Saturday, August 31, 2013

Plants vs Zombies 2 and Hop Harvesting

It seems most of the entire beer brewing world is up on ladders collecting harvesting hops while here in her new Paris location Nitch has been doing a great deal of planting herself. Sunflowers, peashooters and potato mines have been planted on a regular basis around my house to protect myself (and my brains) from pirate zombies, pharaoh zombies and cowboy zombies- Plants vs Zombies 2 addiction alert!

Addictions are good for many things, taking up full hours of metro time that would otherwise be spent eyeing funky Parisian fashion and trying to decode French youth lingo or for generally alienating oneself from family. I'm not alone in my mini game addiction, as there are people, we're all doing it. Mr. Beerbecue in this statement last week:

"I’m just like little whacked-out Tiffi following Mr. Toffee’s dubious charges and his trail of candy, which no doubt leads to a creepy, windowless van."

I was able to avoid the lures of Bejeweled inspired Candy Crush and it's sugar coated delights only to fall into the brain munching traps of PopCap's second version of Plants vs. Zombies.

Waiting for my hops babies to sprout- sunshine in France is fairly rare and there isn't the pressing combat desire of a zombie invasion. Unrewarding as planting real plants are, my dear friends as you know from my disappointing plant post of past, I've substituted reality with the delight of cartoon death.


Here are pictures of the hops that I have growing:

[caption id="attachment_1652" align="alignnone" width="696"]DSC01637 Hop babies[/caption]

Here are pictures of what everyone else has:

[caption id="attachment_1651" align="alignnone" width="696"]wall of hops other psychguy and his hop harvest[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1650" align="alignnone" width="696"]wall of hops Reddit's Home brewing populace cheers the Centennial wall.[/caption]


I'm not jealous. You know me, my dear friends and readers and Nitch is never a jealous lady. I merely have deep, angry longing to own the wonderful things that other people have.

Who is hop harvesting?

Oskar Blues says their harvest is in full swing.

Shades of Pale Brewing has so many hops laying around that they are starting to use them as medical substitutes.

The Brew site is looking to be the Johnny Apple Seed of hops and wants to create a website where free, feral hops can be monitored, cared for and harvested by members. Great idea, ol' chap! Check it out here. I'm 100% on, have no web design skills but will completely litter lands with hop seeds in hopes of covering the world with the viral plant.

For a hop harvesting video, check out The Brew Dudes, who give out some DIY growing, harvesting and drying ideas.

Beervana displays another example of Portland, Oregon's abundant investment in community brewing with the Lucky Lap Hop Harvest, a local collaboration with beer drinkers donating harvesting time and hops to their brewer.

[caption id="attachment_1655" align="alignnone" width="700"]thumb Oskar Blues harvests hops like a boss[/caption]

Next week

Plants vs Zombies 3 introduces the newest plant growth! HOPS! Intoxicates zombies and causes them to eat their own arm before exploding with bittering intolerance.

Until then my hop harvesting friends, keep your brains safe and your lawn mowers running. 


Friday, August 30, 2013

CAMERA backed 'Let there be beer' campaign fails to let there be diversity

[caption id="attachment_1632" align="alignright" width="300"]images and bullshit[/caption]

Back in January of this year, PR week posted an article stating that the Global Brewers Initiative was seeking a media agency to handle it's £3 million account. Let there be beer was developed by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R for Anheuser-Busch Inbev, Molson Coors and Budweiser Budvar UK working alongside the British Beer & Pub Association in a group also known as the Global Brewers Initiative. Add CAMERA to that mix and you've got yourself an explosive combination of crap.
"The initiative aims to improve the public’s opinion of beer and revive the sector."

Which sounds all lovely rose buds and rainbows, helping hands of the system and what not, but in reality land that £3 million investment needs to have a direct turn around to the investors pockets. Don't expect this to be a fair game. Let there be is aiming to move potential beer lovers back into their flock by making the beers they sling into something more classy.


Where is this bs coming from?!

Pete Brown gave a great breakdown of Let there be beer's history and states: "Whatever else happens, whatever criticisms I have, this is a bloody wonderful thing that I wholeheartedly endorse and hope everyone else will too."

But even Mr. Pete Brown goes on to (so effing eloquently) express how the promised three year campaign is already cutting corners and turning the whole show into a lager fest.

He had huge mouthfuls to spit at the short commercials BEFORE he saw the full videos! (Read the article.) We can only imagine what rants he could put out at this point of the rally. He might have enough material for his next book.

"It's about pushing the entire category of beer," they say. Pushing the entire category of commercial beers and pushing them down the same ol' hack saw direction those shit head corporate nuts have always pushed it- down the gaping maws of unsuspecting and un-beer-educated consumers. At least when the marketing involved big fake-tittied models, there was something pleasing to look at and not this posh poser man propped up in front of the camera being paid to tell me that he knows best.

urlLet There Be Beer- do the creep

The Let there be beer campaign was brought to my attention after my comedic interest in Likely Moose's Looke blog profile and happened across his most recent post at the time.

When I initially wrote about the campaign back in July, I expressed my reservations about CAMERA teaming up with the brew giants to 'educate' and 'promote' the expanding beer culture.

