Tag Archives: beer

Beer, Calories and Your Fat Ass

Fat Man with Beer

During the past year or so, I’ve made a concerted effort to eat better, exercise more, drink less beer and basically get my shit together. I’ve never really been a health-conscious person, so all of these things were a challenge at first. Hell, they still are. But I’m nothing if not stubborn, and when I set my mind to something, I do it.

I set my mind to losing a bunch of weight, and so far I’ve dropped more than 60 pounds. My success can largely be attributed to a drastic reduction in the amount of beer I consume and a shift in the types of beer I drink. Like it or not, beer is not healthy, and frankly, drinking lots of beer over time will make you a fat fuck. Trust me, I know.

But I love beer. A lot. And there was no way I was cutting beer out completely. That meant I had to come up with some strategy for drinking beer that would not counteract all of my other efforts to get in shape.

The obvious answer: Drink only light beer. But therein lay a problem. Light beer, in general, sucks. It’s flavorless and uninteresting.

All of this got me thinking about the amount of calories in the beer I drink. After some cursory research, it became very clear that the amount of calories in beer is directly related to the alcohol content or alcohol by volume (ABV). The higher the ABV, the more calories. That 12-ounce Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA, with an ABV of somewhere between 15 percent and 20 percent, has many, many more calories than that Anchor Brewing California Lager, which has an ABV of 4.9 percent.

This may seem obvious, but I didn’t really think of it that way. So the calorie-conscious beer drinker wants to limit the amount of high-ABV brews he consumes or at least balance them out with some low-calorie beers. And, thankfully, low calorie doesn’t always mean “light beer,” or at least not the way the average beer drinker thinks of light beer. (Think: Miller Lite, Coors Light, Bud Light, etc.)

Allagash House Beer

“Session beers,” or beers with an ABV of less than 5 percent, are a good place to start. Session beer is quite popular today, and lots of great breweries are experimenting with the concept.  Though they’re generally less flavorful than “bigger” beers, I’ve found some session options that I really enjoy. The one that comes to mind is Allagash Brewing Co.’s House Beer, which unfortunately is only sold at Allagash’s brewery in Portland, ME. (I travel to Portland fairly often, and I always pick up a case of House Beer when I do.) Notch Brewing Co. and Full Sail Brewing Co. also make some quality session brews.

I still drink my fair share of big double IPAs and imperial stouts, but I’m much more conscious of the ABV of the beers I consume these days. And I’m always on the lookout for great, low-ABV session beers.

UBN

Image via HowToLoseBellyFatSoon.com

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Beer Nerd PSA: Cantillion Zwanze Day 2013 is This Saturday

Cantillon Zwanze Day 2013

Just an (un)friendly reminder: Cantillon’s 2013 Zwanze Day is this Saturday, September 14. I wrote about the event last year, and believe you me, it was a blast.

Details on this year’s event and a full list of locations can be found on Cantillon’s website. Or read more about it here.

I’ll be at Lord Hobo in Cambridge, MA, on Saturday. If you spot me—I’ll be the guy with the Red Sox hat and the beer—leave me the fuck alone, huh? I’ll be busy drinking Cantillon.

UBN

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Dogfish’s Coolest Tap Handle Ever

Dogfish Head Uber Shark tap handle

Is this new Dogfish Uber Shark Tap handle the coolest tap handle ever? No, probably not. But I think it’s Dogfish’s coolest tap handle, at least of the ones I’ve seen. During the past couple of years, Dogfish has really upped its tap-handle game, releasing new tap handles every year, at least, and getting more and more colorful and creative.

Dogfish Head Uber Shark Tap handle

Some of the most interesting tap handles aren’t cheap—this one costs a cool $79, plus shipping—but any of the bars I drink at regularly should easily be able to afford it with the profits they make from my overblown drinking habit. (Give me more free beer, ya cheap bastards!)

Learn more about this tap handle, and other handles, at Dogfish’s online store.

UBN

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Awesome Animated Beer Labels Make Me Want to Start Drinking Right Now

Alchemist Heady Topper Motion

I don’t really have much to say about these fantastic animated beer labels from Beer Labels in Motion, except that they’re making it hard to be productive this morning. It’s cool to start drinking at 10 am on a weekday, while you’re in the office and supposed to be working, right? Right?

Pop on over to BeerLabelsInMotion.Tumblr.com for more.

