Prohibitionists Calling Most Of The World “Idiotic”

Here’s yet another example of prohibitionists’ zeal run amuck. It’s one thing to disagree with opinions you don’t like, but quite another to call them “idiotic,” especially when the idea being called “idiotic” is the standard in a majority of countries worldwide. Here’s a Tweet from the chuckleheads at Alcohol Justice this morning, where they essentially insult most of the world.


Setting aside the fact that today, September 5, is a Saturday and not a Tuesday, and they couldn’t be bothered to change the text to match reality (tell me again who’s the idiot here?), let’s see what this is all about.

What got AJ into an insulting mood was a California man’s proposal to return the minimum legal drinking age in our state to its pre-1984 level, which was reported in Proposed measure would drop drinking age to 18. And of course, Alcohol Justice disagrees with that, in part because they’re against absolutely anything that shows alcohol in a positive light or opens its availability. And disagreeing is fine, of course. Calling something they disagree with “idiotic” is childish, at best, and at worst is insulting to every other nation of the world in which the minimum drinking age is 18 or below. And that accounts for 83% of the world’s countries. Or 86% for under 21. Only 6%, or 12 countries, have 21 as their drinking age, putting us in such company as Iraq, Mongolia, Oman, and Sri Lanka. In a further 16 nations (with some exceptions for non-muslims), around 8%, it’s illegal to drink alcohol no matter what age you are. So if AJ thinks it’s idiotic for California (and America) to let its otherwise legal adults drink at age 18, by extension they think most of the rest of the world is idiotic, too. Way to keep it professional.

Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) in 190 Countries


But the Legal Drinking Age for most persons is well below 21, and has been, as it had been for the United States before 1984, for a very long time, for most of human history in fact. According to Alcohol Problems and Solutions, “the average (mean) minimum legal drinking age around the globe is 15.9. The majority of countries have set the drinking age at 18. In fifty countries the minimum age is lower than 18 and in 12 countries it is higher than 18″ (which has changed slightly since that was written, but the analysis is still relevant). ProCon has more current figures on the Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) in 190 Countries.

But even calling something that most of the world does “the worst idea,” especially when it’s been the norm for most of history, seems typical for prohibitionists who are already convinced they know better and have never been shy about telling you how you should be living your life and what you’re doing wrong (psst – it’s drinking and enjoying yourself). But it also feels fairly condescending and downright rude, and using the stock photo of a dour man wearing a dunce cap tells us how they really feel about the people who don’t think the same way as they do. I guess we’re all idiots.

Cartoon Madness

Okay, here’s a subject near and dear to my heart, and one that royally pisses me off when it’s spun this way. Eater had an article earlier this month entitled The Boozy Underbelly of Saturday Morning Cartoons, whose unfortunate title Alcohol Justice gleefully tweeted, since it plays into their propaganda machine so nicely. But the article is largely bullshit, wrapped up in questionable science and ignoring the history and reality of the subject matter.

I’ve been a cartoon lover all of my life, and still am, despite the fact that many propagandists seem to believe that cartoons are only for children, a fact easily demolished by reality. That’s the position they take time and time again whenever a cartoon — gasp — shows up on a beer label. But this nonsense is taken a step father by Sarah Baird, whose title alone is badly misleading. Many of the cartoons she refers to in her article pre-date television and many more were originally aired before a film, and later repackaged for Saturday morning television. The earliest cartoon series, from Disney, Fleischer, Warner Brothers, MGM, Lantz, Van Beuren, Terrytown and others, were created to run before a feature-length film, along with a newsreel. They were made for every movie, not just children’s movies and as such could include subject-matter that today we might consider inappropriate for kids. But instead she says:

America’s classic cartoon canon—from Walt Disney to Merry Melodies—is rife with instances of drinking and drunkenness. Whether or not we were aware of it as children, cartoons have long been just as much for adults as for kids, with tongue-in-cheek humor, satirical pop culture references, and illicit behaviors like drinking and smoking that (likely) sailed over our heads as impressionable youths.

But that’s wrong. We didn’t miss those references as kids, they were edited out of most cartoons when they were repackaged for television. Entire cartoons never made it to TV because their content wasn’t for kids, and too much might have to be cut. You can find many of these “Uncensored Cartoons,” which now exist on DVD collections, and are still rarely aired on TV. But you can more easily find these on the internet these days, not to mention because some of the ridiculous things cut are no longer considered something we need to shield our kids from.

Later she claims the reason for this is because “[t]he surprisingly adult themes broached by cartoons reflected a need to appeal to both a slapstick-loving child and a (slightly jaded) adult, as escape-hungry moviegoers young and old flocked to the theater.” No, they didn’t. They reflected what adults would find funny. People at that time rarely thought the way we do today, that we have to coddle children and protect their innocence the way we helicopter them today. If parents took their kids to a movie, they did so knowing there was a cartoon beforehand. They didn’t think, “gee, I wonder if the cartoon will be okay for my child.” And maybe it wasn’t, by today’s standards, but you can’t examine the past without addressing how they thought about this issue, and not how we think about them today. To do so is to miss a lot.

For example, she singles out Mickey Mouse.

One of the first cartoons to feature drinking hit the silver screen in 1929, just a year after seminal animation classic Steamboat Willie. The Gallopin’ Gaucho (the second-ever film to feature Mickey Mouse) shows Mickey drinking a comically large, frothy mug of beer at a cantina, guzzling it down before attempting to woo the high-heel clad Minnie.

Later in the cartoon, Mickey finds his trusty steed—an ostrich—has overindulged in beer, the spaghetti-like bird wriggling, collapsing and hiccupping much to Mickey’s chagrin. This trend of Mickey’s animal companions hitting the sauce continues during Mickey in Arabia (1937), when our hero’s pet camel slurps down the entirety of a beer barrel.

