May 05, 2006

Someone needs a thicker skin

Ben and Jerry's ice cream is pretty tasty stuff. I'm especially fond of a new a flavor that they make, Black and Tan. Any beer drinker in the US worth his/her salt is familiar with the Guinness/Bass combo beverage. As with anything these days, someone took offense. What's worse, in my opinion, is that Ben and Jerry's apologized. Excerpt:


Ice cream makers Ben & Jerry's have apologized for causing offence by calling a new flavor "Black & Tan" -- the nickname of a notoriously violent British militia that operated during Ireland's war of independence.

The ice cream, available only in the United States, is based on an ale and stout drink of the same name.

"Any reference on our part to the British Army unit was absolutely unintentional and no ill-will was ever intended," said a Ben & Jerry's spokesman.

"Ben & Jerry's was built on the philosophies of peace and love," he added.

The Black and Tans, so-called because of their two-tone uniforms, were recruited in the early 1920s to bolster the ranks of the police force in Ireland as anti-British sentiment grew.

They quickly gained a reputation for brutality and mention of the militia still arouses strong feelings in Ireland.

"I can't believe that Ben & Jerry's would be so insensitive to call an ice cream such a name and to launch it as a celebration of Irishness ... it's an insult!" wrote one blogger on www.junkfoodblog.com.

Someone in Ireland got the vapors because a US ice cream manufacturer made an unintentional reference to some obscure group of British thugs. Holy crap, I can't believe that share some (distant)blood with these people.

Hat tip to the Real Beer Page blog.

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May 04, 2006

Drink, don't drive

A slogan that I can get behind:

drink dont drive.jpg

Update: Looks like VW beat me to it this time. Our email forwarding friends must be very similar.

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March 14, 2006

Magic faucet

I wish that the plumber in this story would work on my house. I'll even pay extra. Excerpt:


Haldis Gundersen was planning to do the washing up when she made the unusual discovery at her apartment in Kristiansund, west Norway.

But two flights below, workers in a bar faced the more disappointing realisation that water was flowing from their beer taps.

A worker had connected a beer barrel to the apartment water pipe by mistake.

"I turned on the tap to clean some knives and forks, and beer came out," Ms Gundersen told Reuters news agency. "We thought we were in heaven."

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March 07, 2006

Beer blogging

Beer Therapy is up and running at Realbeer.com.

Is it really a blog? Well, you can leave comments and/or trackbacks, so survey says Yes. Into the blogroll with ye.

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Cure for what ails you

Ever had a hangover? Surprisingly, I've never had the pleasure, despite deserving one many times in the past. However, for those of you who occassionally suffer from one, here is some advice for you:


Hangovers happen

Hangovers are easy to avoid. Don't drink. Or at least don't drink too much. Because physicians do not absolutely know what causes a "hangover" there are many suggestions for a) avoiding them and b) for recovering quickly when a) fails.

What causes hangovers?

- Drinking alcohol. But you probably knew that.

- Dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic; it makes you urinate and flushes fluids from the body. Drinking coffee only makes matters worse, because coffee also is a diuretic. The dehydration caused by alcohol and coffee can be minimized by drinking plenty of water. A headache is a symptom of dehydration and may be eased with pain relievers and water.

- Some alcohol is worse than others. Brandy, red wine, rum, whisky, beer, white wine, gin and vodka are worst to least in descending order of likelihood to cause a hangover. The British Medical Journal did tests that showed drinking bourbon is twice as likely to cause a hangover than the same amount of vodka.

- Different drinks for different folks. If you are allergic to yeast, for instance, unfiltered microbrewed beer might leave you with a terrible headache. Certain people are senstive to sulphur dioxide, an inti-oxidizing agent added to many wines to keep them fresh; others get headaches from chemical substance found in dark grape skins. The latter will drink white wine with no effects, and suffer with red wines.

