SEASON TWO COMING AT YOU

Revolution and Beer returns to Chicago cable channel 19. It all starts Tuesday, October 1st, at 7:30 p.m. for all the 9-5ers, and at 2:30 p.m. Wed. for the over-stressed/underemployed homeworkers. Cheers!

The second season is full of friends and new places around town. We’ve got quite a few more two-part series for this season because we’re hitting some fascinating topics and felt they warranted it.

Starting-off the season will be Episode 11 on Oct. 1. On this episode, we sat down for a drink at Maria’s Packaged Goods in Bridgeport. We were joined by Dennis Kelleher, Co-op Consultant and Executive Director of Center for Workplace Democracy; as well as Ricky Maclin and Armando Robles Worker-Owners of New Era Windows (formerly Republic Windows and Doors).

Find more details here on our website and our facebook page in the coming weeks, and look for re-runs of the show on CAN TV in September.

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Revolution and Beer…of the Week: Palestinian Cuisine and Belgian Farmhouse Ale…a natural marriage

A couple sprigs of fresh mint, coriander, cardamom, finely chopped garlic and vegeta, chopped onion, rice and seasoned chicken thighs, baked at 375F for about 50 minutes. I precooked the rice, mixing in the seasoning about 5 minutes before it was finished. Spoon in the rise over the chopped onion and bake. For fun I chopped fresh mint and cucumber into Greek yogurt on the side.20130922_204507

This is my take on a traditional Palestinian country dish called Maqluba “upside down.” Correctly it is baked in a covered pot with the chicken on top, dripping juices over the onion and race as it cooks, the heat and juices awakening the mint and spices. Seated at a Palestinian table, this would be a communal meal, family and guests eating from the same dish amid conversation and togetherness.

I paired this with a Belgian Farmhouse Ale, La Moneuse Saison, that I picked up at one of my new favorite beer stores, the Beer Temple, 3185 North Elston. Brewed among the idyllic hills nearly upon the French border at La Brasserie de Blaugies, the peppery herbs and surprise hoppy undertone of La Moneuse was perfect with the Maqluba, as if the two were symbiotic, and as if the distance between a Belgian country brewery and Gaza was merely a consideration of geography and nothing more.20130922_195640

The cork came out smoothly, with a perfect pop. The beer poured to a rich golden, reddish amber color, with an airy cream-colored head. *%ABV only helped to settle and deepen the meal, and reaffirm the only thing besides love and forgiveness that can bring the world together: A great meal and a great glass of beer! So here’s to that better world, Fi sahitak!

Catch WC Turck and Brian Murray only at RevolutionandBeer.com. Watch us every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., on Chicago Cable Channel 19. Please don’t forget to Like us on Facebook.

ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS: If you have a cause to champion, please let us know. We proudly stand with you in the important work of strengthening the grassroots support network for the city of Chicago.

BEER! Catch the Beer of The Week review with 900poundgorilla, along with weekly food pairings for our featured beers by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper here. Find all of the great beers we review each week at www.glunzbeers.com.

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Winning the big message on GMO labeling

Last week there was a shut your mouth and listen hearing in the state of Illinois regarding GMO labeling of consumer foods. GMO, for those who may have been in a cryogenic sleep since the 1960s, are Genetically Modified organisms, principally plants, like seeds, but not exclusively. There is growing concern, mounting data and building support for the limitation and even the banning altogether of GMOs. The health concerns and issues are real, an aspect of which a protester, Evanston resident and long time social activist Margaret Nelson illustrated starkly (See video).

But this piece is not about that mounting evidence or the building resistance to GMOs, but about the messaging by those opposed to GMOs, and by proponents of GMO labeling. And first, it is necessary to understand the environment in which that message may take root, wither or be obliterated by opposing messaging. So bear with me through a few pertinent facts.

