In March of 2018, when I posted “Beer, Wine, & Spirits: The Good, The Bad, and The Big Fat Middle”, I didn’t know it was going to be a two-parter…or that Part Two would come almost two years later. That revelation came later, this week, in fact, while searching my drafts file. But – especially in light of the sort of Tough Love rhetoric I espoused in that post – I felt this needed to be said…
You would think a very small competition: perhaps the tiniest one that’s still AHA and BJCP, would be easy. Sometimes they are, often not. We just have different problems.
There’s only so much one can say reporting on the same competition every year. So I thought coming at it from a different angle might be refreshing. Every year we go to Screamen Eagle in Inlet at the end: great multi-tap thanks to the beer picking abilities of part owner, with his mother, Matt Miller. Every year we sit in Old Forge and Eagle Bay to judge. Except this year. Originally we thought we’d mix things up and have a weekend in Beaver River: town with no roads going to it. But when John Lee, who has been my savior for many years now, told me the changed nature of his job meant he might not even be able to make it we opted for the usual. You would think that would been easy. Uh… NO. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Small and Remote Competitions Have BIG Problems Too”
RANT WARNING: Our daughter dropped into a small Washington brewery last weekend. She texted me and asked if I knew about it. I didn’t know much, so I went to their website. Seeing their logo, I instantly found a Problem: it was almost a direct, point-for-point reproduction of the logo of a large East Coast brewery. As they’re not in a large urban area, I assumed it was a simple mistake and sent the owner an email, explaining the situation. I was even nice about it.
The response: A ton of whining about how hard it is to run a brewery and how he has a family to feed and how I appeared to enjoy “wasting people’s time.”
What began life as a rough-and-ready list of Vienna Lagers to accompany “Vienna Lagers Past and Present” (coming soon) has morphed into something more than that. Below you’ll read about beer names that evoke colourful characters and aspects of Viennese history. You’ll also find the beginnings of a meditation on the price of craft beer in Europe. And, of course, you’ll find tasting notes aplenty. Dig in!
Not long after Anton Dreher tapped his first Vienna Lager in 1841, it became the toast of Europe. Though it eventually faded into obscurity in its native land, the style lived on in other places, including Mexico, and was one of the styles that figured in the North American craft beer revival. But it wasn’t until earlier this decade that Vienna Lager found its way home.
Keptinis is a little-known Lithuanian style of beer where the mash is baked in an oven. The first farmhouse brewer I ever wrote about was keptinis brewer Ramunas Čižas. A few years ago I put together a description of how to brew keptinis based on ethnographic sources. Martin Warren followed my instructions, but ended up with just black, unfermentable water. So when Simonas invited me to come to Lithuania to see keptinis being brewed, he didn’t need to ask twice.
The Jančys family lives in nearby Utena, but often visits their farm in Vikonys, in north-eastern Lithuania, where they come from. And they still brew keptinis in the old way. The brewhouse is a small brick building on the farm, where Vytautas Jančys, who owns the farm, has built a brick oven specifically so he can brew keptinis. The art of brewing keptinis is something he learned from his father and grandfather, so he’s a real farmhouse brewer. He used to also make his own malts from barley, dried on top of the oven, until about a decade ago.
If you remember any part of the period from the late-1970s to the mid-1990s, you may remember the beerball. (Although if you drank from a beerball, it is possible you don’t remember it).
The beerball was a hard plastic container, perfectly round, that held a little more than 5 gallons of draft beer (more than two cases of 12-ounce cans or bottles). Attach a tap, give it a few pumps, and wait for the foam to blow off. Then have a ball.
A-B’s Natural Light Hard Seltzer and Big 12 Conference Announce Partnership
Anheuser-Busch and the Big 12 Conference announced a partnership this week to make Natural Light Seltzer the “Official Hard Seltzer of the Big 12 Conference.”
The sponsorship will include elements during games, online and social media, as well as advertising during the conference’s baseball, football, and men’s and women’s basketball championships, according to Forbes. The partnership is solely with the athletic conference, not the 10 universities within the league, the outlet noted.
In 2018, the Great American Beer Festival saw more entries in the Juicy/Hazy IPA category (391 to be exact), than America-style India Pale Ale category (which came in at 311). While hopping rates and techniques are hot topics of discussion for the hazy IPA style, yeast strain choice and expression are key attributes you also want to keep in mind.
Yeast contributes more than 500 flavor and aroma compounds to beer, so not only does the perfect strain help complement and round out the overall profile of your beer, it can also help it stand out from the rest.
“A great way to differentiate your hazy beer is by using a unique yeast strain,” said White Labs technical laboratory manager Kara Taylor. “Each strain contributes a different mouthfeel, visual, and flavor and aroma compounds.”
Did you know that August was Mead Month and that September is Honey Month? In this episode, Drew sits down the Berniece Van Der Berg and Michael Fairbrother of Moonlight Meadery to talk about bees, the state of mead and how to brew your best mead at home!