But here’s the thing. While I can’t find information about the later two, Steamboat Willie played before the film Gang War. Gang War! It’s not exactly G-rated fare. G-rated didn’t even exist until around 1968, when they no longer showed cartoons before the movie. And it is also fairly typical in the way that Arabs are portrayed, which is not particularly flattering, to say the least. The point is, these were not intended for kids.

A screen capture from Gallopin’ Gaucho, and you can watch the cartoon on my earlier post Mickey Mouse Drinking A Beer.

She apparently finds support for this G-Rated nonsense from a study published in the journal Pediatrics entitled Depiction of alcohol, tobacco, and other substances in G-rated animated feature films. But in the abstract it is claimed that the “content of all G-rated animated feature films released in theaters between 1937 and 2000, recorded in English, and available on videocassette in the United States by October 31, 2000, was reviewed for portrayals of alcohol, tobacco, and other substances and their use.” But no G-Rated film existed before 1968, which is when the Motion Picture Association of America film rating system was instituted to replace the Hays Code, which had been in place since 1930. So how many of the 81 films they watched actually had a “G-Rating” and how many did they just assume did because Disney made it, or whatever other criteria they made up? It’s hard to believe people take these so-called “studies” seriously. And this was done by the Harvard School of Public Health. Here was their conclusion: “The depiction of alcohol and tobacco use in G-rated animated films seems to be decreasing over time. Nonetheless, parents should be aware that nearly half of the G-rated animated feature films available on videocassette show alcohol and tobacco use as normative behavior and do not convey the long-term consequences of this use.” Gee, I wonder if the change in regulations could account for the decrease? I wonder if the pope is catholic, too.

Yet another study — who gives these people money to do such ridiculous things? — looked at “1,221 animated cartoons … to determine the prevalence of alcohol-related content; how, if at all, the prevalence changed between 1930 and 1996.” That study, Alcohol-Related Content of Animated Cartoons: A Historical Perspective, in which their “investigation revealed that 9.3 percent of cartoons from the era have some form of alcohol-related content, but that liquor’s presence has been on a steady decline over the year.” Again, without context, they report these facts without any historical understanding of cartoons, it seems. Of course, this one was done by a grant from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which was created in 1970 by a senator who was a recovering alcohol so it’s not exactly unbiased. The NIAAA is looking for alcoholic links everywhere.

According to Anderson, this “data also shed light on how alcohol was most frequently depicted in cartoons, with almost half of animated characters drinking alone and showing no physical side effects to their drinking.” Um, not to be a noodge, but cartoons are, if nothing else, entertainment. Why the fu@k should they be expected to show consequences in every single case? For a majority of people who drink responsibly and in moderation, there are no consequences. Why can’t the cartoon simply be reflecting that? Because they’re not PSAs, they’re fu@king cartoons. Seriously, what is wrong with these people?

Just look at one paragraph, entitled “Reasons for drinking:”

The purported reasons for cartoon characters’ use of alcohol were rather varied. The single most common explanation of cartoon characters’ use of alcohol was that they simply enjoyed the taste of alcohol or because they liked to drink, which accounted for 12.2% of all use portrayals. The next most common reason for using alcohol was to become drunk (7.8%), followed by using alcohol to be more sociable or “to be part of the crowd” (5.6%). It is worth mentioning that in 40.0% of all alcohol use portrayals, drinking occurred for no reason whatsoever. That is, based on the cartoon’s events and the context in which the alcohol use occurred, there was no inference to be made as to why the drinking was happening.

So it basically mirrored real life. Why exactly do they seem to imply that cartoons need to explain “why the drinking was happening?” Is that necessary because it’s a cartoon? Because I’ve never heard it told that in a live action film that one must reveal every motivation behind a character’s actions.

One time the kind of Cartoon Propaganda that these folks would have approved of did air, on Tiny Toon Adventures, it was such a train wreck it was only shown one time and has since been banned, for reasons unclear to me.

Here’s their bullshit conclusion:

Ultimately, we believe that the frequent inclusion of alcohol-related content in animated cartoons, coupled with the frequently pro-drinking messages about alcohol use that the cartoons provide, combine to tell audiences that alcohol is a normal, positive aspect of life. Cartoons tell people that drinking only sometimes has an effect on the drinker and that many of the effects that are most likely to occur (e.g., hiccupping, increased happiness or sociability, increased relaxation) are positive in nature. This conclusion is quite similar to that reached by Penkoff. With these types of messages being most indicative of the kinds of things that people learn about alcohol from watching animated cartoons, it is not surprising that young people are interested in and willing to experiment with alcoholic beverages. With cartoons showing alcohol to be an acceptable, normal part of everyday living that is associated with traits that our culture values and by associating few truly negative consequences with alcohol use, why wouldn’t young people want to experiment with drinking?!

First of all, they define “frequent inclusion” by stating that “depictions of alcoholic beverages were found in 5.6%” of the cartoons, which few reasonable people would agree could be described as frequent. They seem worried about positive associations and cartoon watchers seeing some, maybe even numerous, instances of drinking where nothing bad happened. This may not fit with their world view, but it certainly reflects the reality of our society, where some people cannot handle alcohol, but where most people can and do so throughout their lives without incident. Some even grow up to be president.

One thing seems clear. When not wearing a lab coat, or not already predisposed to dislike alcohol, drinking can be, and often is, a fun and pleasant experience. And that’s the case for a majority of adults, so why wouldn’t our entertainment reflect that? Cartoons were originally designed for adults, and they continue to be made by them, too. Cartoons have always been caricatures of real life, and until some idiots foist another prohibition on us, they’ll continue to make fun of us humans, in every way imaginable. As they even admit, such drinking in cartoons has declined dramatically, again except for shows like The Simpsons and Adult Swim, which were designed for an adult or mixed adult audience.

