Fear No Beer

Summer is here, drink more beer


Ben and Otis, Briefly

Six Point Otis (Oatmeal Stout). 7:30 p.m. Buttermilk Channel

Hello, Otis.

Wide mouth beer mug. Giant brown head. Inky dark color. Odor of roasted barley.  Bitter.  Bitter bitter bitter. Needs something sweet to balance it out.

Buttermilk fried chicken with cheddar cheese waffles. Waffles waffles waffles. Spicy maple syrup on side.

Jason Schwartzman and Sofia Coppola. Too busy sniffing Otis to gawk.

Turn up the mug. Cold dark stout bitter.

Stuff to Watch on Friday While Drinking Alone: Ok Go Slow Dog Octopus Edition

Lots of fodder this week for STWOFWDA. We first planned to feature footage of the new giant Pacific octopus at the National Zoo in Washington. Later in the week, we were charmed by this video of dogs snatching treats from the air in slow motion. (The concentration. The joy.) But neither octopi nor retreiver could stand up to OK Go’s omage to Rube Goldeberg in the band’s latest video for “This Too Shall Pass.” (Hat tip, Discover blog).

We’re also fans of the previous video for this song, featuring the Notre Dame marching band.


What Beer is Your Band?

We have some bad news, folks. A few weeks ago, our intern, Dave the Chimp, who had toiled uncomplainingly without pay for us since we bought him last fall from a Borneo primate smuggler, was lured to sunnier climes with the promise of  free grapefruit, bananas, and a fresh dating pool of lady chimps.

Oh, and he also got a paying gig. Dave, writing under the non de plume “Reed Fischer,” is the new music editor at the New Times paper covering the Ft. Lauderdale area. (We can only pray that his new colleagues will put up with some of his, err, more animalistic behavior. Not everyone is ok with public lunchtime grooming sessions, buddy).

Though he has moved on, we’re happy to report that Dave hasn’t forgotten his beer blogging roots. Earlier this week, Dave reported, via Hipster Runoff, that a flyer for a Pitchfork/Windish Agency showcase at the upcoming SXSW festival in Austin has cleverly matched indie bands with popular beer labels. (We’re fond of the Japandroids/Red Stripe pairing). In his post, Dave/Reed ponders whether any of the bands might take offense to their beer pairing. We look at things the other way. Will any of the breweries complain about their labels being appropriated for another commercial use?

Beer Weekend Getaway

Ever wanted to try a little brewing without the mess and hassle of doing it at home? According to the New York Times, the Woodstock Inn Station and Brewery in New Hampshire’s White Mountains  offers “brewery weekends” in April and May for $118, not including lodging. The weekend package includes a Friday reception, meals on Saturday and the chance to brew with professionals.

Guests can take part in every step of the brewing process — including the messy work of removing hundreds of pounds of processed grain from the “mash tun,” where grain and water are mixed. The early morning brewing leads into a hearty Saturday lunch (featuring bread made from the spent grain); later, there’s a five-course dinner and souvenirs. (Breakfast is included in the cost of the room.)

As the story notes, brewery tours aren’t new, but more immersive experiences, such as the Woodstock weekend, are on the rise. Last year, the Sam Adams folks sponsored a week-long excursion to Bavaria. Dogfish Head in Delaware has partnered with a local inn where visitors are welcomed with amenities like beer soap and a library of brewing books. Even Annheiser-Busch has gotten in the game, offering a $25 “beermaster” tour that includes a tour of the bottling line.

Not to be left behind, we’re offering a tour of the BNY beer cave, where a limited number of guests can, for a small fee, practice writing in the second person while sipping leftover beer from game night.

Schlafly Gets a Step Closer to New York

Fans of good beer rejoice: The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Sunday that The Saint Louis Brewery, the folks behind the Schlafly line of beers, have negotiated tentative deals to brew at sites in Stevens Point, Wis., and Latrobe, Pa. Company co-founder Dan Kopman told the P-D that the brewery will start making some lager-style beers in Wisconsin as early as this summer in efforts to meet the brewery’s growing demand.

