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Monday, January 12, 2009

Top 10 Irish Beers (Ales, Lagers, Cream Ales)

Irish beer offers two beer styles and a hybrid ...these are ales, lagers with cream ales being a hybrid of lager and ale brewing styles. Ales are "top-fermented" beers where the yeast thrives in warmer temperatures and withstands higher alcohol concentrations. The stout beers are part of the ale family. They are dense and dark and are brewed from a base of roasted malt. Lagers are "bottom-fermented" beers that are stored at low temperatures for longer periods of time (weeks to months—the word lager comes from the German word lagern, "to store") and are light in color. Cream Ales are a hybrid of ale and lager brewing techniques. They are ale-fermented at a lower temperature and then conditioned like a lager (low temperature). Cream ale coloration ranges from amber to red.

1) Beamish Stout (Ale) - dense,malty,dark,chocolaty; full-bodied

2) Guinness Draught (Ale) - roasted malt and chocolate; slightly bitter

3) Guinness Extra Stout (Ale) - strong coffee flavor; slightly bitter

4) Murphy's Irish Stout (Ale) - mocha flavor; very smooth

5) O'Hara's Celtic Stout (Ale) - mocha flavor; not bitter

6) Harp (Lager) - smooth, solid and bitter

7) Kinsale Irish Lager (Lager) - golden color, flowry flavor

8) Kilkenny Irish (Cream Ale) - toasted malt, sweet and creamy

9) Murphy's Irish Red (Cream Ale) - hoppy flavor touched by fruit and caramel

10) Murphy's Irish Amber (Cream Ale) - similar to Murphy's Red but slightly sweet

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Growth Of World Beer Consumption <3% In 2008

According to the Plato Logic November 2008 Research report, beer consumption worldwide has grown less than three percent this year. Also, it was revealed the Chinese beer brand "Snow" (brewed by partners SABMiller and China Resources Enterprises, Ltd.) has become the second biggest beer brand based on volume, in the world. China is the largest beer market in the world and has achieved this just in the past decade. The researcher stated that the world's five biggest beer markets were China, United States, Russia, Brazil and Germany. Plato Logic also forecasts that world beer consumption will grow by less than 3% in 2008, after the 5,6% growth seen in 2007. Plato lists the top ten beer brands as: Bud Light, Snow, Budweiser, InBev's Brazilian beer Skol, Corona, Heineken, another Brazilian InBev brand Brahma, Coors Light, SABMiller's Miller Lite and China's Tsingtao. SABMiller plc has brewing and beverage interests in more than 60 countries across six continents. The principal activities of the Company and its subsidiaries are the manufacture, distribution and sale of beverages. Its brands include international beers, such as Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Miller Genuine Draft and Grolsch along with local brands, such as Aguila, Castle, Miller Lite, Snow and Tyskie. The Company is one of the bottlers of Coca-Cola products. The company’s markets range from developed economies, such as United States to markets, such as China and India. (

The Beer Wench's Men of 2008

Well, "The Beer Wench" (a.k.a. Ashley Routson) has picked her men for 2008...I am very distraught...I'm not on the list...but who knows maybe I'll make it for 2009 (actually making her phone list would be even better...HA). Anyway, I've enjoyed following her beer blogging via "The Beer Wench - Drinking Through The World One Beer At A Time" blog. I have just begun doing the blogging thing myself recently and out of the various topical blogs I have (40 actually), beer is one of them that I try to consistently cover. I am far from being any kind of beer snob, but have been trying my hand at reporting on some of the basic info and spreading the word out there on beer in general...actually more like the cultural aspects of beer and "Top Ten" lists on several beers of the world, YouTubes, etc. A few of these brews I have tried and eventually the rest shall not be denied...but I only have so much time and where-with-all to leisurely imbibe. In tribute to all those out there blogging on beer and especially all of the knowledge that beer bloggers like "The Beer Wench" have imparted to me on savoring "liquid bread", I would like to reprint her article here regarding her male choices for 2008 which I found to be a good read:


The Wench’s Men of 2008

Welcome to the year 2009! Here is to another great year full of drinking beautifully crafted, unique and excellent beers! Cheers!