UBN

via Gizmodo

Pretty Things Jack D'Or Motion

Clown Shoes Miracle Motion

21st Amendment Bitter American Motion

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Cantillon Zwanze Day 2013 is Saturday, September 14

Bottles of Cantillon Zwanze 2013 in Brussels Belgium

It feels like just yesterday that it was Zwanze Day 2012, but this year’s version is right around the corner.

Cantillon Zwanze Day 2013 will be held on Saturday, September 14, according to a post on the Belgian brewery’s Facebook page, though no additional details on the actual Zwanze brew or the locations have been released yet.

Zwanze Day is held once a year, and it’s when Cantillon releases a small amount of an experimental beer, usually an interesting take on a lambic, at select beer bars across the word. (Learn more about Zwanze Day and check out my Zwanze adventures last year at Lord Hobo in Cambridge, Mass.)

I recent shared a look at the 2013 Zwanze in bottles at the Cantillon brewery in Belgium, and I shared some information on a unique beer that may become the 2014 Zwanze brew. But this is the first official information I’ve heard about Zwanze 2013. Mark the day on your calendar right this instant, and stay tuned to this blog for updates on locations, which I will post just as soon I find them.

UBN

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Buying Belgian Beer Online and Shipping It to the US

Belgian beer bottles Cantillon Fantome 3F Rodenbach

A few of the beers I purchased from BelgiumInABox.com and EtreGourmet

Being the Urban Beer Nerd that I am, I’m always on the lookout for rare, hard-to-find, unique and limited-release brews. Many of my favorite breweries are located in Belgium and elsewhere overseas. Often these breweries’ most unique beers are released in very limited quantities, and the brews that do make it to America are often difficult to locate and/or very expensive.

So a few months ago, I started researching ways to buy my own Belgian beer online and then ship it to Boston, where I can sit in the comfort of my own home with the rare beer of my choice. I was sick of only being able to drink Cantillon beers a few times a year and paying an arm and a liver for bottles when I could find them.

I came up with the following two websites, which I’ve since ordered from at least three times each and had no problems: BelgiumInABox.com and EtreGourmet (BieresGourmet.be).

Before I go on, a warning seems appropriate: When you order beer online, you do so at your own risk. Depending on where you live, it may not “legal” in the strictest sense of the word to buy beer online from an international retailer to ship to your locale. And in many cases, shipping companies will not accept and deliver packages with beer in them.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll say that personally, I have not had any issues ordering beer from BelgiumInABox.com or EtreGourmet. And when the sites declared the contents of my boxes of beer, as is required by Customs, they usually wrote something like “lambic glassware” or “collectible bottles,” which was technically true because I usually bought glassware in addition to beer.

Anyway, both of these sites offer reasonable prices on beer from my favorite Belgian breweries, including Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen, Fantome, Rodenbach, Tilquin and Blaugies. Shipping is expensive, but it’s not too much more than the markup you’d pay for a rare bottle at a beer bar or through a retailer. For example, the last time I ordered from BelgiumInABox.com, I purchased a 750ml bottle of Cantillon’s 2013 Kriek Lambic Bio (about $13), a 750ml bottle of 2012 Fantome Saison (about $9) and a 3 Fonteinen gueuze glass (about $16) for a total of roughly $38, and the shipping cost around $43.

My previous EtreGourmet order looked like this: a 750ml bottle of Rodenbach Caractère Rouge (about $20) and two 375ml bottles of Oude Quetsche Tilquin 2012-2013 (about $25 for both). The shipping was about $53.

The shipping is expensive, but I’ve been willing to pay it for beers I would not otherwise be able to find in the United States. I feel confident my payment card information is secure, because BelgiumInaBox uses Ogone for payment processing, a well-known and trusted Europe payment processing service, and EtreGourment accepts PayPal. And both sites have HTTP Secure Web pages for payments.

My packages of beer arrived in great shape, and overall, I’m very pleased with the experience with both BelgiumInABox.com and EtreGourmet. Another site that’s been recommended to me is BeerPlanet.eu, but I’ve heard rumors about some of the site’s shipments being held up in customs, so I never ordered from them.

I probably shouldn’t even be writing this post, because it may draw unwanted attention to these sites and services, but fuck it. A post like this would have been helpful to me when I was trying to fine reputable sites to order from, so I wanted to share my experiences.

UBN

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Cantillon Blåbær Blueberry Lambic ’13 Bottled Today, Very Limited Distribution

Cantillon Blåbær Blueberry Lambic label

I like Cantillon beers. A lot.

