How does anyone stomach storebought eggnog? It’s like the yuletide equivalent of candy corn — despite its gag-inducing flavor and unnatural texture, it sells like hot cakes. Certainly eggnog wasn’t always this offensive, right? I mean, if it were made fresh, it had to be exponentially better, didn’t it? Because honestly — cream, eggs, sugar, spices, and booze? How could it go wrong? (Though the craptacular cartons have already demonstrated that it very easily can.)
Years ago, I churned out my first swing at homemade eggnog, and I’ve never looked back. Sensually thick and creamy, delightfully frothy and packed with so much incredible flavor, one sip could make even Osama Bin Laden want to deck the halls with boughs of holly.
This year, however, I wanted to change it up a bit. Inspired by an old bit I’d seen on SCTV, I was determined to make a batch of Beer Nog to see if it would be as delicious as I had imagined. Armed with a bevy of eggs, a gallon or two of dairy, and a bottle of Port Brewing Old Viscosity, I set out to make a Christmas drink for the ages. I whipped up a glass and took my first sip. A skeptical friend watched on, wincing slightly having already decided that Beer Nog couldn’t possibly work. “Well? How is it?” he asked.
I extended my hand to offer a taste. “You’re welcome,” I replied. My lips parted to a smile, creasing and cracking the thickest milk mustache the world may have ever known.
What better way to celebrate the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition than by judging a homebrew competition? It was 76 years ago yesterday that the federal government ended their so-called Great Experiment, a 13-year disaster that not only boosted the number of drinking establishments it sought to abolish, it also encouraged countless self-starters to take brewing, winemaking, and distilling into their own hands and into their homes.
Homebrewing has long held a place in America, and it continues today, now stronger than ever. To help homebrewers hone their craft, the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) was founded to provide standardized procedures for properly assessing beers. Founded in 1985, the BJCP currently has over 3,100 active judges and has sanctioned in excess of 3,800 competitions and more than a half-million beers since its inception.
Yesterday’s 1st Annual Temecula Valley Homebrewers Association Homebrew Competition welcomed its fair share of entries to be judged in any of 23 defined beer style categories (with an additional five categories open for mead, cider, and perry entries). And while entrants certainly like don’t mind being awarded a medal, the main reason for getting their beers evaluated is for constructive feedback and notes on improving their homebrews from accredited judges and fellow brewers.
Calistoga has finally been granted its own American Viticultural Area (AVA) appellation, after the federal government issued a long-awaited decision Thursday, ending a contentious years-long battle between vintners.Spearheading the effort …