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Posts Tagged ‘Beer’

My handwriting is way worse than this..

My handwriting is way worse than this..

  • Brew! (http://twtpoll.com/fqcrrt to input)
  • Maybe bottle the stout, keg the wit
  • Email DU Business profs about having some MBA students help with the B. Plan
  • Talk so some engineers (Like Mike!)
  • Talk to my landlord about brewing in the garage
  • Find a new place to live if ^ goes poorly
  • Maybe call up the TTB about ^
  • Look into small commercial real estate properties if ^ goes really poorly
  • Talk to the guys at the homebrew shop about ordering in bulk
  • Join a homebrew club (I know, I know, why haven’t I done this yet)
  • Enjoy a beer.

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This will all be a coherent thought in the end. Trust me. I want to discuss a few things about beer and history involving geography, weather, nutrition, division of labor and feminism. Although I should probably go way back to the first millennia B.C.E., I’m going to concentrate on early Renaissance to the beginning of Early Modern Europe.

Female Brewster (its hard to find images of this..)

Female Brewster (it's hard to find images of this..)

Geography

Why does one think of Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, England, etc., when it comes to beer, whereas France and Italy are the wine countries? Just like real estate, it’s all location, location, location. The main ingredients for beer (water, grains of some sort, hops and yeast) grow well in the northern climates. Thus, beer and its various siblings and cousins (such as mead, ale, etc.) was created, crafted and perfected in these locales. However, apart from the materials being readily available, there was another reason why beer was so important in these northern countries.

Weather

Beer’s grain ingredients keep fresh long past their harvest date, whereas other alcoholic beverage ingredients don’t (think grapes without refrigeration). It is possible to harvest all of the grains for beer when ready and keep them stored without any special materials (salt or cold) as long as you keep them away from scavenger rodents. Hops on the other hand can go stale, but if they are going stale, you can use more. For our historical discussion, let’s remember that the brewers were not entered in Craft Beer Week. Therefore, it is possible to make beer all winter long.

Nutrition

Most of all, beer was used as nutritional fortification. Today, many pansy drinkers complain about calorie intake when drinking beer, which was one of the original purposes behind the drink. To survive cold winters in northern Europe, calories were key and when a surplus of food was rarely available, beer was a crucial staple in the local diet.

And here’s where this whole thing gets really cool…

Division of Labor and Feminism

Traditionally, men were the brewers in medieval England. However, for a 300 year stretch beginning in late medieval England, women took over the brewster role. The reason behind this change had to do with time management. It was easier for a woman to brew beer while conducting her other daily tasks, such as rearing children, which allowed men to leave the home for manual labor jobs. Women also created ways to trade off tasks with friends and neighbors to garner relief from the work load. Households would congregate and each household would trade-off brewing beer for the other households in the group so that one house didn’t have to constantly brew for themselves. Of course, some were better than others and this ensured a market for higher quality goods. This methodology created a scenario for guild formation and also regulations. However, by the 1600s, men had stolen the task of brewing back from women as technology and techniques became more advanced. At this point breweries for production on a larger scale started cropping up, which pushed women out of the limelight of beer creation.

Monks drinking beer

Monks drinking beer

As this brewery takes shape and hopefully flourishes from a household operation to mass production, it is easy to understand how time management affected the gender of the brewers in the late medieval/early Renaissance in England. I have heard many complaints on a week day that “I’d rather be brewing than sitting at work,” and hopefully with help from both genders, we’ll be able to make that happen.

If anyone is looking for more information, I learned about women brewsters in a class on Medieval families at Colorado College. I highly recommend reading this short, fascinating book:

Bennett, J. M. Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England: Women’s Work in a Changing World, 1300 to 1600. (Oxford University Press, 1996).

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Bobby Orr celebrating with The Stanley Cup, looks delicious

Bobby Orr celebrating with The Stanley Cup. Looks delicious.

