Beerman for Aug. 23, 2012

A value vodka diversion

For Weekly SurgeAugust 20, 2012 

I’ve picked up Frïs Vodka twice now, and I’m a believer.

When it comes to vodka, I’ve been partial to Tito’s, Ketel One, and South Carolina’s own Firefly. Absolut and Skyy aren’t bad. Neither is Smirnoff. Grey Goose is famous, for good reason. I’ve also sampled Cîroc, from none other than Sean Combs, and I think it might become another favorite.

But my reason for trying Frïs had little to with my previous drinking experiences. This time, I wanted to save a buck or two. Before my purchase, I pulled out my Android phone and searched the Internet for reviews. I found a positive review of Frïs from what looked like a possibly reliable source – enough of an excuse.

A 1.75-liter bottle of Frïs had a cash price of $15.97 at Green’s, 2850 North Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach. Of course, Ketel One is usually more than twice that much.

When I got home, I thought the quality of Frïs wasn’t quite like that of Tito’s or Ketel One, but close enough to enjoy. Frïs has the flavor profile of good vodkas, with hints of minerals and marshmallow. Of course, with vodka, those hints are always subtle. Some of my bourbon-drinking friends insist vodka doesn’t taste like anything, but I disagree.

I tend to think of so-called “value” as a good balance of decent quality and reasonable price. In that case, Frïs is my pick for the best-value vodka.

Heineken’s 007 packs

On Oct. 1, James Bond-themed Heineken 12-, 18-, and 24-packs will appear in advance of the new 007 film “Skyfall,” according to Convenience Store News.

In this film, Bond will skip at least one vodka martini, shaken, not stirred, to drink at least one Heineken. But beer doesn’t seem to be quite the right fit. I tend to think the fist-fights of Daniel Craig’s Bond require something stronger than beer as an anesthetic.

So Bond purists like me are annoyed, but Heineken is making one hell of a promotional move.

Furthermore, Convenience Store News reports, codes inside the Heineken 007 packaging will offer beer drinkers a shot at winning a ticket to see the new movie.

“Skyfall” opens in theaters on Nov. 9.

Presidential Ale

During the 1992 presidential campaign, President Bush (W.’s daddy) tried to dismantle Bill Clinton’s challenge with a one-liner meant to spotlight the former Arkansas governor’s tendency to “waffle” on certain issues.

“You can’t turn the White House into the Waffle House,” Bush said.

Apparently, the nation was OK with waffles, and butter, and extra syrup, because we got a fleshy new leader with a healthy appetite: President Clinton.

Now, however, President Obama is turning the White House into a brew house.

Recently, bottled beer from a small White House brewery has appeared on the presidential campaign trail. According to the Reuters news service, on Aug. 14, Obama gave a bottle of “White House Honey Ale, to a patron of a Knoxville, Iowa, coffee shop when the subject of beer came up.”

First Lady Michelle Obama provides the honey from a garden beehive on the south lawn of the White House, Reuters reported.

“The beer, which comes in both a light and dark variety, is made by the White House chefs who use traditional beer-brewing methods,” Reuters said.

On this particular matter, Republicans and Libertarians need not worry: the brewery uses Obama’s own equipment, so no tax dollars were expended on brewing.


Last time out when I wrote about local growler stations, I failed to double-check for updates at the Piggly Wiggly store at The Market Common. It seems that since the last time I was there, The Pig has added two more taps, for a total of six, and has also added 32-ounce growlers, in addition to the original 64-ounce size. I apologize for the mistake.

You can follow growler offerings and other beer news from The Market Common Piggly Wiggly by searching for “Byrd’s Beer at The Pig” on Facebook and clicking “like.”

Contact Colin Burch at and visit his blog at

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