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Thread: Favourite beers

  1. #106

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    September 10, 2009, 7:30 am

    Out of Brooklyn, Brewing Endlessly

    By Sarah Maslin Nir

    Sam Falk/The New York Times
    McSorley’s Old Ale House was the subject of a famous article by the New Yorker writer Joseph Mitchell.

    In a dark room under a bar in Park Slope, Brooklyn, a group gathered to discuss the lore and lure of beer. Over the course of Tuesday evening, two historians, a journalist and two self-taught brewers instructed the roughly 60 audience members about the finer points of beer’s creation (how to brew in your apartment), its destruction (pseudo beer, or “malternatives,” like Zima) and how beer, if not as American as apple pie, is at least as New York as seltzer.

    The lectures took place in a room beneath Union Hall, a bar and music site on Union Street notable for its indoor boccie court, in a space that usually plays host to Indie rock acts. The night’s programing, “Beer Matters,” was presented by Adult Education, a monthly Brooklyn-based lecture series that, according to its host, a lawyer and stand-up comedian named Charles Star, has the goal of making “useless information slightly less useless.”

    Though Mr. Star said the event was inspired by NY Craft Beer Week, which begins on Friday, and the so-called Beer Summit that was held at the White House this summer with the Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and a Cambridge, Mass., police sergeant, it seemed that most attendees were not there because they were beer-obsessed, but more because it was a novel way to spend a Tuesday night.

    At $5, it was also cost-effective edification.

    As Mischa Gaus, 29, atttending his third lecture — this one with with his girlfriend Chelsea Haggerson, 24 — put it, “It’s cheaper than grad school.”
    The first speaker was Bill Wander, a 54-year-old filmmaker who has the singular side-job of being the historian for McSorley’s Old Ale House, which has been at 15 East Seventh Street since its inception — it was then called “The Old House at Home” — in 1854. It was described by The New York Times in 1913, and later by Joseph Mitchell, the writer, who published a story in The New Yorker about in 1940 that later became a book, “McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon.”

    Mr. Wander’s unpaid position as historian, he says, “means straightening out a lot of the nonsense.” For example, while McSorley’s famously did not allow women until 1970, Mr. Wander said that in fact, one woman was permitted before that date. She sold roasted peanuts to the customers. She purportedly donated a needlepoint of an American flag that still sits behind the bar. As for what Mr. Wander gets in return for setting the record straight at the venerable old ale house, he would say only, “It’s hard for me to spend $20 there, let’s put it that way.”

    Next up, swigging beer and laughing nervously, were Erica Shea, 25, and Stephen Valand, 23, proprietors of Brooklyn Brew Shop, a stand at the Brooklyn Flea and online store that sells home brewing kits — gallon glass jugs, grain and crystals of Belgian candy sugar — for at-home beer brewing.

    The two make a living selling their $40 kit on the weekends at the Fort Greene and Brooklyn Bridge locations of the market, said Mr. Valand, who recently quit his job as a video editor to do the brew shop full-time. The couple gave a slide show presentation on how to make beer, beginning with the admonition to sanitize, above all: “If you do not sanitize it will not taste like beer. Most likely your beer will taste like…”

    “If you can make oatmeal, you can make beer,” said Ms. Shea, who told listeners to not be intimidated by the confusing vocabulary of brewers (for whom a kettle is a “mash tun” and who say “sparge” rather than sprinkle) and to brew on your stove top and ferment the concoction in the cabinets under your sink. When resting, the yeast, fed by the sugar, self-carbonate the liquid. “I think it’s magic,” she said, “apparently it’s science.”

    After a short break, Elizabeth L. Bradley, deputy director of the Cullman Center for
    Scholars and Writers
    at the New York Public Library and author of “Knickerbocker: The Myth Behind New York” (Rivergate Books, 2009), addressed the by now tipsy crowd (the Magic Hat had been flowing). The writer Washington Irving, she said, created the character of Knickerbocker in 1809, a fictional Dutchman around whom he mythologized the origins of Manhattan and who became so beloved that “to be ‘Knickerbocker’ meant to be authentically New York,” says Ms. Bradley.

    And so the New York Jacob Ruppert Brewery hawked a brand called Knickerbocker that became many New Yorkers’ drink of choice.

    Ms. Bradley said that in its heyday the Ruppert brewery could “be seen and smelled all along Second and Third Avenues, the entire the Upper East Side.” Knickerbocker beer and its mascot — a depiction of Irving’s character that resembled a hybrid of George Washington and the man who graces the Quaker Oats box — eventually fell out of favor (though the city’s basketball team chose to carry on the name).

    The last speaker also addressed a beverage that — depending upon whom you ask — is now dearly departed or thankfully dead. Brendan I. Koerner, 34, a contributing editor for Wired magazine, spoke about what he called “malternative” drinks, like Zima, marketed as not beer, but made of, well, beer. Mr. Koerner had written a piece on the subject for Slate and discovered that while Coors stopped producing Zima on Oct. 1, at its inception in 1993 it was the most successful product launch in the history of commercially made beer.

    Why? Mr. Koerner claims that it was the advertising — clips of cringe-inducing cheesiness that he showed to the giggling audience — which tried to create a mystique around what exactly was in the crystal bottles. Beer? A wine cooler? “Zomething else,” the advertisement said.

    In fact, says Mr. Koerner, it was beer, or according to him, “the worst beer that Coors made, filtered in charcoal and then flavored like Sprite.” Coors he said, started the product to cash in on the “clear craze” when clear Pepsi, and clear deodorant, appeared for the first time.