Here at [No Name Yet] Brewing, we like a good beer. In fact, we like lots of good beer. We hope that we don’t come off as beer snobs ever. If anything, we prefer the accepted vernacular “beer geeks”. We think everyone has the right to enjoy their beer how they see fit; there is no right or wrong way. Some other people might say you have to drink a beer out of the proper glass in order to enjoy it. Well, I think there are some exceptions. For instance, how about drinking delicious beer out of the greatest trophy in all of sports (IMHO), the Stanley Cup. Or maybe, in a time honored tradition of “shooting the boot”, a rugby boot is the only option. Sipped from a timeless treasure while celebrating a victory or chugged from a sweaty rugby boot, salty aftertaste and all, these drinkers are enjoying their beer, regardless of the lack of a “proper” drinking apparatus. If you have any creative examples of beer drinking methods let us know. We are kind of partial to “Gelande Quaffing,” but are open to most methods of consumption.

The snobs connoisseurs, however, certainly do know how to bring out the characteristics of a beer with the proper glass. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong in my analysis of the glasses below.

Nonic glass, note the bulge near the top

Nonic glass, note the bulge near the top

We start with one of today’s standards: The Pint Glass. Usually served as a 20-ounce glass (an imperial pint) in the UK and 16-ounces in the US, the pint is a versatile glass that is cheap, easy to make, and easy to store.  “Conical” pint glasses are just that, an inverted cone that tapers out at the top, and “nonic” pint glasses (pictured) have a bulge near the top, some say for better grip and they won’t stick together when stacked.  In either form, just a few of the many beers that are commonly enjoyed out of these glasses include:

  • English India Pale Ale (IPA)
  • American Pale Ale (APA)
  • Scottish Ale
  • Irish combinations (Black & Tan, Half & Half, etc.)
  • American Porter
  • American Stout
  • English Porter
  • English Stout
  • Barley wine
This ones just right

This one's just right

Another vessel one commonly thinks of is a mug or stein. Definitions vary as to what can be considered a stein, and what is simply a mug. They both have handles, are generally sturdy, and can withstand more abuse during celebration or anguish. They are easy to drink out of and some hold a larger volume of liquid. They can be made from numerous materials but the most common are glass and stainless steel, while pewter and ceramic were more often the material of choice in the past. In the late 1400’s large swarms of insects commonly attacked Northern Europe, prompting the Germans to cover their steins with a lid.  Many of the same beers that are commonly served in a pint glass are also served in mugs or steins.  Some additional beers include:

  • Oatmeal Stout
  • Extra Special/Strong Bitter (ESB)
  • Milk/Sweet Stout
  • Smoked Beer
  • Vienna Lager
  • English Strong Ale
  • Doppelbock
  • Euro Dark Lager
  • Bock
Nice and refreshing on a spring day, oh wait its snowing on April 1, 2009 in Colorado

Nice and refreshing on a spring day. Oh wait, it's snowing on April 1, 2009 in Colorado.

Pilsner glasses are a more delicate tapered glass with a short neck at the bottom, they are typically found in sizes slightly smaller than pint glasses. They are designed to enhance the colors of a Pilsner while retaining a head.  Pilsner glasses also show clarity and carbonation, and enhance volatiles. Obviously, pilsners are ideally suited to this class of glass, but many other lighter beers are commonly served in pilsner glasses for similar reasons.  Some include:

  • American Malt Lager
  • American Pale Lager
  • German Pilsener
  • Euro Pale Lager
  • Japanese Rice Lager
  • Munich Helles Lager
  • American Adjunct Lager
Traditional tulip glass

Traditional tulip glass

A Tulip glass is designed to enhance the characteristics of beers with large foamy heads. The top is pinched in to retain the head longer and enhance volatiles and strong aromas that often accompany these types of beers. Scotch Ales are commonly served in a variation of the tulip glass that resembles a thistle, the national flower of Scotland. Beers served in tulip glasses include:

  • American Double/Imperial IPA
  • Belgian Dark Ale
  • Belgian IPA
  • Belgian Dark Strong Ale
  • Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy
  • Quadrupel
  • Farmhouse Ale
I just hope that is some 90 Minute IPA

