Friday, November 03, 2006

A great time of year

This is a wonderful time of year for beer drinkers. I enjoy choosing my beer according to the season and in that respect, fall is my favorite beer season. I enjoy citrusy wheat beers in summer, but I just can't resist the quaffability of an Oktoberfest brew. That's my keyword for fall beer: Quaffable. The perfect Oktoberfest drink is a balance between fall spices and drinkability. You want more than a watery pilsener this time of year, but you don't want too much. If the beer's too heavy, you can't toss down more than one or two while you gobble wiener schnitzel and brats. But what do I know, I'm a vegetarian. Here in Michigan, I enjoy my fall beer with other pumpkin-related food, candy corn, stuffing, yams, etc. As far as accessability goes, you can't miss with a Sam Adams Octoberfest, but you know that already. Of course there's nothing wrong with finding a few beers you like and sticking with them. Nothing wrong unless you enjoy robbing your tastebuds of exciting new flavors. Honestly, live a little. You won't kill your tongue with a little bit of adventure, not unless you slam a bottle of Chili Beer. (Check out their website, it features a muscled chili pepper beating up a lime and what sounds like Bob Dylan singing mariachi music.) I think what I'm trying to say is that you really should take a look around your local beer markets for a six-pack of Victory Brewing Co.'s Festbier.

Although this picture, lifted from Victory's website, depicts only three beers, I assure you that I was able to buy an entire six-pack. I found it at Oades Big Ten (314 S. Clippert St., Lansing). I balked at the price, but forked over the money. When I got to my party destination and opened a bottle, I was sweetly rewarded. I wouldn't spend $10 every weekend for this beer, but it's a worthwhile occassional indulgence. Its flavor rests primarily in its malts, but is not sweet or heavy. I can honestly say that this beer is unique. I was suprised to find on their website that it includes no spices. I shared it with three acquaintances at the party and quickly found I had three new friends. If you take a look at the design, depicting laborers and a prominent "V", not to mention the name Victory in the first place, it has a distinctly communist feel. That's okay though. I've heard communists criticized for many things, but not for their beer. They hail from Pennsylvania, which as you may or may not know is not a state but a commonwealth. With all this communalism going on, you'd think they could cut a comrade a break on the price of a sixer.

Aside from Sam Adams, another widely available Oktoberfest in the Midwest is Leinenkugel's version. It's not bad, but is light on flavor. It's not too expensive, so give it a try and see what you think. It definitely hits the drinkability measure, but doesn't stack up to the others on taste.

I promise a pumkin beer update in time for Thanksgiving.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Must We Rock?!

Much to the disappointment of our loyal fans, we've been remiss in our duties as bloggers. In fact, for almost a month, we have failed to live up even to our name of Drinking Buddies. I can't speak for Matt, but I must admit that until today, I'd lost the drive, the spark, the motivation to continue bringing beer blogging to the world. Am I melodramatic? No! Not compared to the pedestal on which we've recently been placed by the fine folks at The State News. Today my interest in this journal was invigorated by a brilliant editor of the S'New's entertainment section: The Lowdown. Casually flipping through the newspaper this afternoon, I saw a tag for the Drinking Buddies on the entertainment front. Not two paragraphs into her column, Jessica Nowak (the editor), began to praise our former newspaper glory. "Since I began this job, many fans of 'Drinking Buddies' have approached me in one way or another, demanding their return," she writes. But that's not all. Later she calls us "cult icons." It nearly brought me to tears. Unfortunately, I didn't have a beer to cry into, so I held back. There's much more to the column, which you can read here. So inspired was I that I went right over to Crunchy's (10-12 hours later) to enjoy 25 ounces of New Holland's Ichabod Ale on tap. Fall is a tasty time of year.

I feel re-committed to the ongoing success of the Drinking Buddies and I will do my best to ensure that we have at least one post per week. And please help us out by giving us feedback on how you think we're doing and what kinds of things you'd like to read. Comments, concerns, cuestions?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

B is for Beer - that's good enough for me

Alright, I apologize that it's been two weeks since our last post. I've got a few ideas I'm brewing up (haha). I apologize for the pun too (not really). Hopefully, there will be pictures up within the next week, but for today, I've got an idea that requires little to no legwork. Enjoy:

"If you could have a beer with anybody, who would it be?"
This is the question posed by a great site I recently discovered, Here's to Beer. This site is host to a plethora of information. Today, I explored their recipes for beer cocktails. I don't think I've seen anybody in the US mix their beer with anything, except maybe a lemon or orange wedge, but when I was in Germany, I tried a Radler. A Radler is half pilner lager and half lemonade. Okay, so like most other cocktails it's a bit sweet. But who doesn't like lemonade on a hot day? Nobody I know, or have recently questioned....

I've gotten off track. If I could have a beer with anybody, today, it would be Dr. Paul Farmer. There are many people on my list, but recently I'm reading Mountains Beyond Mountains, the story of how Dr. Farmer founded Partners in Health, a program that brings healthcare to impoverished communities around the world. This, incidentally, is my goal: to spread adequate healthcare worldwide. If it weren't for that, I'd probably open up a brewery. So thanks, Dr. Farmer, for leading the way and showing us how doctoring should be done. Cheers.

Now it's your turn. If you could have a beer with anyone, regardless of whether they're alive today, who would it be?

Thursday, September 07, 2006


This past weekend, we kicked off the football season right in East Lansing by dropping in to Crunchy's. You might recognize a similar watering hole near you by its slightly dumpy appearance, newspaper clipping and sports memorabilia decor, and grotesque amounts of beer.

I mean Grotesque.

It is literally served in buckets. Not like this. More like filled to the brim by the tap. You can get your own bucket, or use one of the house buckets. It is advisable to bring five others with you lest you succumb to alcohol poisoning.

