Food, Beer & Buffoonery - Hops

The Buffoonery of Ben Stein

I recently became aware of a new documentary (to use the term liberally – no pun intended) starring and promoted by attorney, economist, political figure, former speech writer for presidents Nixon and Ford, actor comedian and game show host Ben Stein.  It’s called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.  Now, admittedly I haven’t seen the film, but going on the reports and reviews I’ve read, it sounds like “no intelligence” was allowed in the making of this film — and that a few lies and deceptions were allowed.

Several of the scientists interviewed for the film are saying they were duped into the interview’s under very false pretenses given to them by the film’s producers and then, of course, their comments were used completely out of context.

From Wikipedia: The film “contends that [the theory of evolution] contributed to the Nazi Holocaust, communism, atheism and Planned Parenthood.”  Say what?!?!  They also seem to claim that there is basically a world-wide conspiracy of scientists out to silence people who espouse Intelligent Design.  Well, I can tell you there’s not conspiracy, scientists are usually pretty frank about ripping apart a very bad theory, Intelligent Design included.  This is all absolutely ridiculous, and I hope that everyone can see the absurdity of these claims.  Especially in the case of the Holocaust. To say that a biological theory formed to explain mechanisms seen in the natural world somehow led to the killing of thousands of people in the Holocaust is not just untrue, its disgusting — which actually means Ben Stein has gone beyond buffoonery, because there’s nothing amusing about such claims.

So for some further reading, I’ve gathered up some good links:

Well, that should be enough to get people thinking critically about the absurdities portrayed in the film.

I’ll use this opportunity to plug a three recent books that Ben Stein and crew should read — and soon (though I’d recommend these to everyone!):

UPDATE: I was just reading that Yoko Ono and sons are suing the film makers for using John Lennon’s song “Imagine” without permission.  The producers are claiming “fair use” saying that the song is used for commentary or criticsm, but it doesn’t appear that they are commenting on or criticising the song directly, so I would appear that there is a case.

If that weren’t enough, the band Killers were duped into licensing their song to the film’s producers.  How?  The producer’s asked them if they could use a certain song in a documentary about academic freedom.  Period.  The producers were purposely being vague in order to fool the band and record company into giving them permission to use the song.  It seems the band is not too happy about this and have posted about it on their forum.

More info on these two topics can be found on this repost of a Wall Street Journal article.  Don’t miss the two updates below the article.  They are the most telling…

Additionally they are being sued for directly copying a Harvard University/XVIVO produced animation “Inner Life of the Cell”.  They claim they they hired an independent video artist to create their film and any similarity is due to the animations depicting the same process.  However, it seems the animations not only depict the same process, but it is noted by David Bolinsky, the medical illustrator chiefly responsible for the original Harvard produced animation that, “it is astonishing that among well over a dozen functional kinesins from which an animator might choose, we both chose the same configuration of kinesin, pulling the same protein-studded vesicle, on the same microtubule” and “Can YOU believe we coincidentally picked the same camera angles and left in the same specific structures in the background, positioned with the same composition?”  Not to mention the Expelled animation is accompanied by the same music.   And they didn’t copy the Harvard video?  Right.

The lies, deceptions and copyright infringements perpetrated by the producers of this film speaks quite clearly about their ethics and true intentions.  Their tactics even make Michael Moore look like an amatuer. Even Unintelligent Design promoter William Dembsky has admitted that the film’s producers, “made sure to budget for lawsuits” and that they have retained “one of the best intellectual property attorneys in the business.”  Yeah, they obviously knew what they were doing – and what they were getting themselves into.  But to them, its all publicity!

The Missing BJCP Styles, part 1: The Other Alts

In February of this year, the Beer Judges Certification Program (BJCP) updated their beer style guidelines.  Unfortunately, despite all the great updates they made, they didn’t add any new beer styles to the list.  So, I decided to chase down a few of the missing styles myself and create some basic style profiles.

