There's nothing like a cold beer. In this inaugural episode we talk about:

01:35 — What I am drinking

03:18 — Beware of pruno

05:17 — Beer consumption around the world

07:07 — Oxford Companion to Beer

09:29 — Christmas beers

10:32 — The cost of beer

11:33 — A lesson on what beer really is.

Welcome to another edition of Ask The Beer Guy. This is your host Jon Griffin, “The Beer Drinking Professor.”

It is getting to be the time of year when the seasons are changing (at least for those of you not in Las Vegas where it is 95° F here today). That means it is time to think of brewing your Christmas beer. You can call it holiday beer if you like. I am using the traditional English name since people recognize that.

I have brewed many a Christmas style beer and some have been unbeleiveable and others not quite so stellar.  When I owned my homebrew store, I also tasted many beers and most had the same issues.

An interesting article in The Economist, in honor of Oktoberfest, used data from UBS (the Swiss bank) to compare the cost of a beer around the world.

Before you get all excited and think this is a direct comparison, it isn't. It is a comparison of how many hours a worker earning the median income has to work to buy a half liter of beer.

If you are like me, life is hectic and sometimes it is hard to sleep. Well, drink a beer. There is more evidence that beer is healthy. I know that is a relief for many of you!

A study  in PLoS ONE (2012) did a study on the effects of non-alcoholic beer in female nurses. They wanted to know how it affected  their sleep. Specifically, they wanted to see if hops helped to regulate sleep better.

It ends up that hops help regulate sleep patterns, especially when taken with valerian (Valeriana officinalis). That is one case where drinking beer with your medicine is a good thing.

Anheuser-Busch had a competition between all of their brewmasters at their 12 breweries around the country. It was called "Project 12." The original 12 beers were whittled down to six and consumer feedback determined the three finalists. The three winning beers will be put into a special limited-edition sampler pack that will go on sale this fall.

The three finalists were from the Anheuser-Busch breweries in Los Angeles, St. Louis and Williamsburg, Va. The beers will be named after their originating zip codes.

The Bioware Doctors are retiring from the world of role playing games and moving on into other areas: charity work and beer.

Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka, developers of such games as "Baldur's Gate", "Shattered Steel", "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic" announced their retirement this week from not only their company, established in 1995, but from the industry altogether. The announcement came on their company blog, where both expressed their appreciation of their customers and their desire to move into other projects.

President Obama, who was also a Senator from Illinois, likes beer. He also likes homebrewing.

Why then does Illinois have some of the most backward home brew laws in the country. Not the worst, but among the worst.

It is legal to make your own beer in Illinois, unlike a few other states, but that is where the sanity ends.

Are they just a bunch of punks playing around who got lucky or are they marketing geniuses who are really onto something?

At 24 years old in 2007, Martin Dickie and James Watt, of Aberdeen, Scotland, decided mainstream beers were boring and tired, uninteresting and flat. They had no money, no property, and no means, but what they did have was a lot of attitude! And it appears with that, everything else followed suit.

After President Obama announced that he has been drinking beer made from home beer brewing kit, beer geeks have been asking for the recipe.

Jay Carney, President Obama's White House spokesperson, announced on Twitter that the secret White House beer recipe would be released if 25,000 people would sign an online petition requesting the recipe. Beer fans started to sign the petition immediately and it didn't take long for the requisite number of signatures were gathered.

The White House released the recipes for the two home brews on Saturday and here is my analysis of them.

On April 11, 2012 a recall was announced that affects several Mexican imports distributed by Heineken USA. It only affects the brown bottle versions of certain batches of Carta Blanca and Dos Equis Amber in 6 and 12 packs. It also affects the Beers of Mexico and Best of Mexico variety packs. Also affected was Indio in 12 ounce bottles, although that beer is only in available in Texas in the Best of Mexico pack.

The green bottle varieties are not affected by the recall and neither is Carta Blanca 32 ounce bottles.