I just hope that is some 90 Minute IPA

Another round bottomed glass, the Snifter, is also commonly associated with brandy and cognac.  It’s wide bowl tapers to the mouth, locking in aromas of stronger ales, and providing a perfect venue for swirling to release additional aromas.  These glasses usually have a short neck and can vary in height and volume.  Stronger beers that are commonly served in a snifter include:

  • IPA
  • Belgian Strong Ale
  • Barley wine (of several varieties)
  • Flanders Red Ale
  • Russian Imperial Stout
  • American Double/Imperial IPA
  • Wheat wine
  • Scotch Ale
  • Tripel
Traditional shape with a masterful pour, someone knew what they were doing

Traditional shape with a masterful pour, someone knew what they were doing

The Weizen/Wheat beer glass is self explanatory, but if you missed it, wheat style beers are served in them. Their thin walls and tall stature showcase the colors, clarity (or lack there of), and carbonation of wheat beers. It is also designed to retain the head and aromas of these beers. They are wide at the top and have a slimming hourglass figure with a sturdy base to offset the height.  Expert servers will take care and slowly pour the beer to produce a large head and release the aromas of the beer. Some more common wheat beers that are served in these glasses are:

  • Dunkelweizen
  • Hefeweizen
  • Gose
  • American Wheat Ale
  • Weizenbock
  • Kristalweizen

In contrast to the rather elongated and shapely weizen glasses, there is the elegant and often ornate Goblet (or Chalice).  Delicate and thin goblets are often adorned with a

Just a standard Chalice

Just a standard Chalice

gold or silver rim, while the heavier thick walled goblets often have a sculpture like stem.  Scoring the inside of the bowl of a goblet can create channels where streams of carbonation are release to keep a perfectly maintained head.  The wide mouth is perfect for taking robust sips that are a perfect balance between liquid and head.  Traditionally, some of the following beers are served in goblets:

  • Belgian IPA
  • Belgian Strong Dark Ale
  • Dubbel
  • Tripel
  • Quadrupel
3 feet of awesome

3 feet of awesome

One of the most recognizable glasses for beer is the Yard, which conveniently measures roughly 3 feet.  Since its introduction, in 17th century England, it has been a favorite of those brave few with the will to challenge each other and the beer.  The goal is to take down the entire yard without a single pause or break for a breath.   A yard’s average of 60-ounces (US) can strain even the most seasoned imbiber.  There are a few tips out there to help take down this beast.  1) Pace yourself, there is no point in rushing, unless you are trying to break the world record of 5 seconds.  2) Slowly spin the glass as you drink to improve flow. 3) Watch out for the bulb, once air enters the bulb at the bottom of the glass a wave of beer heads towards the drinker, but don’t over correct, or the beer will stop flowing and you fail.  But, not addressing the bulb is equally as dangerous, leaving the drinker with a soaked shirt and a disappointed audience.  As the yard has gained popularity it is common to see many types of beers served in a yard or half yard (you can figure that one out on your own).  Traditionally English beers are served in yards, but Irish and Scottish beers are commonly served in yards here in the US.  Some include:

  • English Ale
  • English Dark Ale
  • English Strong Ale
  • English Porter
  • English Stout
  • Scottish Dark Ale
  • Scotch Ale
  • Irish Stout
  • Irish Porter

We have saved the best for last, and that would be the rugged taster from the Great American Beer Festival.  The miniature Weizen glass, made out of Lexan is the perfect solution for sampling the 1800 beers from over 400 breweries during the annual celebration in Denver, CO.  With a 1-ounce sample it would be 150 12-ounce beers to try each one!  This little guy makes the perfect vessel for any beer, delivering everything your heart desires.  Put a reminder on your calendar today for September 24-26, 2009!

nuf said

'nuf said

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Rye

Rye

The other day, I was eating a delicious sandwich. It was  peppered turkey, pepper jack cheese, and spicy mustard, on a nice Jewish rye. At some point, I was nibbling on a rye seed, and BAM, it opened up. Utterly delicious. So much flavor in that one little seed. And I thought, “hmm, this is utterly delicious! I should make beer out of this.” And thus, a recipe has been developed.

