2008年5月29日 星期四



It’s not easy, because I am thrilled with bitters. They are beers for drinking, for enjoying several pints over the course of an evening, rather than for carefully paced sipping. They are not meant to impress connoisseurs with their power or creative flavoring. They are meant, as so many British pub-goers understand, to quench thirst pleasurably without getting in the way of conversation.

2 ((~s))苦味酒:カクテルの香味・強壮剤用.bitters Show phonetics
noun [U]
a strong bitter alcoholic drink made from spices and plant products that is mixed with other alcoholic drinks

A Tour of Bitters for the Summer

Ales of The Times

A Tour of Bitters for the Summer

Published: May 28, 2008

YOU have to hand it to the British for their engaging skill at understatement. How else to explain their predilection for taking something refreshing and delicious and saddling it with a name like “ordinary”?

Ordinary is the term for the basic British bitter, the ale that has for generations quenched bottomless thirsts in pubs throughout England. Possibly even the British realized that a name like ordinary might cause a few patrons to lay their heads on the bar far too early in the evening, out of sheer boredom. So in their fashion, they ratcheted up the excitement.

A slightly stronger ale was called best bitter or special bitter, a heartier brew was dubbed extra special bitter, or E.S.B.

Can you contain yourself?

It’s not easy, because I am thrilled with bitters. They are beers for drinking, for enjoying several pints over the course of an evening, rather than for carefully paced sipping. They are not meant to impress connoisseurs with their power or creative flavoring. They are meant, as so many British pub-goers understand, to quench thirst pleasurably without getting in the way of conversation.

These days, more extravagant beers get most of the attention, like India Pale Ales, double I.P.A.s and other stronger brews with more flamboyant flavors. But bitters and their restrained brethren are the daily bread of beer drinking.

With warm weather coming, though, bitters are worth looking for to be enjoyed over the long haul of a ballgame or a summer barbecue.

With this in mind, we called the tasting panel to order to sample 25 beers made in the bitters style. Florence Fabricant and I were joined by two guests: Richard Scholz, an owner of Bierkraft in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and Alex Hall, a cask ale consultant and proprietor of gotham-imbiber.com, an excellent New York beer resource.

One of our first issues was to decide what exactly constituted the bitters style. It’s a broad range of beers, characterized by mildness and by a balance between the sweetness that comes from malt and the bitterness that comes from hops. Mild carbonation, grassy, mineral flavors, tangy fruitness and occasional spicy and nutlike flavors — in restrained amounts, mind you — are all part of the bitters identity.

Some beer authorities, like Garrett Oliver, the brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery and the author of “The Brewmaster’s Table” (Ecco, 2003), feel that authentic bitters can only be experienced when served unpasteurized, unfiltered and naturally carbonated.

These cask-conditioned ales are found at the best British pubs, and increasingly at serious American beer bars. But those ales don’t come to you. You must go to the ale.

Technically, Mr. Oliver says, once breweries bottle bitters, it becomes English pale ale, with more forceful carbonation than the soft, gentle bubbles in the cask-conditioned ales. Still, he allowed, the definitions are fluid.

Alex, who has played as large a role as anybody in bringing cask ales to New York City, is not troubled by the differences between cask and bottle. “It’s the ingredients in the ale, not the method of dispensing,” he said.

With that in mind, we chose widely across the bitters style. In color, the beers varied from tan to amber to brown with glints of red. They were indeed mild in alcohol, ranging from 3.6 percent to 5.9 percent. Of the 25 ales, 17 were from England, 7 from the United States and 1 from Australia.

The biggest surprise to me was how closely most of them stuck to the genre, without adding something extra. It wasn’t always difficult to pick out the American brews — they tended to have the citrus aroma of American hops — but their use fit the restrained requirements of the style.

Still, our No. 1 bitter was an American brew, the beautifully mellow Sawtooth Ale from Left Hand, which I felt was a dead ringer for a British bitter right down to the gentle carbonation.

Our No. 2 was a British brew, the lively yet restrained Coniston Old Man Ale. The Old Man Ale was perhaps more brown than is typical of bitters, but it fit the genre in terms of restraint. Coniston also makes a more straightforward example, Bluebird Bitter, which we could not find.

No. 3 was a British standby, Fuller’s London Pride, a textbook example of a gentle bitter, or English pale ale. Whatever the term, it was delicious, as was its sibling, Fuller’s ESB, richer and maltier, but still balanced and refreshing.