    Zima became associated with effeteness, he said, despite Coor’s attempts to portray it as the drink of football players, and became so derided that, “If you were a man drinking Zima in 2005, you might have as well been wearing a leotard,” Mr. Koerner said.

    Connoisseurs of the now extinct not-beer still exist he said, pointing to online petitions that call for a million signatures to bring back the drink (current count as of publication, 852). “If you have any in your fridge,” he says,”you can sell it on eBay for a fortune.”

    Sipping a beer after the event, Rich Ahrens, 52, from Minneapolis, was one of the few beer-specific enthusiasts in the crowd. Mr. Ahrens said he was laid off from his job in online media 10 months ago, and has been traveling the country on a loosely beer-themed journey, visiting breweries along the way.

    “There was very little real education,” he said of the night’s lecture. “But that’s not the point, I am sure.” He said his next stop would be McSorley’s.

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...ing-endlessly/

    Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

  2. #107
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Shame this wasn't aired .


  3. #108

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    I an on a Peroni kick these days.

    The wife and I did a tour of Williamsburg breweries awhile back. The tour started out at a working brewery for Brooklyn Beer which included a sampling of various brews. I particularly liked their IPA. I was lit before I hit the streets

  4. #109

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    Hertog Jan!

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    I still don't understand why everyone in the world, from the USA to the DPRK, seems to like Heineken, which is one the worst beers being brewed here. Same goes for Belgium, so many fabulous beers, but the one you see all over the world is Stella Artois. Just like Heineken, yellow water without any specific taste.

    Another favorite (this might come as a shock): Budweiser! But only if it's the one from Czech Republic...

  5. #110

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    Sounds like the OP is a drunkard.

    I enjoy local beers
    Pilsner
    Gambrinus
    Staropramen
    Budvar
    Bernard

    Also non local beers, when I am traveling, like Hinano from Tahiti, Asahi Light from Japan, Cascade from Tasmania, and Ursus from Romania.

    I've lived in these locales, drunk with the locals there, and like to drink local. It's me trying to be as local as a non local can be, and the locals love it.

  6. #111
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WizardOfOss View Post
    Hertog Jan!

    I still don't understand why everyone in the world, from the USA to the DPRK, seems to like Heineken, which is one the worst beers being brewed here. Same goes for Belgium, so many fabulous beers, but the one you see all over the world is Stella Artois. Just like Heineken, yellow water without any specific taste.

    Another favorite (this might come as a shock): Budweiser! But only if it's the one from Czech Republic...
    Simple, the original Bud is better than our riced-over version of it. Also, why do we like Stella? Well, if you had a taste of Coors, Bud, Pabst and some others, you would see that even a crappy beer tastes smoother than a lot of our soda-bubbly beers.

    Now when I say "our", I mean the big names. There are plenty of micros, both bought out and independent, that rank right up there with the internationals.

    As for the big "Why", it is two fold.

    1. It is what a lot of peoples fathers drank. You see your dad having a Schlitz, you are probably going to be downing a few when you get the chance.

    2. Advertisement. Even though the beers stink, they have the best ads out there. And as experience has shown with many things, sometimes Quality comes second to presentation.

  7. #112

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge View Post
    Simple, the original Bud is better than our riced-over version of it. Also, why do we like Stella? Well, if you had a taste of Coors, Bud, Pabst and some others, you would see that even a crappy beer tastes smoother than a lot of our soda-bubbly beers.

    Now when I say "our", I mean the big names. There are plenty of micros, both bought out and independent, that rank right up there with the internationals.

    As for the big "Why", it is two fold.

    1. It is what a lot of peoples fathers drank. You see your dad having a Schlitz, you are probably going to be downing a few when you get the chance.

    2. Advertisement. Even though the beers stink, they have the best ads out there. And as experience has shown with many things, sometimes Quality comes second to presentation.
    Most macrobrews suck. Bud is particularly vile; I would rather lick the glue off the bottle than drink a Bud. Heineken is acceptable to me. I disagree that it has no flavor; to me it is very distinctive heavy on the hops especially when compared to domestic macrobrews. I also enjoy most of the microbrews, particularly the IPA's

    The best beer I ever had was at the beer gardens in Munich. Frankfurt doesn't have much going for it EXCEPT the beer gardens which are also outstanding (there are also surprisingly good vinyards just outside of Frankfurt but that is for another post). You just cannot compare the beer there with anything you get anywhere else in the world.
    Last edited by eddhead; August 16th, 2011 at 03:07 PM.

  8. #113

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    Ahh... the Internet, a place where people are entitled to know about my interests
    Souther Tier Pumking
    Schneider Aventinus
    Schneider Weisse
    Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA
    Lagunitas IPA
    Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout
    Last edited by marnegator; October 5th, 2011 at 11:37 PM. Reason: forgot the names of three

  9. #114
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    You had to go back on the shelf and take a look to remember?

  10. #115

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    Had the Bitburger Pilsner at Hallo Berlin in Hell's Kitchen the other day. I don't normally go for Pilsners, but this one was very nice, kind of ambery with a smooth finish. Enjoyed it quite a lot.

  11. #116

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    @Ninjahedge: Needed to sober up to remember / read the labels on the discarded bottles around my place
    ...
    Wait a sec... that doesn't paint an endearing picture of me...

  12. #117
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Then why did "awwwww" come into mind when I read it?

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