Hop Notes

 

Sip a beer, ale, stout or porter and after that first cool refreshing sensation the sweet grain flavors bloom and make good on the promises of the aromatics experienced just before you took that first sip. Then there is another flavor that can take a bit of looking for. Should you be sipping something called an India Pale Ale brewed in the United States or Canada you might find the roasted grain flavors hard to find, replaced by perhaps the flavor of grapefruit of lemon zest. If the India Pale Ale was brewed in the United Kingdom the flavors might resemble blackberry or a sharp mineral tang. Welcome to the world of hops.

Before I go any further let’s get two things understood to be indisputable information. First; the use of hops to flavor/preserve fermented malt beverages was first done by brewers in the Low Countries of the European Continent. Today this area is claimed by the Dutch and Luxemburgish. The second item is that a king of England did not decree the use of hops to be a capital crime. He simply imposed an onerous tax on the use of the herb. These two items of information can be verified by consulting the Royal Society of Chemists. I would be pleased to provide more sources for those interested in contesting the above.

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Pucker Up, America: Beers Are Going Sour

Do you think you can handle the sour side of beer?

 

Move over, bitter IPAs and chocolaty stouts. There’s a new kid on the craft brewing block, and it’s going to knock your salivary glands into action.

They’re called “sour beers.” When you take a sip, it’s like biting into a Granny Smith apple that’s soaked in a French red wine: crisp, refreshing and a bit odd.

Sour beers are probably the oldest style of brewski in the world, but they’re just starting to get popular in the States. They were all the buzz at this year’s Great American Beer Festival. And with hundreds of brewers now dabbling in sours, it’s easier than ever to find them at a local bar or grocery store.

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