Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Beer and Lupulin

Beer and Lupulin

 photo Beer20Pilsner20glass_zpstimliown.jpg

I am grateful for all who follow the blog! Thank you very much! One of the things that I have mentioned from time to time, is that I also am involved with two radio podcasts, The Key West Music Show - Conch Rockin' in the Keys and  Key West Beer Tales - The Sum of All Beers.

Today's blog is a bit of a side bar, with a slant and a tip of the hat to Key West Beer Tales - The Sum of All Beers!

To hear podcasts of Key West Beer Tales - The Sum of All Beers, grab yourself a beer, get ready to laugh, and enjoy a podcast!

The subject here is actually quite interesting and even those who don't imbibe in alcohol might find interesting!

Have you ever run into someone who when they drink beer that are fun and happy, but if they drink hard alcohol they become a complete asshole? I use that last word only because it's quite appropriate. They drink beer, smile, laugh, crack jokes, tell funny stories, and often go on, stimulated with friendly conversations and sharing ideas. On the days they drink hard alcohol they curse, talk badly about people, start arguments, some get in fights, some get arrested. Of course I'm certainly not talking about everyone, mind you, but we've all come across such individuals from time to time.

Why is this? Some will say alcohol. No argument there, however the question still looms as to why it happens with hard alcohol and not so much with beer, both of which have alcohol. Others will say it's a psychological condition. No argument here either. I used to see a girl named Sandy when I lived in Miami, who after she polished off several cocktails, she was ready to conquer the world. Her personality did a complete 180! Perplexed about this, I enquired with my cousin Bryan, who's a psychologist. Bryan's answer was immediate, short, and to the point. "She's a pathological alcoholic".  Okay, so this Sandy had some issues.

However, the quest of finding out why people react differently between beer and hard alcohol still remains unanswered, at this stage of the blog. Lets look a little further for the answer.

How about we look at Scotch, Irish Whiskey, and beer for a moment. The beginning process for all three is virtually exactly the same, as are the ingredients at that stage. Barley malt and water and the making of what's known in the industries as wort. What happens after that is perhaps where the crux of the difference lies. For the sake of not being too technical, especially for those who might find the process tedious reading, the next ingredient added to beer, is the bitter and flavoring agent, hops. No whiskeys use hops at all, however beer does. Without hops, beer would be an exceedingly sweet beverage. With whiskeys, the distillation process takes that sweetness out, so they don't need a bittering agent, nor do any other distilled beverages. Additionally, hops also act as an antibacterial  preserving agent to beer, so with beer it carries several functions.

A little background on hops. Hops, Humulus Lupulus, being their Latin name, are a member of the Cannabaceae family of plants. This family consists of eleven sub-groups, of which also include the Celtis and Cannibis plants. Like citrus plants, these family of plants are so closely related they can be grafted.

The active ingredient in hops is called lupulin. Lupulin is the powder that comes from processing the hop corns. Lupulin is said to make people relax and frankly, be happy and inspirational. World famous beer authority, Fred Eckhardt calls it "The Lupulin Effect". Who'd disagree with Mr. Eckhardt? In regards to their sister plant, cannabis, who's active ingredient is THC, the inspirational quality seems to be along the same vain, albeit lupulin is not an intoxicant, however it is a stimulant. Doctors have also used lupulin for medicinal purposes for centuries, as well.  It is here that you find the reasons as to why beer has that happy effect on people, where hard alcohols do not.
Lupulin makes you happy!

 photo Hop20Farm20Kent_zpskql4mtcb.jpg

I recall years ago learning that the English defined "Beer" as being a malt beverage brewed with hops. "Ale", was for a short time, what they defined the malt beverage made without hops. This was in the 1500's. That didn't last long however. Soon after ale and beer are virtually one and the same, and in the 1840's ale being identified as the top fermented style of beer, while the new lager was the bottom fermented variety.  It was the Dutch and the Flemish Belgians who introduced hops to England. The earliest recording of hops was around 822 in a German Abby.

Today hops are grown around the world, the major producers are Germany and the United States.

But that doesn't matter really as far as today's blog goes today. That's another story.  The point being, Hops are what makes you happy!

