Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Love of Beer

Breaking the stereotypes for equality (and for ancient tradition) The Love of Beer documents the rising return of females to the brew pot.

"When someone thinks of a brewer, they probably don't picture a petite woman with red pigtails. But with Tonya Cornett's amazing beers and growing collection of medals, things may change. From farm to consumption, women are fighting their way to become some of the most influential people in the craft beer world. Based in the Pacific NW, this documentary follows these inspirational women as they struggle to end stereotypes, handle their rising fame, and raise families in a 21 and over lifestyle. They're not doing it for feminism or equality-they're doing it for The Love of Beer."

Nitch has been called a beer feminist and can only nod and agree. I am a beer feminist, a black panter of the pint and I strive to educate the world in the beauty and magic of the culture of beer. Historically, throughout the world, women were the brewers. As soon as I tell women about this and other long lost norms of the beer world (like the female goddess of beer Ninkasi), women's ears perk up and they put their foot in the constantly closing door of male dominated beer drinking society. "Um. Hi. We were here first. Yeah.. thanks." Call it feminism if you life, but empowering women to take up a even position in something that was traditionally theirs is like deciding between a male and a female pregnancy doctor.

Midwives of brewing are returning to their post- as spokesmen, artistis, pub owners and more.

Times are turning back to a natural balance with the earth, society and ourselves- best place to start is with the things we consume. For the love of beer, let us consume and understand that around us. One pint at a time!


Beer Preaching to the heathens

Last night I was introduced to a new group of people as a beer feminist.

[caption id="attachment_1126" align="alignright" width="336"]the-love-of-beer If you haven't had a chance to the 2011 Hopumentary The Love of Beer, you are missing a mental lego piece.[/caption]

"She's a beer feminist," my friend waved a hand dismissively as I began to explain what I do with my spare time.

To which I, startled but compliant, agreed.

"I guess I am a bit of a beer feminist although I prefer to consider myself a beer liberationist. I fight for the rights of all people to have equal beer love. But yeah, since people associate feministism with strong women who have strong ideals then I'm flattered to have been referred to as some sort of black panter of the pint."

Next thing I knew I found myself soap boxing to a captive audience for the first time- beer preaching.

One asked me, "when did this whole beer obsession start for you?" And, although I had fully blogged about my path into craft beer, I realized I needed to simplify and find a way to analogize my story to a people that had no idea what an IPA was. How does one explain the streets of downtown London, to eskimos?

[caption id="attachment_1133" align="alignleft" width="235"]St Augustine beer St Augustine Parton Saint (kinda) of brewers[/caption]

We, Americans (most Americans), are surrounded by craft beer and are aware of it in a way that most other countries are not. In that respect, there are some who are raised in the beer culture, like my friends in Portland, Oregon and there are others who have found the community of beer culture through years of searching. As I glanced out the bar window to see the tallest building in the city peeking over the horizon- the cathedral, I found my analogy- beer culture is like religion. The home brewer a parishioner, the  professional brewer a priest, the brew kettle a church and all us who write are the scribers of the holy word. (Although, like most biblical fiction, we fill the lines between the important bits with our opinions and rants).

On the west coast America we are so soaked in the healing froth of craft beer that fundamental historical facts like the Reinheitsgebot are common knowledge and we are able to debate about the social effects of the law from a firm understanding of what it is. French natives know about terroir but since "beer is made by man, wine by God," they directly assume that the one controlled by nature is more superior and reject human creativity as second best. Also, it's difficult to persuade people to the importance of beer when you can't communicate on an even level, French is not my first language and English not theirs. My french compatriots know of my beer hobby and have listened to my tales, nodding, smiling and frowning with agreement at the approritate locations in my talk, but they continue on their way because I'm a silly female foreigner who comes from a strange (and often disillusioned) country.

[caption id="attachment_1131" align="alignleft" width="336"]maybe-its-the-beer-talking-large I avoid drinking too much when trying to spread the holy word of beer[/caption]

Being with non-converted English speakers didn't make the task any more easy, but the group continued to ask me questions, leading me on to say more and it as enlightening and exhilarating to hear myself verbalizing what I write and read about faithfully as it was to share with native English speakers. It must be what the missionaries felt then they connected with a polytheist who seemed genuinely interested in their one God stories.

Because I was raised Christian with dashes of fairy lore (thanks grandma), I know a bit of scripture and I don't go to church but I know the story of David and Golith. Like a children's tale with dramatic cliff hangers and flowery language, I told of the prohibition. The capitalizing growth of the macro lagers that led to the death of many American breweries and how people have began to over throw the beast through determination and faith.

[caption id="attachment_1129" align="alignright" width="280"]New-Belgium-Mothership-6pk_2 Nitch has attended many a BBQ with the Organic Mothership Wit in hand[/caption]

And again the analogy themed continued through the exchange:  Beer culture is like religion. So when the person asked me, "when did this whole beer obsession start for you?" I was able to explain my baptism by beer in terms of clergy and spiritual growth. When you grow up saturated with bibles and churches it's a normal thing to attend mass on Sunday. When even the connivence store carries New Belgium Brewing, it's a normal thing to attend a BBQ with craft beer. In 2011 I spent a year in Australia and, for me, it was entering the amazon jungles- what do people here do on Sundays? And where are all the beer options? I was so used to having the choice of beer praying the way I chose that when I was in a world of unbelievers it shocked me. To see (West/North) Australians spending huge chucks of the paychecks on expensive low-grade drinks and bad service caused me to feel like Shirley Temple in Africa. I was the only civilized ( short shorts wearing) girl in the area, just waiting for a bearded, barrel chested brewer to come and restore order.

