Beer Wares

Wares by | Oct 2007 | Issue #10

Widmer Brothers Online Games

There’s only so much dexterity and coordination that flies from beer-drinkin’ fingers, but anyone could easily—not to mention dangerously—play these online games designed by Widmer Brothers Brewing Co. Flash-based and prize-dangling, the Widmer Pub Crawl and the Widmer Beer Golf are seriously fun time-wasters to keep in the procrastination arsenal.

Settle down; Pub Crawl’s not your typical pub crawl. The game puts you in the beer delivery truck with brewmasters Kurt and Rob (you hear their voices) with the clock-ticking task of making rounds in downtown Portland. The preparatory ‘Pimp Your Beer Truck’ step is pretty entertaining. Choose a preset radio station (from nu-metal to hip-hop-meets-bhangra), spray a base coat (d’ya think my purple truck earns cred?), add a kickin’ detail (those flames are tempting) and pile on the tinted windows and spinning hubs. After that, you have to drive the truck around town (not super straightforward) to amusing soundbytes: “That was a close one, Rob,” “No kittens were harmed delivering that beer,” and “You know this beer isn’t going to deliver itself!” I love the boisterous crowd cheering “YAY!” with every pub you visit. Top scorers snag a Widmer hoodie sweatshirt and all players are entered in a random monthly drawing for a t-shirt. The purple paintjob gets style points, right?

Widmer Beer Golf is miniature golf gone beery, with a surprisingly good physics simulator and a nice cheerleading section for hole-in-ones. Expect a beer keg instead of a windmill and Widmer bottles as obstacles. The uneven landscapes are accurately frustrating, you can definitely overshoot, and the sound of the ball hitting water (some dude saying “sploosh”) makes me crack up every time.

Littlearth Beer Cap Belts

After a hearty tasting session, recycling your bottles and cans probably makes you feel like a badass treehugger. But take a closer look at those colorful, branded bottle caps strewn in the wake. If you’re wondering how to take eco-friendliness one step further, don one of Littlearth’s accessories that reincarnates the caps into beer-emblazoned belts. The 15-year-old ecofashion brand, founded by Rob Brandegee and Ava DeMarco, takes otherwise discarded material and transforms them into stylish wares. To wit, this belt is constructed with a recycled rubber strap, a car seat buckle, and cleaned used bottle caps scrounged from local Pittsburgh bars. Your waist—any size from 28.5″ to 43.5″ is accommodated—can sport an assortment of toppers from Oregon’s Full Sail Brewing to Molson Dry.

Although a random grab bag of caps is somewhat tempting in a fashion-is-risky kind of way, I gave Littlearth a call to see if one could get a custom belt created from BeerAdvocate’s own stash of bottle caps. According to them it can be done, but their manufacturing process as of the last year requires new, flat (not crimped) caps to stud the belts. Wait, that doesn’t exactly sound like recycling to me anymore… but hey, it still looks cool. So if you can weasel some unused caps from some favorite breweries, look forward to your belly slung in its own personalized strap. [Beer Cap Belt, $34. littlearth.com]

Louis Pasteur’s Studies on Fermentation: The Diseases of Beer, Their Causes, and the Means of Preventing Them

Louis Pasteur commences the preface to his esteemed Études sur la Bière thus: “Our misfortunes inspired me with the idea of these researches. I undertook them immediately after the war of 1870, and have since continued them without interruption, with the determination of perfecting them, and thereby benefiting a branch of industry wherein we are undoubtedly surpassed by Germany.”

Published in 1876, this tome of painstaking experiments with hand-drawn figures and illustrations was a breakthrough for scientific-minded European brewers around the turn of the 20th century, explaining the biological basis of fermentation as well as the impossibility of spontaneous generation.

BeerBooks.com has dutifully scanned Frank Faulkner’s original English translation from 1879, sanctioned by Pasteur himself, for this reprint. Between the old-fashioned typewriter fontography and detailed diagrams of flasks and yeast cells, this is truly a beautiful, beergeeky book. With sections like “Fermentation of dextro-tartrate of lime” and “Growth of Mucor racemosus in a state of purity,” Pasteur’s studies are a must for beer historians and brewers alike. [Louis Pasteur’s Studies on Fermentation: The Diseases of Beer, Their Causes, and the Means of Preventing Them, $24.45. beerbooks.com]