As with many milder beers, bitters can be somewhat fragile. It’s imperative to keep them refrigerated and away from light. Four or five bottles in our selection — including a couple of American ales — showed at least some degree of diminished quality, most likely because of transportation or storage issues.

Seven of the top 10 were British. Aside from the Sawtooth Ale, one other American brew made the list, Brooklyn Brewery’s eminently chuggable Pennant Ale. The one entry from Australia, Barons ESB, also made the list at No. 10. It was brisk and malty, and it shared a mineral, almost saline quality with several of the British brews.

Honestly, it’s difficult to continue to describe these beers. One can only use words like gentle, restrained, balanced, mild and harmonious so often. The beauty of these beers is truly in the drinking.

“It’s one of my favorite styles of beer,” said Richard, who can pick anything he wants off of the shelf at his store, Bierkraft. “With all the beers that are super-hopped or over-the-top, these are just drinkable.”

Tasting Report: Gentle and Engaging for Summer Sipping

Left Hand Sawtooth Ale

$1.80 for 12 ounces

*** 1/2

Longmont, Colo.

Mellow, balanced and engaging with a pure malt character, soft carbonation and subtle hop aromas.

Coniston Old Man Ale

$6.95 for 25 ounces



Earthy, spicy and refreshing with lively but restrained malt and hop aromas. (Importer: Shelton Brothers, Belchertown, Mass.)

Fuller's London Pride

$3.95 for 25 ounces



Gentle and pleasing with well balanced aromas of sweet malt and bitter hops. (Distinguished Brands International, Littleton, Colo.)

Black Sheep Ale

$4.75 for 25 ounces



Softly carbonated, elegant and attractively bitter, with a malt and mineral flavor. (Eurobrew, Santa Monica, Calif.)

Wychwood Fiddler's Elbow

$5.95 for 25 ounces



Subtle and pleasing with restrained earth, spice and hop aromas. (Eurobrew)

Fuller's ESB

$3.95 for 25 ounces



On the malty side with sweet aromas; brisk and refreshing. (Distinguished Brands International)

Morland Old Speckled Hen

$2 for 12 ounces

** 1/2


Spicy with pronounced hop aromas and grainy malt flavors. (Total Beverage Solution, Mount Pleasant, S.C.)

Greene King Abbot Ale

$2 for 14.9 ounces

** 1/2


Sweet malt aroma, restrained and gentle. (Total Beverage Solution)

Brooklyn Pennant Ale

$2 for 12 ounces

** 1/2

New York

Gentle, balanced and refreshing with restrained malt and hop aromas.

Barons ESB

$2 for 12 ounces

** 1/2


Prominent malty aromas; grassy, saline flavors. (United States Beverage, Stamford, Conn.)

2008年5月27日 星期二


Food and Nutrition: badminton
A drink prepared with claret, sugar, and soda water.


(klăr'ĭt) pronunciation
    1. A dry red wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France.
    2. A similar wine made elsewhere.
  1. A dark or grayish purplish red to dark purplish pink.

[Middle English, light-colored wine, from Old French (vin) claret, diminutive of clair, clear, from Latin clārus. See clear.]

2008年5月25日 星期日

Pilsner; Pilsener

Pilsner; Pilsener

EuroVox | 26.05.2008 | 05:30

In the Czech Republic, Drinkers Race to Tap Their Own Beer

When it comes to beer drinking, many would think that Germans hold the European record. Think again.

The Czech Republic, the home of pilsner beer, is not only considered to have the best quality brew.

Statistically speaking, the Czechs also drink more of the barley than anyone else in the world. No surprise that they have come up with a new way to enjoy it -- the latest hit in Prague is the Beer Station.

Report: Christian Rühmkorf/ Andrew Ryan


(pĭlz'nər, pĭls'-) pronunciation also pilsener or Pilsener (pĭl'zə-nər, -sə-, pĭlz'nər, pĭls'-)

Food Lover's Companion: Pilsner; Pilsener

[PIHLZ-nuhr] Originally this term referred to a very fine beer brewed in Pilsen, in the Czech Republic. Today, however, it more commonly refers to any pale, light lager. Pilsners generally have a mild (some say bland) flavor, although a few reflect a pronounced hops characteristic. See also beer.

2008年5月24日 星期六

InBev for Anheuser Busch

Wikipedia article "InBev".