At least the Eater author admits that cartoons have become too sterile by trying to remove anything that might rattle the little one’s delicate psyche (even if it’s more often the parent’s psyche that needs a whack upside the head). And in the end, acknowledges perhaps why cartoons continue to show character’s drinking.

At its core, there’s something that’s innately cartoon-like about being inebriated. There have been times after one-bourbon-too-many that I’ve felt as if I was Porky Pig wobbling my way home, each hiccup a tiny bubble ready to pop in front of my (blurry) nose. When inebriated, things are sillier and wonkier, as if we’re once again finding our sea legs like a cartoonish, disproportioned foal.

Exactly, cartoons do a much better job than live action at showing how we feel when we drink. And I doubt that’s going to change anytime soon. Personally, I’m going to binge-watch Archer, which is the best cartoon to depict drinking, and so much more made … well, maybe ever. It’s that good. Of course, even I won’t let my kids watch Archer … at least not yet. That’s why it airs at 11 PM and includes a disclaimer before each episode that it was made for adults. Just like the first Mickey Mouse.


Bass Vs. Cooke Brewing Co.

It seems many people think that trademark disputes are a new phenomenon, because in the age of social media and the twenty-four news cycle, everything is news, but they’re actually nothing new. Trademark disputes have been going on as long as the very concept of a trademark existed, it’s just that they used to happen mostly out of the glare of the public, and instead quietly wound their way through court documents and appearances before special tribunals created to adjudicate these specific types of disputes.

I, myself, was involved in one as the beer buyer for Beverages & more, when an East coast brewery objected to one of our private label beers. Few people know about it, because even as recently as the late 1990s, when this took place, such disputes were mostly private matters. Personally, I think that’s how it should be, because trademark is a highly technical, arcane subject, which I think is better left to experts in the field. I also think trademark law could use some updating to better reflect the real world we find ourselves in today, but that’s an argument for another day.

My point here is only that trademark disputes are old hat. A few days ago, I stumbled on one from around 1893, when the makers Bass Ale sued a Chicago brewery — the Cooke Brewing Co. — for trademark infringement. I couldn’t find out very much information about the Cooke brewery, but “One Hundred Years of Brewing” (originally published in 1903, and reprinted in 1974) includes this summary:


Apparently, in 1893, when the World’s Columbian Exposition (a.k.a. The Chicago World’s Far) took place in Chicago from May to October of that year, “Cooke Brewing Company created a display to advertise its beer. The bottles, however, were labeled with remarkable similarity to those used by Bass.” Not surprisingly, Bass sued for relief in the US Circuit Court Northern District of Illinois. While many trademark disputes are open to debate in which reasonable people may have a difference of opinion, I don’t think this is one of those cases. I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone not employed by the Cooke Brewing Co. who didn’t believe this was one of the most clear cut examples of trademark infringement in the annals of history.

Online records, as far as I can tell, don’t go back far enough to see how this case started and progressed. The only reason the final ruling is out there, is because someone at the National Archives in Chicago came across this and decided to share it on their website and Facebook page. But take a look below at the two beer labels and see for yourself. It’s hard to believe it got this far, and Bass had to file a lawsuit at all to stop the Chicago brewers. I guess they really thought they could get away with using a red triangle on their label.

Bass-v-Cooke-1 Bass-v-Cooke-2

Nuclear Peace Beer

I’m not sure what to make about this beer, Nuclear Sunset, from the British brewery Hardknott, which is located in Cumbria, in the North West of England. I learned about it from an item on Drinks Business. The beer is being released today in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs by the United States on, respectively, Hiroshima, Japan (August 6, 1945) and Nagasaki, Japan (August 9, 1945). The day is already celebrated, or commemorated, in Japan with a Peace Memorial Ceremony at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, and variously around the world as “A-Bomb Day,” “Hiroshima Day” and “Peace Day” so it’s not without precedent.


Co-owner Dave Bailey, who used to be “an engineer at the Sellafield nuclear reactor plant,” didn’t want to let the 70th anniversary of what he calls “the two most destructive single attacks on humanity” pass without doing something. So they decided to make this beer, Nuclear Sunset, hoping to spark a dialogue in the hopes that it never occurs again, which seems appropriate to me. After an initial press release that apparently some thought was a “little crass,” he’s rewritten “the story as it actually happened, and with a personal touch.”

Scott and I had tasted a Japanese wheat beer which we liked. We decided that although very nice, it was expensive, having come all the way from Japan. We thought we could make a beer similar, with our own individual slant. We set about making the beer, with our own tweaks, using orange peel, orange juice coriander and nutmeg. We think we have exceeded our own expectations with the beer. It is certainly less expensive than the Japanese version and at least as good.

Scott wanted to call it “Nuclear Sunset” as a kind of nod to Britain’s Energy Coast and the fact that we do get stunning sunsets here. I liked the name, but started to look for the theme, the angle, the story we would attach to the beer.

Scott doesn’t think perhaps as deeply about things as I do. I might be doing Scott and injustice, he does at least understand the meaning of the term existential crisis, where as I just have them. Either way, I got myself into a position of writing what was inevitably an opening up of feelings I have towards my existence here on the West Coast of Cumbria.

I did a bit of internet research. I often get onto websites concerning my previous employment in the nuclear industry, it consumes too much of my time. It immediately become apparent that it was getting close to the anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I have now written a significant explanation of my position on my blog.

