The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Brookston & Porter

ice-bucket
So you’ve probably noticed that one of the latest internet memes is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness and money for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The idea involves “dumping a bucket of ice water on someone’s head to promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and encourage donations to research.” Also, the “challenge dares nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads and challenging others to do the same.” I was challenged by my friend and colleague, Tom Dalldorf, publisher of the Celebrator Beer News, who also tapped Stephen Beaumont and Tom McCormick, executive director of the California Craft Brewers Association. So here’s my video, with my son Porter, who decided he wanted to join me.

You can find out more about how to donate at the ALS Association or the MDA.

THE ALS ASSOCIATION

I also challenged three friends:

  1. Fal Allen, brewmaster, Anderson Valley Brewing
  2. Justin Crossley, founder, The Brewing Network
  3. John Holl, Editor, All About Beer magazine

Now it’s their turn. No thanks necessary.

Iowa Sinkhole May Be 150-Year Old Beer Cave

iowa
Last month during a routine inspection, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa bridge inspector found a suspicious looking hole in the ground. At first, he thought it might be a “potentially hazardous sinkhole near an Interstate 380 access ramp,” but as he, and others looked closer, it may actually be a 150-year old beer cave, part of the Christian Magnus Eagle Brewery and Bottling Works. According to a local newspaper report in 1977, “excavators had unexpectedly pierced a beer cave during construction of this stretch of I-380 when they were digging to lay a culvert north of Eighth Street” so it’s seems that’s the likeliest explanation.

magnus-4

Apparently, a archaeologist and an architectural historian,among others, are investigating, and are keeping an open mind that it could be any number of things. A local historian, on the hand, appears quite certain it’s the beer caves, and in the local newspaper, The Gazette, appears ready to go record with his belief that they’re beer caves:

Cedar Rapids historian Mark Stoffer Hunter is a bit more certain of the findings.

“They are the Magnus beer caves. That’s exactly what they are,” Hunter said after hearing of the discovery. “This is very exciting as an historian.”

The brewery was constructed by Jacob Wetzel in 1859.

Wetzel hired an old world brewer from Germany named Christian Magnus as his brewmaster and foreman, according to The Gazette’s Time Machine. Beer caves were essential to Magnus’ vision for the beer cooling and aging process. The brewery was a five-story complex overlooking Cedar Lake, but the back ran into a hill where the caves were located.

The brewery had five cellars that could hold 2,000 barrels, two ice houses that held up to 2,300 tons of ice, and a capacity to produce 60 barrels of beer in 12 hours.

Magnus bought out Wetzel in 1868, and at the height of production, the Christian Magnus Eagle Brewery and Bottling Works put out 25,000 barrels of 4.5 percent beer in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Hunter said the brewery was possibly best known for Eagle Brewing, a popular beer with a logo of an eagle perched on a beer keg with its wings stretched wide and a man tapping the keg.

The brewery closed because of prohibition in 1915, although it operated for several more years producing soft drinks, among other items, before entirely shutting down in the 1920 and being demolished in 1937, Hunter said.

Hunter said in later years homeless people would use the caves, and they were later boarded up. However, children would break through the boards with “skull and cross bone — do not enter warning” to explore.

A neighborhood then was built on top of the beer caves, before being torn down for I-380, he said.

eagle-magnus-iowa-1875
The brewery from a lithograph done around 1875.

And here’s a photograph of the brewery, believed to be from 1870, from another piece in the Gazette about the Original Breweries.
magnus-3
Cedar Rapids, city of. Historical Views. Little caption information available. Photo appears to show a view of the Magnus Brewery (center), looking southwest over Cedar Lake. The brewery was located near present day Quaker Oats plant. The original Eagle Brewery was established in 1859 by Christian Magnus at the corner of Ely and Van Buren, modern D Avenue (D Ave.) and Eighth Street (Eighth St) NE in Cedar Rapids. The brewery produced beer and ale in a structure made from Anamosa stone and was considered one of the best breweries in Iowa. An immigrant from Germany, Magnus originally started a brewery for Jacob Wetzel in Cedar Rapids in 1859. In 1868, Magnus bought out his former employer and continued the European tradition of aging his beer in cold cellars beneath the brewery. When prohibition threatened his local brewing empire, Magnus invested his earning in such ventures as the Magnus Hotel, a longtime downtown landmark which fell to urban renewal during the 1970s.