Monsanto, the biggest and most iconic in the GMO industry, saw $13 billion and change in net sales for 2012, a bullish increase of 14% over 2011, compared to 2010-2011 year over year. Their free cash flow, where the money to attack critics of GMOs would come from in 2012 was over $2 billion. Second, the US FDA and Monsanto board might as well be in the same office. The FDA’s deputy commissioner for policy, who wrote the FDA’s rBGH labeling guidelines, Michael Taylor was a Monsanto lawyer for nearly a decade. For a longer list of the heads bouncing between Monsanto and the Food and Drug Administration see http://rense.com/general33/fd.htm.

There is no longer any reasonable debate about the effects of media consolidation, and the quality of information available to maintain our failing democracy, unfettered access to information being critical to its maintenance. It should raise suspicions that there are no news networks producing any credible investigating reports regarding substantial issues relating to GMOs. The stories that are reported deal with extremism, alarmism or radicalism by anti-GMO activists and critics. Bloomberg ran this headline on May 15th:
“Monsanto Sees ‘Elitism’ in Social Media-Fanned Opposition”

Revolution and Beer makes no assertions of being balanced here, except to call out a notable hypocrisy and manipulation by media entities, such as Bloomberg, who promote themselves as journalists. Nakedly one-sided, the piece offered no opposing or balanced view. Instead the entire piece was virtually one long quote, in essence making the so-called Bloomberg news the facilitator of a Monsanto Press release. A simple glance at the seasonal and cyclical peaks and valleys of Monsanto quarterly profits would seem to indicate that the timing of the piece was meant to affect the shares of Monsanto positively. A researcher at Washington State University, Charles Benbrook, cited in the piece, was in reality a stealth proponent of Monsanto and GMO foods.

Benbrook was quoted as saying that most “Most of the people that become motivated to engage the political issues have become convinced that going down the road of genetically engineered foods is not the way to meet the needs of a food insecure population.”

Yet later he says that, quoting the Bloomberg article “Still, genetic engineering is beginning to produce crops that benefit consumers, such as Monsanto’s Vistive soybeans that produce healthier oils…”

Wow, that sort of fair and balanced would make even FOX news blush. And there seems a more sinister effort at undercutting, even censoring social media discourse and campaigns, which are the last remaining sources of critical information regarding GMOs and GMO labeling. There are accusations of interference and censorship by Facebook of anti-GMO and counter-Monsanto related events and stories. http://www.theorganicprepper.ca/monsanto-declares-social-media-war-against-protesters-05212013. Whether that is a cyber-warfare effort by GMO producers, as it appears, the building SM campaign may have successfully and adversely impacted Monsanto’s 2013 sales and profits, or whether there was collusion by Facebook in favor of Monsanto has yet to be determined. At the time of this writing Facebook was not available for comment. Revolution and Beer welcomes clarification on the apparent censorship, deletion and cancellation of anti-GMO events and postings from both Monsanto and Facebook.

But here is where the GMO critics are losing the messaging war, when and if they are actually allowed into the fight. From the Bloomberg piece:

“There is this strange kind of reverse elitism: If I’m going to do this, then everything else shouldn’t exist,” (Chief Executive Officer Hugh) Grant said at Monsanto’s St. Louis headquarters yesterday. “There is space in the supermarket shelf for all of us.”

Interesting choice of words. If there is space on the shelf for everyone’s products, why the attacks and lawsuits by GMO producers against farmers and growers? Why the secrecy, or at least the refusal to be transparent regarding the use of GMO foods to the consumer? Why the lack of concern over health questions by consumers? Monsanto and others in the GMO industry have poured huge resources into political and media campaigns to prevent GMO labeling. Why? What are they afraid of?

The refrain in the status quo media is heavily weighted on the holiness of the so-called free market. But they are not acting by free market principles in censoring or obfuscating with the help of a co-opted political and judicial system labeling of GMO and non-GMO foods on store shelves that would allow or assist informed consumers in voting with their dollars. Margaret Nelson is one example of someone who suffers from numerous food allergies and must be careful about what she puts in her body. But as we have seen, the free market to companies like Monsanto means that they may act with impunity to laws and structures the rest of us must adhere to. A true free market means that companies produce products that consumers truly want, not one they are duped into buying, and if consumers reject that product it goes out of business. Instead, the GMO industry would hide the truth about its product and then own a government in order to force it down your throat.

