Sunday, February 27, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Very often I hear people say how some high strength beers are like wine. Like wow! I grit me teeth when I hear this, as it is sometimes misleading to make a point. There is a correct perception that wine is higher in alcohol that beer relativity speaking. Factually it is incorrect as some wines approach beer strength. In today’s market of ever increasingly beer strengths, some brews may exceed some wines. What determines a type of alcoholic drink is its ingredients and manufacture. Beer is a fermented malt beverage while wine is fermented grape juice. Cider is fermented apple juice and perry is fermented pear juice. Although ordinary beer is 5%, it can be made much stronger but it does not BECOME wine. Yes, I know that the beer-wine comparison is used to illustrate a point, but it gives me reason to rant.
Actually, scotch is more like beer than wine. Scotch is a malt bases drink that is born from the brewing process. In a nutshell, grain is germinated, which converts starch into sugar. The germination process is stopped and it is now malt. The malt is added to hot water so the sugar can be extracted from the malt. Yeast is added which feeds on the sugars. The by-products of this buffet are carbon dioxide and alcohol. Plants consume one substance as food. Humans consume the other to make the opposite sex more attractive. This beer is distilled and the alcohol vapors are condensed into scotch.
This is a nice article on making scotch. http://running_on_alcohol.tripod.com/id34.html
To make wine: smash grapes, yeast ferments juice, drink. Simple.
I was reading the reviews posted on Tripadvisor and was a little surprised by what I saw. I am always amused when I read comments by people who do not review restaurants, etc. with a guidance plan. They usually state their experience by what they saw on their visit. This is fare as it is what actually happened to them. It can also be a bit misleading due to a one time glitch or a problem not caused by the restaurant. Still, some people have the opinion of “best place I’ve ever been to” to “worst place I’ve ever been to”. I often think “are these people in the same place?”
In the case for Mantini’s on the South Side, the reviews were so top heavy with negative reviews that I had to give a lot of credence to them. Although some reviews were about the service by the staff, the majority had to do with the owner. I have to say that what was said about the owner was overall correct. As for the staff, how the owner runs the ship is how the crew responses. I am happy to inform all those who had a bad time that the old owner has left the ship and a new captain is at the controls. I have had excellent service by all members of staff and enjoy going there. They also do steak far better than me. Anyway, here is one of my tenets on restaurants. If I had a problem with a restaurant I will always go back. If a problem persists that would be a good sign that things are not well. Don’t let one bad experience turn you off to a place. With new ownership at Mantini’s things are much better now.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Ah, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and the State Store system. So much can be written about that and so much has. So let me give it a “shot”. When talking about the LCB the subject most discussed is the state store system. Here is Pa. we have to buy wines and spirits from the government. Why? Just because! Some people want the system to be privatized while others want to keep it under the control of people don’t have real jobs. Let’s take a look at some this. But first I am going to get strong coffee.
Recently, Antony Davies, associate professor of economics at Duquesne University and a senior scholar at George Mason University, Fairfax, Va. wrote a letter to the editor in the trib. He asked if the private sector could sell alcohol more efficiently than the state? His retort was that government has never done a more efficient job than private sector. My comment to Mr. Davies is to get off the campus more and see how private business is run. There is no law that says private business has to run efficiently, make money or give customers what they want. If that were not true then Dilbert would not exist. I have seen things done in retail that would make a government bureaucrat weep with envy.
The practice of operating efficiently does not have to be applied with the state store system. They have no competition other than boarder states and as long as we go in to buy wines and spirits at said price, what are they loosing? Could they make more money? Yes, But they are making money and being more efficient will not translate to lower costs for us. Under private hands, price could go up, selection could go down and we would still be bitching. And let’s us not forget the restaurant people. They now buy from a single source. How would they obtain stock? A central wholesaler who could control cost or multiple vendors fighting for sales? Should “big alcohol” go private don’t expect your Thunderbird to be delivered with unicorns.
Mr. Davis brought up the issue of underage drinking and drunk-driving (that’s drink-drive for my British readers). First of all, if alcohol was the only thing youngsters were taking in, it would be better than what they are taking in now. Getting booze and smokes have always been obtainable. How about dad’s liquor cabinet?
I have concerns and interests in how the LCB operates in general but as for state stores I don’t buy wines or spirits for home so I don’t care one hoot about them other than the state budget and my taxes. Anyway, should the system go private I am sure that we will have a good selection. As for price, we will pay for the value and not the worth. By that I mean that the price will based on what we are willing to pay as opposed what it cost to stock an item plus mark-up.
I am sure that all who read this has an opinion one way or another. I don’t see how a change in a products distribution will change its end use. All that is germane to this topic is taxes generated, price and selection. Right now we can bring our grievance to our representatives. We have been doing that and it has not gotten any better. Once the system goes private none of this will be any of our business.
Incidentally, I am only using Mr. Davis’ comments as he wrote a letter today and I could not pass it up. He said what a lot of people are saying and I think much of it is moot.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Should beer magazines and newspapers be covered in plastic akin to many of the “other” adult magazines that have more pictures than text? This may seem an odd question but what leads me to ask this is what I see on the Internet. It is very common to get to a brewery or distributor home page (usually based in the US) and having to select the “I am over 21 button” to go further. Is there some Federal law that prohibits those under 21 from reading a site that describes beers and trying to sell said product? I know of no such law yet many having such sites seem to think otherwise.
If we are to protect the kiddies from viewing naked beer bottles on the web then should not all viewing of alcohol be prohibited? Young people see adverts in newspapers, storefronts (if you are not in Pa.), State Store windows (in you are in Pa.), and so on and so on. And good god lets not forget about those sports events and TV commercials. I can’t fathom the adult nature that is presumed in brewery and distributor website and I have ever seen anything “adult” about them. Maybe the powers to be are trying to save the children from accidently seeing photos of Miss Frothingslosh? If there is some rule on this I’d like to know. I would also like to know if anyone looking for “model trains” has ever clicked the “No, I am NOT 21” button!