The sport of picking winners is a lot like hamburgers.




Both have European origins. Both can be enjoyed when done simple and quick or with freakish obsession and rigid self-discipline. Both are awesome.

If you want a quick tasty burger, check out Whataburger. If you want a fun football pick’em league, check out Yahoo. Just between the two of us... I nosh on a Yahoo from time to time.

Are you drawn to the exotic? You can find plenty of high stakes “Vic & Anthony’s Burger Friday” type leagues. Those are exquisitely delicious.




Just the mention of hamburgers in the blog title evoked a Pavlovian slobber, didn't it? Pickem-Football.com is that perfect soft and juicy patty with a crunchy exterior. We are the perfect combination of toppings. We are those toppings that you have loved since childhood along with the ones you've added as an aspiring foodie.




A truly great hamburger only needs a few things. Flavor. Texture. Moisture. And the ability to freestyle. We have that.

Rulebooks are great when they are used to keep your city safe or to keep Roger Clemons’ ego in check, but hamburgers don’t need but a few rules.

And why do hamburgers always end? Do you know what is better than a hamburger? How about FOUR delicious and unique hamburgers!

Don’t get me wrong – The recipe for Pickem-Football.com took years to perfect, and it is by no means perfect. However, after a decade in the game, we certainly don’t serve hockey pucks.




RECIPE:
Follow these steps for an incredibly tasty football season

The Meat:

We can debate in the comments, but a great burger must have some kind of meat. Here is our blend.

  • 15, College Football Games per week. Picked against the spread. Odds provided for each game.
  • 14-16 (all), Professional Football Games per week. Picked straight up (no spread).

Notes on seasoning: On each week’s card for NCAA and NFL games, we will have optional bonus question(s). While these won’t increase your Pick’em score, they are collected and used in the post season games. Bonus points are given to weekly winners, for pay your entry fee early, and for some other random stuff we make up along the way.


The Buns:

With so much emphasis on the meat, the bun seems to have become the forgotten ingredient. Our buns are so good that you could eat them by themselves. Good luck finding delicious buns at ESPN.
  • 35 (all), NCAA FBS Bowl Games. Picked confidence pool style, straight up (no spread).
  • 11 (all), NFL Playoff Games. Picked week-to-week against the spread, against the spread.

The Accoutrements:

Pickem-Football provides you with the intensely savory flavor and the seasonings, garnish, and condiments are all up to you. This is not your typical stuffy fancy-pants burger or generic corporate burger. We build our masterpiece through a blog, spreadsheets, and email. If you have a last minute submission, then we accept picks by text. We make this stuff up as we go along, folks. Each week will feature bonus opportunities, casual blog posts, smack talk, incomplete sentences. (example from 2011)


How to Order:

If you are ready to take a bite, get your fingers to the Official Registration Form. The cost is $25 for the entire season, which is a bargain considering that you'll be eating the Pick'em burger for five months. That's feeding yourself for something like $0.16 a day! I encourage you to check out the official recruitment blog post over at the league's website: Pickem-Football.com. Or, check out how I predicted that we'd be here together almost six months ago. Destiny.




Heck, if think you might have a hunger pang in the next five months, then I strongly suggest you take a bite of the registration link. Pickem-Football will give meaning to each of your weekends this football season. Fulfillment guaranteed.

For the most part, drafting is a simple concept. You like something, and no one else holds the rights to that liked something, you take it. People probably drafted in a Pavlovian manner back in simpler times. Things have become much more complicated in these Twenty-tens, with Brad Pitt inventing Moneyball and such. We plot on, however, picking great things beer, wine, spirits, food, or lagniappe. This is the 2012 Anything Mock Draught, y'all.

With the second pick in the 2012 Anything Mock Draught, K Dub selects:

Oak Barrels

When you picture the wine making process, what one thing comes to mind? Stomping grapes? Stainless fermentation vessels? Grapes growing on the vine? Well, you might. But being the homebrewer that I am, I think about barrel aging. Barrel aging (especially in the case of most red wines) is the longest part of the wine making process. I don't know how those winemaker guys do it, the constant reminder of ends on ends of stacks and rows of barrels every day. So much delicious liquid just waiting, aging, developing, improving and just waiting for that perfect moment to be bottled and shared with the masses. All thanks to magic that lies within the oak barrel.

