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(Please Note: Often times links point to "current" articles. The link was correct at the time, but new information may have replaced it. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.)

Restaurant Report E-mail Newsletter

For Hospitality Professionals and Food Connoisseurs

Issue #27 July 6, 1998

(This publication may be freely redistributed in its entirety)

In This Issue

* Feature Article
* Links of Interest to Hospitality Professionals
* New Top 100 Winners
* Reader Feedback
* Bulletin Board
* Additional E-mail Resources

* Promotional Opportunity!

Feature Article

Beer Myths, and Don't Believe Everything You Hear
By Jim Anderson

Despite our better efforts, beer remains one of the most mysterious and misunderstood members of the gastronomic community. Many is the wine geek who can rattle off the Premiere Cru Vineyards of Bordeaux and September rainfall in the Russian River Valley, yet clings to the notion that beer is what kids drink in college because it's cheap. That's how rumors get started. And when a rumor hangs around long enough, it attains myth status. May we present some of our favorite beer myths and some suggested snappy comebacks.

MYTH: Dark Beer is Stronger Than Light Beer
SNAPPY ANSWER: Try this Westmalle Tripel

Dark beer takes a lot of bad raps -- thick, bitter, flawed -- but this myth is the most common. Beer gets most of its color from roasting some or all of the grains that go into it. The heavier the roast, the darker the beer. But the depth of the roast has virtually no effect on alcohol content, which is determined by the quantity of malt used and the degree to which it is fermented. In the cases when roasting does have an effect strength, it actually can reduce a grain's ability to render alcohol.

MYTH: Ale is Stronger Than Lager
SNAPPY ANSWER: Oh yeah? Why?

In the middle of this century, it was common for beer above a certain alcohol content to be called "ale", regardless of whether the beer was top fermenting (a true ale) or bottom fermenting (lager). This practice can still be found in some states, such as Texas. By brewing convention, your average American ale tends to be a little higher in alcohol than your average lager, but that's by design rather than by nature. In fact, ale yeast has a lower tolerance for high levels of alcohol, and the world's strongest beers tend to be, with the exception of some hybrid beers, all lagers.

MYTH: Draft Beer is Better Than Bottle Beer
SNAPPY ANSWER: I'd take an old bottle of beer before on old draft beer any day.

This is more an assumption based on fact than a falsehood. This observation holds true for most beers your average Joe is exposed to, as draft versions are often unpasteurized and fresher. But we know about a whole realm of bottle conditioned beers -- notably many Belgian, English and American ales -- that just don't cut it on draft. In bottles, these beers have a chance to condition on their own yeast, sometimes improving over several years.

MYTH: Bock Beer is From The Bottom of the Barrel
SNAPPY ANSWER: How do they get those Germans in the barrels to scrape it out?

This is a dangerous one, because it leads people to believe that beer can change styles simply by aging. Bock beers are variously brewed in late winter through the spring, and their recipes result in beers that run the gamut from pale to quite dark, from strong to really strong. If there's any truth to this myth, it would apply to Maerzen beers, which were traditionally brewed in March, consumed throughout the summer, and finished off in late September at harvest festivals like Oktoberfest. By the time these last stores of Maerzen were consumed, the beer had gathered quite a bit of strength and complexity.

MYTH: Guinness is Really Strong
SNAPPY ANSWER: Like a Coors Light.

This one is true only if you've had Guinness in Belgium or Africa. The versions we get in America run from about 3.8%ABV (draft & pub draft cans) to around 4.5% in the bottle. While the Belgian and African bottled versions top out around 8%ABV, the Irish & American versions are designed as "session" beers, to be drunk over a period that might last six, seven, eight hours. Only a low-alcohol beer could accompany such sessions. The root of the myth is probably those yahoos who only drink Guinness once a year, accompanied by far too many glasses of Jameson. See also first myth.

MYTH: The Best Beer Comes in Green Bottles
SNAPPY ANSWER: That must be why Heineken tastes so good.