[caption id="attachment_1134" align="alignleft" width="197"]avatar2uj6 Drink and be filled with the holy light![/caption]

That's when I found my beer culture spirit- in the empty red desert of uninspiring drinks. The community around craft beer was my church and I wanted to share that joyful light with the heathens. I looked at macro beer swillers as the lost and un-god fairing natives of the amazon, as the missionaries saw them. But I'm not one of those people on the street corner with a megaphone (and surely not a nun) so I try not to be judgmental, pressing or the other extreme, seclusive. I merely drink my good beer, liberally offered samples to those around me and conducted myself in the most down to earth way possible. Letting those around me come to me when they realized that they are seeking something more then fizzy yellow beer.

[caption id="attachment_1135" align="alignright" width="340"]glover-beer_egyptian-serving-girl-pouring-beer The original Holy Spirit of the Pint- Ninkasi[/caption]

Last night, after the group got the ball rolling and the stage was set, was the first time I've been able to preach the word of beer. I felt the spirit of Ninkasi fill me with joy!

The scholarly conversation lead me into solidifying theories that I had formorly floating in my primal pool of knowledge. Of course, you can't just rip into other people's historical understanding by dropping too many serious beer facts on them. These are intelligent humans who lead complex lives- what need they for enlightenment from a pretty young lady- about alcohol consumption of all things.

[caption id="attachment_1127" align="alignleft" width="332"]73140_144728808907254_144594552254013_222964_5380129_n Lost Abbey's Witch's Wit brings attention to that extremely gruesome point in history when women were hunted by the church for being 'evil'.[/caption]

At the point when I stated that the classic image of a woman over a big pot representing a witch is actually the local head brewer on brew day before the inquisition, expectantly people chuckled and ask for a reasoning behind such thinly drawn lines.

"You don't see any children in the background- she isn't Mrs. Hubbard and she isn't making pasta sauce for the rest of the year. Maube she is making stew, one suggests. Stew for a festival? And for that she is evil in our iconography " Woman had recipes for beer- government saw beer as control- easiest way to defeat the compition is to turn the world against them- they are the devil. These ideas are reaching, I admit and weren't the single force behind the cultural desicration that happend in the time of kings and queens, but it helps draw people attention the importnace of alcohol and alcohol comsuption in our past. In just under an hour after meeting this group I had been called a beer femisnist, re-evaluated my beer roots and re-deinfed history. I hadn't even begun to allow my enthustiasm to really set in- let them google to learn more. Next time we meet, I'll intorduce them to Mikeller and watch the beer revial spark flare up in a whole new set of followers.

For the moment, Nitch signing off in the French macro lager amazon telling myself:

[caption id="attachment_1136" align="alignright" width="350"]1664-Gold-2012-light Savor an authentically moment. Yay...[/caption]

"Some religion is better then nothing," as I sip on a 1664 Gold.

"That's not so bad, the gold one," a French native chirps, eager to please.

"It's horrible," I mumble unheard.

Life goes on. I'm still mostly alone in my quest but... I march on.
"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." -Maya Angelou



Friday, June 28, 2013

Heart of Darkness

There is beer for every mood, every person at every point in their life (at a reasonable drinking age) Arche Enemy- Heart of Darkness popped on my itunes today

Arche Enemy is one my favorite bands for being female powered and long lasting with depth and musical talent.

14_Heart_Darkness_DecalThe title of the song reminded me of beer I had in Brisbane, QLD at the Archive Bar that touched my heart. Heart of Darkness by Murray's Brewing co. Likely on of my favorite stouts to date, Heart of Darkness was all chocolate and bitterness- like my heart. Melts in your mouth, not in your hands, likely to hop bomb and intoxicate.

MURRAY'S Heart of Darkness 9.6% “Belgio” Imperial stout

A: Dark with red highlights

S: Chocolate and yeasty

T: Bread like a Belgian yeast, malty and chocolate but not too coffee or roasted. Lingering chocolate

M: Lightly creamy with a perfect amount of carbonation to cut the heavy ingredients.

O: Pours in bitter and hoppy then finishes chocolate. In love! Strong and loving. Sip-able, gulp-able, hearty and soft. It bursts with flavor but doesn’t give you a caffeine headache. Pours with a syrup consistency. Fizzes like a redhead in heat.


What I found as I searched for my dark hearted beer, was that Magic Hat also has a Heart of Darkness beer- Uh oh... please don't sue anyone Magic Hat!

[caption id="attachment_1116" align="alignleft" width="313"]DSC_0087 Old school Nitch bottle sampling on her second Heart of Darkness[/caption]

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Craft Beer & Romantic Comedy: Drinking Buddies

Thanks to Good Beer's post, Sign of the End of Times for having brought this future film to Nitch's beer culture light. Rather or not it's a sign of apocalyptic things to come or a way of bringing new lambs into the fold- we shall see.

Drinking Buddies set to hit USA theaters July 25th 2013

For plot summary, cast and crew info, check out IMDB's listing

First off lets just say that Olivia Wilde is HA-ah-Hot!

[caption id="attachment_1105" align="alignnone" width="614"]olivia-wilde-wallpapers If you missed Ms. Wilde's shoot with Flaunt Magazine here is a video- Oh MY![/caption]

Once we get over the leading actress's striking beauty and charisma then we can move on to more importnat issues: beards and beer.

This is a romantic comedy that grabs on the trendy train of craft brewing and with that locomotion of cool the leading male actor, a brewer, must have a beard. If you are going to have a craft brewery then the brewer MUST be bearded as the cliche states (that makes Nitch chuckle). Dead on, I guess, most brewers are or used to be bearded as a way to display how earthy, manly and generally opposed to the norm they are. See Rogue's brew master and beard beer creation for examples on why beards are importnat to the beer culture but also (because it's Rogue) an awkwardly fading trend.