What I have to ask is this: Is this kind of thing only acceptable in college towns? I would like access to buckets of beer wherever I go, health inspectors be damned. If you have a similar site of excess, please share! I would definitely like to find out that someone has taking social drinking to a new low in a civilized part of the world.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Tailgating, Trivia, and Canada


That's right, the college football season has kicked off! This reminds me of the days when the Drinking Buddies used to hit the streets of East Lansing, MI in search of the perfect gameday tailgate experience. In fact, we wrote about it (in this shameless plug)! This year, we are probably only going to make it out to this weekend for a viewing of the Idaho Vandals v. The Spartans of Michigan State University. Hopefully we will catch some great drinking shots while on the prowl.

In the meantime, I'd like to welcome Canada to the Drinking Buddies website. Previously, only Windsor (of Windsor Casino fame, where I won $80) had bothered to discover the Buddies. I have a sneaking suspicion that at least 90% of that traffic was my cousin. But these days, traffic comes from all over. Be it our wit, charm, international diplomatic savvy, or recent professed love for, our bond with the only country left that likes Americans is holding fast. As they say in some parts of your country, "J'ai accidentellement vomi dans votre baignoire!"

In honor of that, I'm going to impart a little DBs Trivia. Prohibition existed in the United States from 1920 to 1933. Everyone knows that the bootlegging trade of smuggling liquor flourished during this time. However, few people know that an estimated 75% of the US illegal liquor came from the Detroit-Windsor border. Now that's international aid!

The Hiram Walker Canadian ClubDistillery was located conveniently on the water front, just in case people should happen to cross the river and pickup a few cases. These "passers by" included a certain Drinking Buddy Grandpa, who used a rowboat and two oars to bring the forbidden nectar to the entire country. Take that, FBI!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The White Russian: The manly-girlie drink

Ah, the White Russian. Men are so quick to dismiss any drink containing fruit juice (that's juice, not fruit flavored vodka) or cream-like elements. The obvious reason is that it is perceived as a woman's drink if you add "female" elements. Personally, I would deduce if you are that concerned that your drink has milk, you probably weren't breast fed enough as a kid or something.

Men, remove your hangups about the White Russian. Yes, it has milk. But it also has two very manly ingredients (coffee in liqueur form and vodka). It's almost like having breakfast with vodka, minus the Cap'n Crunch. Drink it while out and about and you are the cool, sophisticated man surrounded by lovely women and getting invited to the VIP room. Try to pull that off with a Jager Bomb drunken fratboy!

I'm not saying that you have to give up your flavored Stoli just to be cool. But once and a while, would it kill you to venture out to a REAL mixed drink?

Oh, by the way... Did I mention the The Dude himself drinks it?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Drinking Buddies, meet The Drinking Buddies.

It was bound to happen sometime. The Drinking Buddies have encountered their clone. And this clone is:


These lucky embryos to have survived the cloning process have grown to be more powerful than anyone had ever imagined. They are like us in every way- except that they accept photos of drinkers, allow you to create an online profile, are Canadian, and appear to enjoy posting copious amounts of male bare ass on their site. We are certainly not judging. This is just what we have discovered through research.

In addition to their all-male revue, they also seem to be doing actual research on actual topics using actual facts. This research is impressive and might actually have required them to step away from their sassy men's collection and do field work (as opposed to us, who mostly make stuff up after a 3 minute Google search).

Yes sir, our clones are prospering. We might just sign up and have our naked buttocks on the internet as well. On second thought, that may be to hasty. What if they were EVIL clones?

(Note example of universal signifier of evil: the goatee. Is you chin clean,

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Mystery Solved

Thank you Drake. Though your comment may have been buried deep in the posts, we definitely read it. Kudos for doing the research we only fake doing.

For those who took the time to look up the post that Drake commented upon (that would be Phantom Brews...) will note that he cleared up the many questions we had about Gila Monster Amber Lager:

"Steinhaus has moved to Paso Robles, California. Not sure if you have a Trader Joe's up in Lovely Michigan, but that is where you can find a large selection of Steinhaus Brews."

In an ironic twist, I just visited Trader Joe's hours before and noted the Gila Monster label. Small world!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Snakes on a Brew!

I, like Samuel L. Jackson, have just about had it with these mother f'n snakes on this mother f'n plane.

Actually, I could do with a little more snakes and a little less plane. That is why, in honor of the upcoming summer blockbuster Snakes on a Plane, The DBs are recommending you bite into some snake themed drinks. Need a suggestion? Glad you asked.


Girly, but rather delicious. It usually involves a mix of a lager with cider and vodka, but there are many variations. You can even have a shot!

Great Baraboo Snake Eye Canyon Red Ale

Not quite sure if this is the same red they had at the Summer Brewfest. If it is, search this genuine Michigan beer out and quaff it down. It may be short on the, uh, bite, but it will make you smile.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Pictures from bottling!

Thanks to my girlfriend and her birthday gift, we finally have some recent digital photos. We bottled our comedy of errors beer last weekend. It's dubbed the Drinking Buddies CyberBrown Ale, as it's the first beer we've brewed since starting our blog. I'm planning to crack one open tommorrow for a test. I'm worried because it fermented at a few degrees above the optimal temperature. Also, the original gravity was a bit lower than it was supposed to be. If it turns out, I'm distributing beer to all of my friends. If it doesn't, I might forget to mention it ever again. You'll hear about it though - good blogging either way!

Siphoning beer from the carboy to the "ale pail" ...

Filling and capping bottles and ...

Matt looking like a dork.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Alton Brown Strikes Again!

If you have ever watched The Food Network, you soon realize that Alton Brown must own that network with the amount of face time he gets. He is on all the time, but always on a different show! Are they starving for programming, or is he just that good? If Alton can get so much programming, how come they don't give the chick from "Everyday Italian" 20 different shows? I would honestly watch a show that consists of just her eating random dishes. You know what, I think you would too. Sicko.

