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Booze Blog: He Said He Said Pumpkin Beers

Booze Blog: He Said He Said Pumpkin Beers


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This fall, we were tipped off by some of our favorite beer lovers that 21 Amendment Brewery and Elysian Brewing produced a pumpkin centered four-pack that was utterly unique in flavor and design. They weren't kidding.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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The story of He Said, He Said began with Shaun O' Sullivan, 21 Amendment's brewmaster and Dick Cantwell, co-founder of Elysian Brewing. In a conversation turned mission to create an unexpected pumpkin beer, the two were at odds.

Cantwell: "After some cajolery, I said we should brew a pumpkin beer like no other. A Baltic Porter with caraway and cinnamon in a light colored can. Courage!"

O'Sullivan: "I said we should brew a pumpkin beer like no other. A Belgian Tripel with spices in a dark colored can. That's as big time as it gets."

So now we have it. He said one thing; he said another.

Baltic vs. Belgian. Dark vs. light. They teamed up to brew two brews as distinct as the brewers themselves. Lucky for us, the beers taste just as great as the collaboration itself.

He Said. [Baltic-style porter. A lager brewed with pumpkin and spices. 8.2% ABV]

Brewed with spices like Vietnamese Cinnamon and caraway seed, this porter smells like roasted barley and imparts a savory toasted grain flavor. It's not too complex but very focused. With a hint of pumpkin, the beer is thick, almost creamy and finishes with a slight tang at the end. For a beer that isn't super heavy, we love this as a stellar sipping beer.

He Said. [Belgian-style Tripel. An ale brewed with pumpkin and spices. 8.2% ABV]

The darker can and spiced-pumpkin scent is deceiving, because the beer isn't quite as thick or heavy as the other. It almost smells like sour beer with grassy, licorice-y notes that finish slightly bitter. Brewed with spices like galangal and tarragon, it's rich with flavor and surprising to the palette.

***Both of these flavors made us re-think what a pumpkin beer should taste and feel like. While we tend to think (and expect) them to be on the sweeter side, veering toward pumpkin pie spice or pumpkin bread, He Said He Said makes us think of pumpkins in a savory way: Think roasted pumpkins, ready to be eaten with a touch of spice or tossed into soups and pastas. It's a serious look at pumpkin, in an unorthodox way.


The Booze Beat

“”You don’t want to start the new year by cracking open yet another bottle of the same old chardonnay, Bud Light or scotch, do you? Here are some fresh sips to get you off on the right foot in 2011:
Sam Adams Infinium Ale: This new brew is a joint venture of Boston Beer Co., maker of Samuel Adams and Germany’s Weihenstephan Brewery, the world’s oldest. They set out to create an ale under the German purity law that says it can be made only of malt, hops, yeast and water. It comes in a fancy bottle with a champagne-style cork and wire mesh. It’s deep gold, with a fine, frothy head and off-dry flavors of fruit, malt and spices. It’s 10.3 percent alcohol, $20 per 750-milliliter bottle.
Chartreuse Green: Ever notice that off-green, seldom-poured bottle on the shelf behind the bartender? It’s Chartreuse Green, a strong, sweet liqueur usually drunk after a meal. Legend says it was developed in the 1600s by Carthusian monks in the French Alps. They say only three monks know the formula today, each knows only one-third of it and all three have taken vows of silence.
It’s made by infusing alcohol with more than 100 herbs, which give it its color and shifting aromas of cloves, fennel, thyme, rosemary, pine and other botanicals. Beware: It’s 110 proof, meaning 55 percent alcohol. You can drink it on the rocks, with vodka and orange juice or with rum and tequila in a cocktail called Battery Acid. It’s $60 a 750-milliliter bottle.
Ilegal Mezcal Reposado: It is said that tequila is a form of mezcal, but mezcal is not a form of tequila. Both start with agave plants, but mezcal is made only in Oaxaca, while the center of tequila making is the Mexican state of Jalisco. Mezcal is the more primitive drink from which tequila developed. It is made mostly in small batches, while tequila is more often made in big distilleries. It’s light, smoky and earthy, with aromas of caramel and spice. It’s mostly drunk as a shooter, with or without salt and lime. The name comes from the way it used to be shipped across the border. It’s $67 a 750-milliliter bottle.
2009 Mission Hill Family Estate Riesling Icewine, British Columbia: It’s no fun making ice wine. The grapes are left on the vine past Christmas, picked with frigid fingers only when they’re frozen solid, then pressed under great pressure to extract the supersweet juice and acids from the ice. But the flavors are worth it — sweet honey, apricots and spices, crisp enough not to cloy. It’s $59 a 375-milliliter bottle.””
By Fred Tasker
(c) 2010, The Miami Herald.


Booze

https://geoffnatesblog27.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/i-like-beer-instrumental-version.mp3
This blogger is no fan of Brett Kavanaugh whose appointment has probably swung the court securely to the right for years to come. On the other hand the resulting backlash energized the left and enabled the democrats to capture the House, and in two years the Senate will be in play. At this date however a gridlocked Washington is inevitable.

A lot of famous people were heavy drinkers. Civil War hero and President Ulysses S. Grant and England’s famous Prime Minister, Winston Churchill were borderline alcoholics. Once when accused by a woman as being drunk, Churchill replied “My dear you are ugly, but tomorrow I will be sober and you will still be ugly.”

The “Booze Brothers”

Many actors and performers in my day believed that they needed whiskey to perform at their highest levels. Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra would actually come out on stage with a drink in hand. Sinatra was called the “Bourbon Baritone.” His daughters are said to have buried him with a bottle of Jack Daniels.

“Alcohol and Film”

Heavy drinking in the movies dates back to the thirties café society films when a drinker was always the life of the party.

Born in 1929, Geoff Nate was a depression era baby. Prohibition, certified via the 18 th Constitutional Amendment in 1919, was in effect at the time. It was the era of the “bootlegger,” the “speakeasy,” the “flapper,” and “bathtub gin.”