- Mixing drinks can cause hangovers. Be careful with what you’re drinking and when you’re drinking it. Remember this rhyme: "Beer before liquor, never sicker. Liquor before beer, never fear." Beer or any other carbonated alcoholic beverage is absorbed much more quickly into your body. Drinking it before other alcoholic beverages will cause them to be absorbed more quickly as well.

- The rate at which one absorbs alcohol can depend on mood — increased adrenaline pushes alcohol through the system much faster. Therefore, feeling deeply depressed or ecstacially happy makes you drunk faster.

Taking preventitive steps

- Begin by considering your height, weight and personal tolerance for alcohol when drinking.

- Drink a glass of milk to start the evening. It will retard the absorption of alcohol, and protect your stomach against irritations.

- Never drink on an empty stomach. Food helps to absorb some of the alcohol and aids the body in digesting it faster. Consider eating starchy foods to slow the alcohol absorption.

- Limit yourself to less than one drink per hour.

- Drink a glass of water between each beer you order.

- Back in the '60s, a navy subcontractor provided "hangover shots," vitamin B injections, in the infirmaries of its many large U.S. centers. The shots were massive replacements of the water-soluble vitamins the previous night's massive consumption of alcohol had dehydrated right out of people. A good dose of water mixed with brewer's yeast (which is full of Vitamin B) before going to bed is a poor man's option.

- Even if you pass on the Vitamin B, drink lots of water before going to bed.

You're hung over - some cures?

- Sleep. It gives your body time to recover. A tired or unfit drinker is especially vulnerable to hangovers.

- Keep drinking water.

- Eat. Complex carbohydrates such as bread and pasta will raise your blood sugar level. Bananas are excellent because they contain complex carbohydrates, potassium and Vitamin C. And if your stomach can't face food? Chamomile tea is best, and make the first cup really strong. The chamomile will help your stomach, and if you take in quantities of water with the tea, it will ease the pain.

- Exercise. This will help you sweat the alcohol out of your system.

- Sex. See exercise.

There are doctors who claim hangovers are mostly mental. In that case you may feel the need to punish yourself with a more exotic cures. If so, try the Middle Ages mixture of bitter almonds and raw eel. Or mix together vinegar and raw eggs, and swig them down with a giant gulp.

You might decide you were better off stopping at cure No. 5 above.

Reprinted from Realbeer.com.

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Something's wrong here

Good: Someone won Beerdrinker of the Year for 2006.

Bad: It wasn't me. Bastards.

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February 24, 2006

Public Service Announcement

Police are warning all men who frequent clubs, parties and local pubs to be alert and stay cautious when offered a drink from any woman. Many females use a date rape drug on the market called "Beer."

The drug is found in liquid form and is available anywhere. It comes in bottles, cans, or from taps and in large "kegs". Beer is used by female sexual predators at parties and bars to persuade their male victims to go home and sleep with them. A woman needs only to get a guy to consume a few units of Beer and then simply ask him home for no strings attached sex.

Men are rendered helpless against this approach. After several beers, men will often succumb to the desires to sleep with horrific looking women whom they would never normally be attracted. After drinking beer, men often awaken with only hazy memories of exactly what happened to them the night before, often with just a vague feeling that "something bad" occurred.

At other times these unfortunate men are swindled out of their life’s savings, in a familiar scam known as "a relationship." In extreme cases, the female may even be shrewd enough to entrap the unsuspecting male into a longer term form of servitude and punishment referred to as "marriage." Men are much more susceptible to this scam after beer is administered and sex is offered by the predatory females.

Please! Forward this warning to every male you know. If you fall victim to this "Beer" scam and the women administering it, there are male support groups where you can discuss the details of your shocking encounter with similarly victimized men. For the support group nearest you, just look up "Golf Courses" in the phone book.

Check out this video to see how beer works.

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November 22, 2005

Help your fellow beer drinker

Have you ever been so drunk that you needed someone else to help you hold your beer while you drank? Did you ever thank that person properly? I thought not. Well, in rememberance of that special person from your dark, misspent youth, I give you this picture.

More beer and, umm, large tracts of land pictures here and here.