Alton is the Jack-of-all-Foods, I will give him that. He also surprises me with random beer trivia that seems to pop up every so often. Take this example of the Avocado Episode that I recently caught. In it, Alton talks about a Brazilian beer (bebidas? Vedida? Adidas?) that is made from the avocado. If you missed it, the link also provides a list of air times.

Has anyone ever tried this beer? I am trying to imagine what it would look like, let alone the taste. Guacamole with tonic water comes to mind. Then again, it works for ice cream...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Times beer feature

Once again I'd like to turn your attention to the NY Times article last weekend about Czech Pilseners. It points out that like wine, fine beer is region-specific. There's an interesting bit about a dispute between Anheuser-Busch and a brewery in Budvar, Czech Republic over the name Budweiser. Also, it covers Pilsner Urquell, which is not only "rated the best by a majority of Czechs" but is also available at almost every supermarket I've ever visited in the US.

Just wanted to keep you up to date.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Your Secret Enemy: Finding your drinking nemesis

If you drink, eventually you get drunk. If you drink while partying with friends, for a celebration, or just to get drunk, one day you will drink a little to a lot too much. If you are a problem drinker, you will start a blog with your friends to mask your problem. But that is besides the point.

Peer pressure, marital or dating strife, and regular old fate are irrelevant. There is a much more sinister plot working underneath your reasons that you are curled up with the bathroom mat at 4 AM sincerely believing that there can't be ANYTHING left inside you to throw up. This plot has an architect. That architect is a brand of alcohol.

Before I launch into the particulars, I just want to say that tequila gets a very unfair rap. Yes, tequila made you sick. Yet, tequila makes everyone sick, so you are not a special little snowflake. Also, tequila was at least partially responsible for anywhere from 1 to 8 times in your life where you had a fantastic time (regardless whether or not you got sick after those times). Tequila's purpose is do create unsafe mayhem and fun. You accept this when you lick the salt.

There are other drinks that inspire only pain and remorse (mostly, the puking kind). It is different for everyone, but everyone has a drinking nemesis. It is perfectly natural to have a nemesis. He-Man had Skeletor, Samuel L. Jackson has some airborne motherf'n snakes, and even A.C. Slater has Tartikoff. If you have trouble locating your drinking nemesis, try these steps:

1. Do you create a personality for a drink or liquor similar to that of an estranged ex? (example: "Gin and I don't talk anymore.")

2. Do all your friends not-so-secretly whisper to others warning them against giving you a certain drink? (example: "I wouldn't order that round of martinis, or we'll never see Jill again tonight- wink, wink.")

3. Do your friends continue to bring up embarrassing stories about you? Do they all involve the same drink? (example: every single one of my friends. You guys are asses.)

4. When perusing the liquor counter and beer aisle, does the very site of a certain bottle make you want to spew bile onto the hapless stockboy? (example: Every time I even think of HypnotiQ even though I've never gotten sick from it)

My personal nemesis is gin. The last time I encountered my nemesis, left the battle with a busted shoulder, a purple toilet bowl (probably from the plum I had eaten), the inability to craw more than two feet without collapsing, and a death wish (friend-"Going to breakfast now, anything you want?" me-"I want to die....eeeeergh...").

After unearthing my nemesis, I now know who to blame for my drinking misfortunes. Hopefully, you have also learned. Continue on my blameless drinkers!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

'Gold' Rush!

Amongst the frozen meatballs, box of generic "Rice Crisp" cereal, and 300 gallons of Cherry Chocolate Passion Ice Cream my grandmother and I had in our cart was an unassuming six pack. It was chosen because it was the only beer available in the market that I had never seen before, a beer that was genuinely Floridian.

Upon returning to my grandmother's condo where I had been a guest of several days, I quickly deputized her as an unofficial Drinking Buddy and cracked open a bottle of Florida Beer Co.'s Ybor Gold Amber Lager. Coming from the city of Melbourne (Fla), Ybor Gold shares its name with another Sunshine State city and begs to be pronounced as "EEE-Bore." It's just one of four different lines that come out of the company tap, each line featuring anywhere from 1-5 different brews.

As for this brew, I have to say it was good. It poured out in a beautiful golden color and a solid foam head. It seemed highly fruity, with elements of strong apple coming through. It still maintained its beer character with hearty hops crossing the finish line in strong form. The pack was so very drinkable that my grandmother and I finished it off. The next day we were at the store again pick up another sixer for her to have after I would leave. Note to The boys at FBC, retirees are your untapped market. You are welcome.

Probably the best feature of the entire beer is the handy bar graph printed on the side of each bottle: Each one tells you a little about the beer you are about to drink before you drink it! This is amazing! You can find out if you are truly compatible with the beer you select. It's like! Even better!!

...and I'm done.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Eternal Sunshine of the Empty Glass

Hey there fellow drinkers! The DBs are out on the town this week. This Buddy right here is headed to the Sunshine State ("Florida" as the pirates know it) for a little R n' R (or as the pirates say "R n' YAARRGH!). I will be checking the ol' inbox every so often, so if you have any suggestions for good FLA brews please let me know. I will give them a whirl and post about them when I get back. For now, get some sun. I know I will!!!!!!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Beerinator Pictures

If you read our comments section, then you have already seen this link here. If not, then I just made it a step easier for you!

These pictures were taken not by any Drinking Buddy (as noted that they are all in focus and are not of the ground), but by our reader Beerinator. You can check out this collection and all sorts of brewery locations clearly mapped out at I don't know if you are still reading, Beerinator, but thank you for the link! I would have told you directly, but your non-brewery-location comments page at the site is rather non-existent at the moment. Please, check back with us and let us know more about you!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

MBG summer Brewfest Festies!