Turning back to comment on Good Beer's take on Drinking Buddies: Yes, there are much better movies in the world, new and old, in a range of genres including romantic comedies (a style which Nitch is my no means an expert.) No, this film doesn't mainstream craft beer because craft beer has been mainstreaming itself for a few years already. In Oregon (as current news has been gushing over) craft beer is the standard so backgrounding a romantic comedy with a brewery would be the same as setting a film in an automotive company in Michigan in the 1980's. On the other hand it does place brewing beer within the ranks of a normal job when viewed by people outside the Oregon/Cascade bubble.

Most importantly we'll have to see how they handle what, in what way and how much will beer effect the characters in the film. Will Drinking Buddies be drinking light beer, dark beer, the same or different through out the movie and most importantly will craft breweries in the real world make a cameo appearance?

[caption id="attachment_1104" align="alignright" width="266"]is the future of craft beer going to go the same route as Grey Goose and Patron? is the future of craft beer going to go the same route as Grey Goose and Patron?[/caption]

Honestly, I think it will be an okay movie. It isn't going to change anything or move anyone, but it will have some laughs, maybe some insights and give a beer geek a reason to sip beer along with the tv.

I can't imagine we'll get this movie over here in France but I'll download it as soon as the internet has it available.

All beer things considered. 



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Art and Culture of Craft Beer with Chad Henderson

Standing waist deep in the excavated floor of a building, prying eroded 67 year old plumbing up that smelled rusted sewage, Chad Henderson was grimacing through sweat and smiling on the inside. A big smile. He was upgrading to his dream job, working hard to make it happen- paying the bills and living the beer culture. Home brewer with a degree in Psychology, Biology and Physiology from Appalachian State turned professional brewer. A dream come true in more ways then one.

They sat me down and said, "would you like to be our brewer" and I screamed "Yes!"


Chad Henderson is head brewer at NoDa brewing in Charlotte NC, USA and says that "we are using craft beer as a vehicle to express ourselves."


It wasn't just the discovery of beer in his college years that inspired him begin following the home brewing hobby:

“This was beer that had a story, this was beer that had a purpose”

“...tucked in under the alcohol production and distribution industry, an industry in itself that really was more of a community, more of a culture. And I became obsessed with it. And that culture was craft beer.”
“The diversity and detail and the amount of history that went into craft beer blew my mind.”

Not only was Chad able to eventually switch from the medical field to professional brewing but he found himself conversing with one of his beer idols: Sam Calagione. Sam was the "beer-lebrity" Chad had always wanted to meet and later found homself exchanging more then words of encouragement and thanks with the beer culture icon when a packaged arrived for Chad containing cards, swag and his favorite beer: Olde School Barleywine.

Sam himself is a veteran of the TED stage:

Both speeches are inspirational and comedic- referencing the on going movement of the beer cultured. 



Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tasting- Les 3 Brasseurs

Finishing up our home brew day, Nitch grabbed the car keys and took a grey day drive to a location recommended by a friend: Les 3 Brasseurs. It being out of the way and an international chain restaurant wards craft beer geeks away, but pacing the same kitchen area for over four hours (and using the same wash sink more times then countable) will inspire a need for a change of view and something to gurgle while viewing it.
"Our mission is simple – to share with our patrons our passion for beer"


Tasting Location- Les 3 Brasseurs

Upon arrival one is greeted by a massive outdoor seating area that the French so require for restauranting and pubbing. What made this one so delightful was the hop laced fencing- beauty and functionality!DSC01437

The entrance is guarded by a shiny copper brew kettle that gleams in it's darkly lit euro pub style restaurant. The ceilings have pho-newspaper coverings and beer related paraphernalia is spread tastefully about, reminding one of a beer'ed up Shenanigans. "A stunning authentic microbrewery installation and European décor mixed in with some local flavour makes the atmosphere inimitable."   Although I wouldn't go so far as to agree with the website's "inimitable" (since it's likely that all the locations are immitations of each other), I did instantly feel like I was in a place where a beer lover could geek out and not feel awkward.

Which of course- I was completely wrong. As the partons stared at my picture taking and constant note scratching/beer sniffing and the extravagant why that I held beers up to the light and exclaimed things like, "oh my, hello cascade!" These things might have not only fasinated the dining families but also be the reason why one of the older servers came with two extra tastings: the local brew. La Belle Province is made with all local ingredients and I was immediatly drawn into another bout of, "Ooo! Smell that goodness," while shoving the petite glass as far under my nose as possible without looking like a beer addicted Scarface.

Menus are freakishly well designed with mouth watering pictures creating hunger stirrings through already full bellies.

They have beer cocktails- some are blue- let's discover more about those next time.

4Today We Tasted 6 Les 3 Brasseurs Bières


A: Bright hay to sunflower color with a head that isn't there.

S: Banana ester, later yeast, mild earthy hop

T: Traditional lager style with spice, light farmhouse tastes with a delicate hop finish

M: Oily but dry

O: The French Man feels like it is an overly hopped lager, but I disagree and attribute his messed up tasting abilities to him having hovered over the home brew brew kettle for hours. There is for sure a hop element that sticks out, but it feels more like a home brewed IPA lover's lager then a normal French blond.


A: No carbonation again, but that will be a pattern, as sampling platters nearly always seem headless and lacking proper carbonation.

S: Belgian spices with clove, coriander, caramel and bread yeast

T: Bitter in the front with a roasted sweet backing that finishes rather bland.

M: Medium body

O: Meh.


A: Amber almost violet colors when helt to the light, but mainly a deep earthy brown.

S: Toffee and coffe softly, softly

T: Almost creamy on the palate but cut directly with a bitter coffee finish.

M: more bubbles then the other beers, which means it has a medium carbonation. I'm wondering now if there is either something wrong with the beer or the taps. Have to look into that at my next visit.

O: He has that cold, stale coffee direction in sight but turns just before cliffing into gross. As the beer warmed slightly the caramel came to stand out and wrapped the whole beer better together.