In the forties and fifties however, Hollywood began treating the subject of alcohol seriously with such films as “The Lost Weekend” (1945), “A Star is Born” (1954), “I’ll Cry Tomorrow” (1955), “The Days of Wine and Roses” (1962), “Long Day’s Journey into Night” (1962) and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?” (1962).

Movie stars like John Barrymore, Errol Flynn, William Holden, Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton were heavy drinkers, as were entertainers Billy Holiday and Hank Williams. Hank died at the age of 29 on his way to a concert in Ohio after mixing prescription drugs and alcohol.

Geoff Nate remembers well the 1962 movie “The Days of Wine and Roses” in which Jack Lemmon introduces a beautiful young teetotaling Lee Remick to the then popular chocolate flavored Brandy Alexander. Be our guests… Check out this short clip. You can probably rent the complete film but don’t expect a happy ending. (Click Play below.)

Click Play below:

Https://geoffnatesblog27.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/i-like-beer-instrumental-version.mp3

Dad’s choice?… Black coffee

I don’t remember any big drinkers in either my mother’s or my father’s families. Dad might have had a beer while out fishing on a hot day, but that’s it. Though they did keep a small bar in the house and a few bottles of whiskey, it was primarily for parties or visiting guests. Cigars were Dad’s family’s predilection of choice. After all the Nathansons were in the tobacco business. (Check out Blog 11 “Ike’s Boys.”>

Chugalug-Chugalug-Chugalug

Maybe it was the era or the neighborhood, but I don’t remember any of my high school buddies drinking anything stronger than an occasional beer. College was different. As an athlete drinking for this jock was off limits. I can’t say the same for most of my fraternity brothers. There always seemed to be a keg or case of beer in the rec room, and parties on weekends a la “Animal House” were no novelties.

“Serious Drinkers”

I had a good friend, a delightful guy, who simply loved the stuff. He might get “happy,” but never surly or out of control. To my knowledge no one ever had to drive Sam home.

We had a couple of movie biz neighbors in Malibu who had “nasty drinking” problems. Lee Marvin and Jason Robards regularly hung out at one of our local saloons. Both tended to get surly when soused. A besotted Robards actually challenged me to a fistfight on the beach one evening. Fortunately someone intervened. The next day he didn’t remember a thing.

Our neighbor across the street, Irving Glasser, was a well-known bail bondsman whose colorful clients included gangster Mickey Cohen and wife murderer L. Ewing Scott. In his youth Irving “Kid” Glasser was an amateur boxer. His record indicated that he fought at 113 lbs as a fly weight. He had 20 fights winning 11, losing three, and earning six draws. He retired to fight other people’s battles in 1923. Irving used to take my young son Dan fishing on the Malibu half-day boat. According to Dan, Irving was known to drink a fifth of Slivovitz, a plum brandy, before noon. We all well remember the time he smashed down his own garage after a morning’s fishing, virtually totaling his Rolls Royce.

The “Functioning Alcoholic”

Call for help

What is referred to as a “functioning alcoholic” is usually a heavy drinker in denial who is too often enabled by family and friends who are willing to overlook his or her problem. They say that four drinks a day for men and three for women on a regular basis is possible evidence of an alcohol abuse disorder.

During the Korean War I was stationed in Laredo, Texas on the Mexican border. It was was predictably hot and dry year round, and Mexican beer, “cerveza,” was consumed in great quantities. The whiskey of choice was of course tequila. It was cheap no ID necessary. One of my jobs in the Air Force was to rescue GIs from Mexican jails. The charge was usually “Borracho y alborotador” (“Disruptive activity under the influence.”) (See Geoff Nate’s Blog #4 “War Stories.”)

Though they are not reputed to be big drinkers, Jewish families have a long history in the liquor business dating back to 19 th Century Eastern Europe. Some of today’s major liquor companies were founded by such prominent Jewish families as The Bronfmans of Canada (Seagram’s), The Bernheims of Kentucky (IW Harpers) and The Rosenstiel family of Ohio (Schenley).

Today however, these, like many other liquor companies are owned by large conglomerates that also control the importation and distribution of beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages produced overseas.

“The Rules”

A recent article in the New York Times referenced a problem that exists in many restaurants where alcoholic drinks are offered. Like the chef who tastes his latest preparation it probably makes sense for a bartender to sample his newly mixed libation. It’s not recommended however, for the waitress, bus boy or kitchen help who may be tempted to “taste” an unfinished cocktail. According to the “NY Times” the food service business has the highest rate of substance related disorders at nearly 17 percent of its work force.

Serving underage patrons is a misdemeanor in California. A bar or restaurant can lose its license. Food servers must be eighteen or over, and bartenders and cocktail waitresses must be twenty-one. In this state a bar, restaurant or even a private host or hostess can be held responsible should a departing guest be involved in an accident or stopped for drunken driving.

“Boozebait”

Restaurants, clubs and retailers are expected to “card” anyone who even looks under the age of twenty-one. However, there’s no one at the door of private homes to check IDs which is where 60% of underage drinking takes place. In most states failure to do so is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, and the violator is subject to a fine. However, should an inebriated guest leave your house and injure or kill someone in an automobile, you the host can be held responsible. It is considered to be a class 4 felony which could result in a stiff fine or even jail time.

“Binge Drinker or Alcoholic… The Disturbing Stats”

Accepting the challenge

Binge drinking and its popularity is a reality that this octogenarian just can’t figure out. Sure, we had so-called “beer busts” in college, but beer in excess was always too much of a challenge for this frat boy’s bladder.

Many of today’s millennials (ages 22-36) indulge in the binge drinking game. Binge drinkers are not necessarily alcoholics. A binge drinker might consume as many as five or more drinks over a period of two or three hours or less, often in response to a challenge. On the other hand, alcoholism is a condition in which a person has a controlling physical and or emotional compulsion to consume alcohol, even though it has a negative impact on his or her life.

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism 15% of Americans are so-called problem drinkers, and 30% have had an alcohol disorder at some time in their lives. They say that alcoholics are six times more likely than non-alcoholics to have a family history of addiction.