Much thanks goes out to every member of the Michigan Brewer's Guild that participated in the Summer Brewfest. Everyone came with some top notch brews and managed to get me rather loopy on an 8 oz. glass! As to be expected, there were some aspects of the 'Fest that outshined the rest. We here at the Drinking Buddies never like to let a good brew go unrecognized, nor a questionable brew unpunished (here's looking at you, Samichlaus). Therefore we unleash upon our public the soon-to-be infamous, unofficial, and totally subjective Summer Brewfest "Best Of/Not So Best Of" Awards! The Festies!

Best Adapted Brew- Congrats to the American Homebrewers Association for their day-long celebration of making your own beer. when the Drinking Buddies stopped by the AHA booth, they were cooking up a Sierra Nevada IPA clone. Smell that hoppy goodness!

Most Happenin' Beer Tent- You could argue that tent 1 would take this award home due to its proximity to the band, but for reasons to be explained later, this was not the case. Tent 2 had a healthy and lively crowd, quick and polite lines, and vendors that made the DBs feel at home. Congrats!

Best Not-So-Subtle Product Placement- Did you know that Nick Lidstrom drinks Vitamin Water? Thanks to the giant conversion van ad, you do now!

Best Food- I admit that I sometimes have a beef with Grand Rapids, Mi. The backwards traffic lights where you turn left before your side turns green, the slow drivers, the Amway. But on Saturday, your sausage could not be denied. Well done Grand Rapids Brewing.

Best Surprise Brew- So often I am disappointed when someone puts the words "cream ale" on their beer. To many brewer, that phrase must be equivalent to "uninspired carbonated pee." I thank you for surprising my taste buds, Frankenmuth, by putting the cream back in cream ale!

Worst Surprise Brew- In addition to Dan-o and myself, we brought special guest DB John along for the ride. Our system was simple: everyone gets a different beer and we all sample away. Our system failed us at King Brewing. We got the Weissbeir, the IPA, and the Irish Red. If you kidnapped my future children and forced me to do a blind taste test to distinguish these three beers, my first words to my wife would be "We can always have more kids."

Best Man- Scott from Michigan Brewing Company was very helpful in our drunken inquiries. Not only did he invite us to return to his facility, which has expanded by a factor of ten since we last toured, but he also donated some beer tokens to our cause just to get us to try their Russian Imperial Stout. Wonderful stout, scott. We are definitely coming to visit.

Best Brew- This is the one category that everyone wins! Ok, ok. If you had to force me to pick just one, I was really impressed with what Grizzly Peak did with their Bear Paws Porter. Maybe it was the heat, maybe the drinks. Maybe it was the lead singer in the band who looked like a cross between Grace Slick and Stevie Nicks in the later years, yet sang like neither. I couldn't tell you. All I can say is this: stars were aligned for Grizzly Peak that day and, when asked, the band did give us MORE COWBELL!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Your Beer Trivia for the Day...

Thanks to Jacob The Badger for enlightening us with this tidbit:

"Mind your P' and Q's" comes from an old English pub phrase. When a barkeep was serving, he kept mindful watch on the drinks he gave to each patron in order to accurately asses the tab. In other words, to mind the pints and quarts of brew he was serving. Eventually this became shortened and put in a slang vernacular.

Friday, July 21, 2006

A comedy of ales

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Matt and I, along with our friend Hilary, brewed a batch of beer - our first in over a year I believe. Matt packed the necessary equipement in the trunk of his car and headed over to my place. We stopped by Things Beer in Webberville for some malt, barley, hops and yeast.

Now, brewing beer is not exactly like riding a bicycle. Just because you had it figured out before doesn't mean you'll return hitting the ground running... or, biking. Well, maybe you will if you have all the proper equipment. Part way through the process, we realized we were missing a few things. Brewing beer is not that hard, but it helps enormously to have good quality brewing gear. Otherwise, you'll end up doing what we did at my house:

In the first stage of brewing, you put all your grains in "grain bags" which are sort of a cross between a sock and a tea bag. You put these socks in a pot with a few quarts of water to get all the flavor out of them, making several quarts of what is basically a beer concentrate. In step one, we were missing a thermometer, so we used a meat thermometer. It would have been fine except we kept almost burning ourselves trying to use it. On top of that, the temperature of the wort (beer concentrate) fluctuated wildly. And when we finally thought we had it holding steady, it turned out that the temperature was only steady in the middle of the pot and it was ten degrees hotter near the edge. I don't know what happens when you let this happen to your beer, but we're gonna find out as soon as it's ready to drink.

In the second stage, we tranferred the wort to a bigger pot to boil for an hour with the hops and an extra gallon of water. No major messes here.

In the third stage, we attempted to filter the beer into the fermenting tank. At this point, there's lots of residue from the grains and hops making the beer cloudy. Having lost the funnel/filter we used to have, we were forced to use a grain sock to pour the beer through. This was a three person ordeal in my backyard with Matt and I using potholders to handle the cumbersome six gallon boiling pot and Hilary trying to steady the kitchen funnel we found with a grain sock stretched over it. It was messy.

The beer is now fermenting happily in my basement. I'm pleased to announce that on Thursday I measured its gravity and it's ready to be bottled. After that it will be roughly another week before it's ready to drink. Keep your fingers crossed!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Summer Brewfest is HERE!

Great Singing Samson! The Michigan Brewer's Guild is holding their Summer Brewfest this weekend! Rejoice one and all! This will actually be the first time the DBs have attended this function even though this is its ninth incarnation. This year we will be on the beat examining every nook and cranny of this fermented funhouse, this lager love-a-thon. We will be visiting all three beer tents and enjoying the lovely demonstration of homebrewing by the American Hombrewers Association.

Those who would like to join in the festivities need only to show up. They spread this sudsy soiree over two days (July 21st and 22nd) in the city of Ypsilanti, but we will be in attendance only saturday (the 22nd). If you buy the tix in advance they are only $30 online.