"It's so hoppy I feel like I'm smoking weed"

The French Man hates all these beers so far.

The Queen

A: Golden yellow with small motionless bubbles

S: Lager

T: Slightly bitter, so mild. Malty finish. Not displeasing but nothing great. Session style. I don't think the Queen would enjoy this beer but some of her people might.

M: Moving on

Cherry Cuvee

A: Valentine's day red, fading to pink around the edges

S: Smells like juicy juice red flavor.

T: All cherry, maybe strawberry. Oh NO! Vicks Nyquil.

M: Pass

La Belle Provence- Special Local BrewDSC01450

A: Rose tinted sun rays in a glass

S: The smell knocked my hop loving socks off! Honey hops and apple blossoms. I want to burry my face in it's sweet and tangy head, but am aware of the public location, so I take pictures for later beerporn referral and hope that the olfactory senses will be recreated by my imagination appropriately.

T: There is a great fruit sweetness, like a hard cider with the tartness of the fruit skin substituted with floral hops. There might be cherry juice in there but no matter what, the balance between fruit, floral, sweet and bitter is delightful.

M: Juicy and refreshing, light body

O: I feel like the beer would like more bubbles, but maybe that would turn it directly into more of a cider style. Not with standing this finishing treat is something I'm going to return for and inquire more about. Local huh?

Although I wouldn't call it craft beer and I wouldn't say it's something to seek out, Les 3 Brasseurs is better then nothing.

Les 3 Brasseurs is massive international company (including locations throughout France, Quebec, Tahiti, Réunion, and New Caledonia) but that doesn't mean they can't be spreading the baby step understanding of what beer culture invites. Many'a Joe has stated that their first "craft" beer was Blue Moon. Baby steps, as feeble as they are, begin consumers in the right direction toward freedom. Beer Freedom!



French Home Brewing Adventures

Today was a long, hot, sticky day.

Not because France has finally caught a break and God punched a tropical UV ray hole in the atmosphere. (When WILL we be seeing the effects of this global warming thing?)

It rained a bit and it was oh -so -typically cold, but Nitch (finally!) was hunched over a brew kettle like a fairy tale witch. MalinPont_6_22_12_WitchCauldron2

I did have the help of my live in French character but there is only so much sanitizing and waiting a girl can do before a reward is needed!


The two best parts of home brewing is chatting about beer with friends and sipping home brew while resetting timers. Unfortunately today was day #1 of Nitch's French Home brewing adventure, so there wasn't any under carbonated brew to sip nor, given the sparcity of the region, any like minded home brewers to chat with. The French Man, who had more questions then conversation, spent a lot of time fussing about the differences between website recommendations in French vs. the American English google results. Turns out most French home brewers suggest boiling your water in a series of levels instead of a straight forward "rolling boil."

Who knew

The cooking area is snug, like a child's playhouse kitchen. One might (one might as well expect to) get hit in the head by any manner of things including (but not limited to) flying beetles, falling cob webs, a latter or a wildly flying hose on full blast.
"It has potential!"- in the words of my grandmother

The French Man did help stir and lift heavy objects (as men were created to do) which gave me time to ration out the obscene amount of hops in the Diggity Dank Nugget Recipe sent to me via little brother from Falling Sky Brewing and Fermentation Supply Shop in Eugene Oregon.

Merci Little Brother Bear!


Gravity reading you say?

Oh yeah, took one of those....

She's fermenting in the bathroom, I'll let you know what happens. Cross your fingers, please.

Tasting- Prototype


A collaboration piece between French brewers Pays Flamand and Norwegian Nøgne Ø- Prototype


With a limitied 4,000 bottles released, I'm smitten to have gotten a few on a general run to the out of the way bottle shop we have a few towns over.

A little about the breweries collaborating on Prototype:

Not only is Nøgne Ø Norway's leading supplier of bottle fermented ale, but they are now brewing sake! The website has funky class all over it and I had to surprise in finding their subheading to be "The Uncompromising Brewery...

" a plain statement of our mission to craft ale of highest quality, personality and individuality. The alchemists realized that they could only create gold from gold – so have we. Our gold is Maris Otter; Cascade, Centenneal, Chinook and Columbus. We think Maris Otter is the best malt obtainable, hand malted barley in the traditional manner in the UK. The big C’s are full flavored hops, grown in the USA. We only use ingredients of highest quality in order to make beers of uncompromising quality."

Hops from America make one more legit.

While not as "hawaiian shirt" as Nøgne Ø, (their news blog hasn't been updated since 2011) Brasserie du Pays Flamand has their quirks and compliments in line. Snappy bottle labels and awarded medals reach out from the pages saying, 'come visit our brewery store which is open for five hours per day, on unstated days." Brewery tours can be booked for groups over 10 people.

Nitch counts as 9.5 people worth of average beer drinkers, so all I need is a wine drinker to tag along and I'll have enough for a booking!

Brasserie du Pays Flamand is a Flemish Brewery in the Northern France regoin of Blaringhem, bordering on Belgium. Likely that accounts for the strong brewing feet while in France.

But is Prototype any good?!

Brasserie du Pays Flamand/Nøgne Ø- Prototype 7.5% 330mL

A: Black and blacker with some furry brown hints and a massive- almost obscenely huge head that fell at the perfect rate. Enough time to be visually wooed by the huge bubbled head then to sniff away fully the seconds between nose and mouth.

S: Chocolate roasted notes, dryness and a wet grass under pinning

T: Berries, maybe blueberry or myrtle and roasted sugar malts finishing with spices and desserts. All rolled delicately into a mild Porter type.

