Happy Cinco de Mayo! Though you might be celebrating a little differently than usual this year, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a few Mexican-inspired craft beers. Plus, consider the positives: No dealing with blackouts in a crowded bar spilling their margaritas on your lap while you impatiently wait for chips and salsa on the establishment’s busiest day of the year. For some of you, a crowded bar seems like a wistful dream, something you might be longing for after six weeks of solitude, or perhaps you just miss being on the blackout end of the spectrum so you can forget about this nightmare. Regardless, if you’ve ever wondered where Mexican Lagers come from, here’s a little beerology to pair with your Cinco de Mayo crushers.
When talking about American hop production, the Pacific Northwest quickly springs to mind. However, hop farms exist in almost every corner of the country. Their size may be measured in tens, not thousands, of acres, but these growers have an outsized impact with craft brewers on the lookout for local-grown, quality ingredients.
The Big-3 states of hop growing—Washington, Oregon and Idaho—account for nearly 100% of U.S. hop production, according to statista.com. And yet, hops are grown in virtually every state, even as far south as Florida.
“If someone with a peanut allergy walked into a restaurant and told the chef she/he couldn’t have peanut oil, you wouldn’t hear the chef tell her/him that it’s peanut-reduced and it’s totally safe because it’s only a small percentage. The …
You remember the Pale Ale, don’t you? Sure you do. It’s a beer style born in England during the early 1700s. It was then resurrected and reinvented in the U.S. when Fritz Maytag introduced the lovely Cascade hop into his Anchor Brewing Liberty (Pale) Ale in 1975. He was followed by Jack McAuliffe of New Albion Brewing Company, and then most famously by Ken Grossman and Paul Camusi with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in 1981. Early American Pale Ales profoundly altered the modern craft beer scene. Even the first canned beer to emerge in modern craft beer was Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale in 2002. Its place in craft beer history is forever cemented, but is still relevant as we approach 2020?
The name “grisette” has popped up on brewery taplists more and more in recent years, but the style is still poorly understood by many. What is this curious little beer, where did it come from, and why is it growing in popularity? Turns out none of those questions have easy answers.
The popular origin stories for many historical beer styles are often festooned with fanciful narrative elements of dubious veracity. Ask any dudebro at a bar about how IPA was created and be prepared for a tall tale involving colonialism and sea commerce. The true story is often a little more complicated if it can be uncovered at all, and grisette’s backstory is no exception.
It’s only a matter of time before Chicago’s craft-community routinely lists Burnt City Brewing as one of the city’s most innovative and creative breweries. And that day may inch closer after it hosts Kveik Fest. Thirty Breweries from around the country will descend upon Chicago to showcase beer brewed with kveik, a traditional and unique Norwegian farmhouse brewing yeast. The festival will occur on September 7 at the (also innovative) District Brew Yards, a spot shared by Burnt City, Around the Bend and Bold Dog Brewery.
“Kveik is a Norwegian dialect word for ‘yeast’,” explained Lance Shaner, owner at Omega Yeast Labs in Chicago. “In the brewing context, kveik are Norwegian farmhouse brewing yeasts that collectively share a lot of common traits, most notably high temperature tolerance (not unusual for them to produce good beer in the upper 90sF), high alcohol tolerance and fast fermentation. They were brought to the attention of the world by Norwegian blogger Lars Marius Garshol.”
It’s the beginning of August, and by the inexorable laws of seasonal creep, that means it’s officially Oktoberfest season in taprooms and bottle shops across the country. Most folks assume the word “Oktoberfest” on a beer label or tap list refers to a particular style, but it’s actually a little more complicated than that. Let’s talk about how we got here, and then get into the details of what’s what with Oktoberfest lagers.
This time of year nothing’s more American than watching a baseball game with a beer in hand. Everyone knows the power of singles, doubles and triples in baseball’s major leagues, but few are familiar with Belgium’s similarly-named heavy-hitters. Belgian-style of Dubbels and Tripels often cause confusion since they aren’t as intuitively familiar as counting the bases in the ballpark.
Starting with the basics, the majority of craft beers fit the category of a single, or table beer as the Belgians would say. These beers typically fall into the 4 – 6 percent ABV range and encompass a wide range of styles and flavors.
The modern world of craft beer tends to glamorize the brewmaster as a lone wolf creative genius. One person working away in an underground lair fermenting magic. Of course, a brewmaster relies on a large team of professionals in every step of the process. The very first step is gathering quality ingredients. Yeast is beer’s most mysterious ingredient. A reproducing single-celled organism that consumes sugars to create alcohol and carbon dioxide. Without these invisible creatures, there would be no beer.