My entreaty: Keep moving east. New York needs Shlafly Pale Ale. I agree with Paul Gatza, director of the Colorado-based Brewers Association who told the P-D that “there has never been a better time for beer drinkers in America.” Still, the good times could get even better for New Yorkers if Schlafly keeps heading our way.


Oh! Canadian? Part Deux

credit: a.p.

If I wasn’t already bummed about team USA’s overtime 3-2 loss in the gold medal hockey game–more on that in a moment–today we learned that the loss cost America a case of beer. Turns out that President Obama made a little wager with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Had the United States won, Canada would have sent us a case of (Pennsylvania’s finest) Yuengling. The silver lining (pardon the pun) to losing the game, and the bet, is that Obama must ship a case of Molson Canadian up north. That’s one less case of lame beer in America.

I like friendly rivalries, betting, and most of all, beer–but shouldn’t the beer bet have worked the other way around? What sense does it make to send a case of Canadian beer back to Canada? That’s like losing a log-rolling competition to the Scottish and then shipping them a crate of haggis.

As for the hockey loss, and Canada’s supposed entitlement to the gold medal, I say: tthhhhbbbbtt. I watched the American players when Sidney Crosby’s game-winning shot slipped through Ryan Miller’s legs. They were devastated. They fell to the ice as if shot in the chest. They cried. No one has ever looked less happy (except maybe for that whining Russian figure skater) to receive a silver medal.

Further, that the United States can put forward a team to challenge the mighty Canadians speaks to the fact that in some parts of the U.S. (the really cold parts), hockey is king. Tell a diehard Boston Bruins or Chicago Blackhawks fan that hockey is for Canadians. Even some of us with Southern roots grew up watching hockey (Go Chargers!).

Focusing only on viewership in Canada, where an estimated 70 percent watched the game, ignores the fact that plenty of us on this side of the frost line were watching, too. According to the Associated Press, 27. 6 million Americans tuned in, making it the most watched hockey game in the United States since the USA vs. Finland 1980 gold medal game in Lake Placid on Feb. 24, 1980. (For historical comparison, the “Miracle on Ice” USA-Russia semifinal game that aired on tape delay on Feb 22, 1980 from the Lake Placid Games drew 34.2 million average viewers). Not bad for a Sunday afternoon hockey game, aye?

And here’s another reason why the game matters: for all of the United States’ supposed sports dominance, we don’t do well in  national team sport competitions. U.S. soccer has made tremendous leaps forward in my lifetime, but our men’s team didn’t advance out of group play at the last World Cup, and with the exception of the (admittedly awesome) upset against Spain last summer, hasn’t won an important game since beating Mexico to reach the round of 16 back in 2002. Our hockey team hasn’t won Olympic gold since the miracle, and even our baseball team can’t seem to fare better than fourth place in the new World Baseball Classic. (Japan has won both titles). The exception to this rule, of course, is basketball, but our national team, when it shows up to play, is so much more talented than the competition–Bronze medal in 2004 notwithstanding–that the games are barely worth watching and usually have the feel of an NBA all-star game: lots of showboating, little defense.

This Olympic hockey tournament was another matter. The U.S. matches I watched were played with an intensity that would match any Stanley Cup* finals game seven. That intensity was what made the games so watchable. I watched the final with a packed house at the Black Horse Pub in South Slope. Zach Parise’s last-second, last-gasp goal was met with a huge roar. (And another round of sweet, Sweet Action). So yeah, I’m tired of hearing about what the win means for Canada. It was an awesome game, and they deserved to win. That doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it.

What was I saying about beer?


*Speaking of the NHL, if league officials and owners had functioning brains, they would realize that much of the appeal of Olympic hockey, aside from the national rooting interests, is due to the format. Give me an Olympic-style tournament, rather than a months-long playoff snooze-fest, staged in April rather than June, and I might watch. Also, that NHL owners are even DEBATING whether to pause their league for the next Olympic tournament four years from now is insane. Like millions of casual fans, I had never heard of Ryan Miller or Zach Parise prior to two weeks ago, but I’ll now be looking for these guys. Why would you pass up such a huge PR possibility?