The current trend amongst many of my favorite bloggers has been to create some sort of list to commemorate the past year. Some have written posts about the top ten blogs that they have either written or read in 2008. Others have listed the top ten wines or beers that they had tasted in 2008. Some have done both.

Technically, my blog is not even a year old. (The Beer Wench was born February 7, 2008) This makes it a little difficult for me to make a compilation of my favorite posts or blogs or even just Beer Wench experiences for the entire year.

HOWEVER, since my blog is only in its first year … it and I have experienced tremendous leaps and growth in the seemingly small amount of time that we have existed.

As a way of welcoming in the new year as well as reflecting upon the last year, I have chosen to create a list of the 3 most influential people on The Beer Wench (both blog and person) in 2008. Honestly, several people have made a tremendous impact on my beer tasting … beer drinking … beer writing experiences. Although most of these people will go unnamed, I hope they know how much I appreciate them and the education, encouragement and experiences of which they have provided me!

I have chosen to highlight the 3 most influential people on both myself and my blog in 2008. In my opinion, these 3 individuals have educated, inspired and helped develop me and my blog into what we have become today. And without any further ado … allow me to present The Beer Wench’s 3 biggest influencers of 2008.

Drum roll please…


3. Sam Caglione.

It is no secret that The Beer Wench is obsessed with Dogfish Head beers. In many ways I attribute my passion for craft beers to Dogfish Head. Not only is the beer DAMN GOOD, but the stories that accompany each ale are equally intriguing. Drinking Dogfish Head is more than just mere consumption of beer. It is an experience. Each ale has a compelling story. Each ale is brewed with unique and interesting ingredients. Each Dogfish Head ale is brewed with an obscene amount of TLC … and trust me, you can taste it.

I have many of these extraordinary “off-centered ales” sitting in my “cellar” at this very moment. (And by cellar I mean the several cardboard boxes of beer I have sitting in my closet. Currently, I have Raison D’Extra, World Wide Stout, 120 Minute IPA, Pangea, Theobroma, FORT, Red & White, Punkin Ale, Midas Touch, Chicory Stout, Palo Santo Marron, Olde School Barley Wine…)

My preoccupation with everything Dogfish Head resulted in my reading of “Brewing Up A Business” … written by the brilliant founder and owner of Dogfish Head, Sam Caglione. His book was extremely compelling and surprisingly inspirational. Sam’s dedication to producing the highest quality “off-centered” ales is rather amazing. His passion for beer is contagious.

One of my most memorable moments of 2008 was my first visit to the Dogfish Head Brewery and Brewpub in Delaware. Unfortunately, Sam was not around at the time. HOWEVER, I am intent on meeting him (and his wife Marnie) in person … in the very near future. Until then, I will just have to stalk them via Twitter (@dogfishbeer).

PS: Rumor has it that The Beer Wench will be co-hosting a Twitter Taste Live beer event with Sam Caglione in mid-February. Stay tuned for official confirmation. (’The virtual tasting will definitely happen … when and who will be involved is TBA.)

I encourage you all to raise your glass to Sam Caglione and the ridiculously awesome beers he has created at Dogfish Head Brewery! CHEERS!


2. Michael Jackson.

My number two is a no brainer. Almost all homebrewers, brewmasters, beer bloggers, beer connoisseurs, etc. can attest to the fact that Michael Jackson, even after his death, is and was the most influential person in the modern day beer world to have ever walked the planet.

His books are my bibles. Especially when it comes to Belgian beers. And we all know how much I love my Belgians. Any time I need information, confirmation, further education about a Belgian beer, style or brewery … I consult MJ (my pet name for Michael Jackson). He is my go to reference when it comes to beer.

