Tag Archives: Culture

Suds: June 27

It’s hump day, which means at the end of the day we’re all going to say, “Hey, pass me a beer.” Crack open your favorite stress relieving brew, mine is Bell’s Two-Hearted and check out this great video.

New Holland’s beer dinner at Amsterdam Bar and Hall is tonight!

– I had Badger Hill for the Growler Release Party, but don’t miss the official release at Senor Wong tomorrow.

Beer for dogs? I can’t feel my legs anymore…

University of Minnesota is heading up research on growing hops. C’mon Wisconsin, where were on that one?

– Brewmaster in the Wisconsin Dells names his brewery after Michigan town he’s never been to. The MwBC does not condone such actions since brews should have honest regional pride.

O’so Brewing’s creative growing along with the brewery as they hire a graphic designer for their brand.

Want Nickelback to endorse your beer? Well, they’ll have the time since Dark Horse shot them down.

Meet the brewers of the Fulton & Wood Series Black Mission at the Beer Bistro in Chicago.

– It’s time for the Red Scare from Revolution Brewing.

Need more than just Suds? Tweet @MidwestBeer or check out our other great features to get your fix.


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Hoptellectual: A Personal Journey From Ketchup to Catsup

I loathe ketchup. Everything about it. It taints the presentation of a good meal, bathing it in B-level horror blood. It overwhelms natural flavors. It disrupts the cook’s intent for your food, and even stands in nicely as a back-handed compliment. It beckons to the laziness in all of us, much in the same way that Sriracha does.* My respect for a person inversely correlates quite well with how much ketchup they use on anything, even eggs and potatoes. I loathe ketchup and everything it stands for.

This is not a perfunctory thing, I’ve been wrestling with it for quite some time. As a kitchen/food amateur, it started as a mild annoyance, but spread like the mold in my compost bin. Originally, my disgust for ketchup was tied to my geography. In Chicago, you do not put ketchup on a hot dog. You just don’t do it and you don’t ask questions. It’s this cultural thing, very exclusive and Chicago. It confuses a lot of people and others find it apocryphal, but it’s such a Chicago thing. My nine-year old cousin who only eats chicken fingers won’t touch ketchup, and I assume it’s more cultural than anything (you can never be 100 percent confident when surveying someone under the age of thirteen).

Why anyone would put ketchup on this, I do not know.

When I started cooking in college, ketchup and sriracha saved many meals. I lived in a cramped house with a cramped kitchen and an extremely inefficient electric stove. I tried to cook, but I never got anything right. My sauces remained stratified and meat overcooked for fear of undercooking, normal mistakes for someone with no kitchen experience and an overprotective mother to make and label as “dinner.” But like most things, I better with practice. With the help of an incredibly fantastic roommate/chef, I learned a ton about how certain foods were supposed to taste.** I learned that good food was easy to make, you just needed to think about it and use all of your fresh ingredients. Trust your hands, instincts, and most importantly, trust the food. Ketchup only subverts this trust.

A lot of this points back towards America’s culinary history, a story that my mom often relates to my own childhood and discovery of food.*** Ketchup became a part of the American dining experience, to the point of oversaturation. Big brands produced metric tonnes of the stuff and drowned out competition, pairing it with other American favorites. The trend served to homogenize the dining experience, leaving us to rely on ketchup and other mechanized products like spam and Lawry’s seasoning salt rather than the natural flavors.**** When I was a kid, I couldn’t get enough of that stuff. Frozen food and Sweet Baby Ray’s contributed roughly 30% of my total nutrient load. I craved this American experience, heavy on sugars and salt, masking the originality of what’s underneath.

Now that I don’t live in the same city as my parents, I feel sad because I could have been eating my mom’s food the whole time. American dining has followed a similar trend, emphasizing regions and cultures over blanket statements. Similarly, much of my cooking now embraces the lessons I’ve learned from my mother and grandmother, informed primarily by my heritage. My stance on ketchup mirrors my stance on culture: we cannot and should not move away from it. It’s the stuff of memories, and for the most part, it’s all we have.

