When I am offered a “cocktail”, beer is my drink of choice. I came of age during the microbrew renaissance. I was drawn into the newness and the variety craft brews offered. When I visit a city, I always find the microbrewery/restaurant. Almost without exception, you find great beer and really good food. When I was in San Francisco at BlogOn, I visited three such establishments.

I have taken my interest to the next level and started doing some homebrewing. For those who haven’t, it is easy to do. You can be brewing with a $50 investment in equipment. The ingredients for a 5 gallon batch (~50 bottles) cost about $25. It takes six to eight weeks from start to drink. I just started drinking my second batch and it has turned out really good. My two recommendations are (1) buying a copy of Homebrewing for Dummies and (2) visiting the website of Midwest Homebrewing Supplies.

This whole entry was inspired by two beer business articles I ran across on Friday. The first was in the October 18th edition of Fortune. The New King of Beers is a profile of Europe’s InBev. You may not have heard of the company, but you definitely know their brands – Bass, Beck’s, Labatt’s, Rolling Rock, Skol, and Stella Artois. The surprise for me was that they are the world’s largest beer producer (161 million barrels to No. 2 Anheuser-Busch’s 130 million). AB usually gets the nod as the world’s biggest, because their revenues are larger ($13.8 billion to InBev’s $11.3 billion).

The second article was a book excerpt that I found in the Wall Street Journal [sub. needed]. The book is called Travels with Barley: A Journey through Beer Culture in America by Ken Wells (Free Press, Oct. 2004). I liked his stories of visiting Memphis to find out what Elvis drank and visiting Woody’s, “an extremely famous beer joint in the town of Caruthersville [Missouri]. The main reason it was famous…was that Woody’s had a firm policy of not serving beer in bottles because bottles, well, are just too hard on the human head.” I have added this one to my Christmas list.