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Let's talk Wolfe and Beer!

The Black Orchid (A Nero Wolfe Group)

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Jul 26, 2008, 6:29pm Top

I have always been a beer connoisseur. I seldom drink more than one in a sitting (I hate being drunk or tipsy) and I probably only drink 40-50 bottles a year. But even when I was in my early twenties, I loved unique beers.

My first foray into this was a bottle of San Miguel Dark. I believe it's made in the Philipines but it's readily available in California. I saw it in a glass on another table and I thought it looked so refreshing, like Root Beer.

Since then, I have probably sampled over 200 beers. I don't get crazy about it, like some people do with wine, but when I see a new label in a restaurant or a new bottle in a beer/wine shop, I'll often give it a try. I lean towards darks as opposed to pale ales.

I came across this article today and I immediately though of Nero WOlfe. I think it was in "Fer-de-lance" that we were introduced to Wolfe's passion for beer as he was looking for a "potable" brand of manufactured beer as opposed to home-made brew.


I think Wolfe would have loved this new industry. I can imagine him receiving daily orders from all over America and running Archie and Fritz ragged trying to aquire new samples.

So, anyone here into beer?

Jul 26, 2008, 8:55pm Top

Ummmm, beeeeer

I had my first beer at 18 months, long story my Dad still loves to tell. I have The Complete Joy of Homebrewing but have not made any in a decade, it is to hard to boil five gallons of wort on an electric range.

I only bring home about 4 or 5 six-packs a year these days but I do look for interesting beers when we eat out.

Cave Creek Pepper beer is my personal favorite but it is hard to find at times. An Oatmeal stout is good in the winter or an India Pale Ale in the summer. In my opinion the worst beer I ever tried was Red Stripe.

Yes Wolfe would love the varied beers we have today. I can see a second cookbook from him dealing with beers and the foods they are best with.

Jul 26, 2008, 9:03pm Top

Growing up in a household with German heritage, my parents considered beer better for us than coke or pepsi. Therefore, I enjoyed little glasses brew as a toddler. I remember my dad taking me to see one of his friends who brewed homemade beer. I still can remember that is was strong and bitter compared to regular brew.

I wonder if anyone can guess my home territory from these brands. P.O.C., Leisy's, Iron City, and Carling's.

Edited: Jul 27, 2008, 9:46am Top

Maybe Cleveland?

Hudepohl, Burger, Schoenling, and Christian Moerlein are my home town brews.

Edited for a space and an "Oxford comma".

Jul 26, 2008, 11:06pm Top

Not as well versed as you folks, still, I love a dark cold beer with hot spicy food. I've never tried beer warmish like they drink it in England and other areas. I never bring beer home* but will have a bottle when we go out for Mexican or Indian food. One bottle makes me very tired though, so I can't be driving. I probably drink no more than 10 a year. :) I am surrounded by micro breweries, living not too far from the area in Oregon mentioned in the article. I simply don't have the desire to spend the time and effort in acquiring enough knowledge to be a connoisseur. I had an uncle who was an expert on wine and had the money to invest in the best. I always felt he was wasting his money to serve me a glass from his $100+ bottles of wine. About all I could say was, yep, I like that one, or, that's kind of sour. Mostly I just said thank you and kept my mouth shut, except to drink. I always kept my ears open, but for the life of me, I couldn't detect the subtleties he spoke of. I probably have a plank of wood for a palate. My favorite beer of the moment is Negro Modelo.

*The exception to not bringing beer home was when I came home with a case of cheap beer and and a six pack of Dos Equis on the side. My husband met me on the porch with his chin dropped to his shins. I was in a cooking contest and the category that month was cooking with beer. Since I never had, I thought I needed practice. I won first and second place that month. By the way, the six pack of Dos Equis was for inspiration for the chef. :)

Jul 26, 2008, 11:34pm Top

I think we may have touched on this topic on another thread, but I'm glad it's come around again. I think someone observed before that New York state in the 30s and 40s, with regard to beer, may have been more like our era than we suspect: lots of what we would now call "micro-brews," and none of the mega-brewers Stella Artois is about to acquire Annheuser Busch, I gather--the lager whale ingests the smaller whale. . . .No news here: my best beer-drinking era was when I taught for a year in Germany. Even the regular stuff they pour from a tap in the local pub is delicious--and takes a long time to pour. The head on the beer is like a dollop of cream. I think Wolfe's drinking beer is a nice counterpoint to the orchids--counterintuitive, if you will, as is Archie's drinking milk.

Jul 27, 2008, 4:40pm Top

TL - right on for Cleveland. I was debating on including Carling's because I thought it was a dead give away. I really would like to get ahold of some Iron City. Somehow loved the slightly metallic taste.

My guess for you is Cincinnati. Hudepohl and Shoenling are pretty well known, and I've heard of (maybe drank Burger), but the last one was new to me.

So what was Wolfe's brands? I'm guessing a pilsner.

Jul 27, 2008, 8:29pm Top

The Iron City had me doubting. For some reason it had me thinking Detroit of Pittsburgh.

I thought the Christian Moerlein would be a giveaway. It is the only one still made, actually it is the reincarnation of a brewery first established in 1853 that flourished until Prohibition. I think it was re-launched in the early 1990s.

Plisner sounds right for Wolfe. He would probably have Lambics and Stouts with some meals.