Nuclear Sunset Pump Clip-01There are a lot of anniversaries being “celebrated” at the moment. It’s not long since the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe. There is much being said about the first world war too, being as it’s 100 years since we were right in the middle of that. Some of the commemorations do appear to have a tint of “look, we won these wars, how good are we?”

I had already started to think about making the beer a little bit of a challenge to the general public’s view of nuclear, being from within the nuclear industry we see things differently. Oil will run out sometime, renewables are great, but personally I don’t think they will solve everything. I wanted to try and separate nuclear weapons, which I believe are bad, from nuclear energy, which I believe can be good if we work hard to make it safe.

I did not feel I wanted to release a beer called by the name without recognising the events of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In fact, it seems to me that they are part of the end of the last world war that is ignored too much.

Apparently there’s been some controversy over the beer, so he clarified things further with a blog post, entitled Nucleated Mind. As somebody who spends every day thinking about what happened that day or what holiday is going on, I can’t help but think we should do whatever we can to keep some important issues in the forefront, even if the discussion is started by a beer. And it certainly seems like the perfect beer to have this discussion over.


When Is A Brewhouse Not A Brewhouse?

I know that title sounds like a riddle, but it’s not meant to be. It’s meant to start a discussion about something I’ve been noticing lately that’s starting to confound and annoy me, at least a little bit. I was on a family vacation last week, taking a road trip to the L.A. area to visit some beaches and some friends. As we began our holiday, we stopped for two days in Pismo Beach, and as we drove into town, I could see an intriguing sounding place from the highway called the Shell Beach Brewhouse. Since this was strictly a family holiday, I hadn’t done any reconnaissance on breweries but was secretly happy I’d spotted one. So after a quick dip in the pool (which are like strong magnets for my kids) we headed out for dinner and a few beers. It turned out that by “brewhouse,” they meant taphouse restaurant. Which was fine up to a point. The food was decent, the beer list almost passable, though the service was subpar. But it brings me to the larger point. When is a Brewhouse not a Brewhouse?

Earlier this year — or was it last year? — during a weekend trip to Monterey, I went to the Cannery Row Brewing Company while the rest of the family was shopping. At this point you probably won’t be surprised to learn that it was NOT a brewery, but a taphouse restaurant. Is this a growing trend, calling yourself something that suggests, implies or downright claims that you brew beer? Is it dishonest? I can see an argument that a brewhouse is a house with brews in it, but when I see the word brewhouse, I think of a place where people start to brew beer, with kettles, tuns and raw ingredients … oh, and hoses. Don’t forget the hoses.


Clearly, there’s no consensus on a naming convention. The Brewhouse in Santa Barbara does brew their own beer, as does the Barrel Head Brewhouse in San Francisco. Fitger’s Brewhouse in Duluth, Minnesota actually brews, as does Rupert’s Brew House in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the Audacity Brew House in Denton, Texas and the Covington Brewhouse in Covington, Lousiana. Also brewing their own beer is the Trinity Brewhouse in Providence, Rhode Island and the Crescent City Brewhouse in New Orleans. And so is the Northwinds Brewhouse & Eatery in Ontario, Canada, the Glacier Brewhouse in Anchorage, Alaska and all three McKenzie Brewhouse locations in Pennsylvania.

Skirting the naming, sort of, is the Temple Brew House in London, England, which serves its own beer, but the brewery itself is known as the Essex Street Brewing Company, which they explain as:

The Essex Street Brewing Company was founded in November 2014 to create great artisan beers, on site, and delicious to the good people of Temple. We’re really proud of our brewery, which is why it was built at the heart of the pub and the first thing you see as you walk down Essex Street.

But the BJs Restaurant and Brewhouse only used to, and today contracts their beer and trucks it to each location. I mean they … er to be fair, by they, I mean Michael Ferguson, brews the beer at a remote location, but the BJs themselves, which have “brewhouse” in their name, do not brew the beer onsite any longer even though it is exclusively brewed for them, by them.

There’s also the Flipside Brewhouse in Rohnert Part, the town right next to me [though they have apparently received brewing equipment months ago, it has yet to be installed or used despite claiming “Well Estd Brewhouse” on their logo], The BrewHouse in San Juan Capistrano [though I’m told they may have started gypsy brewing at other local breweries], and Scotty’s Brewhouse operates a dozen locations in Indiana. Then there’s the Brown Iron Brewhouse in Washington, Michigan and The Brew House in Maryland Heights, Missouri. What do all of these brewhouses have in common? They don’t brew their own beer onsite.

Also not brewing any beer is the Broadway Brewhouse of New Philadelphia, Ohio, Joe K’s Brewhouse in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Upright Brew House in New York City, L.A.’s Blue Palms Brewhouse, and the 2nd Street Brewhouse in Philadelphia.

The Brew House & Bistro in Forest City, North Carolina, the Brewhouse Pub & Grille in Helena, Montana and The Brew House Bar and Restaurant in Pearl River, New York, along with many others, at least hint that they’re not actually brewing by including the word or words bar, pub, grille or restaurant in their names, too. That helps, at least a little bit, but still seems slightly misleading.

But what’s clear is that there’s no consensus. There’s plenty of examples of businesses with the word “brewhouse” featured prominently in their name that both brew beer onsite and do not. My list above is by no means complete or scientific, but the result of looking at the first few pages of a Google search for “brewhouse.” It does give a good indication that the use of the term “brewhouse” is all over the map. The actual definition, however, seems less open to debate.

The definition of a brewhouse is quite simple:

brewhouse [broo-hous]
noun, plural brewhouses [broo-hou-ziz]
1. brewery.