There is either a FREE market or there isn’t, and right now, it does not exist. Monsanto, Dupont, the media, the FDA and USDA and your local politicians are exclusively responsible for taking that right and expectation from the American consumer. It is up to the American consumer to hold them accountable, to put them out of office, shutter their doors. In the meantime, winning the message war is paramount. They may have the money, but we have the numbers, if only we endeavor to use that power.
Catch WC Turck and Brian Murray only at RevolutionandBeer.com. Watch us every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., on Chicago Cable Channel 19. Please don’t forget to Like us on Facebook.
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ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS: If you have a cause to champion, please let us know. We proudly stand with you in the important work of strengthening the grassroots support network for the city of Chicago.

BEER! Catch the Beer of The Week review with 900poundgorilla, along with weekly food pairings for our featured beers by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper here. Find all of the great beers we review each week at www.glunzbeers.com.

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Revolution and Beer’s Reactionary of the Week…is it just me?

gorillaGod, I’m hoping this doesn’t mark my, “and then he became a loner” moment. This is the moment I endeavor to piss off everyone, on the Left, on the Right and especially the middle. Why? Because nobody ever goes after the middle. That seems unfair to the Left and the Right, and I think the middle believes they are getting away with something by not picking a side, and that just pisses me off.

Maybe my disdain for the great wide dull middle is that I am hardly middle of the road on anything. You might say I’m an extreme moderate, a militant humanist and a revolutionary secularist, and I cannot stand people who can’t stake a position that doesn’t originate in group think, The Syrian issue was a case in point.

It seems, and I feel a bit validated that the threat of force against Syria for the use of chemical weapons on civilians seems to have driven a possible diplomatic opportunity to avoid airstrikes by the United States. I was advocating intervention aimed at stopping or punishing the Syrian government from using WMDs against civilians. That puts me in the unenviable position of defending a President that apparently no one else likes. And I would love not to be a lone voice on this, but the arguments most often heard are so weak that I believe they betrayed a growing and dangerous culture in American society.

Here’s what I mean. Americans, of all political stripes have become trapped in their own narrow frame of reference. Over the last 40 or so years we have allowed and nurtured a culture of contrarianism not debate, and a generation swathed in designer clothes, the latest iPad, hipster parties and laissez faire activism. To many of us revel in our Facebook activism and twitter acumen and quippy but largely meaningless dissent, and the exaltation of Noam Chomsky as some sort of pseudo-religious figure.. It is safe to be an activist here, pretending to revolution, as long as we can make it to the latest hip spot for the party. The problem is that we on the Left are losing.

We are losing everywhere. Of hundreds of protests I have attended and covered over the past quarter century, not one has really accomplished a thing. Schools, war, the economy, civil rights, immigrant rights, healthcare have all been lost causes. The Anti-NATO protests in Chicago in 2012 were a proving ground for government surveillance and control. They arrested the message from Occupy and Peace groups, conjured false narratives, terrified the population through their media surrogates then abused protesters with impunity. Since then they have honed those skills of state control. The revelations from Snowden and Chelsea Manning should have terrified and outraged the nation and any self-respecting libertarian. Instead it was internet fodder destined to be forgotten just as surely to the detriment of the Bill of Rights and our humanity. The so-called Progressive media dubbed both individuals traitors and criminals.

Which brings me to my alarm over the Left’s reaction to the Syrian issue. I believe it betrayed either a fundamental naiveté on the Left, a knee jerk idealism informed in insular perspective, or more frightening, that there is not as much daylight between the Right and the American Left as many of us might believe. In fairness, there is one argument that gives me pause, http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/us-biggest-user-chemical-weapons-history-asserts-right-protect-syria, but the rest fall pretty easily to any scrutiny, or at least can be parceled off to the same fear-think affecting us since 9-11.