So how does a barrel create all that flavor? Well, like most plants there are many variables, soil types, location, breed of plant, climate patterns, etc. On top of environmental factors that the tree goes through during its life, there are only man made factors that can affect a barrel's flavor such as toasting the barrel. So there are literally an unlimited number (well I'm sure J.R. could calculate an exact number) of variables that could affect the final flavor of barrel. And to add to it, no matter how hard the cooperage's try, there are always variations from barrel to barrel. It is common for brewers to have a barrel or two that don't taste right or just plain suck, so instead of blending those two barrels in small amounts with the rest of the bottles to get a higher yield (more bottles to sell), they have been known to dump the barrels.

The same goes with whiskey (I'm guessing here). They taste the barrels, and if a few barrels exhibit great flavors, they get the Grade A Gold Star label and the rest gets blended into the mass marketed items. I'm sure there are exceptions to this, but I don't know what I'm talking about. Thank you oh massive oak tree for giving your life so that human adults (21 years and older) could enjoy liquids that have taken the flavors and aromas that have taken years to develop from your burned cellulose.

The inaugural The Ferm Anything Mock Draught commenced on the Eighth of May, Two-thousand and Nine. Since that inspired day, The Ferm’s contributors and friends have convened (somewhat) annually to salute our blog’s culture, once laid down in a revolutionary manifesto blog post. With each selection of a drinking related commodity, we no doubt take one more step in our pursuit of happiness. This is the 2012 Anything Mock Draught, y'all.

With the first pick in the 2012 Anything Mock Draught, Two Pints selects:

The 32nd President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt

HIT THE BAR WITH FDR!

The theme of FDR's campaign, “Happy Days are Here Again,” would be all too true on December 5, 1933 when his Presidential Proclamation Order #2065 (aka the 21st Amendment) was ratified. After 14 years of “adult beverage” drought, Prohibition was no more!

Still not cool enough for you? Here are some other things we can thank FDR for:
  • FDR pioneered the "100-day concept” we still use today to gauge the effectiveness of our Presidents.
  • FDR was the ONLY 3 term president this country has or will ever see (The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution adopted in 1951, prohibits anyone from ever being elected to the presidency for a third full term).
     
  • FDR formally began the Presidential Library System with the National Archives in 1939 when he handed over his papers and set up the 1st Presidential Library while he was still in office. 
     
  • Several years before he became President (1921), he contracted polio and would never regain the use of his legs. He would establish a foundation in Warm Springs, Georgia to help other polio victims.
     
  • FDR's battle with his crippling illness would inspire the March of Dimes program (which he would direct for a time) that eventually funded an effective vaccine.
     
  • And finally, during FDR's campaign for the 1932 election Roosevelt announced that it was “time to correct the ‘stupendous blunder’ that was Prohibition.” Way to keep a campaign promise, Sir!
We owe a lot to this great man, our 32nd President. Franklin Delano Roosevelt not only set the bar high for future Presidents to follow, he also opened the bar to give Americans the right to drink again buy booze legally. It was said that upon signing the 21st Amendment into law Roosevelt commented: “I think this would be a good time for a beer.”

I couldn’t agree more Mr. President. This one is for you! Cheers!

video

Aimless Chef: Houston's Ultimate Top 3 - Pizza

Posted by The Aimless Chef | Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ranked listicles are to the blogosphere as SirRon is to Eating Our Words. (Second most "liked." Who would have guessed?) We looove lists here at The Ferm. We also eat pizza. You see what we're getting at?

To keep you away from that dreadful hot dog stuffed crust thing from Pizza Hut (j/k PH. Call me, boo), we proudly present to you...




