Thursday, January 17, 2019

Episode 24: Shiner Bock and Shiner S'More with Smilin' Mike Mason

I. Introduction

"Does Jason listen to these?"
"No."
"Let's talk about him."

Today’s beers come from the oldest independently owned brewery in Texas, the fourth largest craft brewer in the United States, a brewery founded by Czech and German immigrants in 1909 who simply missed the quaffs of their motherland.  With careful planning, a willingness to ignore the misguided precepts of the Prohibition, wonderful marketing, nearly universally respected craftsmanship, and of course the help thirsty hippies from nearby Austin, the products of the Spoetzl Brewery are no longer just local gems and are now available in 49 of 50 states – sorry Hawai’i. 


Today, on Pickled Eggs & Cold Beer, we’re talking about the beer that is arguably most synonymous with the great state of Texas, a beer that has been smuggled in ice trucks and hearses, a beer with one of the most loyal followings in the world.  Today we’re talking about Shiner beer. 

This week's music is Frank Tanner and His Rhythm Kings's 1936 "Texas Teaser" 

II. Our Guest, Fire in the Sky Lovin' Mike Mason

"Jason Clayman is the only person I know who's ever has broken a bottle in his hand 
like in a barfight.  But he is also the only person I know who has done that and required stitches."
From front to rear, Smilin' Mike Mason, Jason M. Clayman, and 
Doc Eric Drummond Smith, enjoying their toasty Shiner S'More beers.


III. Rubrics, Reviews, and Talking Points: Shiner Bock


BeerAdvocate: 3.19 of 5

RateBeer: 2.59 of 5

Untappd: 3.48 of 5

ABV: 4.4%

Ingredients: Roasted barley malt, German specialty hops (we aren't sure exactly what type and when/how they're used), and artesian well-water. 

Cost: $$ (We paid $8 for a sixer)

Appearance: Dark amber, honey-colored, leaning brown.  A little carbonation, but not tons.  Light on the Brussels lace. 

Aroma: Malty, Mike felt he caught a little skunkiness, Eric felt it was almost ale-y but his nose was stuffy.  Pilsner/lager notes with a little caramel sweetness. 

Flavor: Malty (clear roasted notes); bold on the front end, dry on the back. Crisp, very smooth. Very drinkable. 

Clayman compared it favorably to Newcastle and was inclined to think this is more of a cool-weather beer, Eric and Mike are inclined to think it is a all-year.  

Mouthfeel: Smooth, tingly, effervescent (like a mineral or tonic water). 

Authenticity, Marketing, and Other Factors:  This beer began as a seasonal but in 1973 demand from Austin hippies lead to it becoming a year-round product. 

Still owned privately, by the Gambrinus group that owns only three craft breweries that are local in their distribution.  Still very much a beer made in "the cleanest little city in Texas," home of the Shiner Hobo Band.  Their advertising is amazing, their craftsmanship is impressive.  They seem to be balancing their desire to expand nationally but retain small-town quality and identity wonderfully.  

Overall: Mr. Mason , Mr. Clayman, and Dr. Smith all agreed to award this quality quaff a 3.5 of 5 - our first unanimous rating ever!

IV. Rubrics, Reviews, and Talking Points: Shiner S'More


BeerAdvocate: 4.02 of 5

RateBeer: 3.12 of 5

Untappd: 3.6 of 5 

ABV: 5%

Ingredients: Dark roasted malts, artesian well water, but the rest remains a mystery to us.

Cost: $$ 

Appearance: Very dark brown, not transparent nor translucent. 

Aroma: Mild, sweet. 

Flavor: Very good, but heavy. Starts like a more traditional brown then evolves.  Sweet on top, tartness on the tongue. Brown ale with every damn bit of a s'more flavor profile - graham crackers, marshmallow, and chocolate.  Eric described this, straight up, as better than he thought.  A warmer, and it lives up to that. 

Mouthfeel: A little sweet, a little sticky. 

