Entries in Beer (6)


'World's Best Beer' Available in Stores for First Time

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Beer aficionados are pouncing at the rare opportunity to buy one of the world’s most elusive and revered beers for the first — and perhaps only — time in the United States.

Westvleteren XII, often hailed as the “world’s best beer” by reviewers, is produced by Trappist monks in Belgium and sold at the abbey of Saint Sixtus in the Belgian countryside. The beer can usually only be purchased by reservation at the abbey — and reservations are extremely hard to come by.

But when the abbey found itself hurting for money for an expensive renovation, the monks reluctantly made the decision to sell the beer outside of the walls of the monastery on a one-time-only basis.

Beginning Wednesday, limited quantities of the beer are being sold in the U.S. and abroad. A special gift basket, which includes six bottles and two glasses from the monastery, retails for $84.99.

“The phone has been ringing off the hook,” Megan McBrayer, manager at New York City’s Beer Table Pantry, told ABC News.  She said the store received 24 cases of the beer and has already sold many of them.

“It’s been something that [beer lovers] have wanted for a long time,” she said, “but it’s been completely unattainable.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Japanese Brewery Introduces Soft-Serve Beer

Hemera/Thinkstock(TOKYO) -- With Japan facing the prospect of yet another sweltering summer with limited power and air conditioning, one beverage company has come up with a creative solution to stay cool: soft serve beer.

The drink, concocted by brewing giant Kirin, tops off the classic “Ichiban Shibori” beer with a frozen foam that looks a lot like frozen yogurt.

Kirin spokesman Tadayuki Higashi describes it as “putting a lid” on beer.  With the frozen top, he says, the brew stays ice cold for 30 minutes -- much longer than the typical time it takes to down a pint.

“People expect beer foam to be soft and frothy, so the frozen top is a little surprising at first,” Higashi said.  “The drink is indescribable.”

Kirin came up with the idea for the frozen draft to create buzz among younger drinkers who have increasingly opted for trendy cocktails instead of beer.  Higashi said the company wanted to give customers a “new experience” with a classic drink.

The soft-serve top is made from beer alone and is available in more than 100 locations throughout Japan, including baseball stadiums.  Kirin is hoping to expand the frozen machines to 1,000 locations by the end of the year.

“We think this is a drink that will sell year round,” Higashi said.  “In the winter, it will be like eating shaved ice, that tastes like beer.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Beer Cooler, Beacon Save Shipwrecked Fishing Group

Jeffrey Coolidge/Getty Images(SYDNEY) -- When friends Scott Smiles and Rick Matthews set out on a fishing trip with their 11-year-old sons off the coast of Sydney, Australia, on Thursday, they had no idea the cooler used to carry their drinks, along with quick thinking, would save their lives.

The group was five miles offshore when the men noticed black smoke in their 40-foot cruiser.  The boat was on fire and sinking fast.

Matthews woke the boys who’d been napping, strapped them into their life jackets and all three leapt into the water.  With no time left, and no life jacket on, Smiles grabbed a GPS emergency beacon, threw the cooler overboard and jumped. “Just something to float on. I knew we would be in the water…the boat was almost vertical,” Smiles said.

Within minutes, their boat disappeared from the surface of the sea.  With no life jackets, the cooler was all Matthews and Smiles had to keep their heads above water.  The four had been clinging to the bobbing cooler for 45 minutes, in waters 200 feet deep, when a rescue helicopter spotted them and dropped an emergency life raft. "I’d seen the helicopter, then there was a big bang, the thing hit the water and this big raft almost hit me,” said Smiles’ son Riley.

All four were taken back to shore aboard a police rescue boat.  Matthews was treated for chemical burns on his legs from leaking marine fuel. Smiles and the two boys were unharmed.

Emergency officials say if Smiles hadn’t grabbed the emergency beacon, which told rescuers precisely where to find them, the four likely would have drowned.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


UK Cops Arrest 19 After Offering Them Free Beer

Comstock/Thinkstock(CHESTERFIELD, U.K.) -- How do you crack a cold case? Try a cold case.

Nineteen Britons wanted on various crimes were arrested after being offered free beer by police in an undercover operation, according to Derbyshire (U.K.) Constabulary.