M: Dry but quenching

O: Exotic and classic. Great blend of traditional style in the porter but the ingredients ring something new and lovely. I'll be popping back into the bottle shop to grab a few more of these before they run out!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Quote- Martin Luther

Men can go wrong with alcohol and woman. Shall we then prohibit and abolish woman?- Martin Luther0444-1

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Quote- Thomas Tusser

Seeth grain in more water, while grains be yet hot,

And stirre them in copper as poredge in pot,

Such heating with straw, to make offal good store,

Both pleseth and easeth, what would you have more?

-Thomas Tussertusser

Quote- Her ale

Her ale, if new, looks like a misty morning, all thick; well, if her ale be strong, her fire good, her face fair, and the town great or rich, she shall seldom sit without chirping birds to bear her company, and at the next christening, she is sure to be rid of two or three dozen cakes and ale by gossiping neighbors.

[caption id="attachment_974" align="alignright" width="487"]il_fullxfull.147292923 Bad Apple Ale by Matt Johnson[/caption]

-       Donal Lupton, London and the Country Carbonated 1632

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Hop-Cannabis Hybrid?

"A plant that makes beer better and gets you high- a pirate's dream!" -French Pirate Lover

And it's true- a plant that can be used for medical/recreational smoking AND beer making is something of  mythical sea monster. Or majestic ocean mermaid more like it, seeing as how the possibilities behind such a hybrid are confusingly vast yet appealing. There could be medical grade beer or new floral tasting notes when using hybrid hop-cannabis for last minute steeping. Imparting not much of the effect but a skunky sweetness on the nose would add new dimension to the hop addiction in the beer world.

Hop-Cannabis Relations

pot-hopsHumulushop, is a small genus of flowering plants in the family of Cannabaceae, which also includes cannabis. 

When you get your first try at hand rubbing and hop smelling there will inevitably be a brewer or beer enthusiasts chuckling softly with quirky delight and imparting a bit of hop knowledge that never ceases to amuse- hops and cannabis are cousins in a very small family. Most will also be quick to mention that they've had friends who've tried to smoke hops with no avail beyond a headache. Although not suitable for smoking, the smell of fresh hops is as close to a spiritual high as one can get without delving deeper into the shamanistic aspects of plants. So much are we effected by this cannabis relative that we "beer revolutionists" have become addicted to the stuff. Demanding higher and higher percentages of hop to malt ratio and turning out noses to anything that doesn't include at least an acre intoxicating hop resins. So why not take two of the most interesting plants in common culture and roll em in the hay together?

[caption id="attachment_979" align="alignleft" width="300"]Hop-Cannabis Hybrid Hop-Cannabis Hybrid[/caption]

Not done through natural pollination but through grafting, cannabis-hop hybrid is more tech lab then donkeys and wild horses. Since they are genetically related it isn't obscene, though the mixing might not develop anything of grander. It might turn out that the hop-cannabis hybrid is useless on both fronts: pretty for gardening and smelling but aesthetically and technologically useless.

Dutch Ganja atricles on growing marjiuana 18.6 Grafting talks about the science, myth and how to of hop-cannabis hybrids:

"The beauty of such a graft is that it would be difficult to identify as marijuana and, possible, the plant would not be covered under marijuana statutes. Unfortunately, the myth is false. It is possible to successfully graft Cannabis with Humulus, but the hops portion will not contain any cannabinoids.

In 1975, the research team of Crombie and Crombie grafted hops scions on Cannabis stocks from both hemp and marijuana (Thailand) plants 205. Cannabis scions were also grafted to hops stocks. In both cases, the Cannabis portion of the graft continued to produce its characteristic amounts of cannabinoids when compared to ungrafted controls, but the hops portions of the grafts contained no cannabinoids. This experiment was well-designed and carried out. Sophisticated methods were used for detecting THC, THCV, CBD, CBC, CBN, and CBG. Yet none of these were detected in the hops portions.

[caption id="attachment_978" align="alignright" width="300"]Hop-Cannabis Hybrid Hop-Cannabis Hybrid[/caption]

The grafting myth grew out of work by H.E. Warmke, which was carried out for the government during the early 1940's in an attempt to develop hemp strains that would not contain the "undesirable" drug 58. The testing procedure for the active ingredients was crude. Small animals, such as the water flea Daphnia, were immersed in water with various concentration of acetone extracts from hemp. The strength of the drug was estimated by the number of animals killed in a given period of time. As stated by Warmke, "The Daphnia assay is not specific for the marijuana drug ... once measures any and all toxic substances in hemp (or hop) leaves that are extracted with acetone, whether or not these have specific marijuana activity." Clearly it was other compounds, not cannabinoids, that were detected in these grafting experiments.


We have heard several claims that leaves from hops grafted on marijuana were psychoactive. Only one such case claimed to be first hand, and we never did see or smoke the material. We doubt these claims. Hops plants do have resin glands similar to those on marijuana, and many of the substances that make up the resin are common to both plants. But of several species and many varieties of hops tested with modern techniques for detecting cannabinoids, no cannabinoids have ever been detected 212.

The commercially valuable component of hops is lupulin, a mildly psychoactive substance used to make beer. To our knowledge, no other known psychoactive substances has been isolated from hops. But since these grafting claims persist, perhaps pot-heads should take a closer look at the hops plant.