'Let there be beer! Or let there be intoxication?' was what worried me.
"Although I admire CAMRA’s eternal quest to bring people into the beer world- I feel there might be other, possibly better, ways to promote good quality beer drinking."

I put the campaign on my youtube subscription and when the first episode popped up on my new view list, and I nearly choked on my skittles when the campy Mr. Tim Lovejoy began to rip down the beautiful lattice work of beer sophistication we in the beer culture have worked so hard to build.

There are even some points (more then a few) where Tim the host drinks the beer from the bottle- no class, Mr. Lovejoy, no class at all. Even my grandmother knows that you can't get the full sense of a brew when drank from the bottle! Might as well hold your nose closed while your drink it and time yourself, jack ass.

Completely embarrassing- watch how he does a top notice job of making shit up while he smells the bottle and sips a beer that (I bet you my collection of ninja turtle pog slammers!) he would never choose to drink when off camera.

And if that steaming pile of malt shit wasn't enough, watch as he takes two cases of commercial lager to a ripping Thai restaurant of all places and proceeds to accost people (paid people with written consent, I'm sure) while they are eating their meals. Crescendo'ing at the end with a trash piece of female representation who says that she used to like wine but that trying the Heineken has, 'changed her mind to pick beer with spicy food'. Come off it! As if she hasn't ever tried a Heineken in her adult life. These 'random' people like free shit, are willing to say anything to get said free shit and could care less about what the free shit is- as long as it is free.

I'm fuming, foaming at the mouth and unable to breath for knowledge that people like the Let there be beer campaign team are breathing the same atmosphere. Huge steps backward in public beer education, giant leaps in time back to the days when beer was for men and woman drank Zima.

Even Melissa Cole, one of UK's most well known beer advocates is speaking out against the injustice in her recent blog post titled, "Let there be tears." She says:

"However, despite Lovejoy’s very professional but friendly patter, this isn’t what I was told it would be… which was limited branding from the big brewers involved, I was assured it would be an all-encompassing, carefully-executed, well-researched generic campaign – which it’s simply not and I feel really let down by that."

Let there be retaliation #Let there be better beer

This thing is just dripping with money. Think of how many children in Uganda could have clean drinking water for how much it cost to set up lighting, make-up Tom and film this piece of beer marketing devilry. Complete outrage.

Now, here is where you come in my dear friends and readers, it is now your chance to let the mass market people know that, although they cloak under good intentions, Let there be beer has nothing to do with honest beer enjoyment and education. #Lettherebebetterbeer, down vote on youtube and voice your outrage at the failings of this "beer forward" controversy via email, facebook and blog:

qNwbrF1377868199Let there be beer: TwitterFacebookYoutube

Power to the beer people!


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Coconut IPA or Coco-not enough

In lighter Stone Brewing news (much lighter, think- barely noticeable) R&R Coconut IPA apparently has no coconut flavor.

And fans are sighing in disappointment.

As you all well know, my dear fans and readers, Tasting Nitch is a huge coconut fan. There are those who turn up a nose to the milky white flesh of coconut palm's exocarp, but not this science and beer loving lady.

PALMFruitBIODIDACRGB300LabCoconuts are curiously fascinating!

-When intra-venous (IV) solution was in short supply, doctors during World War II and Vietnam used coconut water in substitution of IV solutions.

-Botanically, the coconut palm is not a tree since there is no bark, no branches, or secondary growth. A coconut palm is a woody perennial monocotyledon with the trunk being the stem.

-In 16th century, Sir Francis Drake called coconut “nargils”, which was the common term used until the 1700’s when the word coconut was established.

-It takes 11 -12 months for the coconut to mature.

-Coconut growing regions are as far north as Hawaii and as far south as Madagascar.

For more facts about coconuts, educate yourself!

Coconut IPA? Might as well say chocolate sex, because my toes are tingling.

Now, my friends, you might question, "not all two good things go together i.e. kittens and UFC," to which I must firmly disagree. Kittens might not be welcome in a UFC wresting ring but they would make a fantastic prize! It is all in how one mixes the duos in life, you see.

What happens when two great things are promised but one disappointment happens?

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="216"]robin-thicke-miley-cyrus Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke- fail[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1621" align="alignleft" width="300"]4149f49e18bd5e520bd6efe4efab7243-d31zqsw Robert Plant and Jimmy Page- sensory delight![/caption]







Ryan Reschan (youtube name recently changed from StumpyJoeJr.) generously posed the below video on his vblog about the R&R Coconut IPA, recipe included, stating that this is the stone edition while the homebrew version was different (including a more forward coconut note).

[caption id="attachment_1614" align="alignleft" width="225"]Stone-RR-Coconut-IPA_zps6299c43c Do you want more coconut?![/caption]

Debates run over at BeerAdvocate about rather or not geeks tasting the Coconut IPA allowed it to reach a proper tasting temperature and if more added coconut would destroy the 'subtle exotic' aspect of the brew.

For #IPADAY I shared details on my longing desire for Coconut beer but chose a Cocoa IPA from Brazil as a substitute choice for the holiday.

What about ANOTHER Coconut IPA?

That's right, there are others.

