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Everything I know about beer….

…I learned from Brother Barley McHops (and Beth K. but she doesn’t write a blog about beer so I am concentrating on Brother Barley for the purposes of this post).

Before I go on, allow me to just explain Brother B.’s mysterious name. I try to respect the identity of everyone mentioned here on W and CP and identify them by first name last initial only. Alas, Brother Barley McHops is so concerned with people finding out that he is as obsessed with beer as he actually is, that he writes under the aforementioned pen name. All I can tell you is that he lives in the South, is originally from New England, and I used to work with his wife. (Okay, and one more thing, he has a very adorable baby girl who I am sure would be best friends with Livvy if they lived in the same city.)

Okay, back to the beery goodness. Way back in March, there were many major events happening in my life (I had just accepted a new job, made a trip to the White House for International
Women’s Day, and was feverishly trying to blog about the Pamela’s pancakes a very devoted W and CP reader had schlepped for me from Pittsburgh to DC). In the midst of that flurry of blog worthy activity, I also spent some time interviewing Brother Barley McHops for his podcast, The Maltercation. You see, The Maltercation is part of his really well written and useful beer blog, fondly known as Aleheads.

I spoke to Brother Barley around 9:00 PM one night, and within about 45 minutes of the conclusion of our conversation, the interview was up on Aleheads, all edited and fancy. I was highly impressed!

Some Pearls of Wisdom from our conversation:

  • According to B. Barley, “typical American men” talk about beer and sports as opposed to feelings.
  • Brother Barley has been sending lengthy e-mails to his friends about beer for sometime now. It was a friend’s dad who suggested they share these beer monologues with the world, hence Aleheads was born.
  • Beerlylegal was the first name of the blog. This URL was already taken so they’ve settled for a slightly less funny but significantly cleaner name, Aleheads.
  • When I (or you, perhaps) say I don’t like hoppy beer, I really mean I don’t like bitter beer. Brown ales (such as Newcastle Brown Ale or Anchor Steam) are good for folks like me without a taste for bitter beers.
  • IBU stands for “International Bittering Unit.” Crazy American “hopheads” really try to push the envelope and brew beers with VERY high IBU ratings.
  • Brother Barley does NOT like Blue Moon for two reasons: 1) It is not good. 2) The brewery that makes it is owned by Coors.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Guinness is not a very heavy beer (don’t make the same mistake that I made DURING the podcast and refer to it as a meal replacement beer). In fact, Guinness has fewer calories than a similarly sized serving of skim milk.
  • Beer density is measured in “degrees Plato.” You’ll have to listen to the podcast to learn more about the science behind this measurement.
  • Oskar Blues’ Ten Fidy is “as thick as motor oil.” Brother Barley promises to write a guest blog post about the 98 IBUs featured in this beverage (he drinks one every morning) in the near future.
  • Brewing at home is not too challenging! Consider using a “dry hopping” technique to achieve a flowery taste to your home brew.
  • Flyingdog and Yards Brewing are two local breweries not far from DC that Brother Barley M. suggests visiting!
  • Raison D’etre is made with beets and Brother B loves it (and it’s “malt profile”).
  • Beer Advocate is a good go to source for everything you wanted to know about beer and beer ratings.
  • Brother Thelonious is a beer that Brother B. recommends for non-bitter beer fans, like me. I will be searching out this North Coast Brewing gem at a pub in the near future.

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  • Brother Barley

    It's an honor to be a part of “The Blog of Record”. Thank you, Pearl!

    A few comments:
    1. I maintain my anonymity not for the sake of myself, but for my wife. She does not want the world to know that her husband is a huge beer-tool. She prefers that they think I'm just a regular tool.
    2.Typical American men don't JUST talk about sports and beer. We also talk about boobs. And Neitzsche.
    3. Anchor Steam is not a Brown Ale, though I may have misspoken during the interview (definitely not the first time). It's actually a fairly unique style called “California Common” or “Steam Beer”. The style is one of the few that is wholly native to America.
    4. Guinness and skim milk are “comparable” as far as caloric count. Roughly 200 in a pint of each.
    5. Happy to write a guest post whenever you'd like. Just let me know when!

    Brother Barley

  • A. Advani

    Very interesting post. I just visited England and was reacquainted with warm ale – which is actually quite nice even on a hot day. But you just can't beat a cold German lager (sans too many hops or fruitiness) on a hot day. Thanks to you and Brother Barley for the continuing ed lesson on beer. Cheers.