Houston's Ultimate Top 3 - Pizza

If there is anything more widely debated than how to solve our nation’s health care problem, it is where to find the best pizza pie. How funny because -- well, we don’t want to spoil the fat joke by giving you the punch line. If we told you once, we told you in a tweet and in our last Top 3 listicle; Grimaldi’s in Sugar Land serves up the best pies in the Houston metro area. Despite being but a suburban franchised copy of the real Grimaldi’s (located under the Brooklyn Bridge), during your visit you will most likely forget you have those three kids, two dogs, and that Chinese dwarf hamster when you get a mouthful of sausage and roasted red pepper pie. But more seriously, if we didn’t have such a drinking problem, we’d only need one place on this list. Luckily, La Vista makes a great, relatively inexpensive pizza AND they are BYO. I’m just saying, when we B our O, we B the good stuff. Sometimes we stay at the "office" a "little late" though, and it is those days that we are glad someone invented fourth meal. Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza not only represents the only remnant of the glorious Taco Light shells, but they also probably started the fusion cuisine movement. Wikipedia will probably confirm.

As always, comments are appreciated. Ladies, please use my soft taco recipe post to leave your digits. Live Más.


EDITOR’S NOTE: WE AREN’T SURE VAUGHN IS TAKING HIS FOOD WRITING ASSIGNMENTS FOR THE BLOG SERIOUSLY. FOURTH MEAL!? WE ARE ALL IN THE SAME GANG AT THE FERM, SO last but not least, we can’t leave these joints out – we know three at least, we need to point out – we’re not trying to tell you what to do – but we care what you eat is not poo poo – first off, Bombay’s pie, my oh my, is can’t miss – the cilantro-mint chutney will grant bliss – (“oh I just can’t bear the smell of curry!”) – get your picky self to Pizaro’s, hurry – it’s BYO, and so is our last – this one you can eat on your grass – Totino’s, we keep a stock in our Subzero – take notes and you’ll be indeed...... a pizza hero. /mic drop

It's that time again, for the first time in two years, contributors to "The Ferm" and selected guests will participate in the "Anything" Mock Draught.  The traditional timing of the draft is to coincide with the NFL draft, since sports fans this time of year are inundated with 40 times, Wonderlic scores, vertical leaps, and draft day trade possibilities.  Well the same can be said for the anything mock draft, we've seen participants trade up, I guarantee you our panel of "experts" has been feverishly scouting everything for 24 months now.

A note on why there wasn't a 2011 "Anything" Mock Draught.  It was with heavy hearts that the decision was made that there was no way the spirit of the draught could be upheld in light of the NFL lockout.  So with unanimous consent, we stood arm in arm with the NFL Players Union and joined the fight for their right to buy sports cars, mansions, and go clubbing with heat without worrying about their bank accounts.

For our draft, we do our best to stay within our wheelhouse (that being the drinking universe) and to make it fun. The list of rules is small.
  1. The draft consists of three rounds (format is top to bottom, top to bottom -- not snake).
  2. The pick (or description) must be drinking related in some way.
  3. Picks from previous drafts are off the board.
 We are not an exclusive "league." Guest drafters are encouraged. Anyone wanting a pick can leave a comment on this post, drop us an email, or tweet at us and you'll be slotted in the draft. Over the next few days we will start an open thread, which will be used for announcements and comments on the current and previous draft.

As a kickoff to this years draught, I thought it appropriate to analyze the first two years draughts now that there's been opportunity for emotion to be removed, and real value assessed.  Specifically, we're going to look at each participants ability to fill the positions of food, beer, wine, spirits, and lagniappe (what extra things do your picks bring).  Analysis will also be done on the cohesiveness of the team (how elements can be combined).

And special guest Dr. Drew Pinsky will provide a psychoanalysis of each draughter in light of what their selection reveal about them.


Please use the following references if you want to see more specifics of the previous two draughts:

So without further ado, in no particular order whatsoever:
-----------------------------------------------------------
Draughter: Two Pints (@pig1ett2000)

Best Pick: Belgium (huge country that continues to deliver)

Worst Pick: Mini-cocktail umbrellas (all flash, no substance)

Sleeper Pick: Dallas (TV Series): Seriously good show, underrated

Food: B (Belgian Waffles, Dallas BBQ)

Beer: A (Belgian beer, Randall the Enamel Animal)

Wine: F (No real effort made here)

Spirits: C (Aforementioned umbrellas about it)

Lagniappe: B (That Sam Calagione is handsome)

