Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Useful or Useless Beer Facts?

Happy St. Patrick's Day. In celebration, what The Opinionated Beer Page calls some useless beer facts:

Unlike wines, most beers should be stored upright to minimize oxidation and metal or plastic contamination from the cap. High-alcohol ales, however, which continue to ferment in their corked bottles, should be stored on their sides.

Studying the experimentally induced intoxicated behavior of ants in 1888, naturalist John Lubbock noticed that the insects that had too much to drink were picked up by nest mates and carried home. Conversely, drunken strangers were summarily tossed in a ditch.

Despite the month implied by its name, Munich's annual 16-day Oktoberfest actually begins in mid-September and ends on the first Sunday in October.

The familiar Bass symbol, a red triangle, was registered in 1876 and is the world's oldest trademark.

According to a journal entry from 1636, farm workers in the colony of Quebec not only received an allowance of flour, lard, oil, vinegar, and codfish; they were also given "a chopine of cider a day or a quart of beer."

In 1965, a Belgian royal decree mandated that lambics must contain a minimum of 35% wheat. It also ordered that labels state the name and location of the brewery.

Beck's in not only Germany's top export beer, it also accounts for 85% of all German beer exports to the United States.

Pennsylvania has had more breweries in its history than any other state. In 1910 alone, 119 of the state's towns had at least one licensed beermaker.

In their efforts to regulate beer quality, the ancient Babylonians, who were among history's earliest brewers, decreed that any commercial beermaker who sold unfit beer would be drowned in his/her own libation.

Bottle caps, or "crowns," were invented in Baltimore in 1892 by William Painter. Painter proved his invention's worth when he convinced a local brewer to ship a few hundred cases of beer to South America and back and they returned without a leak.

Beer advertising matchbook covers have become sought-after collectibles on Internet auction sites. A 1916 matchbook promoting Brehm's Brewery in Baltimore brought $43, while a 1930s cover promoting Eastside Beer from Los Angeles went for $36.

Beer and video games have a long association. Tapper, originally a 1983 arcade game and now a computer one, tests players' skills by challenging them to coordinate the movements of beers, a bartender, empty mugs, and patrons.

An 18-year study by the National Institute on Aging found that 50-plus men who consumed a drink a day during middle age scored significantly better on cognitive tests later in life than did non-drinkers.

Gilroy, home of the Coast Range Brewing Company since 1995, is the self-proclaimed "Garlic Capital of the World."

In ancient Babylon, women brewers also assumed the role of temple priestesses. The goddess Siris was the patron of beer.

On October 17 of 1814, a rupture in a brewery tank containing 3,500 barrels of beer caused a flood of fatal proportions in the London parish of St. Giles. The wave of beer swept victims off their feet, dashed them against walls, and buried them under debris. Two houses were demolished in the sea of beer suddenly loosed upon town, and nine people lost their lives in the flood of suds.

It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer, and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the "honey month", or what we know today as the "honeymoon".

There are 19 different versions of Guinness.

According to a diary entry from a passenger on the Mayflower, the pilgrims made their landing at Plymouth Rock, rather than continue to their destination in Virginia, due to lack of beer.

In the US, a barrel contains 31 gallons of beer.

The first beer cans were produced in 1935.

Before thermometers were invented, brewers would dip a thumb or finger into the mix to find the right temperature for adding yeast. Too cold, and the yeast wouldn't grow. Too hot, and the yeast would die. This thumb in the beer is where "rule of thumb" comes from. (Actually, a reader pointed out to us that "rule of thumb" actually comes from some Irish saying regarding beating your wife. However, since this is a beer page and not a wifebeating page, the temperature fact stands.)

In 1788, Ale was proclaimed "the proper drink for Americans" at a parade in New York City.

In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts. So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them to mind their own pints and quarts and settle down. It's where we get the phrase "mind your P's and Q's".

The original text of the Reinheitsgebot only had three ingredients: Barley, hops, and water. Yeast wasn't mentioned for another 35 years.

George Washington had his own brewhouse on the grounds of Mount Vernon.