Of course, not everyone will be able to attend. Lucky for you "pour" souls (HA!), we are going to have complete coverage on this Blog! We all hope to see you there at this pilsner party! This barley bruhaha! This... hoppy.... Sock hop....

And I'm done.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Beer in the news

In the interest of timeliness, I'd like to bring your attention to an interesting article about wheat beers in the New York Times (to read NYTimes articles, you have to register, but it's free and worth it). There's a cool narrated slideshow accompanying it, reviewing beers that I assume must be available in the NY region. I haven't tried any of them as most of them are not available here in East Lansing. Not unlike our Drinking Buddies tastings, this wheat beer review judges each beer according to incongruent standards. Check out our review of locally available hefeweisens here.

As for myself, I agree completely with the author of this article: Wheat beers are wonderfully refreshing in summer. In case you're not enjoying the midwest summer, it's in the mid-90s here in Michigan and the heat index is over 100 degrees. Obviously it's important to keep hydrated (remember, beer is a diuretic), but wheat beer is a great way to keep cool. Blue Moon, available everywhere, is great in the summer, but I just can't bring myself to drink it in the winter.

Comments on your favorite wheat beer or summer refresher?

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Deceit of Miller Park

Talking with my friend Jake the other day, I got into a discussion that I have wanted to have for some time. Jake is an Avid Wisconsin fan. He loves the cheese, the school, the Packers, everything. Since he is the only Wisconsin-ite I know, I decided to pick his brain at a question that has even the great beer minds pondering: Does Miller Park (home of the Milwaukee Brewers) have cheap beer for its fans?

My reasoning for yes is quite simple. The team is the Brewers. The park is owned by Miller. They might understand that most patrons want a good beer. Therefore, there is no middleman or greedy corporate raider establishing an $100 light beer price as if the park were its own nation with a beer-based economy and a horrible exchange rate. I happen to believe a beer based economy would actually make prices cheaper on everything and create peace and stability, but I digress.

Unfortuntely, Milwaukee is not the utopia everyone thinks it is. The beer is the same as everywhere else in Major League Baseball. This article I found on confirms Jake's news. Most of the decent beer is in the $6 dollar-and-up range and that is, of course, whatever beer Miller will allow into its park. The Miller light is somewhat cheap, but nowhere near the bargain I would expect from a beer themed park. Dreams...shattered....can't....carry....on.......

Monday, July 10, 2006

Mystery beer

Matt and I brewed last Friday with our friend Hilary. Details are forthcoming as to the actual brewing. What I'd like to tell you about now is our adventure in tasting. As this was the first beer we'd brewed in a while, and the first brewing session that I'd taken a lead role in, I was doing a good amount of screwing up. I'm optimistic about the outcome, but I was stressing about whether I was doing everything correctly. Luckily, Matt was able to assuage my worries by invoking the timeless wisdom of Charlie Papazian. "Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew," he told me. So we did.

As I mentioned a moment ago, it's been some time since we last brewed. I found three bottles of homebrew in the basement mini-fridge. I'm not sure exactly how old they were as Matt and I do not employ born-on dating technology (don't want to be sued by Anheuser-Busch). Anyway, it's been over a year. They were unlabeled. Mystery beer no. 1 turned out to be our failed attempt at a clone of Belhaven's Best. It was sweet, uncarbonated and tasted like molasses. That one went down the drain after a few sips. The sad thing was that you could taste the potential in that beer.

Mystery beer no. 2 was one of our first attempts at brewing, dating back to 2004. It was an excellent porter, with some coffee and chocolate-roasted grains. The flavor was rich but not overly heavy - quite drinkable. Sadly, there was only one of these to split between the three of us as mystery beer no. 3 turned out to be another dud from the same batch as mystery beer no. 1.

Luckily, in a few weeks we'll have another batch of homebrew to enjoy. It's so much tastier when it's your own hard work (unless you screw it up, in which case relaxing with a homebrew is not an option).

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Some Drinking Buddies history

Back in the quaint days of 2004 - way before the days of Brangelina - the Dynamic Duo of Ryan and Matt (Myan? Ratt?) decided that the best way to earn beer money was to write brilliant articles about what they knew best. While the articles were less than Pulitzer material, the pay was meager, and the area of our expertise was limited to beer, the "Drinking Buddies" became a Thursday cult phenomenon in The State News. These articles are the origins of the Drinking Buddies Blog you are perusing today. Now, on the anniversary of Nothing in Particular, we have provided the individual links to the original 20+ articles that shared our love of beer with the city of East Lansing. Soon, I'll put this up as a link in the sidebar.

Beers help keep summer spirit alive (9/2/04)
Drinking Buddies: 'Tour de bar,' part 1 (9/9/04)
Drinking Buddies: 'Tour de bar,' part 2 (9/16/04)
Buddies tour tailgating spots to interview 'U' party people (9/23/04)
Drinking buddies tour wonderful wheat beers (9/30/04)
Drinking Buddies debate state of American beer (10/7/04)
Drinking Buddies give top ten tips for home brewing success (10/14/04)
Drinking Buddies discuss favorite Halloween brews (10/21/04)
Buddies explore brewery, find new beer technology (10/28/04)
Drinking buddies explain the art of creating your own brew (11/4/04)
Drinking Buddies answer imaginary beer questions (11/11/04)
Buddies enter Bell's brewery to learn the secrets of the Oberon (11/18/04)
Buddies cook with beer at Thanksbeergiving (12/2/04)
Buddies explore winter brews (12/9/04)
Drinking buddy receives visit from beer ghosts (1/13/05)
Drinking buddies analyze affordable 40-ounce beers (1/20/05)
How to be a beer snob (1/27/05)
Buddies soak up sake, Japanese beer (2/3/05)
Weird beers test taste buds (2/10/05)
Buddies inform readers on how to woo dates with cheap wine (2/17/05)
WEB ONLY: Women and beer (2/24/05)
Non alcoholic beer tastes nasty (3/3/05)
Slainté! (3/17/05) <--Our St. Patty's day special
Drinking buddies road trip across Mich., induldge in brewpub history (3/31/05)
Buddies spew beer history, find wood chips in fermentation tanks (4/7/05)
Part deux in Drinking Buddies' tour of Mich. breweries (4/14/05)
Saying goodbye with summer brews (4/28/05)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Your Sport, Your Beer

