Friday, January 16, 2015

Geographical illiteracy in TTB label approvals ... and NABC Eastern Front "Post-War" Imperial Pilsner

Last year, for a nanosecond, social media was filled with chat about the solitary federal government bureaucrat who single-handedly approves or rejects 20,000 beer label approval requests each year, presumably in his sleep.

Meanwhile, this being the year for NABC to release our Eastern Front Russian Imperial Pilsner (formerly Elsa Von Horizon), Tony submitted the requisite label approval form.

The label was rejected pending the removal of all references to "Russian," whether referring to Imperial Pilsner, or describing zakuski, which in Russian (sir, can I use the word to describe a language?) are snacks and appetizers, often pickled and smoked, meant to accompany drinking sessions.

Germany or German? Fine.

Slavic? нет проблем.

Vienna? It ain't nuthin' but a malt, after all.

Tony and David had a quick conference, and Tony suggested "Post-War" as a solution, which was approved, meaning that it's okay to talk about a war but not a civilization. This just may be the foremost example of bureaucratic dumbassery I've experienced since my list trip through airport security.

By the way, thanks to Beer Buzz for the label display. Eastern Front will be out in February. Here is the story. Come to think of it, the name Lyudmila Pavlichenko probably is Ukrainian, not Russian.

Could we have called it Ukrainian Imperial Pilsner? Might need to give THAT wheel a spin, some day.

The Story of Eastern Front (2014)

Throughout European history, the Eastern Front has been the place on the map where German and Slavic lands overlap, both geographically and culturally. However, perhaps owing to so many decades of watching the History Channel, most Americans know of the Eastern Front only in the context of military history. This is not unsurprising, because there has been far too much fighting in the region.

Most of us know about the terrible battle of Stalingrad, but few today remember the role played by female sniper teams posted to the Red Army of the Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War (in the West, we still call it World War II).

The most famous female sniper was Lyudmila Pavlichenko, a student who volunteered for service following the Nazi invasion of the USSR, and refused to serve as a nurse. Rather, her most obvious aptitude came apparent when she was armed with a rifle. Eventually, Pavlichenko recorded 309 certified kills, and such was her fame that in far-off America, folk singer Woody Guthrie took notice.

After all, Guthrie knew a fascist-killing machine when he saw it.

Miss Pavlichenko's well known to fame;
Russia's your country, fighting is your game;
The whole world will love her for a long time to come,
For more than three hundred Nazis fell by your gun.

But oddly enough, we’re here to discuss malt paddles, not telescopic sights. NABC’s assertive, hop-forward Eastern Front (formerly known as Elsa von Horizon) is meant to emphasize the virtues of cultural assimilation in brewing, and posits a strong, hoppy lager’s stylistic re-augmentation as a Russian "Post-War" Imperial Pilsner.

It’s the ideal toast to peace.

Eastern Front

Russian Imperial Pilsner (RIP)

ABV: 8%

IBU: 80

Color: Golden.

Flavor: Full-bodied, but deceptively drinkable, with all the attributes of a crisp, clean, hoppy Pilsner – just more of everything.

Compare to: Rogue Morimoto, Samuel Adams Imperial Pilsner and Lagunitas Scarecity #1.

Description: War, huh yeah … what is it good for? Absolutely nothing; oh hoh, oh war -- huh yeah -- what is it good for? Absolutely nothing: Say it again, y’all.

Recipe suggestion: Eastern Front’s clean and strong German hoppiness brings Russian-style zakuski to a standstill: Funky cheeses, caviar, rye bread, smoked meats and pickled vegetables are typical accompaniments.

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