Hops Used to Save Honey Bees

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We all know that hops are a major component of craft beer, but it turns out they have another important function—saving the world’s honey bee population! Researchers have discovered that the beta acids of Humulus lupulus can be used to repel plant pests, including the varroa mite, which is a main contributor to the colony collapse disorder (CCD) that has been destroying the bee population in recent years.

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Penn Students Can Ferment Beer 9 Times Faster

Siddharth Shah, Shashwata Narain and Alexander David, the winners of this year's Y-Prize Competition.

A group of Penn students have a plan to streamline the beer-making process — and it just earned them $10,000.

Siddharth Shah, Shashwata Narain and Alexander David took home the grand prize of the 2016 Y-Prize Competition from the University of Pennsylvania for developing a process that speeds up the fermentation process in beer production by up to nine times — while maintaining alcohol quality and composition. Not to shabby for three students in the Wharton School and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Their advisors include executives from some of the biggest brewers in the world: MillerCoors, Anheuser-BuschInBev, Biocon India and Heineken.

Shah is already the founder and CEO of a financial services startup and an e-commerce startup. They’re located in Dubai and India. Narain has worked in product development at a logistics technology startup in India.

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Top 10 Tips for Brew Day

When you first start to homebrew, it seems like there are a million people telling you a million different things you HAVE to do to make good beer. Fortunately, as you get more experience, you start to figure out how things work and what really matters. Now, while I may not have as much experience as some homebrewers, I’ve brewed 493 batches since I began in March 1998. And since my brewing is driven by my laziness, I’ve used that experience to figure out what matters and what doesn’t.

If you’ve read the writings (Experimental Homebrewing or www.experimentalbrew.com) or listened to the podcast (“Experimental Brewing,” available on iTunes and others) I do with my co-author, Drew Beechum, you might think my tips come down to: 1.) Brew like me and 2.) Don’t brew like him! But that leaves out the other 8, so here’s a list of my Top 10 Tips for Brew Day.

1. Plan and prepare….I like to think about my recipe at least a week ahead of brew day and get my ingredients prepped at least the day before. Even if you’re doing a spur of the moment brew, take a few minutes to calmly think through what your brew day will be like and get your brewing supplies mise en place….that’s French for “aggregate your fecal matter.” 🙂

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4 Trappist Brewing Tips from Spencer Trappist Brewery

This is part 3 in the Style of the Month: Trappist Ale series (part 1). See part 2 to discover the history of Trappist monasteries and breweries

Trappist BrewingIn 1950, Saint Joseph’s Abbey was founded on the crest of sloping hill blanketed in trees just north of the town of Spencer, Massachusetts. The Roman Catholic monastery is home to the monks of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, which you may know better as Trappists.

It is common for Trappists to produce goods and provide services to help fund their monastery and support charitable efforts. Since 1950, the monks at Spencer Abbey have packaged jams and jellies for such purposes, but it wasn’t until more recently that the Massachusetts abbey decided to pursue brewing traditions that have long been rooted in the Trappist monasteries of Europe.

After spending much time researching brewing practices and visiting some of the most well-known Trappist breweries, Spencer Trappist Brewery opened its doors in 2013 becoming the United States’ first, and currently only, ITA-recognized Trappist brewery.

 

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