You may wonder if the beer you drink tells something about you. You are right. Like your mom after too many mimosas, your beer is all too telling of you and your lifestyle. But is the reverse true as well? Could what you do tell someone what you drink? Perhaps by what sport? Luckily, through the miracle of no scientific research whatsoever I have deduced the sport you champion is directly related to the beer you drink. Let us discuss:

Football- Manly, manly sport. If you watch this sport you are manly. You also have manly needs, such as three different kinds of meat on your burger. This is a sport of inches, a war on the ol' gridiron. You will need a beer that doesn't bother with the inconsequential of too much flavor. It must get you drunk enough to watch your team which, statistically speaking, is losing right now. And, DAMMIT, it must be American! For this sport of kings you probably drink the King of Beers:

Soccer- In light of the World Cup, this has to go next on the list. If you are a fan of Soccer (or "the other football" as it is known in some countries) you are most likely a hooligan, a victim of a hooligan, a streaker, or David Beckham. Assuming you are not Beckham, you wake up at around 6 AM to head to the pub on the day of the game for some pre-match fun. Your busy hooligan/victim/naked schedule does not allow time for meals, so you need a drink that will be a meal for you. There is only one beer that drinks like a meal. It also gives you strength: Guinness

Tennis- You are an elitist jerk, but don't let that stop you from enjoying a good brew. You probably knew right away that Anna Kournikova was going nowhere and gloated to all your friends when she did. Your friends didn't care because she was hot. As such, you need a beer with a pretentious foreign flare but is also available almost everywhere. It also must be light, because anything heavy "throws off your forehand.": Amstel Light

Baseball- You need a drink to fill the gaps in the action when they change innings, change sides, change pitchers, talk on the mound, step out of the box, go into wind up, wait for the rain to clear, finish the national anthem, talk on the mound again, try to pick off a runner and fail, step out of the box again, and change to another pitcher after about three pitches. Needless to say, you will be drinking a lot. But it's summer and you want to be able to still get out of your seat when that errant foul ball comes screaming your way. Therefore if you must go light, you will go:
Miller Light

Golf- You are a wiener: Rolling Rock

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

There are other beer bloggers on the interweb!

Egads! Apparently, we're not the only folks blogging about beer on the 'net. The truth is, I knew this all along, but I didn't want to upset our loyal readers. It's time for the curtain to come down: The Drinking Buddies are not the omniscient gods of beer knowledge that you've made us out to be. Or that we've made ourselves out to be. Anyway.

If our blog is not quite enough to quench your thirst for beer reading, here's a list of links to other brew blogs and sites. Of particular note is A Good Beer Blog from which I recently learned about the deal between Anheuser-Busch and FIFA that allows them to sell exclusively A-B beers at the World Cup in Germany. You might have guessed the local reaction was not that of enthusiasm. I also learned that we now have some big time competition from Miller Brewing Co. and their new Brew blog. Not too much competition though, as their blog focuses mostly on industry news, as opposed to our blog, which focuses on things about beer that are interesting.

The word "quench" makes me thirsty so I'm gonna go see what kind of brews I've got in the mini-fridge.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Phantom Brews? Secret Breweries?

I had a chance to try Gila Monster Amber Lager today through a friend of mine. He got the samples through "special means" because this particular beer is a rare find in Michigan. I had never heard of this beer before, nor it's brewery, which claims to be Steinhaus Brewing Company. I say claims to be because when I searched for more information on the brewers, very little was found. On the label, it lists the Steinhaus location to be New Ulm, Minnesota. Yet the only brewery located in New Ulm is actually August Schell Brewing Company! Mystery of Mysteries....

Further inspection on the internet yields no claims by August Schell to have anything to do with Gila Monster.There are even claims that this phantom brew is actually made in California! So I ask any readers in Cali or the land of 10,000 lakes to help us solve this mystery. Any or all information will be rewarded with.... something. Possibly just a thank you and shout out.

In other news, I understand that Coors Brewing might be sealing in that "Appalachian" flavor soon. Since distribution is tough when you ship cold from the Rockies, a contact has recently let me know that things are in the works for a West Virginia facility. Of course, I never back up baseless rumors with plain old boring fact and Coors has made no formal announcements, so take it with a grain of salt. It's definitely something to ponder!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Ryan's beer crusade

I mentioned in an earlier post that I'm trying to ease my girlfriend into appreciating beer. She's been a good sport so far, and I think I'm making progress. I started with a safe choice, Lindemans Framboise. This is a raspberry-flavored Belgian lambic beer. A lambic is a beer brewed using spontaneous fermentation in the Payottenland region of Belgium (thanks Wikipedia). If it's not made there, it's "lambic-style," sort of like Champagne vs. sparkling wine. Spontaneous fermentation means they leave the fermenting tanks open and wild yeast floats in from the woods. Translation: this beer is expensive. It turned out to be worth it because my girlfriend liked it. I like it too, but not because it tastes like beer but because it tastes like sparkling fruit juice.

My second attempt was Orange Blossom Cream Ale from Buffalo Bill's Brewery in Hayward California, found at a local supermarket. It tastes like a cross between beer and orange soda, and is a great refresher on a hot day. It's a bit fruity for my purist tastes, but an interesting change. I think it'd be great to bring to a cookout to pass around. My girlfriend said she liked it, but I wasn't sure. Validation came when I noticed, two days later, that she'd had one of the beers when I wasn't there. Later, when I asked about it, she said she "would drink it at a party, but it was still too 'beery.'"

