Mittwoch, 31. Dezember 2008

Happy New Beer!

I was determined to explore new organic beers in 2008. And that, at least, I managed (don´t ask about the rest of the new year´s resolutions, please!) Whatever else 2008 was, it´s been a good beer year (may be investment sharks just drank too many cocktails!)! Almost wherever I went, I found new organic brews - and some were pretty decent! So, while newspapers review the events of 2008 and make (mostly speculative to absurd) predictions for 2009, I end the year by telling you about some more beers that could sweeten your new year (and bring us closer to an agriculture that won´t cost the earth). - Let me start by finishing off reviewing some beers by the Dutch Brouwereij ´t IJ. Not sure where they get their names from, but their beers are of a consistently high quality. The beer they call Columbus (the bottle shows an ostrich and a sailing ship - a comment on colonialism, that I doubt is intentional, but I do find amusing ...) is strong (9%) but refreshing. It´s got nothing to do with a Pilsner, but it is clearly a beer, as a strong taste of hop lingers on the tongue. The Struis (ostrich), gladly, tastes nothing like ostrich or egg! Though also 9%-strong, it´s smooth and remarkably light. On a dark, rainy night in Amsterdam, it´s bound to lighten your spirits! - The only disappointment I found this year comes, predictably, from France. The Moulin des Moines sounds like a great institution. But may be they should stick to wine and biscuits. Their Pilsner, certainly, is poor. It can only be recommended at the end of a very long hot French countryside day, when you are so thirsty that you gulp the beer down no matter what (sadly, I didn´t experience such a day this year). - Better news comes from much closer to home. The Potsdamer Braumanufaktur does excellently designed bottles and perfectly decent beers. Their motto: "Geld allein macht nicht glücklich. Trinkt Bier!" (Money alone does not make you happy. Drink beer!) is my new year´s resolution for 2009 (I am learning to only set myself tasks I can master ...). Their Potsdamer Stange beer is very light, but tasty. Their Weizen, while it cannot compete with true Bavarian wheat beers (such as those from Bayreuth or Neumarkter Lammsbräu), is still good. For a Prussian version of this ultimate Bavarian drink, it´s remarkable. The best news is that I have still to try their Hell and their Dunkel beers. And in 2009, I must also manage a visit to their brewery and beer garden! Things to look forward to ... - 2008, meanwhile, also saw the launch of the first Berlin-brewed organic beer. The Berliner Bürgerbräu used to be a cooperative (before the Fascists put an end to that) and then was a state owned brewery in East Germany. Today, it is in private hands - and a truly independent brewery with no ties to the big beer conglomorates. The ´Bio Pils´ is a very decent "Feierabendbier" (´after work beer´). It´s light, airy - drinkable. It´s also my newest ethical dilemma! I like this beer; I even recommend it. But, truth be told, I prefer slightly more bitter Pils types. As this beer is the most local, organic choice I can get, I should really make this my ´standard beer´. But can I give up my Neumarkter Lammsbräu (trucked to Berlin from Bavaria)? I doubt it (so it´s not on the resolution list!). - May 2009, however, bring many more organic beers to this world - and my stomach. Organic beer is all we need in one: Pleasure and Revolution. On that fine note, I say: Happy New Beer everyone!

Freitag, 19. Dezember 2008

Merry Christmas, E.On (not)

Dienstag, 16. Dezember 2008

Ohne Worte ...

Besinnliche Weihnacht. Auch ein Märchen?

Montag, 8. Dezember 2008

It´s change we need ...

The most entertaining thing you will come across at the climate negotiations in Poznan, Poland, is this bear. It´s a plain-talking creature, not stuck up on LULUCF or Article 2, and he says it as it is: It´s change we need. - The climate negotiations are not moving forward as fast as they should. There is no ambition matching the increasingly alarming science. But, of course, it is also not surprising that there is no buzz here. What will happen in Copenhagen will crucially depend on Obama. And he ain´t here! - So, it´s easy to be cynical about Poznan and dismiss these negotiations. But that would be dreadfully wrong. These negotiations matter. The UN is the right place to address the climate crisis. There is an alternative to neoliberal economics. But there is no alternative to this torturous process, sorry ... - I am only visiting this year, meeting people that it is easy to get hold of here. - I am finding it a bit odd to not be blogging on the daily politics of it all. But if you want to read about what´s going on here in Poznan, there are plenty of sites you can turn to: Klima der Gerechtigkeit, International Rivers, Wir Klimaretter, Oxfam and many more .... That´s a good thing. Because these negotiations matter. Hugely. Don´t be fooled by the lack of adrenalin in the corridors.

So nicht, Frau Bundeskanzlerin!

Deutsche und der Rest der Welt geben sich oft und gerne der Illusion hin, Deutschland sei ein grünes Schlaraffenland. Weit gefehlt. Nirgendwo in Europa werden so viele Kohlekraftwerke gebaut und geplant; unsere pro Kopf Emissionen sind über dem europäischen Durchschnitt; und ob es um Effizienzstandards bei Autos geht oder um Ausnahmen beim europäischen Emissionshandel - Deutschland ist in Brüssel immer der Bremser. Also ist es Zeit, dass die angebliche "Klimakanzlerin Merkel" unter Druck gerät. Und sehr erfreulich, dass die Klima Allianz (und Partner) heute eine Anzeigenkampagne starten, die Merkels Heuchlerei auf den Punkt bringt: Jetzt aktiv werden: hier.

Donnerstag, 4. Dezember 2008

Montag, 1. Dezember 2008

Praise for Obama´s team - but not from me!

I read The Economist every week. I like how they write; I like their global view. But I rarely agree. Rather, I read The Economist to hone my arguments. So, to see The Economist endorse the emerging Obama team confirms my worst fears. And Hillary proves what I already suspected when Obama was in Berlin: On foreign policy, this is not CHANGE, this is, quite literally, a return to the Clinton (some would say ´Realist´) days. As a political move, it´s genius, of course. A smart move to neutralize the (potential) internal opposition. Yet, a sign of HOPE, it is not. So, Obama: Do what you must. But beware that you do not become the next President that I (and Tracy Chapman) will send "honest regards - for disregarding me" ...