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November 08, 2005

We knew that it was good

Turns out that it's good for you, too. Beer, that is. Excerpt:


"Mmmm … beer."

This oft-repeated sentiment of Homer Simpson is a mantra for the millions of beer drinkers in the United States. As popular as beer is, however, it often has gotten a bad rap as a calorie-loaded beverage that only serves to create paunchy beer bellies and alcohol-fueled lapses in judgment.

But that negative image may begin to fade: Research is showing that beer could join the ranks of other guilt-inducing but wildly popular foods — chocolate, coffee and red wine — as a possible disease-fighter.

It turns out that beer hops contain a unique micronutrient that inhibits cancer-causing enzymes. Hops are plants used in beer to give it aroma, flavor and bitterness.

The compound, xanthohumol, was first isolated by researchers with Oregon State University 10 years ago. Initial testing was promising, and now an increasing number of laboratories across the world have begun studying the compound, said Fred Stevens, an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry at Oregon State's College of Pharmacy.

Earlier this year, a German research journal even devoted an entire issue to xanthohumol, he said.

What Stevens and others are discovering is that xanthohumol has several unique effects. Along with inhibiting tumor growth and other enzymes that activate cancer cells, it also helps the body make unhealthy compounds more water-soluble, so they can be excreted.

I wonder if alcohol is one of the unhealthy compounds of which they speak? Then again, who cares?

Thanks to blogless friend Jeff for the link.

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September 28, 2005

I'm going for some beer

Be back soon

Well, it's off to Denver and the GABF tomorrow morning. Three days of tasting/drinking good beer.

In my opinion, the GABF would be a great setting for a blogger get together. If anyone else is of the same mind, we could try to work something out for next year. Even if you don't like beer(HERETIC!!!), it's a lot of fun.

See y'all when I get back.

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July 18, 2005

Beer of the week

Here's a friendly reminder that July is American Beer Month. This week we're celebrating the American Amber Ale. Excerpt:


American amber is noteworthy for its relatively even balance between malt and hop expression. This is quite unusual, and not only for newer American beer styles. In most instances balance does not imply equal proportions of sweetness and bitterness (malt and hop). On the contrary, it should be judged solely in terms of the appropriateness for its style. For example, pale ale is typically dry and assertively bitter, not sweet and malty. On the other hand, brown ale tends to have more malt sweetness and toastiness, with decidedly less hop expression. The proper balance for each is quite different. In amber ales, hops and malts mesh almost perfectly - both are evident, but neither dominates.

Look here for some foods that go well with this type of beer.

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July 15, 2005

Beer news

Well, since my next post in the Brewing Your First Beer series will be about bottling, it seems appropriate to throw in a link to bottle-conditioning, which is the method we will use to carbonate our beers.
For more beer history, check out this site.

Links courtesy of Jennifer's History and Stuff.

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July 12, 2005

Homebrew stuff

Looking for beer recipes? A recipe calculator? Back issues of the Homebrew Digest in HTML format? Look no further than The Brewery.

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July 05, 2005

Brewing your first beer, post III: brew day

You've finally acquired the ingredients for your beer and it's sitting in a corner next to your equipment. Now it's time to get cracking so that your beer will be ready to drink before month's end. Let's get started:
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: All temperatures listed below are in degrees Fahrenheit. If you need to convert to degrees Celsius, here's a handy-dandy tool.

1) Immerse your cans of hopped malt extract in warm water for about 20-30 minutes. This will make it much easier to remove the syrup from the cans, which is a good thing. Malt extract syrup is gummy, sticky stuff. Dump the cans of malt extract into your brewing kettle which should already contain 1-1/2 gallons(US). If you use filtered water, you 'll be fine. If you don't, you might consider buying some "drinking water"; distilled water isn't a good choice. Regardless, bring all ingredients to a boil for 15 minutes. If you happened to buy some hop pellets, add 1/2 ounce 10 minutes into the boil, or 5 minutes from the end. This will impart a nice hop aroma to your beer. However, this step is entirely optional. No hops? No worries.

