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The Lois Beer Club

Viewing life through the bottom of a Pilsner Glass

Archive for December, 2012

Beer Myths Debunked

Taken From Thatsthespirit.com

It’s always a  good time to turn our collective attention to some of the outdated myths about beer that continue in circulation even today, when we have such a wealth of diverse brews at our disposal.

By Stephen Beaumont


Myth #1: Dark beer is heavy


Couldn’t be further from the truth, folks. Colour in beer comes purely from the grain used in its creation, with darker beers containing more toasted or roasted barley malt and paler beers containing less or no darker malts. And roasting malt doesn’t make it heavier or more caloric.

Learn more about dark beer.

We all know our usual New Year’s resolutions aren’t always particularly exciting.  They normally involve things like losing weight, or breaking a bad habit. While those types of resolutions are important,  this list is much more fun. Expand your love and knowlege of craft beer in the new year.  Add one of these resolutions (they’re in no particular order) to your list and get ready for 2013!

10. Introduce someone to craft beer.

9. Try at least one new beer a month.

8. Participate in an American Craft Beer Week event.

7. Host or attend a beer tasting.  We even have a video to help you!

6. Cook with craft beer!  We’re adding new recipes to CraftBeer.com all the time. Also try Honestcooking,com  recipe section— get tips and tricks for cookingwith craft beer

5. Give craft beer or brewery gear as a present.

4. Learn more about your favorite beverage; read a book on beer or brewing. Find tons of information at BeerAdvocate.com.

3. Experience a beer festival.

2. Plan a side-trip to a brewery on your next vacation.

1. Bring craft beer to a housewarming, dinner party or a garage near you.

Sam Adams Winter Lager Cookies

Baking cookies around the holidays is a Samuel Adams favorite among our brewers. And like all our favorite things, we take to it the only way we know how – by adding beer!While we know a thing or two about brewing, we tapped some real baking professionals for ideas on how to create this year’s batch of Samuel Adams Winter Lager cookies.

We’re excited to collaborate with LuLu’s Sweet Shoppe of Boston and Colonel De Gourmet Herbs and Spices of Cincinnati – both proud participants in our Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program – to create our Winter Lager cookie recipe. While the recipe comes courtesy of Sandy Russo at LuLu’s Sweet Shoppe, Colonel De Gourmet Herbs and Spices provided the spices we needed to add the holiday flavor.

Samuel Adams® Winter Lager Cookie

Recipe by Sandy Russo of Lulu’s Sweet Shoppe


  • ½ cup Samuel Adams Winter Lager
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp ginger
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp orange powder
  • 2 Tbsp orange zest
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 1 egg

Winter Lager & Cookes #2Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter and sugar for 3 minutes, add molasses, beat for 1 minute.  Add the egg & beer, beat 30 seconds.

Combine flour, salt, spices and baking soda.  On lowest speed of mixer, beat in half of the flour mixture.  Using a spoon, stir in remaining dry ingredients. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 2-3 portions; press each into a round, flattened disk and wrap well. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Roll dough to ¼” thickness and cut into perfect pint shapes. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet & bake for 10-15 minutes, until edges are lightly browned.

Royal Icing (optional):

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 lb. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract or pure vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in bowl and beat on medium high for 10 minutes. Icing will become thick and glossy. Spread over cookies immediately and enjoy!

Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas — and not Great Lakes Christmas Ale — was selected as the best holiday beer by 60 people participating in the “12 Beers of Christmas” tasting this week at D’Agneses Trattoriain Akron. Earlier, I reported that Great Lakes was chosen as the top beer by mistake. My apologies.

Troegs Mad Elf finished a close second, and Southern Tier 2XMAS was third.

In addition to Thirsty Dog, Troegs and Southern Tier, the event featured Great Lakes Christmas Ale, Avery Old Jubilation, Goose Island Christmas Ale, Anchor Steam Merry Christmas Ale, Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve, Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, Breckenridge Christmas Ale, Bell’s Christmas Ale and Great Divide Hibernation Ale.