Cohesiveness: B, Two Pints can elope with Sam to Belgium, spend a little time in the water while drinking either the Belgian beer or cocktails with umbrellas (4 of 6)

Dr. Drew Says: Two Pints has an affinity for travel and appreciates good quality beer and good quality TV.  A girl who knows what she wants and how to get it.  Like how to get Sam.  By drafting him.
-----------------------------------------------------------
Draughter: Mr. Smokeypants

Best Pick: Happy Hour (solid staple of all things The Ferm)

Worst Pick: Shenanigans (just hasn't been enough lately)

Sleeper Pick: Foam in the Dome (the memories just get better and better for that place) 

Food: B (Norris family can cook, happy hour has good food also)

Beer: B (Foam in the Dome, Mos Eisley Cantina, and Happy Hour)

Wine: D (Weak here, but you can get at Happy Hour)

Spirits: A (He drafted Whiskey, well done)

Lagniappe: B (Mos Eisley Cantina excels here)

Cohesiveness: A, Mr. Smokeypants stops by Mos Eisley Cantina at Happy Hour for some whiskey before heading to the Dome for some Foam (meeting the Norris Family there) after which, there will be shenanigans (6 for 6)

Dr. Drew Says: Mr. Smokeypants clearly likes to live life on the wild side, by acquiring Mos Eisley Cantina, drinking whiskey, and inducing Shenanigans.  Luckily he has the Norris family to keep him straight (or find him at the end of the day to make sure he gets home).
-----------------------------------------------------------
Draughter: K Dub (@K_Dub_02)

Best Pick: Belgo-American Style Beers (Outstanding quality and performance)

Worst Pick: Burping (It kinda just happens, no need to draught)

Sleeper Pick: SAVOR (Completely underrated event)

Food: B (SAVOR carries the day here)

Beer: A (Beers, a Brewing Company, Yeast, and Burping)

Wine: F (Again, not much effort for this category)

Spirits: B (Michael Jackson really bumps it up here)

Lagniappe: C (Another bump from MJ with his character, but the rest of the picks lack spice)

Cohesiveness: B, K Dub heads to Savor for some Belgo-American Style Beers as well as some from Upright Brewing Company, where yeast is prevalent among the products (4 of 6)

Dr. Drew Says: This man knows his good beer and he knows that yeast is the foundation.  A connoisseur of what he likes, having read the works of Michael Jackson, attended SAVOR etc.  The burping keeps him real.
-----------------------------------------------------------
Draughter: Leslie (@LesNor11)
 
Best Pick: Tailgating (Everyone at The Ferm had their eye on this)

Worst Pick: Lone Star Puzzle Caps (kinda blah performance)

Sleeper Pick: Gary Vaynerchuk (solid pick to dominate the wine category)

Food: B (Tailgating food is some of the best on earth)

Beer: B (Lone Star beer and tailgating, again solid)

Wine: A (Grabbed Gary Vaynerchuk to be strong in this category)

Spirits: C (Some spirits at tailgating, but that's about it)

Lagniappe: B (The puzzle caps are a good booster here)

Cohesiveness: B, Leslie heads to a tailgate where they watch Gary Vaynerchuk and pops her Lone Star long necks for the puzzles (3 for 3, Leslie passed her picks on the second draft).

Dr. Drew Says: Leslie's affinity to take Gary Vaynerchuk first speaks a lot to her oenophiliatic tendency while her love of the puzzle caps shows her playful, fun side.  Seems like she'd be a great guest at any party, particularly tailgates.
-----------------------------------------------------------
Draughter: J.R. Ewing (@longhorndave)

Best Pick: Oktoberfest (Worldwide popular event that was sure to be snapped up quickly)

Worst Pick: Body Shots (those girls in the photo left when the booze ran out)

Sleeper Pick: Tedeschi Vineyards (the real estate alone is worth this pick)

Food: C (Some brats at Oktoberfest is about it)

Beer: A (Got a brewery, the Fox, and Oktoberfest)

Wine: A (Drafted a winery, the only taken)

Spirits: B (Body shots addresses this category, but could be stronger)

Lagniappe: A (Body shot girls and the Fox add value here)

Cohesiveness: C, Two factions of a team, either Ewing goes to Maui to visit Tedeschi Vineyards with the Body Shot girls during Oktober or hangs out with Hank Hill in his Alley drinking St. Arnold with the Fox (3 of 6).

