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Festive Cheers

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Cheers to a merry festive season and a jolly new year! Enjoy the festive spirit and the best hopes that all your beer wishes come true in 2010!


Written by Pierre

December 25, 2009 at 12:00 pm

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Beer and Babies

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Ante natal classes for men…

How about this: Ante-natal classes…for men…at their pub? No more excuses to not attending! It’s not such a far fetched idea really. Childbirth educator Donna Sheppard-Wright offers such classes in Australia, an initiative she has developed over a five year period. Her classes are appropriately titled “beer and bubs”. I can see these classes actually working, and it makes sense, as I’m pretty sure men (most at least) will feel more secure asking questions in a pub environment than at any other ante-natal class. Read more about it here.

Written by Pierre

December 5, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Recycled windshields

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For our readers, because we love you…

A new beer glass fashion – beer glasses made from recycled car windshields. Shattered windshieldThese glasses are hand-made, cost around $20 a pair, and have a very unique tint to them. [Visit Recycled Windshield Beer & Wine Glasses for more info]

It was after reading this that we realized we never posted this essential message – plain and simple: Think before you drink!  

We all love beer, and many find it hard to belief that one can get enough of this good thing. Unfortunately this could end up pretty bad. You may wake up the next morning to the words: “You have one phone call…”, and then you better hope you know a damn good lawyer’s number of by heart! And then there will probably be a guy sitting across from you, calling you sweetheart! And this is just the good scenario!

The alternative could be that you wake up in a comfy, silent white room with friends and family around you. They will most likely have that doubtful, puppy-eyes looks on their faces. A good looking young lady will ask you what you would like for pudding, but probably not so enthusiastically as the waitress at the bar. You’ll be comfy, only because one can’t feel much after being paralysed. A week later, if you can speak that is to say, you’ll need to make a phone call – just to phone the wife of your friend who was in the car with you, telling her…well…I don’t know to be honest. And after that call you should probably phone the family of the car you crashed into to tell them something along the same line as to why they don’t have a son, daughter, brother, sister, mom or dad anymore. 

Simple: Think before you drink. Even if you think you can get away drunk, keep Murphy’s Law in mind: Shit will happen! [see the below video: doesn’t matter how good you are, you will get caught]. So, keep good things in moderation – you’ll probably find it even more enjoyable then. Besides, as nice as the tint may be, we don’t want to drink from our readers’ wind shields…


Also read: How much is too much of a good thing?

Written by Pierre

November 30, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Hey bro, wanna brew?!

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Wanna Brew BroHow to brew your own beer…

Link to “How to make your own beer,” a step by step process.

We haven’t tried it out yet because we haven’t had time – exams are on hands now.  Theoretically it seems fine, and we’ve added it to our holiday to-do list. Try it out and let us know what you think and how well it works; we’ll come back to this one after our summer vac…

Read also: Beer’s Big Bang

Written by Pierre

November 18, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Before you hit the floor…

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Assess alcohol’s role in your life

Jailed agianThere’s no clear line as to how much is too much, and there are too many variables for there ever to be an established rule/definition. We all tolerate alcohol differently, but there is still an individual’s own limit. Because of the many variables it is often hard for someone admit to possibly having an alcohol problem – especially if they see themselves functioning well in their own definition of the word and their view their drinking in comparison with others. Following below are guiding questions to assess the role of alcohol in your life, and possible ways as how to go about an alcohol problem. The list is compiled from several questionnaires used world wide and incorporates many of the common symptoms of alcoholism. Alcoholism is an individual’s dependency on alcohol, and the abuse thereof. Alcoholism is treatable through complete abstinence from alcohol and with help.

Answer the questions, even if you don’t think you have an alcohol problem – because very few alcoholics think they have. If you feel or suspect yourself of having an addiction, seek professional help, regardless of the questionnaire turnout.

 “Drink” in the following is defined as:

  1. a single (8 ounces; 1/2 pint) glass of beer,
  2.  a single shot/measure of liquor/spirits,
  3.  a single glass of wine.


Answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Lame as this may sound: The first step is admitting, so please – be honest; after all, who are you fooling? 