In Beer of Tomorrow's pick of the week 'sometimes you feel like a nut' the always futuristic city of angel's beer blog suggests that, if you we are seeking a coconut IPA then The Bruery's Tasting Room is where we should be digging:

"The Bruery’s new Humulus Palm – a Tasting Room exclusive beer – takes the coconut IPA idea and knocks it out of the park. There is no doubt you are drinking a coconut beer from the minute the glass arrives in front of you. The nearly 8.5%ABV beer is light-in-body and extra hoppy, and it is redolent of the tropical fruit. On the palate, the flavors land between coconut water and a mouthful of fresh shredded coconut flesh and is accompanied by plenty of dank and pungent hops."

unnamedThe subtle aspects of Stone's R&R Coconut IPA are perhaps too understated for a coco-nut lover like me- it is surely no Maui Coconut Porter. But for someone who isn't a coconut curry plate licker like us, maybe the delicate hints of the seed/fruit/nut are enough to balance and refresh.

What can I say, I haven't tried the fucking thing yet. All is speculation until Nitch gets her Hawaiian Tropic loving lips around the brew.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Stone Brewing Accident: Matt Courtright

Making beer is not all fun and games, gentle reader friends. Stone-Gargoyle-Logo6

Hearts, hashtags and prayers go out to the family of 27 year old Stone Brewery warehouse worker Matthew Courtright, who died Aug 24th after sustaining a fatal injury from an overturned forklift.

It is with a very heavy heart that we communicate a tragedy involving one of our valued friends and Team Stone colleagues. We are deeply saddened that one of our own passed away from complications resulting from a forklift accident at our Escondido brewery on Saturday, Aug. 24,” Koch and Wagner said in the joint statement.
“Our deepest condolences go out to the team member’s family.”

[caption id="attachment_1606" align="alignleft" width="250"]The honorable Mr. Matt Courtright! See you at that big banquet hall in the sky, dear sir The honorable Mr. Matt Courtright! See you at that big banquet hall in the sky, dear sir[/caption]

Director of Brewing Operations at Port Brewing & The Lost Abbey, Tomme Arthur, posted this message on the company’s Facebook page on Monday night regarding the loss of Stone brewer.

Michigan brewer, Todd Parker, knew Courtright personally and gave Beeradvocate permission to share a Facebook post he wrote on Sunday.

The Brew Site sends condolences, along with rushes of tweets from people all around the world.

This craft beer culture is a close knit family and if there is anything that can be done to ease the departure of this loved member of the family to the great halls of Valhalla then it will be done.

Let us raise a glass of the new Coconut IPA in honor of our dearly departed friend: Cheers!



Monday, August 26, 2013

Tasting Location- Express de Lyon Paris, France



Express de Lyon

Paris, France

Where craft beer and French café intersect

If you happen to be near Gare de Lyon, whizzing your touristy way through Paris, take a metro break and cross the street to one of the most well hidden beer sampling locations in Paris- Express de Lyon. Camouflaged as a typical station stop café-bar, Express de Lyon is a heaven for hardcore beer geeks as well as vanilla beer drinkers.


A Yelp post by Cameron M. explains the secret behind Express de Lyon's unique place in the Paris bar society:

"...BUT the secret is, the owner is a huge beer geek. For me, this is a real Paris bar (well... except [that] there is amazing beer): you have the local flavor, the die hard gamblers sipping on a Heineken, beer nuts (expats and francophones) from around the city trying the lastest microbrew on tap, tourists drinking the classic Belgians (like Chouffe or Karmeliet or worse...Amstel!!), and even some travelers passing through who stopped by while they wait for their train at the Gare de Lyon."
Chidini over at Trip Advisor had this to say:

"This humble café has some of the most exciting tap selections in town, from Evil Twin, Mikkeller, BrewDog, Craig Allan, De Molen, and other rising stars of the European craft beer scene. The atmosphere is laid back and the opposite of pretentious, and the prices are more than fair."

And for those French speaking readers:

"Un bar typiquement parisien ! Une ambiance conviviale et populaire, des bières introuvables à la pression, une clientèle jeune et souriante...Que demande le peuple ! Le service est parfois un peu long mais l'équipe compense par sa bonne humeur et son accessibilité...Chaudement recommandé !"

Trendy Paris guide Paris by Mouth notes Express de Lyon as one if it's favorite Parisian locations:

"Although it appears on first glance like any other train station-adjacent café-bar, this place is a must for serious beer geeks in Paris."

Express de Lyon is owned by two brothers, one more beer addicted than the other. Brother beer drinker wasn't in when Nitch was there, but a return visit is promised. Geek session planned!


[caption id="attachment_1587" align="alignright" width="696"]Note how the Funky E-star (in the foreground) has bigger, more round fat bubbles while the Green Gold has a tighter, more creamy head. Note how the Funky E-star (in the foreground) has bigger, more round fat bubbles while the Green Gold has a tighter, more creamy head.[/caption]

MIKKELLER- Funky E-star 9.39% 4.90/5.50

Funky indeed.

S: Steeped malts, fermenting fruit like a cider in the fermenter

T: bitter and dry, with sweet beery hop notes and a skunky hop undertone, no strong alcohol presence

M: Dry with a light resin coating

O:  Likely to be better in the bottle than on the tap line, Funky E-star is one of my least loved Mikkeller beers to date. The off fruit tickles the nose and the hops are hidden under the malts.