[Note: My office just closed due to the snow, so if this seems rushed, it’s because I want to get out of here]

I decided to make a Dry Stout, but a Wheat was also in the works. Let me know what you think of the following recipe, any tips you might have, etc.

  • 10 lbs 2-Row
  • 2 lbs Dark Munich
  • 3 lbs Flaked Rye
  • 1 lb Roasted Rye
  • 1 lb Black Patent
  • 1/4 lb Chocolate Wheat
  • 1 oz Perle (8.2%) @ 60 minutes
  • 1 oz Cluster (7.0%) @ 15 minutes
  • White Labs WLP013 London Ale Yeast

I’m thinking a nice long mash and a 60 minute boil should do the trick. I’d like to get a slightly creamy, very slightly hoppy, dry stout with a tinge to slight rye flavor. According to Beer Tools (I’m at work, I can’t do all the math right now…), this should result in approximately 1.060 OG, 1.015 TG, a brown/black color (32.54 SRM), ABV of almost 6%, and a bitterness rating of 34.8. The image below is the actual output in Beer Tools.

For those who have played with rye before, let me know what you think! For anyone else who knows what those numbers mean, let me know your thoughts too. And for those who have no idea what I’m talking about, ask questions!

Recipe

Recipe - click for full size

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The IPA (India Pale Ale) is  one of  the most popular styles around today, and has been for a while. In our homebrew operation, it’s becoming one of the tastiest and most fun to make. We’re entering it into competitions (Cliché, yes, but it’s so tasty!). Our current recipe might even get converted for the brewery. Why all the hype? I believe it’s in the hops and the history. Let’s look at the history of the IPA, what makes it so different, and some great versions you can buy today.

East Indies Trading Company - Is that a keg in the water?

East Indies Trading Company - Is that a keg in the water?

History

A lot has been written on this topic, so I’ll just give a brief summary and a few good links.

Think about what you do when you buy a few bottles of beer, or even a keg. You drive to your favorite liquor store or brewery, open the refrigerated case in which the ale or lager you wish to consume rests, purchase the beer, drive it home in your temperature controlled automobile, and put it in another refrigerated container. (I realize this experience may differ for some readers, but this is generally the modus operandi for the beer consumer and connoisseur.)

Now think how the British transported the beer for their colonizing soldiers, from London to New Delhi or Mumbai. Even if the beer were refrigerated before hand – which I’m pretty sure they couldn’t do in the 18th and 19th century – the four month trip overseas, through and into tropical climates, tends to warm the temperature of the delicious liquid inside those wooden casks.

Anyone had a warm beer lately? How about a microwaved one? What about a beer left outside to fend for itself for a few months. Not as tasty as that one you just drove home from Main Street Liquors, is it.

Hops

Hops

The story goes that the October beer of George Hodgson’s Bow Brewery, and later, Burton Brewers’s India Pale Ale, were some of the first to brew differently to overcome the adverse affects of a long overseas journey. They did this by using more hops, and using them at different times, as well as increasing the alcohol content.

Hops are very, very resistant to the kinds of bacteria you don’t want in your beer. They also pack a punch in the form of flavor and aroma, masking a lot of unpleasantness that might be resting in the beer. By adding more hops throughout the boil, and adding hops after the boil, these innovative brewers increased the flavor and resilience of their beer.

Also, increased alcohol by volume makes a very unpleasant living environment for some brew-ruining bacteria; the brewers achieved this by increasing the amount of sugar the yeast could nibble on.

So the ale made it to India. Mind you, a lot of other styles made it as well. But this one was extra resilient. A porter survives quite well. The IPA was just designed for it. Anyway, the IPA arrives in India, and the British soldiers tap the keg and taste the results. Lo and behold, it not only survived the trip, but it’s also delicious!

BeerAdvocate states that

Historians believe that an IPA was then watered down for the troops, while officers and the elite would savor the beer at full strength.

A more detailed history can be found in a nice article written by Thom Tomlison, as well as on Wikipedia. But that’s the basic story.