I’m always seeking news ways to obtain the incredibly-rare lambics, and I keep a close eye on the brewery online and in social-media circles.

This morning, Cantillon announced via Facebook that its super-exclusive, you-can’t-fucking-have-any-unless-you-live-in-or-near-Belgium lambic made with blueberries, Cantillon Blåbær, was bottled today. Only a single barrel, or 300 liters, was made. It will be shipped out at the end of June, but Blåbær will only be available at a specialty beer shop in Copenhagen called Ølbutikken. (“Ølbutikken” translates to The Beer Shop.)

Unfortunately, Ølbutikken doesn’t ship beers, but you can contact them and ask them to hold bottles for you if you plan to be in Copenhagen within the next month or so.

I will not be in Copenhagen anytime soon, so I guess Blåbær is going to remain on my Must-Have Beers list for the foreseeable future.

UBN

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Anchor California Lager Now Available Outside of the Golden State

Anchor California Lager Label

I’ve been drinking Anchor Brewing Co. beers for years. I’m a big fan of Anchor Steam and its Liberty Ale, in particular. So, a few months back, when I heard that Anchor was brewing a new beer – a recreation of an old brew – I was rather excited to try it ASAP. I was equally disappointed to hear that the new brew, Anchor California Lager, would only be available in Anchor’s home state of California.

From Anchor Brewing:

“Anchor Steam’s roots go back to the Gold Rush, long before icehouses and modern refrigeration made traditional lagers a viable California option. In 1876, thanks to an ice pond in the mountains and a belief that anything is possible in the Golden State, a little brewery named Boca created California’s first genuine lager. Anchor California Lager® is our re-creation of this historic beer.”

Last month I was in San Francisco covering Google’s I/O conference, and picked up a couple of six packs of Anchor California Lager. Normally, I’m much more of an ale guy, but I had been drinking IPAs and sour ales beforehand, and I felt like something a little lighter. California Lager fit that bill nicely, and at the time, I kept wishing that I could get the beer back home in Boston.

Yesterday, Anchor announced that I can, or I will be able to soon. California Lager will begin shipping to a number of new markets this month, and it will be available June through September 2013. The markets are as follows: Nevada, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts.

If you’re located in one of these states, I definitely recommend picking up a sixer of California Lager post haste.

UBN

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Chilled – Not Frozen – Craft Beer is Happy Craft Beer

Novelsit Haruki Murakami with a frozen Budweiser can

“[A] cold beer at the end of the day is the best thing life has to offer. Some choosy people say that a too cold beer doesn’t taste good, but I couldn’t disagree more. The first beer should be so cold you can’t even taste it. The second one should be a little less chilled, but I want that first one to be like ice. I want it to be so cold my temples throb with pain. This is my own personal preference of course.”

– Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Freezing, ice-cold beer may be Mr. Murakami’s preference–or the preference of the character who’s speaking in his novel, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. But it sure isn’t mine.

Call me “choosy,” but unless I’m drinking Budweiser or some other watered-down, poor-tasting brew, I’d rather drink it chilled or close to room temperature.

That’s just my own personal preference of course.

The colder the beer, the less you can taste it. Ice-cold liquids numb your taste buds. That’s a fact, and one you can easily test. Just do a side-by-side tasting of a freezing cold brew and a room temperature one. Now, if you choose to drink shitty beer, than freezing cold may be the way to go. But with so much good beer on the market, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not truly tasting and savoring it.

UBN

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Scenes from an Allagash Brewery Tour in Portland, Maine

Yesterday I spent the day in Portland, Maine, hitting up various beer nerd spots, including Allagash Brewing Co., where I took part in a tasting and a brewery tour.

If you’re ever in the Portland area, I definitely recommend a stop at Allagash. Even if you’ve never been to Maine and/or don’t plan on visiting any time soon, the following images give you an idea of what you’d see during a tour of one of New England’s, and America’s, best and most creative Belgian-inspired breweries.

The entrance to Allagash' brewery on a rainy day in Portland, ME

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Allagash Coolship Cerise and FV13 sour ale for sale in the retail store. Coolship bottles are only sold at the Allagash Brewery.

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Allagash beer and tshirts for sale in the retail store

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Allagash brewing and fermenting tanks

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Mini kegs of Allagash’s rare Coolship Resurgam in the barrel-aging room

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UBN

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