"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Beer Goggles ("At Least You've Got Your Health" Edition) 

You are healed!You know I'm in a lazy mood when I treat my beer posts like I treat my political posts - a perfunctory introduction, a long quote which stretches the limits of the Fair Use doctrine, and maybe a snarky word or two in conclusion. So, without any further ado:
A Dutch study, conducted by TNO Nutrition and Food Research in Zeist, The Netherlands, found that a known reference for predicting future cardiovascular disease, blood C- reactive protein (CRP), declined by 35 percent after three weeks of regular beer consumption compared with levels after three weeks of drinking non-alcoholic beer. The same study found that levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol rose by 11 percent during the same period.

[Long discussion of red wine and French people omitted. -Ed.]

What also appears to remain constant is the benefits of the anti-oxidant polyphenols. The key here is the darkness of the brew, whether it be wine or beer. (Or, for that matter, tea — in the eyes of science, the polyphenols in tea, wine and beer are more or less the same.)

That’s why red wine, as opposed to white, has got all the attention. And when it comes to beer, it appears that the dark varieties are the most heart-healthy. For instance, a dark beer vs. light beer study presented at the 2003 American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions, reported that because of the higher content of flavonoids, dark beer was more effective in fighting blood clots than its light-colored cousin.

Beer also seems to have a benefit beyond those in tea or red wine: it contains silicon, a trace element that is found in the hops that are used to add flavor. A study conducted at University of London and Cambridge and published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research claims to have found a relationship between the intake of dietary silicon and decreased bone loss in men and pre-menopausal women.

Of course, the killjoy responsible for this piece (the Today Show's Phil Lempert) concludes with vague, ominous references to drunk driving and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, just so no one gets too comfortable. Still, better news than we usually get, so I'll raise a glass to Mr. Lempert just the same.

In the fridge...

...is Hale's Ales' autumn seasonal offering, the O'Brien's Harvest Ale. According to Hale's online newsletter:
Hale's much anticipated fall seasonal, O'BRIEN'S HARVEST ALE, is available in draft and bottles as of September 1st. Harvest Ale is the Northwest's original "fresh hop" ale, first brewed in 1988. Often copied, deldom equaled, Harvest Ale is brewed with generous amounts of the year's "new vintage hops", giving the beer its extraordinary fresh hop character. This year's hops include Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial and Warrior hops. Harvest Ale will be available September through November of this year.

Well, I'm not sure I would call it "extraordinary," but it is a damned good beer. It is very hoppy (as you probably already gathered from the blurb quoted above), but not at all unpleasantly bitter. Very nicely balanced, with hints of apricot and citrus. And anyway, I didn't even know there was such a thing as Warrior hops! How cool is that? Just one more reason to give this beer a try - I don't think you'll be disappointed, unless you're expecting something "extraordinary."

Or, unless you want a lot of those antioxidant tannins. In which case you should just grab a Stout, or a glass of red wine, and leave the Warrior hops to the rest of us.




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