Friday, February 13, 2009

44 - Answers

It didn't occur to me until I started answering these questions that this week I had to research both beer AND porn. I love this job.

Q: Eric Democko - as previously discussed, please provide us with a detailed history of the India Pale Ale (citing more than just wikipedia or wikipanion). and what are some of the top rated ones? (maybe on beeradvocate?)
A: I spent some time looking around both the Internet and my local public library for an answer to this question. What follows is a quick history of India Pale Ale; for a more complete history just follow the links that follow.

India Pale Ale was invented to solve a problem: getting beer to the British armed forces serving all over the globe during the heyday of the British Empire. Journeys to the far reaches of the Empire (most notably India) took months, passed through hot climates, and resulted in beer that flat, stale, and undrinkable when it arrived. Throughout the 18th century there were many attempts to solve this problem, including such clever ideas as removing the water from the beer and making the soldiers add it themselves when it arrived.

The problem was solved by a brewer named George Hodgson who worked at the Bow Brewery in East London. In the days before refrigeration was available to preserve beer brewers had two ways to keep beer fresh: alcohol and hops. Hodgson took a recipe for Pale Ale that he'd used since the 1750's and vastly increased the amount of hops and alcohol (often up to 10% by volume). This meant that the beer would arrive at its destination, if not "fresh" then less bad. The beer was a hit and has evolved since then into a popular variety to this day.

From "The Complete Handbook of Home Brewing" by Dave Miller: "This beer was brewed very strong and well hopped because it was intended for a long sea voyage, at the end of which it fortified Her Majesty's troops during the heyday of the British Raj. These days IPA is scarcely stronger than ordinary pale ale, but is usually hoppier."

Below are links to some good articles that helped me form this answer:
http://www.evansale.com/india-pale-ale-article.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India_pale_ale
http://www.brewingtechniques.com/library/styles/2_2style.html

As requested I went to http://www.beeradvocate.com to find the top rated IPAs. They can be found here and in the list below:

1. India Pale Ale - English India Pale Ale (IPA) - Meantime Brewing Company Limited
2. Blackheart - English India Pale Ale (IPA) - Three Floyds Brewing Co. / Brewery & Pub
3. Drake's IPA - English India Pale Ale (IPA) - Drake's Brewing Co.
4. 1800 Old English IPA - English India Pale Ale (IPA) - Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
5. Lost Sailor India Pale Ale - English India Pale Ale (IPA) - Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
6. Schlafly Export India Pale Ale - English India Pale Ale (IPA) - Saint Louis Brewery / Schlafly Tap Room
7. Black Toque - English India Pale Ale (IPA) - Phillips Brewing Company
8. Golding Indian Ale - English India Pale Ale (IPA) - Brasserie Bièropholie
9. Thulza Doom - English India Pale Ale (IPA) - Three Floyds Brewing Co. / Brewery & Pub
10. Fuller's India Pale Ale - English India Pale Ale (IPA) - Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

Personally I'm not a fan of IPAs. I did buy a six-pack of Harpoon IPA to help my research of this question, and I liked it as much as I liked the IPA we had at the Tap and Mallet beer tasting event, which was not very much.

Brett Gobe - Salty or sweet snacks?
A: Overall I'm a salty snacker. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for popcorn, with movie theatre popcorn being one of my few true vices in this world. I have also been a fan of pretzels over the past few years. A couple guys I work with have introduced me to some very tasty varieties including honey-wheat and butter-salt.

Q: Bill Jeffers - When did the pornography industry get into full...um...swing?
A: Pornography has existed in one form or another since the dawn of mankind. There has been erotic imagery and artwork throughout history, starting with paintings and sculpture and proceeding all the way to live video on the Internet. The "Porn Industry" is a concept that emerged in the 20th century as pornography moved from an ad-hoc nature to something that responded to consumer demand.

I think the proper answer to your question lies in the date when pornography began to enter the mainstream of society. I place that date at December of 1953, which is the date that Hugh Hefner first published the magazine Playboy (all links are to Wikipedia to make this answer as SFW as possible). This magazine took pornography from seedy bookstores and theatres and into the homes of millions of people (albeit mostly college males). After Playboy came Penthouse and Hustler, which spawned literally hundreds of other magazines.

Once porn became more mainstream that opened the door for the establishment of the porn movie industry. This industry really got going during the late 1970s and 1980s with the advent of home movie players. It is widely accepted that once the porn industry adopted VHS as its medium of choice for video distribution the format wars of the 1980s were over. Building on these successes led to the proliferation of pornography on the Internet.

Q: Adam Barnello - If it's Tim and "I," then who, pray tell, is the editor?
A: Something I've used as a literary device for many years is a surrogate personality that I can use to explore my psyche. [Ed: So you mean I'm not real? I'm afraid not.] On my old Clarkson website I conducted a few self-interviews using this surrogate personality. I find it an amusing way to explore my personality and to give people a window into my thought process. One of my favorite bloggers Glenn Reynolds uses this technique from time to time in his blog posts as a way to put little tongue-in-cheek comments into his posts.

So the answer to your question is that I am my own editor. Not quite in the same way that I am my own drummer, but close.

Q: Jarsh Beckstein - How do you feel about a private equity company(KPS Capital) buying a locally/family/employee owned and operated business(High falls Brewery)?
A: My feelings about such acquisitions depend on the circumstances involved. As I understand the story, High Falls Brewery was in danger of going bankrupt and this private equity company came along and bought them to save them. This saved many local jobs and preserved a popular local business. In general I do not have a problem with large corporate ownership of something so long as that corporate ownership does not change the thing. In this case it seems to me that had the equity firm not come along and bought High Falls then it would have shut down. The real answer here will only emerge in time. If the buyers live up to their word and keep the brewery open and growing then I'd say that the sale was a good one.