Most growers who have tried grafting Cannabis and Humulus are unsuccessful. Compared to many plants, Cannabis does not take grafts easily. Most of the standard grafting techniques you've probably seen for grafting Cannabis simply don't work. For example, at the University of Mississippi, researchers failed to get one successful graft from the sixty that were attempted between Cannabis and Humulus. A method that works about 40 percent of the time is as follows. (Adapted from 205)

MythStart the hops plants one to two weeks before the marijuana plants. Plant the seeds within six inches of each other or start them in separate six-inch pots. The plants are ready to graft when the seedling are strong (about five and four weeks respectively) but their stem has not lost their soft texture. Make a diagonal incision about halfway through each stem at approximate the same levels (hops is a vine). Insert the cut portions into each other. Seal the graft with cellulose tape, wound string, or other standard grafting materials. In about two weeks, the graft will have taken. Then cut away the unwanted Cannabis top and the hops bottom to complete the graft. Good luck, but don't expect to get high from the hops leaves. {Smoking any plant's leaves will give a short, slight buzz.}"

Hop High

Nice to know that lupulin is slightly psychoactive and that we can make the myth or monster with a great deal of effort and experiment as we like. I'm surprised and then also not surprised that more interest on the hop-cannabis hybrid hasn't been around the science scene. Surprised because with the tech valley being over run by hop heads, it would seem only natural to start splicing it with it's useful and historically oppressed cousin.  Not surprised because the cousin is still considered one of those mind opening drugs that the controlling societies would rather we avoid and thus only sanction research on the substance when the reasearch is to show how evil it is.

For Nitch it's not a myth, it's not a monster, but it isn't magic either. With possibilities open on both fronts, I would like to see more done with the two. BeerSci talks about the details of beer and hops and how infusing beer with mary jane isn't uncommon.
THC is alcohol soluble, so you probably want your beer to be in the 8% ABV range for maximum extraction.

Maybe we could be happy to keep the two communities separate at the moment. But time is crawling on, seeing both the cannabis and the hop culture grow in much the same direction. We are cousin cultures that some day will need to join hands and compare notes. 

[caption id="attachment_983" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Fusion of two growing cultural movements Fusion of two growing cultural movements[/caption]

Friday, June 21, 2013

Quote- A Glass of Old English Ale

 Duttons_OBJ_Old_English_Ale_1960They talk about their foreign wines – Champagne and bright Moselle-

And think because they’re from abroad, that we must like them well,

And of their wholesome qualities they tell a wondrous tale;

But sour or sweet, they cannot beat a glass of old English Ale.

D’ye think my eye would be as bright, my heart as light and gay,

If I and “old John Barleycorn” did not shake hands each day?

No, no; and though teetotalers at malt and hop may rail

At them I’ll laugh and gaily quaff of old English Ale.

-J. Caxton, from the song “a Glass of Old English Ale”images-1

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing Quote


"One can drink too much, but one never drinks enough."

[caption id="attachment_877" align="alignright" width="199"]images German philosopher and play write[/caption]

-Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Crème glacée à la bière or Beer Ice Cream!

The warmer weather has hit middle France and the ice cream shops are popping up all around town. What better way to spend the mid day sunshine then to lick, sip and crunch on flavored iced cream and waffle in your flavor of choice! Nitch's flavor of choice? Beer ice cream, of course! To be specific, it is a sorbet and most the shops are more sorbet then ice cream, maybe closer to a gelato, but I'm not a dessert expert so we'll just go along calling it all ice cream.

IMG_1319As a standard, when the sun is shining, the locals and tourists roam the city streets like feral dogs. Packs of children, elders and desperately well dressed moms pushing baby strollers, require distraction and refreshment or fights will break out. Around every "glacée" stall bounce troll like creatures, foaming at the mouth, contrasted by the slow moving, money toting tribe caretakers. If you can make your way past the sticky hands, whipping pony tails and aged musk, the real challenge of France's warm weather begins. What flavor of ice cream will you mix with another? Unless you've chosen a commercial stall, which offers only vanilla and chocolate, there are a menagerie of flavors ranging from pepper strawberry to salty buttered caramel then back down the line to Belgian chocolate and Tahitian vanilla.

[caption id="attachment_868" align="alignright" width="209"]IMG_1320 Uv radiation never felt so sweet as when one is stuffing their face with chilled items. YUM![/caption]

My first choice was beer ice cream but, seeing as how there is no one in the world over 2 feet tall who orders a single scoop, I was bypassed by two slobbering, sunblock dipped organizations before I was able to decide on a beer pair. Local pear.

Not to be outdone, we've dusted off the ice cream maker and are looking into making some batches ourselves.

Making Beer Ice Cream

Local Chef Charolette had helped Nitch whip up a beer recipe last year with a green apple, ginger and lime lager glacée that turned out exhilarating with a bite of ginger, zing of lime and hints of lager.

Best beer recipes always come from the Beeroness and she fails not in the least with his devilishly decadent number with smokey chocolate porter and candied beer bacon. Wowza!

[caption id="attachment_872" align="alignleft" width="199"]The Beeroness never fails to shock and delight with her beer saturated recipes of delight for every occasion The Beeroness never fails to shock and delight with her beer saturated recipes of delight for every occasion[/caption]

Billy Brew has a great video and blog showing the how to's on beer ice cream making.

There are some companies that have scooped up the market by specializing in the beer ice cream: Frozen Pint- Craft beer ice cream.

Melting my will to look away, this French recipe by 750g has the making of a great summer weekend.

Looking forward to beerifying everything this summer, ice cream maker from the back of the garage- here I come!

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Offline Glass

Here is a beautiful invention that amuses me as much as the time I watched a friend try to read twitter posts on her phone while drinking a pint.

The Offline Glass

"The beer glass, designed by ad agency Fischer & Friends, was put to use in a bar in Sao Paolo, Brazil called Salve Jorge. The shaved off base creates an indentation that either makes you hold the beer glass and drink it or rest it on your phone and ignore Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, text messages and so forth." -Gizmodo

[caption id="attachment_843" align="aligncenter" width="600"]salve-jorge-bar-offline-glass-600-452101 Brazilian bar Salve Jorge is helping aid the next generation in offline gastro pub reality communication[/caption]

One of my favorite places in San Diego is a speakeasy/underground bar that has a strict no cell phone policy. This is mostly because I've lived many years with lack of or completely outdated phone. (Iphone 3 apps are no longer made). My piece of shit phone, which is why my beerporn pictures are as grainy as the misplaced sex shots you find of your mom in the big Home Decor book, has given me long moments of staring into space while my table guests update/inform/insta and like.