Thirty-seven percent of sexual assaults, and forty percent of inmates who are incarcerated for violent offenses of any kind were under the influence of alcohol at the time.

Santa’s helpers?

Drinking, especially binge drinking, and driving don’t fit. The stats are against you, especially during the holidays and certainly that period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. As expected the roads take their highest tolls over Thanksgiving and on Christmas and New Years Eves.

“Alcoholics Anonymous”

When a heavy drinker can’t control his or her habit, most experts advise that their friends or loved ones check out Alcoholics Anonymous. AA is an organization that encourages its members, men and women, to avoid all alcoholic beverages in hopes that they might achieve sobriety.

Members usually gather at weekly meetings. The meetings are informal, and it’s expected that “recovering alcoholics” will openly discuss personal problems and provide or receive encouragement from one another.

Recognizing the power of alcohol addiction, few long-term AA members consider themselves “recovered” even though they might not have had a drink in months or even years. Nevertheless, they often remain active and continue to mentor new AA candidates.

“SO NAME YOUR POISON!”

Smoking, at least here in California, is becoming socially unacceptable, but despite its sorry history and the problems associated with the habit, it appears that booze is here to stay.

Geoff Nate doesn’t smoke but he has been a Scotch drinker since he was able to pass for twenty-one at the “right” places. They didn’t “card” much in those days. I was introduced to an inexpensive blended version of the whisky by a young golf-pro buddy who worked, as I did, one summer at Breezy Point Lodge, a resort in the Minnesota Lake country (See Blog 3 “Whizbang”).

“Scotch Whisky (or ‘ey’)”

The basic components in Scotch whisky (or ‘ey’) are barley, water and yeast. It’s distilled in two or three copper pot stills utilizing what they call a “batch process” and aged in used bourbon or sherry wine casks.

Kirkland’s private brew

Blended Scotch whiskey, as the term implies, is the product of multiple distilleries. Bars, restaurants and clubs usually carry a wide selection of “the blends.” Some of the most popular brands include Johnny Walker, Dewars, Chivas Regal, J&B and Cutty Sark. Most are reasonably priced in the $15-$30 range. Even Costco has joined the club.

Note: * Whiskey with a “y” or “ey?” Call it tradition if you will, but the “y” only spelling is exclusively a single malt Scotch priority.

Single Malt Whiskies

Geoff Nate’s Bonnie Barkeep

Any of the above with soda was my highball of choice for 30 years until someone introduced me to the single malt version of Scotch whisky which I continue to enjoy in the evening with a handful of mixed nuts before dinner. Single malt Scotch, as the name implies, is the product of one individual distillery. It’s aged for a minimum of three years. Some however have been aged for as many as twenty. They tend to take on a darker color the longer they remain in the cask.

Because no two single malts are the same, I have accumulated a revolving collection of perhaps two dozen or more different whiskies from various distilleries throughout Scotland.

As expected, the darker the dearer ($). The retail price of a fifth of single malt increases significantly with its barrel age. Popular 12 year old single malts such as Glenfiddich or Glenlivet can be purchased for as little as $30 at discount retailers. We have five different single malt Macallen whiskies in our collection. Depending on the year their cost at retail could vary from $50 to $300 plus.

A friend recently gifted me with a wonderful bottle of Macallen Elegancia, a collector’s item which has been out of distribution for years. I tell folks that I’m saving it for my bar mitzvah.

One’s Scotch preference is a matter of taste. The flavor might vary due to the water used in the distillation process. For example, whiskies emanating from the islands off the coast of Scotland have a smoky flavor due to the fact that the soil there is heavily peated.

Amateur visits professional

The experts say it takes years to educate one’s palate and appreciate the subtle differences between single malts. Geoff Nate was fortunate to visit Scotland and tour several distilleries in the company of a professional. My suggestion would be to check out some of the exclusive retail stores here that specialize in fine wines and whiskies. Sometimes they offer tastings on selected dates under the guidance of a knowledgeable whisky specialist.

The internet is another good source for recommendations. Visit Scotch Noob at http://www.scotchnoob.com. Much to my surprise, they even rate Trader Joe’s and Costco private labeled whiskies.

Name your poison

The ingredients in Irish whiskey are similar to those in Scotch. Both are aged for a minimum of 3 years. However, whereas Scotch goes through the distillation process three times, Irish whiskey is distilled only twice. Though both Irish and Scotch whiskies use malted barley, an Irish distiller may sometimes employ other grains.

This popular American whiskey is made in the USA (usually Kentucky). Its primary ingredients are corn (at least 51%), malted barley, rye or wheat. It’s aged in new charred oak barrels for at least two years. I can relate to Brett Kavanaugh’s hard drinking experience with cheap bourbons, a category that includes such reliables as Old Grandad, Old Crow, Early Times, Four Roses, Wild Turkey and Old Forester.

Question: If Geoff Nate is a Scotch drinker what is he doing in a Walker’s Deluxe Bourbon ad?

The distillation process for the above and its primary ingredients are the same as bourbon, however it is filtered through sugar maple charcoal. The most popular label is Jack Daniels which is aged a minimum of three years.

This whiskey’s distillation process is similar to bourbon, however its primary ingredient is rye, to which fermented corn and barley are added. Aging is done in used oak barrels for three years.

The Canadian product is similar to its American counterpart, however it is usually a blend of rye and bourbon style corn whiskey.

“The Others”

The primary ingredients in gin, the martini’s classic base, are fermented barley and other grains which are re-distilled by adding juniper berries and other flavorings (i.e. orange peels, licorice, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.) Gin is usually not aged.

VODKA, Russia’s contribution is very popular with millennials. It’s made from fermented grains, fruits and potatoes. Vodka is distilled many times but not aged. The old standby vodka martini is currently the rage with the younger crowd.

RUM, the famous “pirate’s brew”, is made from distilled sugar cane and aged in oak barrels for two years or more. Rum is available light, dark or spiced. Choose your poison before walking the plank.

