Friday, June 30, 2006 AD

More Steins

Shortly before my recent trip to Germany to play "pirate" with the youngest grandbaby a friend asked me if I would find him a beer stein while there. Little did I know it would be a rather daunting task. Not knowing what kind he's like I asked him, "What sort?" He said, "One with a Lutheran theme."

Having been raised in Germany I'm not a fan of steins that proudly proclaim, "I was bought in Munchen" in German. Nor did I think a stein with Neuschwanstein in bas relief was particualrly "Lutheran" in theme. Still, that was the extent of what we seemed to be running into for a while. Mugs at the local Hofbrauhaus we could find, as well as cheap "tourista" steins a-plenty. But it took quite a good bit of looking to find something of quality and those with anything remotely Lutheran in theme.

Finally in Heidelberg the issue began to resolve itelf. It was there I found this stein, depicting not only the city and its famous castle, but also the largest beer keg in the world. Can't get more Lutheran than that. On the other side it the patron "saint" of beer, Portheo. Further settling the Lutheran tie is the Heidelberg Disputation of May 1518 in which Brother Martin set forth most clearly his thesis regarding what it is to be a theologian of the cross.

Outside the Heiliggeistkirche , the downtown Lutheran Cathedral in Heidelberg, I found this pewter tankard. German pewter does not have the same lead content as American pewter. It can be used for food and beverages. It depicts simple folk in their daily lives and at prayer. The cross-like image in the right background is a crucifix shrine that is often found especially throughout Bavaria.

The last one I found in a small shop in Bavaria. It is hand-painted fine porcelain with a pewter top. On it there is a man and a woman encircled by hearts and flowers and fanciful designs. It is meant to depict marriage in a typical Bavarian design. Nothing more Lutheran than celebrating marriage with beer!

The steins are properly delivered to their rightful owner, so I can share their picture with y'all here.

Thursday, June 29, 2006 AD

August Schell Brewing Company Day

Schell Brewery workers from days long ago...

I can't believe that June 28th was August Schell Brewing Company Day in Minnesota. How could I have missed it?

Schell's Showplace

by Kevin Sweeney of the New Ulm Journal

6/28/06 NEW ULM — With blue skies providing a perfect setting for its pastoral scenery, the August Schell Brewery dedicated its new visitors center Wednesday with a Marti family reunion and ribbon cutting.

About 35 members of the Marti family, ranging from 84-year-old George Olsen, a fourth-generation descendant of August Schell, to toddlers in the seventh generation, attended the dedication.

The new building wraps around the brewery's old truck garage, which was converted several years ago into a brewing museum. It includes a gift shop upstairs, and a rathskeller, or taproom, on the lower level. A patio off the back of the building gives brewery visitors a peaceful place to sit, look off into the woods and listen to the birds while sipping a Schell's product. Read on...

In recognition, I recommend one of my favorite beers, Schell's Zommerfest

Hat tip to The Elder One at Fraters Libertas

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 AD

Wine in Holy Communion

A member of the churches of Christ challenged an assertion made in my column on Communion Practices that wine, not grape juice should be used in the Lord's Supper. My response is in a new post entitled Two Wines? Too Much! at my main site.

Saturday, June 24, 2006 AD

Drinking to the Southern Baptists

Kepler of Tarheel Lutheran, on the subject of adiophora, says, Yep, I thought so.

About what? Well, the second part of his post, dealing with Marian statuary in Lutheran congregations, doesn't really reflect the focus of this blog. However, the earlier portion, concerning the new Southern Baptist Convention's raising the bar of alcohol-based legalism, is prime material for PDD.

So pour yourself, a drink, read the post, and find some friends for a road trip to the stadiums mentioned in the excellent post Kepler cites: Busch Stadium, Coors Field, and Miller Park.

Friday, June 23, 2006 AD

Steins, Mugs, and Champaign Glasses

Wow! What an honor. As I told the Blessed Swede by way of reply upon receiving the invitation to join this august group, “Beer is my second native language.”

Texas Monthly has an awesome ad this month that puts beer in the proper perspective. Here it is for those of you who don’t subscribe to the magazine.

