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Apr 23, 2014

Beer Break

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Beer Break Vol. 1, No. 43
Forget the peanuts and crackerjacks

June 28, 2001

Why does the Ball Park Frank Tasting this weekend in Cooperstown, N.Y., so strike our fancy? Not everybody thinks it sounds like fun -- "Hot dogs? What's the big deal about hot dogs?" they ask. The fact is that just like there are plenty of beers more interesting than mainstream American lagers there are hot dogs and sausages several cuts above the cheapest brands you'll find at the supermarket.

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We've had a great time reading feedback on the subject from RealBeer.com visitors. To some the park and the dogs wouldn't be the same without a beer; others don't even mention beer. It reminds us that whenever we talk about great experiences that include beer there are other factors than the beer.

Nobody gave us a better set of answers than Owen Good:

Favorite hot dog or sausage: Sabrett, recommended by Mr. Tim Wiles.
Favorite hot dog restaurant: Mike's Papaya, 110th and Broadway, NYC.
Favorite ball park frank: Almost cliche, but I really enjoy Fenway Franks.
Favorite beer to drink with hot dogs: A good macro-brew lawnmower lager, out of the can.
What toppings: Mustard and relish or sweet onions.
Favorite hot dog experience: When I worked in Cooperstown as the reporter for the Daily Star, I frequently went home at lunch to eat two dogs with mustard and relish, in New England-style frankfurter buns, and drank one or two Molson Canadians purchased at the Fly Creek General Store. Always remember, boil your hot dogs. Never, ever microwave them.

Readers voted for scores of different hot dogs and sausages, loved them in almost every major league ball park (though Wrigley Field and Fenway Park seemed to be the favorites) and suggested everything from mainstream American lagers to stouts to wash them down. One of the best thoughts on the latter was also one of the most practical:

"Any pilsner. Don't want to get filled up on beer, more room for DOGS!"

Here are some of the other favorite hot dog experiences readers wrote us about:

"Sixth inning, Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers, Bank One Ballpark, Phoenix, June 2000. Eating a Diamond Dog as fly ball beans best friend on head -- spilling beer on my shirt while he suffers mild concussion. I got the ball."

"Getting 'dirty water dogs' in NYC with my Dad when my Mom was shopping. We'd eat them real quick and go back in the store. She never knew! We'd eat about 5 hot dogs that way over the course of a Saturday shopping trip in Manhattan."

"Any hot dog, with almost any beer, at any baseball game is just about perfect. Televised games don't count."

"July 1994, I was in Oberstaufen, Germany. I had just met a nice couple from Bonn two evenings earlier on the train. They helped me find a room, since we arrived very late. I invited them to my hotel room. I had a stove where I prepared frankfurters boiled in an Ayinger Helles, while we drank Lowenbrau Dunkelweizen on the patio over looking dairy cows grazing in the distant pasture. It was a true quality moment with new friends during a rare travel opportunity in my life."

"First trip to Fenway Park -- using the dangling nozzles of condiments and trying to unclog the relish hose as it blew all over the place. And the buns are bread slices folded in half -- what's with that?"

"Had so much chili and mustard on bun that it slipped out of bun and painted a yellow-brown stripe all the way to my belly button. Ruined a good shirt too. Wife was not mildly upset, she was PO'd."

"Having Frankies hot dogs sling shot into the baseball stadium in Waterbury, Conn."

"Coney Island, N.Y., on the boardwalk, with two big Nathan's hotdogs and cheese fries while feeling the ocean breeze. It doesn't get any better than that!"

"Going to der Wienerschnitzel after school with friends to hang out. And the time my wife brought me a der Weinerschnitzel from Salt Lake City (200 miles away) in a ice chest because I love them so much."

"When I was a young lad I used to eat a dog called a Texas Weiner that was offered in a 'Greasy Spoon' in a section of North Philadelphia called 'Swamp Poodle' which was located 4 blocks west of Connie Mack Stadium, where the Philadelphia A's, and then the Phillies, played."

And from a reader who favors Hubsch Sudwerk Marzen (from California) with hot dogs:

"Years ago our family ate hot dogs for dinner nearly every Tuesday night in the summertime. A&W Restaurant had a special with hot dogs and root beer at 25 cents each on Tuesdays, and we would buy a bag of hot dogs and four cups of root beer and go to the local park and sit out in the warm summer evenings, chowing down on hot dogs and root beer. Excellent times!"

Tasting notes

a) American Beer Month begins Friday with a rally in Philadelphia, b) the Fourth of July is next Wednesday and c) a few readers have asked for occasional tasting notes on (as one wrote us) "less exotic" beers, so here are notes about more mainstream beers.

RED WHITE AND BLUE SPECIAL LAGER BEER
The brand is owned by Pabst Brewing Co.

James Robertson writes in his Beer-Tasters Log:

Pale gold, light clean malt aroma and flavor, light body, dry malt finish and short aftertaste, quaffable hot weather beer. (He gives the beer a 47, with a beer scoring 40-60 out of 100 described as good.)

BUDWEISER
The world's No. 1 selling beer, brewed at Anheuser-Busch breweries across the United States and contract brewed at other locations around the world.

In the 1991 edition of his Pocket Guide to Beer, Michael Jackson wrote:

Very light in both body and palate, and sweetish. It has lost some its already delicate hop character in recent years. A careful blend of famous hop varieties is used, but in such small quantities that their influence is barely perceptible. The beer also has a characteristic hint of apple-like, estery fruitiness.

MILLER GENUINE DRAFT
Brewed by Miller Brewing Co., headquartered in Milwaukee

Some of the brief comments from a tasting conducted by the online magazine Slate:

- Not much flavor, but no nasty aftertaste.
- Light but flavorful. But again not overwhelming.
- Plain, sugary. Must be Bud Light.
- Bitter aftertaste, bitter when warm.

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