Authenticity, Marketing, and Other Factors:  Beautiful, like everything else Shiner does.  We flat out like the label.  Reminds Eric of an old 1920s cartoon about devils or snowy such-have-yous. 

Overall: Not an everyday beer, but a beer we like and would have again. Smilin' Mike gave S'more a 3.5 of 5, Clayman a 3.2 of 5, and Eric a 3.4 of 5 for an overall of 3.37 of 5.

V. Sponsors

This episode was sponsored by two wonderful local businesses:


Leben Farms of Abingdon, Virginia

Leben Farms is a community supported-agriculture (CSA) program that offers locally grown fresh vegetables in weekly boxes to its members in Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee.  Using organic and regenerative practices to grow nutrient dense food, community-supported agriculture is a food production and distribution system that directly connects farmers and consumers. In short: people buy "shares" of a farm's harvest in advance and then receive a portion of the crops as they're harvested.

Check them out on Facebook or Instagram.

Also...

Glade Pharmacy in Glade Spring, Virginia
33472 Lee Hwy, Glade Spring, VA 24340

Locally owned and managed, Glade Pharmacy provides the highest quality pharmaceutical service in the Emory/Glade Spring area.

VI. Plugs


The Hangover

Burlington, Vermont
Sierra Nevada Brewing
California & North Carolina

Blowing Rock, North Carolina


Abingdon, Virginia


VII. Selected Readings and Viewings

Cameron Day. July 2, 2013. "Twelve Questions: The Shiner Beer Van." Vintage Van Company. 

Jeff Holt. "Shiner." Historic and Modern Texas Breweries.  http://www.texasbreweries.com

Diana J. Kleiner. June 15, 2010.  "Spoetzl Brewery."  Texas State Historical Association. 

  CultureMap: Houston

"Shiner Beer Client Page." McGarrah Jessee. 

Lee Nichols. March 13, 2007. "Shiner at 100: Spoetzl Brewery." The Austin Chronicle.

Ronald Theriot. May 20, 2018. "Shiner Bock Revisted."  Louisiana Beer Reviews

Ronald Theriot. January 12, 2019. "Shiner S'more." Louisiana Beer Reviews

"Shiner Beer Client Page."  Tom, Dick, & Harry Creative Co. 

Cat Wolinski. September 28, 2018. "10 Things You Should Know About Shiner Beer." Vinepair. 

VIII. Selected Advertisements 


c. 2012

c. 2014


c. 2014
c. 2014

c. 2018

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Episode 23: Hofbräu Original with Hank McCarthy

I. Introduction

"Cancel."

Alois Hingerl was the hardest working porter in the Munich railway station.  He worked with great fervor and passion, so much so that he worked himself to death, having only two vices – a love of snuff and beer. He lived such a noble life that Saint Peter made him an angel and sent him on a mission of mercy, to provide wise and sage advice to the leaders of his mother city. 

Alas, Himmel has neither tobacco nor beer, and Alois, now dubbed Aloisius by the divine powers, found himself craving a snort and a nip.  He detoured, as most of us would, to the home of his favorite tipple, the Hofbräuhaus, intending to pour back on mass and then continue along his mission.  Alas for the politicians of Bavaria, Aloisius was so sorely moved by the beer that he never left the Haus and remains there, an angelic, blue-collar zythophile, overseeing the beating heart of everything good about his homeland.

Today we’re talking about the beer that tempted Aloisius away from his divine mission, arguably the beer most identified with the land most identified with beer, a beer that is opening beer gardens and restaurants around the world while clinging to its local identity. 

Today, on Pickled Eggs & Cold Beer, we’re talking about Hofbräu Original. 

Alfons Bauer’s 1966 “In Munchen Steht Ein Hofbräuhaus.” 

II. Our Guest, the Genteel Henry "Hank" McCarthy

"This is on the radio?"


III. Rubrics, Reviews, and Talking Points


BeerAdvocate: 3.8 of 5

RateBeer: 3.04 of 5

Untappd: 3.54 of 5

ABV: 5.1% 

Ingredients: Conforms to German beer purity laws; Herkules, Perle, Magnum, and Select hops, light barley malt and Munich malt, water, and yeast (bottom-fermenting) 

Cost: $$

Appearance: Golden yellow, a little hazy, translucent, largely transparent.

Aroma: Malty, pleasant, hops are there but very mild.  A little sweet but not cloying at all.  Clayman described the first sip from the bottle as reminding him of "warm corn tortillas" in an entirely positive way. 

Flavor: We all generally agree it is good - a solid choice, particularly as a session beer.  Hank notes that it is damn close the flavor on tap and on site.  

Mouthfeel: Smooth, mild carbonation, seems ideal for pairing.

Authenticity, Marketing, and Other Factors:  Most of the marketing we saw was aimed at European audiences - hardly surprising, of course, and so we weren't particularly moved by it in any sort of nostalgic way - what is a matter of great cultural importance though is the Hofbräu name itself, the ancient roots of the beastie.  Is the beer authentic?  That is a good question - it is marketed as "Original" but a glance at the hops used makes us wonder if it warrants this title.  Also, given the spread of the brand, especially into restaurants and beer garden sectors internationally, we're curious if the aloof and place-specific identity of Hofbräu remains intact or becomes diluted - hopefully the former.  

Overall: Hank gave Hofbräu a 4; Clayman awarded it a 3.85; and Eric gave it a 3.75.  Overall?  Our rating was a 3.87.

IV. Sponsors

This episode was sponsored by two wonderful local businesses:


Leben Farms of Abingdon, Virginia

Leben Farms is a community supported-agriculture (CSA) program that offers locally grown fresh vegetables in weekly boxes to its members in Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee.  Using organic and regenerative practices to grow nutrient dense food, community-supported agriculture is a food production and distribution system that directly connects farmers and consumers. In short: people buy "shares" of a farm's harvest in advance and then receive a portion of the crops as they're harvested.

Check them out on Facebook or Instagram.

Also...

Glade Pharmacy in Glade Spring, Virginia
33472 Lee Hwy, Glade Spring, VA 24340

Locally owned and managed, Glade Pharmacy provides the highest quality pharmaceutical service in the Emory/Glade Spring area.

V. Plugs




The Bamboo House
Charlottesville, Virginia

(we agree on some things, but not everything - great imagery here though)

by Justin Kennedy

Abingdon, Virginia

VI. Selected Readings and Viewings



Conrad Seidl. "Hofbräu." From The Oxford Companion to Beer. @ Craft Beer & Brewing.

Ronald Theriot. June 26, 2011. "Hofbrau Original." Louisiana Beer Reviews. 



VII. Selected Advertisements

c. 2017

c. 2018


c. 2018

c. 2018

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Episode 22: Yuengling with the Luxuriant Bryan Ailey

I. Introduction

Mouthfeel? That's the name of your sex tape, isn't it?

In 1829 London, England established the first modern professional police force, Andrew Jackson was sworn in as the President of the United States, and  Greek War of Independence ends with the signing of the London Protocol.  That same year saw the birth of clothier Levi Strauss, Apache leader Geronimo, and American President Chester A. Arthur.  John Jay, first Chief Justice of the United States, died in 1829, as would James Smithson, the British scientist whose vast fortune would lay the groundwork for the establishment of the Smithsonian Institutes in the young American Republic.

Fifty-three years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence and thirty-two years before the first shots of the American Civil War, 1829 is also the year that David G. Yuengling first established the what was then called the Eagle Brewery in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, an institution that has, for six generations, remained in the hands of his family and, equally, remained the touchstone of beers in eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. Each generation buys the brewery from the previous, and this generation’s owners, a quartet of sisters, has followed suit.

Today’s beer is a strange and wonderful beastie, the fourth largest beer distributor in the United States – though it serves only fourteen states – and the largest family-owned brewery in the United States.

Today, on Pickled Eggs & Cold Beer, we’re talking about Yuengling.