MIKKELLER- Green Gold 7% 4.90/5.50

Smells Green!

S: Hops, citrus hops and a distinct uh.. hop smell

T: Fresh hops pop out bitter then a tart cherry bitter finish

M: More creamy then Funky E-star, smoother on the palate but still light to medium in body

O: More fresh and enjoyable then the first beer, Green Gold lives up to it's name as a treasure of golden green hop goodness.

[caption id="attachment_1588" align="alignnone" width="696"]Things are hand written on a chalk board, bistro style and, as you can see from the hand, are willingly explained but the bar man. Things are hand written on a chalk board, bistro style and, as you can see from the hand, are willingly explained but the bar man.[/caption]


Both beers tasted were a bit flat, green gold a bit less so, but there was a mild question mark as to rather or not the tap lines need a little cleany up. Dive bars aren't known for their cleanliness so, lets chalk it up to authenticity, shall we?

If you want to save yourself some piggy bank money, then sit at the bar (if possible) rather than a table. There is about a .60 cent mark up for table service. Not saying that you'll get better service at the tables or anything, more like you are charged for renting the table space; 4.90 for bar Mikkeller, 5.50 for table Mikkeller. Drink 8 bar beers and you've paid for your 9th in savings!

mySuperLamePic_15be934a1b946ecbb4de6575f24b892dAs we learned from Brandon over at Cave à bulles, Express de Lyon is owned by two brothers who recently were converted to the hop loving order. Brother hop maniac wasn't in attendance at the time of our visit, but we were assured by brother hop enjoyment that he would hold a lengthly vigil with us upon our next visit.

I like it- dive, dirty and divine


Monday, August 19, 2013

Beer and Beauty: Hummingbird Homestead Soap

Hummingbird Homestead Soap was brought to my delighted attention by the Albino Rhino's recent review of their SpearHead Hawaiian Pale Ale soap. A review that not only gets you a festival chat with one of the owner's- Albert but also gives a saucy showing of how to use the soap.

At about six minutes in, the Albino Rhino (cats cleared from the set) enters the shower for the hands on beer product evaluation! Reminding me of the much loved Beer Shower Project by BigFry.


Moving past hairy men in showers with beers...

Hummingbird Homestead Soap Company

London Ontario Canada based Hummingbird Homestead Soap Company is ran by married couple Danielle and Albert who not only make all their products by hand, but grown many of the ingredients in their own back yard.

[caption id="attachment_1577" align="alignright" width="400"]draft_lens19756179module161555823photo_1346958733a_00 Hummingbird Homestead's IPA Bomb Soap[/caption]

These products are great for people with sensitive skin, but also for those who are concerned about the planet and want to know exactly where their products come from. We are talking sustainable, home made, and created with love!

Albino Rhino says:

"Better lather, better ingredients, better smell, more natural and you need to use a lot less of it. It is more expensive than [Irish Spring] but [with that] you're putting a lot of shit on you... "


"If you're a world economics type guy, they plant a tree for every bar of soap they sell!"

Shower beer! 



Sunday, August 18, 2013

Beer Tech: Hydrating Beer

"If you're going to live in the real world, you can either spend your time telling people what they shouldn't do, or you can work on ways of reducing the danger of some of these socialized activities."

Says Associate professor Ben Desbrow from Griffith Health Institute's Centre for Health Practice Innovation. He has been looking for a way to add to beer's list of health benefits (a longer list for Lambics) by combing electrolytes (the stuff commonly found in sports drinks) to improve hydration. And he is ready to share his findings:

hydrating beerImproved light beer is a third more effective at hydrating a person than normal beer.

Working exclusively with commercial (as opposed to 'craft') beers, the Australian researchers tested sweaty post work out volunteers with two electrolyte enhanced beers and two non enhanced beers: one low alcohol beer (2.3% abv)[aka LightBeer], one of the same low alcohol LightBeers but with added electrolytes [aka LightBeer+25], one full strength beer (4.8% abv)[aka Beer] and one intensified Beer [Beer+25]. Then, using several measures to monitor the participant's fluid recovery, came to the following conclusion:

A low alcohol beer with added sodium offers a potential compromise between a beverage with high social acceptance and one which avoids the exacerbated fluid losses observed when consuming full strength beer. (see here for official test perimeters and source)

“Of the four different beers the subjects consumed, our augmented light beer was by far the most well retained by the body, meaning it was the most effective at rehydrating the subjects."

Also meaning-

Hydrating Beer is for the macro swillers

At this stage in the frankenstein sports beer or 'working man's beer' development, there is no need for a beer geek to get excited.

As stated in the opening quote, Prof. Desbrow himself is aiming to change the habits of dangerous drinkers instead of wasting breath by lecturing them. Most modern beer culture friends are not the planking type.

And, although the hydrating beer's sodium additive will enable college fraternities and underage drinkers to limit the dreaded hang-over it won't be as effective when coupled with your 10% abv AleSmith Wee Heavy. With little to no effect on the flavor of light commercial lagers, the sodium added to create the new super beer is likely to show up on the beer reviewer's palate.

