Why All Beer Once Tasted Like Smoke

Today’s brewers can add any number of flavors to their beers. Some are newfangled, such as chili pepper or pumpkin; others are deeply traditional. Smoke is one of the latter, with a long and widespread pedigree. All across Europe, a hint of barbecue was once pervasive—until the Industrial Revolution, the flavor was the inevitable result of the brewing process. Malt is one of beer’s primary ingredients, and a change in how it’s made brought beer out of its smoky past.

Grains, unlike wine grapes and cider apples, don’t contain sugars. They have starches, which can’t be fermented until they are accessed and converted into sugars. Malting is the process of accessing those starches by steeping the grains in water.

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Reflections and Resolutions, 2017 Edition

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

So here we are again. One more turn around this mortal coil, drinking to forget the follies of an old year and toasting the auspiciousness of the new. For me 2017 has been extremely enjoyable, uncanny parallels between the 1930s and the present notwithstanding. I hope it has been the same for you.

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Beer Profile: Cigar City Cafe Con Leche

Profiled by Ken Carman for PGA

Black as hell amber head/lite brown pillow with a few big bubbles. The nose has a hint of coffee, some lactose sense and darker malts. The flavor is caramel mixed with dark chocolate. Hops not noticed except a slight bitter in the background. Coffee also dominants, but not out of balance. Medium body. Tad dry but some residual sweet too! Quite the dance, a well performed brew-based ballet. Low carbonation in the mouthfeel, but firm. This was rates very high everywhere I looked. Rate Beer had it at 100 twice!



Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”


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Winter beer brings holiday cheer across the country

Winter means holidays, and holidays mean gifts. Gifts are always welcome — especially gifts of beer.

Well before visions of gingerbread cookies and sugar plums dance in our heads, breweries have the season’s flavors in mind. Brewers anticipate the season like a white Christmas; in Rhode Island, Newport Storm Brewery was busy fermenting for three months to craft its annual release — for the 17th year. In San Francisco, Anchor Brewing’s Christmas Ale, a new recipe each year, is officially the brewery’s 43rd Christmas beer on the wall.

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Boom in sugary pastry stouts shows craft industry forgetting what beer tastes like

Remember that Budweiser commercial that lit up craft beer a few years back?

It mocked people who dared to smell their beer. Who cared to think critically about their beer. Who created such things as pumpkin peach ale. Well, turns out Budweiser might have had a point.

After six hours wandering the aisles of the Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer last weekend, I have concluded that craft beer is betraying itself. It is forgetting what beer should taste like.

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