Friday, November 26, 2010

Beer News: Champagne-style-brew beer "Infinium"

The maker of Sam Adams beer and Germany's Weihenstephan Brewery have joined forces to create a champagne-style brew in time for the holidays. Guest host Mary Louise Kelly samples the beer — called Infinium — with Boston Beer Co. founder Jim Koch.

Please click the link below to listen to the full story on NPR.

 Samuel Adams Press Release:
Over 60 percent of men would opt to toast with beer versus champagne, if given the choice.  Thanks to Infinium™, a crisp, new champagne-like beer that sets a new standard in brewing, men now have the ultimate drink with which to celebrate this holiday season.  Debuting in early December, the premiere sparkling brew is the culmination of a two-year collaboration between Jim Koch, brewer and founder of Samuel Adams beers, and Dr. Josef Schrädler, managing director of Germany’s Weihenstephan Brewery.  The first new beer style created under the Reinheitsgebot in over a hundred years, Infinium unites 1,000 years of combined brewing knowledge and innovation between the two breweries. 
Available for a limited time only, this innovative new beer style adheres to the rigorous standards of the Reinheitsgebot, the historic German beer purity law that states all beer must be brewed using only four ingredients: malt, hops, water and yeast.  Infinium pours out a deep golden color with fine bubbles and has a fruity, elegant aroma.  Its crisp acidity gives it a dryness and tartness on the palate that is balanced with a smooth malt body. Infinium is packaged in 750mL cork-finished bottles and contains 10.3 percent alcohol by volume, twice the amount of an average beer.
This crisp, vivacious brew is certain to make a palate-pleasing gift for food and beer connoisseurs and as a recent survey found, men are eager to celebrate with beer throughout the holiday season.  Infinium’s light, sparkling character is a welcome complement to all festivities, allowing drinkers to enjoy the best of both worlds.
“Dr. Schrädler and I are thrilled to uncork Infinium, and introduce not only a first-class beer, but a new standard in the art of brewing,” said Jim Koch, Samuel Adams founder and brewer. “When I brewed the first batch of Samuel Adams Boston Lager in my kitchen in 1984, it challenged America’s perception of what beer could be. At the time, beer drinkers weren’t used to bigger, more flavorful brews that used high-quality, traditional ingredients and followed the age-old Reinheitsgebot purity law. Infinium continues to challenge people’s perception of beer in a very different way, making this partnership unique.  I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented brewers in the world during this project, and we’re all excited to finally share Infinium with drinkers this holiday season.”
Both breweries share great passion for the art and science of brewing, and pride themselves on using only the highest quality ingredients to produce award-winning, world-class beers.  Weihenstephan was founded by Benedictine monks in 1040, and is the guardian of the original Reinheitsgebot law.  Every batch of Weihenstephan’s beer is evaluated by a panel of experts for color, aroma, froth consistency and flavor. 
“It was exciting to work with Jim and the brewers at Samuel Adams to stretch the limits of Reinheitsgebot during the creation of Infinium,” says Dr. Josef Schrädler.  “This beer is truly a marriage of the German brewing heritage that our brewery has upheld for almost a thousand years, combined with new, innovative brewing techniques that take beer beyond what anyone expected to be possible under the constraints of the purity law.” 
Not only is Weihenstephan the oldest brewery in the world, it has upheld a tradition of being a center for research about brewing and brewing technology for hundreds of years. The Weihenstephan Science Center of the Technical University of Munich is one of the highest regarded brewing schools in the world, and was instrumental in the development and creation of Infinium with the Weihenstephan and Samuel Adams brewers. 
Available at select locations worldwide for a limited time, Infinium, hits shelves in early December, for a suggested retail price of $19.99 per 750mL bottle.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Beer Poll: Which beer warms you up on a cold day?

When the weather gets cold, what beer do you go to to warm yourself?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Beer Quickie: Does alcohol kill brain cells?

It's true that at high concentrations, like the nearly 100-percent pure alcohol used in sterilizing solutions, alcohol can indeed kill cells and neurons (and nearly anything else). But given that the blood reaching your brain is only at 0.08 percent alcohol if you're legally intoxicated, you're not actually killing any cells.

Don't believe it? A major study by Grethe Jensen and colleagues in 1993 matched brain samples taken from both alcoholics and nonalcoholics, from groups of the two dead from non-alcohol-related causes. There were no significant differences found in either the number or density of brain cells between the groups.

What alcohol can and does do to your brain is affect the way your neurons get their firing triggers from glutamate. It infiltrates the glutamate receptors in your synapses, hurting their ability to send off their normal "fire" messages. Alcohol has this impact all across your brain—the parts that control muscles, speech, coordination, judgement, and so on. Keep that in mind the next time you or someone else claims that they drive, golf, or otherwise perform some task better with alcohol's help.

Feel free to read the entire article about what alcohol does and doesn't do over at LifeHacker .


Friday, November 5, 2010

Beer Review: Does your glass matter?

Today's tips brought to you by A Pint of Knowledge and LifeHacker

I'm sure we all have our favorite mug that we like to drink from. I personally enjoy a sturdy thick-walled 12 oz. mug with a nice wide mouth and a handle. It's practical. Thick walls insulate and keep the beer cold. The wide mouth lets me drink as much as I please. It has a tall rise on the bottom which, again, insulates and keeps the heat of the table from my beer. And the handle ensures it will not be dropped and no beer will be spilled.

But this contends with the anecdotes we all hear, and perpetuated by certain breweries, that the glass you drink from can enhance your beer drinking experience.
Is there truth to this urban myth?

And no.

The kind of glass you drink from doesn't matter as much as some would like you to believe. For the most part, the glasses which beer is served in at your local tavern are used more for economic than sommelier reasons. "The 16 ounce “shaker”, a thick and slightly tapered glass, is the one you’ll most commonly find with the logo of a particular beer or brewery painted on the side.  Many bartenders love these because they are study, easy to stack, and provide an equal serving size whatever beer you are pouring from the tap. " But really these 'pint' glasses are meant more for mixing drinks than for drinking from them.

You may also want to let the name of the glass guide you as to what kind of beer to put in them. A pilsner glass for instance, is well suited for a pilsner. However, this kind of glass apparently is meant to enhance the appearance of lighter colored pilsners, to help differentiate them from much darker stouts and ales. Have you ever watched the bubbles fizz up to the top of champagne in a champagne flute? Pilsner glasses serve a similar purpose, to enhance the effect of the carbonation. So if you like a good fizzy pilsner, drink from a pilsner glass.
Last, the ever-contested question: Should I frost my beer mug?
Although it does keep the beer nice and cold, you're better off without the frost. Moisture in the air will tend to condense on the cold glass, then drip into your beer, and water it down. It's even worse if the mug is iced and not just chilled. As the glass warms, that ice melts into your beer. I don't know about you, but a watered down beer is not my idea of tastiness.
Your best bet is to drink your beer in a moderately quick way.
If you can't manage that and would like to linger on your beer, I recommend opting for a smaller glass. It used to be that some pubs would serve beer in small 5 oz. glasses because keeping it chilled was so difficult. Nowadays you can find these same small 5 oz. glasses as part of "flights" with a variety of beer samples, but it is a little more difficult to order just a taste of one beer.


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