Monday, August 31, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
SUNGAI SIPUT, Malaysia (Reuters) - A Malaysian Muslim woman who will be caned next week for drinking beer has defiantly asked that the punishment be carried out in public in a case that is fueling debate about tolerance in this multi-racial country.
Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno will be the first Malaysian woman to be caned under Islamic laws applicable to Malaysia's Muslims, who account for 60 percent of the 27-million population.
She said the 20-month ordeal added to her distress, but she respected the law banning alcohol for Muslims and was determined to go through with the punishment -- six strokes of the cane.
The mother of two, who also paid a 5,000 ringgit ($1,420) fine, asked for the punishment, usually carried out in a closed prison, to be done in public.
"I never cried when I was sentenced by the judge. I told myself, alright then, let's get on with it," Kartika, 32, told Reuters in an interview at her father's house in a rural Malay village, about 300 km (186 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur.
Islam is the official religion in this country that has a dual-track legal system, with Islamic criminal and family laws applicable to Muslims alongside civil legislation.
Opinions are divided about the punishment Kartika faces under Islamic laws some say are too severe and selectively enforced.
Amnesty International criticized on Friday the punishment as "degrading" and said the caning comes at a time when the role of Islam in Malaysia is assuming greater importance.
One of the main opposition parties wants Malaysia, which has ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities who are not Muslim, to become an Islamic state with sharia laws on punishment.
Despite the prohibition, Muslims can be found consuming alcohol in bars and nightclubs openly in cities such as the capital, Kuala Lumpur, where attitudes are more relaxed.
Kartika, a Malaysian citizen married to a Singaporean, is a Singapore resident. Religious authorities caught her drinking at a hotel in Kuantan, the state capital of the central Malaysian state of Pahang, on December 11, 2007.
Kartika said she had three glasses of beer before the hotel was raided in what she said was her second time drinking alcohol. She and the other patrons were asked to provide urine samples.
Kartika, who said she has yet to receive any response to her request for a public caning, is due to be taken to prison in central Selangor state beginning on Monday for one week, during which her sentence will be carried out.
She will be fully clothed and kneeling and struck on the backside with a small thin cane using moderate force.
Four court appearances over the offence forced her to quit her full time hospital job and she has since had to rely on part-time modeling jobs.
"I only declared that I was a model to protect my full time job... I felt very humiliated because people used my status as a part-time model to publicize my case," she said.
Starting today, we will be offering Green’s Gluten-Free Amber from in bottles at Wolff’s Biergarten. Melanie is stoked. The bottle of beer is gigantic, too, at 17 ounces. They are a little bit on the pricey side, at $12, but it’s a special order item, and again, it’s a big beer. I actually haven’t tried it yet, but as far as Gluten-Free beer goes, it’s supposed to be delicious.
So if gluten ain’t your thang, stop down at Wolff’s and give one of these big boys a try.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Those long slogs across the Mass Pike can now be eased with a stop at Armsby Abbey in Worchester. Yes, its true there is something worth stopping for in Worchester; in fact it is worth going out of your way to check it out. An awesome draught list, pages of bottles, great food with local ingredients and pairings with recommended beers, fair prices – what more could you ask for? Well how about a brand new 2,600 square foot beer garden with 50 draughts! To be honest we couldn’t go to the beer garden, which is a separate location, because it’s 21 and over, but if it is anything like the Abbey search it out (the Abbey is 21 and over after 6:00).
And speaking of searching, the Abbey is easy to get to off 290. Take the downtown exit go straight toward the downtown to the first “T” intersection, take a right and it’s a block or two on the left. I am told the beer garden is even closer to the highway for your drinking and driving convenience (hey remember that’s illegal!)
While the beer speaks for itself, the food also deserves a word. We were there for brunch and had an eggs Benedict calzone – fresh local eggs, farm smoked ham wrapped in a tasty dough with a side of hollandaise – may be not heart healthy but with a Lost Abbey Devotion – probably worth dying for. Not heart healthy enough for you, how about a homemade mac n cheese made with three artisanal cheeses and covered with toasted homemade ale bread crumbs – that’ll slow the old pump down. Wash it down with a Stone Vanilla Smoked Porter and your ready to roll. On the non alcoholic side the homemade lemonade was a big hit, but the bigger score was the homemade lemonade with muddled fresh raspberries.
So next time your on the road looking for a stop don’t think fast food, slow down and find the Abbey. Check out the website and you may find yourself looking for reasons to go to Worchester soon.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Filed at 10:43 a.m. ET
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- The nation's craft brewers continued to sell more beer in the first half of the year, despite the tough economy, although their rate of growth has slowed.
The Brewers Association, the trade group representing the bulk of craft brewers, said that craft brewers sold 4.2 million barrels in the U.S. in the first half of the year, a 5 percent increase from last year's 4 million barrels. But the growth rate represents a slowdown from the 6.5 percent volume boost posted in the same period last year.
Dollar growth from craft brewers rose 9 percent in the first half of 2009, also a slowdown from 11 percent growth in last year's first half.
The industry considers craft brewers ones who annually produce fewer than 2 million barrels.
The group said there were 1,525 total U.S. breweries, as of July 31. That includes 962 brewpubs, 456 microbreweries and 64 regional craft breweries.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Following up a lead on this blog, we headed last week to the Bowery for a visit to DBGB Kitchen and Bar. This latest restaurant in the Daniel Boulud empire is VERY strong in the beer, burger and sausage areas and made for a great evening of tasting. Along with dining companion, we started off with a round that included Einbecker Mai Ur Bock from Germany, Victory Golden Monkey from Pennsylvania and Six Point Otis Oatmeal Stout from New York City. All went particularly well with the excellent burgers from the kitchen which included the Frenchie, topped with smoked pork belly, tomato confit and arugula, and the Piggie, which was slathered with pulled pork and a dollop of chipotle mayo. Our second samplings were Harriestown Best Bitter “Bitter and Twisted” (just like us!!) from England, Avery Sixteenth Anniversary Saison from Colorado, and a Maredsous 8 Belgian Dubbel on the recommendation of the very knowledgeable “beer girl.” The latter went particularly well with the “Omelet Norvegianne” (aka Baked Alaska) that was doused in chartreuse and set aflame tableside. High marks for the attentive service and samplings of beer to help us make up our minds as to what to drink.
Our next stop on the following day was the Blind Tiger Ale House in the West Village. This is truly a beer lover’s dream! While the bar itself was not much to look at (and get there early to get one of the few seats), the blackboard was chock full of unusual offerings including the Sixpoint Brownstone. Based on one of brew master Shane Welch’s favorite homebrew recipes, the brown ale has the aroma of fresh-baked bread, accomplished by using generous portions of Belgian specialty malt and a pinch of the same malt you would find in a stout. The result is a blend of caramel, toffee, and chocolate with a slight nuttiness and roasted tang. We followed up with the Avery Maharajah, a spicy IPA, and the Ridgeway Stout, which had a deep flavor with citrus notes. Make this a stop on your next trip to the city!
Our final day returned us to the Defiant Brewery in Pearl River, NY where we snagged a bottle of Defiant Trippel to split while we waited to be picked up from the train station across the tracks. This classic Abbey style ale is filled with fruity notes followed by a spicy finish. Best of all, it’s now available for take out along with growlers of their other beers.