  1. Do you crave a drink at a definite time?
  2. Do you drink alone?
  3. Do you drink to escape from worries or trouble or after a disappointment, a quarrel?
  4. Have you ever felt like you were unable to stop drinking once you had started?
  5. Do you feel depressed after drinking, feeling negative about life?
  6. Do you have regret after drinking?
  7. Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of drinking?
  8. Do you feel less efficient when working, or that your ambitions are gone? (Are you unable to do what is normally expected from you because of drinking?)
  9. Do you eat very little or irregularly when you are drinking?
  10. Do you lose time from work due to drinking?
  11. Is your drinking affecting your reputation? (Good or bad)
  12. Does drinking cause you to have difficulty sleeping?
  13. Have you tried switching brands or types of alcohol, or used other plans for controlling your drinking?
  14. Are you having an increasing number of financial and work problems as a result of drinking?
  15. Is drinking making your home life unhappy?
  16. Has a relative or friend or doctor or other health worker been concerned about your drinking or suggested you cut down?
  17. Have you or someone else been injured as a result of your drinking?
  18. Do you sometimes have the “shakes” in the morning, and find that it helps to have a drink?
  19. Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?
  20. Do you sometimes stay drunk for several days at a time?
  21. Have you ever been treated you for drinking (e.g. gone to a hospital or institution because of drinking)?
  22. Do you ever get terribly frightened after you’ve been drinking?

If you have answered YES to any one of the questions, it indicates a probable symptom of alcoholism and the possibility that you have an alcohol problem.

[* This shouldn’t be used as an absolute evaluation instrument. These are guidelines that should be helpful to a great extent, but for an accurate evaluation speak to professional.]

Looking towards a solution:

If you realize that you have an alcohol problem, you are already a step into the right direction. Remember that million others are in the same situation as you and you’re not alone. Which ever treatment option you plan on taking, it will require a lot of commitment on your behalf.

There are several treatment options available. AlcoholismMany people turn to Alcoholics Anonymous (a spiritual foundation that help people in personal recovery) as they have a long history in helping people with alcohol related problems. There are also alternatives to the AA, such as the “SMART” program, the DRA and several others. The internet has become a great medium in this respect, as it offer several online help sites. There are also self-help books and CD’s available on this topic.

Some helpful tips for a start:

  • Explore treatment options and facilities before you join one.
  • Speak to recovered alcoholics and read recovery stories for motivation.
  • Use the internet: There are several sites and chat rooms that deal with this topic.
  • Avoid situations that will lead to being pressured for a drink.

Most importantly: Take it one day at a time, and persist in the goals you set for yourself.



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Beer myths and truths behind them

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Debunking the myths of beer

PlausibleIn this 2 minute video a HowStuffWorks-journalist debunks 5 beer related myths. You know the myths, now get behind them. If nothing else it makes for good topics/discussion at the pub…

Written by Pierre

October 24, 2009 at 12:00 pm

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Beer’s Big Bang

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The entry into existence process explained

Beer brewer


As beer is one of the world’s oldest beverages and one of the most popular drinks next to water and tea, we thought it time to investigate its makings.

This article will take a general outlook on the basics of beer brewing, especially since beer is such a specialized field with hundreds of different types of beers and even more processes. Beer is fundamentally made up of four ingredients namely barley, hops, yeast and water and simply put the result of brewing and fermentation of it. Variations in the amounts of ingredients and the brewing process itself result in the wide variety of beers, each with its individual taste, color, aroma etc.

 A rough process outline looks something like this:

1          Preparatory: Malting& Mashing (preparation of barley for brewing)

2          Brewing

3          Fermentation

4          Finishing touches


The ingredients:

Barley (1)


Barley (a grain seed that slightly resembles wheat)

Water (purified)

Hops: The hops used to make beer are the flowers of the hop vine, and are responsible for beer’s bitterness as well as its flavour and aroma.



Yeast: Yeast is the single-celled micro-organism that is responsible for creating the alcohol and carbon dioxide found in beer and also play a role in its final taste. There are two main categories of beer yeast: ale yeast and lager yeast. Ale yeast is “top fermenting”, meaning it rises near the surface of the beer during fermentation, lager yeasts are “bottom fermenting”.

Wheat, maize and rice are also widely used (in stead of barley), as there are several different types of beer (types often varying from place to place and from culture to culture) While the ingredients used are simple, the standards are high, and the process a fine art.


The process:

1. Preparatory:

Malting (of Barley)

Barley is soaked in water as to allow it to germinate. After germination begins the water gets drained of and the barley is kept at temperatures that allow for growth. During germination the seeds naturally release enzymes that convert nutrients in the seeds into sugars, and the sugars later become essential in the fermentation process. The germination is stopped at (a fine balance) the moment when enzymes are present, but before most of the nutrients are converted to sugars. The malt is then dried before it moves on to mashing.