This gift from Mexico, our neighbor to the south, is a product of the blue agave plant whose juice is both fermented and distilled. Tequila, the margarita’s base, can also be enjoyed with a lick of salt and lime. Mixed variations also include a ‘Bloody Maria,’ ‘Tequila Sunrise,’ and ‘Paloma.’

BRANDY and France’s COGNAC, are the products of fruit that is distilled instead of fermented. Brandy (a favorite of Napoleon) is a “gentleman’s drink” usually associated with a good cigar. Cognac is currently the choice of hip hop artists, Puff Daddy and Busta Rhymes. How about that?

HOME BREW

Then of course there are the homemade whiskies that humans have been making and drinking for 3000 years, since the days of the caveman. Here in the states they called it “moonshine” because it was usually the safest time of day to make bootleg whiskey.

“COCKTAILS”

Today’s Millennials have an amazing potpourri of alcoholic libations to choose from. Back in Minneapolis in the late 1940s our beverage menu was pretty much limited to beer, wine, and if we could afford it, bourbon or gin mixed with Coke or 7UP. Some of us undergrads might have enjoyed a brief high in the course of an evening, however overindulging in unusual mixed drinks either upset one’s stomach or knocked you out or both. Scotch, vodka, tequila, rum and the cocktails associated therewith came into popularity a few years later.

The following are some of Geoff Nate’s generation’s old favorites.

Top row: Old fashioned, Mojito, Strawberry daiquiri, Mint julep, Irish coffee Bottom row: Champagne cocktail, Martini, Mai Tai, Margarita, Bloody Mary, Gibson

The Classics:

  • Old fashioned Bourbon, whiskey or rye, sugar, bitters, orange, cherry (Tequila old fashioneds with mole bitters have become popular.)
  • Martini Gin (or now vodka), dry vermouth, olives, onions or a twist
  • Daiquiri Rum, lime, sugar, crushed ice
  • Margarita Tequila, lime, triple sec, sugar, salted rim (there are many variations including, strawberry, jalapeno, mango and even Grand Marnier)
  • French 75 Gin, champagne, lemon juice and sugar
  • Bloody Mary Vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire, horseradish, pepper, lemon juice
  • Irish coffee Irish whisky, coffee
  • Mint Julep Bourbon, mint, sugar
  • Mai Tai Light and dark rum, orange curacao, pineapple
  • Mojito Rum, mint, lime, soda water

If you are a straight whiskey imbiber you will be pleasantly surprised to know that the impact on your waistline will be minimal. The calories start to climb when you begin adding flavors. See below.

Though a daiquiri clocks in at only 220 calories, the Mint Julep will cost you 475, and Trader Vic’s famous Mai Tai will clobber you with 780 big ones.

“Mixology”

Not satisfied with Geoff Nate’s era’s broad selection of mixed drinks, today’s hip bartenders, have developed a menu of their own. The assortment of ingredients has been expanded to include numerous varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs, spirits, bitters and liqueurs.

All of the above libations are served in the best bars, cocktail lounges and related “watering holes.” However, today’s young drinking population demands more of a bartender than simply one of the “old favorites.”

My beautiful Jen was a professional server for many years. I have counted on her to provide up-to-date booze news.

For so-called trendy places, just providing a professional barkeep isn’t enough. Today’s popular watering holes hire so-called “mixologists.” These are men and women who have made an “in-depth study of the art and craft of mixing creative alcoholic medleys.” In this new cocktail culture old fashioned speakeasies are making a comeback. There are a number of upscale establishments in the Los Angeles area that now specialize in mixology.

“Good Times at Davey Wayne’s”

Most are open to the public some come complete with secret entrances. To mention a few we might include “Davey Wayne’s,” “No Vacancy,” “La Descarga” and “Dirty Laundry” in Hollywood, “The Basement” in Santa Monica, “The Blind Barber” in Culver City, “The Roger Room” on La Cienega, and “The Edison” in Downtown LA. Actually, “Yelp” lists over 40 in greater LA. Patrons can expect to pay as much as $18 to $20 per craft cocktail.

One of Jen’s favorite joints in Santa Monica, which is appropriately named “The Misfit,” features farm to table share plates and a line-up of unique cocktails. It’s located on Santa Monica Blvd east of Second Street. The following are a few of their specialties.

“Jumping Jack Flash” Old Forester Bourbon, Cocchi vermouth, ginger, mint

“Mezcal Yellow Jacket” Mezcal, lemon, honey, serrano chilies

“One Night in Babylon” Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin, cucumber, lemon, za’atar herbs

If you happen to be in the neighborhood at lunch time Jen suggests the “Barfly Lunch,” their crispy chicken sandwich.

Some of today’s popular mixed drinks might include a few newer cocktails such as:

  • Blow job (Popular with females) Baileys and Kahlua topped with whipped cream
  • Sex on the Beach Vodka and peach schnapps mixed with juices such as pineapple, cranberry and orange
  • Espresso Martini Vodka, coffee liqueur and a shot of espresso
  • Kamikaze Vodka, lime, triple sec
  • Amaretto Sour Amaretto and sour mix garnished with a cherry and an orange peel
  • Long IslandVodka, gin, rum, tequila, triple sec, sour mix and a splash of coke (Jen thinks they should call it a “Suicide.”)

“Flavored Vodkas”

The booze industry is starting to catch up to the evolving tastes of the millennial generation with a plethora of exotic vodkas. In addition to flavors like mango, lime and cherry, how about prime selections like “caramel apple,” “peachberry cobbler,” “pecan pie,” “peppermint bark,” “salted caramel,” “pumpkin pie,” and “rainbow sherbet?”…… “Cannabis cocktail.” Anyone?

It won’t be long before they start bottling the stuff in 6-packs. Coca-Cola may be in for some real competition.

“Beer”

Brett Kavanaugh’s reputation for beer consumption is no surprise. For golf pro John Daley, a famous beer drinker, six cans per nine is par for the course.