Now, as fine as that might make beer look, that is no way to serve beer. It’ll lose its chill too quickly. Let’s face it. Beer isn’t for the dainty-hearted sippin’ folks. Its hop-hearty delicacy needs to be savored in mouthfuls, and coldly. For that you need a good cold mug.

This is a stein.

A stein is for the shelf.

This is a mug.

A mug is for your beer.

The distinction is not always kept clear. Steins aren’t designed to keep beer cold. Mugs are. The difference is in the material used to construct each, and will be easily recognized if you ever get a chance to be in Germany. I learned all this “old school style” from having lived there as an Army brat.

These are steins and mugs from my own collection. Next time I’ll pass along pictures of the steins I picked up for a friend.

By the way, if ever you have a chance, don’t pass up a Bitburger in a mug.

Sunday, June 18, 2006 AD

A Beggar’s Carnival

Pastor Alex Klages of A Beggar at the Table hosts Lutheran Carnival 26. As is our carnival custom, he also introduces an un(der)known Lutheran, Robert Barnes of England, martyred under Henry VIII.

Friday, June 16, 2006 AD

Quest update

My quest to visit extreme located breweries is half complete. In August of 2004, I got a pint of a house brew (don't remember what it tasted like except that it was bland) from "Silver Gulch" Saloon and Brewery in Fairbanks, AK (The Northernmost brewery in the US).

In June of 2006, I drank all four varieties of beer from "Kelly's Key West" (The Southernmost Brewery in the US AND owned by Kelly McGillis, the actress who played opposite Tom Cruise in Top Gun).None were spectacular and three tasted like their recipe's had been borrowed from AB.

Click to enlarge.

Hog's Breath Saloon

Went to Hog's Breath Saloon in Key West. Below is the label. I rember the beer tasted very good, but I was a little fuzzy at the time so I can't describe it. A little malty if I rember right. Not to hoppy and pretty smooth.

If you notice in the far bottom right hand gorner is a notation that this beer is brewed by UNION workers.

Click to enlarge.

Saturday, June 10, 2006 AD

Mexitalian Margarita

Cross-posted at Aardvark Alley.

First, keep in mind the usual caveats about drinking to excess, addiction, and the like. Second, realize that all tequilas are not created equal. Cheaper tequila may use as little as 51% blue agave mixed with corn or cane sugar in fermentation (mixto); premium tequila will be pure agave. Gold tequila (tequila oro) is not aged for a significant period; caramel coloring is added to "younger" silver (plata) or white (blanca) tequila.

The better tequilas achieve their darker color through natural processes. A reposado (rested) tequila is aged, usually in oak, for about a year. An añejo (aged or vintage) tequila sits in its cask for 1 to 3 years — and maybe longer. The extremes of the spectrum are about as noticable as in whisky.

While a decent margarita can be made from any decent tequila, moving up in tequila quality will, of course, improve margarita quality. Personally, I prefer Cuervo Tradicional, a reposado, as a good meeting of price versus quality. Let your own taste and budget be your guides. (This tequila is also good in shots straight from the freezer.)

I firmly believe that a frozen margarita adds too much water (from all the ice) — a good margarita, where one can enjoy its complementing flavors fully, should be on the rocks. Chill the drink before pouring, and you'll be able to get by with minimal ice and maximal taste.

The Aardvark's Mexitalian Margarita

You'll need a pitcher or container for shaking that holds at least 58 to 64 ounces.

Start with one 12 oz. can frozen limeade (I prefer Minute Maid).

Introduce the Mexican: Pour in one can (12 oz.) — or a bit more — of your chosen tequila.

Here comes the Italian: Add 9-12 oz. (3/4 to one can) Tuaca Italian Liqueur.

Finally, add enough water to make 58-64 ounces of the completed product. (If your tap water is highly mineralized or chlorinated, you might want to choose bottled water.) Chill, shake or stir, and serve over ice in a cool (salt-rimmed optional) glass. Garnish as you desire; I prefer lime wedges. Some folks like to strain their margarita mix into the glasses. Do so if you must. I think the little bit of lime pulp adds taste and character to the drink.

Please don't drive yourself home from Margaritaville without a good night's rest.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006 AD

The Carnival at Twenty-five

Mrs. T(errible) Swede of Journalistic Jargon has Lutheran Carnival XXV: Whitsunday on display.