10 Best Beer Movies

  • #1
  • #2
  • #3
    Strange Brew

    Strange Brew - Original Trailer

    Strange Brew – Original Trailer(01:41) 47 views


  • #4

    Beer 1985 scene Not black enough.mov

    Beer 1985 scene Not black enough.mov(02:02) 33 views

    The movie is pretty terrible but David Alan Grier makes up for it!

  • #5
    Animal House

    Animal House 1978 TV trailer

    Animal House 1978 TV trailer(00:31) 8 views


12 (Days) of Useless Beer Facts

Unlike wines, most beers should be stored upright to minimize oxidation and metal or plastic contamination from the cap.  High-alcohol ales, however, which continue to ferment in their corked bottles, should be stored on their sides.

Studying the experimentally induced intoxicated behavior of ants in 1888, naturalist John Lubbock noticed that the insects that had too much to drink were picked up by nest mates and carried home.  Conversely, drunken strangers were summarily tossed in a ditch.

Despite the month implied by its name, Munich’s annual 16-day Oktoberfest actually begins in mid-September and ends on the first Sunday in October.

The familiar Bass symbol, a red triangle, was registered in 1876 and is the world’s oldest trademark.

According to a journal entry from 1636, farm workers in the colony of Quebec not only received an allowance of flour, lard, oil, vinegar, and codfish; they were also given “a chopine of cider a day or a quart of beer.”

In 1965, a Belgian royal decree mandated that lambics must contain a minimum of 35% wheat.  It also ordered that labels state the name and location of the brewery.

Beck’s in not only Germany’s top export beer, it also accounts for 85% of all German beer exports to the United States.

Pennsylvania has had more breweries in its history than any other state.  In 1910 alone, 119 of the state’s towns had at least one licensed beermaker.

In their efforts to regulate beer quality, the ancient Babylonians, who were among history’s earliest brewers, decreed that any commercial beermaker who sold unfit beer would be drowned in his/her own libation.

Bottle caps, or “crowns,” were invented in Baltimore in 1892 by William Painter.  Painter proved his invention’s worth when he convinced a local brewer to ship a few hundred cases of beer to South America and back and they returned without a leak.

Beer advertising matchbook covers have become sought-after collectibles on Internet auction sites.  A 1916 matchbook promoting Brehm’s Brewery in Baltimore brought $43, while a 1930s cover promoting Eastside Beer from Los Angeles went for $36.

Beer and video games have a long association.  Tapper, originally a 1983 arcade game and now a computer one, tests players’ skills by challenging them to coordinate the movements of beers, a bartender, empty mugs, and patrons.

Japanese Beer Artist

When Japanese artist Macaon downs several cans of beer, he is doing it for his art. When he is done with the content, the creative beer lover recycles the cans in a unique way, turning the cylindrical aluminum into famous cartoon characters and game personalities.

In the photograph above, several cans have been transformed by the artist into Decepticon from Transformers. Friends for life, Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear and Woody, were made from colourful beer cans that are true to the original characters

Other artworks from the unique include a mask of Star Wars villain Darth Vader, using silver cans of Japanese beer. He also twists some red, blue and black cans into the famous gaming icon, Super Mario.

Another character he brings to life from aluminum cans is Disney’s robot Wall-E, the trash-compacting robot.

The cans are carefully selected for colour and skillfully manipulated to look like these characters we know and love. Comic characters are not all Macaon forms from his cans. The artist also has a collection of animals, especially dogs, and other more whimsical creation. Photos can be seen on his website.

Christmas Gifts for the Beer Lover

I don’t know about you but there are always a few people on my list for whom choosing gifts is especially difficult.  They either seem to have everything that they could possibly want or I have no idea what to get them.  If you have someone like that on your list who loves beer here are a few gifts that they will certainly enjoy.

1. Buy Them a Beer Online

This works especially well with distant friends. Here’s how it works: You go to a website that offers this service. You buy your friend a beer or pretty much any kind of drink. They are contacted by the site with the news that they now have a credit to go out and have a drink on you. Want to give it a try? Check out YouGotBeer.com or Beer2Buds.com. These sites work quite differently from each other so check them both out.


Beer-of-the-Month-Clubwww.GreatClubs.com/BeerOfTheMonth12-Pack of 4 Unique Brands Monthly. Low Price Guaranteed. $25 Off!

