Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Oddbits: Genetially-engineered beer, The Dissident still on sale in Bay Area, Brewer’s Resrve – Fuller’s barrel-aged beer, Obama IPA, Alaskan Smoked Porter, and why we should invest in beer

By William Brand
Thursday, October 23rd, 2008 at 4:01 pm in Uncategorized.

Hi there oddbits fans… here’s what’s come across my desk in random fashion so far this week…

Science. Genetically engineers beer to make us live long and prosper. A team of scientists at Rice University and the University of Wisconsin are using genetic engineering to developed a strain of brewers yeast that will produce “resveratol,”   a substance that has been found to promote longevity in mice. It’s believed to be the ingredient in red wine that keeps French people healthy despite all the high fat foods they eat. Thanks to Emily, a frequent poster to this blog.  Read the whole story here.

Beer news…if you’ve been reading comments posted to this blog, you know that Deschutes gold-medal-winning sour, The Dissident, can still be found around the Bay Area, especially at Whole Foods Markets, despite the fact that the brewery says they’ve sold all they made.

Also, the discussion continues on the blog on how we can jump-start craft beer sales and insure that beer retailers keep the beer in good shape. Join the conversation.

In the UK, meanwhile, Fuller’s has just released Brewer’s Reserve, a beer aged in whisky barrels.  Here are a couple of reviews:

  • Brewer’s Reserve - (From Taking the Beard Out of Beer) Finally, after 507 days, Fuller’s whisky-aged beer has been launched; lovely soft vanilla & spirit nose and then fabulous sticky fruit flavours (quince jelly & orange marmalade for my money) in the mouth, with a spicy bitter finish that reminds me of Green & Black’s Maya Gold chocolate. Be warned, there are going to be different wood ages every year so make sure you lay your hands on some of the first one quickly! READ THE REST OF MELISSA COLE’S  POST…
  • There has never been a better time to be a beer drinker: and I’d like to submit as just one plank in the platform that supports this claim Fuller’s new Brewer’s Reserve, its 7.7 per cent abv whisky cask–aged ale. READ THE REST OF ZYTHOPHILE’S POST…

It had to happen, according to Jay Brooks in the Brookston Beer Bulletin, we now have Obama IPA

  • Sixpoint Craft Ales in Brooklyn, New York has released an IPA called Hop Obama, though at 42-44 IBUs it doesn’t sound like too much of a hop bomb, at least not to my extreme west coast hop sensibilities. But perhaps a more centrist IPA is in keeping with Obama’s political leanings.

Liquid Assets is now selling Alaskan Smoked Porter, 2008  by mail order. Haven’t seen it here and when I do, I’ll grab several, drink one now and keep the others to drink in succeeding years (If I can control myself. Love this beer.) How did Alaska Brewing do at the Great American Beer Festival this year? Let us count the ways…., well, let Alaskan do it in this publicity release…

  • Alaskan Smoked Porter won two medals this year solidifying its reign as the festival’s highest award-winner with 18 medals since 1988. The 2006 Smoked Porter took gold in the Aged beer category while the 2007 vintage took silver in the Smoke-Flavored beer category.
  • Alaskan Summer Ale, which won a gold medal at the World Beer Cup earlier this year, took home its first GABF medal this year with a silver in the Golden or Blonde style ale category.
  • Finally, judges selected Alaskan Raspberry Wheat as a silver medalist in the Fruit or Vegetable beer category. Alaskan Raspberry Wheat is part of Alaskan Brewing’s “Rough Draft” series available on draft only with limited distribution in Alaska.

Oh boy this old (and funny if you’ve never read it) chestnut has been recycled to fit the current stock meltdown. This version comes from Stephen D’Arcy,  the Campaign for Real Ale’s Brussels rep:

If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in Delta Airlines one year ago, you will have $49.00 today.

If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in AIG one year ago, you will have$33.00 today.

If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in Lehman Brothers one year ago, you
will have $0.00 today.

But, if you had purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the aluminum cans for recycling refund, you will have  received $214.00.

  • Based on the above, the best current investment plan is to drink heavily &

recycle. It is called the 401-Keg.

To see an earlier version version  I posted in 2005, go here.

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  • Derrick

    I have seen Alaskan Smoked Porter in San Jose BevMos, the one on Union and Camden in the Cambrian neighborhood, and the one that just opened up on Santa Teresa right next to the 85/87 on/off ramp. Haven’t been to either in at least a couple weeks, so can’t guarentee it is there now. Keep meaning to try it some time….so many beers, so little time.

  • http:///www.brewedforthought.com Mario (Brewed For Thought)

    Deschutes has sold all of the beer they made, it’s just been sold to distributors. Beyond that, they don’t care, they have their money.

    Speaking of the Smoked Porter, how does it change with age? Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa has many 2007′s still in stock.

  • http://climbing.bitslinger.net Todd

    City Beer in SF also has the 2008 Alaskan Smoked Porter. I stopped by there yesterday, on my day off. I didn’t pick any up – I was on BART with no bag, so I opted for a can of Uncommon Brewers’ Siamese Twins – but I hope to pick up a couple bottles soon.

    Also in smoky news, the El Cerrito BevMo has a Bamberg Rauchbier I’d never hear d of in bottles with a cool ceramic flip-top.

  • William Brand

    Yes, what you’re probably seeing is the 2007 or even earlier. My advice is to buy it. This beer really changes and improves with age. I attended a vertical tasting of a decade old beers and was blown away by the differences and how they changed with age. Just reposted my report.

  • William Brand

    Thanks for the info on Alaskan Smoked Porter. Would be interested in what you think of the Uncommon Brewers beer.

  • James

    What is the best way to store a beer while aging. Fridge, cool closet?

  • William Brand

    The best way according to experts would be a cool place that never reaches 60 degrees. Corked bottles on their sides, capped bottles upright. At any rate that’s the current consensus. Opinions change.
    I keep my beer in a refrigerator kept at about 45 degrees. Also the beer should be kept in the dark. Light kills beer, so does heat.

  • http://brewedforthought.wordpress.com Mario (Brewed For Thought)

    Chimay bottles specifically state on the label to not lie them down. Not sure if this is a beer rule, or just Chimay.

  • Arnas

    I don’t have a bottle of Chimay in front of me (alas) but that sounds like it’s more for short term storage (so as not to re-suspend the sediment, which could end up in your glass) than long term (when submerging the cork could form a better seal).

  • anon

    depending on which BevMo you are in, you might find the 2007 or the 2008 Alaskan Smoked Porter. The year is clearly marked and both are out there.

  • William Brand

    Opinions change. Chimay be right. Who knows

  • http://brewedforthought.wordpress.com Mario (Brewed For Thought)

    From Chimay’s website, under their FAQ:

    How and for how long can one keep Chimay Trappist beers?

    Preferably in a vertical position so that the yeast remains at the bottom of the bottle, at a temperature of 10-12°C (50 to 53,6°F).

  • William Brand

    Yes that’s the latest version of this controversy. Thanks Mario.

  • http://climbing.bitslinger.net Todd

    I opened that can of Siamese Twin. It was a very strange feeling to pour a dubbel out of a can – stranger even than pouing 21st Amendment’s IPA from a can.

    My impression of the Siamese Twin was that it was a bit young. I hadn’t noticed the text on the side of the can stating that the beer isn’t pasteurized until I was finished with it. It probably could have used a few months in the closet to develop a bit, but it wasn’t bad. The kaffir lime flavor was noticeable but not dominant and actually blended well with the flavors put off by the yeast. I couldn’t detect lemongrass, but the coriander was there.

    Those were my first impressions. I’d like to go back to City Beer and buy a few more cans. It takes me at least three pints to figure out my opinion on most beers.

  • William Brand

    Thanks Todd. My impression exactly. I’ve had a can in the fridge since early summer. Intend to try it around Christmas. It’s “can” conditioned, so it should age well. I thought the spices kind of overpowered the malt. Maybe with some time, the balance will be better.

    Uncommon Brewers also makes a Golden Ale, spiced with poppy seeds, which I love. They haven’t canned it yet, but it can be found at good pubs around Santa Cruz.

  • Derrick

    I sit corrected, the BevMo near my place still has the 2007 Alaskan Smoked Porter. That didn’t stop me from getting a bottle, which I had last night. I’m a porter fan, and this one was pretty good. It didn’t seem old and tired. (I’ve had out of date beers that tasted muted and muddled, and this didn’t seem that way.)

    This version stood up well to two really excellent porters I picked up on my recent travels in the midwest, Great Lakes Brewing Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, and Hoppin’Frog Silk Porter. I haven’t seen them in the Bay Area, but I’d recommend giving those a try if you ever see them around here.

  • William Brand

    I’m familiar with Edmund Fitzgerald, A very nice porter, indeed, Don’t know the other one. But Alaskan Smoked Porter is unique and unusual and it ages well. Search the blog, I did a post a while back on a vertical tasting of “vintages” of Alaskan. Got me interested. Now have a couple of 2006 and 2007 which i;m going to keep for a while.

    Don;t know Hoppin Frog. Where’s that from?

  • Derrick

    Hoppin’ Frog is from Akron, OH, also home of Lebron James and DEVO. Check out their Hoppin to Heaven IPA, too.