The argument that we have used or help to proliferate Chemical and biological weapons does indeed give me pause. I am haunted by the images of children deformed by Agent Orange in Southeast Asia and by the cancers and birth defects caused by our depleted uranium shells in the Balkans and Iraq. I am sickened by my government’s penchant to act pragmatically and greedily rather than morally and humanely. Two answers. First, do we never begin to atone or move forward? Must every act be met with “you did it once?” No one is a saint, but necessity requires action, not endless debate. Emergency demands decisive action, not endless recriminations. And second, if you are being beaten to death and a bank robber comes to your aid are you going to say, no thanks, you robbed a bank once, I’ll wait for the first available saint to happen this way? No. You need rescue at that moment!

My worry is that all of us, regardless of what we might have wish have been nudged and acculturated farther along the Rightwing path than we might have imagined. There was no daylight between what I was hearing from the Left or the Right, or those pain-in-the-asses in the middle. During the Bush administration, and after the September attacks many on the Left sought answers and understanding. Repulsed by the actions of Al Qa’eda, many of us tried to understand American actions that might have contributed to such a crime. We also decried human rights abuses in other nations, but also by our nation. The Left championed the Chemical weapons treaty, going so far to denounce the US for dragging its feet on signing, and now we’re retreating from enforcing it?

This week my co-host and I went to a fundraiser demanding an end to deportations of Economic Refugees, otherwise referred to as Undocumented immigrants. Not so long ago the Left was calling for an end to borders, one world. The banner on the fundraiser called for an end to borders. We spoke with a first nation friend, part of the hip-hop duo “Shining Soul” who spoke about how his nation and family were astride the US/Mexico border. On the TV show a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War described that with clan and tribal affiliations, the borders of Iraq, Syria and Turkey were all but impractical. And now the Left retreats in a knee-jerk fashion to “those people” and “it’s not our fight?”

Worse is to say, “I feel terrible about what has happened over there but…” As progressives we eschew war. I’ve been to war, and I am committed to its eradication. But that commitment must not be built on naiveté, or the selfish notion that we must help “our” people first. That is a wall that must be torn down, and given the opulent wealth and waste of this nation it is hardly an and/or question. War is the darkest part of us, but when innocents are being slaughtered, the surest way towards the ultimate dream of eradication is to denounce hypocrisy and rise to help those in need. That is why I am a Progressive, unless the definition has changed. If it has, and I am out of lock step with everyone else, then I guess that does make me a reactionary. And if that is the case, so be it.
Catch WC Turck and Brian Murray only at RevolutionandBeer.com. Watch us every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., on Chicago Cable Channel 19. Please don’t forget to Like us on Facebook.

ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS: If you have a cause to champion, please let us know. We proudly stand with you in the important work of strengthening the grassroots support network for the city of Chicago.

BEER! Catch the Beer of The Week review with 900poundgorilla, along with weekly food pairings for our featured beers by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper here. Find all of the great beers we review each week at www.glunzbeers.com.

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My name is ficus and I’m an alcoholic? Revolution and Beer answers the question, is Craft Beer good for plants?

Earlier this weekend I began by posing the question whether beer is beneficial to plants. The existing research is contradictory and incomplete. So, Revolution and Beer will set out to answer the question once and for all. Beginning tomorrow we will run an experiment using two sets of identical plants. Two will be common houseplants, and two will be flowering plants.

quality craft beers are rich in vitamins, proteins and amino acids

quality craft beers are rich in vitamins, proteins and amino acids

My hypothesis that the nutrients and even the small amount of alcohol in organic craft beer are beneficial to plants, based on previous experiences pouring unused beer into soil at the base of the plant. I know I know, the obvious question here is, unused beer? But it happens.

Beer contains vitamins B, A, D and E, niacin, as well as minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and trace amounts of sodium and chlorine. Beers that are rich in malts like lagers contain essential proteins and amino acids, unlike large brand commercial corn or rice-based beers. But there is also conjecture that plants given ethanol alcohol, of the kind found in beer, is detrimental to flower growth. 20130824_075216

Both sets of plants will receive the same light, heat and humidity. The soil in each identical pot will be from the same organic source. The control set will be given the proper and measured amount of water for each watering. Water will always be drawn from the same source. For the beer watered plants, a set amount of beer will be be substituted for that amount of water, so that all of the plants in the experiment receive the same amount of liquid.