金融時報報導,比利時釀酒巨人英博公司(InBev)準備以460億美元收購美國百威啤酒(Budweiser)製造商安布公司(Anheuser Busch),成立一家規模將近1,000億美元的釀酒公司。若果真定案,這將是釀酒業史上最大的併購交易。

英博若順利併購安布,將是去年信用緊縮造成金融市場動盪以來最大膽的企業整併案。也是今年摩根大通銀行(JP Morgan)為貝爾斯登(Bear Stearn)紓困以來,意義最重大的併購交易,將增強資本市場對信用危機最壞情況已過的信心。過去一年來受資金枯竭影響,許多大型收購案後來無疾而終。

英博與安布是世界第二和第三大釀酒業者,緊追在生產美樂啤酒(Miller)的SABMiller公司之後。兩公司若合併,將在全球六大洲控制逾300種 酒品,每年釀製100億加侖啤酒。大麥、鋁和玻璃等商品價格不斷上漲,啤酒生產商面臨削減成本的壓力,擴大經濟規模成為英博相中安布的主因。


英博已從摩根大通(JP Morgan)和西班牙國際銀行(Santander)籌得資金,且該公司在4月28日的董事會及本月22日的會議曾討論過收購事宜,但目前尚未展開行動。英博、安布及摩根大通都對併購傳聞不予置評。

報導指出,若安布經營階層拒絕友善談判,英博將考慮敵意併購。消息人士透露,英博去年10月曾與安布初步接觸,但安布執行長布許(August Busch)堅持維護安布的獨立性。英博的顧問相信,布許將屈服於股東壓力,展開合併談判。


分析師說,英博最快周末就可能出手。線上證券經紀商路易斯資本市場公司(Louis Capital Market)研究主管范巴登柏格說:「若要行動得趁現在。」他說,現在趁美元貶值收購美國企業資產最划算,而且現任布希政府對企業的態度比檯面上的下屆 總統候選人友善。

2008年5月13日 星期二

Scientists Absolve Absinthe of Role in Historic Shenanigans

Absinthe 苦艾酒

Wikipedia article "Absinthe".

Food and Drink | 12.05.2008

Scientists Absolve Absinthe of Role in Historic Shenanigans

Absinthe used to be accused of making people "crazy and criminal." But tests by German scientists show the liquor was unfairly vilified back in its heyday.

Quaffing hard alcohol is hardly a healthy pastime, but absinthe, or "the Green Fairy," did no more damage to 20th-century drinkers than other spirits of the day, a team of scientists reported this week.

Imbibers once claimed the wormwood liqueur could trigger hallucinations or epileptic fits. The Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh is supposed to have cut off part of his own ear under its influence.

"Its psychoactive effect is just a fairy tale," said scientist Dirk Lachenmeier of the CVUA laboratory in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Wormwood exonerated

Antique corkscrew and old absinthe bottleBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Absinthe was banned in Europe for decades

German researchers worked with US and British colleagues to test the level of thujon in 100-year-old bottles of absinthe. Thujon, a chemical found in wormwood, was the substance blamed for causing psychotic episodes.

The research found that absinthe contained only minimal levels of thujon and that the psychoactive effects were also questionable. The scientists said in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that the thujon level in 13 of the century-old bottles they opened averaged 25.4 milligrams per liter.

That's below the level of 35 milligrams of thujon per liter allowed under European Union regulations.

Absinthe wins official approval

Pablo Picasso The Absinthe DrinkerBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Absinthe drinking was memorialized in art

Absinthe was all the rage in the 19th and early 20th centuries and was linked with artists and bohemians. Such luminaries as the French poet Arthur Rimbaud, the Irish literary giant Oscar Wilde and the British philosopher and writer Aleister Crowley were said to be devoted absinthe drinkers.

The association of absinthe with non-establishment figures led to criticism from social conservatives. In the end, absinthe shouldered the blame for all kinds of misbehavior.

A critic at the time said absinthe "makes you crazy and criminal ... and has killed a thousand French people."

Absinthe was banned in Europe for much of the 20th century and considered a dangerously addictive, psychoactive drug.

Absinthe is often pale green in color -- whence the Green Fairy moniker -- and is diluted with water and sweetened with sugar before drinking. France banned absinthe in 1915 and Germany did likewise in 1923.

In Europe, the ban was lifted in 1998. In the last decade there has been a boom in absinthe, which is widely available at cocktail bars throughout Europe.

DW staff (th)

2008年5月9日 星期五

Wine’s Pleasures: Are They All in Your Head?

