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Nov 28, 2014

Beer Break

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Beer Break Vol. 2, No. 16
More on the best of 2001

Jan. 24, 2002

We're overwhelmed. We asked such a simple question, "What was the best beer you drank in 2001?" and got buried with email. Now we're working on a good way to pass along this great information at Realbeer.com -- whether it serves people who are traveling or those looking for something new in their local store. For instance, Terry Kacik of Golden, Colo., wrote us with this:

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"I live in Golden, Colorado where Coors Beer is King. The other day at lunch I asked for a draught beer and it was suggested that I have a 'Barmen's Pilsner.' The waiter reminded me that it takes 7 minutes to pour the beer. Having recently lived in Germany I found that Barmen's Pilsner has a wonderful aroma, a true Pilsner head, and a robust flavor which will bring tears to the eyes of a "true" German Pilsner Beer lover. Although Barmen's Pilsner is made by the Coors Sandlot Brewery, it is only available in nine restaurants/bars in the greater Denver, Colorado area. Come to Golden for a true taste of genuine Pilsner."

We'll keep you posted on how we plan to do this. Meanwhile, the "this beer versus that beer" debate posted in some of your emails has inspired us to put together a little project we think will be fun. Details about that next week.

For the record, most readers submitted favorite beers (plural) rather than a single beer. The beer mentioned most often was Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, with Ommegang from Brewery Ommegang a close second. But Celebration did not receive even 2% of the "votes."

More 'Beer of the Year'

The magazine Malt Advocate is bold enough to actually narrow things down to a single (well, one domestic and one import) beer in making its annual awards. Cuvee de Tomme from Pizza Port Brewing in Solana Beach, Calif., won best domestic and De Dolle Speciaal Brouwsel from Belgian best import.

Pizza Port brewer Tomme Arthur has given Beer Break readers a look inside the recipe formulation process (Beer Break Vol. 1, No. 33), so you may remember that Cuvee de Tomme is Belgian-style strong ale, 11% alcohol by volume, and brewed with eight different malts, four adjuncts, four varieties of hops and four yeast strains. The Malt Advocate wrote that it is "American creativity and innovation in a bottle."

So why wasn't it among the beers recommended by Beer Break readers? It's not exactly a beer you find in the cooler at your local supermarket. Arthur has brewed it once each of the last two years (winning medals at GABF in both the 2000 and 2001). This is the first year he is even making a "full" size batch (in this case, six barrels - in contrast, Anheuser-Busch sold 99.5 million barrels in 2001).

The good news is that some Cuvee de Tomme will be available at a 12 Hour Belgian Beer Party that Pizza Port is hosting March 9 at its Carlsbad pub. Forty-plus foreign and domestic Belgian-style beers will be served throughout the 12 hours (the event runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.), on draft and from bottles of all sizes. It's shaping up as quite a shindig and we'll point you to more details next week.

The Malt Advocate chose Victory Brewing of Dowingtown, Pa., as its Brewery of the Year. That shouldn't be a surprise, since readers nominated five different Victory beers as their favorite.

And when we suggested it would be fun to collect a list of beers, we wrote: "It also doesn't have to be a "best of show" beer. For instance, the Hallertauer Pils from Victory Brewing Co. in Pennsylvania, is a tasty, unfiltered lager with a straightforward noble hop (only Hallertauer) presence. Refreshing and educational (note to self: seek out more beers that are as Hallertauer influenced)."

Pairing of the week

Here's Michael Jackson's suggestion for serving Lion Stout, a beer from Sri Lanka that is available in many countries (including the United States): "To make a great dessert, blend it with melting ice-cream, then freeze the result. Serve with bitter-chocolate cookies."

Tasting notes
Two non-alcoholic beers, with notes from the Celebrator Beer News Blind Tasting Panel:

CLAUSTHALER AMBER
Brewed by the Binding-Brauerei, Germany
Copper color and a creamy head with a clean malt flavor highlight this nicely balanced German import. It finishes dry with pleasant hints of actual hop bitterness.

ERDINGER WEISSBRAU
Brewed by Erdinger, Germany
This beerlike, unfiltered N/A has faint wheat and cereal undertones, a powdery white head and a crisp hop character. A real find!

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