After consuming a bucket or two of vibrant brew they called aul, or ale, the Vikings would head fearlessly into battle, often without armor or even shirts. In fact, "berserk" means "bare shirt" in Norse, and eventually took on the meaning of their wild battles.

The Budweiser Clydesdales weight up to 2,300 pounds and stand nearly 6 feet at the shoulder.

12 oz of a typical American pale lager actually has fewer calories than 2 percent milk or apple juice.

A beer is NOT just a beer. All told, there are 27 different styles of beer, with a further breakdown of 49 substyles.

Actually, some of those facts sounded like they might be pretty useful someday.

A Preview of the 2010 Republi-CON Cat Fight

UPDATE IX: And even more fiscal CONservative hypocrisy. Before Rubio got a hold of the GOP credit card to double bill the party and state taxpayers for flights and meals, it appears he played "fast and loose with the rules" governing political action committees (PACs) to pay friends, family members and $74,000 in undocumented expenses. Read St. Petersburg Times, A lavish rise for Rubio.

UPDATE VIII: More fiscal CONservative hypocrisy. It appears that Rubio racked up $250 million in budget requests for hometown spending during eight years in the Florida House. Read the The Miami Herald, Marco Rubio's money requests for Miami-Dade could be an issue.

Like Ray Sansom, a NW Florida Republi-con who was this term's Florida House Speaker until he was forced out and who finally resigned office on the eve of an ethics hearing. (He still faces criminal charges in connection with his budget dealings)

"Rubio's public job as a legislator dovetailed with his private interests.

One appropriation for Miami-Dade County was sought by lobbyists who worked at his law firm. Another item aided a friend's fight for a Florida Turnpike contract. Other proposals gave big sums to Florida International University and Jackson Memorial Hospital, where Rubio later worked as a consultant.

Republi-cons have no shame.

UPDATE VII: The $130 barber shop charge to the Republi-con Party of Florida credit card -- was it for a hair cut or 'back wax?' Read CNN, Crist: Rubio charged credit card for back wax.

That sounds like it might hurt!

UPDATE VI: With the Republi-cons, you just need to talk the talk. Read CBS4. com, Poll: Rubio Destroying Crist In Senate Race.

UPDATE V: The cat fight is heating up with allegation that Rubio is a fiscal CONservative. Read FOXNews, Rubio Battles Reports of Lavish Charges to Florida GOP Credit Card, The Miami Herald, Wine, groceries, car repair: What Florida's Rubio charged to GOP, The Miami Herald, Marco Rubio: Double-billing of flights 'a mistake', and The Miami Herald, Charlie Crist jumps on Marco Rubio, Ray Sansom similarities.

But will it matter to the Republi-cons:

"Lucky for him most of the hardcore “conservative” voters don’t actually pay attention to this sort of thing. Fox News would never in a million years give this story any air time, so the people Rubio is trying to appeal to aren’t going to know anything about it. As long as he says that he’ll lower taxes, the average “conservative” voter could care less what else he does. He could use public money to build a rocket-ship to fly into the sun, and as long as some wealthy republicans are paying $100 a year less in property taxes, no one will ever complain."

UPDATE IV: Will the country become ungovernable after big election wins by the Republi-con Party in 2010? Read The New York Times, Paranoia Strikes Deep.

UPDATE III: So what did the 2009 off-year election portend? Will there be a putch in the Republi-con party? Read the Washington Post, Attack of the Palinite and The myth of '08, demolished.

UPDATE II: Has the right "devolved into a wacky, paranoid cult that is as eager to eat its own as it is to destroy President Obama?" Read The New York Times, The G.O.P. Stalinists Invade Upstate New York.

UPDATE : Read Time, A GOP Civil War in Upstate New York.

As previously noted, the 2010 Florida Senate race is shaping up to be Washington leadership v. grassroots, whether to moderate the political agenda or go all-in conservative hypocrisy, whether the campaign theme should be hope for the future or fear and loathing.

But if you can't wait until 2010, then there is a preview. Read The New York Times, Right Battles G.O.P. in a Pivotal Race in New York.

Are the Republi-cons torching the big tent?