Did The FBI Poison Innocent People During Prohibition?

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Why yes, yes they did. Shocking, isn’t it. I wrote about this a few years ago, in Poisoning People During Prohibition: A Disturbing Parable, when Deborah Blum’s book The Poisoner’s Handbook was published. She detailed the story there, as did a few other news outlets at the time. But I bring it up again because one of the YouTube channels my son Porter subscribes to, Alltime Conspiracies, posted a video about this dark tale in our history. It’s entitled Did The FBI Poison Innocent People?, and details how over the final seven years of Prohibition, our government in effect murdered over 10,000 Americans in the name of stopping people from drinking illegal alcohol.

Lagunitas Couch Trippin’ Winner Announced

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A few weeks ago Lagunitas Brewing, my local down the street, announced a contest to win a a party in your home, Couch Trippin’ party to your home. The Couch Trippin’ Contest ended on the last day of August, and they’ve just announced the winner in a new Lagunitas video showing some of the best entries and ending with the winner’s submission.

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Congratulations to Mel Gryllz (@Gryllzlee) for emerging victorious with this wonderful shot:

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Anchor’s BigLeaf Maple Autumn Red Returns For Fall

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BigLeaf Maple Autumn Red, Anchor Brewing‘s fall seasonal, is back on store shelves and on draft in bars from now until the end of October. This is just the second year for the 6% a.b.v. red ale, which debuted last fall. The beer uses a “unique blend of hops — Nelson Sauvin, Citra, and Cascade for dry hopping — specialty malts including a combination of two caramel malts and pale malt,” with a hint of maple syrup that makes it “unlike any other red ale today.”

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First released in August 2013, BigLeaf Maple Autumn Red was inspired by a native California tree, its incredible leaves, its delicious syrup, and the colors of fall. The tree, known as Bigleaf maple, thrives along the banks of California’s mountain streams. Native Californians once made rope and baskets from its bark. Bigleaf maple sugaring in California dates to the 1800s; yet this tree’s unusually flavorful syrup remains the product of a small group of hobbyists. A hint of maple—including bigleaf maple—syrup in every brew perfectly complements the malty complexity, balanced hoppiness, and rich fall hue of BigLeaf Maple Autumn Red.

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Anchor also released a video about their fall seasonal.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Brookston & Porter

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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.

Roller Coaster Couch Trippin’ in San Diego

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I flew down to San Diego this afternoon, a quick trip to speak at the Beer Bloggers Conference tomorrow. Tonight, Lagunitas threw a party for the attendees after a dinner at Karl Strauss Brewing. One of the fun things they did for the brewhaha was a green screen couch ride for the Couch Trippin’ contest.


Here’s me, along with Emily Sauter, from Pints and Panels, and Fred Abercrombie, with Lagunitas (and he also blogs at Ünnecessary Ümlaut), riding a sofa roller coaster through the Lagunitas bottling line.
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At GBBF

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I love the Great British Beer Festival, and it’s a crying shame I don’t get over the pond often enough to attend it. Happily, Mark Dredge, who in addition to Pencil & Spoon, has been doing some work for Pilsner Urquell, had a camera crew follow him around the hall at the Great British Beer Festival. He’s created a short video giving a flavor of what it’s like to be there. So if, like me, you missed it this year, here’s at least a glimpse at what being there be like. Enjoy.

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Beer Birthday: Garrett Oliver

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Today is Garrett Oliver’s 52nd birthday. Garrett is the head brewer at Brooklyn Brewery and has done more for the craft beer industry to promote pairing food and beer than just about any other person alive. If you haven’t picked up a copy of his book, The Brewmaster’s Table, you should definitely do so. He was also tapped to be the editor of the Oxford Companion to Beer, which came out three years ago (and which I also contributed to). He’s the best-dressed brewer in the world and a great person. Join me in wishing Garrett a very happy birthday.

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Garrett and Bruce Joseph, from Anchor Brewery, at the Brewer’s Dinner before GABF a few years ago.

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Tom Dalldorf, published of the Celebrator, Garrett and me share a beer at d.b.a.

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Giving a cooking demonstration with beer chef Bruce Paton at GABF in 2005.

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A happy Garrett with Randy Mosher at the World Beer Cup dinner at last year’s CBC in Chicago.


Dancing with Jessica, formerly of the Brewers Association, late one night after GABF in 2004 at Falling Rock.

Buddy’s Beer Garden

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Yesterday Ken Weaver tweeted out he was watching Buddy’s Beer Garden. An inveterate animation lover, I wanted to see it, too. Buddy’s Beer Garden is part of the Looney Tunes series from Warner Brothers, and features Buddy, in the second of the 23 cartoons he starred in.

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Buddy’s Beer Garden’s is a fun cartoon celebrating the end of Prohibition in 1933. The humor is typical of animation of the time, with lots of sight gags and animated transitions (a common technique in the 1930s). In this one, “Buddy dons a variety of costumes and hawks his ‘beer that brings good cheer.'”

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“Watch what you’re doin’ ya mug! “Don’t call me a mug, you mug!”

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I’m sure this would drive the prohibitionists today into a mad rage. “But what about the kiddies,” they’d cry (as they always do). But this was made in 1933, when cartoons, believe it or not, were made for adults, and were shown, along with a newsreel, before feature films at a movie theatre. That’s why there’s so much adult humor. It’s also why the hold up so well today, because they don’t pander or talk down to the audience. They’re not trying to be educational, kid-friendly or have a moral. Even when I was a kid, when they were heavily edited for television, they were still better than most cartoons made for TV.

See for yourself, here’s the cartoon, Buddy’s Beer Garden, below:


Buddy Buddie's Beer Garden 1933 Looney… by andythebeagle

Film History: Old Man Drinking A Beer

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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Here you watch the entire 38-second silent film:

Beer Birthday: Sam Calagione

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Today is Sam Calagione’s 45th birthday. Sam is the owner and marketing genius behind Delaware’s successful Dogfish Head Brewing. Sam’s also a great guy, and a (former?) rap singer of sorts, with his duo (along with his former head brewer) the Pain Relievaz. See the bottom of this post for a couple videos of him singing after hours at Pike Brewery during the Craft Brewers Conference when it was held in Seattle. Join me in wishing Sam a very happy birthday.

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Sam gives the thumbs up behind his booth at the Great American Beer Festival a few years ago.

Hosts Ken Grossman & Sam Calagione
With Ken Grossman at a Life & Limb collaboration beer dinner.

Kite & Key co-owner Jim Kirk and me with Sam Calagione, Bill Covaleski & Greg Koch
Kite & Key co-owner Jim Kirk and me with Sam, Bill Covaleski & Greg Koch.

Sam Calagione @ Rare Beer Tasting
Sam at the Rare Beer Tasting at Wynkoop during GABF 2009.

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Rapping at Pike Place in Seattle in 2006.

This first video is “I Got Busy with an A-B Salesgirl,” the Pain Relievaz’ first hit single.

The second video is “West Coast Poseurs,” a smackdown to the hoppy West Coast beer and brewers.