Saturday, April 13, 2013

Rant: "Triple-Hops Brewed" Miller Lite

For this post, I'm taking a page out of a fellow beer blogger's proverbial book. Each week, Bill, author of, posts the "Monday Rant" and discusses his various and sundry pet peeves in the world of beer.

I don't like the advertisement that says "Miller Lite: The beer that's triple hops brewed." Why? Well, there are two main reasons:

First, I have a problem with the word "the" in that statement. It implies that there are no other beers out there that can compete. Um, ever heard of an IPA? I guarantee you'll get more hops out of the weakest IPA on the market than you will from a Miller Lite.

Second, what does it even mean? The Hoosier Beer Geek wondered the same thing. Let's consider some possibilities:

a) It means that three types of hops are added.
b) It means that hops are added three times during the brewing process.
c) It means absolutely nothing.

I vote "c". (Isn't that always the right answer in a multiple-choice question anyway?) I think that the Miller marketing team was feeling particularly cheeky that day and decided to try and make their beer seem unique.

Besides, plenty of beers use more than one type of hops. And as for adding more hops during the brewing process, well that's an extremely common practice. There's "dry hopping" (adding unboiled, dried hops to the beer, often in a keg or cask) and "wet hopping" (adding fresh, undried hops to the beer, typically within 24 hours of harvesting). And then there's "continuous hopping", a process developed by Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head (see their 90 Minute IPA webpage). Continuous hopping is pretty much what it sounds like: it involves adding hops to the beer all throughout the brewing process. Practically speaking, one might add hops every minute, as Dogfish Head does for their 60, 90, and 120 Minute IPAs (each one brewed and continuously hopped for the duration suggested by its name).

So basically, there's nothing unique about Miller Lite's brewing process. The only reason you won't see anyone competing with Miller Lite's claim to "triple hops brewed" is because of Miller's trademark on the phrase.

That's my $0.02 anyway.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Session No. 74: Beer Balance

I often find myself thinking about all of the things that I enjoy and trying to decide which one to jump into next. My interests are wide and varied, which is a good thing...until I remember that there are only 24 hours in a day. So I guess the question is "to beer or not to beer?"

The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry. This month's topic, Beer Balance, is brought to you by Bryan Roth, author of This is Why I'm Drunk. (I like how he is quick to point out that the name of his blog is in jest.) Bryan wants to know how his fellow beer bloggers strike a balance between beer and life.

It's tough! As with anything else in which I'm interested, I want to spend time learning more about beer (which is the premise of my blog!). Beer has such a rich history, and I don't even know the half of it. To learn more, I love to visit Amazon; they have plenty of titles from which to select. My wife has purchased several of them for me over the years. Most recently, she surprised me with The Oxford Companion to Beer, which is quite a hefty volume. But it takes me so much time to get through a book (I'm a slow reader - I pore over every word), so instead, I often resort to learning from other beer bloggers. Blog posts are typically short enough that I can digest several posts in a sitting without too much effort. So I filled up my RSS reader with a whole bunch of beer blogs. Then I realized that I had so many blogs in my RSS reader that if I skipped a day, I had over 125 new posts to read. That's not to mention the self-imposed pressure to write my own posts! All of this is just academic -- what about actually trying new beers? visiting breweries? and enjoying beer?

It hit me recently that it was beginning to feel like beer was ruling my life. I've never subscribed to the "(fill-in-blank-here) is life" mentality; I just cannot be that single-minded. I realized that I had to do something. So I started focusing less on beer and more on life. For one, I removed many blogs from my RSS reader, which suddenly and drastically reduced my "to do" list. I also stopped putting as much pressure on myself to write new blog posts. I started trying new beers again. Basically, I started taking back the fun part of beer. Most importantly, I started focusing on life again.

What are my loves in life? I think that the "Introduction" section of my Google+ profile sums it up best:

I wholeheartedly believe in lifelong learning, continuous improvement, and the one true God. I love and cherish my wife, and I enjoy the life that we have created together. I take pleasure in using my humorous wit to make people laugh. I am an introvert with social tendencies. I am a student of the ever-changing English language and a tinkerer in German. I respect authority and law, but I bend the rules when they don't make sense. I am intolerant of incompetence, ineptitude, and inanity. I revere a highly-educated person that still understands and utilizes common sense. I like things "just so". I battle my pride daily, because I know what I don't know but I like people to think I do know. I'm not into government or politics, but I try to stay abreast of current events. I am partial to pizza, lasagna, and burgers. I don't follow or play any sports, but I always enjoy a good game. I am a hobby musician who is currently in the off-season. And as the title of this section implies, this is only an introduction to the complexity that is me.