Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Does beer consumption lead to obesity

This is the eternal question, "Is the beer belly a myth?" The answer is not clear. Recently, researchers at the University of Copenhagen tried to answer this question. They conducted a review of all scientific literature concerning abdominal and general obesity and beer consumption. Their findings were mixed. French women who drank beer had a bigger waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), while this
occurred in German in Czech men only. Overall, there was no conclusive correlation between beer drinking and obesity. It appears that volume and frequency of beer consumption appear to play a role in weight gain. Men who drank more than 4 litres per week tended to have more abdominal obesity. Drinking frequency also played a role in obesity. They found that frequency of drinking was inversely related to weight gain. This means that binge drinkers were more likely to be overweight than those that consumed the same amount of alcohol daily. There was little evidence than moderate beer consumption, less than 500ml/day, caused beer bellies.
The researchers has a couple of thoughts about why beer drinking might be associated with weight gain. Firstly, in some populations beer drinkers have poorer diets than other beverage drinkers. In the US population, drinking beer was associated with higher energy intakes and reduced intake of fruits and veggies. This was in comparison to wine drinkers.
Secondly, beer drinking is associated with smoking. Something else that has been associated with weight gain. The association with exercise and beer drinkers was mixed. Beer intake was greater in college athletes than lazy students. 
So there you have it: science says you will not get fat by drinking a daily pint. Just don't smoke, stay away from the chicken wings and get some exercise.

Rum Barrel Aged Red Ale (Phillips)

You can try and knock the big guys, but they are giving beer geeks what they want: new releases. This month Phillips released two brews. The Double Dragon red ale and a similar rum barrel aged version. Previous years of DD have been great, but recent releases have been lackluster. Their last month oak aged scotch ale is still in the fridge. Extra time is needed to allow the oak tannins to mellow before sampling. This sounds better than I am lazy and plan to get around to it later. Barrel aging is a wonderful thing; the addition of spirit flavours and tannins can truly enhance a beer. Perhaps Phillips will barrel age tap water one day?

Rum Barrel Aged Red Ale = 8/10

The red ale nose is sweeter than expected; lots of black strap molasses, rum and dry toast around.  Also unexpected was the creamy, medium full mouthfeel enhanced by a slight tannic astringency. This beer on its own would be quite boring, but the wood aging added something special. Grape must, cherry cola, nuttiness and rum are a great addition to any malt forward beer. A predictable ending of creamy, barreled rum with treacle follows each sip. Food pairings should include earthy flavours. Perhaps cedar planked salmon or creamy mushroom risotto. Don't stick this one in your cellar; there are not any sharp flavours that need to be mellowed.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 (6.8%) I don't think this is right though
Value  +1 (I liked it)
Appearance +1 (As always great label art

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Barnacle IPA (Lighthouse)

The first time I tasted this beer, I was seated on the floor of Eskimodave's apartment. No this was not some sort of beer cult worshiping. Dave didn't have enough chairs and I don't have an aversion to sitting on the ground. Dean passed around this bottle for the beer geeks to try. We were all astounded. It was delicious, fresh and an emerging style of beer. A wheat IPA?! It tasted great, but it will never catch on.
Currently, two wheat IPA releases have come through Victoria. I believe VIB struck first with the Flying Tanker. This brew will be returning in summer, as it is a hybrid of the currently available  Beachcomber Ale. Phillips followed with the Electric Unicorn. Perhaps they were both following the Belgian White by Lighthouse. Regardless, I digress. What do you get when you cross a familiar hop profile with added wheat malts? Two words: awesome! Wait for it, the bomber release of the Barnacle IPA is very soon.

Barnacle IPA (Lighthouse) = 9/10

The nose is familiar to everyone who likes to switch up their favourite beer. There is something else: cream of wheat. Tropical fruit aroma is still a major player but it is tempered with the creaminess that only wheat can provide. Gone is the gripping hop IPA bite, replaced by the creamy smooth southern half hop linger. Is this a hop showcase powerhouse: no. But it is something that will draw you in sip after sip.

I was recently asked about appropriate glassware selection: fricken Cicerones. I chose the quarter or 1/8 yard beer glass. This is the signature glass by Kwak. This is not correct glassware selection, but I found two of these glasses at a thrift store for $4! I had to show them off. What about food pairings? Perhaps a breaded sea bass with a fresh lemon squeeze. For the vegans out there: try a quinoa salad with arugula, Mandarin oranges and pine nuts. To make my neighbour happy, try it with the pulled pork poutine and corn bread.

I am really, really trying hard to hold it together. Dean promised me a growler of their upcoming maibock release, so I am emptying my growler of Barnacle IPA. Despite what you all think, I don't really drink a lot of beer. When I drink; I drink well. So a maibock? I love bocks: strong lagers are where it's at. There are currently no bright, spring time patio bocks. Unless you wanna suck back a Holsten big boy can. I sense a lack of cohesion, so ..good night.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 8%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (mine is a growler, which is awesome)