Thursday, June 19, 2008

Overlooked? Not by BOTB!

A recent article in the Minneapolis City Pages (the Twin Cities' version of the Village Voice), discusses the "overlooked" beers of summer. Note that both the highlighted beers in the article were covered by BOTB in preperation for the summer, here and here.

It's the kind of quality that BOTB readers have come to expect.

I guess the difference here is that he was raised in Wisconsin and learned to love beer at an MIT house party, and I was raised in Wisconsin and learned to love beer sitting on Dad and Grandpa's laps.


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Monday, June 16, 2008

Beer of the Weekend

There was no beer of the week last week, so of course, I have to deliver something special for the Beer of the Weekend. Well hold on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen, because I'm about to say the unthinkable:

Summit's Hefe-Weizen is better than this years batch of Bell's Oberon.

I'm no fan of Summit, and though truth be told, I think Bell's is a little overhyped, but Summit's Hefe this is year is truly tasty, and this year's Oberson is nothing special.

At first, I thought possibly it was just me; that maybe I was judging poorly, or maybe I got a few bad taps; however, after several Oberons on beautiful days, I have to admit that it's been better in the past. I'm not sure what it is, but it doesn't seem to have as much aroma, nor enough hops bite. Looking to the future, next year's may also suffer.

I still like Oberon, but Summit's Hefe is just a little better. It has a really nice fruity aroma, a properly carbonated body, hints of banana in the flavor, and a crisp hops finish. If I could make one critique, it's that the color is a little too light. It's still not of the magnitude of a Franziskaner, but it's darn good.

Links of Interest:

Summit Brewing

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Micro Brew Tax Credit

This article from the New York Times on microbrewing in Ireland references a program by the Irish government to give tax credits to small brewers.

It's something that I have been saying the city of Milwaukee should do for years. So I today I emailed Milwaukee's mayor:

In this age of globalization, Milwaukee is no longer just competing against Chicago, Minneapolis, and Madison, but also Guadalajara, Kuala Lampur, and Tianjin. In such a light, it should be obvious that this "great place on a great lake," needs to sort out any competitive advantage it can get. In order to sustain the image and quality of life in Milwaukee, the city must continue to attract capital from outside its borders. For this reason, I propose the Brew City Tax Credit.

Few cities outside of Munich have the brewing legacy that Milwaukee does; indeed, the city is known the country over as "Brew City." Though perhaps cities such as Portland and Seattle in fact have more breweries in them today, still they do not command the name, nor will they ever command the history. It is a title that many ad agencies would toss out in an effort to attract tourism and market a city, but alas, Milwaukee already has it.

But what is Milwaukee doing with it? Pabst, Schlitz, and Blatz still cling to their Milwaukee heritage, but their presence in the city is long gone. Despite being the namesake of the Milwaukee Brewers' stadium, Miller has long been owned from outside of Milwaukee, and its new merger with Coors could further distance it from the city. Aside from Lakefront Brewing and the Milwaukee Ale House, there are few brewing operations left in "Brew City."

To attract both tourism and jobs, Milwaukee should actively encourage the development of small scale brewing within the city. The tourism ads would write themselves; a simple "visit Brew City" would obviously reference Milwaukee, no need to try to brand the city as such. Brew city buses could take people around the city to various brewing sites. The Summerfest grounds or Veteran's Park could host a Brew City Beer Tasting.

As far as the logistics of the plan, I leave that to you, the politicians. Whether it be free media for the brewers, property tax relief for spaces running such operations (a piece I consider essential), assistance with condemnation of suitable properties, or all of the above, I am no position to make those decisions. I am in a position to say that capitalizing on Milwaukee's history and heritage in a way to attract jobs and tourist dollars is a "no-brainer."

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Friday, June 6, 2008

Beer of the Week - Summer Beer Edition

Summer has finally arrived in full: sunbathing, BBQs, vacations. And nothing makes these activities better than a refreshing beer in hand. With that in mind, BOTB presents its Summer Beer Guide.

Spaten Lager - Munich, Germany

A delicious lager in the Munich helles style, Spaten's Premium lager is a standard setter. It's malty enough to have deep flavor, not overly hopped, but slightly lemony and grassy, making for a smooth body, and clean enough to chug on a summer day; it's really all about the high quality malts in this one.

Haacker-Pschorr Weisse - Munich, Germany

Another beer from Bavaria, this Weisse is good year round, and great in the summer. All wheat beers ring off the palatte a little bit more in the summer months, and Haacker-Pschorr's is no exception. Lemony fruitiness all over this one, so you don't even need the lemon garnish. It has the most beautiful head you've ever seen, a gorgeous cloudy body, and smooth over everything. Clean, crsip, and highly sessionable, this is the epitome of a summer beer.

Saison Dupont - Tourpes-Lueze, Belgium

A farmhouse ale brewed in a style that was meant to hold up during the warm summer months prior to refrigeration, Dupont is heavier than the previous two beers. Brewed with ample malt and hops, this beer pours with a heavy white head, but flows crisply and smoothly over the tounge. There are certainly yeast notes in here, with earthy fruit flavors like pear. Dupont isn't spiced, letting its malts and hops stand out, which they do, competing with any food pairing (so a simple paring like cheese would be ideal). Sip this Belgian treat in your back yard on a starry night.

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