Hi Patrick, I have a beer question.

Today on Facebook, my mom asked me a question that I couldn’t answer in the short limits that Facebook imposes on wall comments/posts. I reposted it here in full form.

Here is the question:

Hi Patrick,
I have a beer question.

Unfiltered and unfettered Hefeweisen… I had that recently at 12 Crane and it didn’t taste right. I am sure I have had it before, or at least tasted it at a beer bar in Boston with you and I liked it. When I asked the waitress about it, she said the beer was as it should be but may have seemed strange because of the “unfettered and unfiltered”. Does that sound right to you or is she just a good waitress with an intelligent sounding response? I am keeping my question “filtered” because I don’t want to cast aspersions on any beer makers.

love, Mom

Read on for my response:


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Wedding photos are coming in!

This will be a very quick post, but the wedding photos are trickling in from everyone.

Be sure to browse and share!



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Programming at Sea

Recently, on stackoverflow, Jeff Atwood has been concerned with ‘joke’ questions. One of these, which is now going to live in infamy due to all the discussion about it, is about “Programming at Sea”. Now, I got curious about the questions when I heard about it, so I tried to find it. The Stack overflow moderators had already removed it, but I found it in Google’s cache. I decided to exercise my rights under the Creative Commons license and repost the questions and some selected answers here, so it doesn’t die forever. I, for one, think this post is both funny and interesting, though I agree that it probably isn’t ‘programming-related’, so it doesn’t really belong on SO.

This entry on my blog is released under a Creative Commons license.

Creative Commons License

So, here is the question, originally posted by Out Into Space:

I’ve decided to cast off from this dreadful economy and program out at sea.

Programming at Sea

I’ve acquired a 40ft sailboat. Should be sufficient for me and my cat (Ender).

What do I need to be a sailor/programmer? I have a basic sailing knowledge… so I’ll wing that part. But the programming! THAT requires some juice which as I understand, is in short supply on long voyages.

So what do I need SO? A genset and some fuel? Would solar be enough to charge a single laptop? What about internet connection out there, got to be something?

So, my question is, what kind of setup should I create to sling code on the high seas?

Read on for some of my favorite responses…


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Gmail-style buttons with no images

Earlier this week, Gmail rolled out new buttons to the site. As I understand it, these buttons are meant to make the UI more consistent across browsers, and make the experience more streamlined.

These buttons have a gradient background, making them appear rounded, and they are grouped together in “pills”, to keep related actions together. The buttons on the ends of the pills have slightly rounded corners. The cool thing about these rounded corners is that they are pure HTML/CSS (they don’t use any images) and they work in all browsers (unlike the firefox-specific -mox-border-radius directive). The drawback is that you can only get slight rounding; no a gradual curve. Also, the markup is far from simple.

I thought they looked pretty sweet, so I got to wondering how difficult it would be to try them myself. Douglas Bowman, from Google, wrote a post about how these new buttons evolved. He didn’t come out and say how they were done int he final result, but he did invite people to reverse-engineer the new buttons. I decided to take him up on that invitation.


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Deval Patrick to raise taxes on beer

The Boston Globe is reporting this morning that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has announced he will raise taxes on beer, as well as other alcoholic beverages (and candy and soft drinks):

Patrick would raise $75 million, for example, by increasing charges at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, including hikes of $25 for getting a title for a car and $2 to renew a license. Eliminating an exemption on the state’s 5 percent sales tax on alcohol, candy, soft drinks, and juice drinks would raise $150 million and be placed in a special health fund. (Administration officials have defined a juice drink as one that is less than 50 percent natural). Patrick would also expand the 5 cent deposit charge on carbonated sodas, beer, and malt beverages to include beverages such as water and juice drinks.


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Beer Nutz…Where have I been?

Well, maybe I’ve been living under a rock for the past three years, but I never heard of this show, Beer Nutz, until I just found it on Hulu.

So basically, these two guys travel from city to city, and profile the best beer spots in town. I just watched the first episode, filmed on location in my home town of Boston, MA. I got to see a couple friends of mine, Bob and Tigh, and plenty of places I’ve enjoyed a pint of two before.

I don’t know what happened to this show, but it seems it hasn’t been on since 2006. I, for one, miss it. Even though I just found it.


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Jim is looking for one of Jamil’s recipes

If you are a homebrewer, or just a beer lover, I cannot recommend joining the American Homebrewers Association enough. In addition to a subscription to Zymurgy, plenty of discounts to pubs and other places beer lovers are bound to frequent, and also a subscription to Tech Talk, the AHA-only email forum. Now, there are plenty of online homebrew forums, and many of them are great. Tech Talk is one of the best (in my opinion, at least).

I had a question once, shortly after joining the AHA, so I figured I’d give it a try. Within 2 hours of the email going out, I got about 2 responses directly to my email, and another five or so responses came in the next issue of Tech Talk. It was amazing, and it proved, once again, that homebrewers are the best type of people.

So, in that spirit, I have decided to re-publish my responses to other people’s question on Tech Talk here. Hopefully this will help me reach more people, in case anyone has these same questions. With that being said, if you find this useful, you will find many more helpful people on Tech Talk, so join the AHA.

So, a little while ago, a guy named Jim D. asked the kind folks of Tech Talk if we could suggest an extract version of Jamil Zainasheff’s Brown Ale recipe, which was published in Zymurgy in a recent issue. Here is my response:

If you are looking for one of Jamil’s recipes, and you don’t have his book, you can listen to the podcast he did. He went through each recipe in Brewing Classic Styles and discusses it in some pretty good depth, as well as gives out all grain and extract versions of the recipe. The archives listing is at http://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/jamil.php. There are actually two episodes on English Brown Ale, one for the southern style, and one for the northern.


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