Oddbits: Tasting Coastal Fog Holiday Ale, Holiday Beer tastings ahead at The Trappist, Pacific Coast, New Belgium’s green status report
By William Brand
Monday, November 24th, 2008 at 3:55 pm in Uncategorized.
The beer report: Just tasted Coastal Fog Holiday Ale. This is a one-off for the Beverages and More chain, brewed at Beermann’s, xx using a formula created by Peter Licht, longtime brewer at Coast Range in Gilroy. If memory serves me, this one’s quite similar to a longtime Scotch Ale from Coast Range (which went bankrupt last year).
I give it THREE STARS – . It’s a medium copper color with a malty, toffee, caramel nose. It’s got decent malt presence, perhaps not as malty as a traditional Scotch ale. It’s dry hopped and has a dry, spicy finish, again a bit of a departure from the style. Very drinkable and at $14.99 for a 12-pack, it’s a bargain.
Add to the Events calendar: Here’s one not to miss, Saturday, Dec.6, 2 p.m. The Trappist, 460 8th St., Oakland, marks the pub’s first anniversary with: (Insert drum roll here) with tastings of beers from all seven Trappist, including Wesvleteren Tripel (I’m guessing – proprietors Chuck and Aaron brought some back from a recent trip to Belgium). Details to follow. The Trappist also will have two Christmas beer tastings on Dec. 5 and Dec. 6. $25. Reserve a place by e-mailing the Trappist : firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Also: Don’t forget Pacific Coast Brewing’s 20th annual Tasting of Holiday Beer, Saturday, Dec. 13, noon-4 p.m. $50. Reservations: 510-936-2739. Pacific Coast’s at 906 Washington St. in downtown Oakland.
Moving on into a brave, new, green world…New Belgium’s “environmental report:. I don’t know why I can’t get buzzed about this, but I’m not. It’s maybe a little too precious for my Berkeley-jaded eyes. But you’ve got to give praise where praise is due and New Belgium Brewing gets a tip of my hat for something totally unusual. New Belgium CEO Kim Jordan and the company “sustainability director” Jenn Orgolini have just released a 20-page “sustainability report”. outlining the ecological impact of New Belgium’s production etc. on the planet.
It is kind of fascinating. For instance, they examined the ecological cost of a sixer of Fat Tire and discovered:
- Our raw and packaging materials, including their transportation to the brewery, constitute 48% of the six-pack’s overall footprint.
- The brewer makes up a sliver of the total: 5%. Downstream impacts make up 47% of the total, and retail is 60% of downstream.
- Ninety-three percent of retail’s contribution to Fat Tire’s footprint is attributed to the energy for in-store refrigeration.
Holy cow. Maybe we should learn to love warm beer? You can read the report here.
Moving onto firmer ground…Steve Donohue, brewer at Firehouse, 111 S. Murphy Ave., Sunnyvale, just sent me the label for his OTIS Imperial Stout, barrel-aged three months in an oak barrel. The label still needs fed approval. Steve hopes to bottle the beer for sale in early January. It won honorable mention at the Bistro’s West Coast Barrel Aged Beer Festival.
Onward and backwards into the depths of time…If beer history’s your bag, you ought to be reading the Zythophile blog written by English beer historian Martyn Cornel, whose most recent book is The History of a Pint. Currently, Martyn’s examining the origins of India Pale Ale; he’s combed through all the original sources he can find and among other things he’s discovered that the story that Inida Pale Ale was brewed strong and hoppy to survive the four month voyage to India from the UK is just that – a story. In fact, Martyn says, UK merchants shipped every kind of beer to the Indian colonies, porter and even “small” (low alcohol) beer.
The term “India Pale Ale” came late in the day, he adds. Mostly beer shipped to India other than porter was described only as “pale ale.” Fascinating stuff. Read the whole series of posts here.
Ahh Guinness Foreign Extra Stout… 8 percent, tasty with a long dry, roast malt finish. It was the first Guinness I ever drank: It was (and is) sold all over the Caribbean and we drank it from St. Thomas to Kingston when I was in the Navy. I got home and the Guinness here wasn’t the same at all.
For a time back in the 1980s, I could find Foreign Extra Stout, along with plantains and little “macho” bananas, at a Carribbean-Central American grocery store on Fruitvale in Oakland. Guess they brought it in with the bananas. But then it vanished. It’s still not sold in the U.S., and as the craft beer revolution grew, I forgot about it.
Then earlier today, someone on a Beer Advocate chat board posted this photo of a bottle of Guinness Special Extra Stout he bought in Belgium and the memory rushed back. Special Extra sounds exactly like Foreign Extra. It is one fine beer. Wonder why Guinness doesn’t sell it in the U.S. Oh well…
Looking for a gift for Christmas or the holidays? Riedel, the German maker of exquisite glassware is offering free shipping. So I checked their Web site, looking for some of those tall, stunning pils glasses I’ve seen in advertisements. The only thing I could find was this: Ouverture Beer-Water-Ice. 4/$48. Hmmm. Guess I’ll wait.