We’ll run the experiment for 5-6 weeks. At the end of the experiment we will measure height, stem, leaf and branch density, leaf color, vein structure and root volume. For the flowering group, size and quality of the flower will be compared. The goal at the end of that period will be to answer more confidently whether it is adverse or beneficial to pour old and unused beer-good craft and organic craft beer- into plants.

See you at the end of October! Stay tuned…
Catch WC Turck and Brian Murray only at RevolutionandBeer.com. Watch us every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., on Chicago Cable Channel 19. Please don’t forget to Like us on Facebook.

ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS: If you have a cause to champion, please let us know. We proudly stand with you in the important work of strengthening the grassroots support network for the city of Chicago.

BEER! Catch the Beer of The Week review with 900poundgorilla, along with weekly food pairings for our featured beers by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper here. Find all of the great beers we review each week at www.glunzbeers.com.

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Shining Soul at Rise Up! Tear Down!

a1525802596_10Shining Soul is a set of rising suns who’ve been on a steady path of ascension to a high thrown over the independent music scene in Phoenix since 2011. Emcee Liaizon and The Bronze Candidate deliver a needed fresh dose of social consciousness, inspired artistry, and skilled performance to the doorstep of the redundant parody-pop gated community known as the mainstream music industry. Too often we, who are trying to envision a path to a just world, have to shield our senses from the onslaught of soulless repeats that have no awareness of working class struggle; and nothing to offer the future but a gun and a smile.

These two ain’t pullin punches, and they’re coming straight-on at the immigration debate with a Red and Brown combo punch that shatters cultural barriers and nurtures fledgeling alliances within the diverse fabric of our youth.

We’ll be posting our interview here shortly, but until then you should check out their new album, Sonic Smash, which they just dropped on Sept. 10th…and then you should buy it.

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Shining Soul Throws A Whole Nation At Immigration

Shining Soul is a set of rising suns who’ve been on a steady path of ascension to a high thrown over the independent music scene in Phoenix since 2011. Emcee Liaizon and The Bronze Candidate deliver a needed fresh dose of social consciousness, inspired artistry, and skilled performance to the doorstep of the redundant parody-pop gated community known as the mainstream music industry. Too often we, who are trying to envision a path to a just world, have to shield our senses from the onslaught of soulless repeats that have no awareness of working class struggle; and nothing to offer the future but a gun and a smile.

These two ain’t pullin punches, and they’re coming straight-on at the immigration debate with a Red and Brown combo punch that shatters cultural barriers and nurtures fledgeling alliances within the diverse fabric of our youth.

Check out their new album, Sonic Smash, which they just dropped on Sept. 10th…and then you should buy it.

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Syria Intervention is critical for long term safety of the United States and American Troops

"Gasses" by John Singer-Sergent

“Gasses” by John Singer-Sergent


The nation seems more polarized than ever regarding the possibility of military intervention against Syria for the use of chemical weapons against its own civilians. While I have advocated intervention on immediate humanitarian grounds, I also readily acknowledge I am in the minority opinion. But there are much deeper issues, long ranging issues. One of those issues has to do with the safety of our soldiers in the field. The key to that is adherence and protection of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The Chemical Weapons Convention(CWC) outlaws the manufacture, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons such as the one Assad’s forces used on civilians two weeks ago. And it remains important to note here that Assad has never denied the use of these weapons, which I think would be a diplomatic no brainer if I was facing an attack by the most powerful nation on earth. Currently 189 nations are party to the CWC, which carries the force of international law, Israel and Myanmar have signed, but have yet to ratify the convention. Syria, with North Korea, South Sudan, Egypt and Angola is one of 5 nations that have not signed the convention, which in a democratic sort of way makes them, at the very least, pariahs.

