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Beer Blast

THE DARK SIDE: Promote the pairing of robust brews such as Porter and Stout with compatible food.

World-wide lager love-in: The World Beer Championships annual lager tasting, held by the Beverage Testing Institute (BTI) of Chicago, had a stellar showing of more than 100 lagers. Besides the usual suspects of high-quality U.S. and European craft beers, BTI was fortunate to taste a variety of specialty beers and imports from such giants as Anheuser-Busch, InBev, and SAB Miller. These big boys are taking note of the much-touted growth of the craft and imported categories, and are moving quickly to capture the imagination and dollars of the "new American beer drinker." This is great news for beer aficionados of all types, because there are more choices now than ever before and producers are putting their money where their mouths are by bringing better-tasting and more interesting products to market.

Many new and newly energized lager brands made it into this year's tasting. Starting with the pale lager category, we were pleased to find out that the Belgian flagship, Stella Artois (90 points) is true to its country's heritage of great beers, scoring the only gold medal in the category. On the pilsner side of town, Krusovice Imperial Lager (93 points), a newish Czech introduction from Binding Brauerei USA and Haywards 5000 Indian Lager (91 points) took top honors. Moving on to richer brews, the Ohio champ, the Great Lakes Brewing Company's Dortmunder Gold (92 points) got to keep its title and its Eliot Ness Lager (93 points) flexed its muscle and cleaned up in the Amber Lager category. The Ayinger brand confirmed its world-class credentials and gold medal status with all its entries and its effortlessly drinkable Oktober Fest-Marzen (95 points) and decadently rich Celebrator Dopplebock (95 points) were standouts.

Other richer notables for winter solace included the new Anheuser-Busch Brewmaster's Reserve (90 points) in its made-for-celebration magnum-sized bottle, the sumptuously fruity and nutty Hirtl Morchl (dark lager, 95 points), the toffee-like Okocim Palone (93 points), the chocolaty-rich Samuel Adams Black Lager (92 points), and the Bananas-Foster-like dessert beer, Capital Brewery's Eisphyre (93 points). We could go on and on, but words go only so far. Pick up some of these impossible-to-resist treats and taste for yourself. You may find a hundred bottles of beer on your wall or in your new refrigerator sooner than you think.

World Beer Championships Lager-Tasting
This listing features the highest-scoring beers tasted in the following categories.

Amber Lager
93, Eliot Ness Lager, Great Lakes Brewing Co. (OH)
90, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, The Boston Beer Co. (MA)
88, "150 Anniversario" Lager, Menabrea SPA (Italy)
88, Riverwest Stein Beer, Lakefront Brewery (WI)
88, Premium Lager, Coopers Brewery (Australia)

Black Beer
92, Samuel Adams Black Lager, The Boston Beer Co. (MA)
88, Donners Berger Schwarzbier, Privat Brauere Bischoff (Germany)
87, Shiner 97, Spoetzl Brewery (TX)

Bock Beer
91, Birra Strong, Menabrea SPA (Italy)
90, Brewmaster's Private Reserve, Anheuser-Busch (MO)
89, Burnin' Helles, Anheuser-Busch (MO)
86, "7.30" Bock, Kalnapilis (Lithuania)
82, Shiner Bock, Spoetzl Brewery (TX)

Dark Lager
95, Hirter Morchl, Braueri Hirt (Austria)
93, Altbairisch Dunkel, Privatbrauerei Aying (Ger.)
93, Palone, Okocim Brewery (Poland)
91, Dark Lager, Krusovice (Czech Republic)
91, Munich Dark Lager, Capital Brewery (WI)
90, Penn Dark Lager, Penn Brewery (PA)
90, Michelob Amberbock, Anheuser-Busch (MO

95, Celebrator Doppelbock, Privatbrauerei Aying (Germany)
94, Samuel Adams Double Bock, The Boston Beer Co. (MA)
93, Autumnal Fire, Capital Brewery (WI)
92, Salvator Doppelbock, Paulaner Brauerei (Ger.)
91, Spaten Optimator, Spaten-Franziskaner Brau (Germany)


Munich Helles
92, Jahrhundert-Bier, Privat-brauerei Aying (Germany)
90, Munich Lager, Hacker-Pschorr Brauerei (Germany)
89, Spaten Premium Lager, Spaten-Franziskaner Brau (Germany)
89, Original Munich Lager, Paulaner Brauerei (Ger.)
88, Stegmaier 1857, The Lion Brewery (PA)
88, Penn Gold, Penn Brewery (PA)

Pale Lager
90, Premium Lager, Stella Artois (Belgium)
89, Island Lager, Granville Island Brewing Co. (Can.)
88, Pale Lager, Zywiec Brewery (Poland)
88, Original Draught, Sleeman Brewing & Malting Co. (Can.)
88, Pure Brewed Lager, Samuel Smith's Old Brewery (Eng.)
88, Session Premium Lager, Full Sail Brewing Co. (OR)
88, Esser's Best, Cross Plains Brewery (WI)

93, Imperial Lager, Krusovice (Czech Republic)
91, 5000 Indian Lager, Haywards (India)
90, Premium Pilsner, Privat Brauere Bischoff (Germany)
90, Speical Pilsner, Capital Brewery (WI)
90, Hirter Privat Pils, Brauerei Hirt (Austria)

Reduced-Calorie Lager
90, Samuel Adams Light, The Boston Beer Co. (MA)
87, Micro-Light, Sprecher Brewing Co. (WI)
86, Light, Spoetzl Brewery (TX)
86, Moose Light, Moosehead Breweries (Canada)
83, Light Lager, Sleeman Brewing & Malting Co. (Can.)

Vienna Märzen
95, Oktober Fest-Märzen, Privatbrauerei Aying (Ger.)
94, Oktoberfest, Goose Island Brewing Co. (IL)
90, Oktoberfest Beer, Penn Brewery (PA)
90, Oktoberfest, Lakefront Brewery (WI)

Beer Promo Ideas

The following on-premise promotions and programs demonstrate the coming of age of brews and food in restaurants.

  • In Houston, Bistro Toulouse hosted a beer dinner featuring Real Ale beers, with each of the five courses paired with compatible beers that were also used in preparation of the menu item. For instance, Chef Michael Scott Castell's first course, Harrissa Battered Artichoke Hearts with Chipotle Aioli was served with Real Ale Fireman's #4 Blonde Ale, while the fifth (dessert) course featuring a Coffee Porter Gelato Sandwich rolled in Cracked Chocolate-Covered Espresso Beans was paired with Real Ale Coffee Porter. The price was $65 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
  • Soon a beer honcho will be selected from among the four finalists in the Four Points by Sheraton search for a Chief Beer Officer (CBO). The field has been narrowed from more than 7,000 applicants. The one chosen by voters will serve as an independent, part-time consultant for the hotel chain's Best Brews program. Each of the Four Points by Sheraton hotels around the world will offer a selection of local, regional and imported craft beers. Participating properties will feature a minimum of four draft beers and as many as 20 bottled beers.
  • The Quarterdeck Seafood Bar and Neighborhood Grill chain of restaurants, with eight locations in Florida, has teamed up with Carib Beer for the Ketch Dat T'ing sweepstakes. The winner (along with two friends) receives an all-expenses-paid trip to the Carib Beer International Game Fishing Tournament in Tobago, plus a year's supply of Carib Beer.
TAGS: Food & Drink