2) Sanitize your fermenter in a dilute solution of bleach and water. Add 1/4 cup bleach to your empty plastic fermenter and fill with cold water. Let stand for about 20 minutes and then rinse thoroughly with hot water to remove all traces of chlorine.
NOTE***: Sanitizing your equipment is the single most important thing that you will do when making your beer. Fortunately, it's also one of the easiest.

3) Add 3 gallons of filtered(or bottled) water to your sanitized fermenter. It should be cold; room temperature isn't good enough. An hour or two in the fridge should be sufficient.

4) Carefully, pour your hot wort(that's the mixture of hops, malt and water you've been boiling on your stove) into the plastic fermenter, splashing noisily. This will provide sufficient aeration for the little yeasties that you'll be adding.

Note: If you jumped the gun and bought a glass carboy, you'll need to use extra care. Make certain the 3 gallons of water you dumped into it are very cold. This will prevent the carboy from breaking due to the thermal shock of having boiling water added to it. Also, you'll need to pour the hot wort through a funnel to get it into the carboy. Then swirl the water around to make certain everything's been mixed well.

Optional Take a specific gravity reading using your hydrometer. It comes with a little tube in which you'll place some beer and then float the hydrometer on it. Feel free to skip this step for your first batch.

5) Add the yeast when the temperature drops below 78 degrees. You'll want to sanitize your thermometer before using it; I usually dip mine in some cheap vodka, which prevents the possibility of some nasty chemicals getting into the beer.

6) Seal the lid onto your plastic fermentation vessel and attach the fermentation lock. Again, I prefer to use vodka in the lock, as opposed to any type of sanitizing solution. Should the temperature drop suddenly, it will be vodka getting sucked back into my beer instead of bleach. If you're using a glass fermenter, sanitize the rubber cork, plug the carboy and attach the fermentation lock to that. Everything else stays the same.

Within a couple of days, and probably within the first 24 hours, an agressive fermentation will begin. The lock will be bubbling like crazy.

7) Sometime between day 7 and day 14, the fermentation will complete. When there's no noticeable activity in the fermentation lock for a couple of days, your beer will be ready to bottle. Which will be the topic of the next post in this series.

Happy brewing.

Update: After my fermentation lock foamed over from the fermenting beer, it occurred to me that maybe I should mentioned a little thing called a blow-off tube. What is it? Simply a piece of flexible plastic tubing inserted into the stopped hole where your fermentation lock goes. If you're fermenting in either a 6-1/2 gallon plastic pail or a 6-1/2 gallon carboy, a blow-off tube is unnecessary. If, like me, you're using a 5-1/2 glass carboy, a blow-off tube is pretty useful. Otherwise, you'll find foam pouring out of the top of your fermentation lock when you go check on your beer. Anyway, here's what you do:

6A) Seal the lid onto your plastic fermentation vessel and attach the blowoff tube. Submerge the open end of the tube into a dish containing an inch or so of water. After a few days, or when foam stops pouring out of your tube, remove the tube from the runner stopper and attach the fermentation lock. All other info in #6 above remains the same.

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June 30, 2005

It's the water that counts

Heh.
Double-heh.

Update: Blog-City sotres my ASF files in a non-clickable format now. Anyone know how to get around this problem? I converted the file to an AVI, but the damned thing grew from 1.9 Mb to 122 Mb. Suggestions, please.

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June 29, 2005

Mead moon

Reprinted from Mead Lover's Digest #1194:


Centuries ago, Eastern and Northern Europeans would celebrate the summer solstice with mystical pagan customs intended to produce healing, fertility and prosperity. During Midsummer Eve, the night before the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere (usually June 21st), and people would light huge bonfires to symbolize light triumphing over darkness and life over death.

Shakespeare captured this night of supernatural wonder in his play A Midsummer Night's Dream when humans and other-world fairies mingled on a night when love and mischief was definitely in the air.