Even the Oxford Dictionary definition is pretty succinct: “noun; A brewery.” And those definitions are not just a recent development indicative of a word in transition. The Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary from 1828, as updated in 1913, defines a brewhouse as ” n. A house or building appropriated to brewing; a brewery.” So it’s fairly unambiguous, there’s little room for nuance in those definitions. Which is comforting, because that’s certainly the sense in which I’ve always understood the word.


When a bar uses the word(s) brewing company or brew pub in their name that seems even more questionable since the words are less ambiguous even than brewhouse. While the Cannery Row Brewing Company is the only one I can remember by name, I’m pretty sure I’ve run into a couple of others over the years. If you know of a place that calls itself a “brewing company” but isn’t, let me know in the comments below, please. For obvious reasons, it’s much harder to search for businesses with brewing in their name but that don’t brew. Google doesn’t parse that information, sadly.

[Happily — or sadly — I was not wrong about there being additional “brewing company” businesses that do not brew, which readers were kind enough to alert me to. Here are a few more I’ve learned about. The Los Angeles Brewing Company, is a bar in downtown L.A. that at least claims they “do not currently brew beer on our premises, we have future plans to do so.” Also in L.A. was the Weiland Brewery Underground, but after 14 years of calling itself a brewery closed at the end of June this year. In Rochester, New York, the California Brew Haus has been not brewing their own beer for 45 years so far, and both the Visalia Brewing Company and Valley Brewing Company used to operate breweries but haven’t for long enough that they should probably stop calling themselves one. In the case of Valley Brew, it’s been a few years now since they removed the equipment but on their website they still refer to themselves as a “microbrewery” and the Google summary states “The Valley Brewing Company is Stockton’s oldest brewery.”]

Brewpub, or brew pub, however, seems even trickier. A much newer term, at least in common use, I would not have thought anyone would call themselves one without actually being a brewpub. But the Iron Horse Bar & Grill, in Montana, used to be called the Iron Horse Brew Pub, but changed their name, perhaps bowing to consumer pressure. I don’t know exactly when it changed its name, but the 2012 edition of the “Moon Spotlight Missoula & Northwestern Montana” travel guidebook still lists the brew pub name (and discloses their lack of brewing) so it must be pretty recently. Their website URL is still “” Since they opened in 1991, that suggests that they were known incorrectly as a brew pub for at least 21+ years. Or is it technically a pub that serves brews, and that makes the name okay? That seems to be stretching things, but perhaps that’s the argument.

So it seems clear that a brewhouse in the ordinary meaning of the word is a brewery. And brew pub, brewpub or brewing company seem even more obviously misleading if brewing is not done onsite. Yet a number of bars, restaurants and the like are calling themselves a “brewhouse” without doing any actual brewing on premise, and there are at least a few instances of the other variety.

My question for the beer collective hive mind is this: Should an establishment not brewing beer be permitted to call itself a brewhouse, brewpub or brewing company, or is it misleading the public? Or does it simply not matter? I realize that there’s probably not any meaningful way to actually stop someone from calling their bar or restaurant whatever they want. But it seems like social pressure could be brought to bear. Or maybe I’m just being a pedantic grammar nutcase. What’s your take?

UPDATE 8.5: Thanks for everyone who’s commented. The list of places who brew and don’t brew with brewhouse and other potentially misleading names was meant to illustrate that there are a great number of both. As I stated, it was neither scientific nor in any way complete. However, several people have offered updated information about some of those places and also suggested new places, so I’ve decided to update those, where it makes sense, using [brackets], so you know that’s the updated information.

Beer May Lessen Chronic Pain

Here’s another study you won’t see reported by Alcohol Justice, because it goes against their propagandist mantra. A study conducted at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland essentially found that the moderate consumption of alcohol might lessen chronic pain, especially in people with fibromyalgia, defined as a “a syndrome characterized by fatigue and chronic pain in the muscles and in tissues surrounding the joints.”

Drinks Business summarized the findings:

In a study of over 2,000 sufferers of chronic widespread pain, those who often consumed above average amounts of alcohol had lower levels of disability than those who never or rarely drank.

The research into sufferers of fibromyalgia — a rheumatic condition that causes muscular pain and stiffness — surveyed patient’s eating and drinking habits to determine the effect of diet on their symptoms.

Of the 2,239 people surveyed, those who drank 21 to 35 units of alcohol per week were 67% less likely than to experience disability than those who didn’t drink.

The study itself was published on the July issue of the journal Arthritis Care & Research under the title “Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with lower risk (and severity) of chronic widespread pain: Results from a UK population-based study.”

Aberdeen also put out a pdf with the basics of the study and here’s the Abstract:

Objectives: To determine whether reported level of alcohol consumption is associated with the likelihood of reporting chronic widespread pain (CWP) and, amongst persons with CWP, the associated disability.

Methods: A population-based study in two areas of the United Kingdom. Participants self-completed a postal questionnaire. They were classified according to whether they met the American College of Rheumatology definition of CWP and whether the pain was disabling (Chronic Pain Grade III or IV). They reported their usual level of alcohol consumption. Potential confounding factors on which information was available included age, gender, cigarette smoking, employment status, self-reported weight and height and level of deprivation.

Results: 13,574 persons participated (mean age 55 years; 57% female) of whom 2239 (16.5%) had CWP: 28% reported never regularly consuming alcohol, 28% consuming up to 5 units/wk, 20% 6-10 units/wk and 24% more than 10 units/wk. Amongst persons with CWP, disability was strongly linked to level of alcohol consumption. Prevalence of disability decreased with increasing alcohol consumption up to 35 unit/wk (Odds Ratio (OR)21-35 units alcohol/wk v. never drinkers 0.33 95% CI (0.19,0.58)) adjusted for confounders. A similar relationship was found between reporting CWP and level of alcohol consumption (adjOR21-35 units alcohol/wk v. regular drinkers 0.76 95% CI (0.61-0.94).