Cervezas Mexicana

Most bars, clubs, and some restaurants carry a wide selection of beers, including domestic, imported, and so-called “house brews.” When Geoff Nate was in the Air Force on the Mexican border his choices after 18 holes in the Texas sun were limited to national brands like Budweiser, Pabst, Schlitz, Millers, and a couple of regional brews, Lone Star and Pearl. Mexican beers such as Corona, Bohemia, Pacifico, Modelo and Geoff Nate’s favorite Tecate, were available across the border but today have broad distribution in the United States.

Folks back in Minnesota were big beer drinkers. In my day locally produced Schmidts, Hamms and Grain Belt were popular as were Schlitz and Pabst Blue Ribbon, the latter a Milwaukee beer that sponsored the weekly TV fights from Madison Square Garden. When I was in the TV business in the 1960s and 70s the F.C.C. prohibited the advertising of liquor on radio and television. Today, especially with the proliferation of cable TV, it’s almost a matter of self-regulation. However, broadcast licenses and cable TV franchises are subject to challenges upon renewal.

There are hundreds of beers domestic, imported, and a plethora of so-called “craft beers.” There are even brew-it-yourself recipes.

Note: Our celebrity neighbor, Pamela Anderson, was said to have been discovered in the crowd at a Canadian football game and got her start as the poster girl for Labatt’s beer.

“Wine?”

As for wine, the subject is far too vast for this blogger. However, if wine on a budget is your thing, and you run out of cheap options like Trader Joe’s “Two Buck Chuck,” you can always check out Nathanson Creek of Lodi, California. There is no family connection, but I might as well give them a plug. They bottle Chardonnay, Cabernet or Merlot. Just look for the frog on the label.

According to the wine’s review on the “Cheapskate Wine Guide” website, Nathanson Creek Merlot is “Not too bad, not great, but OK, and it smells good. It’s smooth enough, no bite or bitterness and only mildly acidic…” Hey at $5 to $10 a bottle the price is certainly right.

*Interesting Note: They say one five ounce glass of wine is equal to the buzz you get with a single shot of whiskey.

“Mocktails”

Mocktail beach party

Believe it or not there is a way to party with the gang and not touch a drop of alcohol. The idea is nothing new. In Geoff Nate’s day bartenders prepared look-alikes for the kids that they dubbed “Shirley Temples.” Mocktails look like their fancy cocktail counterparts sans alcohol so even adult teetotalers can fake it.

They have actually given these virgin concoctions fancy names. How about an “Orchid Thief” which consists of orange juice tinged with vanilla and fizzed up with club soda? Then again there’s the “Mumbai Mali” which is an even fancier concoction of ginger beer seasoned with turmeric, coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne and honey mixed with coconut milk and finished off with curry leaves. Hey, don’t knock the idea. Give it a try, especially if you are in for a long evening. There’s a good chance you’ll wake up the next morning sans hangover.


Cooking Nigella Lawson’s Beer-Braised Beef Casserole

A month or two back I sat down with my usual stack of cookbooks and wound up walking away with several recipes from Nigella Kitchen. I had about an equal number of hits as misses, but this one, more fully titled Carbonnade a la Flamand (a.k.a. Beer-Braised Beef Casserole, page 330) was a home run. This recipe is super easy to make, but you do need several hours for it to cook. Since I work from home, this wasn’t such a big deal, but if you’re working full time and like to cook, I’d recommend giving in a whirl on a nice fall or winter weekend.

You might be wondering about that first photo above. That’s molasses in some sugar because I realized just as I was about to make this dish that we didn’t have any brown sugar. I’ve since remedied this, but after looking up what brown sugar actually is (sugar mixed with molasses), I figured this would be a good workaround. I think it worked out pretty well.

Anyway, I wasn’t familiar with this recipe by name, but it’s pretty similar to others I’ve made. You start off by cooking bacon in your Dutch oven. When it’s done to the crispness of your liking — we like ours nice and crunchy — you then cook onions in the bacon fat. This infuses not only the pungent veggies, but the whole dish with a rich fatiness that plays well with the right ingredients. The beef and spices go into the pot after that followed by flour and then the beer and beef broth. I happened to have a Brooklyn Brewery sampler pack on hand, but I can’t tell exactly which kind I used because that pic is so blurry.

And then you just let it cook for three hours. The recipe suggests putting it in the oven, but I just let it simmer on the stove top and thought the results were delightful. The beef takes on a sweet, tangy quality that made this dish a delight both fresh and as leftover. Unfortunately, I didn’t read the entire opening story before this recipe because if I had, I would have noticed the part about serving this meal over egg noodles which would have really soaked everything up. I’m definitely keeping that in mind for a nice winter meal.


Save DoD

No, I'm not typing some hand-shaking-from- DTs missive about saving D&D. Drinks Over Dearborn , fine boutique purveyor of spirits, beer and wine in Chicago's River North are trying to stay afloat in this bad economy. Having opened not long before the recession hit, they are one of the finest stores around in terms of recommendations, unique tipple and education.

In the interest of full disclosure, we had our BJCP class there and I've gotten to know Kyle as a really generous guy who knows a ton about drinks. He's a certified Sommelier , in a guild of bartenders (who knew there was such a thing), and with this venture master of his own domain. He hosted a wicked cool speakeasy party a while back, to support the Museum of the American Cocktail. BB King's daughter even fronted the band. After the party I watched a friend fall down a flight of stairs, just in case you thought you weren't reading the right blog.

If you're in Chicago, go check it out. If you're not in Chicago, tell your friends who do live here to go check it out. If you're ordering for a big event, screw Binny's and order from Kyle. We do for work and he's always given us great recommendations*. Sign-up for their twitter, or e-mail list if you get a chance.

(Image used without permission from DoD's website)


Amanda Gabriele

Amanda is a spirits, food and travel journalist who's called Brooklyn home for a decade. Besides Alcohol Professor, her work has appeared in the publications Thrillist, Chilled Magazine, Travel + Leisure and The Manual. When she's not hunting for vintage glassware, you can find her mixing Daiquiris at home or scouring New York City for the best Martinis. Follow: Website | Instagram

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Amanda Montell

Amanda Montell is an NYU student, freelance writer, blogger, musical hobbyist and Brooklynite. In December 2013, she will acquire a degree in Linguistics and Creative Writing, and we'll see what happens from there. Check out her words at http://amandamontell.wordpress.com and her images at http://instagram.com/elysianplain.

