Posted by: marcmwm | November 14, 2008

Beer O’ Clock — Purdue

College is way cooler than when I went.,0,4458055.story

Only at Wisconsin.

This is my mom on Thanksgiving:

Beer Mug World Record...Anita Schwarz from Eichenau tries to set a new world record carrying 21 beer mugs at once across a distance of 40 metres in a tent near Zeltingen, Germany,

No it’s not, close though.

It’s Anita Schwarz, from Eichenau, Germany. She had to transport the mugs across a distance of 40 metres to be successful. Wearing traditional dress, Schwarz, 48, began with all 21 mugs balanced in pyramid-fashion. However, she soon lost control and the tower toppled, sending the contents of every mug spilling out onto the floor of the tent near Zeltingen, in Germany.

 She’s 48?

College is way cooler than when I went.


This is from Florida. Here’s the “great minds” quote.

“The quote of the year comes from fraternity member Max, a 19-year-old freshman, who is preparing at 10:30 a.m. to watch UF take on Ole Miss. This from the article by Times reporter Kevin Sack:

“Per-son-al-ly,” he says, punching out each slurred syllable, “I do agree the age should be lowered. It will cut down on binge drinking. We take care of each other. We will not let anyone drink under the influence.”

He pauses. “I mean drive under the influence. I’m sorry, I’m drunk already. It’s been a long morning.”

This is Bobby Dodge. His story is funny.

I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often.

I know what you guys are thinking. Did they save the beer?

“The driver, Bobby Dodge, 56, of McGregor, Texas, was booked by police and taken to a detoxification center, said Lisa Stigall, a Wheat Ridge police spokeswoman.

The truck, carrying 45,000 pounds of beer, overturned at about 7:30 p.m. on the entrance ramp to eastbound I-70 off of Colorado Highway 58.

The ramp was shut down for seven hours because of the crash, Stigall said.

“The beer remained enclosed in the truck, but they had to take it all out to set the truck upright” and that took time, Stigall said.”



I didn’t make it down to Dirty John’s this week, but I will next. My fridge was raided last Friday by Viking-esque poker players. The top shelf is empty. The Red Stripe and Dogfish Head took hits. The Miller Lite in bottles also did, but I call that a casualty of war. The Dogfish Head, that’s getting to the general.

I stopped at Benz, but passed on beer and went for the Woodford Reserve, a fine, fine, fine Kentucky bourbon. The house we moved into three years ago now has a wet bar and I’ve been extremely slow in stocking it. I want to make sure I get the stuff I like and, hopefully, my friends will like. It’s been slow, but I’ve found the bourbon that I’m always going to get.

I have a friend in Chicago who calls himself a bourbon (bleep). He told me how to really enjoy this. First, about a teaspoon of water for every ounce. Then, smell it. Use your nose, open your mouth. And finally, take the first sip on the front of your tongue. Let it sit before going down. Next sip, let it sit a little farther back. Takes the bite out of things.

Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm.

This week is Purdue, so let’s explore “steam” beers. I have to admit right up front, I don’t know a lot about this style, but I really love Anchor Steam. It’s definitely my favorite amber and might be my most favoritist beer.

I’ll take my knowledge from Gregg Smith on

I had no idea it was basically the makeshift beer of 49ers in the 1800s California gold rush.


“But the lack of cooling, which created the Steam style beer, was solved by the late 1800’s as commercial refrigeration units became a common piece of brewing equipment. When this happened the popularity of the style and the number of brewers producing it both dwindled. The last surviving producer was near closing in the 1960s when Fritz Maytag decided to take a look before it was gone. Little did he know he’d become the brewery’s white knight. After that visit he became part owner, and then owner and rebuilder in rapid succession.

Today’s steam style beer is, of course, built around what Maytag saved and what he was able to resurrect from old brewing records. First you notice the color – a light amber, sometimes a touch cloudy, but always with a high level of effervescence topped by a dense head. An aggressive hop nose is the primary aroma trait but beyond it are hints of fruitiness, light butterscotch and some traces of phenol\fusel (sometimes described as light solvent) is a result of the warm fermentation.

Taste closely follows the nose. Bitterness is achieved through copious use of Northern Brewer hops which provides assertive, yet balanced, bitterness. All those hops are restrained by additions of caramel malt which along with the fruitiness and butterscotch yields a delightful balance of complexity. If that weren’t enough, the carbonation dances across your tongue, stimulating your taste buds.”

