Welcome to CBW Squibs: Your periodic journey into the ridiculous musings of CBW President, Ethan Cox. I’m considering bi-weekly; it’s a comfortable pace for me. But we’ll see- Dan’s so good at this blog-thing, and I have plenty of other hats to wear, after all. What I am most certainly doing is taking the format a bit more broadly than only beer news and musings. I don’t mean I’ll be getting very political or personal, but I do want to introduce you to some of the offbeat corners of my mind and the output of voracious reading and information consumption I have- oh, and beer.
1.) The Most Influential Beers Of All Time! Have you given it a lot of thought? The beery blogosphere seems to have recently. Not long ago, a food & drink website by name of First We Feast published their list of the 20 most influential beers, as compiled by a panel of largely NYC-based brewers and beer writers. It’s not super simple to qualify or quantify the term influential, nor is it easy to distill many thousands of years of history—most of which no contemporary panel could have sampled—into 20 beers. But all the same, I don’t think it’s such a bad list. It’s on the American-centric and modern side, I’ll allow. But none of the beers on there, so far as have had, are clunkers in the beer quality department. For whatever that’s worth.
I’d have never known about this list, however, were it not for the lengthy criticism afforded the compilation by one Mr. Martyn Cornell AKA Zythophile, who saw fit to offer up not only the aforementioned rebuke and rebuttal but also his own opus of same- and an epic comment thread to boot! Considerably better, in my opinion, but you may well still pick nits; of course. Indeed, even the local beer geekery got into it, at least the Niagara Association Of Homebrewers e-distribution list. So, what do you think? I’ll offer up first the three lists themselves in one spot for ease, below.
First We Feast:
| 1. Gablinger’s Diet Beer | 2. Russian River Blind Pig IPA | 3. Westmalle Tripel | 4. New Albion Ale | 5. Fullers London Pride | 6. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | 7. Goose Island Bourbon County Stout | 8. Pilsner Urquel | 9. Anchor Steam | 10. Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye | 11. Ayenger Celebrator | 12. ‘Generic Lager’ | 13. Cantillion Classic Gueuze | 14. Anchor Old Foghorn | 15. Reissdorf Kölsch | 16. Guinness | 17. Allagash White | 18. Samuel Adams Utopias | 19. Saison Dupont | 20. Schneider Aventinus |
Say what you will of this, their compilation of “IT” hops, however, is absolutely spot-on from what I know of the topic… I wish CBW could get our hands on most or any of those!
Martyn Cornell aka Zythophile:
| 1. Spaten Dunkel | 2. Pilsner Urquell | 3. Hodgson’s East India Pale Ale | 4. Parsons’ porter | 5. Barclay Perkins Russian Imperial Stout | 6. Schwechater Lagerbier | 7. Einbecker Ur-Bock | 8. Paulaner Salvator | 9. Anheuser-Busch Budweiser | 10. Bass No 1 | 11. Schneider Weisse | 12. Hoegaarden | 13. Duvel | 14. Fuller’s ESB | 15. Newcastle Brown Ale | 16. Tennent’s Gold Label | 17. Fowler’s Wee Heavy | 18. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | 19. Blind Pig IPA | 20. Goose Island Bourbon County Stout |
“Tim,” local homebrewer
| 1. Reissdorf Kolsch | 2. Duvel | 3. Goose Island Bourbon County Stout | 4. Kulmbacher EKU 28 | 5. Westmalle Tripel | 6. Hoegaarden Wit | 7. Schneider Weisse | 8. Parson’s Porter | 9. Cantillion Classic Gueuze | 10.Russian River Blind Pig IPA | 11. Barclay Perkins Russian Imperial Stout | 12. Gablinger’s diet beer | 13. New Albion Ale | 14. Fuller’s ESB | 15. Sam Adams Boston Lager | 16. Budweiser | 17.Paulaner Salvator | 18. Hodgson’s East India pale ale | 19. Spaten Dunkel | 20.Pilsner Urquell
The twenty most influential beers to me, personally (though one is indirect/historical/i ain’t never had it.)
| 1. Pilsner Urquell | 2. Guinness | 3. Pete’s Wicked Ale | 4. Berliner Kindel Weisse | 5. Duchesse de Bourgogne/Rodenbach (tie) | 6. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | 7. Samuel Adams Honey Porter | 8. La Chouffe | 9. De Koneninck | 10. Bellhaven | 11. Labatt Blue | 12. Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye | 13. Saison DuPont | 14. Ithaca Brute | 15. Orval | 16. Anchor Libery Ale | 17. New Albion Ale(s) | 18. Ipswitch Ale | 19. Molson Brador | 20. Old Brown Pig
What’s your list? I’ll take mine in a future Squibs and expand on it a bit, but I thought it’d be nice to lay it out as a broad topic first.