In time, those areas where Christianity came to dominate, the Church replaced summer solstice celebrations with the Feast of St. John, held on June 24th. Today, people in East Europe still mark Midsummer's Eve with festivals or dances and bonfires that light up the night sky.

The Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptizer (24 June), aka St. John's Day, is one of the quarter days, four Catholic holidays at the beginning of each season of the year, which were communally celebrated. The other quarter days are Christmas, Lady Day (Annunciation) and Michaelmas (Sept 29). Celebration of St. John's Day traditionally began the night before. St. John's Eve, (June 23), (today) was sometimes known as Bonfire Night in Ireland. Up to the mid-20th century, Irish Catholics lit large communal bonfires at sunset on this day, or small family fires outside their houses.

The communal bonfires were traditionally piled very high with wood, sticks, dry brambles, etc. Each household would contribute fuel for the fire. At dusk the whole town would gather around the pile, and an elderly man in the community would light the bonfire while saying a prayer. After the prayers, the merriment would begin: dancing, singing shouting, blowing horns, storytelling, instrumental solos, etc. The bonfire was tended until long after midnight

Saint John is known as the Patron Saint of Beekeepers. Two other saints are known as patron saints of Beekeepers. St. Ambrose Born: 339; Born: 339 Feast: December 7th and St. John Bernard of Clairvaux, Born: 1090; Died: 1153 Feast: August 20th.

The full moon closest to the summer solstice is known as the mead moon. This happened yesterday (June 22). I have also seen the full moon of July called the "Mead Moon".

All of this "History Lesson" is to let you all to know that, tonight, you should raise a glass of mead to the full moon and say a prayer to St. John (for you Christians) or howl at it (for you pagans). And, for those that believe the "Mead Moon" is in July, wait a month. As for me, I think I will drink a mead to the moon, and St. John, tonight AND next month.

You can read the rest here.

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Marketing genius?

Or extreme stupidity. I have a feeling that the commercial mentioned in this story wouldn't go over so well in the US. Excerpt:


A spokesman for the company said Regional has no plans to apologize for running a television commercial that said the difference between a wife and a lover was 30 kilograms (about 66 pounds), the newspaper El Universal reported.

Women called the advertising misogynist and demanded.

The Regional spokesman said the company wouldn't apologize unless it is forced to do so by the courts. He added: "I bet all these women's groups are run by women who are at least 30 kilos overweight."


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June 28, 2005

A senior moment

June 18 came and went, and somehow I missed it. Why is that important? Because it's the day the Physics Geek blog was born. And no, I won't link to the wretched first post.

I' feel pretty ancient for a two-year old.

Update: Via Harvey comes the image below:

BEER-WHI_2.jpg

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Style of the week

Celebrate the week of June 26-July 2 with a pilsner. Excerpt:


Pilsner is the classic lager style that emerged from the Czech Republic in 1841 to become the most common style of beer brewed worldwide. From China to the Caribbean and from Indiana to India nearly every beer drinker in the world has a favorite pilsner.

With a pale to golden color, pilsners provide a crisp drinkability with two major variations. The popular pilsners from Coors, Budweiser and Miller include a modicum of corn or rice to produce a light body and delicate flavor for the ultimate in drinkability. America's smaller brewers follow the course of their European ancestors, making all-malt pilsners with a full-bodied flavor and generous helpings of hops.

The best pilsner is the one made close to where it is consumed. The light body and golden color of pilsner mark it as one of the most delicate of beers so that freshness is critical to product quality. When you reach for the smooth refreshing flavor of a pilsner, grab one from a brewery down the road or across the state. You'll be sure to get a fresher, better tasting beer than one that comes from over the ocean or across the border.

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Beer/brewing info

For those of you who do not have access to newsgroups via your ISP, Google has all of the old Dejanews newsgroups available for your reading pleasure. One that you might want to visit regularly is rec.crafts.brewing. As with anything else on the Internet, it's best to keep your crap filter on. Anyone can post, including the guy who makes Pruno, so beware.

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