Time will tell where this creation will lead, but more likely than not- big beer companies will be able to pick up the research and marketing bills required to get the new 'sports beer' in the hands of us commoners.

no surprised


Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Session #78- The Elevator Pitch

session The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community, started by Stan Hieronymus of the Appellation Beer blog. This is how it works: on the first Friday of each month, beer bloggers write about a predetermined topic. A different blog is chosen to host each round of The Session. The host blog selects a topic, and then posts a roundup of all the responses received. For all you need to know about this beer blogging concept, including the upcoming topics, check out the Brookston Beer Bulletin’s blog page about The Session.

This month: The Elevator Pitch

Hosted by: James Davidson of Beer Bar Band

The game is this: You walk into an elevator and hit the button for your destination level. Already in the elevator is someone holding a beer…and it’s a beer that annoys you because, in your view, it represents all that is bad with the current state of beer.

You can’t help but say something, so you confront your lift passenger with the reason why their beer choice is bad.

30 seconds is all you have to sell your pitch for better beer, before the lift reaches the destination floor. There’s no time, space or words to waste. You must capture and persuade the person’s attention as quickly as possible. When that person walks out of the elevator, you want them to be convinced that you have the right angle on how to make a better beer world.

The rules are here.

And, although totally like two weeks late, here is Tasting Nitch's The Beer Woman in the Elevator.

Scenario: You are (for this playtime) a man on vacation in Paris (pretending we all speak english) on your way from your room to a concert being held on one of the parking levels for the evening. You have a Leffe beer in your hand, which you paid an exorbitant amount for in your room's mini bar, with intention to get a head start on the festivities. You have no idea you are about to be accosted by a super hero of craft beer with The Session #78's Elevator pitch.


The Beer Woman in the Elevator


PIC 1 againmySuperLamePic_aa9424bf75996c8ad84697b634249eb2



PIC 6super



Disaster averted.

Saving the planet, one beer drinker at a time.

Nitch- Super hero of the craft beer elevator pitch.

What we just did there is turn the tables full circle by using two of life finest sales (and super hero) angles: sex and honesty. I'm genuine and desirable. You want what I'm selling, because I'm not selling you anything you don't already want. I'm being frank and flirtatious with attempts to better your life. This approach works for male or female and (minus the interesting elevator situation) has been played out in real life by Nitch and her home brew toting habit many times.

I'm pretty much a professional comic bubbler now, thanks to Superlame btw and I had the most awesome KABOOM! time making this post.

Great foaming head Beer Bar Band, this is the best Session time we've had yet!

technical note: 225 words (not including sound effects)

Turn in next session where we watch Nitch battle the evils of stero types and preconceptions on: USA versus Old World Beer Culture


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Corralling the #EBBC13 post herd



I admit it- I'm a stalker of all things beer related. When the European Beer Bloggers Conference 2013 rolled around this year, my bitch fest post "I'm not going" was inspired by my inability to host selfless joy in other people's fun. So I've followed the #EBB13 updates graciously put together by fellow beer bloggers with lusty interest.

Like a voyuer in a tree, Nitch sits in France with internet binoculars, watching the fun of the neighbors in Edinborough. Not at all a bad position to be in, since I'm at least in the proper time zone and can see saucy up to the minute twitters without the downside of delayed or lost luggage. I'll wipe the drool from the corners of my mouth and share with you my #EBBC13 amusements.

You know you're as dirty as I am, to know the who said what and what was drank during the orgiastic affair.

In no particular order Nitch's "I've been watching you" #EBBC13 Blog Highlights:

Good Morning Beer Lovers's is one of my regularly followed Swedish beer blogs and adds a great insight into the international aspects of beer blogging. JoeG with four blog mates battled through flight delays (paper vs electronic) and luggage issues, but were not held back from sampling all the the UK had to offer, being mostly impressed by the Brit's ability to make a full body session ale.

Johan with Portersteken lays out a simple net of Three Top Bars in Edinburgh, stating:
"Edinburgh is a great weekend destination for those who need a dose of bagpipes, castles, haggis and good beer."

Ofiltrerat's Magnus regularly does a great job of putting up prompt and concise articles, making sure to get lovely picy pics for visual ad junkies like yours truly. His coverage of the discussion panel with Christer Edvartsen, Elspeth Payne, Tomasz Kopyra and Reuben Gray got into one aspect of international beer blogging that has often tugged my question tail:

"The blogs all in English. Why? For Reuben and Elspeth the choice was not that hard. Both Chris and Tomasz told me that they chose to write in English mainly to reach out and evangelize about local breweries for an international audience to help them out on a larger market."

Christer at BeerNorway had his hands full with interviews and networking during the #EBBC13, so has yet to post anything about the event on his blog, but states clearly on the front page that he posts (mostly) about Norwegian beers. Not only does he post about Norwegian beers but he takes some of the freshest beerp0rn this veteran viewer has ever seen. (0.o)

Matt at Pilgrim and Progress had a great interview with Nøgne Ø's brewer Ingrid Skistad.

[caption id="attachment_1494" align="alignright" width="405"]stewart_brewing_logo_web Stewart Brewing, official host of #EBBC13[/caption]

Although normally Polish Beer Guide's Tomasz only focuses on Polish related beer items, he did dip into a Visit to Stewart Brewing in Edinburgh with a chummy interview video!