南投縣埔里農會產製的「真情玫瑰」酒品,今年首次參加 二○○八年比利時布魯塞爾世界酒類評鑑,初試啼聲即獲得銀牌獎佳績。農委 會農糧署表示,這顯示台灣農莊的釀酒技術已逐漸成熟, 未來能在世界酒品市場中占有一席之地。 農委會說,由比利時政府聯邦經濟公共服務部監督 ...

介紹紐約時報的 The Pour

Wine’s Pleasures: Are They All in Your Head?

Lars Klove for The New York Times

Published: May 7, 2008

THE mind of the wine consumer is a woolly place, packed with odd and arcane information fascinating to few. Like the pants pocket of a 7-year-old boy, it’s full of bits of string, bottle caps and shiny rocks collected while making the daily rounds of wine shops, restaurants, periodicals and the wine-soaked back alleys of the Internet. It’s harmless stuff, really, except to those within earshot when a wine lover finds it necessary to elaborate on the nose, legs and body of a new infatuation.

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Seymour Chwast

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Yet in recent months American wine drinkers have taken their turn as pop culture’s punching bags. In press accounts of two studies on wine psychology, consumers have been portrayed as dupes and twits, subject to the manipulations of marketers, critics and charlatan producers who have cloaked wine in mystique and sham sophistication in hopes of better separating the public from its money.

One of the studies was devised by Robin Goldstein, a food writer, to try to isolate consumers from outside influence so they could simply judge wine by what’s in the glass. He had 500 volunteers sample and rate 540 unidentified wines priced from $1.50 to $150 a bottle. The results are described in a new book, “The Wine Trials,” to be published this month by Fearless Critic Media.

The book wraps the results in a discussion of marketing manipulations and statistical validity, but a brief article in the April 7 issue of Newsweek magazine, naturally, seized on the book’s populist triumphs: a $10 bottle of bubbly from Washington state outscored Dom Pérignon, which sells for $150 a bottle, while Two-Buck Chuck, the cheap Charles Shaw California cabernet sauvignon, topped a $55 bottle of Napa Valley cabernet.

“Their results might rattle a few wine snobs, but the average oenophile can rejoice: 100 wines under $15 consistently outperformed their upscale cousins,” the article exulted.

Two caveats are in order here. First, it turns out that the results of the tastings are more nuanced than the Newsweek article let on. In fact, the book shows that what appeals to novice wine drinkers is significantly different from what appeals to wine experts, which the book defines as those who have had some sort of training or professional experience with wine. The experts, by the way, preferred the Dom Pérignon.

Second, there is, of course, no such thing as the “average oenophile,” as Newsweek put it. Most people in the wine trade understand that consumers have any number of reasons for their buying decisions, whatever their psychological and financial state. Some are reassured by easy-to-understand labels with friendly animals. Others want only naturally produced wines or bottles with a modest carbon footprint. Some are status-seekers and score-chasers, while others are contrarians, or only drink red wine.

But assuming for the moment that it’s true that most drinkers prefer the cheap stuff, why does anyone bother buying $55 cabernet? One answer is provided by a second experiment, in which presumably sober researchers at the California Institute of Technology and the Stanford Business School demonstrated that the more expensive consumers think a wine is, the more pleasure they are apt to take in it.

The researchers scanned the brains of 21 volunteer wine novices as they administered tiny tastes of wine, measuring sensations in the medial orbitofrontal cortex, the part of the brain where flavor responses apparently register. The subjects were told only the price of the wines. Without their knowledge, they tasted one wine twice, and were given two different prices for that wine. Invariably they preferred the one they thought was more expensive.

“Forget those blurbs about bouquets, body and berries,” one newspaper account crowed. “A meticulous new study found that the more people think a wine cost, the more they like it. And the less they think it cost, the less they like it.”

Big surprise. Sommeliers all over know that the hardest wine to sell in a restaurant is the cheapest bottle on the list. “Yeah, clients don’t want to be embarrassed in front of a date, so they don’t order the cheapest wines,” said Fred Dexheimer, the wine director of the BLT restaurant group. The fact is, the correlation between price and quality is so powerful that it affects not just our perception of wine but of all consumer goods.

“It’s not just about wine, it’s about everything!” said Prof. Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of the book “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions” (HarperCollins, $25.95), which examines how people make all sorts of real life decisions. Regardless of the situation, Professor Ariely found, suggestion has a powerful effect on perception and belief.

In one experiment, volunteers who received mild electric shocks were given placebo pills to relieve the pain. They were told that the pills cost either 10 cents or $2.50. The participants believed that both kinds of pills helped relieve pain, but the seemingly more expensive pills had a much greater effect.