Conclusions: This study has demonstrated strong associations between level of alcohol consumption and CWP. However the available evidence does not allow us to conclude that the association is causal. The strength of the associations means that specific studies to examine this potential relationship are warranted.

So while the researchers believe more study is necessary to confirm a causal connection, they do believe there are “strong associations” between moderate drinking and chronic widespread pain, and that those are robust enough to warrant additional study.


NYC Gives Bad Advice During Heatwave

So right now many places are going through a heatwave, even where I am in Sonoma County has had some very unseasonably hot days. But apparently New York City is having a particularly bad time, with temperatures close to 100° F. On Monday, New York mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference to assuage New Yorker’s fears and offer suggestions on how to stay safe during the heatwave. Also on hand at the event with the Mayor was the commissioner of the Department of Health, Mary Bassett, who “told New Yorkers not to crack open a frosty lager or pour themselves a crisp ale in a chilled glass” during the heatwave, warning them about “the perils of alcohol and caffeine, both dehydrating diuretics, for those who must labor in the sun.” She’s quoted in the Observer.

“Water is the best beverage for staying hydrated. Beer is not,” she said.

Unfortunately, at least as long as ago as 2007, studies have shown that not to be the case. As I reported in late 2007, in Forget Gatorade, Drink Beer, a Spanish study has concluded that the best thing you can drink after playing vigorous sports is not Gatorade, but beer. Specifically, the study found that for the dehydrated person, beer helps retain liquid better than water.

What would you rather down after sweating yourself silly either in a soccer match, mowing your lawn or simply enduring a blazing sun heatwave, Gatorade, water or this?

The main reason is that water doesn’t replenish electrolytes or other chemicals that the body loses when sweating. Water’s great, don’t get me wrong, it is up to 95% of what makes beer. For example, the UK’s NHS cautions against using just plain water, saying dehydrated persons “shouldn’t be given water as the main replacement fluid because it can further dilute the minerals in their body and make the problem worse.”

When you’re dehydrated, you lose sugar and salts, as well as water. Drinking a rehydration solution will enable you to re-establish the right balance of body fluids. The solution should contain a mixture of potassium and sodium salts, as well as glucose or starch.

Even Gatorade would probably be a little better than just water for severe dehydration that’s associated with a heatwave, although the Spanish study found that beer is even better.

For the study, Garzon asked a group of students to perform strenuous exercise in temperatures of around 104ºF. Half the subjects were given a pint of beer after the workout, the other half the same quantity of plain water. Garzon said the hydration effect in those who drank the beer was “slightly better.”

Juan Antonio Corbalán, a cardiologist who formerly worked with Real Madrid soccer players and Spain’s national basketball team, insists that beer has the “perfect profile” for a rehydrating beverage after sports. Corbalán adds that he has long advocated the drinking of barley-based beverages by professional athletes.

Of course, beer being a diuretic means you’ll lose some liquid through urination, and there aren’t any appreciable electrolytes in beer. But then there aren’t any in water, either, so advising just water seems like poor advice at best. Even critics to the Spanish study, like James Betts, an expert on nutrition and metabolism at Bath University in England, admits that “a moderate amount of beer might be as effective as water at helping the body with liquid retention.” So again, NYC’s position that people should lay off a cold beer and stick to only water seems pretty out to lunch.

Apparently, a C. Johnson, who’s a Theoretical Physicist has come up with Gator Beer, a beer that would apparently include electrolytes and other chemicals lost during perspiration such as sodium (already in beer), potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Sadly, no one is currently making Gator Beer.

I’m sure Mary Bassett is a lovely person, but you wouldn’t know it from this photo of her supplied by the mayor’s office, where she looks exactly like the sort of person who would say “no” to a beer.

Desperation Propaganda

The ink was barely dry on my last post about Alcohol Justice’s tenuous grasp on honesty where they claimed Craft Brewers Just Don’t Care when they did it again, with this tweet:


The funniest part of their tweet is the claim that the Carlsberg Group, the fourth largest beer company in the world, producing 6.2% of the world’s beer, is “desperate for market share” and therefore gave up on beer and decided to diversify into beauty products. This they apparently concluded from an article on Mashable entitled Men, stop drinking beer and start rubbing it on your face. As the article itself makes abundantly clear — but is virtually ignored by AJ — using beer or beer ingredients in health and beauty products has been around forever and is nothing new. There are almost too many instances to mention. Shampoo with beer in it has been around for years, if not centuries. Dogfish Head and many others have been making soap with beer for just as long. There’s nothing in the article about why they’re diversifying (though anyone with a working knowledge of how a business operates will say “well, duh,” diversification is almost always a good move). These came out of the Carlsberg Lab, which has been doing research on beer for over 100 years, and in fact the lager yeast known as Saccharomyces pastorianus, was also once known as Saccharomyces carlsbergensis because of work done by the brewery on yeast in the late 1800s and early 20th century. Here’s the The press materials for the new products.

So there’s absolutely nothing to suggest that Carlsberg’s Beer Beauty products have anything whatsoever to do with desperation. Alcohol Justice just made that up. Why? Because they have to turn a lighthearted story into something they can use as propaganda. Because the truth is not something they seem remotely interested in. If anything, I think it shows their own desperation in trying to find something to complain about.