Styles

The BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) has a full category for IPAs (Category 14), with three subcategories: 14A English IPA, 14B American IPA, and 14C Imperial IPA.

The English IPA is a little lighter in color, body, and alcohol content than the other varieties. The BJCP sums it up:

A hoppy, moderately strong pale ale that features characteristics consistent with the use of English malt, hops and yeast.

The American version steps up the color and alcohol by a little bit. Not a lot. Just a few points here and there. I think the casual beer drinking would be hard pressed to taste the difference between the American and English varieties.

The Imperial IPA. The name deserves its own sentence. This version of the India Pale Ale is a little darker and whole lot stronger than the other two categories. The ABV ranges for the English, American, and Imperial IPAs are, respectively, 5 – 7.5%, 5.5 – 7.5%, and 7.5 – 10%. That’s right. The lower end of the Imperial IPA is the upper end of the other versions. It’s a beast of a beer. Defined:

An intensely hoppy, very strong pale ale without the big maltiness and/or deeper malt flavors of an American barleywine. Strongly hopped, but clean, lacking harshness, and a tribute to historical IPAs. Drinkability is an important characteristic; this should not be a heavy, sipping beer. It should also not have much residual sweetness or a heavy character grain profile.

If you couldn’t tell by my tone, I enjoy this style. 14c. It’s good stuff.

Sales

I wanted to write about the volume sold of IPA compared to other styles, and the increase in sales over recent years. However, I was unable to find specific information and numbers on the sales of craft beer styles.

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA - One of my favorites

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA - One of my favorites

Examples

Just a few beers you might have heard of that I personally believe do the style very, very well. I have a few favorite breweries, which will show themselves by my listings, so feel free to add your favorites in the comments. I’ll try them as soon as I can.

  • English IPA
    • Long Trail Traditional IPA – Long Trail Brewing Company – Bridgewater Corners, Vermont
    • Apparently I need to try more English IPAs
  • American IPA
    • Harpoon IPA – Harpoon Brewery – Boston, Massachusetts
    • Inversion IPA – Deschutes Brewery – Bend, Oregon
    • Snake Dog IPA – Flying Dog Brewery – Fredrick, Maryland (formerly Denver)
    • Snake River IPA – Snake River Brewing Company – Jackson, Wyoming
    • Stone IPA – Stone Brewing Company – Escondido, California
    • Titan IPA – Great Divide Brewing Company – Denver, Colorado
  • Imperial IPA / Double IPA
    • 90 Minute IPA – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery – Milton, Delaware
    • 120 Minute IPA – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery – Milton, Delaware
    • Pliny The Younger – Russian River Brewing Company – Santa Rosa, California

And soon to be added to the list, our IPA. You’ll love it. I swear.

Any questions? Tell me your favorite styles and I’ll write about them too.

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A quick note / addition to Kell’s post last week. I started following @MyBeerPix on twitter today, and immediately saw a sweet post on their blog talking about a Wall Street Journal article entitled “In Lean Times, a Stout Dream”.

The line to get into Great American Beer Festival. People love to drink good beer. Period.

The line to get into Great American Beer Festival. People love to drink good beer. Period.

The article starts off wonderfully, filling the hearts (and hopefully kegs) of people like me.

The economic crisis has stifled entrepreneurial activity in many industries. But it’s done little to dent the ambitions of those who dream of brewing their own beer and offering it to the world.

They have a lot of stats and whatnot, some not so encouraging. But here’s another excerpt that reaffirms my current research and feelings:

Last year, 42 brewpubs closed in the U.S., the most since 2005, the Brewers Association reports. But only nine microbreweries shuttered, the lowest figure since 1995.

Remember, we’re opening a brewery, not a brewpub. I’m not interested in opening a restaurant. I just want to make beer.

Lastly, to quote a quote in the article,

“I got to a point in my life where I kind of realized I should be going for something I am passionate about,” says Mr. Karaway.

Couldn’t agree more Mr. Karaway.

Thanks @MyBeerPix for showing me that article. If anyone else comes across a good article about brewing, be it good or bad news, send it along!

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