Beers I've Known aka Stephanos, says that  although he tried 65 new beers over the three days, "it wasn't just a chance to score free beer, there was also some serious ideas sharing going on too." Displayed clearly in his to the point, ever interesting writing on the entire conference.

Beer Lens is the Playboy of beerp0rn- classy but still very, very porn, they cover #EBBC13 with a professional lens.

Craig Heap writes like you're sitting there next to him, cozy in the middle of a speech and he has just leaned over to comfortably whisper, "psst, the problem with Beer Sommeliers- is it the title?" Which isn't too surprising because he writes for Rum & Reviews and just happens to have a bit of time left over for an entirely Welsh beer dedicated blog- he's a natural.

[caption id="attachment_1495" align="alignleft" width="418"]UtopiasNew_edited-1's Utopias[/caption]

Bibulous Me makes a bit size round up with quotes (if Garrett says...), insights ("I had forgotten how much I like Edinburgh") and facts (even if it bankrupts you, try Samuel Adams Utopias). YUM!

The Beercast is a go-to for all things outstanding UK beer (but doesn't work in my Newblur due to it's snazzy layout), highlight of the #EEBBC13 is this chapter by Richard on the take-home message of the conference. A joy to read- pure class, we can only hope to write as eloquently.

Billy's Booze Blog does the best job of getting deep into the famed bottle of Sam Adams Utopias 10th Anniversary Edition that I keep hearing about, but is generally spot on with all the #EBBC13 events. His quick tasting notes on the beers of the conference is a great run though of what was being consumed and when.

The Tale Of Ale's own Reuben Gray was not only extremely instrumental in holding the #EBBC13 together but he found time to whip up some great blog postings- my favorite of which is an outing walk through at Steward Brewery, one the of event sponsors. More recently he rolled out a FANTASTIC inside view of the Traquair (pronounced 'track-ware') House: Scotland's oldest continually inhabited house. And, of course, a 300 year old, recently rediscovered (50 years ago) in-house brewery.

Total Ales was the first of the blogs I read along with that gave an outsider a little run down of the pocket price involved in attending:  £100.00 attendance fee, train tickets, a hotel room plus food and drink (yeow) but then continues to gush about how it was all completely worth it.

Live Blogging of #EBBC13

If you haven’t participated in Live Beer Blogging before, here’s a re-cap of what to expect:

Bloggers all spread out and sit among 9 tables in the room and stay in their same seat throughout the hour.

A brewery then has 5 timed minutes per table and goes to 5 different tables throughout the hour. They pour their one beer to the bloggers at each table, and shares insights into the beer, brewery, history, or whatever they want to communicate in that short period of time.

Bloggers then live blog their experience on each beer. Some bloggers may publish an individual post on each beer/brewery, some may write one post that summarizes each beer, and some bloggers live-tweet and/or live-instagram their notes and observations.

Matt from Total Ales also participated in a live blog session, which was full of spunk (beware the Crtl-B bold lock) and wisdom ("I don't worry about how many hits I'm getting I find the most important part of blogging, the writing itself, far more enjoyable") I loved being able to read a live post! New sensations for everyone involved.

[caption id="attachment_1428" align="alignleft" width="225"]Chris Hall learned that, "you should always have a face that people can click on..." Chris Hall learned that, "you should always have a face that people can click on..."[/caption]

Chris at the Beer Diary not only did a live blog but does his usual immensely entertaining bit of capping off the #EBBC13 with What Did We Learn? Noting that he also learned how much beer is body was able to hold:
"Attending the European Beer Bloggers Conference this year filled me with excellent beer and information. Well, mostly beer."

Ofiltrerat does it in Swedish- accents make me tickle.

Diary of a Hop Head compares live blogging to speed dating and gushes over Traquair's Jacobite Ale "So complex" and Ilkley's The Mayan "I love it".

The Ormskirk Baron doesn't say much but there are links and pretty pictures.

Zak at Are You Tasting The Pith? goes all out with full descriptions (and comical editing) including: Badger Roaming Roy Dog with "perhaps too much fruit and not enough fruit [this should read "too much fruit and not enough chocolate"] and Harviestoun Ola Dubh 30th Anniversary Ale with "from a 40yr old first-fill sherry cask, and click on my face if yu can't tell the sherry character bursting out of the glass."

Lady Beer Bloggers!

I hate to segregate but women deserve more attention then men. To be fair, I give female bloggers more attention so it's proper fair that I put them in a double highlighted area, just as they are on my news feed.

Girl Goes Abroad with Tanya (and her partner Jim) had reservations about the term 'conference' when first heading to the #EBBC13, reservations that were soon tossed to the wind. The pair got personal inspiration from foudners of Steward brewing, married couple Steve and Jo- nudging Tanya and Jim to go ahead with their dreams of being drown in the beer world (we support you too!). And of course, they drank great beer.

Beer Beauty is one of my all time absolute favorite beer bloggers in the woman world- she has it all, looks, style, and a fantastic palate. Marverine Cole poses the question: "what do you call a gaggle of beer bloggers?" But wastes no time in hitting up the bars, breweries and networking her pretty little bum off. Cherry topping for us-  a juicy wrap up article where she proclaims her favorite beers of the event:
"WILLIAMS BROTHERS IMPALE IPA, with their BIRDS AND BEES coming a veerrry close second!"