Craft Brewers Just Don’t Care

Nobody can piss me off faster than Alcohol Justice, the self-styled do gooders and self-proclaimed “watchdogs” of those of us in the evil alcohol empire. I just noticed this yesterday, but for at least the last week, they’ve been tweeting this inaccurate and misleading message that “High-calorie craft beer maker’s don’t care.” Here’s what they say:


You don’t have to be Noam Chomsky to parse this sentence and figure out what they’re saying. Beer has lots of calories and brewers just don’t give a shit, painting craft brewers in a negative light, something Alcohol Justice has turned in to an art form. But is that the truth? Is that even what the source of this claims? Regular readers won’t be surprised to learn that AJ once again has taken a statement and twisted into something else to promote their own agenda. Shocking, I know. The original source of this comes from an article in the Columbus Dispatch on June 26 entitled Small breweries sometimes make high-octane, high-calorie beers.

It’s all about calories and how some higher alcohol beers made by craft brewers have more calories than lower alcohol beers, which is a world class “duh.” If you claim you don’t know that more alcohol has more calories then I’m amazed at the level of ignorance you’re willing to admit. If you’re drinking an imperial stout and have convinced yourself it contains no more calories than a pale ale, you’re willfully deluding yourself, and you probably know it, even if you won’t admit it. But I’m not terribly interested in the calorie question, it’s been done to death and certainly isn’t going away anytime soon. What really annoys me is Alcohol Justice’s flippant hatred of brewers and insisting they don’t care, as if that makes them bad people. The reality, of course, is quite different. Here’s the relevant portion of the article:

Unless they’re aiming for a low-cal beer to appeal to dieters, day drinkers and the like, craft brewers say they don’t give two pints about calories. They’re after flavor and aroma and other qualities that make drinking good beer worth it. The qualities of your favorite porter or citrus-forward IPA depend upon a series of ingredient choices and the complex interplay of water, grain, hops and yeast that follows.

So it’s not that the brewers “don’t care” about higher calories, it’s simply that they place more emphasis on aromas and flavors, preferring to create beers that feature those more prominently. They’re not willfully making high calorie beers just to fatten people up and make them unhealthy, as AJ suggests. And why pick on brewers? This is especially galling since wine and sprits, with far more alcohol, has … wait for it … far more calories. Beer has the fewest calories of any alcoholic drink by ounce. I’m sure people will argue that people drink more beer so that’s moot. But the point of drinking better beer is to drink less of it. To me at least, beer with flavor is not made to pound, but to enjoy at a more reasonable pace, usually determined by the circumstances. Imperial stout is not made to be swigged, but shared in a snifter or similar glass, so the idea that it’s the same as any other beer seems at best facetious. If you’re downing pint glasses of Parabola or Ten FIDY you’re doing it wrong. Here’s an infographic that accompanied the article.


But the larger point is why do we attack beer and alcohol makers for the natural amount of calories created by the way they’re made? We don’t do that for calorie-rich desserts like cake, ice cream and pie. You know what else is high in calories? Cereal, avocados, bananas, nuts and berries, granola bars, pasta, lobster and so many more foods we love. But we’re not lambasting the people who farm, grow or make those for not caring about how high in calories they are. That’s because they’re not intentionally making them high in calories, it’s just the result of their nature. The same is true for beer. Brewers aren’t intentionally making high-calorie beers to fuck with people the way Alcohol Justice so churlishly insists. They’re making them because they taste good, and people want them, not because they just “don’t care.”

Are there no ethical standards for non-profits? Shouldn’t “watchdogs” who claim the moral high ground have to at least be honest and truthful themselves? Because even though they claim “beer makers don’t care,” they certainly don’t seem to care about their own veracity, and instead twist anything they can to fit their increasingly narrow narrative that everything having to do with alcohol, and especially beer it seems, is bad.

Session #100: One Hundred Beers You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

It’s hard to believe we’ve doing this 100 months in a row, but it’s true. For our 100th Session, our host, Reuben Grey — who writes the Tale of the Ale — has decided to send us all on a quest to find the ark of the holy grail filled with lost beer styles, or something like that. Actually, for the June Session, the topic is “Resurrecting Lost Beer Styles,” which he describes below.

There are many [lost or almost lost beer styles] that have started to come back in to fashion in the last 10 years due to the rise of craft beer around the world.

If you have a local beer style that died out and is starting to appear again then please let the world know. Not everyone will so just write about any that you have experienced. Some of the recent style resurrections I have come across in Ireland are Kentucky Common, Grodziskie, Gose and some others. Perhaps it’s a beer you have only come across in homebrew circles and is not even made commercially.

There are no restrictions other than the beer being an obscure style you don’t find in very many places. The format, I leave up to individuals. It could be a historical analysis or just a simple beer review.


Not content to follow directions, I recently spent way too much time thinking about beer color and creating several lists as a part of that. So I’m feeling whatever the opposite of listless is. Listical? Listful?

I have a love/hate relationship with beer styles. I think of them as both useless and necessary at the same time. And I’m hopeless when it comes to the instinct to categorize and organize everything, I can’t help but do it. I want to believe it’s simply human nature but I clearly have an advanced case of whatever disease causes people to catalogue, classify and codify the world.

I see beer styles as a dichotomy that will never be resolved. I understand both sides of the divide and think both are correct, and wrong, at least sometimes. The way we think about beer styles is a modern construct. Michael Jackson created the taxonomy that’s still with us (more or less) as a way to write about different beers around the world, and then Fred Eckhardt expanded on it and codified it for homebrewers, sealing its fate as the way we generally talk about beer styles. And I think it worked pretty well … for a while. It’s undoubtedly useful in judging and creating expectations. But I remember fifteen or so years ago Charlie Bamforth, my professor at U.C. Davis for the short course, telling us how beer styles don’t matter at all. And he was right, of course. They don’t. All that matters to a commercial brewery is that people like, and more importantly, buy the beer, no matter what “style” it is.

