Beerman for April 18, 2103

For Weekly SurgeApril 15, 2013 

I’m guessing the next big seasonal craft beer in Myrtle Beach will be Rolle Bolle Ale, a summer brew from the folks who brought you Fat Tire.

Rolle Bolle was scheduled to arrive at Better Brands, the local beer distributer, on Tuesday (April 16). Mike Shank, the distributer’s craft beer guy, said we’ll probably see Rolle Bolle around town within the next week or so.

I suspect Rolle Bolle will be a hit.

For one thing, New Belgium Brewing Co. of Fort Collins, Colo., rarely does anything poorly.

For another thing, this beer is brewed with a unique recipe.

Start with an extra ingredient I’d never heard of: soursop, a fruit from Central America and South America.

Then add monk fruit, from southern China and northern Thailand.

And for the hop heads in the audience, New Belgium threw in four varieties: Target, Amarillo, Cascade, and Centennial.

For the base, blend pale malt and oats.

New Belgium’s Web site promises us “a brilliant blonde, with a fluffy white head” and “earthy and tropical tones.”

I’m looking forward to finding out. We’ll have through September to try it and drink it.

Spud, the gluten-free vodka

I recently bought two mini-bottles of Spud, potato vodka from Poland.

No, I don’t usually buy mini-bottles.

I didn’t want to buy a larger bottle because I wasn’t sure about Spud, and I must have good vodka to make my day work out. That sounds terrible, doesn’t it?

Anyway, when I want to drink liquor, I lean toward either vodka on the rocks or Black Russians. With so much riding on the vodka, it has to be good.

Furthermore, I recently suffered a bit of a psychic shock: Tito’s Vodka, the outstanding, critically acclaimed booze made in Texas, is made from corn.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

It’s just that my previous favorites, especially Ketel One, have been made from wheat.

So, I prepared to try vodka made from potato.

Spud has the advantage of being gluten free. Gluten has recently become unfashionable. It’s the target of dieticians. It’s the cause of inflammation.

Frankly, the ubiquity of gluten in our nation worries me enormously, except when I eat an entire box of Wheat Thins.

I noticed differences between Spud and grain-based vodkas, but not nearly as much as I might have expected.

For one thing, Spud smells nearly identical to the better grain-based vodkas. Notice I said “the better” ones, because to me, they smell much nicer than just any astringent cheap spirit.

The mouth-feel was smooth, and the burn from sipping this one hit the back of my tongue, which is a sign of some quality.

Then came another serious test: the Black Russian. So I poured in the Kahlua coffee liqueur, gave it a swirl, and sipped. Not bad. I don’t think it carries the Kahlua quite like Tito’s and Ketel One, but it works.

So if you’re concerned about gluten, try Spud. If not, balance it out with a box of Wheat Thins.

By the way, with the advent of all these flavored vodkas (cake-flavored vodka? really, ladies?), I should mention Spud’s three flavors: Ginger Lemongrass, Red Hot Chili Pepper, and Heirloom Tomato.

Apparently, the Ginger Lemongrass received an 89 in the 2013 Ultimate Spirits Challenge.

Look for Spud, flavored or not, for around $20 per 750-milliter bottle.

Clemson studies Beer Pong

No offense, Gamecocks.

But Clemson University is contributing to the greater good by researching essential questions for today.

For example, what happens when college students play beer pong?

Students in Clemson’s Creative Inquiry program recently tested ping pong balls used in beer pong – and “discovered teeming bacteria,” according to the Associated Press.

“The research found that dangerous bacteria such as salmonella, listeria, E. coli and staph end up in the beer,” the Associated Press reported.  

So maybe you don’t want to play beer pong anymore. I don’t.

Contact Colin Burch at

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