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Amanda Schuster and Andrew McFetridge

Amanda Schuster is a freelance writer, and author of New York Cocktails from Cider Mill Press. Please follow her @winenshine.
Andrew McFetridge is a New York City-based writer and sommelier. Follow him on Instagram @andrewmcf

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Amanda Schuster

Amanda Schuster is a freelance writer, and author of New York Cocktails from Cider Mill Press. Please follow her @winenshine.

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Amy Miller

Amy Miller is a freelance wine, food and travel writer based in New York City. She recently attained the WSET Diploma and writes about dessert and fortified wines on her blog ladolcevino.com. Follow her on twitter @la_dolce_vino.

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About me

Daniel Gray is a Korean-American Adoptee that returned to Korea in 2005 to rediscover his roots. He is a Korean food expert that has appeared on Bizarre Foods, Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain and more. He does food tours, events, and consulting in Seoul and owns two restaurants: Brew 3.14 and Brew 3.15 in Seoul.

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My evening starts on a warm Autumn evening at a friends house she and her friends are preparing a delicious authentic Indian curry (a great way to start any night out) which included two different types of lamb curry, dhal and chapattis. Whilst they are preparing I drink couple of spiced rum and ginger ales to get the evening started and blow away some of the cobwebs from the previous night’s excesses. It was absolutely delicious the lamb fell off the bone, just the right amount of spice, plenty of sauce to mop up using the garlicky chapattis – top notch. I got a couple more rum and gingers in me and I was ready for the night!

We head out to Phillies in Hae Bong Cheon – one of my favourite haunts – I greet the always friendly bar staff and owner they invite people in like old friends, quality. I order my first white Russian just to coat the stomach and get things rolling properly watch my mates play some fooze ball and chat to the owner for a bit discussing the upcoming night of soccer and placing our bet on the game of choice. A number of drinks later and I have met some more of the regulars, Phillies whilst lacking the frills of some bars more than makes up for it with a friendly atmosphere which makes to feel like someone’s lounge. The regulars are always friendly and willing to have a chat and tell some stories or talk about good places to eat. I end up racing one of the guys to see who could down a beer first I lost spectacularly we shook hands and he proceeded to buy a round of ‘hand grenades’. Let me explain that I have no idea what this is except to explain that it involves a pint glass with two shot glasses placed in it side by side so they do not fall to the bottom, suspended above what I believe was beer one shot was definitely tequila I know this because you drink that first to allow the other shot glass to fall and then you down the resulting concoction. Things begin to get a little hazy after this and a few of my old friends come and go from the bar heading off to different destinations and coming back – or not as the case maybe. I was informed by one that I was “drinking like a rock star”. Anyway long story short I do not remember going home but I was asked the next day by a shopkeeper down the road from Phillie if I got home ok I said “fine why?” he said “you came in here last night looked around and said where is my home?”


Andrew is a London-born writer who has come a long way from his teenage years spent in the local boozer. Resident in Berlin since 2012, he’s been covering the German and European bar scene for Mixology magazine and has thus become well-versed in all aspects of the biz. A big fan of the gin basil smash, he’s also partial to exploring the harder side of his palette. You can find him in one of Berlin dark, smoky bars, unless it’s summer - when he’ll be more likely lounging on the canal with an extra hoppy IPA.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Smith

Andy Smith is a freelance writer, copywriter and editor based in New York. He writes about entertainment, politics, travel and miscellaneous topics that capture his short attention span. He seldom (okay, never) blogs for himself but lots of his 20+ years of writing samples can be found at www.andymsmith.com.

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Angelo Veneziano

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anne Becerra

Anne Becerra is a Certified Cicerone at The Ginger Man in New York City and has a strong passion for craft beer and the community that surrounds it. This year, Anne's very excited to represent the beer industry at a seminar for Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans about furthering education in the spirits industry. She teaches classes, judges beer competitions, and has been featured in several local and national media outlets including NBC, Fox and Friends, and TIME Magazine and is a recurring contributor to the popular "Ask a Cicerone" column on Serious Eats. She loves spreading the word about great craft beer almost as much as she loves drinking it.

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Ozarks’ distiller makes money making moonshine, whiskey and rum

I’ve always been fascinated by moonshiners.
My lust for illegal liquor goes back to the TV sitcoms of the 1960s and ’70s. I always liked “The Andy Griffith Show’s” moonshining florists — the Morrison sisters — and their potent “elixer” that Otis, the town drunk, so loved.
On “The Beverly Hillbillies,” Granny always had a jug of her “roomatiz medicine” ready to remedy anyone with a touch of consumption.

Jim Blansit, owner of Copper Run Distillery near Branson.

Even the feuding Appalachian clans, the Hatfields and McCoys, could agree on one thing: Moonshine, good. Revenuers, bad.
When I discovered a modern-day moonshiner had set up shop — and a 140 gallon copper pot still — about 10 miles north of Branson, it was a no-brainer for me to stop in, say “howdy” and sample a “snort,” as Granny Clampett used to say.
Jim Blansit owns and operates Copper Run Distillery, 1901 Day Road, in Walnut Shade, Mo. At Copper Run, Jim — with the help of his family — produces sour mash corn whiskey, molasses-based dark rum and traditional Ozarks moonshine, an un-aged version of his whiskey.
Jim isn’t a moonshiner — they made their illegal hooch at night, under shine of the moon, to escape the prying eyes of government agents. Jim’s operation is full-on legal, licensed by the state and he pays the taxes to prove it.
‘World class whiskey’
“My parents and brothers and sisters, everyone is pitching in to help,” Jim said as he showed me around the distillery he built on his family’s property.
A self-taught distiller, Jim started learning about fermentation while working at wineries and brewpubs.
“I worked in the beer brewing industry in the ’90s and for a couple different wineries,” he said. “When it comes to distilling, I’ve been practicing for the last couple of years.”
Open at 10 a.m. seven days a week, Jim said he loves it when guests drop in at Copper Run and check out the distillery.
“The people who come to see us are always a good time,” he said. “We really enjoy the visitors who come and sample and purchase our products.”
Jim’s place is the second distillery I’ve visited. I toured the Anchor Steam distillery in San Francisco last summer and was fascinated. Breweries I know, but distilleries are new to me.