Dr. Drew Says: Ewing can't decide which direction he wants to go, either hang out with younger girls doing shots, or older guys drinking beer (in the Fox's case, very very fast).  He's still trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up.
-----------------------------------------------------------
Draughter: SirRon (@sirrong)

Best Pick: Rob and Amy Cartwright (Delivering on quality and quantity)

Worst Pick: B Vitamins (a reach with a #2 pick)

Sleeper Pick: Food Pairings (huge upside, this niche is growing)

Food: A (Food pairings and a Kitchen Stadium = home run)

Beer: A (Got the Cartwrights, More Beer, and Charlie Papazian, another winning combo).

Wine: F (Like many other participants, no real effort here)

Spirits: C (Drinking game included as well as B Vitamins)

Lagniappe: B (Kitchen Stadium carries this, as does some creativity of picks)

Cohesiveness: B, SirRon uses equipment from MoreBeer and Charlie Papazian's tips to brew some beer with Rob and Amy that pairs well with food.  By the end of the day, B Vitamins prevent a hangover from the affair (5 of 6)

Dr. Drew Says: SirRon really likes brewing and food, as his picks reflect.  Seems like he's the kind of guy everyone wants to know, you'll eat well and drink well and not have a hangover!
-----------------------------------------------------------
Draughter: Other (DosBeerigos, Alexander, Crawford and Dr. Analytics)

Best Pick: American Craft Beer Week (huge event that continues to perform)

Worst Pick: Nick Nolte's Mug Shot (performance is waning)

Sleeper Pick: Meritage (big upside on the California wine front)

Food: A (Taco Bell and Kolache Factory.  Enough Said)

Beer: A (ACBW and a Brewing Company, another big score)

Wine: A (Meritage a solid performer here)

Spirits: C (Maybe Nick Nolte had some before that mug shot)

Lagniappe: C (The mugshot adds here, but overall blah)

Cohesiveness: B, During ACBW, surely some Cigar City is drank, with a late night trip to Taco Bell, and Kolache's in the morning (4 of 6)

Dr. Drew Says: These picks seem to be all over the place, probably because four people contributed.  But it comes together nicely to represent what Americans love...beer, fast food, and Kolaches.


Admission to Statehood: December 28, 1846
Population: ~3.1M (30/50)
Capital: Des Moines
Largest City:
Des Moines
State Dance:Iowa does not have a state dance! Squares.
Well Known For: Corn, John Wayne, The Bridges of Madison County, Field of Dreams, and being the only state name that starts with two vowels

Brewery Representative: Millstream Brewing Company (Amana, Iowa)

USBP Score: 174

Established: 1985
Flagship Beer: Schild Brau
Comments: One of the joys of assembling brewery representatives for each of the fifty states is running across award winning beers of which I have no familiarity. Millstream is one of these breweries. Founded in 1985 by locals, this brewery is now owned by three employees who purchased it in 2001. Cool. Millstream’s most decorated beer and one of the brewery’s original offerings, Schild Brau, consistently medals at the Great American Beer Festival and the North American Brewers Association competitions. That's pretty good. In 2010, Schild Brau Amber earned a gold medal at the World Beer Cup in the Vienna-Style Lager category. That is really good. But does anyone know if Schild Brau translates to “Shield Beer”? 


If learning a brewery’s story is one of the joys of this USBP, then it is filling the blank space underneath the USBP score that puts this series in the doldrums. To counteract, let’s talk about something brilliant -- like beer can chicken! The first rule of beer can chicken is to get a roaster with a stainless steel canister. This type of roaster will allow for unbounded options to shove up that bird’s hole. Next you'll need to choose a beer to go up there. A Vienna Lager --
like say -- a Schild Brau would be a solid selection. A word to the wise, as a general rule I would stay away from hoppy beers. When cooked, that hoppy bitterness becomes even more concentrated and intense. Save IPAs for drinking while you cook. Now that you've taken care of the basics of beer can chicken, you'll need some direction on how to prep and cook the bird. I recommend checking out Billy Broas’ blog (billybrew.com) for a great post on beer can chicken. There you'll find basic directions and an adaptation of a recipe from Guy Fieri.... And you can drive that bus to Flavor Town, baby!