This post was inspired by Steve Albini’s totally awesome food blog. I hope to be a professional jerk like him someday.

*=I love Sriracha, but it makes me a much worse cook overall. My roommate pointed this out to me over dinner, and now I’m extremely paranoid about my own cooking abilities.
**=My mother and my grandmother are the two most amazing cooks I know, and this is in no way an indictment of any culinary missteps (they don’t make them). It just took me a long time to start thinking about food the way that they did. Nowadays, I consult them on pretty much everything I cook.
***=Unfortunately for everybody, the Smithsonian’s
America Eats exhibit has closed, including the replica of Julia Child’s kitchen. I don’t have sources for this paragraph, but trust me, the information was in this exhibit.
****=I have read that this American diet lead to a country-wide distaste for bold beers, giving rise to the cheaper, more malevalent macrobrew culture that we know today.

Hate footnotes as much as we hate ketchup? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or send an email to mwbeercollective@gmail.com for content with more brevity.


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Andrew Bird Suds: March 12

Andrew Bird is an eccentric fellow, who has continued to evolve musically over countless studio and live albums. His music is more of a family tree than a discography, each song passing down traits to Bird’s re-conceptions. Even the long-lost brother that was Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire and its gypsy fiddling has come back into the family with a beautiful mixing of Sweetbreads and Dark Matter into Sweetmatter. His latest offering, Break It Yourself, is in direct lineage of Noble Beast and Zephyrus; a flighty collection of songs with whimsical violin flourishes appearing throughout. Crack open a Half Acre Gossamer from Andrew’s hometown and take a listen to “Eyeoneye.”

Now for Suds:

– Another nice review of Summit’s new Dunkelweizen. I see a growler of it in my fridge in the near future.

– Did you try to get your hands on some Founders KBS at the release party with no luck? Check out what Founders has to say about it.

– It’s March Madness for basketball and beer too. Schlitz pulls an upset in the first rounds.

Grand Rapids Brewing Co. is making a comeback in Michigan. Maybe they’ll make the tournament next year.

New Belgium to enter Michigan this August.

Ol’ Blarney makes it in time for St. Patrick’s Day at Town Hall.

– Another landmark bill for craft beer in Minnesota tries to make it through.

– Wonder where your Bud Light came from? Me neither, but if you are interested I guess there’s a website.

Lakefront Brewery and Leinenkugel’s team up again for a collabeeration.

You’re fuckin’ Andrew Bird!” – Drunken Fan “True Statement”- Andrew Bird

What’s your favorite Andrew Bird story? Tweet (Get it? Get it?) @MidwestBeer.

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Suds: February 27

If Indiana Jones didn’t convince you to love History, then you only have one last hope. Watch this TED Talk on the Cyrus Cylinder, a 2,600 year old clay cylinder praising the Persian king, Cyrus, who conquered Babylon. It reminds us the power of history in modern day and the importance of preserving our history (just think if beer never made it out of ancient Sumeria!). So crack open a Dogfish Head Midas Touch, the quintessential historical beer, and remember, “It belongs in a museum!”

– Don’t miss Cask Ale Fest at Brit’s Pub in Minneapolis tomorrow night.

– If you do miss Cask Ale Fest, don’t worry. The Happy Gnome’s Firkin Fest 2012 is just around the corner. Get your tickets here.

– There is an art, nature and beer Mecca in Wisconsin and, no, it’s not Madison or Milwaukee. Read this great article on what Stevens Point has to offer.

Beer Here: a new doppelbock from Capital Brewery using wild rice.

– Chicago Craft Beer Week is set for May 17-27. Find out what’s in store here.

– The City of Broad Shoulders has a broad variety of breweries to choose from these days.

– There is a Bell’s beer tasting and pairing at University Roadhouse in Kalamazoo tomorrow night.

– Short’s Brewing Co. is hosting the Paddle to Paddle kayaking event on April 27th this year. Register for this free event for a day of fun.