This beer pulls in the “common” style.

Anchor Steam has been one of my faves for a long time. Here’s a little bit about it, from their website:

Anchor Steam derives its unusual name from the 19th century when “steam” seems to have been a nickname for beer brewed on the West Coast of America under primitive conditions and without ice. The brewing methods of those days are a mystery and, although there are many theories, no one can say with certainty why the word “steam” came to be associated with beer. For many decades Anchor alone has used this quaint name for its unique beer. In modern times, “Steam” has become a trademark of Anchor Brewing.”

On Beeradvocate, Anchor Steam gets a B-plus after 1,015 reviews. The Brothers give it an A-minus.

This from Mosstrooper: “Drinkability: If I was told that this is the only beer I would be allowed to drink for the rest of my life, I think I would be ok with that.”

This from Nattefrost, “Definitely drinkable; like I said, I’ll be buying it again for sure. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable beer – in fact, the first words out of my mouth after the first sip were “holy crap, this is good”. A surprisingly enjoyable beer; complex in flavor but balanced by simple drinkability and smoothness.”

Reading up on this, I came across Fullers. I might have to go on the lookout for that. Sounds good.

One theme on Anchor Steam, it’s often mentioned as a good “intro” beer. A first step, if you will, on the road to beer snob.

Also, it’s called a good “session” beer. I’ve never called sitting around drinking beer a “session,” but I think it might throw off the wife next time. “Honey, I’m having a session. Please bail me out if the session lasts too long.”




  1. Happiness is a 22-ounce bottle of Anchor Steam.

  2. If there were a beer Willie Wonka factory, Anchor would be my gobstopper.

  3. There’s actually an Iowa connection with Anchor Steam. The Maytag that founded Anchor Brewery is the son of Fritz Maytag, the creator of Iowa’s most famous cheese, Maytag Blue.

  4. The beer came after the cheese? That seems wrong to me.

    This summer, I picked up Anchor at Van’s in ED for $7.95 a six. In CR, it’s up to $10.99.

  5. Picked up a 6-pack of Schlitz tonight. The gusto is back. Drinking it with some Templeton Rye.

  6. That’s too many Schlitz recommends now. I’m going to have to look that up.

    I was wondering, Templeton or Woodford? I’ll try the Templeton. I think they’re having a tasting at Benz this weekend.

    I saw a 12-pack of Red Stripe at Wal-Mart last week. I might have to check that out, the price anyway. Don’t like buying it there, but it’s cheap.

  7. Both the Schlitz and Templeton were new to me. The Schlitz is good but fails the value test. For $7 a sixer, I can do better. If it was $4-5, I’d buy it. I’ll stick with PBR and Stroh’s for cheap American beer.

    The Templeton, however, is outstanding. Keep in mind Crown Royal is still my go to liquor. It was what my dad drank and what I cut my teeth on. It’s always offered the perfect balance of bite and smoothness. I’ve never been a big bourbon fan. I went through a scotch phase but keep going back to Crown. I’ve had a few rye whiskeys, most notably Old Overholt, and was intrigued by the sweetness they offered. And, with Templeton being an Iowa thing, I had to try it. My father is in town for the weekend so this seemed as good a reason as any to buy a bottle. It offers that classic rye sweetness with a little heat on the back end to know you’re drinking real whiskey. It be a nice little warming device tomorrow during the game.

  8. Oh, and if you want to try Fuller’s, go to the Sanctuary in Iowa City. They have Fuller’s ESB on tap. You won’t be disappointed.

  9. I found the “vintage” Schlitz a couple weeks ago while on a bike ride in Minnesota. It was about six bucks a six. Definitely more full-bodied than your average yellow beer. In September when I was at the Pitt game with some friends from Milwaukee, they tried Yuengling and said, “that tastes like Schlitz.” I’d say Yuengling is a little better but they are definitely cousins.

    Marc, how did you managed to find the best bourbon right out of the block (or at least the best that isn’t extremely expensive)? I always try to keep Woodford and Templeton stocked in my home bar.Woodford has been my go-to bourbon since I first tried it a few years ago. And, after all, it is the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby. The tour of the distillery is a real kick, by the way. I visited during Derby Week in May.

    Of course, now you’ll have to peruse the bourbon shelf at John’s, along with the beer room…

  10. Tim, I have to admit, I was coached up a little bit on the bourbon. I have a friend who is way into it. He also suggested Buffalo Creek, at least I think it was Buffalo Creek.