Unique Christmas Giftswww.PersonalizationMall.comPersonalized Gifts For The Holidays With Free Engraving & Fast Delivery

Gourmet Gift Basketswww.GourmetGiftBaskets.comUnique Gift Baskets from $24.99. Satisfaction Guaranteed. Buy Today!

2. Magazines

There are some really good beer magazines out there.
All About Beer, US – Every issue is packed with industry news, articles that study beer in depth, and a ratings section that rates hundreds of beers.
Beer & Brewer, Australia and New Zealand – A quarterly that features industry news, beer & food matching, home brewing tips and beer tasting notes.
Draft, US – This magazine focuses beer drinking culture. Glossier and with a little less depth than the others, it is good for idle thumbing.
Beer Advocate, US – This is the ultimate craft beer lover’s publication from the owners of BeerAdvocate.com.

3. Beer Books

Every year there are new books about beer on the shelves. Here are some recent titles of interest:
Red, White, and Brew by Brian Yaeger – This is an entertaining book about one man’s beer odyssey as he explores the American craft beer scene, one brewery at a time.
Christmas Beer – This wonderful little book features reviews of author Don Russell’s fifty favorite Christmas beers as well as some entertaining histories and anecdotes about Christmas beer.
The Brewmaster’s Table- Perfect for the gourmand beer lover, this book explores the pleasures in the relationship between real beer and real food.

4. Breweriana

Collecting beer memorabilia is something that all beer lovers do at one level or another. Whether it be a labeled pint glass or two from favorite breweries or a rare 19th century bottle from a long gone brewer these items represent brand loyalty, devotion to the brew, and the owner’s particular love of beer. You can find signage, glasses, bottle openers, key-chains, and all sort of other things from you beer lover’s favorite brewery. If the brewery itself doesn’t have a website with items for sale – and most do these days – then you can usually find collectibles from many breweries on EBay.

5. Clothing

Beer themed clothing will also go over well with most beer lovers. Make sure, though, that if you are buying brand specific beer clothing that it is from a brand your beer lover actually likes! Most breweries sell tee shirts and caps. Some also offer pants, jackets, gloves, and pretty much any other article of clothing that you could think of with their logos emblazoned on them.


Aroma: A wide range of aromatics is possible, although many examples are reminiscent of Christmas cookies, gingerbread, Englishtype Christmas pudding, spruce trees, or mulling spices. Any combination of aromatics that suggests the holiday season is welcome. The base beer style often has a malty profile that supports the balanced presentation of the aromatics from spices and possibly other special ingredients. Additional fermentables (e.g., honey, molasses, maple syrup, etc.) may lend their own unique aromatics. Hop aromatics are often absent, subdued, or slightly spicy. Some fruit character (often of dried citrus peel, or dried fruit such as raisins or plums) is optional but acceptable. Alcohol aromatics may be found in some examples, but this character should be restrained. The overall aroma should be balanced and harmonious, and is often fairly complex and inviting.

Appearance: Generally medium amber to very dark brown (darker versions are more common). Usually clear, although darker versions may be virtually opaque. Some chill haze is acceptable. Generally has a well-formed head that is often off-white to tan.

Flavor: Many interpretations are possible; allow for brewer creativity as long as the resulting product is balanced and provides some spice presentation. Spices associated with the holiday season are typical (as mentioned in the Aroma section). The spices and optional fermentables should be supportive and blend well with the base beer style. Rich, malty and/or sweet malt-based flavors are common, and may include caramel, toast, nutty, or chocolate flavors. May include some dried fruit or dried fruit peel flavors such as raisin, plum, fig, orange peel or lemon peel. May include distinctive flavors from specific fermentables (molasses, honey, brown sugar, etc.), although these elements are not required. A light spruce or other evergreen tree character is optional but found in some examples. The wide range of special ingredients should be supportive and balanced, not so prominent as to overshadow the base beer. Bitterness and hop flavor are generally restrained so as to not interfere with the spices and special ingredients. Generally finishes rather full and satisfying, and often has some alcohol flavor. Roasted malt characteristics are rare, and not usually stronger than chocolate.

Mouthfeel: A wide range of interpretations is possible. Body is generally medium to full, and a certain malty chewiness is often present. Moderately low to moderately high carbonation is typical. Many examples will show some well-aged, warming alcohol content, but without being overly hot. The beers do not have to be overly strong to show some warming effects. Overall Impression: A stronger, darker, spiced beer that often has a rich body and warming finish suggesting a good accompaniment for the cold winter season. History: Throughout history, beer of a somewhat higher alcohol content and richness has been enjoyed during the winter holidays, when old friends get together to enjoy the season. Many breweries produce unique seasonal offerings that may be darker, stronger, spiced, or otherwise more characterful than their normal beers. Spiced versions are an American or Belgian tradition, since English or German breweries traditionally do not use spices in their beer.

Ingredients: Generally ales, although some dark strong lagers exist. Spices are required, and often include those evocative of the Christmas season (e.g., allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger) but any combination is possible and creativity is encouraged. Fruit peel (e.g., oranges, lemon) may be used, as may subtle additions of other fruits. May use a wide range of crystal-type malts, particularly those that add dark fruit or caramel flavors. Flavorful adjuncts are often used (e.g., molasses, treacle, invert sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc.).

Comments: Overall balance is the key to presenting a well-made Christmas beer. The special ingredients should complement the base beer and not overwhelm it. The brewer should recognize that some combinations of base beer styles and special ingredients work well together while others do not make for harmonious combinations. THE ENTRANT MAY DECLARE AN UNDERLYING BEER STYLE AS WELL AS THE SPECIAL INGREDIENTS USED. THE BASE STYLE, SPICES OR OTHER INGREDIENTS NEED NOT BE IDENTIFIED. THE BEER MUST INCLUDE SPICES AND MAY INCLUDE OTHER FERMENTABLES (SUGARS, HONEY, MAPLE SYRUP, MOLASSES, TREACLE, ETC.) OR FRUIT. If the base beer is a classic style, the original style should come through in aroma and flavor. Whenever spices, herbs or additional fermentables are declared, each should be noticeable and distinctive in its own way (although not necessarily individually identifiable; balanced with the other ingredients is still critical). English-style Winter Warmers (some of which may be labeled Christmas Ales) are generally not spiced, and should be entered as Old Ales. Clones of specific Belgian-style Christmas ales should be entered as Belgian Specialty Beers.

Vital Statistics: OG, FG, IBUs, SRM and ABV will vary depending on the underlying base beer. ABV is generally above 6%, and most examples are somewhat dark in color.

Commercial Examples: Anchor Our Special Ale, Harpoon Winter Warmer, Weyerbacher Winter Ale, Goose Island Christmas Ale, North Coast Wintertime Ale, Great Lakes Christmas Ale, Samuel Adams Winter Lager

Drinking with George – Excerpt #2


A Proper Pint  

There are plenty of fine beers brewed in Ireland: Beamish, Harp, Kilkenny, Murphy’s, and Smithwick’s, to name a few. But when an Irishman (or woman) refers to “a proper pint,” they’re probably talking about Guinness. And the only way to appreciate a Guinness is to drink one pulled from the tap.

Unless you happen to live in Dublin, however, you’re not going to find a proper pint. You may think you’re drinking the real Guinness, but in the eyes of many Irish beer snobs, their sacred stout loses quality the farther away you get from the old brewery at St. James’s Gate.

My first visit to Ireland was a short one — an overnight trip to Belfast for an appearance on a local chat show. I made only one request of the show’s producers: I had to have a proper pint of Guinness. “No problem,” they assured me. ” We’ll take you out after the show.”

We wrapped around eleven P.M., which also happens to be closing time for most Irish pubs, but the producers promised me that they knew a place that was open. We entered a bar that didn’t look anything like the Irish pub in my mind’s eye — instead, a Liberace-clone played piano to screaming old ladies — but I wasn’t about to let the aesthetics interfere with my single-minded goal. “A pint of Guinness, please.”

The bartender raised his hands apologetically. “We don’t carry Guinness here.”