By all means, read Tasting Nitch, follow the great beer movement around the world, but give beer (and your friends/reality) the attention they deserve!

The offline glass reminds us that we leave our computers for other reasons then blog content gathering. Wouldn't it be great if people had an internal system in place that could capture moments in time, like a camera? Memory is forgotten. The only industry working to make humanity human again, is the beer culture. 

Thank you again beer for inspiring us to new heights!


Cat's Cradle Quote


[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="192"]cats-cradle-vonnegut05 Sci-Fi novel of the highest comedy and insight[/caption]

“Oh, a very sorry people, yes,
Did I find here.
Oh, they had no music,
And they had no beer.
And, oh, everywhere
Where they tried to perch
Belonged to Castle Sugar, Incorporated,
Or the Catholic church.”

-Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fooled by Pirate beer

logoWhat was I excepting when confronted with a new tap option at the Deliruim Cafe, Orleans? Maybe something local, interesting and for sure nothing I'd really love. Risk taker that I am, I sat with my lower thighs slowly being crafted into the same lined shape as the plastic wicker imitation chair and politely asking (because in France, one does not ORDER from the server, the server gets to you when they are damn well ready), sweetly pointing to the new au fut or cask option with the pirate picture.

Should have know better then to be pulled in by fancy Johnny Depp inspired logos, but I'm a sucker for new things and my local Delirium La Biere Bible non withstanding, does not deliver much in new, innovative or thrill seeking beer options. SO PIRATING WE GO!

CORSAIRE 9% Au fut

IMG_0035A: White and fluffy head, with little slow moving bubbles in a watery yellow body

S: Slight honey smell but mostly nothing with water/wet smell

T: Mild, no alcohol taste but slightly bitter on the finish. Clean and refreshing

M: Medium body

O: Having generally no taste, with only a slight bitter finish at the end that fades quickly, The Pirate beer is a hot weather quencher, high alcohol beer that should be sipped with caution.

I say that I was fooled by this beer, not because it basically tastes like any other light and quaffable brew whipped up in a haze of "get on the trending beer scene" craze, but because (like a good blogger) when I got home I looked up the beer information online.

7 Most Terrifying Pirates

The page is in French, alright- Canadian French. When I'm near the Delirium Cafe again, I'll be less distracted by good conversation and great weather, and ask what the frickles this beer is about. It is shipped all the way from Canada? Not that long shipping is a controversial thing amount consumers these days, but why bring this abstract, newly developed PIRATE beer over when there are so many heart achingly great breweries in the world.

Another failed moment of "drink what you have available and smile."


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tasting- SAINTE CRU- Tempete du desert

photo (1)Made in Alsace , Tempete du desert is a biere blonde pacifiste or a blond pacific ale that sparkles and melts in your mouth. Another of the French Brews we shook from BrewBerry on your last Paris visit.

A: Bright and lightly chill hazed, topped with a heavy whipped white foam head

S: Sweet sugar flowers and watermelon

T: Fantastic balance of malt and hop. The floral notes fill the nose while the caramelized malt warms the mouth swiftly to be cut back a bitter hop bite.

M: Low, tight bubbles and a sticky resin coating in the mouth.

O: All rounded together beautifully into a wonderful pale ale.


More Musical Beer

[caption id="attachment_801" align="alignleft" width="225"]3cebed6e67d21fdccb6a9a7b50d89f58 Traditional musical beer techniques[/caption]

Recently we talked about the New Musical Beer by Beck's, the Edison bottle. Today, in the spirit of craftiness, we have a more new way to make beer musical!

Beer has inspired music in the heart and souls of many of it's consumers. After a few pints people are likely to burst into song- thus, pub songs.

Musical Beer Better than Beck's

There are more modern ways to make a beer sing in your favor thanks you Matt Braun and his ever expanding insights on the world. The traditional musical beer techniques will be time tested and true- just blow over the top!

We, the beer drinkers, need to not look at the beer bottle as simply a device to hold our brew. Musical beer takes two symbiotic cultures back to the roots. Humanity began when we learned to relax and be drunk. Drunk with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you please. But get drunk.

Be drunk with music and creativity!

[caption id="attachment_803" align="alignright" width="300"]hd_2645e4107d55fffb22505597645cb8e7 Musical Beer Drum Box[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_805" align="alignnone" width="300"]hd_85e100c3c494be46ab5af4970a402393-1 Musical Beer Cap Beats[/caption]


Thursday, June 13, 2013

The First Musical Beer by Beck's

The Edison Bottle

Beck's introductes the world's first collaboration of music, beer and 19th century technology to create the first playable beer bottle.

imageInspired by Thomas Edison’s cylindrical phonograph, Beck's has taken all things beer culture to a new level but is not prepared to share the trend. As of today Beck's New Zealand says they aren't going to be available for purchase by the public so there is only one player and two playable bottles in the world. The craft is being using to promote Beck's new music label project.

"It takes 30 minutes to etch 3 mins of music on to the bottle - runs at 1/10th speed so the lathe doesn't skip"-  Mathew Tizard, creative technologist, Shine
"In a pleasing coincidence, Heinrich Beck was brewing his first batch of beer at the same time as Thomas Edison was inventing the phonograph, on the other side of the Atlantic in the late 19th Century."