This one's a hangover from the early days of post-war imports. To distinguish European beer from domestic blue-collar brews, importers started to use green bottles. It quickly became a status symbol, and domestic breweries began putting their better stuff in green to cash in on the import association. The fact is, green glass is actually is efficient in protecting beer against the harmful effects of light than brown glass.

MYTH: Beer Makes You Fat
SNAPPY ANSWER: Oh, I thought it was that bag of fat-free cookies you just ate.

Anything you eat has the potential to make you fat, including beer. But where this notion becomes a myth is over which properties put the belly in your beer. Carbohydrates are often blamed, but they're not as bad as people might think, as they contain lots of food value. The dual culprits are alcohol (which is the main source of calories in beer and, being devoid of food value, a good example of "empty calories") and the resultant inactivity that virtually every drinker -- beer and otherwise -- experiences after a couple.

MYTH: Beer Tastes Best Out of a Frozen Mug
SNAPPY ANSWER: Only on the Titanic.

Actually, beer tastes least the colder it gets, just like any food. Ever wonder why pizza loses its zip when you have it out of the fridge the next morning? No, it's not the cotton in your mouth -- it's that most flavor components have an ideal temperature range. To suppress the impact of these flavor components, simply lower the temperature. This technique works fine for beers whose flavors you might want to minimize, but -- like with red wine and cheese -- has limited application to the good stuff. In addition, a frozen glass tends to dissipate most of the CO2 in your beer, leaving it flat and tasteless.

Jim Anderson is the publisher of "Beer Philadelphia." He can be reached by e-mail at

Links of Interest to Hospitality Professionals

Tapping Into Star Power
A nice short article on the power of an effective employee recognition program.

Business Plans for Restaurants
The first link is to a sample outline for a business plan. And the second is to a demo put together to illustrate a completed document. For folks looking to start a restaurant or expand their current operations this is a very helpful and comprehensive resource.

Chef's Page
This link will give you access to a free chapter from the Chef's Page, an on-line resource self described as... "Important insights into day to day operations, that the restaurant management schools do not teach. Learn the insider tricks to operating a successful restaurant."

Sweet Conclusions
A delicious article on desserts.

DiRoNA Guide On-line
DiRoNA stands for Distinguished Restaurants of North America. The elite list of only 639 DiRoNA award winning restaurants is available on line...searchable via several different criteria. If you're looking for just the right restaurant to impress someone important, you can count on the DiRoNA list to deliver an excellent recommendation.

Are you looking for more links like this? Visit the Restaurant Report E-mail Newsletter Links Archive for a compilation of feature links from all past issues:

New Top 100 Winners

After reaching 85 winners in our quest towards the top 100 hospitality sites in March we took some time off to let the nominations pour in. Here now, we're pleased to announce our 5 newest winners...


Great Chefs -
Content:23 Navigation:25 Design:25 Overall Experience:24 Total:97

"Site Byte"
Fantastic looking site - Great chef profile section - including some of America's best chefs with biographies organized neatly by city. Site also has a page of monthly feature recipes.


Steven Shaw's New York Restaurant Review
Content:25 Navigation:23 Design:23 Overall Experience:25 Total:96

"Site Byte"
Who's Steven Shaw? "Just a regular guy who spends an alarmingly high percentage of his disposable income on dining out." Steven has put together one of the best independently produced restaurant guides on the web. His intelligent mix of humor combines well with his serious attitude towards reviewing New York's restaurants. The editorial on the site is fabulously refreshing - and it's not just restaurant reviews - you'll find intriguing essays, articles, and interviews too.


The Waiter's Revenge -
Content:25 Navigation:22 Design:22 Overall Experience:24 Total:93

"Site Byte"
This is a fun site to visit. It's designed to give waitstaff a place to vent their work frustrations. Don't be surprised if you end up spending a bunch of time at this site reading the comments and stories from around the world.


F&B Manager -
Content:24 Navigation:22 Design:21 Overall Experience:23 Total:90

"Site Byte"
A great content site - articles, e-mail newsletter, hospitality bookstore, one of the best link pages out there, industry event info, and more.