Elspeth Payne is spoiled rotten. She did the discussion panel for #EBBC13 but should also be currently returning home from the U.S. beer bloggers conference. After getting her hands on her first Irish homeland Guinness pour and hobnobbing with Scottish Real Ale Festival and the Independent Beer Festival  goers she might be travel weary. If she survived this Herculean task of travel, sight seeing and beer sampling, we'll know when she posts for the U.S. conference. Simply SPOILED!

Lindsey over at Adventures in Beerland on the other hand might not have survived the #EBBC13, as she has yet to post and has made no attempt to hide that fact that the site is "updated whenever I'm not hungover." Best wishes sister, can't wait to see your follow up! Or at least hope that you had a great time- see you next year!

Technical Notes:

[caption id="attachment_1498" align="alignleft" width="250"]Pilsner Urquell, official sponsor of #EBBC13 Pilsner Urquell, official sponsor of #EBBC13[/caption]

If I neglected to see someone's post on the event, send your link my way and I'll update my highlight list/add you to my stalking list. Err..

Also, you can' go wrong with a look at Zephyr Adventure's official round up of the event.

See you IRL soon!

So we have some video interviews, enticing beerp0rn shots and lots o-lots'a great beer diary writing. I felt involved like a slightly lagging Skype meeting with a paid professional, I'm satisfied but would still prefer the real thing.

Thank you to everyone involved in putting the #EBBC13 together and keeping it running: sponsors, breweries, key note speakers with funny hats, keg tappers, dish washers, yeasty beasts (that make it all possible) and all the folks who dream up such an exciting meeting. Until next year folks, keep up the great work, I am your fan!

I'd shake your hand good evening as I sign off, but... my hands are sticky. (LME is sticky, I home brew and blog, wait.. what did you think I meant? Dirty mind...)


Alexandra Ortiz de Fargher: Mistress of the Hop

[caption id="attachment_1532" align="alignright" width="146"]e Alex ala Barleys Angels Alexandra aka Alex a la Barley's Angel Beer and Glam photo shoot: Mistress of the Hop[/caption]

Over due recognition must be placed on the beautiful and extremely talented Mrs. Alexandra Ortiz de Fargher. Co-founder of Shades of Pale brewing, dedicated Barley's Angels and Pink Boot Society organizer, hop obsessed artist and fiery Tango dancer, Alexandra Ortiz de Fargher has been the cover art for Tasting Nitch since the switch from blogspot to .com. That little expressionistic hop art piece that hovers on the cover of Tasting Nitch the is heart and soul of Alexandra Ortiz de Fargher: Mistress of the Hop.

All non for profit, mind you, so if you like what you see when you scope the Tasting Nitch cover, please take a moment to view all the beautiful creations of the Rag tag alley artist or pop into the brewery and order a pint.

Alexandra's hop drenched art has inspired me to make my own beer influenced illustrations, finding my own artistic style is an adventure in color and insight that I credit to Alexandra's wild and vibrant hop renditions. Hops in oil paint, hops digitalized, vive le hops, henna hops and more, as she does not limit herself to one medium or model while maintaining a strong sense of her own character. The fiery Colombian couldn't contain herself to her desk either, as the business degree and finance world wasn't able to hold her in place- “That’s it, no more talking–just do it!” Husband Trent Fargher soon found himself knee deep in a new brewery: Shades of Pale of Park City, Utah.


"We first became aware of SOP back in November of 2009. Utah's newest brewery is the brainchild of Trent Fargher & his wife Alexandra. The two relocated to Summit County seven years ago from the Breckenridge, Colo., area."

-Utah Beer

Shades of Pale has been has been running head first and full on ever since it got it's feet on the ground.

"Opened in May of 2011, Shades of Pale’s business has grown 1000% over the last two years. Fargher expects the growth to continue and plans, by 2014, to move within the Park City area and increase production by hiring up to 10 employees."

-Utah Stories

Not only does Alexandra do demolition, jack hammering, cement cutting, and cement block moving (her and her husband did most the remodeling needed to bring the building up to code for the brewery) but she has also doubled as assistant brewer, keg washer, bottle labeler, case packer, and has moved her share of grain. She also manages HR, PR, social media, merchandising, and is SEO while keeping in touch with her art as director of everything having to do with branding, marketing materials or graphics for the brewery.

bas_logoOn the side she founded the Barley's Angels Utah chapter. Barley’s Angels is an international women only organization whose members are passionate about craft beer.  Their mission is to grow the sisterhood though education on the love of boutique beer.

Currently Alexandra is taking her art to new levels, dabbling in what she calls Brewery Boutique, with neck-ties, flip-flops, Iphone cases, and excellent hop medley messenger bags!

deep-passion-hops-for-great-beer-alexandra-ortiz-de-fargherAbove all, Tasting Nitch wants to acknowledge and give thanks to Mrs. Alexandra Ortiz de Fargher for representing women in their proper place on top of the beer world. Thank you for all that have done and continue to do, spreading the artistic and educational word about the culture and beauty of suds. We'll be keeping an eye out for new projects that are sure to fascinate and charm in their hop soaked goodness, bringing them directly to Tasting Nitch for the beer world to delight in.

