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Mike Randle


Beer: It’s Not Just For Breakfast Anymore
January 16, 2005

Here in the good ol U.S. of A., we have a weird fascination with ‘so- called’ ICE BEER and Genuine drafts. For the uninformed regular Joe, I would like to say that those beers are crap. As a matter of fact they do not even deserve the term ‘Beer.’ See, Miller makes a ‘Genuine Draft’ and, by definition, it’s name comes from the fact that it’s not pasteurized. However, what they DONT tell you (and the reason it tastes like crap) is that it’s STERILE-FILTERED. That’s to insure shelf life. I mean, you MUST have wondered, huh?

One of the things we Yanks can brag about is STEAM BEER. Now, most people have never heard of STEAM Beer but that’s cause it’s exclusive to the Pacific North West. Before Ice was so readily available, our great forefather brewers had a distinctive method of bottom-fermentation at high temps. in very wide, shallow vessels. This produced a beer with both Lager AND Ale character. Supposedly, ‘Steam’ would rise out when the casks were tapped, thus the name. Today, San Francisco’s EXCELLENT Brewery (and Beer), ANCHOR STEAM, owns the name and method of Steam Beer. If you ever go to the rock club, THE BOTTOM OF THE HILL, just up the hill is the Brewery and they supposedly still run a line right into the club’s casks. They may even still have BBQ sundays, all the BBQ you can eat for like $10 plus you get to see a band. Take that, terrorist.

One of my fave beers is the Pilsner. This is a dry, bottom fermenting beer and is usually referred to in England as a ‘Premium Beer.’ If you ever want to make sure you don’t get served either Keg Shite, Dodgy Beer or Carling, request a Premium Beer. This will almost certainly be a Larger of high quality. Request a ‘Super Premium Beer’ and they will no doubt bring you a Pilsner, probably an Urquell, which was the first Pilsner ever. Urquell was (is?) brewed in Pilsener, which is a city in the Czech province of Bohemia. The British are known to hold back so make sure you push the issue. And stay away from that Carling.

Hannah and me frequent her local (see mine is the Tavern but she found her own up the road, an Irish Pub called FINN MC COOL’S) and i’ve noticed that the women there mostly drink Guiness. Now, when i’m in Dublin, the first thing i do is ring the band and tell em to meet me down at the pub for our first Guiness of each Dublin visit. This is a tradition and generally, i rarely drink Guiness acceot for such occasions. However, i know people who practically pour it over their corn flakes. What I think people like about it is that it’s a STOUT and Stouts are top-fermenting brews that are made with highly roasted malts, which gives it that Dark colour i would think. One thing many people don’t realise is that Stouts in England are sweeter than Ireland. That’s because they add lactose (milk sugars). The proper Stouts (like Irish Guiness) is dry and -get this – is 4% alcohol in the UK but 5% in Canada, USA and Ireland (hey, before you email me to call me names, Billy Joe in Kentucky, you should know that Ireland is NOT part of the United Kingdom) and even as high as 8% (8%?!?!) in tropical countries. This is all try cause i researched it. In Russia, they sale Imperial Stouts, which are unmalted barley brewed and go as high as 10% alcohol by volume. Dang.

next diary, we’ll find out just what’s in that ‘Malt Liquor.’

Mike Randle


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