Today's music is Bessie Smith’s 1925 “At the Christmas Ball.” 

II. Our Bearded Guest, Bryan Ailey

From left to right, in order of increasing excellence - Eric Drummond S
mith, Jason "Cheeseball" Clayman, and Bryan Ailey

III. Rubric, Reviews, and Talking Points: Yuengling Lager

The Mitt Romney of beer. 


BeerAdvocate: 3.41 of 5

RateBeer: 2.79 of 5

Untappd: 3.48 of 5

ABV: 4.5%

Ingredients: This is an adjunct made with corn grits, water, roasted "caramel" hops, cluster and cascade hops

Cost: $

Appearance: Amber, fairly transparent and translucent, light head.

Aroma: Very little nose to this one. 

Flavor: A little sweet, a fairly high quality adjunct lager.  Get it in the can - the bottle is green guys, and that means skunky. 

Mouthfeel: Nice, smooth.  

Authenticity, Marketing, and Other Factors: The new designs are nice, but nothing to write home about.  We like the eagle design, a throwback to the original name of the brewery, but still it isn't one of our favorites.  Television advertising is relatively absent from our local networks in Southern Appalachia, but the examples we found online are fine, but nothing to write home about.  

There are questions about authenticity - hops are from out of region these days, adjunct seems to be a major element of the recipe, and the grains are non-local as well.  How much do Yuengling recipes reflect older traditions? We just aren't sure.  

Yuengling's most recent owner is politically contentious - an active opponent of unions and unionization (busting the house union in his own shop) and an active, and probably more importantly for their bottom line, outspoken supporter of Trump and contemporary conservative groups, he alienated a lot of young left-leaners.  We're curious about whether the Sisters Yuengling who co-own and run the company now will keep a more dampened tenor in their public discussions of politics.

Overall: Bryan gave this one a 3.2 of 5, Clayman a 3, and Eric a 3.25, for an average of 3.15. To quote Mr. Ailey, "This is a beer you can take to a party and no one will get upset or make fun of you, and no one will be overly excited. It's just fine."

IV. Rubric, Reviews, and Talking Points: Yuengling Black & Tan

Marginal approval.

BeerAdvocate: 3.24 of 5

RateBeer: 2.96 of 5

Untappd: 3.48 of 5

ABV: 5.2% 

Ingredients: Unclear - the official literature notes that the Premium, which constitutes 40% of the Black & Tan, use two- and six-row barley malts; presumably the porter element (the remaining 60%) includes a high percentage of roasted malts; the question of adjuncting and how much remains, as well as what hops are used. 

Cost: $

Appearance: Very dark, neither transparent nor translucent. Not a lot of carbonation.  Holding it up to the light the edges seem rather reddish.  Weak legs. 

Aroma: Not much aroma, a little malty. A very mild smokiness, maybe a very, very light piney-note.

Flavor: Not very porter-y, very different from a traditional black and tan (Guinness topper on a Harp base, typically).  

Mouthfeel: Again, little carbonation.  

Authenticity, Marketing, and Other Factors: See above. 

Overall: Ailey really likes this one - a 3.87 (I know) of 5's worth.  Clayman and Eric are a little more hesitant to roll out the red carpet - we respectfully give it a 3.2 and 3.3 of 5.  Overall? A very respectable 3.46 of 5. 

V. Rubric, Reviews, and Talking Points: Yuengling Golden Pilsner



BeerAdvocate: 3.34 of 5

RateBeer: 3.6 of 5

Untappd: 3.48 of 5 

ABV: 4.7%

Ingredients: Corn adjunct, water, malt, and Saaz and Hallertau hops.  

Cost: $

Appearance: Very transparent, very translucent, golden yellow.

Aroma: Malty in a not great way.  Ailey describes it as reminiscent of a dirty diaper. Clayman describes it as the carpet of a cheap hotel on a wet night; comparable to his least favorite beer so far, Bud Light.  Eric compares it to mealy fruit.