The United States is not without reproach here. Defoliants, such as Agent Orange, which the United States used greatly, and to disastrous health and environmental effects is banned under the current treaty. The United States must live with its crimes and the terrible deformities caused among generations of Vietnamese from the use of Agent Orange.agent-orange-4 And there is a dangerously subjective sliding scale, as many countries still possess old stockpiles, and riot control agents, such as CS and Pepper spray are widely used by this government primarily as a means to curtail peaceful protesters. But the use of chemical agents directly against troops in combat, including American Troops has not been seen since the horrors of the First World War, when chlorine and chlorine-based agents like the infamous Mustard gas and phosgene gas attacks. Estimates were on some 90,000 total killed in the First World War, with one and a quarter million injured, many of those permanently.

British troops killed in a German gas attack

British troops killed in a German gas attack

But the widespread use was so repulsive internationally that even amid the wholesale slaughter of the Second World War, the use of Chemical Weapons was anecdotal. After dropping several sulfur bombs on Warsaw in September of 1939, the Nazi government in 1942, amid the war, apologized and stated that the bombs were dropped accidentally. Notably, while the Nazis were apologizing for the sulfur bombs, they were employing Zyklon gas against Jews in concentration camps. But here as well, those Nazis, still pursued to this day, are held accountable under international law. Humanity has drawn a line. It cannot afford to retreat from that line. No one is better prepared to defend that line than the United States, a sad but undeniable reality.article-2401382-1B6F2CF5000005DC-138_634x475

And so we come to the options before the world community, but most particularly the one nation that has the capacity to strike, if only symbolically to send a message that the world will not and cannot retreat from that line. No chemical weapons have been employed against American troops since those terrible days during the First World War, and though the record since is not pristine, there is undeniable progress. And so we know the stakes of inaction, and that would a the abandonment, or indifference, a creeping indifference to the treaty on the use of Chemical weapons which may not be perfect but which has succeeded in virtually eliminating these terrible weapons from the field of battle.

Aftermath of a gas attack directed by Saddam Hussein

Aftermath of a gas attack directed by Saddam Hussein

So now that field has become the cities and towns of Syria. The victims are civilians; the old, children, the innocent. For that, as this country did over Saddam’s gassing of civilians, there should be a momentous outcry. Isolationist policies have never served this nation. They failed us at two world wars and contributed to the September 11 attacks. It will certainly not serve us now, and may in turn, I believe , prove a terrible danger.

If this nation believes it can escape the consequences of the attack two weeks ago in Syria, whether or not it acts, it is sorely mistaken. Arguing that “why here and not at some other terrible place on the planet” is a tacit admission of the refusal to start someplace. It is a celebration of the power of doing nothing out of fear, laziness or indifference. to count the cost to the nation is to ignore the billions we toss away to corporations, pay to scavenging military and security contractors or the selfishness of a nation that spends tens of billions on pet and gardening supplies, and which squanders untold billions on incarcerating marijuana smokers. The arguments about Al Qa’eda are a dodge. Quibbling over the exact numbers of dead is cowardly and fake. Iraq was a crime, Afghanistan a farce. Syria is critical…

Catch WC Turck and Brian Murray only at RevolutionandBeer.com. Watch us every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., on Chicago Cable Channel 19. Please don’t forget to Like us on Facebook.
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ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS: If you have a cause to champion, please let us know. We proudly stand with you in the important work of strengthening the grassroots support network for the city of Chicago.

BEER! Catch the Beer of The Week review with 900poundgorilla, along with weekly food pairings for our featured beers by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper here. Find all of the great beers we review each week at www.glunzbeers.com.

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Revolution and Beer of the week…best of the Pumpkin brews NSA-style!

So I was at rehearsals yesterday for my new play,

Autumn Beers by independent Craft brewers will dominate the season

Autumn Beers by independent Craft brewers will dominate the season

The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden. One of the actors, the amazingly talented and one of Chicago’s funniest comedians, Catherine Povinelli, or Povs, as friends call her, considers herself a connoisseur of Pumpkin beer, which I like, but which is thankfully also a seasonal offering. So, I threw together a sampling of three currently on the market, whipped together a food pairing and headed off to rehearsal.189114_709116582710_8120832_n

We’re reading and working the script, a satirical swipe at the security state, out of Eddie Marks’ Uptown Apartment. Eddie plays my hapless NSA agent’s, a disillusioned company man who realizes that he’s been set up for failure by the agency and falls for Catherine, the sexy KGB agent babysitting Snowden.