This time, the art label has evolved, and been replaced by the grooves of Auckland band Ghost Wave. Their new single was inscribed into the surface of a Beck's beer bottle which could then be played on a specially-built device based on Thomas Edison's original phonograph. The Edison Bottle made its public debut at SemiPermanent in Auckland in May to a standing ovation from the assembled media and design community. -campaignbrief

Seeing how beer has inspired music, art and humanity in general since it's inception it is only right to put the muse of man into it's rightful place: everywhere!BecksEdisonBottle_Hero45-thumb-400x317-115849

For years people have studied archaeoacoustics, the study of ancient audio records through things like vases and mason work has:
[A] trowel, like any flat plate, must vibrate in response to sound: thus, drawn over the wet surface by the singing plasterer, it must emboss a gramophone-type recording of his song in the plaster. Once the surface is dry, it may be played back.

—Jones, 1982

How beautiful would your beer cave be if you were also able to play the record the brewer was listening to while brewing. What if you were able to hear a poetry piece that inspired the brewer to begin their beer craft or a message to all the imbibers of the brew. 

Tasting Location- Paris, France- Brewberry

Bonjour Paris Craft Beer Scene!3032011142629logo-brewberry-paris-eme-bar-cafe-paris-30311142228

Tasting Nitch is rockin'n rollin in the streets of Paris once again, flowing with trendy suds and beautiful people that groove with the artesian beat.

Brewberry is located in the #5 sector of the snail shaped Paris, know for it's latin culture, clubbing and ancient architecture. Coming off the metro into a business district, the beer hunter need only find a bearded man and follow him until you hear the clicks of the tourists cameras. The streets between buildings modified by generations of inhabitants, without cars and intimately close, open into a market place of people. Tucked between the rustic buildings and a few stone masoned churches, a small delicately winding alley lures you into the street of pubs and laughter. Brewberry pops out from a low hanging wall between pub & clubs rimmed with security preparing for the night's fiesta. It's miniature outdoor seating is easily walked past and our tall friends will have to be aware of hobbit sized entrance. Size not withstanding the Brewerry is beautifully smooshed into a musky cave at the base of a building likely to have been cut from the earth around the time of Caesar. photo

[caption id="attachment_758" align="alignleft" width="300"]photo (5) Wall to wall in glass and labeling beauty[/caption]

Based on the basic concept of a beer cave, Brewerry is femme powered and it shows. Clean and welcoming with a sophisticated taste that beckons the beer advocate to make a nest for the evening. The decor is low lit, the music is subtle and the walls are lined in the colors and textures of a beer heaven. Organized by country of origin, The United States boasts a full shelf to themselves- literally causing Nitch to squeal with joy seeing San Diego's Green Flash with a Saison Diego- delightful!photo (6)

Not only is there a double wall for Belgium  separate sections of south ameria, ukraine and mixes around the world, but France itself gets a half shelf area. We picked up as many take home bottles as we could safely manage on the metro, ordered a few tastings and swagged ourselves out with the latest in beer fashion.

Brewberry snippets:

Opened around November 2010

3 staff total, including the owner Cécile.
Cécile tipped Tasting Nitch in to a tasting event they would be having with Mikkeller in September that might *wink, wink* have some interesting surprise guests and announcements.

With about 25% of the clientele English speaking, Cécile is fluent in her English and welcomes guests in the smoothest, sweetest manner imaginable. Although there are people from around the world seeking the Brewberry, with it's international appeal, locals in Paris make up the largest part of the business.

Represents craft beer in France at many festivals and celebrations

2nd collaboration will be with Dutch brewery De Molen whom they recently hosted a tasting event with.

Lets get our lips on something other then gossip!

photo (3)1st Brewberry collaboration, made specifically for the biere cave, by Mikkeller's beer mafia member Thomas- Merci beaucoup and we'll order two!

MIKKELLER- Brewberry Beer, sold on pression No draft available, as you can see from the picture, it was served in bottle. TY ABGiP 9% abv

A: Bright rosey hues wave and sparkle like a field of roasted malt. Tan, full head with heavy lacing.

S: Giant hops burst from the glass with red berries and fresh cut grass hiding little hints of pear.

T: Simcoe refreshment and a solid malty backbone with a finish that is tart like a cherry pie.

M: Soft and balanced bubbles, lacking the distinct sticky taste that follows highly hopped bears.

O: With a color that makes you take it to the light and blink a few times, a face melting smell and eye closing taste, this collaboration is bliss. The high alcohol slips by unnoticed, what a fiendishly charming beer. "Like the spring orgasim of beers," in the words of The French Man. We both battled over the last sips and debated ordered another dozen.

On limited time we maximized our palates and ordered a different beer that promised another hoppy adventure. photo (8)

ROOIE DOP Chica American IPA

A: Ruby read and tawny with bright orange tints and a full haze.

S: Cologned spice and over ripe fruit

T: Bitter in a bay way, over saturated hops and candy sweet breads.

M: Smooth with light bubbles that have a hard time cutting the hop resins.

O: Our sense of adventure was doused like a late night camp fire. We both regretted not staying with the safety of Mikkeller. Although drinkable, Chica American IPA should not be bearing the name "America" until has got its hop times correct. Nitch finished the tangy, glob of fizz with grace while The French Man declined further imbibing for fear of Rooie Dop repeat.

[caption id="attachment_763" align="alignleft" width="278"]photo (1) Beer List[/caption]

The food was not exciting, but reasionable prices and simplicy outweighed the gastronomical desire. Cumin gouda and sausage for €4 plus a full menu of tasting accompaniments. Check out for a full menu!

If you are making your way to Paris and have any soul for beer at all, then you will find yourself in the out door seating section of Brewberry. There is nothing more honest, then a small but educated and passionate staff, intimate building that smells like a monastery and bottled beers show casing the love of craft from around the world. Down to earth, welcoming and options for all, this tasting location is a five star salute to the upward movement of beer culture in France.

[caption id="attachment_776" align="alignright" width="224"]Mikkeler Brewberry Beer Fashion item Mikkeler Brewberry Beer Fashion item[/caption]