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Malt liquor on the wine menu

Each Friday the Wall Street Journal helps its readers prepare for the weekend with a bit of advice about liquid refreshments.

Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher are among the nation’s finest wine writers, and this week they look into Sauternes class of 2001, which is just being released. Sauternes, from the Bordeaux region of France, is the world’s greatest sweet wine, with good bottles starting at $40 at retail and prices rocketing higher. That’s a 750ml bottle, about 25 ounces.

This Friday the WSJ offers an alternative: malt liquors, served in 40-ounce bottles. The headline calls this Malt Liquor’s Moment and the story reports:

But in a few places across the country, malt liquor is having something of a cultural moment. It’s showing up on the menu of popular restaurants like Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack in San Francisco, where Mickey’s is served in an ice-filled champagne bucket. Some microbrewers, who pride themselves on their “craft beer” made with fancy ingredients, have launched their own lines of malt liquor: Pizza Port in Solana Beach, Calif., periodically makes its Brown Bag Malt Liquor, and Piece, a restaurant and brewery in Chicago, offers Dolemite, named after a 1975 blaxploitation film. There’s even a cadre of collectors who pay as much as $300 on eBay for rare specimens of the 40-ounce bottles — even empty.

There’s even a picture of Dogfish Head Brewery’s Liquor de Malt, including the paper bag it comes in.

Tomme Arthur, who brews the Pizza Port Brown Bag Malt Liquor, previously has pointed out that he asks to judge this category at the World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival each year.

“Some like to shun their past. Me, I embrace it,” he said.

[Note: The WSJ is a subscription site.]

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Saga of the 10-ounce can

Newcomers to St. Mary’s County (Maryland) may not understand why beer is available in 10-ounce cans and why they are so popular. It costs the same, if not more, than a 12-ounce can. So why would people buy it?

‘‘It’s just become a big item in the county,” distributor George Guy said. ‘‘People feel it’s something they created. It’s something that belongs to them.”

[From Gazette.net]

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Beer, saloons and booze on TV

The History Channel has them all today. And coffee, too. Their description of the beer segment:

It’s one of the world’s oldest and most beloved beverages–revered by Pharaohs and brewed by America’s Founding Fathers. Today, brewing the bitter elixir is a multi-billion-dollar global industry. Join us for an invigorating look at brewing’s history from prehistoric times to today’s cutting-edge craft breweries, focusing on its gradually evolving technologies and breakthroughs. We’ll find the earliest known traces of brewing, which sprang up independently in such far-flung places as ancient Sumeria, China, and Finland; examine the surprising importance that beer held in the daily and ceremonial life of ancient Egypt; and at Delaware’s Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, an adventurous anthropologist and a cutting-edge brewer show us the beer they’ve concocted based on 2,700-year-old DNA found in drinking vessels from the funerary of the legendary King Midas.

At 10 Eastern and repeated during the wee hours.