2.) Ode To Lafayette Avenue: Our brewery sits on the first block of Lafayette Avenue, one of my favorite streets in Buffalo. And indeed, I have the good fortune of traveling most of its length frequently, which has afforded me the opportunity to consider all of my favorite buildings from Niagara on the west end to Main on the east. So moving forward, each Squib will feature one (sometimes two) of these structures, be they businesses, residences, or other public buildings. I think Lafayette Avenue can be roughtly divided into three secions: Niagara to Colonial Circle; Colonial Circle (or one could say Richmond) to Delaware/Gates Circle and then the stretch between Gates Circle and Main Street.
We’ll start with one of the anchors, and a cultural treasure as well: Santasieros. Whether you pronounce it “santa-si-er-ohs” or “santa-sair-ohs,” this family-owned business is nearly one hundred years old now and still cranks out inexpensive but delicious (and generously-proportioned) food which fueled much of CBW’s construction and continues to energize our brewing. Rudy is partial to the meatball bomber; I like that quite a bit myself and the pasta fasool as well. I also highly recommend their eggplant parm. The west side used to have a dozen small Italian eateries—when I was growing up, the Italian Festival was still on Connecticut Street, in fact—but as the neighborhood transformed, most of the them have moved or gone out of business. Really, only Marcos and Santasieros have persisted.
3.) It’s that Genny bock time of the year here, with all the
snow mud and whatnot. I think the retro stubbies exceed even the cans in all their cheery green splendor for go-to packaging this year: I suggest the $4.99 sixer you’ll find at any local Consumers. What you’ll find when you crack one open and pour it on down into a nice glass (really, you think i’d suggest drinking from the stubbie? hell no!) is a remarkably polished, deep-copper beer with great foam throwing something ok, a bit corn-y… but then, isn’t that also a biscuity, toasted goodness you know… Munich malt? Is that… noble hop aroma, though faint? The flavor yields some caramel… ok, this isn’t as complex and geek-tastic as yr Ur-Bock, I can’t deny that. But when it comes to inexpensive, easy-drinking quaffability—a snowblower beer, if you will—this one nails it. I suggest you get it while it lasts! Runners up include Yeungling’s bock and as well, Anchor Steam’s Bock (which hews a bit closer to the Teutonic ideal, to be fair.)
4.) Beer Myths debunked: I am not a Men’s Health reader, and my guess is that their key demographic isn’t largely comprised of craft beer drinkers, but they certainly do feature articles on beer from time to time and this one crossed my path today via a Facebook friend. Normally, the debunking of beer myths I read are more of the historical nature provided by Zythophile, above, or my acquaintance Ron at Shut Up About Barclay Perkins, but I thought this set deserved some further commentary and/or snark. Anyway, check the link and then here’s my pithy commentary on same:
- Actually, the kind of beers that leverage “coldness” as a selling point are best served as tongue-numbingly cold as possible, lest you taste their nasty, preservative- and adjunct-laden “flavor”
- Cans are definitely hip these days, and offer at least two advantages over glass that were not mentioned: they are cheaper to ship and cheaper to recycle (though producing aluminum in the first place is far less green than glass-making, to be fair)
- The coolness of seeing Dave Glor’s name in print (he used to brew for Flying Bison here in Buffalo) is one thing- but also, he’s quite right. There are bars where your best bet is a bottle, no matter what they have on tap. Far more beer is ruined by the line than comes out of the brewery or distribution house flawed, I can assure you that.
- This is one of my personal missions: to teach people that light v. dark is independent of ale v. lager. And more, the idea that all dark beers taste like Guinness: they most certainly don’t! Aside from the fact that there are a number of different types of Guinness itself, there are also dark lagers that really don’t have much roast bitterness to them at all. Try a Session Black Ale from Full Sail if you wanna see what I mean.
- I’ve never heard this one, but no question that alcohol content and color have no necessary relationship and in fact, some of the traditionally stronger styles are very pale indeed (tripels, or belgian golden strong ales, for example).
- Again, a myth I am unfamiliar with but I can’t see any reason to believe it. If anything, beer provides more nutrients than wine, though I don’t think either of them makes a great substitute for actual food. Still, I’d rather fast on bock for lent than cabernet.
- Of course if you drink a ton of beer, you’ll get bigger- but that’s also because chances are, you’re drinking a ton of beer while also eating a ton of food. And I bet mostly not salads, either. Moderation in all things, y’know?
- Where did they get these myths, or do I just hang out with far too many beer-knowledgeable people? If you buy warm beer, chill it asap; if you have a choice, buy it from the cooler. Heat is absolutely the enemy of beer (along with light and oxygen.)
- Eh? I mean, sure- one one hand, the Craft Beer Revolution and innovations resulting therefrom in the US have now influenced beer-making in England, Belgium and Germany (not to mention Italy, Japan and Denmark), but on the other, we as a country still consume a lot of pretty bland beer. But not as much as China does!
5.) I love Raymond Scott. I love Jim Henson. And I love older, white-haired gentlemen smoking pipes. So, I give you The IBM MT/ST ad sensation that swept the nation: “The Paperwork Explosion.” Remember: Machines Should Work; People Should Think!