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?