“If you expect not to get something as good, lo and behold, it’s not as good,” Professor Ariely said. “We think of it as an objective reality. We don’t see how much is created by our mind.”

Even so, wine drinkers tend to be the punch line. People are unlikely to be ridiculed for buying $300 jeans that are washed, bleached and beaten over rocks instead of $60 jeans that will last a decade. But wine buyers who prefer the $20 bottle over a $10 bottle? All that stuff about aromas and complexity? Forget it!

Are wine consumers really easily manipulated victims, the flip side of the stereotype of wine drinkers as pretentious snobs? What have they done to be singled out from other consumers who might equally be portrayed as knuckling under to hype and salesmanship, like connoisseurs of clothes, handbags or shoes, car aficionados or golf fanatics, food or film lovers?

The answer rests, I think, both in the insecure and uncomfortable attitudes that Americans hold toward wine and in the difficulty of bringing some sort of objective and universal criteria to the fleeting and obscure realms of aroma, taste and texture.

The consumption of wine has been growing steadily in the United States rising to 283 million cases in 2006 from almost 189 million cases in 1993, according to the Adams Wine Handbook, which tracks consumption.

Yet drinking more hasn’t made Americans more comfortable with wine. People with little interest in wine tend to see it as somehow foreign and threatening. Even among the curious, fears abound, of being embarrassed or appearing unsophisticated, of choosing the wrong wine, or of liking the wrong one. Every year books come out purporting to help the winephobic avoid embarrassment, impress their bosses or learn shortcuts to wine knowledge. But I sense no decrease in the number of people whose questions to me are prefaced by a sheepish, “I don’t know anything about wine, though I really should.”

Meanwhile, consumers face an impenetrable swamp of winespeak: Wine Spectator recently evaluated one Argentine red as, “Dark and rich, with lots of fig bread, mocha, ganache, prune and loam notes. Stays fine-grained on the finish, with lingering sage and toast hints.”

To hack through it all, consumers embrace scores, an easy shorthand that unfortunately requires that every wine be judged on the same seemingly objective scale, regardless of the subjective nature of taste. Anybody can understand that a wine rated 90 beats an 89, right?

Yet the rating system has bred an attitude toward wine that ignores context, which is perhaps more important a consideration to the enjoyment of wine than anything else. The proverbial little red wine, so delicious in a Tuscan village with your sweetie, never tastes the same back home in New Jersey. Meanwhile, the big California cabernet, which you enjoyed so much with your work buddies at a steakhouse, ties tucked between buttons, doesn’t have that triumphant lift with a bowl of spaghetti.

This is one problem with trying to judge wine in the sort of clinical vacuum sought by studies like the one in “The Wine Trials.” In the end, I don’t think you can ever eliminate context. The trick is to distinguish between the harmful or disingenuous — the marketing come-ons, the point chasing, what the guy next to you thinks — from the beneficial: the food, the company, the environment. Even in a blind tasting situation, wine is evaluated in the company of other wines, which is a different sort of context but a context nonetheless. Perhaps they’ve chosen the best wines to be sipped and spat out, but not the best wines for dinner.

Ultimately, context may be the most underrated aspect of enjoying wine. Tyler Colman, a wine writer and blogger (drvino.com), whose first book, “Wine Politics,” will shortly be published by the University of California Press, has a second book coming out this fall, “A Year of Wine” (Simon & Schuster), that focuses on context.

“The mood and the food and the context really matters,” he said. “It’s the neglected pairing.”

Just as understanding when to dress up and when to dress down is intuitive for many people, so, too, does it become instinctive over time for wine lovers to know which is the proper bottle to open. But that requires experience of many different wines. Eventually the novelty of great wines, or expensive wines, can wear off.

“Sometimes a great Beaujolais is a better choice than La Tâche,” said Nathan Vandergrift, a statistical researcher at the University of California at Irvine, who has seen the wine business as a retailer, an importer and distributor, and most recently as a blogger at the Vulgar Little Monkey Translucency Report. Mr. Vandergrift has had plenty of Beaujolais, and a fair amount of La Tâche, one of the most highly sought wines in the world.

Would that we all could achieve that sense of freedom and zen-like serenity, where we’ve had our fill of all else and can simply choose the right wine because it’s the right wine.

2008年5月7日 星期三

small beer, light beer

small beer

small beer

  1. Weak or inferior beer.
  2. Unimportant things; trivia.

Trivial; unimportant.