May 20, 2018

Beer Break

Beer Break Vol. 3, No. 24
For your beer bookshelf

March 27, 2003

Two books that you might want to look for: "The Guinness Drinking Companion" by Leslie Dunkling and "The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasure of Real Beer with Real Food" by Garrett Oliver.


The first is the first paperback edition for the United States of a book copyrighted in 1992 and updated in 2002. Dunkling does not limit himself to beer; in fact, the most interesting parts of the book are the poems, bits of biography, and clips from novels that show numerous coincidences between alcohol and literature.

The chapter on beer itself is not limited only to Guinness lore. If your beer library is very extensive then there will be overlap with subject such as Ninkasi and Cock Ale, but that is unavoidable, and the collection of tales is quite interesting.

Because Dunkling is British you'll find the glossary of beer words and names to be U.K. oriented, but that can make for a good reading. For instance, "Dagger ale - a slang term for an inferior ale in the 17th century. Sold by a tavern in London, called The Dagger." We particularly like "Labologist - a collector of beer-bottle labels."

With chapters on wine, spirits and other drink related subjects you should think of this as a bedside book, occasional resource and fine conversation starter.

"The Brewmaster's Table" is due out May 6. Oliver is the head brewer at Brooklyn Brewery, where his beers have won plenty of awards. He's appeared on numerous television and radio shows, speaking eloquently about both beer and pairing beer and food. A pre-publication brochure states: "Most important, he shows how beer, which is far more versatile than wine, intensifies flavor when it's appropriately paired with good to create dining experiences most people have never imagined."

The press release also has a Q&A with Oliver. One question: Why do you feel that traditional beer is better with cheese than wine is?

His answer: "Actually, most wine books and sommeliers will admit that matching wine and cheese is quite difficult, especially red wine. Cheese coats the tongue, blunting wine flavors, and wine doesn't tend to have flavors that harmonize with cheese. The best you can usually do is a nice contrast, but more often they clash. Beer, on the other hand, has carbonation to cleanse the palate and a broad range of flavors that link up with the flavors of the cheese. Aged Gouda, for example, has a big caramel flavor that is perfect with amber ales and lager; these beers have their own caramel flavors to match. Good cheddars are sharp, bright and fruity, and you could say the same about a good American pale ale or a Belgian farmhouse ale. The flavors meld together seamlessly. One of my flavor matches is barley wine, which is a very strong, well-aged ale, matched with Stilton. It's even better than port with Stilton, and that's saying something -- I love port. The beer, though, echoes the flavors in the cheese, and they become one magnificent flavor together. I've done a few beer and cheese tastings with sommeliers who bring wines to match the cheese. I bring beers. I always win, but then again, it's unfair -- I have the better match in the first place."

The hardcover book carries a $29.95 sticker ($20.97 at Amazon) and is published by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins.

What do you call yourselves?

Thank you all for the wonderful feedback last week on what to call a beer lover. We'll publish many of your responses next week. Here's a sneak preview from Gary Barns:

"Barley Literati." The educated class of barley.

More Moose Drool anagrams

Moose Drool Brown Ale is a beer name you don't need help remembering, but it also does seem to lend itself to anagrams. David Elrod, the beer buyer at the Wine Company (a wonderful store in Greenwood Village, south of Denver - drop by if you are in the area) sent us a long list of alternatives. Here are just a few of them:

Lola woos moron breed. {David: "A favorite"}
Boon led aerosol worm. {David: "No offense to Frank Boon"}
Ed, roll a sober moo now. {David: "A favorite"}
Ellwood, a sober moron.
Owe no old sober moral.
Sonora bordellow, meow. {David: "A favorite"}
Brew alone, odors loom. {David: "A TOP favorite"}
Old moon aerosol brew.
Old Romeo Brew Saloon.
Bordello saw no Romeo. {David: "THE TOP FAVORITE"}

Tasting notes

Brewed by Michigan Brewing Co. in Michigan
(This is the "new" Celis brewed with the equipment Celis used in Austin, Texas)
Michael Jackson writes:
Pours with huge head, well retained. Slightly dusty, sherbet-like aroma, hinting at coriander spiciness which never really developed. Soft, gentle body. Most beers show their sweetness first, then become drier; this, oddly, seems to do the opposite. Very fruity palate, but less orangey than I remember. More toward sweet lemons and limes. A liquid verion of key lime pie? Even more tropical flavors: mangoes, bananas? Clean, soft, refreshing, full flavored. Reaches back to early Hoegaarden, but not quite there yet.

Brewed by McMenamins in Oregon
Roger Protz writes:
A generous pint bottle delivers a jet black beer with ruby highlights topped by a lingering creamy head. A rich chocolate malt aroma is balanced by grassy, floral hop notes and tangy lemon fruit. There's a massive bitter hops and tart fruit attack on the tongue with notes of creamy malt and bitter chocolate. The finish is intensely bitter and hoppy, the bitterness cut by rich creamy malt and tangy fruit.
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