Saturday, January 26, 2008

Premature fermentation? Spring ales hit too soon

I walked into Food Lion on the Martin Luther King Junior holiday weekend and my general disgust at the free-market's exploitation of the seasons hit a new high.

There, in the beer cooler, was Blue Moon's Rising Moon Spring Ale - six bottles for $7.29.

I was standing there with my Kangol toboggan on, with my two-year-old snuggled up against me for warmth. We haven't even taken the Christmas tree down yet. Back at the house, ice covered the fish pond out our back door.

And I was looking at a spring seasonal.

This just didn't seem right, but then again, it's never seemed right to find Halloween goodies in the drug stores beginning on something like July 5.

I thought a good way to contrast this early spring - premature fermentation? - would be to contact our local brewers.

It turns out they don't have any spring brews on tap yet - imagine that - and in a sense, they will eventually have two spring seasons - first Saint Patrick's Day, then the later spring.

"That's early!" said head brewer Eric Lamb of Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery at Broadway at the Beach, when I told him about Rising Moon. He added that he doesn't even start worrying about spring until after Saint Patrick's Day.

Lamb said he will put out the Oatmeal Stout sometime between late January and mid February. In March, he'll have the Irish Red on tap, around the Saint Patty's holiday. Although he's considering a change-up in his beer menu - which we'll talk about in the weeks to come - the Golden Ale is usually a good choice for late spring.

Over at Myrtle Beach's New South Brewing Co., which supplies beer to numerous Grand Strand bars and restaurants, owner Dave Epstein was talking about his plan for area T-Bonz restaurants, for which he brews signature beers. He'll run the current Winterfest until just about mid-March, then he'll put out an Irish Stout a week before Saint Patty's Day. Then the Blonde Bombshell will appear probably in late spring at T-Bonz locations.

As for New South's own label, the White Ale started out as a spring and summer brew, and but now it's year-round, so Epstein won't have a spring seasonal per se.

Josh Quigley, owner of Quigley's Pint & Plate in Pawleys Island, said he'll tap a stout around St. Patty's Day, and the spring boch from last year, Billy Boch, will return around mid-March.

Back at New South, Epstein was saying that we might start seeing Samuel Adams get its spring seasonal on the shelves. Ol' Sam usually starts pretty early, he said.

For the record, I have not tried Rising Moon, and Blue Moon's regular white ale and its winter brew are both fine beers. So maybe we're all getting an early shot at something good.

But come on. We haven't even survived the onslaught of Valentine's Day marketing.

-from my column in the Weekly Surge. Visit to see more.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

The beauty of Liquor Quik

Liquor Quik is a line of 20-milliliter bottles with concentrated flavors. Pour a bottle of Liquor Quik into a 750-milliliter bottle of grain alcohol or vodka, and you have amaretto, or hazelnut liqueur, or maybe Irish cream, or several others. Who thinks up this stuff?

I found Liquor Quik for $4.39 per bottle at Beach HomeBrew in The Galleria at 9612 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach.

"I made the Grand Marnier and I couldn't tell the difference," said Ed Waldorf, owner of Beach HomeBrew, referring to the orange-brandy flavored Liquor Quik flavor. Waldorf said he buys a mid-priced vodka from Sam's Club for his mixes, making the concoction less expensive ounce-for-ounce than buying the real Grand Marnier.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008


We knocked off No. 21 Miami at home! Go Pack!

Here's an early story:

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My daughter's new t-shirt

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Key beer ingredient is good for you, German researchers say

Preliminary studies indicate xanthohumol, a compound found in hops, inhibits a family of enzymes which trigger cancer, as well as help the body detoxify carcinogens.

"It's very healthy," said Dr. Werner Back, a brewing technology expert at the Technical University of Munich. "I think the ingredients in the beer are very good."

Xanthohumol contains more powerful antioxidants than vitamin E and some studies indicate it helps reduce oxidation of bad cholesterol.

"Xanthohumol has been shown to be a very active substance against cancer," said Dr. Markus Herrmann, also of Munich. "It comes in small sticky beads, which you find within the hops."

But, don't start chugging down those beers just yet.

Researchers warn that it would take 60 regular beers to equal the amount of xanthohumol they were able to brew in one beer.

That's why scientists are now working on ways to give all beers higher levels of xanthohumol, and even find ways to add it to other foods, like chocolate.


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NBA star, misdiagnosed with ADHD, uses neurofeedback to regain calm thoughts

Today's Los Angeles Times has an incredible article about L.A. Clippers center Chris Kaman and his discovery of neurofeedback.

Before he was 3 years old, Kaman was misdiagnosed as having attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. For years he took medicine that compounded his actual problem, which was an anxiety disorder, but now neurofeedback is helping him regain calm thoughts.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

After discovering the misdiagnosis, Kaman started working with [Dr. Tim Royer of Hope139] on a system called "neurofeedback," a method of reading brain wave activity to reinforce calm thoughts.

Kaman sits in front of a computer and if his brain waves are at a desired level, the screen will show it. If not, Kaman attempts to calm his thought process. During the off-season, he also worked with a wireless device that allowed him to measure his brain waves while on the court.

"It's a very fast-paced game, and for me to be able to slow it down in my head, it really has been a lot easier and a lot less stressful in the games," Kaman said.

Read the full article here.

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