Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Official - Well Hopped Beer Is Good For You

"Mmmm... Beer" This oft-repeated sentiment of Homer Simpson is a mantra for the millions of beer drinkers in the United States. As popular as beer is, however, it often has gotten a bad rap as a calorie-loaded beverage that only serves to create paunchy beer bellies and alcohol-fueled lapses in judgment.

But that negative image may begin to fade: Research is showing that beer could join the ranks of other guilt-inducing but wildly popular foods — chocolate, coffee and red wine — as a possible disease-fighter.

It turns out that beer hops contain a unique micronutrient that inhibits cancer-causing enzymes. Hops are plants used in beer to give it aroma, flavor and bitterness.

The compound, xanthohumol, was first isolated by researchers with Oregon State University 10 years ago. Initial testing was promising, and now an increasing number of laboratories across the world have begun studying the compound, said Fred Stevens, an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry at Oregon State's College of Pharmacy.

Earlier this year, a German research journal even devoted an entire issue to xanthohumol, he said.
What Stevens and others are discovering is that xanthohumol has several unique effects. Along with inhibiting tumor growth and other enzymes that activate cancer cells, it also helps the body make unhealthy compounds more water-soluble, so they can be excreted.

Most beers made today are low on hops, however, and so don't contain much xanthohumol. But beers known for being "hoppy" — usually porter, stout and ale types — have much higher levels of the compound. Oregon's microbrews ranked particularly high, Stevens said, which is not surprising: U.S. hops are grown almost entirely in the Northwest.

Still, no one knows how much beer is needed to reap the benefits. Mice studies show that the compound is metabolized quickly by the body, so it's hard to get a large amount in the body at one time, Mr Stevens said
It clearly has some interesting chemo-preventive properties, and the only way people are getting any of it right now is through beer consumption,

Source ABC News, Drinker's Delight: Beer May Fight Disease.

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CAMRA Campaigns To Keep Gale’s Brewing

Personally I think ther is little hope in saving another lost brewery, but here goes...

Consumers to seek assurances over future of Horndean Brewery, Gale’s pubs and beer range

Beer consumer group, the Campaign for Real Ale has reacted angrily to today’s announcement that London brewer Fuller’s is to acquire George Gale and Company in Horndean, and has pledged to fight to prevent the closure of the 158 year-old Hampshire brewery.

Mike Benner, Chief Executive, said,
Gale’s is a brewing landmark in Hampshire, brewing award-winning beers such as HSB and Festival Mild. Today’s announcement by Fuller’s makes no promises to keep the Horndean brewery open and it is clearly under threat. We will campaign to protect this unique Victorian tower brewery from closure.

The irrevocable deal leaves Fuller’s with around 360 pubs and access to Gale’s substantial free trade accounts. The future of the Gale’s Brewery and its beers is unclear as Fuller’s plans a major review of its operations.

Mike Benner added,
In 2005 alone we have seen Ridleys of Essex and Belhaven in Scotland fall victim to Greene King and Jennings of Cumbria swallowed up by Wolverhampton and Dudley. Consolidation is eroding our brewing heritage and reducing consumer choice.

CAMRA will be seeking assurances from Fuller’s that the Horndean Brewery will continue to brew the full range of Gale’s beers and that Gale’s pubs will not lose their identity with the Hampshire brewer.

“CAMRA has a good relationship with Fuller’s and it has demonstrated its commitment to an interesting range of quality cask beers. We will be pressing Fuller’s to continue this tradition and ensure Gales’ beers continue to be brewed in their Horndean heartland.”

Mr. Benner said,
There are potential beer portfolio clashes and we don’t want to see Gale’s Butser Bitter or Gale’s Best handpumps replaced with Fuller’s Chiswick or London Pride. Drinkers in Hampshire will not take kindly to the loss of their favourite beers.

John Cryne, CAMRA’s Brewery Liaison Officer and former National Chairman of CAMRA, said,
Whilst we clearly oppose the takeover, it does provide some sort of counter balance to the growing domination of W&DB and Greene King. Hopefully the fact that a family owned brewery has this time found shelter with another member of the Independent Family Brewers of Britain, rather than joining the ‘big two’ where its identity would quickly be subsumed, will result in a future for both Gale’s and Fuller’s.

Gale’s Festival Mild is a long standing favourite with real ale drinkers and has picked up a number of CAMRA awards including the silver medal in the Champion Winter Beer of Britain competition in 2003 and 2004. Gales also brews Prize Old Ale, a unique real ale in a bottle.

Update I
New website set-up with an on-line petition.

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