeerfinefood.jpg 

Brewer Jacob Ruppert took the next step in bringing this duo together when he and Tillinghast L´Hommedieu Huston purchased the New York Yankees for $460,000. On January 3, 1920, just thirteen days before National Prohibition fell over the land, the Yankees purchased the contract of Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox for $125,000 and a loan of $350,000 against the mortgage on Fenway Park. The engagement between baseball and beer had begun.

In 1953, the St. Louis Cardinals, descendants of von der Ache’s Brown Stockings, were in trouble. More precisely, Fred Saigh, the Cardinals owner was. Convicted of income tax evasion, baseball commissioner Ford Frick demanded that Saigh sell his team. Under the auspices of Anheuser-Busch, owner Gussie Busch and his brewery stepped forward and offered Saigh $3,750,000 for the team. This was actually about a half million less than had been offered by some out-of-town investors. Shyster that he was, the disgraced lawyer and Cardinals team owner still wanted the baseball team to stay in St. Louis under the control of a local investor and took A-B’s lower bid. It was a public relations coup for Gussie and his brewery. A-B had saved the St. Louis baseball team and kept them from the hands of “outsiders.” The brewery owner seemingly took the high road when it was suggested that the only reason Busch and his board of directors bought the Cardinals was to use the aging Sportsman’s Park as a conduit through which to pump out barrels of the “King of Beers” to St. Louis baseball fans. “I am going at this [the purchase] from the sports angle and not as a sales weapon for Budweiser Beer,” he told reporters at a news conference after the brewery had sealed the deal for the Cardinals.

Things became a bit rocky for Gussie a year later when a Colorado senator introduced a bill that would have made ownership of any sports team by a brewery or distillery subject to antitrust laws. The attack seemed to really be aimed at Busch, especially after Colorado Senator Edwin Johnson called Gussie “…a personable and able huckster” and accused the beer baron of not really understanding the history and tradition of baseball, but instead, charged that Busch looked at the sport as “…a cold-blooded, beer-peddling business…”Johnson was right. Shortly after A-B bought the Cardinals, Busch decided that it was time to get out of the aging Sportsman’s Park. He cut a deal with Bill Veeck, who owned the rival St. Louis Browns at Forest Park, to buy the Brown’s stadium for $1.1 million. Veeck grabbed the money and moved his team to Baltimore.

Gussie floored everyone when he announced that he wanted to rename the stadium at Forest Park to “Budweiser Stadium.” Baseball commissioner Ford Frick was furious at the idea of renaming the park after a beer brand, his opinion bolstered by a local Protestant church group that also found the idea of naming a ball park after an alcoholic beverage repugnant. Busch realized he had created a PR nightmare but admitted that it wasn’t until it was pointed out by his advisors that the Wrigley family hadn’t named the old Weegham Park “Juicy Fruit Stadium” but rather Wrigley Field, that he acquiesced  to renaming Forest Park to “Busch Stadium.”

There was another problem that resolved itself at the end of the baseball season when the broadcast contract between the Cards and rival St. Louis brewery, Griesidieck Brothers, ran out. Busch demanded that all the advertising signs be stripped from Busch Stadium and ordered the erection of a single neon sign of the sprawling A-B eagle over the scoreboard. The marriage of baseball and beer had begun.

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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 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


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


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.”


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

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


Read more about Beer & Food: An American History

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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.

Posted in Appearances, Beer History | Leave a Comment »

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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