|Eight Cents a Glass
|Belly Button Beer
|The basic ingredients for beer include water,
malt, hops and yeast, but nobody said you had
to buy that yeast in a sterilized packet at the
local brewery-supply retailer. The brewers at
Australian beermaker 7 Cent Brewery gazed
deeply at their navels and came up with the
novel idea of crafting a beer from their own
personal yeast strains.
The brewery describes Belly Button Beer as
"perhaps the first beer in the world fermented
from yeast captured from the brewer's belly
button fluff." The brewmasters unveiled the
tummy-tastic libation early this month
Several different brewers offered up their belly
buttons for swabbing, and the samples grew
strong on agar plates. The brewery isolated the
yeast colonies from those plates and grew them
into quantities sufficient for making test batches
of beer. The best-tasting brew of the three
became the official release of Belly Button Beer.
|Although soju — a vodka-like drink usually made from
distilled rice — is probably more popular, North Koreans
do love their beer, and Pyongyang has its own special
brew, called Taedonggang after a river that runs through
the capital. Unlike soju, beer is considered a soft drink in
North Korea and is often consumed in stand-up bars,
where customers have a few drinks and maybe some
nuts before heading off to their next destination.
Beer at the stand-up bars is generally sold by the liter,
which costs 500 North Korean won. That comes out to
about 8 cents a glass if calculated at the unofficial but
widely used exchange rate of roughly 8,000 won to the
dollar. The official rate — charged at places where
foreigners are more likely to be involved — is closer to
100 won to the dollar.
To put that in perspective, the highest-paid workers make
about 600,000 won, or $75, a month at Pyong- yang's
wire-making factory, one of the showpiece spots around
the city that is featured for tourists.
|Crooks- German antitrust officials imposed fines of more than 90 million euros ($103
million) on smany big retailers for illegally fixing beer prices. Supermarket chains
including Metro and EDEKA colluded with the German subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch
InBev to increase prices several times for popular beers. AB InBev, the world's largest
brewer, itself escaped having to pay a fine because it cooperated
DMB Beer- The Dave Matthews Band has inspired a new beer created Starr Hill
Brewery in the band's hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. It's called Warehouse
Pils (Warehouse being the name of the band's official fan club).
Buyout- Stone Brewing CEO Greg Koch has announced the formation of True
Craft, a $100 million company aimed at investing in craft breweries. The new
company, will make minority non-controlling investments in breweries will letting
them remain independent and in charge of operations.
Bieber Sued- When Justin Bieber couldn't chug some brew from a beer bong
in Houston last month, he allegedly assaulted a Houston man and smashed his
iPhone according to a new lawsuit just filed against the Canadian singer.
|American Monks Brew In Italy
At the Monastero di San Benedetto in central Italy, the monks
understand the potential of the U.S. beer market — because these
monks are American. Monks have a storied history of brewing beer, but
in Italy the industry has always been wine. Today, these Benedictine
monks are brewing and exporting Birra Nursia to the U.S. as a means of
fulfilling the Rule of Saint Benedict, which requires self-sufficiency
through work. This month Birra Nursia’s two beers, a blond ale and a
Belgian strong ale, hit the U.S. market. Customers order on the
monastery website and, shortly thereafter, beer arrives at their door.
In order to integrate small-scale brewing within the rigid demands of
monastic life, the monks of Norcia visited their Trappist brothers at small
monastic breweries across Belgium. “Our life is mostly centered around
prayer,” said spokesperson Father Benedict, “so we get up at 3:30 in
the morning, we pray seven times a day, we’re in and out of the church
every hour — there isn’t a lot else we can do, besides the brewery.”
The monks don’t hire outside help, so they need to closely manage the
beer. “One of the ways we can be successful is to have very few
middlemen,” says Father Benedict. After the monks brew and bottle the
beer in Norcia, they send it by container ship to their distributor, Holiday
Wine Cellar, in Southern California.
So how much of the beer they make do they actually get to drink?
“Not a small amount,” says Father Benedict with a laugh. “We have
very high standards, so a lot of things that don’t meet our standards
come to the monks’ table.”
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