The Pumpkin Beers are just making an appearance on shelves, though it is still a bit early. There are really cool weather beers, with the bite of expectant winter cold in the air and the scent of turning autumn leaves. I brought three to the rehearsal, Pov’s eyes lighting up when she spotted the telltale black and orange label of the first, Pumking, from Southern Tier Brewing out of New York, sporting a hefty 8.6% ABV. It poured to a really nice deep copper color and an off white head. This was one of the richest of the pumpkin beers I’ve tasted, coming off sweet and almost thick in flavor, with ample notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. Povs loved it, and was somewhat taken aback by the flavor, in a good way.

Pumpkin beers with the author's seasonal take on traditional German Flamkuchen

Pumpkin beers with the author’s seasonal take on traditional German Flamkuchen

Guy Wicke, local actor and proprietor of Wicke International performing arts promotion had never before tasted Pumpkin beers. He was tasting a can of Pumpkin Ale from The Wild Onion Brewing company out of suburban Lake Barrington, a small but solid craft brewer. “

“It was like tasting a pumpkin pie in a can…with a kick,” he offered. At 5.4% ABV, this didn’t pack the kick of Pumking, and was lighter in flavor. It poured to a lighter copper color as well, with a thin off-white head. Across the room, my co-director, Erik Parsons, was working his way through a long neck bottle of Arcadia Ales Jaw-jacker spiced Ale. Again, not as rich as Pumking, the added spice of nutmeg, cinnamon and All Spice was muted and lighter in flavor. At 6%ABV, it made for a comfortable brew.

I poured Povs and Nick Haugland, my Snowden, the last of the Pumking as Ed marks dove into a line. “The Agency, as we like to call it, enables Network Warfare operations to defeat terrorists and their organizations at home and abroad, consistent with U.S. laws and the protection of privacy and civil liberties. Okay, we just threw in that last part to cover our ass…Let me break it down this way, some 12 year old will come along sooner rather than later and render every spying capability we have obsolete, and he’ll do it from the back of his mom’s Volvo on the way to soccer practice. Our job at the NSA is to stay one step ahead of that 12 year old. That 12 year old only has to be right once. The NSA has to be right every time…”
Pumpkin beer is perfect for those late autumn hearty meals with spice and depth and character. This night I paired it with my take on a traditional German favorite called Flamkuchen. It’s a sort of a German pizza of sorts, served on a cracker this crust, with a cream cheese-like sauce traditionally topped with bacon and caramelized onion. To pull it together with the beer, I topped the Flamkucken with a mix of shredded sweet potato, chopped onion, mint and a touch of brown sugar. Lightly browned bits of bacon were added, and the whole thing placed in an oven preheated to 380 F, for about 12 minutes, or until the edges of the crust had browned nicely. Cut into wedges, I garnished with chopped parsley. I made two that night. They were gone in an instant.

Generally I am of two minds on Pumpkin beers, which have grown in popularity over the last several years. First, I believe that they should not over power the palette. Pumking comes right up to that line without crossing it. I enjoy a bit bolder flavors, though there are times a lighter brew works in the absence of meal in helping to capture that autumnal character of the season. More to come on other Pumpkin beers soon…

Catch WC Turck and Brian Murray only at RevolutionandBeer.com. Watch us every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., on Chicago Cable Channel 19. Please don’t forget to Like us on Facebook.
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ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS: If you have a cause to champion, please let us know. We proudly stand with you in the important work of strengthening the grassroots support network for the city of Chicago.

BEER! Catch the Beer of The Week review with 900poundgorilla, along with weekly food pairings for our featured beers by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper here. Find all of the great beers we review each week at www.glunzbeers.com.

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