Couch Trippin’ Contest

lagunitas-circle
Lagunitas Brewing, my local down the street, is having a fun contest to win a a party in your home. That is, they’ll bring the Lagunitas Couch Trippin’ party to your home. What could be simpler?

lagunitas-couchtrip-1

So it is pretty simple, just do the following:

  1. Snap a photo of your couch & Lagunitas
  2. Tag it #couchtrippin on IInstagram and/or Twitter

lagunitas-couchtrip-2

So what can you win? Here’s how Lagunitas explains it: “We’re gonna bring the Lagunitas CouchTrippin’ party to your house … A killer band, tasty munchies, and we’ll even bring our own couch… All for you and up to 30 of your friends (sorry, we can’t have the whole town showin’ up). Follow the super simple instructions above. Or see full legal fine freakin’ print.”

Here’s mine, on our new giant sofa. It’s supposed to be a sofa bed, but we just keep it open all the time and use it as a “snuggle sofa” that fits our family of four perfectly, making it great for watching movies, playing video games, or of course, snuggling.

couch-j-2

Let’s see yours. You have until the end of the month, specifically “August 31, 2014 at 11:59:59 PM PST” to post or upload your own Couch Trippin’ photo. But make sure you read the rules first to make sure you don’t disqualify yourself. For example, I’m not actually “drinking or consuming an alcohol product,” because that’s one of the restrictions. I’m just holding the beer, giving it a sniff.

couch
lagunitas-purple

We’re looking for a house to bring our CouchTrippin’ party to — so show us a pic of your couch with Lagunitas and tag #couchtrippin on Instagram or Twitter.

NFL Football: Pick The Winners At Brookston Fantasy Games 2014

football
This is the eighth year for the Brookston Fantasy Football Games. We’ve had a lot of fun over the last seven, so if you love football and beer, consider joining us this year, whether you’ve played in past seasons or are a newcomer. The NFL season begins on Thursday September 4, so you’ve got about three weeks to sign up.

I’ve again set up two free Yahoo fantasy football games, one a simple pick ‘em game and the other a survival pool. Up to 50 people can play each game (that’s Yahoo’s limit, not mine), so if you’re a regular Bulletin reader feel free to sign up for one or even both. It’s free to play, all you need is a Yahoo ID, which is also free. Below is a description of each game and the details on how to join each league and play.


nfl-teams

Pro Football Pick’em

In this Pick’em game, just pick the winner for every game each week, with no spread, and let’s see who gets the most correct throughout the season. All that’s at stake is bragging rights, but it’s still great fun.

Also, like last year, we’ll be able to keep picking all through the playoffs, so the game will continue through to the Super Bowl, which is pretty cool.

In order to join the group, just go to Pro Football Pick’em, click the “Sign Up” button (or “Create or Join Group” if you are a returning user). From there, follow the path to join an existing private group and when prompted, enter the following information…

Group ID#: 11809 (Brookston Football Picks)
Password: brookston


packers-retro

Survival Football

If picking all sixteen football games every week seems like too much, then Survival Football is for you. In Survival Football, you only have to pick one game each week. The only catch is you can’t pick the same team to win more than once all season. And you better be sure about each game you pick because if you’re wrong, you’re out for the season. Actually two years ago they added a new feature and I changed the game so to be kicked out you have to be wrong twice. In that way more people stand a better chance of lasting longer into the season. So get one wrong, and you’re still okay, get a second wrong, now you’re gone for the season. Last man standing wins.

Again, like last year, we can keep picking all through the playoffs, assuming our luck holds. So the game could even continue through to the Super Bowl.

In order to join the group, just go to Survival Football, click the “Sign Up” button and choose to “Join an Existing Group”, then “Join a Private Group”. Then, when prompted, enter the following information…

Group ID#: 1485 (Brookston Survival League)
Password: brookston

With 50 players allowed in each game, there’s plenty of room, so don’t be shy. Sign up for one or both games. In past seasons, I’ve posted the standings on the home page, and hopefully I’ll do that again this season. Why not join us? Go head to head again me and my team, the Brookston Brew Jays.

