Rough Draught: German caps and space chimps vs. the liberal media

Christopher Bedford Former Editor in Chief, The Daily Caller News Foundation
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Here at The Daily Caller, we focus on the important things. The real heart of the matter. The things the lamestream media in their suburban Virginia hamlets ignore: The street. And on the street these days, funny German caps and beer names involving unwilling space chimp heroes are what’s in. We’re dead serious — we’re journalists.

And prepare yourself — this issue of Rough Draught is a history lesson like you haven’t heard since your last Newt Gingrich lecture.

Erste Dampfbierbrauerei Zwiesel’s Dampfbier:

Translating to First Steam Beer Brewery [of] Zwiesel’s Steam Beer, this is a bottle we had never come across before, and we were immediately drawn to its red and white Grolsch-looking cap. How our Pakistani friends came across this strange brew, we don’t know, but they don’t ID us, so we don’t bother them back.

This type of beer hails from Bavaria where, the German Beer Institute tell us, the style disappeared in the early 1900s, only reappearing when Erste (“1.” on the bottle) Dampfbierbrauerei relaunched it in 1989. Made with barley from Bavaria — as it traditionally was — Dampfbier is a warm-fermented ale. As such, “the brew produces copious amounts of foam and bubbles on the surface in the vat. As these surface bubbles burst, they give the appearance — at least to the non-brewer —that the ferment is boiling, even ‘steaming.'”

In the tradition of their woodland ancestors, the boys from Bavaria have a pretty simple product, but boy is it worth a taste. Cracking open with a Champagne pop, it begins with a thick, off-white head that forms over a burnt orange-colored body.

And the nose? Well, to quote one Daily Caller connoisseur (read: American college grad), “very … beery.”

Really, though. The nose carried that distinct fresh draught smell that we’re pretty sure is the Bavarian malt kicking us in the face. A closer sniff also reveals a pattern of orange in this beer, reminding us of those delicious candy chocolate oranges we never buy but eat whenever we find them.

On the palate, the steam beer continues to deliver in surprising ways, immediately causing a slight puckering with its citrus, orange sour that prickles the tongue like a sparkling wine. Was this expected from the forests near the Czech Republic? No. But it was welcome.

Our woodland friend weighs in at 5 percent alcohol by volume. And at $6.99 a pint, this isn’t the kind of beer you order for most parties (epic parties excluded), and is best enjoyed with a few co-workers and a heaping plate of radioactive boar.

21st Amendment Brewery’s Bitter American Session Ale

What those Germans do in Germany is their business. Except when it becomes our business. Then it’s time to get down to business. But what of American history? Don’t panic, bros: The patriots at 21st Amendment Brewing Company in San Francisco have us covered with an epic space saga starring America’s own Ham the Chimp.

Captured in Cameroon and bought by the U.S. Air Force, Ham — code-named No. 65 and Chop Chop Chang — beat out 39 other chimps to, in 1961, become the first American chimp launched into space. After he returning from his successful ride, Ham enjoyed a period of TV celebrity and retired comfortably at the North Carolina Zoo. And in Ham’s honor, and in honor of thousands more unwitting animals heroes throughout the ages, 21st Amendment Brewery brings us Bitter American.

“Bitter American,” the handsome packaging declares, “is our long-overdue tribute to unsung, unwitting heroes everywhere.”

Opening up with a medium head, Bitter American — an extra pale ale — has a light, brown-orange color and a heroically hoppy, bitter nose not unlike the nose on a classic British bitter.

Sharp and bitter on the palate, the beer coats the tongue and has a light feel that doesn’t overwhelm. And at 42 IBUs and only 4.4 percent ABV, this, the brewers tell us, is “the perfect beer to have on hand when you have history to make.”

On sale at $8.99 for a sixer, this is a good brew to keep in the fridge for a relaxed summer afternoon. If you’re lucky, you can also find it on tap. Just don’t forget to raise a glass or five to Ham and all the other unwitting American heroes out there!

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Christopher Bedford

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