Runner Up: Court Avenue Brewing Co (154)


I live in Texas dammit

Posted by J.R. Ewing | Monday, April 02, 2012

So I'm reheating an oh so good leftover steak fajita enchilada (with a few spoonfuls of refried beans and guacamole on the side) and life is good.  Good, until that is, when I go to make a small bowl of chips and salsa.  Chips...check.  Salsa in fridge...almost out, that's okay just go the pantry.  Wait, where's the next jar of salsa.  Seriously, it's gotta be here.  It's salsa.  And I live in Texas, dammit.

No salsa.  Not behind the pasta sauce, not behind the soup, not behind the cereal, not behind whatever those flys are swarming around.  Screwed.

 
Has anyone seen me???

What happened.  I briefly considered that one of the following scenarios:
1) Wife hid salsa as a prank.  Viable b/c she was frustrated at nearly running out of syrup for her frozen waffles (note, I am the pantry stock manager).
2) Someone broke into my house and stole the jar of salsa (but nothing else).
3) Zombies



Another viable solution is that the last time I moved salsa from the pantry to the fridge, I somehow convinced myself that it was too soon to buy more salsa and I should wait.  This is dismissed as salsa does not last that long.

Some sort of failed ops plan at the grocery store is a more likely scenario.  It was on the list and missed?  My handwriting is bad.  One time I came home with Cheer detergent instead of cheese.  I remember thinking "I've never bought Cheer before, but it's on the list, so I must have been thinking I need it" (in the cart it goes).

Then I think, I live in Texas dammit, maybe there are "salsa trucks" that drive the neighborhoods for just this situation.  After waiting a few minutes, this doesn't seem to be the case.  However, the light bulb goes on.  WHY DOESN'T ANYONE DO THIS!!!!!

So here's the business model, you can take it and run with it, but it can't miss.  Salsa/Tortilla truck.  Drive the neighborhoods with a full stock of salsa and fresh tortillas.  Seriously, we have stopped into Taco Cabana before just to buy tortillas.  Usually when HEB runs out (or the machine is broke, like last week).  This is opportunity knocking.



I realize that Taco trucks are on the path of this, but they usually aren't mobile.  At least down my street.

Book it, the future of Texas cuisine.  Salsa/Tortilla trucks.  You've been told!  I live in Texas Dammit!


Admission to Statehood: May 29, 1848
Population: ~5.7M
Capital: Madison
Largest City: Milwaukee
State Dance: POLKA!

Well Known For: Dairy, cheese, those cheese wedge hats, cheese curds, Oscar Mayer, Happy Days, and beer drinking

Brewery Representative: Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co Miller Brewing Company (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

USBP Score: 221

Established: 1855
Flagship Beer: Miller Lite
Comments: NEWSFLASH: Miller Brewing Company is the The Ferm's USBP State Representative for Wisconsin! Shocked? Awed? Shockawed? Here is the deal, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company actually scored higher using my formula, but after creating the requisite graphics and preparing this write-up, I noticed that Leinenkugel's was purchased by Miller Brewing Company in 1988. While Leinies are a somewhat respectable macrobrew, common sense suggests to award Wisconsin to Miller -- who finished 3rd in USBP scoring on its own.


"Sorry, Leinenkugel, but [Miller is] arguably Wisconsin's biggest invention to date." - Shilcutt

What more should I offer on Miller? You probably know Miller Brewing Company is owned by the UK based SABMiller. However, did you know Miller had been owned by Philip Morris, had been seen an attempt of purchase from PepsiCo, and that the so-called Plank-Road Brewery was real and actually where Frederick Miller founded the brewery in 1855? If I told you that the original brewery included man made caves where Miller's beer was stored before the advent of commercially viable mechanical refrigeration, would that be something you would be interested in?