This might be a dead end, but I'm not giving up yet. I think my next step will be Blue Moon or some other fruit-flavored beers. I'll keep you posted.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Real Men of Genius

As I mentioned in my previous post, beer commercials are some of the best and most entertaining in the business. And Bud Light’s “Real Men of Genius” TV and radio ads are no exception.

Now I know the following is only slightly beer related, and that college football season is still a couple months away. But since beer and football go together like peanut butter and ladies, when I found this little gem in a friend’s AIM profile, I couldn’t help myself, I had to post it.


"Bud Light presents Real Men of Genius" (Reaaaaal Men Of Genius) Today we salute you, Mr. Delusional Michigan Fan (Mr. Delusional Michigan Faaaaaan!)

Season after season, year after year, you try to justify your
absurdly high preseason ranking (clutching at straws!)

Season after season, year after year, you scramble to make futile
attempts at damage control when the Wolverines lose to a grossly
inferior opponent (How'd Northwestern score fifty fouuuuuur?)

Inevitably, you'll bring up the past, and boast of National Championships
won 40 years before you were born (those were the daaaaaays!)

You will point out that you have more wins than any other program as though
that is relevant to the current season (been playing since the 1870s!)

Go on, ignore that home loss to your arch rival in the regular
season finale (Reeeeespect the VEST) and continue to believe that you'll defeat your bowl opponent with striking ease (we'll win by thirteeeeeeey!)

So crack open an ice cold Bud Light, oh Emperor of Excuses, and take comfort knowing that when you don't finish in the top 25, you'll be back to number three when the preseason polls come out next year (Mr.Delusional Michigan Fan!)"

Go Green.


Monday, June 19, 2006

The Third Leg

Hi bloggers and bloggettes. I’d like to introduce myself as one of the “friends with pretty good taste buds” that my partners in crime previously mentioned. As roomate to Matt, I was privileged to have an exclusive behind-the-scenes hand in the original Drinking Buddies column, or in other words all of the fun with none of the notoriety.

Why I remained fairly anonymous in the State News (aside form a few quotes or one-liners) I accompanied the buddies on most all of their beer related misadventures. From the Spring Break Brewery Tour, to (cringe) 40s night, I was there to lend an opinion, and well, mooch on the free beer. Along the way I gained a more educated beer palette, some home brewing expertise, and a whole lot of great (sometimes foggy) memories.

Now that the buddies have gone digital I can really open up the throttle on my beer related banter. While many beer columns might debate the taste of one beer over another, I intend to focus on beer in the broader sense. To look at beer as a part of our society, to study it in its natural environment, and tackle it like a crazy khaki clad Australian.

I’ll Look at things such as beer’s relationship with sports, from pro football and NASCAR, all the way down to the bench of the company softball team. I’ll explore beer advertising, and its fantastic entertainment value. And who knows maybe along the way I’ll be able to convince these other clowns that even Keystone Light has a place in the beer universe (beer pong anyone).

So, that’s my story and I’m stickin to it. If you have any beer questions you’d like to see answered just let us know. And if we can’t answer them, we can sure as hell make something up. Stay Tuned. Cheers!


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Attention Hollywood: Make a beer movie

I own a copy of the Oscar Nominated film Sideways. While I can appreciate wine, I would not characterize myself as a wine person, let alone snob. Overcoming this obstacle is why I credit Sideways for making me care about wine. The brilliance of the film is getting me to care about not only the wine, but the saggy and extremely un-likeable lead actors. Only one thing could get me to appreciate the film more. That is of course beer.

But, alas, this is not a beer movie but a wine movie. Then again, has there ever been a beer movie? Honestly quiz yourself: Think of four movies about wine, where wine is central to the plot, or take place on a vineyard or in a winery (I can think of five, one of which is a Keanu Reeves movie).

Now, same question but with beer. Troubled? If I don't count the movie they show at the Guinness Brewery Tour, I am duped. This is why I am appealing to all the Hollywood exec types out there to make a beer movie. We even have a proven formula to work with:

Two men go on one last journey as they tour the beer country in Germany, or possibly the Czech Republic. Along the way they discover great beers, hot ladies (including a hot Biergarten waitress studying to become a brewer), and, of course, themselves. Rolling fields of 2-row barley set the background for the next great sleeper dramedy: Askew.

This would require that we cast a perennially support actor in the lead actor slot. Since Hank Azaria is too good looking for our sad sack anti-hero, I would suggest we give John C. Reilly a call. You may remember him as that guy who was in that movie and almost won that award for something. That's exactly the kind of memorable anonymity we need to skyrocket this movie.

Of course, The Drinking Buddies are more than willing to accept your offers as beer consultants for the film. Just remember your Oscar ballots for 2007! Askew! Coming SOON!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Acquired tastes are worth acquiring

Some people like beer from the very first sip, but for many, it's an acquired taste. I fall into the former category. I recall a summer barbeque at a neighbor's when I was in fifth grade. There was non-alcoholic beer in the cooler and I asked my parents if I could try it, but the answer was "no." So my friend and I snuck a can and drank it in the side yard. The forbidden fruit was delicious. I didn't really start drinking beer until college, but the seed was planted.

The dominant stereotype, and general reality, is college guys drink beer. Hailing from Michigan State University, we here at Drinking Buddies know a thing or two about college beer life. I think many guys come to college and drink beer until they like it so they can fit in. It must take a while because I imagine it takes a while to acquire a taste for a 40 of King Cobra. Still, good beer, like an Elvis Costello album, is best appreciated when you take a long time to absorb it.

Women seem to be excused from the college beer culture, but this is unfair. I doubt that a taste for beer is testosterone-linked. Therefore, I am trying to ingratiate my girlfriend into the world of brews, but that's another post. I'll keep you updated.

