Beer Break Vol. 2, No. 20
Put a little hops in your doughnuts
Feb. 21, 2002
As you can imagine, Prohibition was not particularly good for the beer
industry. However, many breweries were clever enough to find ways to make
money. The most obvious was selling low alcohol "near" beer. Another was to
manufacture soft drinks. There were also things you wouldn't think of - for
instance, Anheuser-Busch used its distribution network to deliver frozen eggs
in large tins.
There were also those who sold beer-related products with a wink and a nod.
For instance, Premier Malt Products shipped malt extract under a variety of
names - Blue Ribbon and Banner were two of them - out of Peoria Heights,
Ill., starting in 1925. And when Prohibition ended, Premier Pabst Corp. went
immediately to making beer in Peoria Heights.
White Banner, produced with only the "finest Barley malt and prime fresh
Pacific Coast Hops," sold enough three-pound tins that it also offered a
premium book (like Green Stamps). You could get a 25-piece breakfast set with
144 labels, a big league model fielder's glove with 117 labels or a mantel
clock with 107.
That's a lot of malt extract. What do you think people did with it,
particularly the cans that were hop flavored? Might they have brewed beer?
That or they made really big batches of baked beans and doughnuts. The malt
extract companies handed out booklets "To the housewives of America" full of
recipes like that. The only thing is most only required a tablespoon or so of
We had planned to offer several recipes this week, but there are so many
stories we think you should take the time to read (links coming up) so here's
what went into the French Doughnuts:
6 cups bread dough
1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon Blue Ribbon Malt Extract (hop-flavored)
1 teaspoon mace
1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups flour
Other recipes included: Corn Fritters, Meat Loaf, Sweet Potato Cookies,
Shrimp Cocktail Sauce, Malted Milk Rice Pudding, Baked Bananas, Japanese
Salad Dressing and plenty more dishes you'd probably work up a thirst while
Must read: Thinking about excellence
It's been a big week for beer stories - with results in from the Brewing
Industry International Awards and the controversy about Britain's plan to end
its Beer Orders - but if you can take time for just one make it this one
posted at The Belgian Beer Escort. It's from Tim Webb, author of CAMRA's
outstanding "The Good Beer Guide to Belgium and Holland."
He asks: "What on Earth is happening to Belgian beer? Why are your brewers
trying so hard to make it ordinary?"
He has nice things to say about American brewers and beer drinkers, but that
is not the only point. There are many, in fact. He writes:
"When the excitement dies down, the problem for the same exporters is that
their better quality products have been made mediocre by a perceived need for
them to be just as accessible. The fact is that the world's finest beverages
are not easy to drink. Like the world's finest foods, they are 'acquired'
tastes, which once acquired are held in the highest regard.
"A couple of months ago British beer sales consolidated to a thirty year low.
No great surprise. British beer production has, during that time, been
focused on making cheap and unnoticeable forms of alcohol for the easily
pleased. Flimsy character has been diluted further as bioengineering finds
cheaper ways of producing larger batches of adequate fluids.
"Meanwhile the rest of the consumables market had been nudging standards
upwards because the post-war generations have wanted to grow old and fat with
a sense of style. Having decided to be a mass-production, low quality
product, beer has nowhere to go in a more stylish drinks market.
"Some years ago the French and Italian wine negociants began to ask and get
top dollar for their increasingly lazily produced famous labels. The reaction
from the trade was an influx of wines from the 'New World,' which took
complacent producers by surprise. Big, well-produced, top quality lines from
Australia, New Zealand, California, Chile, Argentina and the new South Africa
appeared at a rapid rate, not just on the shelves of supermarkets and off
licenses but in the best restaurants.
"Such wines took off because they were better. Not just better value but
better made and better tasting. And it has taken a decade for French and
Italian wine makers to claw back their reputation among this generation of
wine buyers and their children."
Take the time to read it all.
This story certainly qualifies for good reading (with the others below) but
we wanted to make doubly sure you didn't miss it. Officials in Scotland are
investigating an idea to add the vitamin thiamin -- also known as Vitamin B1
-- to beer because it might reduce alcohol-related health problems. The
government has begun an investigation into the possibility of asking brewers
to introduce the vitamin into their products.
Can you imagine that happening in the United States? We're not sure how
brewers might feel but we can guarantee you that the neo-Prohibitionists
would be up in arms. This would make beer even better for you than it already
Pairing of the week
Caesar Salad with Focaccia, in this case from one of the Il Vicino's in the
Southwest, with Il Vicino's Wet Mountain IPA. The hoppy IPA complements a
solid dose of garlic in the salad. The Focaccia, which includes honey in the
recipe, stands fine by itself.
From the Celebrator Beer News Blind Tasting Panel
Brewed by Rogue Ales in Oregon
Hints of vanilla, peanuts and even chocolate-covered nuts seem hidden in this
wonderfully complex beer's aroma. Since it's actually made with imported
chocolate, it's not surprising that you get a big hit of chocolate flavor and
a dry, linger aftertaste.
FAT DOG STOUT
Brewed by Stoudt's Brewing Co. in Pennsylvania
Light roasted aromas and soft, rich, creamy flavors. Well balanced and a
slightly nutty aftertaste lingering in an otherwise clean finish.