I know, these days it is all about the marketing. Miller and Wisconsin. Riding in to the USBP Capitol on the Common Sense ticket:


Runner Up: Stevens Point Brewery (220)


California - United States of Beer Project

Posted by SirRon | Monday, March 19, 2012

EDITOR'S NOTE: Alas, our dead readers, you are reading the last of the USBP retreads. California. Wisconsin is in the queue. I literally may or may not have an ironic selection for The Badger State.




Admission to Statehood: September 9, 1850
Population: ~37.3M
Capital: Sacramento
Largest City: Los Angeles
State Dance: "West Coast Swing" (AND Square Dance)

Well Known For: Gold, mountain ranges, wine, freeway traffic, poplocking, Ronald Reagan, and Dr. Dre.

Brewery Representative: Anchor Brewing Company (San Francisco, California)

USBP Score: 232

Established: 1896
Flagship Beer: Anchor Steam
Comments: Anchor Steam was part of the foundation of my craft beer education. Prior to discovering it on my grocery shelf, I had probably been no more adventurous than Guinness, Corona, and Shiner Bock.


Anchor Brewing has survived earthquakes, fires, Prohibition, and the post-Prohibition wasteland ruled by light lagers from megabreweries. In 1965, Frederick Louis Maytag III (“Fritz”) bought the struggling brewery for a few thousand dollars. During the process of cleaning up, making improvements, and learning the brewing process himself, Fritz created an original American beer style, the modern California Common Beer. Fritz’s beer was a version of the historic “steam beers,” which are beers brewed with lager yeasts at warm temperatures (normally lager yeast is fermented between 48-55F).


Fritz Maytag -- also a viticulturist (York Creek Vineyards), Director of the Brewers Association, and Chairman of the Board of the Maytag Dairy Farms (Maytag Blue Cheese) -- is considered by most to be the father of modern microbreweries. The state of California is rich with worthy candidates for state brewery representative. I believe the USBP formula got it right here. While Fritz recently sold Anchor, the brewery still stands as not only an inspiration for many California brewing entrepreneurs, but also a landmark to brewers and beer drinkers across America.


Runner Up: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (202)


EDITOR'S NOTE: Another day, another recycled post. If you missed yesterday's update, I have been rebuilding the USBP rankings after I lost them after my computer drank a martini. Just as when a spouse dies and the other tends to die sooner than she would otherwise, my portable hard drive died less than a week later. I've moved and given the series its own page. You can easily access it now using the tabs at the top of the site.

I almost feel obligated to tell you what I'm eating or drinking in order to give this post a new car smell or something.

This beer pours a vivid golden blonde with a soft, pillowy head. Sexy lacing. Remarkable spicy aroma with maybe just a little old newsprint and pine detected. Excellent boozy palate, with a hint of baking soda and circus peanut. Creamy mouthfeel and bone dry finish. Score: 3.89/5.

No, not Minnesota's beer below... the one I'm drinking. At least that is something that I told you.




Admission to Statehood: May 11, 1858
Population: ~5.3M
Capital: Saint Paul
Largest City: Minneapolis
State Dance: "Square Dance" (yessssssss)

Well Known For: Little House on the Prairie, Land O’ Lakes butter, The artist formerly and currently known as Prince, The Golden Girls, gophers, groundhogs, ducks, geese, caribou, bison

Brewery Representative: August Schell Brewing Company (New Ulm, Minnesota)

USBP Score: 224

Established: 1860
Flagship Beer: Original
Comments: Like our Colorado USBP Brewery representative Coors, August Schell Brewing Company was founded in the 1800s (before Prohibition). Like Coors, its flagship beer is named "Original." Unlike Coors, the brewery is still family-owned. In fact among family-owned breweries, Schell's (1860) is second in age only to Yuengling & Son (1829)


August Schell Brewing Company is the largest and oldest brewery in the state of Minnesota. Despite their respectable line of craft beers and seasonals, the Schells does not fit the Brewer’s Association’s definition of craft brewer (have an "all malt flagship beer" or have "at least 50% of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor").


With Minnesota's representative, we now have a pre-Prohibition, family owned brewery that makes both craft and traditional American lagers. Schell's holds the highest USBP score, making the brewery a very worthy candidate for President pro tempore.

Runner Up: Summit Brewing Company (182)