Monday, January 18, 2010

A post that doesn’t involve me drinking

"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer." -Abraham Lincoln

I’m taking a week off from drinking. I know how this sounds. I blog about beer, how can I go a week without drinking? Well if a particular Nuggets guard had gotten you as drunk as he got me last Thursday, you’d feel the need to give your liver a break as well. Dear god.

Fortunately, there are ways to blog about beer without consuming it, so I’m still writing, even while sober.

Time for some random beer facts.

-Alcohol was created by the Egyptians. I imagine this is a fairly well known fact (see photo), but for the sake of my friends in Team Cairo, I’ll mention it anyway. A few other Egyptian beer facts: beer was used for medicinal purposes (texts from 1600 BC list 100 medical uses for it!) and was considered a necessity in the burial process for the journey to the afterlife. (I expect much the same at my own funeral.)

-Last Egyptian fact: if an Egyptian man offered a woman a sip of his beer, they were betrothed. I’m trying to decide if this is either the best way to get engaged or would just get me in heaps of trouble. I’m guessing the latter.

-Among Noah’s provisions on the Ark was beer. Add that to the list of Bible facts I will actually remember.

-Molson brewery was founded in 1786 making it the oldest brewery in North America. Score one for the Canadians. However, the founding fathers Washington and Jefferson operated their own private brew houses. William Penn (the founder of Pennsylvania), stepped it up a notch by operating a full commercial brewery. Sam Adams, of course, did too.

-Yet it was James Madison who did us the greatest favor (at least in the opinion of this Coloradan) by proposing “that Congress levy a low 8-cent duty per barrel on malt liquors to encourage ‘the manufacture of beer in every State in the Union.’” I have a new favorite founding father.

-Yuengling is America’s oldest brewery. It was established in 1829 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. They survived prohibition by brewing near beer, meaning de-alcoholized beer, and dairy products. Glad to know my favorite cheap beer has some history to it. And given how much better it is than Molson beers, I retract my previous statement about the Canadians winning.

-Another prohibition related piece of information. During beer festival week in Colorado, the Brown Palace Hotel – one of Denver’s historic hotels and landmarks, served beer in teapots. Supposedly, during prohibition beer was served in teapots to mask the drink. I’m sure that the more elite beer drinkers would object to pouring beer in such a way, but, I have to say, it’s a lot of fun drinking beer out of a teapot. My drinking buddy and I agreed that the Brown Palace should offer beer in teapots year round.

-And, perhaps the most important fact of all, in 1977 Jack McAuliffe opens the New Albion brewery in Sonoma, California. It didn’t last long, but it goes down in history as America’s first Microbrewery. Eighteen years later, there were around 500 breweries operating in the U.S., increasing at a rate of three to four per week. Last July the count was at 1,525 total breweries in the country.

I think that'll do it for this post. Expect another sober post later this week. And come the weekend, I’ll resume my normal course of blogging (e.g. drinking). Until that time, someone go have a good beer for me.

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