Thursday, December 17, 2009

Vision Quest

A brief update on Beer Quest 2010, my effort to identify and rate beers from the twenty-three states that are not currently represented in the Fraters Libertas beer ratings by the end of 2010. I've received a number of e-mails with suggestions for beers from various states. Here's an update on the list with those suggestions included:

Alabama--Hurricane Brewing
Delaware--Dogfish Head

I received several e-mails specifically recommending Dogfish Head. It's a name I recognize and have seen it on store shelves, although regrettably not here in Minnesota. It is available in Wisconsin though so a run for the border (Hudson) may soon be in order.

One e-mailer hepped me to a great article on Dogfish Head's founder Sam Calagione that appeared last year in the New Yorker (yes, the New Yorker!):

Like most craft brewers, Calagione came to beer from something else. He grew up in Greenfield, Massachusetts, the middle child of an oral surgeon and the heir to a long line of winemakers. His father and his uncle used to drive to Worcester to meet the trains that brought grapes from California. When they got home, and the juice had been stomped out in the basement, Sam would help bottle it. The process seems to have stripped him of any reverence toward the product. His forefathers worked hard making wine, he recently wrote, "so that I might have the opportunity to produce a superior beverage."

Calagione was a bright student and a scrappy athlete (to keep his weight up for the football team, his father made him eat a cheesesteak every night at ten-thirty). But by the spring of his senior year, at Northfield Mount Hermon prep, he had so many demerits that he was expelled. His offenses were of the usual Animal House variety: flipping a truck on campus; breaking into the skating rink and playing naked hockey; "surfing" on the roof of a Winnebago, going sixty miles per hour down I-91. As a junior, Calagione sometimes waited outside a local liquor store and got customers to buy him a case of beer. Back at school, he hid the bottles in his hockey bag and sold them to other students at a profit. "I remember when I got busted," he told me. "The dean said, 'You think you can make a living doing this?' I didn't have the foresight to say, 'Yeah, maybe someday.'"

I've played a lot of hockey in my day. Ice hockey, roller hockey, pond hockey, street hockey, floor hockey, boot hockey, drunk hockey (not recommended), and hungover hockey. But I've never known firsthand--nor have any inclination to ever know--what it's like to experience naked hockey. The phrases "bad naked" and "shrinkage" come immediately to mind.

But there's no doubting the value of hockey bags in hiding booze. In college, we used to employ hockey bags to smuggle kegs into our "dry" dorms.

Iowa--Millstream Brewing in Amana
Kentucky--Blue Grass
Mississippi--Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company

Craig e-mailed to provide this particular suggestion:

You need to check out Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company in Kiln, MS. In-state you would just say The Kill. Everybody knows about Kiln, MS as it is the hometown of Bret Favre although he lives here in Hattiesburg now. Well, when he's not kicking butt on the field for you guys!

I'm sure that the hordes of Twin Cities media who descended on Kiln late last summer are all too familiar with the charms of Lazy Magnolia beer.

New Jersey--High Point
New Mexico
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina--Palmetto
South Dakota
Virginia--Starr Hill
West Virginia
Wyoming--Snake River

There are still several gaps in the list and if you have suggestions for how best to fill them, please drop me a line. Your support is most appreciated.

UPDATE: A few more recommendations added (in red) from Mark, a man who we hope--at least judging by his disturbing crush on Janeane Garafolo--knows more about fine beer than broads.

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