My list is by no means exhaustive, but just a few of the beers, that to me, are the most obvious of the missing styles in the BJCP style guide.  Since there are still, quite a few of these missing beer styles in my list, I’ll break my post up into several installments, each covering a few of the “missing” styles.

Some of these styles even get brief mentions in the BJCP Style Guide as part of another similar or contrasting style.  Others are mentioned in BJCP Style Category 23A which is purposely labeled a “catch-all” category of beers that don’t have their own category.

The following style guides won’t be thorough style descriptions since, being relatively obscure styles of beer, data on these is hard to come by.  However, in the desire to make these (and futures posts) as complete as possible, I’ll update these posts indefinitely as I’m able to collect more information.

In trying to keep a theme here, I will start with the missing German beer stlyes, and Part 1 will focus specifically on two of the missing German beer styles: Sticke Alt, and Münster Alt.

also called “latzenbier”

Aroma: Malty, fresh, flowery.  Big noble hop aroma.

Appearance: Deep gold to dark-copper in color. Pours with a long lasting white head.

Flavor: Big malt and hops.

Mouthfeel: Malty yet crisp.

Overall Impression: Well balanced, with a light hoppy nose, middle maltiness and a dry finish.

Comments: A darker, stronger and hoppier version of the Düsseldorf Alt.  “Sticke” is sometimes said  to mean secret in the local dialect, though Uerige states that the term comes from “stickum”, the local dialect term for “whispering”, based on the story that that when tasting the strong beer, the customers would whisper to each other that the brewmaster must have been a little too generous when weighing out the ingredients. These beers are made seasonally to surprise the customers.  They are often brewed just once or twice a year and within a few days of tapping the kegs are gone. Sticke Alts are often dry-hopped in the conditioning tank for four to six weeks. Another name for these specialty Alt beers is “latzenbier” which means “slab beer”. Uerige also brews a Doppelsticke at 8.5% that is soley exported to the United States.

Ingredients: Two-row Pilsner malt, Munich malt, Caramel Malt and Black Malt.  Spalt hops are preferred in Düsseldorf, but Hallertauer Mittelfrüh, Mt. Hood and Perle can also be used for bittering and flavor hops, while Tettnanger will work as an aroma hop.

Vital Statistics:
OG:  1.053 – 1.066
IBUs:  35 – 60
FG: 1.010 – 1.014
SRM: 15 – 25
ABV: 5.2 – 6.5

Commercial Examples: Uerige sticke, Schumacher latzenbier, Schlüssel stike, Füchschen Weihnachtsbier

Real Stats
Füchschen Weihnachtsbier:  ABV: 5.2%
Uerige sticke: ABV: 6.5%
Schumacher latzenbier: ABV: 5.5%
Schlüssel stike: ABV: 6%


Aroma: Pilsner malt, slightly sour, with a delicate noble hop nose.

Appearance: Pale, golden color.

Flavor: Excellent, herbaceous aroma, slightly sweet with a hint of sourness, delicate fruit-acid palate, and long dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Moderate to moderately high carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Overall Impression:

A regional Altbier that is brewerd in and around Münster, which is about 80 miles (128km) northwest of Düsseldorf.  Münster alt is typically lower in gravity and alcohol, slightly sour, and lighter in color than other Alts.

Ingredients: Pilsener malt, light caramel malts, can include Munich or Vienna malts, can contain a significant portion of wheat.

Vital Statistics:
OG: 1.044 -1.050
IBUs: 30 -45
FG: ?
SRM: 7 – 10
ABV: 4.3 – 5.1

Commercial Examples:
Pinkus Organic Münster Alt

Other Missing Styles to Be Covered Soon:
Kellerbier, Gose, Wiess, Honey Beers (not Braggots), Classic American Cream Ale, Czech Dark Lager, English Pale Mild, Scottish 90/-, American Stock Ale, English Strong Ale, Non-alcoholic “Beer”, Malt Liquor, Australian Sparkling Ale, Imperial/Double Red Ale, Imperial/Double Brown Ale, Imperial Lager, Imperial Pilsner,
Imperial Porter, Rye IPA, Dark American Wheat/Rye.