Tag Archives: Beer

It’s pronounced “Rine-hites-ge-boat”

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-Casey Klekas

In case you missed it, April 23 was German Beer Day—well, the official one, anyway. It is a day to celebrate the 497th anniversary of the German Beer Purity Law, known as the Reinheitsgebot. Besides appreciating the oldest food-quality regulation in the world, it is a day to celebrate the German character in its fantastic, meticulous, compulsive rigidity.

On April 23, 1516, the Duke of Bavaria, William IV, signed the Reinheitsgebot, or “purity order,” into effect. Among other things, the law contained a list of ingredients that could be used in the production of beer, a list three words long—barley, hops, water. Violation would be met with the swift punishment of confiscation of the accused kegs without monetary or sudsy compensation.

The idea was to discourage brewers from using grains that were needed for food, such as rye and wheat, thus making barley a brewing staple. Hops were found to prevent early spoilage of beer, acting as a sort of natural preservative. Their antibacterial effect also helped make beer a safe (and swell) alternative to questionable drinking water. This decree also partially reflected the German’s insatiable thirst for purity.

In 1871, Germany was born. Before the wars of unification, Germany was only a loose configuration of kingdoms. The Kingdom of Bavaria demanded that their ancient Reinheitsgebot be adopted by all of Germany, which meant bye-bye to Belgian style beers, fruit beers, spiced beers, and even the Hefeweizen (no wheat!). This also meant that Bavarian-style lagers and pilsners would forever define what we think of as German beers.

The reign of the Reinheitsgebot endured two world wars and the partition of Germany. Tragically, it didn’t live to see Germany’s reunification, having been declared illegitimate by the European Union as an interference with a free-market.

Thankfully, in 1993, the Provisional German Beer Law, or Biergesetz, reinstated the Reinheitsgebot with only minor changes. Wheat was now OK, as the Germans were no longer dealing with medieval fears of famine. Yeast was officially included, although it had really been there all along. Before the 1800s, no one knew those microorganisms existed, nor their vital role in the brewing process. They normally just scooped some germy sediment out of the last batch of beer or else hoped for some sort of natural fermentation. Cane sugar was also allowed in the production of ales (top-down fermentation), but still not in the treasured German lager (bottom-up).

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To this day breweries will label their beer as being in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot. This mark of quality has lasted nearly 500 years. So, next time you are in the German beer section, check the bottles for the little golden words that read something like, “Brewed under the purity law of 1516.” Tip your hat to the German people in all their meticulousness and enjoy half a millennium of beautiful tradition. Prost to the Reinheitsgebot!

Off Campus Eateries: Eugene’s Best Sandwiches

-Diana Roure

Spring has finally arrived in Eugene!  Winter’s gone and so are the soups, stews, and warm food.  Who doesn’t love a perfectly crafted sandwich on a beautiful spring day?  Lucky for us, there is no shortage of bomb sandwich eateries in the area.

Here are some of my favorites:

The Bier Stein

It’s certainly a rite of passage for every U of O student (once they turn twenty-one) to grab an awesome sandwich and a couple of beers at the Bier Stein.  Located right next to Cheba Hut on West 11th Avenue, the Bier Stein offers 10 Panini’s and 10 cold sandwiches, along with the largest and most diverse beer collection south of Portland and north of San Francisco.  My personal favorite is the “Turkey Up in the Club,” which consists of thinly sliced turkey, peppered bacon, and cheddar and Swiss cheeses topped with a to die for garlic aioli on grilled ciabatta bread for $8.95.  The bar is always packed with students and the workingmen and women of Eugene, though service is quick and pleasant.  The Bier Stein is a must for every beer and sandwich connoisseur!  Follow the Bier Stein on Twitter to receive updates on daily specials and events @biersteineugene.

Cheba Hut

Cheba Hut, the marijuana-themed sub shop, arrived in Eugene just two years ago but has quickly become the favorite for many U of O students.  Their signature sandwiches come in three sizes and consist of a variety of delicious yet off combinations.  My preferred sandwich is the Thai Stick – teriyaki chicken breast, green bells peppers, pineapple, and pepper jack cheese for under $10.  In addition to their amazing sandwiches, they have mouth-watering “munchies,” red Kool-Aid, and delivery until 2 a.m. on weekends.

Hideaway Bakery

Located next to Mazzi’s on Amazon Drive, Hideaway Bakery offers the most amazing homemade breads, baked goods, pastas, pizzas, and top of the line organic sandwiches.  All ingredients are fresh, local, and prepared to perfection.  My personal favorite is the black forest ham, Gruyere cheese, arugula, and garlic aioli sandwich for $6.75.  The bakery is tiny and usually crowded no matter what time of day, but outdoor seating, friendly service, and delectable eats make the wait absolutely worthwhile.

Barry’s Espresso & Bakery

With two locations, Barry’s Jewish deli services both the South Eugene neighborhood and the campus area.  Barry’s offers a variety of baked treats, homemade soups, sandwiches, breads, and other assorted delicacies.  They have the best challah bread and thinly sliced kosher meats.  I always order a half ham sandwich on challah with a cup of matzo ball soup for $7.75.  Barry’s is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat in between classes!