Bar World -
Content:22 Navigation:23 Design:22 Overall Experience:23 Total:90

"Site Byte"
A nice collection of business oriented articles on bar and restaurant management. Drink recipes. A bulletin board area, and an industry buyer's guide.


Visit the main Top 100 page for a description of the review process and a full review of our winners:

Reader Feedback

In response to last issue's feature article on purchasing...

Hello, first of all, sorry if there are any misspellings, English is not my native language - and that's the reason why I might make a mistake.

I read the 10 tips for purchasing and I disagree strongly on two concepts mentioned in this article.

First, it is mentioned that friendship with your purveyors is not very good, we are here to make business, not friendships. In my experience, friendship with a purveyor is a two way street, this meaning that you can use this friendship in two ways, resulting in having preference over your competitors for price, quality and prompt delivery. This relationship can help you in many ways as long as used with honesty but to your business advantage.

Second, this article suggest that doing bigger purchases, will help you. Our Companies are in a very unstable economy, the Mexican Caribbean, we do import pretty much everything from U.S.A., reason we buy about one hundred thousand dollars a month from different vendors for the OUTBACK Steakhouse Franchise and Pat O Brien's. In our experience, we came to a conclusion that cash flow is more important business wise than having a large stock of goods. Any economist can expand greatly on this, the lower the inventory is the healthier Company you will run.

Thanks for the opportunity to review something I disagree with.

Best Regards,
Gabriel Marquez de la Torre

**Next Post**

More feedback on Jack Mauro's article "Brave New Order"...

That was the best article I have ever read concerning restaurant service. You hit the nail right on the head! And you are right, restaurant owners and managers are to blame. We have accepted second rate employees because it is easier to "wait and see" if they get better than to cut them loose early on. And your remarks regarding the "salesman" waiter/waitress that many owners are molding were right on target. As a former waitress who now manages, I know you have to truly enjoy serving the public, hopefully work in an establishment that provides excellent food and the good tips will come. Thanks again a for saying some things that need to be heard by every restaurant owner around the country!

Terri Stricklin
Hitching Post Restaurant

See these and other feedback posts in the "Great Debates" section at our website -

Send newsletter feedback and comments to us at

Bulletin Board

Can you help my husband and I to find a restaurant in Las Vegas that is situated high above a hotel (perhaps outdoors?). We have been to Las Vegas many times and this time want to find a restaurant that is different. Perhaps a view of the City. Can you help us? We are also looking for quality food. Price is not a problem.

Marion -

Note @ the Bulletin Board: If you can lend advice/assistance/comments etc. please respond to either the individual directly or to us at We'll summarize and post responses that we receive that would benefit the group.

Additional E-mail Resources

Cooks and Chefs On The Internet Discussion Group (unmoderated)
Visit the site for subscription instructions.

Electronic House Call - from Bill Marvin
Send an e-mail to and ask to be included.

F&B Newsletter - Visit for more information. E-mail to subscribe.

Listserv to discuss issues relating to hotel management. To subscribe send an email to with subscribe hotel-l your@emailaddress in the body of the message.

Online Epicure Monthly Column
Send an Email message to
In the subject line, type "subscribe"

Wine Journal (weekly wine review/profile) - *New Addition*
For more information visit
To subscribe visit:

Wine Of The Day Mailing List
Visit and fill out the form.

320+ Free Subscription E-zines (on various business, marketing & other topics) Receive a copy of the list (which will have subscription instructions for each) by sending a blank message to

In general, we don't recommend the use of newsgroups for business marketing, because of the excessive spam there these days. But there are still a few good discussion threads. We've highlighted a few recommended newsgroups below: (ba = Bay Area around San Francisco) (nyc = New York City) - a web site with various chats/forums that functions very much like a newsgroup.

For information on how to use newsgroups and to search for other food related discussions, visit Deja News at

If you have a resource that belongs here, just let us know at

Promotional Opportunity!

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