Unfortunately, the infamous Beer Hunter died before The Beer Wench was even conceptualized. His death occurred just as I was coming in to my beer obsession. And sadly, I will never have the honor of meeting him. He will never be forgotten, though. I have aspirations to keep his legacy alive and lofty dreams of becoming a female version of The Beer Hunter. (After all, like MJ, I combine a passion for beer with a “skill?” for writing.)And now I ask you all to raise a glass to my number 2 … quite possibly the most infamous man of the beer world … Mr. Michael Jackson. CHEERS!

1. Brian Van Zandbergen.

Who is this mystery man, you ask? How on earth can any one person out rank THE Michael Jackson? Why have you not heard me mention him before now? Or have I …

Allow me to explain. Brian has had, without a doubt, the biggest impact on my beer world yet. He completely revolutionized the way I thought about and tasted beer.

Need elaboration?

I met Brian in Chicago. I was in town for the National Restaurant Association show. 2008 was the first International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event at the NRA show. Naturally, after the day long event … everyone involved spent a good amount of time eating and drinking throughout the entire city of Chicago.

One night, I found myself in the same Irish restaurant as a Mr. Brian Van Zandbergen. A mutual friend introduced us … knowing that I was an aspiring beer connoisseur and that he was not only a beer connoisseur and the Merchant Du Vin representative for Illinois … but also the infamous author of The Beer Enthusiast’s Guide to Chicago!

When I first met Brian, I thought I knew about beer. BOY WAS I WRONG. Although I was the biggest advocate of American craft beer, I still had a thing or two to learn about the world of beer. And Brian made sure to school me … and school me he did. We traveled around the city of Chicago to all of his favorite, and arguably the best, beer bars in the entire city. And learn about beer I did.

Because of Brian, I am obsessed with Belgian beers. And because of Brian, I am head over heels … completely in love with Lambics. And because of Brian, the GUEUZE is my absolute favorite style of beer.

I told Brian that I loved IPAs and Double IPAs. He schooled me on what a real IPA was. And then he schooled me on the Belgians.

Brian gave me one of the most memorable beer experiences of my young Beer Wench life … and for that I am eternally grateful. He is an amazing mentor … and friend.

And now I ask you all to raise a glass to my friend, my mentor … a fellow beer lover and connoisseur … Brian Van Zandbergen. Thanks, Brian. You have inspired me in more ways than you will ever know. I look forward to visiting you in Chicago sometime in the near future! Cheers!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Beer Is Liquid Bread According To Singing Legos

Well...I thought this was funny anyway:

Friday, January 2, 2009

Top 10 Finnish (Finland) Beers

Beer from Finland...?
Yes, they have beers and brews too! The first brewer in Finland was started in 1819 by Nikolai Sinebrychoff. In 1969, beer was available through shops and bars. Barley is the most common grain used. Here are the top ten Finland beers complete with a link to the (April time frame) Annual Helsinki Beer Festival:

  • 1Urho - The best domestic brew in Finland is brewed by Hartwall

  • 2Karhu - This is a fine full-bodied beer, not too fizzy, keeps it head; reminiscent od a light German beer; "karhu" translates to "bear" in English.

  • 3Olvi - Olvi is a separate brewery from Sinebrychoff (karhu) and Hartwall (classic) and is a very fine beer.
  • 4Lapin Kulta - Pretty mild tasting mass produced beer, but better than most Finnish beers.
  • 5Koff - no longer available in Sweden!
  • 6Karjala - a good beer

  • 7Stadin Panimos Porter - an okay beer
  • 8 Sahti - is a homemade brew using barley and flavored with juniper
  • 9 Lammin -

  • 10 Huvila -
  • Others - Perho Brave Beer, Perho Summer Beer, Perho Spring Beer (Easter), Perho Christmas Beer (November/December - Dark Beer), Krouvi Multigrain (Carlsberg)
Extra special bonus...Here is a sampling of funny Finnish Beer TV Ads: