Global Craft Beer on a Sea of IPA: sameness masquerading as difference?

Written by Franz D. Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

Franz Hofer
American-style IPA, that beloved child of the craft beer renaissance, has left the building. In recent years, IPA has become detached from its local context on the West Coast of the United States to emerge as a globalized signifier of everything exciting and novel about beer and tastes in beer. IPA in all its subsequent iterations has become so dominant that it now does double duty as an agent for craft beer in general, itself a stylized approach to the production and consumption of beer. This free-floating global style has since reterritorialized itself in local contexts the world over, sometimes threatening to displace home-grown local styles that had become mundane and less desirable through their familiarity. Local breweries and taprooms have sprung up on every urban corner and every countryside crossroad serving this global style in a local setting, introducing its enthusiastic patrons to an exciting new taste and powerful elixir.

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Rodenbach and Dogfish Head to Produce First Collaboration in Famed Belgian Brewery’s History

Brouwerij Rodenbach, the highly regarded Belgian brewing company founded in West Flanders in 1821 and known for its tart, oak-aged ales, is doing something unprecedented. For the first time in its nearly 200-year history, Rodenbach will produce a beer in partnership with another brewery. The recipe hasn’t been chosen yet, the label design is no more than a twinkle in an artist’s eye, and the sour ale won’t appear on shelves until 2020, but one key detail has already been decided: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is the other half of the collaboration.

“The goal is to bring as much taste and flavor as possible in a sessionable beer,” explains Rudi Ghequire, Rodenbach’s master brewer. “Beer is more than hops and only hops.”

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Brew Files – Episode 54 – Where’s There Smoke

In every beer lovers curve of beer love, there comes a moment when they discover the world of smoked beers. Drew sits down with Devon Randall of Imperial Western Beer Company to discuss her approach to making both subtle and in your face smoked beers!

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Government shutdown impacts Springfield brewery’s beer production

Mother’s Brewing Company is one of many affected by the government shutdown. The Springfield brewery is still making beer. However, it impacts their new beers that don’t yet have labels approved.

The Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is in charge of approving the licenses and labels for any new beers. Employees of the bureau are not working, so breweries like Mother’s have to wait.

The Tax and Trade Bureau’s website is still accepting electronic payments, but a message on the site reads they will not be reviewing or approving any applications until the shutdown ends.

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Episode 82 – Thinking and Drinking with John Holl

Just in time for Christmas and the new year, Drew sits down with John Holl of Craft Beer & Brewing to talk about his new book – Drink Beer, Think Beer. We talk where the industry is and why John’s hope for the future isn’t a very popular one.

But first we’ve got to take your feedback, cover the beer news – including a controversial take on IPA’s drinkers, and then cover Denny’s gluten free brewing antics, Drew’s rat attack and a new way to egg.

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Brew Files – Episode 51 – Real Time Recipe Challenge

The Brew is Out There!

We asked our listeners to challenge us – give us a beer idea you want us to design and prepare to make. Out of the pile of suggestions we each chose one recipe to challenge the other with. In this inaugural challenge, we only find out what recipe we’re supposed to formulate right then. Listen to us walk you through how we’d tackle these challenges.

And congrats to Aaron Kennison and Eric Pierce who’ll be receiving a half pound of Yakima Chief Hops’ Veteran’s Blend!

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Esters vs. Phenols in Beer

When perceiving certain aromas of beer, you may hear people refer to “esters” and “phenols.” These terms are often times used incorrectly or interchangeably. The fact of the matter is, esters and phenols are quite different, though they can be present at the same time. Let’s take a look at some of the main causes of esters and phenols in beer.


The fruity aromas perceivable in beer are typically generated by yeast esters, unless there’s actual fruit in the recipe. During fermentation, a reaction between organic acids present in the wort and the developing alcohol cause esters to form. Common aromatic ester characteristics include banana, pear drop, apple, honey, roses and even solvent-like in some instances.

While the reaction between the acids and alcohol actually form esters, three variables influence the amount of esters that can potentially develop. By understanding and managing these variables, homebrew…


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The Score: Von Trapp German Helles

Judges: Millie and Ken Carman/BJCP Certified

This brew never specified what version of Helles this was. The decision made: 5C German Helles

Judge 1: Millie (Used guidelines)
Judge 2: Ken (Did NOT use guidelines)

Both judges noted a low fill.

Judge 1 found a light floral aroma, judge 2 more herbal; as in oregano-like. Both found typical lager year sulfur notes. Judge 1 found a hint of sweet malt in the aroma. Judge 2 found a DMS/corn sense as might be expected with the malt and some lagers. Not overboard. He also found some diacetyl.

Judge 1 and 2 found a white head with a mix of big and small bubbles except judge 2 found foam instead of small bubbles. Judge 1 found the entry acceptably clear, judge 2 tad hazy. Judge 1 called it golden in color, judge 2 light gold to yellow. Judge 1 thought head was low, judge 2 didn’t, both thought it didn’t persist that long. Judge 2: glass cling to foam.

Both judges thought malty sweet dominated a little, judge 2 described it as “crackery.” Judge 2 found the bitter only expressed itself much when sample warmed. Judge 2 thought malt persisted, judge 1 thought bitter persisted in the finish. Judge 1 found a spicy hop sense, judge 2 thought it slight and more background except when it warmed. Judge 2 found some diacetyl, though not a lot, judge 1 found it after discussion and it warmed

Judge 1 thought carbonation a bit light for style, judge 2 thought it medium so not bad for style. No astringency/warmth/creaminess (both). Judge 2 thought the body low side of medium and thought malt persisted on top of palate at end. Judge 1 commented about water profile, judge 2 who wasn’t using guidelines did not.

Both found the sample to be representative of the style, judge 2 commented that even though he was no fan of the style he would have 2 but no more due to that stylistic reluctance. Judge 1 thought the entry should provide just a little more of the style-sense. Judge 2 thought more lagering would eliminate slight diacetyl.

JUDGE 1: 33 out of 50
JUDGE 2: 34 out of 50

Crux Fermentation Project: Tough Love, Lost Love, and The Snow Cave

Crux Fermentation Project is one of the three to five best breweries in the United States and they haven’t yet even hit their stride.

By Stephen Body
Big claim? Totally supported by all available evidence, including that last phrase.

When Larry Sidor left Deschutes Brewery, after an eight years that were arguably the greatest similar period of innovation by any brewer not named Steele or Calagione, Larry left to make his beers; no limits, maximum innovation, barrels, weird yeasts, even down to the water used. Larry had Something different in mind. Not that Deschutes maybe wouldn’t have let him try all that there but…Deschutes was already an economic machine; a virtual printing press for beer revenues and Larry knew that.


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