I took a beer into a tanning booth ... for science!
If you didn’t already know, Greg Koch, owner and founder of Stone Brewing, started tweeting again after a long leave of absence. Greg Koch is not to be confused with Jim Koch, owner and founder of Boston Beer Co., or the Koch brothers, Charles and David, owners and operators of the evil empire, Koch Industries, or their nephew spawn, Wyatt Koch, the maker of hideous printed shirts for men with bad taste and a desire to do evil, but with fashion. Greg Koch is known for being an outspoken proponent of independent and craft beer, and, so far, has put his money where his mouth is and hasn’t sold out as he’s grown Stone Brewing.
He’s taken to twitter to announce that Stone Brewing is suing MillerCoors, purveyors of two of my craft escape beers, Miller High Life and Coors Banquet, over the marketing of Keystone Light. Ever the beer of poets, Keystone has recently started marketing their beer as Key-Stone Light, with the name of their beer breaking across a three lines as if the name of the beer was a very short poem:
The result is that the beer’s name now infringes upon Stone Brewing’s trademark for the word “Stone.” And people may have been referring to a 30-pack of Keystone Light as a “30 rack of stones” since the early ’90s, but MillerCoors never tried to stop Stone from applying and ultimately receiving a trademark for the use of the word “Stone” in the first place. I think Koch is correct; Stone Brewing has this one in the bag and MillerCoors will lose their proverbial ass over this.
Even though Koch has stuck to his guns, he’s not above criticism. On his newest streak at Twitter, he has run into trolls calling Stone “not craft,” that Stone has grown too fast and sacrificed quality for the sake of quantity. And, of course, in Koch style, he’s fought back, enlightening folks on his approach to quality and cellaring beer. In response to one question about storage of beer in the public markets, he challenged one Twitter commenter to fluctuate the temperature of one of the beers, while keeping one the same, then tasting them side by side, “for science.” In his honor, and for your benefit, I’m performing this experiment, but with a twist.
For my experiment, I have taken a beer I adore into a tanning booth for three 10-minute sessions, being refrigerated in between each session. High Life, packaged in clear glass bottles, is supposedly very susceptible to UV light. And yes, I personally went into a tanning booth for this experiment. I did it for you, OK? I love you and I love beer and I love science. Why didn’t I do this with Keystone Light? Because it’s disgusting in the first place, and irredeemably so.
Now, I had never been in a tanning bed before. I’ve seen them. Ex-wives and girlfriends have used them to my dismay. When I was a child, my dad’s friend Larry had one in his den, next to his pool table. As a child, I had no idea what it was. I thought it was some kind of Michael Jackson eternal youth thing, or maybe a reverse vampire thing. Now I realize that Larry was quite vain, and come to think of it, I remember him having adult braces, another sure sign of vanity. All of this is to say that the act of getting into a tanning booth is not being taken lightly. Though I may have gotten a nice dose of vitamin D and a very decent tan line on my tuchus, I do not recommend tanning.
The result on the beer? Not bad. I was expecting much worse. Slight sulfur note in the nose but still quite clean. There is a tad bit of a smidge of maybe a skunk note in the finish? The results of the experiment are inconclusive at best. Maybe 30 total minutes isn’t enough time? Maybe I need to go back in and do longer sessions? Maybe more sessions are needed, and if I get a nice, glistening, bronze chest and drink more High Lifes in the meantime, I guess that wouldn’t be too bad.
Robbie Wendeborn is the head brewer at Svendæle Brewing in Millerton, New York. He is also a former beer plumber at Ska Brewing.