Mashing (the process in which the enzymes are left to convert nutrients/starches into fermentable sugars.)

This malted barley grains ( ‘germination water’ drained off and the barley dry) then gets crushed to break up the kernels, and from there pass into an insulated tank where it comes in contact with the water for the second time. It is now that the already present enzymes start converting all the nutrients in the malted barley into fermentable sugars. After the conversion is completed, the new formed liquid (fermentable sugar and water mix) is drained off (from the remaining solids of barley) and recirculated so that it is filtered through the husks of the spent grains (to filter out any remaining solids).

This is the end of the mash process, and the liquid (now comprising of mostly fermentable sugars) gained through this process is now called wort (pronounced wert), and this wort now needs to go to the boiler to be brewed.

 [Meanwhile the remaining grains are “washed” by heated water (a process called sparging) to ensure that all sugars are removed. This is also where the barley grains/solids are stops being used – only the wort goes on the next process]


2. Brewing

The Wort and brewing

The wort is put into a brew kettle and hops are added. The hops added in the beginning of the process are called (logically) “beginning/boiling hops” and they only add to the beer’s bitterness, as their oils (responsible for flavour and aroma) are very volatile and evaporate. Hops added at the finishing stages of the brewing process are called “finishing hops”, and they contribute aroma and flavour to the beer.

Beer BrewingSeparation

The brewing processed is followed by a process of separation, in which the solids (hops) and liquids (wort) are separated; followed by the liquid wort being cooled down to a suitable temperature for the to be added yeast to function effectively. It is here were the yeast is added so as for fermentation to begin. After this the wort is stored in a fermentation vessel for a period of time to allow fermentation to take place.



3. Fermentation

During the fermentation process yeast converts the sugars in the wort into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas (bubbles). When fermentation is nearly complete, most of the yeast will settle to the bottom of the fermenter. The bottom of the fermenter is often cone shaped to ease the process of removing the yeast, which is saved and used for the next batch of beer.


4. Are we there yet?! The finishing touches

Now that most of the solids have settled to the bottom, the beer is slowly pumped from the fermenter and filtered to remove any remaining solids. This is usually the last step before bottling or kegging. Finishing touches are done, for example the level of carbon dioxide is adjusted by bubbling extra CO2 into the beer, and some brewers like to filter their beer yet another time.


And TADAA! Eureka Eureka – you have BEER! And that is the magical creation of beer in a nutshell, at least the standard idea and model of beer. But like life, Beer is a complicated matter with lots of detail and many variables, making it all the more interesting and wonderful to brew and drink.


Some of the variables:

  1. Temperature plays a vital role throughout the making, and by varying it during certain processes can alter the taste of the final product. For example, the intensity of the colour of the beer depends on how high the temperatures were raised during the drying of the malt in the cross over to the mashing process. 
  2. Other vital factors include the type of yeast used, and there are several different kinds. Different types of beer yeasts help to give beer its various tastes. Along with this, yeasts can work in one of two different ways. Beer can be “top-fermented” or “bottom fermented” referring to how the yeast is added. The results of these different techniques are called either lagers or ales, and a heffeweisen is a beer which ferments using only the natural yeasts in the air. 
  3. Enzymes on their own are complicated, as there exist two main types of enzymes in barley: the one is most active at 149 to 153 F (65 to 67 C), and the other at 126 to 144 F (52 to 62 C). So the temperature and duration of the mash must be carefully controlled to get a good conversion. 
  4. There are also many different kinds of hops, each with a unique and different taste, affecting aroma and amount of bitterness to the beer it is used in. Most beer is flavoured with hops, but other flavourings such as herbs or fruit may occasionally be included.

 Diffent beers


  1. Most breweries buy barley that has already been malted to their specifications.
  2. The hops used are a member of the hemp family (Cannabaceae). Hops are closely related to another member of the hemp family that you may have heard of, namely cannabis (marijuana), although hops do not have the psychoactive effects associated with marijuana.
  3. Beer can generally be classified into to types: lagers and ales. These are further varieties of each (e.g. pilsner, from lager). Lager yeasts ferment more slowly (and at lower temps) than ale yeast.
  4. Hops act as a natural preservative.
  5. Since fermentation produces a substantial amount of heat, the tanks must be cooled constantly to maintain the proper temperature.



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