Print

The Most Consumed Alcoholic Beverages by Country

world-map-3
Here’s an interesting chart showing the alcoholic beverage that has the highest consumption in each country of the world, based on data from 2011, as far as I can tell. The data is based on liters of pure alcohol.


via chartsbin.com

Key findings from the report:

  • More than 45% of total recorded alcohol is consumed in the form of spirits, predominantly in the South-East Asia and Western Pacific.
  • Approximately 36% of total recorded alcohol is consumed in the form of beer. Beer consumption is highest in the Region of the Americas.
  • Commonly, high overall consumption levels are found in countries such as the Russian Federation, which display both high beer and high spirits consumption.
  • Consumption of wine as a percentage of total recorded alcohol is globally quite low (8.6%), with significant levels of alcohol consumed in the form of wine in the European Region (26.4%).
  • Beverages other than beer, spirits and wine (e.g. fortified wines, rice wine or other fermented beverages made of sorghum, millet, maize) have the highest share in total recorded consumption in the African Region (48.2%), and in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (31.3%).

Most consumed alcoholic beverages in terms of liters of pure alcohol, which do not necessarily reflect that the overall level of consumption of this alcoholic beverage is high.For example in India, spirits are the most consumed alcoholic beverages, but this does not mean that the consumption level of spirits is high, but that the proportion of total alcohol consumed in the form of spirits is high.

Note:

Beer: includes malt beers.
Wine: includes wine made from grapes.
Spirits: include all distilled beverages.
Other Alcohol: includes one or several other alcoholic beverages, such as fermented beverages made from sorghum, maize, millet, rice, or cider, fruit wine, fortified wine, etc.

Film History: Old Man Drinking A Beer

film
Here’s a curious piece of film (and beer) history. I don’t know if it’s the first time someone was filmed drinking a beer, but I imagine it has to be one of the first. The film is from 1898 (or 1897), and is known as Old Man Drinking a Glass of Beer, though it’s also sometimes known as Comic Face. Frankly, he doesn’t look that old to me.

smith-green-1

It was made by legendary British filmmaker George Albert Smith and features a close-up of comedian Tom Green drinking a beer and making faces. Green was a local Brighton comedian and was known for his “pantomime harlequinades at the Brighton Aquarium.” He went on to appear in many subsequent films made by Smith.

smith-green-2

This was apparently a groundbreaking development in film, showing the actor close up making changing facial expressions and this type of film became known as a “facial,” defined as “a work showing a variety of facial expressions to the audience.” According to one source, “the ability to get close up to the star was a great advantage that film had over the stage and early filmmakers were keen to exploit it,” and in this one Green is shown in a single shot “drinking a glass of beer whose face and hands become increasingly lively as a result.”

smith-green-3

Here you watch the entire 38-second silent film:

Pints For Prostates Urges Men To Get Checked During Men’s Health Week

pints-4-prostates
Today is the first day of Men’s Health Week, which is an international effort “to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.” In the week leading up to Father’s Day, health organizations around the world celebrate International Men’s Health Week, including our our own CDC.

Rick Lyke’s wonderful Pints for Prostates has been “Reaching Men Through the Universal Language of Beer” since 2008, when Rick launched it after he was “diagnosed and successfully treated for prostate cancer.”

Pints for Prostates is using the occasion of “Men’s Health Week,” and the observance of Father’s Day, to ask people to focus on Dad and how he is taking care of himself. At the events they attend they regularly meet men in high risk groups that still do not know that they need to get tested. In addition to funding their awareness mission, they put donations to work providing free men’s health screenings in partnership with the Prostate Conditions Education Council and they help fund the support groups for men and families fighting prostate cancer through a partnership with the Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network.

Most people do not realize that 1 in 6 men will develop prostate cancer and that this number is 33% higher than the 1 in 8 women who will face breast cancer. Last year we lost 30,000 men in America to a disease that is nearly 100% survivable when detected early and appropriately treated. Every week about 4,500 men in America hear the words “You have prostate cancer.” The nation’s leading prostate cancer organizations urge men to get screened starting at 40 years old, or at 35 if you have a family history of the disease or are African American.

Pints for Prostates is focused on getting men to take charge of their health. Their message to guys is simple:

  1. Get Tested
  2. Live Longer
  3. Drink More Beer

For more details, check out their website at PintsForProstates.com or their Facebook page.

