Saturday, October 25, 2008

On The Newsstand: Men's Journal Presents "America's Best Beers"

We were perusing a recent issue of Men's Journal on the subway the other night, and were pleasantly surprised to see (in their October 2008 issue) an article entitled "Best Beers 2008: American Brewmasters Take Over." Inside the issue was a number of beer recommendations - we'd like to summarize them here, as it's a genuine pleasure to see the liberal Mainstream media finally approach a topic like this without their bias and politics and geegaws and whatnot. Anyway.

Their article presented these beers in the following format: they'd list a "popular" beer and note that if you liked it, you should try their recommendations. All beers were described in detail (we won't list that here). Some blanche at this type of format; we like this - the world of craft brewing is a complicated one, and we're all in favor of trying to give newcomers a "way in," as it were, to help find what kinds of brew matches what they already like.


If you liked Sierra Nevada, they recommended Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale, Full Sail Pale Ale, and Stone IPA.
If you liked Guinness, they recommended Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Alesmith Speedway Stout, and Dieu Du Ciel Peche Mortel.
If you liked Pilsner Urquell, they recommended Stoudt's Pils, Trumer Pils, and Two Brothers Dog Days Dortmunder-Style Lager.
For Blue Moon drinkers, they recomended Ommegang Witte, Ramstein Blonde, and Penn Weizen.
Like Samuel Adams Boston Lager? Try Southampton Altbier, Lakefront Organic ESB, and Elysian The Wise ESB.

Also recommended? Seven American craft brews that "are setting a new standard for the next generation of beer." These include:
- Russian River Brewing Co's Beatification Lambic
- Allagash Hugh Malone
- Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron
- Captain Lawrence Xtra Gold
- Jolly Pumpkin Luciernaga
- Lost Abbey Angel's Share
- Southern Tier Unearthly Ale

We're genuinely chuffed to see such thoughtful coverage of craft beer in a mainstream press.

Our hats are off to you, Men's Journal.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Beer and Politics

We here at Beerjanglin' prefer to remain apolitical -- at least as far as this here site is concerned -- and yet we were intrigued by an October 15, 2008, article on the free-market advocate called "How Your Beer Bought John McCain's $500 Loafers." (Hat tip to my brother-in-law Scott; the article has tons of helpful reference links.)

On one hand, it is a criticism of McCain and what the author perceives to be McCain's disproportionate wealth, but it's also a damnation of the antiquated distributor laws that are decades old, and that actually prevent free commerce between states for apparently no good reason.

According to the article, these "three-tier" laws are to the benefit of the wholesaler, but to the detriment of the customer. The wholesaler, the article asserts, simply marks up the price of each alcoholic beverage 18-25% for the trouble of distributing it. The distribution lobby apparently is trying to ban alcohol sales over the web so as to close a loophole in which they would not be the middle-man.

The article certainly paints the alcohol-distribution industry as one that is woefully out of date, especially in the wake of free trade and a global economy. (The article also accuses Anheuser-Busch of "distributors to drop the products produced by its competitors."

The article cites four main arguments by the wholesale industry:

  1. Wholesaling allows a bottleneck by which the government can collect all their alcohol taxes in one convenient location.

  2. Wholesalers act as a quality-control protection agency against poisoned and/or tainted beer.

  3. It creates 91,000 jobs and a $15 billion on the national economy (both claims the article questions)

  4. The wholesalers are a gatekeeper that regulate the distribution of alcohol from brewery/winery to consumer, since alcohol is, in fact, a drug.

On a micro level, it's clear that it doesn't make sense for states to create an alcohol bureaucracy that limits the free commerce of beer, wine and spirits. It's a Good Ol' Boy Network policy that does nothing for consumers other than make beer more expensive and harder to obtain.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pump Station Wins Gold at GABF

Congratulations to the Albany Pump Station for winning the gold medal for American Style Brown at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. Trust us, Kick Ass Brown is a well-named beer indeed. This is the third time this beer has won gold in Denver. Not too shabby.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Historic Van Dyck Restaurant Sold at Auction

The Van Dyck Restuarant and Brewery, at one time a landmark Schenectady jazz club, has been auctioned off to a pair of brothers who already run several successful restaurants in the city. The Van Dyck, which has been closed for roughly a year and a half, is located in Schenectady's historic Stockade district and had been the only brewpub in the city until its closing. While this place has incredible potential (and, it would seem, the right owners to finally realize it), the sad news is that the brewing equipment will be sold off separately in an auction on October 22.