Stay tuned this weekend for another beer review.


Monday, June 12, 2006

New Grist Loses Barley. Does it lose fun too?

A short while ago we held ourselves a little Drinking Buddies Barbeque, celebrating nothing in particular. Since the summer begins officially in June, you should start adding the new summer brews to your own BBQs, which is exactly what we did. This session's victim? Lakefront Brewery’s New Grist.

Now, we personally have not heard too much about Lakefront, but that’s not to say that it is not popular. The Drinking Buddies are only a handful of stout young lads (and sometimes lasses) that can only trek so far across the globe. The quick rundown on Lakefront is that they are nestled up to the Milwaukee River in Milwaukee “Sin City,” Wisconsin. They are not specific how many brews they have, but we suspect it settles in at about 16. They’ve been around since 1987, which puts them at the beginnings of the microbrew era and also awards them kudos for staying power.

New Grist is a specialty line. It is curiously brewed without barley. That’s right: ZERO BARLEY. In fact, it claims to be completely free of “any gluten containing products” and the first to do so authorized by Uncle Sam himself (gluten is a protein in grains, some people have bad reactions to it). This, combined with their All-Organic ESB (Extra Special Bitter) beer puts Lakefront immediately under hippy-suspicion. We’re watching you Lakefront, watching you with the watchful eye of watch-iness. One more Hemp-flavored ale and we’ll call you out.

Its barley replacement is sorghum and rice. Rice, as you might know, is pretty common in today’s mass market beers such as Budweiser and Miller Genuine Draft to get a cleaner, weaker taste. Sorghum is slightly less popular. In fact, we don’t even know what is really is, so we handed this load over to Wikipedia. According to them sorghum “is a genus of about 20 species of grasses, native to tropical and subtropical regions of Eastern Africa, with one species native to Mexico. The plant is cultivated in Southern Europe, Central America and Southern Asia. Other names include Durra, Egyptian Millet, Feterita, Guinea Corn, Jowar, Juwar, Kaffircorn, Milo, Shallu and Sudan Grass…”


“Sorghum is used for food, fodder, and the production of alcoholic beverages.”

There we go! So, sorghum is a grass used in alcoholic beverages. Good enough for us. As for our assessment, it was a little less technical. Most everyone detected a citrus overtone that was more sweet than tart. This probably distracted from what could have made this beer really unique. Our panelist James had a first impression that was unmistakable:

“I picture myself in a junkyard on a sunny day with no clouds, walking through pieces of junk, seeing lots of rust and orange. That’s about the only way I could be happy drinking this beer.”

So first impressions were not savory, but most everyone agreed that the beer grew on them eventually. By his second bottle, Ryan was sipping away happily. Both the first impression and a distinct mellow finish after a while to blend the flavors together for the long haul. Perhaps, like a jam band, that was Lakefront’s idea all along. Hippies, pair this beer with tofu kebabs and veggie burgers.

P.S. If you want more gluten free beers, there's weirdos like you on the internet! Check out!

-Matt (with collaboration from Ryan, Dan and James)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Post 2: Post Harder

I heartily welcome you to our new Drinking Buddies blog!

As my associate previously outlined in the very first post, a large part of this blog will be devoted to what we know best. Or at least what we think we know. As mentioned, we wrote many articles for the pure appeasement of our many adoring fans. We went all over the state to find the scoop, sometimes traveling for hours just to get sauced by a local brewer and his (or her) fine creations. We have done every kind of tour and tried almost every kind of beer, but what still astounds me is that there is still a huge amount we have yet to explore.

I do not want to mislead the blogging public, however. Drinking Buddies has been many things, but there are a few things it is just not. We're not the type of guys who build a mountain of Keystone Light and hold competitions on who can shotgun the most without puking. Not to say that we won't report on that kind of activity (or that we haven't already), but the "getting wasted" part is not a focus. Usually a side effect, but not a focus. We are also not pretentious assholes...mostly. While life is too short to drink bad beer, being too snobby about beer ruins the very thing that makes beer fun! Drinking is something that everyone with a reasonable fake ID can enjoy. If you share that sentiment, then you'll get along fine with us. Heck, maybe you'll even chime in on something you like/hate/think is OK/got "really wasted" on. It's your world, dude! We're just blogging in it.

Don't Drink and Drive
Be responsible enough to not die.
Wear a condom.
Watch out for Bird Flu.

Ok, that's all I have to say. I hope you check back and see what's "brewing" (the hit's just keep on coming!) in the coming weeks. Cheers!


The first post!

As I'm writing this, the blog is still less than an hour old. Having just created it, I'm taking the liberty of writing the inaugural post - introducing it to the world... the blogosphere, the internet.

I have a bunch of ideas and hopes for this blog, but first, let me fill you in a bit on our backstory. During the 2004-2005 academic year, Matt and I wrote a beer column for our college newspaper, The State News, dubbed Drinking Buddies by our editor. We had a great time writing it, racking up about two dozen Thursday articles. It was fairly popular and got a decent amout of positive feedback. Anyway, we've since moved on, thinking our beer-writing days were over. Well, we're back for a second act, and we're going to rock it!

I think this new format will be a great outlet for the Drinking Buddies. With no restrictions on format or length, we can try out different types of posts. Soon, I'll be making links to all the original State News articles so you can check those out if you like. I imagine we'll be revisiting some of the topics from those articles. In the blog, we hope to put together some longer posts that will be a bit more formal, reminiscent of the newspaper column format. But we'll also have smaller, individual updates in the interim. We'll try to get some pictures in here too to break up the text a bit and also to give you photographic evidence that we're having more fun than you. :) Also, we'll open it up to more writers than just Matt and I. Matt and I were the beer guys, but we've got some friends with pretty good taste bud that might want to have a say, not to mention our homebrewing friends and maybe even someone who can teach us a bit about wines or liquors.

Any thoughts Matt?