Flavor: Immediate reaction of all us - this is not a good beer.  Starts out with notes like an inexpensive lager, a little floral fruitiness or vegetable-ishness at the back.  A skunky flavor without a skunky odor, which is weird. 

Bad.  Cat-piss. Old-sauerkraut. 

Mouthfeel: Sticks to your mouth, residuey. 

Authenticity, Marketing, and Other Factors:  See above. 

Overall: We don't recommend this one very much - Ailey gave it a 2.2, Eric a 2, and Clayman sank it with a 1.3 of 5.  Overall it came in at a 1.83 - not great. 

VI. Sponsors

This episode was sponsored by two wonderful local businesses:


Leben Farms of Abingdon, Virginia

Leben Farms is a community supported-agriculture (CSA) program that offers locally grown fresh vegetables in weekly boxes to its members in Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee.  Using organic and regenerative practices to grow nutrient dense food, community-supported agriculture is a food production and distribution system that directly connects farmers and consumers. In short: people buy "shares" of a farm's harvest in advance and then receive a portion of the crops as they're harvested.

Check them out on Facebook or Instagram.

Also...

Glade Pharmacy in Glade Spring, Virginia
33472 Lee Hwy, Glade Spring, VA 24340

Locally owned and managed, Glade Pharmacy provides the highest quality pharmaceutical service in the Emory/Glade Spring area.

VII.Plugs








Abingdon, Virginia

VIII. Selected Readings and Viewings

Tom Acitelli. March 20, 2017. "When Yuengling Went the Traditional Route." All About Beer Magazine.


Lew Bryson. January 25, 2016. "Yuengling: So Much Better Than it Was."  All About Beer Magazine.

Robert Dixter , Jason Zucker and Colleen Brennan. November 25, 2017. "Yuengling is the oldest brewery in America and it's owned by one family." Circa. 

Ryan Dougherty.  Fall 2009.  [supplemented by Sean McAtee in Spring 2010] "Yuengling: An American Tradition."  The Pennsylvania Center for the Book.  

Mike Gorman. July 1, 2016. "Underground Brewing: Yuengling's James River Steam Brewery."  All About Beer Magazine.

Adam Lapetina. February 3, 2014. "13 Things You Didn't Know About Yuengling." Thrillist.

Ronald Theriot. September 20, 2016. "Yuengling Original Black & Tan (revisited)." Louisiana Beer Review. On YouTube. 

Ronald Theriot. October 15, 2016. "Yuengling Double-Down." Louisiana Beer Review. On YouTube. 

Ronald Theriot. September 16, 2018. "Yuengling Golden Pilsner." Louisiana Beer Review. On YouTube. 

David Wright. October 24, 2009.  "American Snapshot: Yuengling: America's Oldest Brewery." ABC News

IX. Selected Advertisements



c. late 1990s, early 2000s?

c. 2006

c. 2008

c. 2018


X. Obama. 

Looking at this more closely, we think this is Guinness. So: 

Here is one where we know he is drinking Yuengling.  Bam.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Episode 21: The 2018 Pickled Eggs & Cold Beer Holiday Spectacular: Schlitz Malt Liquor with Brendan Roche, Bill Edwards, Mike Mason, and Justin Smith

I. Introduction

"Did you see any Aliens?"
"No....?"
"Well that was a huge waste of time!"

Brendan: “Do you want a beer?”

Eric: “No, I’d like something special.”

Brendan: “How about a Bull?”

Eric: “A Bull?”

Brendan: “Schlitz Malt Liquor, for when you want something a little more special than a beer.”

Bill: [A giant bull crashes into Toilet-Kitchen Studio, killing everyone.]

Everyone: Fin.

Eric: Hey guys, today on Pickled Eggs & Cold Beer we’re talking about Schlitz Malt Liquor.

Today's theme is Fats Waller and His Rhythm’s 1936 “Swingin’ Them Jingle Bells.” 

