Today’s beer film is the documentary feature Beer Wars, written and directed by Anat Baron, who celebrates her birthday today. Beer Wars was released in 2009, making it nearly five years old. Whew, a lot has happened in that time. Enjoy.
Trekkers rejoice, especially if you’ve gone so far as to learn the Klingon language. According to the Hollywood Reporter, CBS has announced “Star Trek’s first officially licensed and recognized brew,” which will be called Klingon Warnog.
The new beer, a “Danish Roggen Dunkel,” was brewed by Tin Man Brewing of Evansville, Indiana, in partnership with CBS Consumer Products and the Federation of Beer. Although curiously, some of the mock-ups list the beer as simply a “Roggen Dunkel” or a “Dunkelweizen.”
CBS is describing the beer’s flavor as having been drawn “from blending rye malt with a traditional clove character, creating a bold beer suited for the harsh Klingon lifestyle.”
The public will get their first preview and taste of Warnog at the Nightclub and Bar Show in Las Vegas today, March 25, 2014, before it becomes available across the U.S. and Canada later this year. This will most likely be the first in a line of Star Trek beverages, and there’s also a Vulcan Ale in the works. “Live long and party on!”
Today’s beer film is really just a slideshow to music, but it’s such a great collection of photographs that it’s worthwhile anyway. The book, MICROBREWERS: 1981-1996: A Photo History, features a wealth of historic photographs of many of the pioneers of the craft beer industry taken by David Bjorkman, who co-founded New Brewer magazine in 1983 with Victoria Thomas and Charlie Papazian, and documented the nascent beer industry from 1981 to 1996 before moving to Mexico. The handmade book includes “over 300 photos of the first microbrewers in the United States” and can be purchased from Blurb. I bought it when it first came out in 2009, and despite its high price tag, it’s an awesome collection of photos. The song, by the way, is the traditional Irish song “Beer, Beer, Beer” performed by The Clancy Brothers.
Today’s beer film is a hilarious, gentle spoof of the Discovery series Brew Masters that Sam Calagione and the folks from Dogfish Head made in 2010. This one, Brew Minions, was made by Dave Thibodeau and his minions at Ska Brewing in Durango, Colorado. Besides making some funny swipes at he Brew Masters series, it’s also a good documentary on the brewery and their making a beer for the 30th anniversary of one of their favorite ska bands, The Toasters.
Today’s beer film is a 2009 music video by the band People Under the Stairs, a hip hop duo from L.A. As an old white suburban dude, it’s not a style of music in heavy rotation on my iPod, but give it a listen and watch the video. Part of it was shot at the Odell brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado. The song is pretty catchy, and while it starts out with the typical stuff about getting drunk and malt liquor, keep listening. They drop quite a few references to better beer. While they do name drop such hipster brands as OE and PBR, I heard several mentions of craft beer and Belgian imports. See if you can pick them out? I counted nine. Did I miss any?
I’m off to see the new Muppets movie which opens today. I’ve been a huge fan of the Muppets since I was a kid, so today’s beer video is an odd one, from the original Muppet Show, which was a pun-filled variety extravaganza that ran for five seasons between 1976-1981. Each show featured a celebrity guest star, and this one come from Season 3, Episode 20, which aired in February of 1979. The guest star was none other than Sylvester Stallone, just a few months before the release of Rocky II. In one of the segments he sings (yes, sings, and his musical abilities are every bit the equal of his thespian prowess!) a rendition of “A Bird in a Gilded Cage,” while holding a mug of beer. Accompanied by Rowlf on piano, with Fozzie, Gonzo and some additional Muppets singing along, at least a couple of them also have mugs of beer. Sadly, no one takes a drink during the sad song, but I’m amazed they were even allowed to show beer at all on television in the late 1970s.
A new story in the Washington Post’s Health, Science & Environment section, entitled Human nose can detect at least 1 trillion odors — far more than thought, says study of smell, appears to upend conventional wisdom about the number of smells that humans can identify. The general number has been around 10,000 as long as I can remember. By contrast, we can see “a few million different colors” and our ears can take in around 340,000 different tones. So while smell used to be a lot farther down on the sensory spectrum, this study would appear to rocket our sense of smell to the front of the line. For beer lovers, that can’t be a surprise, because our nose conveys so much more about a beer than seeing or hearing it can, and not even tasting it comes close, as any person who’s had a head cold can tell you, after trying to taste a beer without a working sense of smell.
The study itself, Humans Can Discriminate More than 1 Trillion Olfactory Stimuli, will be published in the journal Science. Here’s the abstract:
Humans can discriminate several million different colors and almost half a million different tones, but the number of discriminable olfactory stimuli remains unknown. The lay and scientific literature typically claims that humans can discriminate 10,000 odors, but this number has never been empirically validated. We determined the resolution of the human sense of smell by testing the capacity of humans to discriminate odor mixtures with varying numbers of shared components. On the basis of the results of psychophysical testing, we calculated that humans can discriminate at least 1 trillion olfactory stimuli. This is far more than previous estimates of distinguishable olfactory stimuli. It demonstrates that the human olfactory system, with its hundreds of different olfactory receptors, far outperforms the other senses in the number of physically different stimuli it can discriminate.
It will be very interesting to see if further studies corroborate this finding, but frankly it makes a lot of sense (no pun intended).
Science also has a short interview with Andreas Keller, one of the scientists who worked on the study, where he explains some of the reasons his team thinks that their study has shown we’re capable of so many more aromas than previously thought.