    I’m in with the Woodford at the home bar.

    I still haven’t fixed on a gin. Right now, it’s Plymouth, but my bartender buddy said shoot higher.

  11. Kudos to Tim on giving a good home to both the Woodford and Templeton into his home. That Templeton is some righteous rye.

    I suspect the estimable Mr. Morehouse means Buffalo Trace. Staggeringly (heh heh) good bourbon for the money. The Buffalo Trace distillery is just down the road a piece, in Franklin County, from the Woodford (Labrot & Graham) distillery. Buffalo Trace is also home to Van Winkle family of bourbons. Pretty big coin, but about two shelves above top shelf.

  12. Here’s what I know about gin: Gin makes a man mean.

    The Hendricks is interesting. Much less botanical and far more floral. Might be hard to track down, but the small-production North Shore Distillery gins are wonderful.

  13. The best martini gin I’ve found is Bombay Sapphire. Beefeaters is good too. I’ve not tried Hendricks or Plymouth.

    If it’s for gin & tonics, Boodles is my favorite. Something about it just makes the best g&t.

    Interestingly enough, Anchor Brewing also distills a gin. Again, I’ve not tried it.

  14. I’ve heard of the Anchor gin, Junipiero or something.

    They have the North Shore at Benz. Prices for gins go about $30 a bottle, roughly. The North Shore jumps to $43 or so.

    I had a bit of an “episode” with gin and tonic this summer. I don’t think I was as mean as I was “confused.”

    Benz also had the Bulliet (sp? I know I’m blowing that one).

    The Plymouth is OK, but I think I need to try another one just to see what’s out there.

    I’m probably going to get another scotch in the rotation, maybe the Laph-something. Too tired to look stuff up. Also, an Irish whiskey just ‘cuz.

    I should add that a bottle of liquor lasts a long time for me. I’m not an “Otis,” though the world seemed to be his oyster no matter what BAC he was sporting.

  15. Laphroig. It’s a good Islay malt. Very peaty and smokey. Lagavulin is another good Islay malt.

    Don’t forget the rum. In addition to basic white rum, a good dark rum is a necessity in any good wet bar, IMHO. A really good start rum is Bacardi 8. It’s readily available and reasonably priced. Pour some over ice and enjoy. Ron Zacappa is better yet but harder to find.

  16. Echo on the Laphroig. I’d argue that it’s probably the template for Islay malts. But I end up preferring the Lagavulin. Probably just my palate, but dialing back the smoke a tad opens up different dimensions for me. It got “hot” a couple years ago and seems scarce ever since. FWIW, I’m enjoying a Glenfarclas while perusing Marc’s blog. One of the great (maybe one of the last?) great Highland independents.

    Dang, $43 is about $10 too high for the North Shore. LifeFlight a bottle over from Chicago.

    The Bulleit bourbon is, at least I think, pretty fine for the $$. Great bottle, but the whole frontier bourbon backstory is bunk. Does Four Roses get over to Iowa? Great story about a brand coming back from the dead. Starting in the 70s and up thru the turn of the millennium, it was about the worst of the worst. Strictly for the “dump it in coke” export market. Then about 4 or 5 years ago the Four Roses Single Barrel won one of the big whiskey events. The single barrel still goes for about $35/bottle and the new small batch is about $25.

    The Anchor folks also did a rye a few years ago .. Old Portrero, maybe? There were a couple “expressions,” I think? One was good, one wasn’t. The Internet will know which was which.

    Mr. Morehouse, MF … enjoy in moderation. I know Marc enjoys the Benz store. MF, where do you do your shopping? Will be back home in Iowa over both upcoming holidays, and wouldn’t mind wasting an afternoon pushing a cart up and down some aisles.

  17. Much of my beer and liquor buying is done at Johncy’s in North Liberty because it’s local. The best beer selection in Eastern Iowa (and probably the whole state) is John’s Grocery in Iowa City. If John’s doesn’t have it, you’re not getting it around here. Their liquor selection is adequate but nothing special. Johncy’s does a good job with liquor. Hy-Vee liquor stores (usually next to the grocery store) is a good source for spirits as well.

    Wine is usually on of three places. My favorite is New Pioneer Co-Op in Coralville. I really like their selection. I think their buyer and I share similar tastes. But I have a friend who swears by John’s Grocery for the same reasons. The wild card is Muddy Creek. It’s a little store on Oakdale Blvd next to Haight’s Hawkeye Meat Market. The selection isn’t the biggest you’ll see but the staff are very helpful. They’re also a good place for higher end stuff.

