Archive : Author

Rich and Ruddy: The best brown ales, epitomizing fall.

POSTED ON October 23rd  - POSTED IN Blog

Maybe it’s the cooler, darker afternoons. Maybe it’s the wind, rain, and drifting foliage. One way or the other, fall makes us craft autumn beer Beer with hopstyles—märzen, a.k.a. Oktoberfest, especially. But one oft-overlooked beer style (or collection of related styles, actually), is the humble brown ale.

Derived from English, German, and Belgian origins, the tawny colored ales get their color and malty backbone from roasted barley. They range in flavor from hoppy to sour to biscuit-bready and even nutty.

And read on for five recommendations of five different brown ale styles from around the country.

Pairing: Big cheese & beer

POSTED ON October 15th  - POSTED IN Blog

You can do better than cheddar: At your next beer and cheese pairing, forgo subtlety and try stinky, aged and crazy-Cheese and beerflavorful wedges with beers that rise to the challenge.

Cave-aged Gruyere + saison
Gruyere is a Swiss cheese, but a nap in a cave takes it beyond the holey slice you know with more must, earth and tang. An effervescent saison brings life to the bite with a stream of lemon flavors that play up the tang, though the beer’s subtle barnyard notes also nicely complement the cheese’s musty taste.

IPAs are going to get hoppier!

POSTED ON October 8th  - POSTED IN Uncategorized

Brewers are always tinkering with new ways to get the most out of hops. It’s particularly noticeable this time of year, when breweries source just-picked “wet” or “fresh” hops from the annual hop harvest; they’re able to extract more oil, which boosts a beer’s hop flavor and aroma. These are called fresh hop IPAs, and are easily my favorite seasonal offerings. But, Sierra Nevada is working on a process that would bottle up that vivid once-a-year fresh hop character for year-round use: steam distilling.

Brooks on Beer: The ancient origins of beer — and straws

POSTED ON August 26th  - POSTED IN Blog

iStock_000007640359XSmallThe exact origins of beer will forever be a mystery.

Our earliest relatives, back in the Paleolithic period, were hunters and gatherers. They foraged for food and scavenged or hunted meat. It wasn’t until the Neolithic period, some 10,000 or so years ago, that people began to realize they didn’t necessarily have to search for their food or even chase after it but instead could grow it themselves.

10 Must-Try American-Made Lagers

POSTED ON August 11th  - POSTED IN Blog

iStock_000009227815XSmallLagers outsell ales in the US by a landslide, but most folks are still a bit hazy on exactly what makes a lager, well, a lager. We are currently in a golden age of American-made lagers—and your local shop is packed full of delicious options—but let’s back up a bit and give you a little background.

First things first, the question of ale vs. lager boils down to three very simple principles: yeast strain, time, and temperature. Lager yeast is ‘bottom fermenting,’ which means that it makes its way through the beer-to-be, settling at the bottom of the batch, and preferring to work at colder temperatures. Lagers are then matured; again, at cold temperature for weeks or even months. The word ‘lager’ actually comes from the German word ‘lagern’ which means ‘to store,’ or ‘to lay down.’ Ales, on the other hand, use a top fermenting yeast that works best at warmer temperatures. Ales ferment much more quickly than lagers. A lager is not defined by its color, flavor, or alcohol percentage: just the yeast, time, and temperature.

NEW HOP VARIETIES RELEASED

POSTED ON July 30th  - POSTED IN Blog

Four new public hop varieties—Cashmere, Tahoma, Triple Pearl and Yakima Gold—were presented by the Hop Growers of America, the nonprofit association that represents U.S. hop growers.

iStock_000007640359XSmall

Tahoma, also released by WSU, is a daughter of the Glacier variety and is described as “Cascade-like,” with notes of citrus, cedar, pine, floral, pepper and green melon. Triple Pearl, released in 2013 by USDA-ARS, is a triploid daughter of the Perle variety, and has notes of melon, orange citrus, resin, spice and pepper. Finally, Yakima Gold is a cross between Early Cluster and a native Slovenian male and is described as a “general purpose variety with smooth bitterness and a pleasant aroma.”

USA Vs. Belgium: If The World Cup Were Played In Beer

POSTED ON June 30th  - POSTED IN Blog

The Americans have the spunk, the vigor and a willingness to try anything. The Belgians have the art, the creativity and the Beer in glassestradition of world-class success. We’re not just talking about their looming World Cup matchup here. We’re also talking about beer.

The topic of beer and the World Cup is now bubbling around in the highest offices of the two nations.

On Tap: Germany vs. United States – Who has the better beer?

POSTED ON June 25th  - POSTED IN Blog

Tomorrow’s the day. For those of you who follow the World Cup, you know what I’m talking about. For those of you who don’t, let me explain: Germany vs. United States. A win or a tie for Team USA will see us out of the “Group of Death” and into the knockout phase amongst the top 16 teams. A loss, and it comes down to goal differential between the winner (if there is one) of Portugal vs. Ghana. If that game ends in a tie, the U.S. goes through, no matter what happens against Germany.

Glassware 101

POSTED ON June 9th  - POSTED IN Blog

Large beer goblet chilled

What beer goes in what glass, and does it really make a difference, anyway? Our Cliff’s Notes version of Glassware 101 gives you the
lowdown on the nine glasses you need in your collection.

The Roots of American Craft Brewing

POSTED ON May 20th  - POSTED IN Blog

Beer. It’s deeply rooted in this country’s framework. This beverage contributes 1.6 percent to our gross domestic product, and iStock_000011720511XSmallhistorically has been enjoyed by both presidents and pilgrims alike.

From the end of Prohibition through the 1970s, the U.S. was mostly known for mass produced American Lager. Though light and refreshing, some saw these beers as nearly identical commodities, simply made by different producers.

THE ROOTS OF AMERICAN CRAFT BREWING

POSTED ON May 20th  - POSTED IN Blog

Beer. It’s deeply rooted in this country’s framework. This beverage contributes 1.6 percent to our gross domestic product, and iStock_000011720511XSmallhistorically has been enjoyed by both presidents and pilgrims alike.

From the end of Prohibition through the 1970s, the U.S. was mostly known for mass produced American Lager. Though light and refreshing, some saw these beers as nearly identical commodities, simply made by different producers.

Fast forward to today: now this country is the number one beer destination on the planet, with more than 2,800 small and independent brewers showing off ingenious and innovative beer tricks. We now have more than one hundred U.S. beer styles, from American India Pale Ales to barrel aged sours, and the majority of Americans live within 10 miles of a brewery. It’s a beautiful time to be a beer lover.

So how did we get here?

The Pioneers of Craft Beer
Homebrewing EmergesMeanwhile, in the east, heritage brewers like F.X. Matt/Saranac in New York, Boston Beer (producers of Sam Adams) in Massachusetts, August Schell in Minnesota, Spoetzl Brewery in Texas, and so many others were also making waves of beer foam. Soon the movement spread, first like a slow moving brush fire and then more like a blazing burn.

Homebrewers, microbreweries and brewpubs are truly at the heart of the rise, once again, of local beer in the U.S. Thanks to decades of homogenization in the American beer market, a grassroots beer culture emerged. The homebrewing hobby began to thrive because the only way a person could experience the beer traditions and styles of other countries was to make the beer themselves. These homebrewing roots gave birth to what we now call “craft brewing.”

Microbrewing Era
Momentum began to pick up for the microbrewing phenomenon in the early 1990s, with annual volume growth increasing each year from 35 percent in 1991 to a high of 58 percent in 1995. Soon the U.S. landscape was dotted with taprooms where beer lovers could sample a wide selection of local, flavorful beer while fraternizing directly with the brewers.

Craft brewing growth slowed to between 1 and 5 percent annually between 1997 and 2003, but the past ten years saw 10.9 percent growth on average. The numbers reflect a bigger and bigger base as beer drinkers increasingly connect with small and independent breweries.

Craft Beer Today & Flavor Revolution
Today craft brewers have succeeded in establishing high levels of quality, consistency and innovation, expanding the minds and palates of beer lovers, and creating the most diverse brewing culture in the world. With more than 1,800 new U.S. breweries in development, it’s clear that craft brewers and craft beer lovers are participants in a beer revolution.

As the brewing landscape continues to evolve, so do Americans’ tastes in beer. Nielsen research confirms that beer drinkers are shifting to more robust styles, and we know from market research firm SymphonyIRI that India Pale Ale is the top-selling craft beer category, followed by seasonal brews.

Credit Where it’s Brewed
Now, as a fan of all beer, I often remind folks that the large multinational brewing companies deserve credit for establishing beer as the most popular fermented beverage in the U.S.—no small feat. Large global brewers have high standards in terms of quality and consistency.

Because of their efforts, we are a beer-loving nation. Beer far surpasses both wine and spirits in sales. However, today’s small and independent brewers put the U.S. craft beer market on the map and continue to fuel it.

As a result, we beer lovers could lose our treasured beer diversity along with fair and legitimate access to brands from local, regional and national brewers. These little businesses are thriving against all odds, innovating and expanding old world beer styles with new world twists.

Help us raise a glass to them!

With all that, American Craft Beer Week® (May 12-18) celebrates the little guys and gals of America’s small and independent craft breweries, and honors their place in this full-flavored movement that has reinvigorated the beverage of beer as we know it.

Original Article By: Julia Herz