Priestesses of the pint, goddesses of the grain and creative beer cultured artisan- keep up the great work! We are your fan!



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What is wrong here? Dogfish Head's Ancient Ale Label

Dogfish Head's Ancient Ale label Kvasir Nordic Grog has been approved

...and the question has been risen- do your beer feminist senses get a little tingly?

[caption id="attachment_1506" align="aligncenter" width="575"]Dogfish-Head-Kvasir-Nordic-Grog-label Dogfish Head's Ancient Ale label Kvasir Nordic Grog[/caption]

Even if you aren't one of the bra wearing legion, there is something depressingly off about Dogfish Head's new Kvasir Nordic Grog label. Part cartoon, part yoga teacher, part... priestess? The label dialog tries to convince the drinker that the Wild Thornberry looking lady is a priestess of the upper class who likes to wear leather (form fitting leather judging by her busty top outline). And then there is a log and lots of red tones.

Label copy:

"She was a leather-clas priestess, a member of the upper class, and in the most northerly limits of Scandanavia, her tomb guarded a recipe for millennia. In her day, before grape wine arrived from the North East, alcoholic beverages were cocktails of sugar-rich ingredients like grain, fruit and honey. With help from biomolecular archaeologist Dr. Patrick McGovern and Swedish brewery Nynashamns Angbryggeri, we’ve unearthed the secrets of her tart, complex grog, and we’re sharing our modern interpretation with you."

-courtesy of Beerpulse

You've unlocked the secrets of her tart, complex grog so why does she have a big head and hoop earrings instead of.. ya know... a tart, complex grog appearance.

Lord knows that Nitch lovers her some beer and boobs, pumpclips that blatantly state, "hi, we are using sexuality to sell this product," and isn't bothered by a pretty (nude) body. But this recently approved label gives one the sense of being deceived.

Are you trying to target women by using reds, pinks and a tranquil smile?

How will (manly) men feel about purchasing this zen incense infused visual?

A freaking rainbow unicorn would have least been comical, don't ya think?

Dogfigh Head's Ancient Ale labels progress from adult to kindergarden.

First up (the second in the Dogfish Head's ancient ale series) is JIAHU. This label is pure class. Saucy and sexy, no big headed-ness on that beauty.


Then we had THEOBRAMA. A cute cartoon women... who is nude and dripping with chocolate. Yum


Most recently we have SAHTEA. This cartoon creation has a beer in one hand, tea pot in other and also has skill left over to balance a massive stag between her legs. Talented lady.


When not turning the beers into female cartoons, the labels tend to be simple:


 It appears the Dogfish Head's Ancient Ale series is slowly degenerating into immaturity. And not the more tasteful 'Beavis and Butthead' kind of immaturity either. Rather, Kvasir Nordic Grog label is directed toward women, teenagers or possibly a mix of both: 14 year old girls.

LABELS AREN'T EVERYTHING! It is the beer that counts, but when one is purchasing a higher end boutique beer with novelty on the mind, there is s desire for all things to be in order. Although completely disapproving of the nickelodeon label, let us try to experience the taste of the beer without reservation. Like a dog lover cooing over an old pug, it is the character that one falls in love with, not the face.

But if I buy one.. I'll insist on a bag when leaving the shop...

Dogfish-Head-Kvasir-Nordic-Grog-label-e1376310956324-200x200What IS IT about that label that irks one, so?!






Sunday, August 11, 2013

Beer Tech 'Cell Canceler'- More beer, less distraction!

For a bit of Beer technology today, I scooped up this article from Maria Cevada (my all things Brazialian beer go-to girl) on a new more socializing product from Polar (distributed by AmBev) announced late on Wednesday, in Porto Alegreand. Sited here.

[caption id="attachment_1486" align="alignright" width="400"]anuladordecelular 'Anulador de Celular' or 'Cell Canceller', sure to make you the most avoided person at the party[/caption]

Much related to the Offline glass's way of thinking, the Anulador de Celular or Cell Canceler's goal, according to the brand, is to prevent friends gathered at the bar table from interacting with those on the other side of the mobile line rather than with those around you.

Although all in Portuguese the commercial actor makes it clear what he is saying and what needs to be done about it. Encase one's beer in a highly nerdy anti-satellite koozie that much resembles a massive bug spray can.

"Stop looking at your phone and look at that beautiful woman in front of you!"

"Stop looking at your phone and look at that beautiful beer in front of you!"

The Cell Canceler, with behavior similar to signal jammers some prisons, was developed in a 3D printer by Paim at the request of the manufacturer and is already patented. The main novelty is the reduction in the radius range of the device, which was limited to a bar table, or about 1.5 meters, according to the company.

But don't worry, the Cell Canceler cannot be used for evil, as there has to be a bottle in the holder for it to work. No sober users allowed!

There is no demonstration on how one drinks out of the Cell Canceler but being someone with a shitty phone, I support devices like this out of sheer spite for those of you who can Twitter, Instagram and Like things while I'm forced to read the fine print on the backs of your Iphone4, Samsung Galaxy, Sony Xperia Z etc...

Cheers to forced IRL interaction without distraction!