Beer fans routinely face a learning curve when presented with new beer styles, including variations on IPAs, such as New England, Milkshake and the latest trend—Brut IPA. So, to be better understand “Bruts,” Rob Abel, head brewer at Ferguson Brewing (St. Louis area) offers insight into the increasingly popular style of IPA.
Ah, ’tis season of winter beers. As the days and nights turn colder in the northern parts of the nation, the bite in the air invites us to turn from the lighter beers of summer to the bigger, bolder and richer beers designed to be sipped by the fire, enjoyed with hearty menus or served at warmer temperatures.
The three most popular winter styles, outside the realm of barrel-aging, involve stouts, porters and brown ales. While most can adequately describe stouts, the differences between porters and brown ales are often misunderstood. To better understand the styles, I asked some breweries in the St. Louis region to provide clarity on the topic.
Some call it a trend, some call it a craze. But for me, it’s the style that has added a new layer of fun to beer.
The style I speak of goes by many names. New England style IPAs, Hazy or Juicy beers, and now, I’m even starting to see “Juicy or Hazy Pale Ales” and even “Juicy or Hazy Imperials and Double India Pale Ales.” The more the merrier.
New beer styles don’t come along every day, so when I first stumbled upon the new, increasingly popular Brut IPA, I wanted to know more. So, I reached out to Rob Abel, head brewer at Ferguson Brewing: “The Brut IPA is a new IPA, the rationale for that name is that much like Brut champagne is extremely dry, the IPA is extremely dry, having zero residual sugar left.”
I first discovered Logboat Brewing two years ago, about one year into their existence. If memory serves, it was the Centennial Beer Festival in St. Louis and I walked away after sampling Snapper thinking it was one of finest IPAs I’d had in long time. I made a mental note to remember that something very exciting was going on in Columbia, Missouri with this new brewery “LongBoat.”
Soon, I was bringing home Snapper as my go-to IPA as well as its American cousin Lookout. After a few closer looks at the cans, I finally realized they were not Longboat but Logboat and after a good chuckle at myself, I knew I had found something special.
Back in the late 1990s, my wife had a habit of signing up for every contest she ran across — and winning. One day, a home brewing kit showed up at our home. It went straight into the basement and remained there until it was tossed in the trash during a spring cleaning. What a mistake, because right about that time, I discovered craft beer and fell in love with the entrepreneurial spirit it represented. Given my young age, I could have walked away from my television career and went into brewing, but I didn’t. Now years later, I’ve converged my love of responsible drinking and my love for media into writing about beer. Nevertheless, that spirit of putting one’s faith in beer continues today, such as the story attached to Chris Greer and Greer Brewing.
As a Minnesota native, I’ve become particularly accustomed to how passionate the craft beer community has become in the land of 10,000 lakes. One tradition that I’ve found to be so interesting about Minnesota’s craft beer scene is how intertwined bike culture is with the local breweries, especially with those in the ever-vibrant northeast area of Minneapolis. From bike racks and custom jerseys, to sponsored bike races and cycling-inspired beers, bicycling has become of an integral part of the Minneapolis craft beer scene. Here is a look at how two Minneapolis craft beer favorites have embraced this unique partnership.
Welcome back to Beerology! After a six month hiatus due to opening The Jailhouse Craft Beer Bar, I have returned to talk about the history behind beer and booze. This edition delves into the obscure style of Gose.
Welcome to Beerology! Once a month, we will take a look into the origins of all things booze. In this edition of Beerology, we are going to dive into the world of sour beers. Despite the extreme increase in number of breweries producing sour beer, there has not been an increase in knowledge for consumers. So, we’re making an effort to thwart misinformation. Read on to learn the basics of what makes beer sour.
If you’re someone who thinks that Americans created sour, let’s do a real quick crash course in the history of Lambic. What’s Lambic? Only the most important beer style that has led to the sudden explosion in number of “sour” beers on shelves across the country. Lambic is a spontaneously fermented beer that is produced in a region of Belgium called Pajottenland. In a nutshell, spontaneous fermentation is the process of inoculating wort with wild yeast and bacteria present in the brewery’s environment and letting those microorganisms have sole responsibility over fermentation, no added brewer’s yeast or commercial cultures. This is the most traditional way of creating acidity in beer and is the predecessor to modern production of sour beer.
“Studying the history of Porter is like staring into the multidimensional universe of theoretical cosmology, with multiple shifting parallel worlds constantly warping and shifting with the flow of time. The more you try to pin it down, the more it …