But where all these different beers came from has to do with geography, climate, agriculture and culture. Place is the single most important factor in having created so many different types of beer. Every local area had its own unique, or a mostly unique variation, of beer that took advantage of what the brewers had on hand, be it the grain, hops or other flavors they could get, what the local water was like, the local customs, and the politics or culture itself. What we call traditional beer styles today are simply the winners, the local or regional styles that survived industrialization and displaced more local styles as breweries grew larger and expanded their reach. Beer, slowly at first, and then much more rapidly, became commodified, became all the same, especially in the U.S., but all over the world to a greater or lesser extent. Popular regional, national and global brands displaced local ones and many of those can now be considered “lost,” if not entirely forgotten.


A favorite line from Elvis Costello’s 1977 song “I’m Not Angry” is “there’s no such thing as an original sin.” And I think that applies to beer styles, too. Just about everything has been tried before, and we fool ourselves that modern beers are more innovative. That’s not to take away from brewers trying to make distinctive beers, whether by trying to break tradition or finding beers that have become extinct or nearly so and resurrecting them, so to speak, or more often making a modern interpretation. I think these are all good developments. I’m not sure we need another IPA, so I find it much more interesting that brewers are exploring different flavors in an effort to stand out and make their mark in the beer world. So I’m not as interested in opining if they’re styles or not, I just want to taste them.

So for this Session, still feeling listful, I decided instead to do some searching around to simply find how many old, mostly forgotten types of beer I could find. As I said, I came up with the title before I even knew if I could find 100. It took maybe an hour to go past the century mark, and in the end, was no problem at all. And that tells us quite a bit about how much the landscape of beer was changed by industrialization and the consolidation of the industry worldwide. When beer became very much the same, the local, more unique beers were lost. We saw the same thing happen with food, too, which spawned the artisanal movements for better cheese, meats, chocolate, heirloom fruits and vegetables, etc.
Blue metal compass
So the list of 100 beers below is not strictly all extinct beers, but also includes beers nearly so, ones that are starting to come back, beers that are only made by a very few breweries and some so ancient we don’t know much about them beyond their names. The beers are from all over the compass. I gathered them from a variety of sources, mostly websites and a few books in my library. When I say you’ve probably never heard of them, chances are you know the names of at least a few of them. You could probably test your beer geek quotient by how many you recognize.

  1. Aarschotse Bruine
  2. Adambier
  3. Black Cork
  4. Black or Spruce Beer
  5. Bremer Bier
  6. Brett-Fermented Stock Ale
  7. Breyhan or Broyhan
  8. Burton Ale
  9. Chicha
  10. Citronenbier (Lemon Beer)
  11. Cock Ale
  12. Coirm
  13. Colne Spring Ale
  14. Cöpenicker Moll
  15. Dampfbier
  16. Danziger Bier
  17. Deutsches Porter
  18. Devonshire White or Devon White Ale
  19. Duckstein
  20. Dutch Black Buckwheat Beer
  21. Ebla
  22. Eilenburger Bier
  23. Einfachbier
  24. Erfurter Bier
  25. Erntebier (Harvest Beer)
  26. Fern Ale
  27. Fränkische Biere
  28. Gale Ale
  29. Garlebischer Garley
  30. Geithayner
  31. Gotlandsdrickå
  32. Grodziski (a.k.a. Grodziskie or Grätzer Bier)
  33. Grout Ale
  34. Hamburger Bier
  35. Heather Ale
  36. Hellesroggen
  37. Hogen Mogen
  38. Hosenmilch
  39. Humming Ale
  40. Jopenbier
  41. Kash or Kás
  42. Kashbir
  43. Kashdu
  44. Kashdùg
  45. Kashgíg or Kashgíg-dùgga
  46. Kash-sur-ra
  47. Kassi
  48. Kennett Ale
  49. Kentucky Common
  50. Keptinus Alus
  51. Kiszlnschtschi
  52. Kodoulu
  53. Kotbüsser Bier
  54. Koyt
  55. Kushkal
  56. Kuurna
  57. Kvass
  58. Leipziger Stadtbier
  59. Lichtenhainer
  60. Light Bitter
  61. Light Mild
  62. Lübecker
  63. Makgeolli
  64. Merseburger
  65. Moskovskaya (Old Moscow Brown Ale)
  66. Mum or Mumme
  67. Münster Beer
  68. Naumburger
  69. Pennsylvania Swankey
  70. Peeterman
  71. Potsdamer Bier
  72. Preusishce Bier
  73. Purl
  74. Rheinländische Bitterbier
  75. Rostocker Bier
  76. Ruppiner Bier
  77. Sahti
  78. Säuerliche Bier
  79. Scotch Ale
  80. Seef
  81. Sloe Beer (Schlehenbier)
  82. Sour Bock
  83. Sour Ofest
  84. Sour Old Ale
  85. Stein Beer
  86. Stingo
  87. Stitch
  88. Strong Pale Mild
  89. Sußbier or Einfachbier
  90. Uitzet or Uytzet
  91. Ulushin
  92. Vatted Old Ale
  93. Vatted Porter
  94. Weizenschalenbier
  95. West Country White Ale
  96. Wettiner
  97. Windsor Ale
  98. Winter Warmer
  99. Wurzner
  100. Zerbster

How much fun would it be to try every one of them? Beer, of course, is a global drink and is the third most-consumed liquid (after water and tea) so I suspect the number of lost beers is far greater than this, and probably numbers in the hundreds, or possibly thousands, depending on how you differentiated them. Should we try to catalogue them all? Now that would be a real fool’s errand, but it would be fun to try.