II. Our Distinguished Guests



III. Rubric, Reviews, and Talking Points


BeerAdvocate: 2.63 of 5 

RateBeer: 1.44 of 5

Untappd: 2.12 of 5

ABV: 5.9%

Ingredients: Citing Barnivore, "Pabst products are brewed using a blend of malted barley and special corn syrup—(Not high fructose corn syrup.) hops, filtered water, and cultured yeast. Our syrup is made of carbohydrates and some simple sugars like dextrose and maltose."

Cost: $ 

Appearance: Good color.  Golden, translucent, largely transparent, a fair amount of head that recedes gradually but steadily, nice Brussels Lace. 

Aroma: Mild, malty, sweet, not wholly unpleasant. Smilin' Mike Mason asserted it had a bitterness similar to a low-end lager. 

Flavor: Leans-sweet, bitter industrial back-end, somewhat inoffensive. 
  
Authenticity, Marketing, and Other Factors:  The strange shift from the original marketing strategy (aimed in particular to white, upper- and middle-class women) to more masculine consumers, and eventually focused on African-American audiences is fascinating to observe as one reviews old print and audio-visual media.  The end effect is an inarguably successful campaign that reached peak intensity in the 1970s and 1980s, resulting in the steady decline of marketing for Schlitz Malt Liquor OML in recent decades.  The ads, however, at their peak were pretty spectacular.  

Heavy adjuncting means headache territory is nigh-on.  Be wary.

Overall: Bill gave the OML (Original Malt Liquor) a 2.1, Brendan a rating of 2, Clayman a rating of 2.2, Smilin' Mike Mason a 2.5, and Eric a review of 2. Overall? We gave Schlitz Malt Liquor a rating of 2.16 of 5. 

IV. Sponsors

This episode was sponsored by two wonderful local businesses:


Leben Farms of Abingdon, Virginia

Leben Farms is a community supported-agriculture (CSA) program that offers locally grown fresh vegetables in weekly boxes to its members in Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee.  Using organic and regenerative practices to grow nutrient dense food, community-supported agriculture is a food production and distribution system that directly connects farmers and consumers. In short: people buy "shares" of a farm's harvest in advance and then receive a portion of the crops as they're harvested.

Check them out on Facebook or Instagram.

Also...

Glade Pharmacy in Glade Spring, Virginia
33472 Lee Hwy, Glade Spring, VA 24340

Locally owned and managed, Glade Pharmacy provides the highest quality pharmaceutical service in the Emory/Glade Spring area.

V. Plugs

Abingdon, Virginia

Norton, Virginia

A Christmas Story (1983)


Die Hard (1988)

Emmett Otter's Jug-Band Christmas (1977)

Richmond, Virginia

by Justin Smith

How the Grinch Who Stole Christmas! (1966)

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

Santa Fe, New Mexico

A Muppet Family Christmas (1987)

Marion, Virginia

Downtown Knoxville, Tennessee

Scrooged (1988)

Abingdon, Virginia

VI. Selected Readings and Viewings

Clara M. Bradizza, R. Lorraine Collins, Paula C. Vincent, Diana L. Falco. 2006. "It does the job: Young adults discuss their malt liquor consumption." Addictive Behaviors. 31: 1559 – 1577.

Alfred E. Lewis and Martin Weil. September 1, 1981. "Schlitz Upset By Bull's Use In Drug Bust." Washington Post

Frank Kelly Rich. n.d. "Ten Greatest Alcohol Icons of All Time." Modern Drunkard. 

Ronald Theriot. January 5, 2014. "The Malt Liquor Project: Schlitz Malt Liquor." Louisiana Beer Reviews. 

Kihm Winship. April 29, 2012. "Malt Liquor: A History." Faithful Readers. 

VII. Selected Advertisements

c.1969

c.1974

c. 1970s or 1980s

c. 1970s or 1980s

c.1970s or 1980s

c.1979

c.1980

c. 1981


c. 1980


c.1981

c. 1980s


c.1982

c.1988


c.1989

c. 1995

c. 1996