  18. Jones, couple good calls on bourbon there. Yes, Buffalo Trace must be what Marc meant. I also have a bottle of that on hand. It’s one of the best values out there–great bourbon for a price just below that of some of the other premium bourbons. I’ve also heard good things about Bulleit–one of the guys at John’s spoke very highly of it, but I haven’t given it a try yet.
    Since we’re chiming in on other liquors, I’ll give a vote to Plymouth gin, especially for martinis. If it’s just a gin and tonic, I stick with Beefeater. Rogue, the famous NW brewery, also makes gin now. I tried some at Old Capitol Brew Works, and it was a little too “floral” for me. I prefer a drier taste. For scotch, I like the Islay scotches, especially Bowmore.
    MF, agree on Johncy’s–decent selection of beer, and excellent selection of liquor. It also seems like their prices are usually a buck or two below what you’d pay elsewhere. If I happen to be passing through N.L. or Solon (Johncy’s just opened there), I try to stop in. Plus I have a friend who works for the Iowa liquor warehouuse and delivers to them, so he tips me off when anything particularly interesting comes in.

  19. All this is going on my Christmas list.

    I hadn’t heard of Johncy’s.

    I’m going to Green Bay on Nov. 30. My friend is going to have to live with a stop to Steve’s.

  20. Marc, you have a great discussion going on here! The mentions of Iowa connections to the liquor industry definitely caught our interest.

    To the commenter “MF” – Thanks for your kind words about our rye whiskey, and yes we are doing an event at Benz Beverage Depot in Cedar Rapids on November 23rd, along with Clear Heart Spirits. Hope to see you there!

    Take care everyone, and happy holidays.

    – The Templeton Rye team

  21. Unfortunately, I’ll be out of town next week. Otherwise I’d be all over the event at Benz Beverage Depot.

    The more I drink the Templeton, the more I like it. I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a permanent place in the liquor cabinet for it.

  22. “In modern times, ‘Steam’ has become a trademark of Anchor Brewing.”

    Passive voice. “Steam” didn’t just become a trademark of Amchor Brewing. Maytag pushed through the word “Steam” as a trademark when it’s actually a style of beer. Sort of arrogant on his part. No, not sort of; it is arrogant.

    No different than someone claiming the word “Pilsner” or “Stout” as a trademark and then bringing everyone to court who dared use the word “Pilsner” or “Stout” on their beer which happens to fit under the pilsner or stout styles of beer.

    I’m sitting on an original 100 + year old recipe for “Steam” beer from the archives of E. J. Siebel in Chicago. It was described in Dr. Siebel’s papers as a beer style.

    Good beer but Maytag’s power play leaves a bad taste.

  23. Shoot, I wonder if I’ll be back in town yet for the Benz thing.

    I see the Templeton van/truck thingie at Iowa tailgates.

    The marketing person knows where his/her peeps are!!!!

  24. Great point, Bob.

  25. Homebrewers will know the style as “California Common” as that’s usually what the yeast strain is referred to by Wyeast and others. I suspect that’s because Maytag copyrighted “Steam”.

    Is anyone familiar with other commercially made California Common/Steam beers besides Anchor Steam? I know I’ve not tried any.

  26. Hmmmm….

  27. Court Ave., is that Des Moines?

  28. Yep.

  29. Yes, Court Ave. is in downtown Des Moines. Their beer seems to improve every time I go there. Originally, it was just OK, but I’ve had some good exeperiences with my visits the last couple years.

    I saw on the Register’s web site that Templeton will have some activities for Repeal Day on December 5 (probably my favorite holiday, after Baseball Opening Day). I believe they will be in Iowa City at the new place that Nate Kaeding has (can’t recall the name right now–it’s on Clinton).

  30. That is correct, sir!

    This conversation is bringing my entire Scots and German heritage to bear – and I like that. I still enjoyed the days when botas were acceptable and the Melrose Market had M/D in a big bucket of ice for $1 a bottle for half-time runs. However, a peaty malt from the island of Skye doesn’t go with a cup of Sprite from the concession stand….

  31. Des Moines actually has a couple decent brewpubs. Someone already mentioned Court Avenue, which is awesome (a friend and I polished off their sampler last time we were there mmmm), and Raccoon River Brewer is also really good. Both places have pretty good food too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: