Written by James ‘Dr. Fermento’ Roberts for The Anchorage Press
One of the quickest paths to the most intimate appreciation and understanding of beer is to make it yourself. This takes beer appreciation beyond simply reacting to sensory input from the frothy beverage that we love so much to actually becoming its creator and dabbling in the alchemy that makes brewing part science and part art. Do a little research and talk to the brewers at your favorite brewery and you’ll quickly discover virtually all of them started out as homebrewers and developed such a passion for it that they eventually bridged the gap between making great beer at home and making it a commercial endeavor.
As mysterious and metaphysical as brewing may seem, the process of making beer at home is actually pretty simple, affordable and fascinating. One of my trademark lines when explaining homebrewing to another interested beer lover is “if you can follow a recipe and make pancakes, you can make beer.” With minimal, locally available or even scrounged equipment and a handful of key ingredients you can make five gallons of very good homebrewed beer in a couple of hours. And, like any hobby, you can expand your homebrewing system over time to some pretty cosmic, highly sophisticated levels which approach professional miniature commercial systems the big boys use.
The selection of palate-pleasers for Minnesota craft-beer fans has grown a little bit larger. Three high-profile national breweries entered the state this spring and one new home-grown start-up has put beer on store shelves.
Stone Brewing Co. of San Diego crashed the state in March. Their highly hopped ales and cocky promotional copy have made them legendary among craft-beer aficionados. Fans in the Land of Lakes previously had to trek across the St. Croix for these palate-pushing brews. Now they are as close as a trip to the local beer store.
The label for Stone’s best-known beer, Arrogant Bastard, throws down an audacious challenge, proclaiming that the drinker may not be worthy of consuming the bottle’s contents. It boasts an aggressive bitterness that lingers long into the finish. Pine-resin hop flavors overlay a malt profile that features a complex mix of toast, bread and raisins, with touches of Tootsie-Roll-like chocolate. It’s a style-bending beer that would be great with a grilled steak. Continue reading “Liquid Assets: Wide-Ranging Flavors of Beer”
Written by Ken Ellingwood for The Los Angeles Times, McClatchy-Tribune News Service and Clrvrland.com/The Plain Dealer
MEXICO CITY — It sounds like a movie where high jinks ensue: A teetotaling Mexican hotel worker travels to England, befriends a whisky-drinking Irishman and scrubs toilets in a pub while learning to brew killer beer.
Such is the odd path Jose Morales has taken since a sweltering day five years ago when he found himself wondering how to make a beverage he doesn’t even drink. The daydreaming has led Morales, then a hotel warehouse manager, to an unlikely new calling as a beer maker.
Morales, 36, is among a burst of Mexican brewers who are testing recipes and investing in imported equipment in hopes of finding the same formula for success that microbreweries north of the border have found.
Mostly self-taught, the Mexican brewers have launched an array of offerings, from Belgian-style wheat beers and imperial stouts to an ale aged in tequila barrels. They want to translate a hobby into commercial success in a country that is increasingly quick to embrace foreign trends, from smartphones to designer coffee.
I haven’t had Genny Bock for a long time. Reminds me of fireman field days in upstate New York and my college years: early 70s. That means the Genny I am drinking now is not the original. Genesee Brewing went out of business and the rights were bought out by a local craft brewing concern. I have heard they do use the original building for their Genny beers, but I’m not sure of that.
So in the final analysis, not sure if this is the same as the original recipe, but I’m guessing it’s close. The nose is all wrong according to today’s BJCP Traditional Bock standards: little malt sense and corn/DMS. If I’d opened up a can of corn and you sniffed this would be similar. But that’s most likely what the original was like. Genny was one more of those A/B and Miller wannabes that never really took the cue to go craft like West End/F.X. Matt did when they created Saranac.
Ratebeer.com has this as a “Dunkler Bock…”
“Dunkler Bock — a strong, full-bodied lager darkened by high-colored malts. 16-17° Plato, 6.5-7% ABV.” (Wiki)
…and the German Beer Institute says…
“Weihnachtsstarkbier (Christmas Bockbier), which is popular in the south of Germany, is often a darker version of the regular Bock. Sometimes it is also called a Dunkles or Dunkler Bock. In addition to the rich malty finish, these rewarding Yuletide brews have a slightly chocolatey taste from the addition of some roasted malts.”
…both being even more absurd categories for this beer to be listed under, as you soon shall see.
Pillow-y foam out the wazoo. That’s right but doesn’t last as it should per style. Kind of a red-ish bronze. Clarity nice. Munich malt? Some. Vienna? Perhaps. Complex? Are you kidding? There is a malt sweetness and the corn sense is still there but a bit less compared with malts and especially aroma.
