Holiday Gift Guide For Craft Beer Lovers

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Today’s Black Friday infographic, which for the start of the traditional holiday shopping season, is a “Holiday Gift Guide For Craft Beer Lovers” brought to you by Lets Pour, an online beverage retailer. All of the items on the gift guide are stocked by them. So instead of braving the absurd crowds today you can do all of your holiday beer shopping from the comfort of your home, with a beer in your hand.

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Click here to see the gift guide full size.

Turkey & Travel: How We Celebrate Thanksgiving

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Today’s bonus infographic is all about the holiday, entitled Turkey & Travel: How We Celebrate Thanksgiving. It was created by Nationwide Bank, and shows a number of factoids about Thanksgiving, including a comparison of what was served at the first one compared to our modern meals.

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Click here to see the infographic full size.

Beer At The Thanksgiving Table

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Thirty years ago, in November 1983, Michael Jackson wrote an article for the Washington Post entitled “Beer at the Thanksgiving Table.” It was subtitled “Wine is acceptable for this annual feast, but what if you prefer beer?” It was apparently one of his first pieces on the topic of pairing beer and food.

The article contains one of my favorite quotes by Michael:

To give thanks is a matter of joy; should that be confined by excessive sobriety? Better still, Thanksgiving is an annual opportunity to refresh old friendships and make new ones, in which matter both the ritual and effect of a shared glass is the best tie.

When you consider this was written when Sierra Nevada was still a very small brewery, New Albion had just closed and Mendocino Brewing had only been founded the same year, it’s a remarkable time piece. Nobody was even thinking about pairing beer with food yet. Now we take it for granted. But back then most people still needed convincing. This is great reminder of how far we’ve come and how much of debt of thanks we owe to Michael.

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Here’s Michael’s suggested general pairing suggestions from thirty years ago:

As an aperitif: Dry, hoppy beers with some bitterness. Try New Amsterdam (from New York) or Anchor Steam (San Francisco).

With fish: Pilsners. Almost all of the well-known American beers are loosely of this style. So are the best-known imported brands, like Heineken and Carlsberg. Czech and German Pilsners tend to be drier, and therefore go especially well with the more oily varieties of fish.

Shellfish: Dry stouts or porters.

Smoked meats, sausages: If you can find it, the smoked Rauchbier of Bamberg, Germany. Or a German altbier or weizenbeier.

Pasta: The less spicy pasta dishes of Northern Italy go quite well with the Munich Dark type of beer. It is, after all, commonly served with the admittedly-heavier noodle dishes of Germany.

Fowl: Munich Light with turkey; perhaps the slightly less sweet Dortmunder style might go better with chicken.

Red Meat: English Pale Ale.

Game: Scottish ale, which is heavier.

But take the time to go back and read the entire article. And give thanks that nobody looks at you funny when you bring beer to the Thanksgiving meal. As is my personal tradition, I’m enjoying some Anchor Christmas Ale with my meal, something I’ve been doing for roughly twenty-five years. Happy Thanksgiving.

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What Should I Bring To Thanksgiving?

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Today’s infographic is a flowchart to help people answer the question “What Should I Bring To Thanksgiving?” It was created by someone at Chow. But you’d better hope you’re going to a dinner at a casual friend’s house, because that’s the only way you’re getting a decent beer, or at least “bombers of Dogfish Head ALe, whatever that is.

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Beer In Ads #1029: How The American Turkey Captured France


Wednesday’s ad is for Budweiser, from November 1948. Part of their “Great Contributions to Good Taste” series, according to the story, it was poor French peasants who discovered that turkeys could be raised and eaten and they became wildly popular there, when news travelled back to the colonies and the rest, as they say, is history. Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow,

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Beer-Fed Turkeys Taste Better

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An AP story, Farmer says beer for birds improves flavor, claims that at least one farmer believes that’s the case. According to the AP article, Joe Morette of New Hampshire started giving his turkeys beer in 1993, when on a hot July day, “[a] turkey knocked one over and started drinking and they’ve been sipping the suds ever since.” He continues. “Morette, who prefers serving the turkeys lager, insists the beer makes birds fatter, more flavorful and juicier.” Peta is reportedly against this and stated “turkeys shouldn’t be fed beer and ‘farmers across the country use questionable practices to keep costs down or to alter the taste of animals’ flesh because their priority is profit, not the animals’ welfare.’” As far as I ‘m concerned that’s reason enough it’s a good idea.

Happily, cooler heads prevailed. “[A] poultry expert with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension said it is unlikely that the birds are suffering. ‘I don’t know exactly how much beer each turkey is consuming, but it would have to be a lot in order for it to kind of have the same effect as too much beer on people,’ said Carl Majewski, a field specialist in food and agriculture.”

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It could even be good for them.

Kathi Brock, national director of Humane Heartland, which oversees the treatment of farm animals, said that standards from the American Humane Association don’t prohibit serving beer to animals. “I consulted with an avian veterinarian who said that while giving beer to turkeys is not a standard protocol, hops could be beneficial for the intestinal tract,” Brock said.

Beer Birthday: Lucy Saunders

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because beer is food: in cooking, at the table, and by the glass …

So begins the website of beer cook Lucy Saunders, whose birthday is today. Lucy has done much to promote both cooking with beer and enjoying food with beer through her books and other writings. She’s a treasure, in more ways than one. Join me in wishing Lucy a very happy birthday Lucy.

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At the beer bistro in Toronto for Stephen Beaumont and Maggie’s wedding reception.

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Lucy with Stacy Williams, Brand Manager for Gambrinus, at the Hot Brands reception at the NBWA Convention, when it was in San Francisco a few years ago.

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During CBC in Austin, Texas in 2007, at the Moonshine bar for an event with Lucy for her book, Grilling with Beer. Here, Lucy with three contributors to her book, myself included.

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Lucy with Vinnie Cilurzo at the GABF brewers reception in Denver in 2006.

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Shaun O’Sullivan from 21st Amendment, Fergie Carey, co-owner of Monk’s, Lucy Saunders, the beer cook, and Tom Peters, also co-owner of Monk’s at the Canned Beer Dinner several Junes ago.

Beer Birthday: Sean Paxton

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Today is the 41st birthday of Sean Paxton, a.k.a. The Homebrew Chef. Sean is a mad alchemist in the kitchen and puts on some wonderful food and beer spectacles. Plus he’s a terrific homebrewer, an even better human being and a great friend. Join me in wishing Sean a very happy birthday.

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At this year’s Great American Beer Festival in 2008. Bruce Paton, the Beer Chef, Sean and Dave Keene, from the Toronado, in the convention center.

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Sean with his daughter Olivia at the Pliny the Elder release earlier this year.

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Working with nitrogen at the 11-course Belgian Brunch, or Blunch, held at the Toronado.

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My wife, Sarah, with Sean after the 10th annual beer dinner at the Northern California Homebrewers Festival held at Lake Francis Resort in Dobbins, California.

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Matt Bonney, Stephen Beaumont, Sean, Pete Slosberg & Rick Sellers at the Bistro for the Double IPA Festival this year.

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With Randy Mosher at the world’s biggest beer dinner at CBC in Chicago.

Who Imports Beer?

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Today’s infographic is an interesting treemap created by the Observatory of Economic Complexity, a collaboration between M.I.T. and Harvard. This one shows the amount of beer imported by the nations of the world, with the size of their relative amount of importing shown by the size of the rectangle.

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Click here to see the treemap full size.