Archive for June, 2010

Tasty Efficient Beer: Coming Soon?

Monday, June 21st, 2010

From The India Times:

But now, European Union has invested 3.4 million Euros in a yeast research program to develop new products for the food industry, according to a report from Gizmag. Beer gets much of its taste from yeast, as do many other foods like cheese and sausage… The purpose of the EU’s program is to produce healthier yeasts that also taste better, reports Discovery News.

That means light beers could have as much flavour as their full-caloried brethren.

So, scientists are searching for ways to get the calorie count down and flavor up. One would have thought that the brewers themselves would be working on this, but the well-capitalized ones (Anheuser InBev and MillerCoors) aren’t necessarily putting a lot of R&D into improving their beers’ taste.

It’s also kind of surprising that the EU is making the investment at a time when money is sort of tight. They must think it’ll offer a high rate of return. Again, not sure why an American Company isn’t leading the charge. We’re probably a few years off, but it’s definitely something to look forward to.

Calories in Gin: Does Brand Make Any Difference?

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Unlike vodka, which is typically 80 proof, though sometimes 100 proof, gin brands vary in strength between those two numbers. So, yes, brand absolutely matters. And like distilled spirits, gin has zero carbs, juniper berry flavoring.

calories in gin martiniGin Calories and Proof by Brand

Brand Calories per Shot Proof
Beefeater Dry 114 94
Bombay Dry 104 86
Bombay Sapphire 114 94.4
Booth’s 109 90
Burnett’s 97 80
Gordon’s 97 80
Hendrick’s 107 88
Seagram’s 97 80
Tanqueray 115 94.6

How Many Calories are in a Gin and Tonic?

Obviously, that’s a loaded question since all gin and tonics are not made equally. If we use a breakdown of 6 ounces tonic and 2 ounces of 94 proof gin (a 3:1 ratio poured into a highball glass), its yields 194 calories. But, you could use more gin, weaker gin, less tonic, substitute club soda, and any other number of variables, so go ahead and take your best guess and put that into the virtual mixologist.

How Many Calories are in a Martini?

Another tough question. But again, we’re going to play around with some common numbers and throw those into the calculator app.

  • Dirty Martini: 135 calories (1.5 oz Bombay Sapphire, .25 oz extra dry vermouth .25 oz. olive juice, 3 olives)
  • Dry Martini: 132 calories (1.5 oz Bombay Sapphire, .5 oz. extra dry vermouth, 1 olive)

So, what’s the conclusion here? That I used too many rhetorical questions in this post. And that that the brand makes some difference due to strength. For the calorie conscious, it’s more important how much gin you’re drinking and what you’re mixing it with.

Movie Review: Bottle Shock

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Movies will be reviewed when they are seen, which is to say no particular order at all. I’m by no means a movie critic, but watch a lot of movies and I’ll discuss those pertinent to the site.Bottle Shock movie

I was somewhat surprised that Bottle Shock didn’t rate highly on Rotten Tomatoes (48%). But a lot of the rotten reviews focused on comparing it to Sideways, the other semi-popular wine movie of the 2000s. Sideways was an awesome study of men, relationships, character, and why Pinot Noir is superior Merlot, as Miles would have you believe. There was even speculation that the “Sideways Effect” affected American consumer preferences.

So Bottle Shock wasn’t Sideways, but there was an intriguing story: how California’s Napa Valley got on the worldwide “map” as a region for premier wine. I’m sure there were some artistic liberties taken, but the competition in Paris seemed to be the tipping point for California wine. Beyond the Chateau Montelena’s Chardonnay, the other winner from the competition was the eponymous Stag’s Leap Wineries (founded 1972), its region now widely recognized as producing premier Cabernet Sauvignon.

Some other observations:

Gustavo and the intern from Bottle Shock

It was all downhill from here for Gustavo

  • The best actor was Bill Pullman, playing the ascetic owner of Chateau Montelena. The rest of the actors were marginal, with the exception of Alan Rickman, who may or not have been overacting.
  • I was left wondering what happened to Gustavo’s character: first he makes an unbelievable wine, but gets into a fight with his employer and suddenly he and his wine become marginalized. Apparently, it’s because the real Gustavo didn’t appear on the vineyard until after the story’s timeline so Gustavo was a real person whose story was made up and thus the screenwriter forgot to put any closure on his character.
  • Its probably not a good idea when the protagonist is an entity (a vineyard) and none of its members are likable. It’s like making a movie about Duke winning a basketball championship.
  • The Parisian shop owner and organizer of the climactic competition was named Steven Spurrier. I was really confused in the movie’s opening minutes wondering when and why coach Steve Spurrier owned a wine shop in Paris.
  • Chateau Montelena seems like a neat place to visit. Next time I’m in Napa, I’ll stay in Calistoga and will check it out.

Conclusion: Recommended with reservations. If you’re into wine, it’s pretty awesome. If you’re just a movie buff, it’s a pass. After writing this, the 48% seems a bit more justified.

Blame Spanx for the Drop in Light Beer Sales?

Friday, June 4th, 2010
downward trending light beer sales

The Top 3 Efficient Beers

Interesting article in today’s Wall Street Journal. Eric Felten, who is a regular drink columnist, hypothesizes why Bud Light Sales are off 5.3% and Miller Lite off 7.5%. After establishing the beers are about equally crappy, he says maybe the drop in sales is due to:

  • The economy
  • Better public awareness of dull flavor
  • Bad Advertising
  • Spanx

The economy argument is tough to make without knowing sales of more discounted brands like Natty Light or Ice to see if consumers were substituting. Better awareness of flavor — maybe can explain a little bit of the change, but the slow shift to craft beer is not going to have this sort of impact so quickly.

The advertising argument is kind of interesting. I remember back when Bud Light had the “Wassup” commercials. Those were effective. I asked my friend’s 11 year old brother what those commercials were advertising and he immediately said Bud Light. As Felton points out, the Miller Lite ads where guy ignores his attractive girlfriend for his beer are idiotic. And the Coors Light selling point of the blue mountains for coldness is likewise idiotic. Treating your customers like idiots is a bad strategy.

Spanx before and after

Awesome Idea or Setting Yourself up for Rejection?

Lastly is the Spanx argument. I wasn’t familiar with Spanx until recently and I’m not really sure what to think except that I can’t see it becoming mainstream. I just don’t see the point of taking a stance of “F it” — I’m going to be a slob and try to cover it up when clothed. For the ladies out there — if you were undressing a guy for the first time and learned he was wearing this, would that be a mood killer?

There are ways to minimize drinking’s effect on the body. Don’t drink too many inefficient beers — you can always switch over after a few tasty inefficient ones and are less discerning and opt for dry wines and mixed drinks with low calorie mixers.