Hop flavor is about what it should be for what they’re offering. Malt sense too light for style. Some sweetness on the upper palate. That malt sweetness clings to the roof of the mouth and the back of the tongue.
This is an American lager with all it’s adjunct corny (not rice I would assume) “goodness,” with a pinch of slightly darker malts and a hint of Munich, at best. If you’ve had true German Bock, or many of the American craft versions, you’ll say, “Bock? Who are they kidding?” Compared to typical American beer of it’s time this was better for those seeking more, but now it’s just a weak, dated, version of what’s now an out of style Traditional Bock. I hate even using “Bock,” but they made the claim. So sad they haven’t updated the recipe. I understand they’re trying to please those who miss the old Genny Bock, but that market is dying. Literally.
Hey, it’s my generation. The other generations are used to better beer. I predict if it’s not updated eventually this revival will fade into the thank god that’s no longer made beer graveyard.
Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay and Music City Homebrewers, who has been interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast for over 10 years.
Written by Ken Carman
Beer Judging Dynamics
For someone who only occasionally enters a beer in competition, oh, how I love to judge. I suppose a comment fellow judge Ben Cowan made during NHC: National Homebrew Competition, pretty much sums it up…
“Oh, how I love to judge. Every time I judge I learn more about beer and styles of beer.”
MEXICO CITY — The craft brewers plotted their revolution in a bar evoking the era of Prohibition speakeasies.
Their goal felt equally subversive: nothing less than the transformation of Mexico’s beer-loving culture into one that thirsts not for the mild flavors of Corona or Dos Equis, but for the richness of stouts, the dark body of double malts and the bitterness of India pale ales.
The brewers said they were fighting for choice: “Por la Cerveza Libre,” or “For the Liberated Beer.”
“To choose what we consume based on our tastes, translates as free choice, a fundamental right of every person,” they wrote in a manifesto.
Even though Mexico is known worldwide for its beer, only two companies dominate the domestic market and determine what millions of people swig.
The East Valley Tribune serves the east suburbs of Phoenix. This is a story of a love for good beer and dedicating one’s life to your love- PGA
Written by Dan Zeiger for The East Valley Tribune (eastvalleytribune.com)
Not fond of the taste of most major-brand beers, Mel Corley opted to become a do-it-yourself brewer.
Eight years later, the Chandler resident and his next-door neighbor have mastered the art of making beer, with eight recipes of their own and a brewing calendar that enables them to tap lighter brews in the summer, heavier ones for the holiday season.
“We started with kits, but as you start making your own recipes, you’ll goof sometimes,” Corley said. “It will still be drinkable, but you pretty much know where you went wrong. You try to keep that to a minimum.
“Luckily for us, the beers usually have come out great the first time.”
Corley and his neighbor, Rick Kessler, are examples that — as the old Miller slogan goes — if you have the time, you can have the beer, your way. As store prices for beer continue to climb, some drinkers have turned to home brewing as a cheaper, more flexible — and enjoyable — alternative. Continue reading “East Valley Store a Home Base for Home Brew”
Written by Jason Cato for The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
If one good beer deserves another, there is good news on tap for East End Brewing Co. lovers.
The Homewood craft beer maker is close to purchasing a building in Larimer that will increase its space from 4,000 square feet to 17,000 square feet. The new location at 6580 Frankstown Ave. is less than a mile from the current Susquehanna Street location.
“Where we are now, we’re in such a tight box that it’s hard to see where the end of the rainbow is,” said founder and owner Scott Smith. “With more room, the sky’s the limit. … We’ll instantly be able to double our production capacity, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
The business started selling beer in December 2004 and now has two full-time employees, three part-time workers and a handful of volunteers. It has increased the amount of beer produced by 30 to 40 percent each year, Smith said.
Last year, East End Brewing Co. produced about 1,800 barrels of beer, Smith said. A barrel is 31 gallons.
“And right now, we’re turning away business through our distributors,” he said.
On one of the most important days on the beer calendar, when fevered drinkers from across the U.S. travel to Munster, Ind., to buy one of the world’s rarest beers, the unthinkable happened.
Cradling a box of his newfound bounty, a man in jeans and a black jacket dropped a bottle of the day’s manna. The 22-ounce bottle of Dark Lord — a pitch black, high-alcohol stout made by Three Floyds Brewing for release this very day — shattered, its black frothy gold spreading across the asphalt and toward a sewer grate.
Hundreds of beer lovers saw it happen, some standing in a two-hour line to buy bottles of their own, others merely drinking and rejoicing in the office park surrounding the brewery. They were of a single mind.
“Boooooooooooooo!” the chorus shouted.
Sheepishly, silently, the man plucked the glass shards from the ground and moved on.