“All right,” I conceded. “How about a Murphy’s?” No. “Harp?” No. I worked my way through every Irish beer I knew. The bartender just shook his head each time. “So what do you have?” I finally asked.

“Bud, Bud Light, Coors, Coors Light…”

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ll happily drink any of those beers at an All-American picnic or a barbecue, preferably from a tub filled with ice. But not on my first trip to Ireland. Fortunately, a helpful waiter noticed my frustration. “I might be able to get you a Guinness,” he volunteered, sprinting across the street to a closing pub and returning with a couple of freshly poured glasses of the good stuff.

It was delicious, so much so that I later bragged about the experience to some of my Irish friends. They weren’t exactly impressed. “In Belfast, you say? That’s not a proper pint.”

It wouldn’t have mattered if I was in Kilkenny, Limerick, or Cork — I had to be in Dublin to drink a real Guinness. I wouldn’t find a reason to visit Dublin for several years, but when I did, I went straight for the teat, pulling a draft off a keg inside the brewery’s company store. I also bought a postcard for my Irish friends, inscribing it with the words “This proper enough for you?”

I got drunk for the first time when I was sixteen, at the 1965 World’s Fair in New York City, where I was visiting my sister, a hostess at the Illinois pavilion. During the day, the Fair was a testament to “Man’s Achievement on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe” and included the premiere of an animatronic Disney show called “It’s a Small World.” After midnight, once the mostly teenage staff was rid of the guests, the Fair became an international kegger. Party at the French pavilion! Party at the Japanese pavilion! I remember making a fool out of myself trying (unsuccessfully) to vault a hitching post at the Texas pavilion. Fortunately, my idiotic behavior escaped the notice of one of the other hostesses at the Illinois pavilion — my future wife, Bernadette. Small world, indeed.

I brought my taste for beer back home with me. But for Catholic teenagers in 1960s Chicago like me, with zero interest in politics or activism, there weren’t exactly a lot of opportunities to get wild and crazy. I spent the rest of the summer hanging out at Janson’s, a drive-in at 99th and Western. It was a lot like American Graffiti, except instead of souped-up hot rods, the kids drove their parents’ Plymouths.

One day my friend Terry Thulis and I got restless and wandered up the block to 100th Street, where we stumbled across a bar called Littleton’s. It was your standard neighborhood “old man” bar, dark and musty. Neither of us looked like old men: I was your typical sixteen-year-old kid, while Terry, a late bloomer, couldn’t have looked older than nine. But that didn’t stop us from dreaming. “Maybe they’ll serve us,” I said.

We poked our heads inside. It was dark. Very dark. Bizarrely dark. As our eyes adjusted, we saw that the place was nearly empty except for a couple of grizzled drunks at the bar. I nudged Terry. “Should we?”

We tried to look casual as we strode to the bar. The bartender was an older guy, maybe seventy, with white hair and eyes set so deep that you could hardly see them. He hummed a happy tune as he stacked some glasses, and he greeted us warmly when he noticed we were there. “Oh, hello!”

“We’d like a couple of drafts,” I said, hoping my voice wouldn’t crack.

“Coming right up!”

A few seconds later, he deposited a pair of beers in front of us. I looked at Terry in stunned disbelief. We emptied our glasses as fast as we could…and asked for two more.

“Sure thing!” the bartender replied. Chipper fellow. But there was something weird about his eyes….

“George,” Terry said, nudging me under the bar. “I think he’s blind.” He waved his hand toward the bartender. No reaction. I did the same. Still no reaction.

“I think you’re right!” I said. I looked over at the two drunks at the bar, who clearly weren’t blind. They were shaking their heads in disgust, universal sign language for “you little motherfuckers.”

“So wait a minute,” Terry whispered. “We have just found a bar, one block away from Janson’s, with a blind bartender who will serve us beer?”

“We can’t tell anyone,” I whispered back. “Not a word!” We quickly made a pact to keep our newfound oasis a secret.

Our “secret” lasted about fifteen minutes. By the following week, Littleton’s was overflowing with what used to be the Janson’s crowd: dozens of bicycles parked in front, a hundred rowdy teenagers inside. My guess is that the two old drunks tipped off the cops, who showed up that weekend to bust up the party.

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