Copper Run produces a sour mash corn whiskey, an aged dark rum and traditional moonshine.

“To make good whiskey you have to make good beer first,” Jim said as I sampled his corn liquor. “It’s 80 percent corn and 20 percent wheat.”
When Jim decided to get into the distilling business, he researched the techniques used by old-time distillers.
“I decided to go back and research the techniques from a couple of hundred of years ago,” Jim said. “I make whiskey way they used to make it before the prohibition recipes started being used.
To make his whiskey and moonshine, Jim uses locally grown corn and wheat. For his rum, molasses from Louisiana is imported. Jim said the Ozarks’ water makes his liquor special.
“Our water is ideal for making whiskey,” he said. “The calcium, magnesium, hardness of the water and the lack of iron makes a world class whiskey.”
Rum or shine
Processing the grain to make his whiskey is time consuming. Making his “Privateer” label rum is an easier job, he said.
“We ferment molasses until it’s about 10 percent alcohol and then we double distill it on our direct fire copper pot still,” Jim said. “That type of still is very rare these days. Hardly anybody uses them anymore. The pot stills make the best quality. When I’m distilling it caramelizes some of those sugars and just creates superior rum.”

Jim had a 140 gallon copper still built to produce his whiskey, rum and moonshine.

Jim ages his rum in sherry barrels he gets from Stone Hill Winery in Branson. When the winery empties out a barrel for bottling they give him a call and he dashes over, picks it up and fills it with his rum for aging. “It’s a fantastic relationship,” he said.
The charred oak barrels his whiskey ages in come from American Stave Company in Lebanon, Mo. Jim’s moonshine is the fastest for him to produce, he said.
“We take the corn from the field and in two weeks we have it in the bottle,” he said.
Copper Run products are available in Springfield and Branson. Jim plans to expand into the Joplin area after the first of the year. Copper Run’s one-year aged whiskey and Privateer rum retail for $30. Copper Run Moonshine runs $22. Cheers!


How to Brew Spiced Pumpkin Ale

I know not everyone likes pumpkin beer. But I do. A lot. Maybe to the point of obsession. Last year I went on an adventure to find and try as many new varieties of pumpkin brew I could find, which looked something like this:

-Dogfish Head Punkin Ale
-Bluemoon Harvest Moon
-Southern Tier’s Pumking
-Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale
-Wolaver’s Organic Pumpkin Ale
-Brooklyn Post Road Pumpkin Ale
-Harpoon UFO Pumpkin

And, being the kind of beer drinker I am, I loved all of them. I still argue that DFH Punkin Ale is my favorite, but at $7.99 for a 4 pack (and that’s shopping around quite a bit) I can’t justify buying much of it each year.

A few others are comparable in terms of pumpkin taste, but there is something about the spiciness of the Dogfish Head variant I love.

The spices make the beer warm and cozy. They remind me of a night outside in the woods with my buddies, telling stories, drinking beers, keeping the chilly winds of late October at a distance with a pillar of fire and the warmth of fun and cheer.

Being all overwhelmed by sentimentality, but also very cheap, I decided to try my hand at making a Punkin Ale clone, with a little bit of LitLib spice (read: unprofessionalism) dashed in for good measure.

How to Brew Spiced Pumpkin Ale:

The recipe isn’t straight forward, but it also isn’t difficult. There is a good amount of prep time because you have to cut up and roast the pumpkin before you even start your boil. The boil itself takes at least two hours, and cooling the wort can take a while if you’re not setup correctly, like me. Make sure to set at least a six hours aside if you want to do this right.

Drinking pumpkin beer while making pumpkin beer. A multi-generational experience!

Stuff you’ll need:
-Pumpkin (I used 10 lbs, which equals about 4 smallish pie-pumpkins once all cut up.)
-Butternut squash (these add to the pumpkin flavor, and tend to be more fragrant than pumpkin alone. I cut up two large gourds, about 3lbs each, and added it to my pumpkin.)
-Cracked Malt (I used 1lb of Vienna, 1/2lb of Crystal 20, and 1/2 lb of wheat. You could sub in any malt that blends well with an American ale, so feel free to be creative here.)
-Liquid Malt (I used 6.6lbs of liquid light malt extract. You could use anything you want here, but the amount of sugar is going to dictate your final ABV.)
-Hops (I used 1oz of Mt. Hood for the primary, as I wanted something to compliment my spices. I also used 1/2oz of hueller bittering hops right at the end of my boil. You could certainly change things up here if you wanted a less citrusy/less spicy final product)
-Yeast (I used a liquid American ale blend. Not a lot of give here if you’re making an ale.)
-Spices (This is where you can go crazy, or not very crazy. I used cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, ground cloves, vanilla, brown sugar, and a tiny bit of molasses. I wanted heavy, sweet, and hearty. You could leave any [or all of these] out and still have a nice, pumpkin flavored beer, but it would lack the things that make it taste like you’re drinking a liquefied pumpkin pie.)
-A big, sharp knife (seriously, butternut squash is no joke. It will make lesser blades look silly.)
-All of your brewing stuff (I won’t harp on [too much] about what you need to brew, as hopefully it is a given if you’re reading a brewing recipe.)
-Water (this is something I always forget when I collecting my ingredients, and it makes a big difference. Grab five gallons of filtered spring water. Any one who drinks your beer will thank you for starting with fresh, clean water.)
-Beer (I chose Harpoon UFO Pumpkin because it is really, really good.)