Jul 27, 2008, 11:18pm Top

Cleveland was home of Republic Steel and some smaller plants, too. But, yes, Iron City was brewed in Pittsburgh. Since it was a regional, like Carling's, we got to enjoy it, too.

Ever had Augustiner (from Columbus, I think)?

Jul 28, 2008, 10:13am Top

I should correct my first post. I may have been too liberal in my use of the word "connoisseur". I am, by no means, and expert in beers. A "devout fan" might have been a better choice of words.

The fact of this mistake presented itself when TLCrawford said that he thought Wolfe might like Lambics. I have never actually heard this term although I do believe that I am well read.

I felt the need to apologize if I misled anyone about my knowledge.

I decided to re-educate myself on the origins and meaning of the term and, of course, one of the first that popped up on a Google search was a Wikipedia definition.
I like portions of the first line of definition... connoisseur: "to be acquainted with". And a bit later... familiar with "products whose consumption can be pleasing to the senses". If these two portions were the lone criteria, then you may call me a connoisseur. But, once again, I am no expert.

How about some of your prefered choices? I'll start :)

As I said in my earlier post, I am a huge fan of San Miguel Dark. I also enjoy Dos Equis amber with Mexican food (the price is nice as well). Beck's dark is acceptable. Another early favorite was Killean's Red, although it is now made by Coors in Colorado. Drinkable in it's present form but not like it was when it was imported. Anchor Steam (San Francisco) took some getting used to but is one of the more flavorful beers made in the states. Corona is acceptable in Mexican restaurants only when Dos Equis is not available (snobby, aren't I?). Rolling Rock is one of my few favorites that aren't brown or amber. Yeunling (sp?) is another very pleasant mass-produced domestic. Pete's Wicked Ale was my first foray into some of the more recent micro-brewery fare and it has led to a lot of pleasant experiences though I forget many of the names. I tried these 3 recently.. Xingu Black (Brazil), Jacobsen Dark Lager (Denmark) and Harvey's Brown Ale (U.K.). I found a site that allows orders of single bottles (as long as you order a total of at least 6) of hundreds of world and domestic types. For anyone interested... www Beergeek.stores.yahoo.net
They do not ship to every state but, luckily, mine is one of them. About 2-3 times a year I'll place a small order and try a few that I would never get to try if not for this place.

Give me some tips for future orders... anyone?

Jul 28, 2008, 10:14am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Jul 28, 2008, 1:02pm Top

Augustiner is new to me. Should I look for it? Wiedmann is another Cincinnati beer that I completely forgot about even though the first book the pops up in my library is a cookbook the company put out in the 1940s. I think it is still made but I would never recommend anyone try it.

Beer Geek is a great site. I live in one of the restricted states but I have a brother-in-law who lives across the boarder in Indiana. I think I can trust him with my beer. If not at least he will tell me how it was. If you are looking for suggestions….

Lindeman's Kriek Lambic
I first read about lambics in Papazian’s book. This one sounds like the one I got to try. It feels like drinking satin, think Guinness only smoother and the taste is of black cherry. At one time I knew what was done differently making a lambic but my memory is failing me. After a decade or so things escape me. ;)

Gray's Oatmeal Stout
These often come in clear glass bottles but you can’t tell that until you pour the jet-black beer out. Lots of malt and caramel flavors, very heavy, not something to drink on a summer day.

Cave Creek Chili Beer
Pour an ice-cold bottle of this into a frosty mug and take a sip. Sweat will pop out on your forehead. The chili pepper floating in the bottle is not just for looks. This is my personal favorite but I order a spicy ‘10’ in Indian restaurants so it could just be me. It is hard to find. Check their web site.

Jul 28, 2008, 1:33pm Top

I don't know if Augie is still available. I checked on the web and it said that Augie light and dark were made by the Pittsburgh Brewing company. That doesn't sound right to me. My recollection of Augie light is that it was a full-bodied lager. I used to find it a lot at ethnic German events in Columbus.

There's also an Ohio Breweriana site. I couldn't get on it this am.

Jul 28, 2008, 11:35pm Top

I'd go for a Guinness, if we're looking for heavy and dark, or a German pilsner of almost any variety.

Aug 13, 2008, 9:33pm Top

I just went to our WorldMart, and they allow you to pick and choose to make your own six-pack beer. I chose the following: Guinness, Negro Modelo, Mactarnahan's Oregon Honey Beer, Wychwood Brewery Hobgoblin Dark English Ale, Sierra Nevada Stout, and Newcastle Brown Ale. I'm going to have fun tasting them.

Aug 24, 2008, 6:30pm Top

#5 & 15 Hi MrsLee!

Silly me. I thought there was only one Nero Wolfe thread. As you can see, with the hint you sent I have finally figured out how to join a group!

As to beer. Nowadays I drink 12 glasses of beer during the summer--we get a 12 ticket fun pack for our minor league baseball team (PCL Fresno Grizzlies--if anyone is a fan). My brand is Dos Equis Amber (I knew we had a lot in common) and my husband's is Newcastle Brown Ale. Very occasionally at homeI treat myself to a Newcastle (when my husband bring it home) or to a Sierra Pale Ale when dining out.

I wonder if Nero ever drank ale? (I've know him so long we are on first name basis.) :-)

Aug 25, 2008, 1:11pm Top

DH and I split a Newcastle Brown Ale a couple of nights ago, very pleasant, I thought.


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