Happy Thanksgiving. I like Meat: A confession.

Turkey. It’s kind of been done to death from a cooking point of view, hasn’t it? Let’s face it, the reason we eat Turkey on Thanksgiving, despite the relative culinary atrocities done to it by Aunt May, or that haggard and over-stressed family member frantically cooking a Norman Rockwell painting before he/she has to leave right after dinner to be back at work at the retail store open Thanksgiving, is the marketing and the chemically mutated Turkey Frankenstein-ed to feed 18.

But if that’s your focal point for fending off the anti-family forces of FOX, the right, out-of-control capitalists and fruit cake purveyors, then enjoy. Fight for that bit of family. Who am I to tell you that American’s consume almost 10 times the amount of meat they consumed in 1980, and that the over-consumption is the likely cause of a myriad of diseases and ailments burying more Americans in a week than Ebola does annually around the globe. Trust me, the wife is always admonishing me that I don’t have to have meat every day and with every meal. I like it. In fact, I love it, but yes I’m trying to cut back.

The wife and I don’t buy into any strict regimen or dietary obligation. I understand tradition, and to me the ultimate tradition is spending time with family and friends, or simply just taking a step back, something wholly separate and apart from money, commerce and consumerism. Thanksgiving should be about something real; a rebirth to family. Hell, have a couple of frozen pizzas, a giant plate of Irish Nachos or a huge unbelievable salad instead of the obligation stress of manufacturing the perfect Turkey dinner. Have a soul food Christmas and use all of the other parts of the animal. In the Balkans, where the wife hails from, they have a communal meal called a Mezza, of cut up fresh veggies, fresh cheeses and dips, hearty breads, a bit of sliced cured meats and enough liquor to float a sailing ship. Everyone just picks and drinks and conversates. meze2

Does anyone remember conversation? See if you can talk with someone for 1 hour without referencing a meme on Facebook or a video on Youtube or checking an email or text on your phone. Don’t Google. Don’t even Yahoo.

But just one note. Not long ago I had a chat with a vegan friend of mine who said that the vegans are coming for all the meat eaters. ONE DAY VEGANS WILL RULE THE WORLD! That friend certainly did not represent all of the vegans I know, and have cooked for quite a few. I just want us all to agree that belligerent meat eaters are just as annoying as belligerent vegans, and sadly those fringe idiots are the ones we hear from. And as for Vegans ruling the world sometime in the distant future? Maybe, but we only know that will be right before the robots eat them!

Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.

CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com

The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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Revolution and Beer…of the week: New Planet’s Gluten Free Blonde Ale and Pale Ale, and that sweet spot where Beer and Activism meet

20130502_181136“I’m really curious to see what you’ll have to say about this one,” a friend told me, knowing full well I prefer traditional full-bodied beers.

I’d recently tried a gluten-free beer and came away wanting. Gluten-free beer does not contain wheat, barley, or rye, so I was a bit reticent to try New Planet’s Gluten Free Blonde Ale and Pale Ale. http://www.newplanetbeer.com/ The previous unnamed GFB simply lacked in depth and character. Things didn’t bode well for the anticipated New Planet experience.

Still, we are all about the activism at Revolution and Beer. I resolved that if the beer itself was disappointing, the cause was noble enough. New Planet is a champion for suffers of Celiac’s Disease, which causes the immune system of suffers to, in the presence of Gluten, attack and damage the small intestine, inhibiting the absorption of crucial nutrients. Not exactly a Light beer commercial.

But here’s the amazing part, the moment when activism and beer meet is absolutely perfect. We had that experience a number of times while filming our upcoming television series. Folks who had done lots of media previously sat down at the bar, took a drink of beer and found how revolutionary a forum it was. There is nothing so personal and intimate as sitting at the bar with friends, new and old, and hashing things out over a good beer. And when the conversation gets a bit heated, we bring it back to the beer.

And so I’m bringing it back to New Planet’s GFB. The trick is in the brewing process, but also appeasing expectations for beer lovers. Without Rye, Wheat and barley, that’s a bit of a challenge. Gluten-free beer is normally made with thick, concentrated syrupy gluten-free sorghum extract. Add a bit of rice syrup or corn dextrose and a brewer can nicely boost the alcohol content. Hops add bitterness, flavor, and aroma to beer. The different varieties of hops brings their own unique characteristic to each beer, offering citrus, fruity, floral, spicy, herbal, or resin notes.

Awareness of Celiac’s Disease has helped changed the market, just as designated drivers did for non-alcoholic brews. For the purist, does that translate into an assault on beer? Recall, as we discussed in a previous piece, that technically every beer violates the old German purity law, the Reinheitsgebot, which back in 1516 did not understand the importance of yeast, And so in not including yeast in the officially sanctioned ingredients for beer, all beer violates that law. So no, GFB simply innovates to encompass fellow beer lovers burdened with this disorder.

And that’s all well and good, but what does New Planet”s GFBs taste like? That is the ultimate question. And what sort of foods would pair best with this Blonde Ale and Pale Ale? The Pale Ale comes in at a modest 5%ABV, and poured into a pint glass to an amber color with a crisp white ½ inch head, and some modest lacing. The color derived from molasses, and gluten-free corn-based caramel color. The first impression was of fruity and citrus notes, finishing with a comfortably and pleasant hoppy bite, and was a bit on the dry side. I was surprised by the depth of flavor, and found it a satisfying beer, which I would enjoy gluten or no-gluten.

New Planet’s Blonde Ale poured to a clear golden hue, with fine carbonation through the center of the glass. There wasn’t much of a head to note, but the beer did hold its carbonation adequately. My initial impression was that fans of sours would find this a nice beer, falling between a young pilsner and a sour. The aroma was subdued but floral. That slightly sour first taste, was rounded out with hints of orange and honey. Again, at 5%, I found this a very comfortable and enjoyable beer.

I’d reached out to Carole Cooper, author of Simply Healthy Gourmet(http://www.simplynaturalgourmet.com/) for a food pairing, in keeping with a gluten-free diet. She recommended grilled Lake Superior Whitefish or Trout and Roasted Rosemary and Garlic Fingerling potatoes which helped the hops, caramel and grapefruit notes to pop nicely. My addition to the fingerling potatoes is to press those potatoes ever so slightly to open them up, and let the olive oil, garlic and rosemary inside. For the Blonde Ale, Carole liked her Virgin Olive oil Poached Tuna steak with roasted small potatoes, tomato and olives.

It doesn’t always happen that way, activism and beer coming together so neatly. When it does, it underscores how well those two seemingly disparate worlds fit. And that, my dear friends, is what I like to call the sweet spot.

You can find all the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc.


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