Beer brands mentioned by Burkhard Bilger in "A Better Brew," about the rise of extreme beers, in the Nov. 24 issue of the New Yorker.
Ale Mary Full of Taste
Anyone else get the feeling that pacifists and women don't exactly dominate the industry? And that if "Burkhard Bilger" weren't already his real name, it would be the perfect pen name for a beer writer?
On a personal note, I'm pro-beer but anti-annihilation. I've tried and enjoyed He'Brew ("The Chosen Beer"), bottled by Shmaltz Brewing Company, itself a most excellent name. (In Yiddish, shmaltz means fat, especially chicken fat; metaphorically, shmaltz means "maudlin sentimentality." I love that the word, like the beer, contains malt.) The label design is amusingly over the top, and the brew names include some humdingers: Jewbilation, Messiah Bold, Genesis Ale.
But the brew I'm currently pursuing is Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock, which Aces Full of Links brought to my attention. The name is purely descriptive, although in this case that means it's also distinctive: there isn't exactly a surfeit of chocolate-flavored beer in the marketplace. The internal choc-bock rhyme is pleasingly memorable. And apparently what's inside the bottle is pretty special. Three years ago, Aces called it "a beer-lover’s delight. Dark, smooth, rich, chocolaty, malty, not too bitter. Creamy. And, well, dreamy."
Also pricey. The California chain BevMo (sorry: BevMo!) purports to sell it at $15.99 for a 750 ml bottle, but it's perennially out of stock. I've staked a back-order claim.
Image: Obamantor beer, a Maibock lager initroduced by Wynkoop Brewing Company, Denver, during the 2008 Democratic convention.
I think all the images of destruction have to do with extreme drunkenness rather than pillaging villages. "Headwrecker," for instance...
Posted by: Jon Carroll | December 01, 2008 at 10:51 AM
@Jon: A puzzling marketing gambit, no? It's as if car advertising said, "...and when you crash into a lamppost it makes a really LOUD crunching noise and you bleed all over the steering wheel!"
Posted by: Nancy Friedman | December 01, 2008 at 11:24 AM
Chocolate bock comes from the color of the barley malt used to make it, which is dried in a kiln until it's about the color of chocolate, whereas most malts are only slightly dried, hence the golden color of the beer. If one puts a bit in chocolate barley malt in one's mouth, the malt tastes a bit like well done toast, not burnt but pleasingly bitter and a bit smokey. Of course it tastes nothing like a chocolate malt milkshake.
I've brewed my own beer with chocolate malt, but never tried the Sam variety. It sounds like a great drink for this time of year, and I won't have to disinfect anything to drink it.
Posted by: SSFC | December 01, 2008 at 02:56 PM
I read the other day that the Egyptian kings often paid those working on their pyramids in beer. Talk about drinking yourself into a grave!
Posted by: Nick | December 01, 2008 at 04:34 PM
I started thinking about possible names for Egyptian beers from 3,000 or so years ago. Tut's Pale Ale. "Time for a Tut!" Spirit Stout!
"This beer is on the level!"
Posted by: Nick | December 02, 2008 at 05:46 AM
Hi there. This is Zak from Shmaltz Brewing Company, the makers of HE'BREW Beer. Thanks so much for including us in your list. I'm glad to hear that you've enjoyed our brews, we have too. Have a great holiday. L'Chaim!
Posted by: Zak Davis | December 08, 2008 at 09:44 AM