"When anything had to be changed or repaired, it appeared to pain him physically. For twenty years the bar sagged in the middle like a plough mule’s back. A carpenter warned him repeatedly that it was about to collapse; finally, in 1933, he told the carpenter to go ahead and prop it up. While the work was in progress he sat at a table in the back room with his head in his hands and got so upset he could not eat for several days." A history of McSorley's Old Ale House from the 1940 issue of The New Yorker.
"The idea that Medieval people drank beer or wine to avoid drinking bad water is so established that even some very serious scholars see no reason to document or defend it; they simply repeat it as a settled truth. In fact, if no one ever documents the idea, it is for a very simple reason: it's not true."
So, you want to eat like a hobbit do you? The big old dragon of Middle-Earth recipes is the charmingly retro 'Middle-Earth Recipes' (now with a more modern and photo-friendly blog version ) from which NPR's Beth Accomando has complied an all-day feasting menu suitable for marathon watching (or reading) assorted Lord Of The Rings media while Recipewise sticks to foods served by Bilbo in The Hobbit itself and explains the Victorian convention of high vs. low tea. (Author Diane Duane's own Hobbit-inspired recipe, Took Family Seed Cake can be made with poppy rather than caraway seed if that's your thing) Need something to do while digesting? Why not read about the history and meaning of the rural comfort food in Tolkien at Strange Horizons " Well Stocked Larders: Food And Diet Of Hobbits" by Stephanie Green.
Put in your preferred beer style, and Beer Viz will tell you about similar beers using data collected from Beer Advocate.
After much online fervor, speculation, and FOIA requests, the White House has released the recipe for its home-brewed honey ale and honey porter.
Even in the grips of the Great Recession, one industry's profits are bubbling up, pouring forth, and experiencing growth in market share, dollars spent, and profit: craft beer! [more inside]
The Beer Archaeologist. "Biomolecular archaeologist" Dr. Patrick McGovern has unearthed millennia-old alcohol recipes and ancient medicinals, "by analyzing residues in ancient pottery. Now he's working with brewer Sam Calagione, (of Discovery Channel's Brew Masters, (autoplaying video)) whose pub Dogfish Head serves up beers based on recipes that are thousands of years old." (Via) [more inside]
Greatbrewers.com releases the Beer Sommelier. Beer is increasingly considered the ideal beverage to accompany food for its palate cleansing carbonation and its diverse range of styles featuring flavor and aroma characteristics that can enhance any dish. But selecting the right beer style to complement a specific dish, and tracking down a retailer that carries that style presents inherent challenges. Masterfully select the best beer styles to pair with any dish, see examples of those styles, and track down individual beers in your neighborhood with the Beer Sommelier. [more inside]
Pumpkin Beer : Showing the rest of the world that there's nothing Americans can't turn into alcohol:
"If barley be wanting to make into malt,But why stop at using pumpkin as an ingredient? Let cog_nate show you how to use it as brewing equipment. (via Projects)
We must be content and think it no fault,
For we can make liquor to sweeten our lips,
Of pumpkins, and parsnips, and walnut-tree chips."
Mmmm, beeeer: ratebeer.com The World's Worst Beers, Best Beers - 2007, find the top beers by category or region. Emphasis on craft brews. (See also the previously mentioned BeerAdvocate.com) Happy Friday, everyone!
Trappist Ale. (warning, music on first link.) The six Belgian breweries Achel (little English), Chimay, Orval, Rochefort (unofficial site), Westmalle (no English), and Westvleteren, along with the Dutch brewery De Konigshoeven/La Trappe (first is English link to monastery, second is non-English brewery site.) are the only recognized producers of Trappist beers, although the latter was only recently granted the appellation after several years without it. Ranging from the relatively commercial and large-scale operations of Chimay and La Trappe to the other extreme of Westvleteren, who want to live quietly and don't want their beer distributed, these beers are considered some of the best in the world.
Basic Brewing Radio : Good info and podcasts that are done pretty well. (22 shows already "in the can"). If you are looking for a good online book: How to Brew by John Palmer. Homebrewers, feel free to share your favorite sites and resources.
Serious vegetarians know to keep on the lookout for isinglass and other animal products in their beer. Isinglass is a fish-derived additive that's primarily used to help speed up the clarification of cask-conditioned ales, although some beer-makers will use it to reclaim batches that didn't filter properly. You can help keep your diet swimbladder-free with this awesome list.