Monday, June 9, 2008

Odds and ends, but mostly odd in the end

Shillin' for Jews: Look at the idiot. Not an ounce of shame in him. He was named Shmaltz Brewing Company's fan of the week a couple months back. But what was the sacrifice? Pride? Humility? The mind reels.

Take that winos!: The Australian brewery that brought us the oil can, has classed it up by brewing a beer fit for a queen. In fact, it's fit for the queen. The first 5,000 bottles of Foster's new Crown Ambassador Reserve were sent to England to mark the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's coronation. Oh, I'm sure the queen has a nice wine cellar, but she'll be celebrating her big day downing a couple cold one's from down under. If that doesn't show that the blue-collar beverage can hold its own at blue-blood affairs, nothing will.

Haven't we done enough to these people?: Anheuser-Busch is bringing Budweiser to Vietnam. First napalm, now this. The horror. The horror.

That seems about right: A survey found that New Zealanders believe beer manufacturers are more trustworthy than the accounting profession, the rugby union or journalists.

Signs that things aren't all bad: There's more of my favorite craft beer in the world. Hook & Ladder Brewing Company, out of Silver Spring, Md., and Foothills Brewing based in Winston-Salem, N.C., are growing (i.e., making more beer). Hook & Ladder, which recently won a Washington Post taste test, grew 688 percent in 2007. Foothills is about to spend $250,000 expanding its brewery and distribution from about 2,330 barrels a year to more than 6,000 barrels. Wow, 6,000 barrels of Hoppyum. All I would need is a pool and a straw.

Tonga brewery for sale. Awesome! Where the hell's Tonga?: As if you didn't know by now, the Royal Beer Company of the Kingdom of Tonga (Slogan: Tonga's finest beer. More honest slogan: Tonga's only beer) is for sale. Yes, the South Pacific brewery that brought us IKALE, IKALE Gold and Royal Bitter is up to the highest bidder. Certainly owning an island brewery would be a dream come true. If only the coconut wasn't kicking the crap out of the dollar these days.

OK, so things might not be quite as good as I said: Apparently part of the reason Diageo (sounds like Diablo) is closing a couple of its Guinness breweries, selling off part of the main brewery in Dublin and turning its focus to international sales is folks in Ireland and the U.K. are drinking less beer. What?!! The countries that brought us the pub, the pint and liver disease are swapping Guinness for gewurztraminer? I'm all for diversifying tastes, but the next time I wander into the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese I want a Sam Smith's, not a wine list.

Yah, no shit: Moosehead Breweries conducted a very scientific study and found that men would rather drink beer, walk the dog or hit the gym than go see "Sex and the City." And get this, these same 500 guys told the beer brewer that they prefer beer over cosmos. I know, the survey was meant to be cute, but someone got paid for it. Surely, there was a better way to spend the money.

Art makes you look smart: GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading, Pa., is hosting one of the coolest exhibits I've heard of in a while. "Design, Drink and Be Merry: The Craft Brew Art Movement" features the labels, bottle caps and packaging from 14 craft breweries. If you don't think this is art, check out the side of a craft beer next time you're at the store. Flying Dog Brewery has been featuring the work of Ralph Steadman on its bottles for years. For those of you who don't know, Steadman was a close friend of Hunter Thompson, illustrating the covers of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72."

From the toilet to the tap: An Australian woman invented a beer for dogs. I've tried to hate this idea. Lord knows I hate putting clothes on dogs or carrying them around like a satchel. Naturally I should hate this too, right? I mean they'll eat another dog's feces as readily as they'll eat a $3 can of Alpo. But I can't do it. I love the idea of Dog Beer. Just the thought of spending an afternoon watching football and drinking beer with my best friend fills me with unbelievable amounts of joy. I hope Foster's saves a couple bottles of that fancy beer for Elise Schumacher. If this thing takes off, maybe Ms. Schumacher could expand her line into Vietnam.

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