– Iowa’s first annual Craft Brew Festival is set for Saturday May 21! Find out all the details here.

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Suds: November 4

Happy Friday my beer loving friends. I am still getting over a week-long cold so I’m going to be lying low tonight, but you have a full night ahead of you with beer galore. Before we begin, you ought to watch the new episode of Brewing TV featuring Lift Bridge’s newest Oyster Stout. You heard right, Oyster Stout. It’s made with oysters. In the immortal words of Dr. Tim Allen, “I mean, whoa!”

Now for Suds:

– What do you get when you take four imperial russian stouts and blend them together?

– We are strong advocates for teaching a friend to homebrew, it could even be a great date idea.

Four Firkins Grand Opening in St. Louis Park, MN promises Star Wars music and free beer.

– T-Minus 1 day until Wisconsin Beer Expo. It’s not too late to get your tickets.

Surly’s response to supposed price-gouging of Darkness in liquor store.

– Looking for an establishment to play a good game of darts in Illinois?

– Memphis, Tennessee blog reviews two IPAs side-by-side and one of them is Surly Furious. It must have migrated South for winter.

All Stout’s Day event hosted by Bell’s Brewing Co.

We want to thank all of our readers for all of your support, but want to encourage you to talk to us. We love to converse, especially over beer. Send us messages, articles, essays, or just tweet @MidwestBeer. There still more to be explored and what better company to do so than with all of you?

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Letter from the Editor: Thank You!

Dear Readers,

On behalf of Anthony and myself, we want to extend our thanks to you for helping us reach our 10,000 visit to the blog. When we started the Midwest Beer Collective we had the hopes of getting a few followers, who love beer and the Midwest as much as we do, but we have been astounded the readership. We hope you enjoyed the past ten months as much as we have and are ready for what’s next.

When we decided to call ourselves a “collective,” we dreamed that we would bring the various conversations Anthony and I shared over many a pitcher to the internet: an online forum dedicated to beer, culture, the arts and politics. As Anthony stated in a previous letter, we have big plans to expand the MwBC with new contributors, columns and creative outlets for our readers, so that we can truly call ourselves a Collective. Stay keen, my friends, because there’s still more to be explored.


Brian and Anthony.

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Suds: August 15

Don’t tell the D.C., but we’ve sent one of the Triumvirate to do recon work and to promote Midwest beer and culture to the urbane urbanites over there. Godspeed Anthony and make sure that if you tweet your wiener, it’s just a Nathans. Seriously though, I wish him the best of luck with the next step of his journey. My only wish: to have enjoyed the Great Taste of the Midwest in Madison, WI before he left. Beer and Wisconsin always go together, but beer and Madison are a special match that exhausts the soul with exuberance. Wow! Now that I have that out of the way, let’s get on to some Suds.

– Tonight, don’t get lost in the Bermuda Triangle Tripel being released at the Bulldog in Lowertown.

– Here is a nice summary of the Great Taste.

– From Michigan? Looking for beer fests? We’ve got you covered.

– A little bit of Alaska enters the beer mecca that is Wisconsin, and I’m not talking about Sarah Palin’s America Tour.

– A rare collabeeration crosses the pond for an American debut.

– Nebraska Brewing Co. releases its Inception line of beers. Hopefully, I’m not just dreaming that I’m dreaming that I’m dreaming that I’m drinking it.

– It’s been a while since we’ve featured our favorite Madison establishment, but since Anthony is leaving us I felt it appropriate to give them a shout out. Hey Old Fashioned, this one’s for you. Cheese Plate!

– A nice review of a Chicago favorite, Half Acre’s Daisy Cutter.

Finally, I want to assure you that Anthony will still be writing and helping run the MwBC from his remote location on the East Coast. In fact, it should be interesting to get a look at Midwestern beer and culture as perceived by our nation’s capitol. Maybe, he can interview the president…

Until then, send us your thoughts because there is always more to be explored. Tweet @MidwestBeer or post on our Facebook page.

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