Honorable Mention: Cornucopia, Webfoot, and Not Your Mom’s Sandwich Shop.

Getting Beer-ducated

-Jessica Ridgway

Before I tasted my first sip of alcohol (at the legal age of 21, of course) I was told that my first drink should be a beer. Inevitably, my new-to-alcohol self ignored that suggestion and reached for the harder stuff. I learned that gin, vodka, and rum are fun. Tequila and Jaegermeister are not. Beer was never my drink of choice because I never wanted it to be.

Time passed, however, and my palate changed. I decided to give beer a chance, starting with the cheap, canned beer and later moving to the nicer bottles. I started to enjoy the taste of beer so much that I went to my first Beer Festival and gave as many beers as I could a try. After sampling a few flavors I realized that I could drink as much beer as I wanted, but without some background education of the beverage I might as well be drinking PBR for the rest of my life.

So, if you’re clueless about beer and you’re about to grab some “brewskis” with beer connoisseurs, here’s a few basic things to know so you’re not a total newbie.

There are four main ingredients to beer: water, yeast, fermentable sugars, and hops. Other ingredients, like spices, sugars, syrups, grains, chocolate, fruits, vegetables, and even coffee can be added for taste.

According to my best friend, Wikipedia, hops are the female flower clusters of the species Humulus lupulus. Brandon Walcott-Ayers, who brews his own beer at home, explains that hops “give a beer its floral qualities and bitterness.”

All beers (with a few exceptions) fall into two categories: ales or lagers. The main differences between the two are the type of yeast and the process used to ferment the brew.

  • Ales are fermented with yeast that first gathers at the top of the brew. They are fermented at warmer temperatures between 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They are also brewed for a shorter duration, no more than a few weeks.
  • Lagers are fermented with yeast that gathers at the bottom of the brew. They are fermented at colder temperatures between 32 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Lagers are brewed for long durations, sometimes more than several months.

Pretty simple, right? Well, here is where beer gets tricky. There are several “styles” of beer, and style is used loosely to categorize beers based on various factors like appearance, flavor, ingredients, origin, history, brewing method, etcetera, etcetera. There is no definitive guide to beer styles and the ratings vary from person to person. Fortunately, the only way to learn the different styles is to give them all a try! Cheers to education! I’ll always drink to that.

Follow Jessica at @jcridgway

 

Beat the Summertime Heat With This Grown Up Treat

-Erik Maurer

It’s another summertime scorcher in Eugene. It’s sweltering hot outside, and you find yourself jonesin’ for a tasty treat after your latest lawn pong tournament. Except you, being the enterprising and mature college student that you are, won’t settle for just any sissy, fruity pop. No, your treat needs a bit more oomph to it. While I’m sure we’ve all accidentally made a few of these frozen in a forgotten attempt to cool down some frosty brews, with a little preparation and followthrough, they can actually be pretty tasty. That’s right folks, I’m talking about the legendary Beersicle. Think about it – everyone loves a cold brew, so why not freeze one and put it on a stick? 

Be careful though, not just any beer will work. While the general idea is that beer is best served cold, this isn’t true for all beers. The color of a beer has a lot to do with its appropriate serving temperature. Generally, lighter beers such as IPAs, Belgian beers, and lagers are better served chilly, while heavy, dark beers like stouts, porters, and dark ales taste best a little warmer. For our purposes, then, it’s best to use a light beer. That’s good, because a dark, heavy beer sounds like hell on a hot summer day!

While the basic idea is simple (Beer+stick=beersicle!), your imagination is the limit for this frosty treat. I myself prefer to make it straight in the can. First, crack the beer open and take a few sips. You don’t want it full as liquid expands when it’s frozen and you’ll end up with a sticky mess and a freezer to clean. It’s best to drink about 1/4 of the beer, just to be safe. Next, take some kind of wooden stick (I used shishkabob skewers) and stick it in the beer. Put it in the freezer overnight (or until frozen). Now, the best part of leaving it in the can – when it’s frozen solid, use a knife or saw (best not to be drunk yet for this part…) and saw off the end of the can. Voilá! You’ve made yourself a beersicle push-pop! Just watch for jagged edges, you don’t want to look like you just made out with a chainsaw blade. Of course, you can use your imagination on this part. Pour the beer in a plastic cup, an ice cube tray, or basically anything you can put liquid and a stick in. Some bars serving this drink use molds shaped like rocket ships, stars, smiley faces, whatever. It’s not hard… I think you get the idea.

Now, beer tends to lose some of its flavor the colder it gets past its ideal drinking temperature, so you might be a bit disappointed with the taste if you don’t spruce it up a bit. Don’t despair though, this just adds to your creative possibilities! Below are some different combinations I’ve dreamed up – add extras to taste, I’m not gonna try and guess what you like. As a general rule, use about 1 part juice to ~10 parts booze. Basically just find a good fruity beer and use your brain to come up with some tasty counterparts to your brew.

1 large can Tecate beer
Light Agave Nectar
Lime juice
Pour tequila over top while eating

1 bottle Henry Weinhards Belgian Wheat
Chopped, blended fruit mixed in with beer
Simple syrup