Dozens of suspects – for crimes including robbery and sexual assault — got letters from a marketing firm inviting them to call the company in exchange for a free case of beer, police said.

The calls were put through to officers at Chesterfield Police Station, who arranged a time to deliver the beer at the caller’s home, police said. At the appointed time and place, the caller was arrested.

“These suspects are people who have managed to evade arrest for some time, so we have used different tactics to find them,” said Chief Inspector Graham McLaughlin. “It has been very cost-effective, as it can take a lot of time and money to track people down.”

The operation was part of Operation Rocky, which targets “serious acquisitive crime across north Derbyshire,” a police statement said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Oktoberfest Begins Amid Euro-Zone Inflation 

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(MUNICH) -- Raise a glass—Oktoberfest has begun, but not without a price.

Amid euro-zone inflation, Munich mayor Christian Ude tapped the keg in Munich Saturday at 12 p.m. local time, marking the beginning of the 178th annual beer festival that lasts 17 days.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Oktoberfest inflation, measured by the cost of transportation, a liter of beer and half a grilled chicken, is expected to rise 3.3 percent from 2010.

The rising cost is above the European Central Bank’s 2 percent target for euro-zone inflation, according to UniCredit economist Alexander Koch.

Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer fest.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama's Irish Eyes Smile in Ancestral Hometown

Irish Government - Pool /Getty Images(MONEYGALL, Ireland) -- President Obama Monday visited the town of his ancestors, the tiny town of Moneygall, about 90 miles from Dublin, to learn more about his family heritage and to pursue a perfect pint.

"The first time I had Guinness is when I came to the Shannon airport. We were flying into Afghanistan and so stopped in Shannon," the president said as he hoisted a pint of Guinness in a Moneygall pub. "It was the middle of the night. And I tried one of these and I realized it tastes so much better here than it does in the States...What I realized was, is that you guys are -- You're keeping all the best stuff here!"

The last time a U.S. president was so effusively welcomed to Ireland as a favorite was 1963 when President John Kennedy traveled there and called it "the best four days of his life." Almost 50 years later, another president with Irish roots is receiving the warm welcome.

The president's journey to Moneygall began in 2007 when American genealogist Megan Slovenyak discovered the connection on Obama's maternal side.

"I had no idea what his heritage would be. I was curious about how far back you would go to find an immigrant," Slovenyak said. "Because we tend to elect people with deep colonial roots in America. And so I was curious about that. And so the first immigrant, the most recent one I encountered was Falmouth Kearney, who was his third grandfather who happened to be from Ireland.  And as an Irish American I was pretty tickled about that."

Slovenyak sent her information to Moneygall, to Canon Stephen Neill who was able to track the connection in the registries of the Templeharry Anglican Church here. And indeed, Neill found records of the baptism of President Obama's great, great, great grandfather Falmouth Kearney, the son of shoemaker Joseph Kearney.

"I was thrilled," Neill tells ABC News. "A shiver went down my spine."

Moneygall has become for Obama what Crawford, Texas was for George W. Bush -- a small unknown town in the middle of nowhere transformed into a tourist attraction.  Obama's ancestral home on the main road in Moneygall -- rebuilt after the Kearneys left Ireland -- is now one of many tourist stops in the tiny town. On the bar at Ollie Hayes' Pub sits a bust of the president; on the wall hang a 2008 Obama-Biden campaign poster and a picture of a smiling Obama hoisting a Guinness.

While by some measures the president is only 3 percent Irish, that hasn't stopped Moneygall -- a town of just 298 people -- from going all out to welcome the president. In preparation for Monday’s visit, the town was scrubbed clean, painted and repaved. American flags and Obama souvenirs -- T-shirts, pens, hats, buttons -- are everywhere.

President Obama greeted Henry Healy, 26, with a warm hug. The shy, unassuming accountant is Obama's 8th cousin and has thus become a local celebrity.

Healy hopes Moneygall –- a town that has suffered tremendously from Ireland's severe economic problems -- will change with all the attention.

"At the end of the day I keep emphasizing that it is the village of Moneygall that the president has chosen to come [visit], not to see me or anyone in particular," he said. "It is to come back and see his ancestry.  And I'm just delighted to play some part of this good news story."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio