June 29, 2006


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Got milk?

Beer, itís whatís for dinner
Tripping the Mich Lite fandango
By Tim Protzman†tprotzman@sbcglobal.net

In the olden days, when industrious people made their own clothes, they saved the extra fabric scraps and made quilts with them during the long winter nights. Today people just donít have the time because their jobs really arenít home-based anymore. And ready-to-wear clothing is less expensive. This week Iím really busy: A graduation. Two proposals. Some tax stuff. And a demanding job. So this column is like those quilts of yore. A little piece of this sewed onto a piece of that and patched together with another thing to make a blanket. It looks a little ragged, but itíll keep you warm.

Hockeyís back and Iím glad. The season started out kind of slow but the Stanley Cup Finals were just terrific. Iím glad the Hurricanes won. They used to be the New England Whalers and then the Hartford Whalers, until the roof of their Civic Center collapsed and then they were the New England Whalers again while they played in Springfield and then the Hartford Whalers and then the Hurricanes in North Carolina. Now they have the Stanley Cup. The two players named Ward, Aaron and Cam, were really good. Are they brothers? Cam the goalie was my pick for MVP. And since hockey really isnít a wine loverís sport we had beer.

Game Three was Stella Artois. It is my favorite imported brew. I do like the offerings of Unibroue out of Quebec, but itís a bit pricey. And their six pack only has four bottles.

The Stella was nice, like a pair of old dress shoes that you donít wear all summer and feel good for the first few miles in the fall. But then you wonder, maybe I need a new pair altogether.

Game Six. The Michelob Challenge. We tried a variety of their beers and we liked the Amber Bock the best. The only disappointment was Carolina didnít put the series to bed.

But having been locked out and on strike I suppose hockey could use some extra suspense and ratings. Hereís the score card on the Michelob; itís not my number system itís Squiggyís. He tends to be a little critical so just add two points to everything and you can see what this old lush rated the brews.

Michelob Lager: this is the old-fashioned Michelob that I remember from the olden days. Crisp with a touch of yeast and bread flavors with pleasant finish. Went with shrimp remoulade very well. 7.2 (out of 10 possible points).

Michelob Light: thank goodness Liz and Sarah came over to try this reputed ďchick beer.Ē I liked its quaffability and the ladies liked the not so spicy taste. 6.7.

Michelob Ultra & Michelob Ultra Amber: My least favorite, but the ladies thought the Ultra Amber was strong tasting. The Ultra is a light beer and itís a little too light for me. But it really brought out the flavor of the Pringles. 5.2 Ultra. 6.3 Ultra Amber.

Michelob Amber Bock: Is Amber something desirable in a beer? Or is it just an adjective that sells product like ďhip-hopĒ or ďCadillacĒ? And if Michelob knew that one out of five exotic pole dancers was named Amber would they have chosen it? I went to Google this one and came up with an interesting story about the Amber Chamber. The King of Prussia had the paneling for an entire room made of amber carved for Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia. Amber is fossilized pine sap and itís prized as a semi-precious stone. Well this room was supposed to be something. The walls shone and sparkled with a mirror like finish. Rubies and emeralds were embedded in mosaic forms throughout the design. It was captured in 1941 when Nazis invaded St. Petersburg. In the last days of the war it vanished from the province of East Prussia, never to be seen again. Some say it went down on the Wilhelm Gustave, an ocean liner taking troops and refugees across the Baltic Sea in 1945. Others say it was stolen by Erich Koch, a nasty little Nazi who was commandant of East Prussia. They say he tried to trade it for his freedom, but he spent the last 35 years of his life in a Polish prison. So why name a beer amber? Why not Michelob Tan? Or Michelob Beige? Yeah, they better stick with Amber. Anyway we loved this beer because it was the perfect melding of lager and pilsner styles. Very refreshing with lemon essence and a slight tang of hops, which makes it taste so much more expensive than it really is. 8.6.

Game Seven. We went back to basics and drank Coors Light. In the 1970s Coors and Anchor Steam were two of the first ďcult beersĒ and Coors was good. It still is but now itís part of Coors Molson and while I still remember that first Coors my dad brought back from Fort Collins, this isnít quite there. Extremely light, easy to drink, good with food and a subdued taste, kind of like a Heineken and club soda. Got a 6.1, but Carolina won and it was a good game. Hope the Fisher Cats keep moving up and pull off a winning season so I can do another playoff beer tasting.

In the continuing saga of the Vodka Chronicles we tried yet another premium luxury class distillate. This time we let the rappers be our guide. We tried Armadale, a Scottish Vodka. We almost tried Ciroc, because itís French, like our favorite slizz Grey Goose, but then we read that it was made from grapes! We chose Armadale, which is owned by rapper Jay-Z. It was really nice. Smooth with a vanilla finish and a smoky, not fiery, finish that belied its power. Squiggy has made it clear he will no longer answer to that nickname, only his new street name Goose Faced Slizzer.

Tell Tim your wine stories. You can reach him at tprotzman@sbcglobal.net.

Comments?†Thoughts? Discuss this article and more at hippoflea.com

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