Step 1: Chop n’ Bake

Before we can even start our primary boil, we have to prepare the fruit. Gourds. Vegetables. Whatever the hell pumpkins and squash are. We’re going to roast everything in the oven for about an hour at 350 degrees, so get to preheating. While the oven slowly bakes itself, start cutting your gourds into manageable chunks. You want them to be small enough to bake quickly and fit into a muslin bag or cheesecloth.

Pumpkin = soft and easy to cut. Butternut Squash = made of solid titanium.

When you’re done, spread them out on a cookie sheet and add a bit of water to the bottom of the tray. I ended up having to use a shallow Pyrex container as well, because it turns out 10lbs of pumpkin and squash is a lot of fruit-flesh. If you’re going to use cinnamon, sprinkle a liberal amount onto the raw chunks before they go into the oven. If you’re not using cinnamon, don’t.

Completely full tray 2 of 2

Step 2: Bag n’ Boil

While the pumpkin roasts and fills your house with the delicious smells of autumn, you can start your primary boil. Fill a large stock pot with as much water as you can effectively cool down later.

Note: There is some debate in the home brew world about doing a partial boil (in which you boil as much as you can of the actual beer, then add water to reach the desired final quantity) or a full boil (in which you boil the full volume of the beer and don’t add any water afterwards). A full boil is usually preferred, but if you’re doing this in your home kitchen and don’t have access to a fancy wort cooler, you can’t really get away with boiling 5 gallons and cooling it quickly enough to pitch your yeast. That, and heating 5 gallons of liquid on an electric stove top takes approximately one epoch of time.

I did a 3 gallon boil, and saved another 2.5 gallons of water to add afterwards.

Place your pot on the stove and set the heat to high. While the water very, very, very slowly heats to a boil, put your cracked malt into a muslin bag. I dumped all of mine into one bag because I overestimated how many bags I had left in stock, but feel free to separate them to make them easier to dispose of when you’re finished. Drop the bag(s) into the pot of water. Let the flavors seep into the delicious pre-beer as the water reaches a boil.

Malt striation: a rarely seen beerological phenomenon.

By now, the timer on your oven should be letting you know that your pumpkin is hot and roasted. Remove the trays, forget that Pyrex gets very hot, burn your hands. After swearing and pressing the cold glass of your Harpoon UFO Pumpkin against your burn, transfer the newly roasted foodstuff to a muslin bag or large swath of cheese cloth. You’re going to put this into the pot with the malts, so you want it to be relatively contained by the cloth. If a few pieces escape, don’t freak out. You can always scoop them out.

Ever wanted to know what 10lbs of pumpkin looked like in 4yds of cheese cloth? No? Well, here’s a picture anyway.

Your setup should look something like this by now:

Step 3: Sit n’ Sip

Now comes the idle part: waiting for the pot to boil. I heard that if you try to watch the pot boil, it never will. Seems crazy to me, but I’m not one mess with tradition. This is a great time to collect the spices for the next step, or just sit around watching a ba movie on SyFy, nursing your burn and breathing deeply the aromas of primordial beer that are filling your house. Your wife will tell you that it smells like breakfast cereal. Take that as a compliment.

It took about an hour and a half for my boil to get rolling. Once it’s there, remove the malt and pumpkin. They will hold onto a lot of delicious liquid, so do your best to press or drain the bags before you throw them in the trash. They’ll be scalding hot, so do your best not to add a trip to emergency room to this guide.

You can now pour in your liquid malt and add your Mt. Hood hops, sugar, and molasses. Even though the mixture is boiling, be sure to give it a good hearty stir (with a sterilized spoon) to make sure none of the malt sticks to the sides or bottom. Stuck malt can lead to scorching which can leading to burnt taste which can lead to “gross beer face.” Nobody likes burnt beer, not even me.

Sundry supplies supplement spicy suds.

More sitting and waiting. You want to let the whole concoction boil for about an hour, so set your timer accordingly. After 45 minutes, you can add your bittering hops. At the end of the hour, add your other spices and vanilla.

Your final product (sans yeast) should look something like this:

Double, double toil and trouble Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

Step 4: Cool n’ Drool

This next step is arguably the trickiest you have to cool your work down to

75 degrees as quickly as reasonable so that you can pitch your yeast. Letting the beer sit around and cool works in theory, but it can also lead to the unwanted creation of sulfurous compounds that make your beer taste all funky-like.

An ice bath is the easiest solution. I tried a rapid cool-down by adding the rest of my water (slightly chilled) but it didn’t work as well as hoped. To cool it down even more, I used my kitchen sink (with the wife’s permission, of course) as a beer bath. You can do the same, just make sure you have enough ice on hand to keep the bath cold.

I didn’t have enough ice. I used frozen 2 liter bottles of water instead. Ingenuity!

I mean, it’s still ice, it’s just not in cube form. Think outside the cube.

Every fifteen minutes or so check the temperature of your wort. You can use a cooking thermometer, but be sure to keep it clean, as you don’t want to contaminate your beer.

Or, if you’re a DIY dork and IT nerd like me, use your infrared laser thermometer to check the temperature. It’s hyper-sanitary, and the cats love it.

I freakin’ love this thing. I use it to take temperatures of literally everything. The inside of my mouth, the cat’s butt, the list never ends.

You’re almost done! Once the wort is sub-80 degrees (or so) you can pitch your yeast. Any higher temperature and the heat might kill the yeast, so don’t rush it.

You’ll also want to make sure the wort is aerated appropriately, so give it a nice big stir just before you pour in your liquid yeast.

Yeast: it turns brown sugar water into beer.

Now, seal your bucket, add an airlock, and put it in a nice, darkish corner to ferment. Primary fermentation should start in 6-24 hours. If you hear crazy fast bubbling, you’re in business. If you don’t, you did something wrong. Repeat steps 1-4 and do better this time.

This is what your airlock should look like

15 hour after you add the yeast: Bubbles!

I’ll post again when it’s ready for kegging and I can tell you what it actually tastes like. For now, fingers crossed.



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