Pints for Prostates ad

Beer Outmaneuvering Wine

beer-vs-wine
Here’s some interesting news from the wine world, h/t to Jenn Litz from Craft Business Daily. Charles Gill, who runs Wine Metrics, which creates “on-premise wine distribution information in the U.S. market.” According to Litz, Gill has been saying lately that he believes that craft beer is taking market share from wine, which is curious, because “trade show rhetoric has often been the exact opposite.”

On Gill’s blog, Wine List USA, he claims that Craft Beer is Outmaneuvering Wine, and lists ten ways in which he believes that’s happening. Here’s his raw list.

  1. Value
  2. Innovation
  3. Promotion
  4. Community
  5. Venues
  6. Cross-Fertilization
  7. New Traditions
  8. Customer Loyalty
  9. Food Compatibility
  10. Gatekeepers

For a better understanding of that list, read his explanations for each one at the source, 10 Ways Craft Beer is Outmaneuvering Wine. I don’t tend to think about wine and beer as an us versus them proposition, but obviously the pie that is all alcohol consumption is divided into wedges of how much is spent on each type. There’s no getting around it. If more people buy beer, something else isn’t doing as well. It’s theoretically possible that the pie is just growing and people are buying more beer, but are not buying less wine, spirits, cider or what have you, but that’s not exactly realistic. If anything, the pie’s been shrinking, sad to say, as people are drinking less overall than they used to.

As to Gill’s list, I definitely agree with Value, Innovation and some of the Community aspects he mentions. And I also think Food Compatibility and most of what he says about New Traditions ring true, but I’m less convinced by the others. Do you agree? Or Disagree? If, so why, and to which ones?

beer-wine

Time For An Utepils

norway
The trivia website Dose recently had a list they posted of 21 Words That Don’t Exist In English, But Should. Essentially they’re words in other languages for which there’s no English equivalent, which Dose argues should be added to our dictionaries. Given our history of liberal “borrowing” of foreign words, I can’t see why not. The one word that caught my attention was Utepils (pronounced “oot-er-pillss”), a noun meaning “to sit outside on a sunny day enjoying a beer.”

According to the book “The untranslatables’,” by C. J. Moore, “you have to live through the long dark months of a Norwegian winter to appreciate the annual Norwegian rite of utepils. Literally it means ‘the first drink of the year taken out of doors.’ Easter is barely past, with its tradition of hyttepåske — your Easter visit to your remote cabin — and the days are at last getting longer. Although it’s still practically freezing, everyone is queueing up to invite you to a first utepils get-together ar their favourite bar.

Apparently that’s not exactly correct, and a native Norwegian writing a blog entitled An Enthusiast’s Lexicon, describes utepils more fully:

Actually, utepils simply means any beer enjoyed outside, at any time of the year, but it is true that the first one of the season is a much anticipated ritual. You know spring is on its way when norwegians brave the chilling temperatures and gather around their pints, sometimes even wrapped in blankets. The practice continues throughout the year though – nothing says summer like utepils.

The word itself is made up of two words, ute (‘outside’) and pils, which is simply short for Pilsner, the type of lager beer most commonly consumed in Norway. Interestingly, pils is also used as a slang verb (‘å pilse’), meaning simply ‘to drink beer’. So when you are getting together for an utepils you are pilsing.

Anyway, as our weather in Northern California has been decidedly warm the last few days, I think it’s time I sat out on our back deck, basking in the sunshine with a beer in hand, and enjoyed me a good old-fashioned Utepils. Who’s with me?

Utepils

The Effect Of Color On Taste

color
I’ve seen several different studies examining the effect of the color of food or a beverage on how it tastes. But this is the first one I’ve seen where they’ve looked at the color of the room in which the tasting is held. This study used wine, but it would undoubtedly be the same for beer, or any other drink. It certainly makes sense that your environment would effect the experience of tasting. Or as this short article in Drinks Business puts it, the “environment in which you experience a wine has a ‘profound’ effect on how you will perceive it to taste.” The study, conducted by Charles Spence, a professor of experimental psychology at Oxford University, concluded that “Lighting and music can act as digital seasoning for food and wine.” I”m not quite sure about sound, but perhaps. Anyway, it brings up all sorts of possibilities about how we taste, and where. I’d certainly like to see more of this kind of research.

colored-rooms
Be careful what room you drink in, especially what color it is.