So raise a glass of ale or lager and lets all give a toast to Humulus Lululus, the great hop plant!

 photo IMG_7097_zps0pvslf6h.jpg
Lupulin in action! Do these people in Key West look like they're not having fun?
 photo pub_zpszmpjlqw9.jpg
Lupulin in action! Do these people drinking Guinness look like they're not having fun?
 photo Pub20Henry20The20Horse_zpshczp4qqh.jpg
Lupulin in action in England! Even the horse is having a good time!
 photo Bar20Hawaiian_zpse60jnogb.jpg
Bar in Hawaii ... Having fun!
 photo oktoberfest_muenchen_1662_zpsoyrrcst8.jpg

Oktoberfest - Augustiner Breau Tent - Happy people indeed!

 photo Saloon_zpsr0deknk6.jpg
Diamond Bell Saloon in the Wild West... having fun with Lupulin!

 photo 2c7e847a-e5a5-4101-812b-b19ea50e3f62_zps8yvepxa1.jpg

Bar Jerez in Torremolinos Spain... having a blast  with lupulin!

 photo Beer20Italy_zpseel5q2xi.jpg
Lupulin in Italy!

 photo bar-el-federal_bares-de-buenos-aires_zps0o5icasw.jpg

Bar Federal, Buenos Aires ... getting down with lupulin

 photo Beer20in20Japan_zpslmfmyyns.jpg
Laughter and quaffing beer laced with lupulin in Japan!

 photo Beer20de20Paris_zpsk8gk7al4.jpg

Philosophical discussions stimulated  by Lupulin at L'Academie de la Biere on Boulevard de Port Royal, Paris

 photo Hops2_zpsjy7yk9am.jpg

Hops are our good friend!

 photo Beer20British20Pint_zpsoyfv1jgt.jpg

Again, To hear episodes of Key West Beer Tales - The Sum of All Beers, grab yourself a beer, get ready to laugh, and enjoy a podcast via iTunes!

Lupulin makes you happy!

So, be happy. Drink a beer!

Thank you for reading the blog!


Key West Chris

For additional reading on "The Lupulin Effect" be sure to check out this piece written by world class beer authority Fred Eckhardt.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Trop Rock Music Festival At Sea

Well, this is going to be a bit different! On April 16th 2016 the brand new Norwegian Escape  will be leaving Miami for Nassau, Tortola (BVI), and St. Thomas (USVI) and the Shanty Hounds, Dani Hoy and myself, will be aboard as part of the Trop Rock Music Festival At Sea, on April 16th, 2016!

 photo cruise202_zpsynkemtjy.jpg

Getting a bit more specific, the cruise will be aboard the Norwegian Cruise Line's brand new ship, Escape. When I say brand new, I mean brand new! It's so new it's not even built yet! It's currently under construction in Papenburg Germany by the Meyer Werft ship building firm, a firm that has been building ships since 1795. In addition to having faith in German products, plus the added fact that this company is still family owned and in it's seventh generation, gives me a serious feeling of confidence.

Norwegian's Escape is due to be launched in October of this year, which also give a vote of confidence, in that if there are any growing pains, they'll be ironed out well before April 2016.  The ship has a capasity of 4200 and will be the largest ship ever based in Miami. We're talking a state of the art ship that will be brand new.

In addition, ... get this.. Escape will also have "Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville at Sea". This is the first floating Margaritaville at sea that will feature both the restaurant, as well as the 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar! Norwegian Cruise Line is also calling it a "Waterfront Music Venue". In the future Norwegian Cruise Lines( NCL ) will expand Margaritavilles to other cruise ships, as well as two of their destination locations. Hummmm. A Trop Rock cruise, Margaritaville music venue on board, does anyone want to place bets as to where we're playing on the ship?

Destinations will be St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Tortola, British Virgin Islands, and Nassau, Bahamas!!!!! WOW!

 photo Margaritaville20at20Sea_zps12ptjkxy.jpg

Margaritaville at Sea/5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar on the Norwegian Cruise Line's newest ship, Escape. Photo by NCL.

Naturally, as this is the Trop Rock Music Festival At Sea, in addition to us there will be other trop musical acts as well! Trop Rock Junkies, Barefoot Richie Starrett, Deanna Brown, Jimmy Stowe and the Stowaways, Matt Vrba, Tim Charron, Pop Tart and the Flip Flops, What's Going On, Florida Gulf Coast, Doug Walker, not forgetting Harry Teaford of Radio A1A, and writer and humorist Sammie Mayes.

I've always wanted to play on a cruise! Several years ago a friend was promoting me and when she put a cruise together, she didn't include me. Close but no cigar. Well, now my "ship has come in" and my ship will be easily the finest ship the world has to offer, The Escape! On April 16th 2016 we depart Miami for St. Thomas (USVI), Tortola BVI), and Nassau. Big thanks to Harry Teaford of Radio A1A!!!

 Anyone who is interested in joining us, please do!

Seriously, it doesn't get any better than this! Live Trop Music, a brand new absolute state of the art cruise ship sailing the Caribbean in the spring. Come and join us!!!!

Contact Deanna McElwee at 404 994 3656 or at

 photo Schooner5_zpsnzczxvso.jpg