Dogma(n.): a belief or set of beliefs that is accepted by the members of a group without being questioned or doubted.
That’s the Merriam-Webster definition of “dogma,” and I never realized how much we run into this as brewers – until I started offering brewing advice to brewers. We’re a pretty dogmatic bunch, it turns out. Which sucks, because “Dogmatic Brewing” sounds like a pretty cool name for a brewery…
Since I started writing Beer Simple, I’ve offered in the Brewing posts a number of recommendations, suggestions, and commentaries on brewing. Not that I expect that every one is a gem that needs to be adopted – far from it, in fact. Brew your own way. I heartily and happily acknowledge that I’m not a biologist, chemist, professional brewer, or metallurgist. I like to think I’m just the friendly neighbor, chatting over the fence. “Say, Bob, you ever think about putting that sprinkler on a timer? Works well for me.” Like that.
But often, the response isn’t just that someone isn’t interested in the advice (which is perfectly fine, of course – your beer, your rules!). It’s that what I’m saying simply can’t be right. But why not? Shouldn’t the proof be in the Pilsner, so to speak?
t’s 2016, and while there’s still plenty of progress to be made, the world of craft producing (and enjoying) is treating itself like less of a boys’ club. As of two years ago, Nielsen research found that women make up 32 percent of this country’s brew-crushing population, with 21 percent of stateside craft breweries having women in top positions according to a study by Stanford. Here are five incredibly creative and talented female brewers and/or owners, who are responsible for some of the United States’ most exciting ales and lagers…
Kerri Dahlhofer, Co-Owner of B. Nektar (Ferndale, MI)
Kerri Dahlhofer with her bottle label designs.
Photographer: Kerry Trusewicz
Your primary flavor is mead — what has it been like since B. Nektar acquired its brewing license to craft beer?
We like to make meads that combine interesting flavors in a magical way and we apply that same philosophy to our beer. It’s a much bigger market to compete in and you have to differentiate yourself. Two of our best brews are the Sage Lime Wit and the Jasmine Green Tea Belgian IPA. They’re a hit but it’s hard to meet demand on a one-barrel [31 gallon] system. It feels like it did when we first opened. We were new, small and kept trying to keep up with the demand.
Wooded hillsides, a hundred lakes mirroring the fleeting afternoon sunlight, emerald green pastures with the occasional dusting of snow. Stately Renaissance facades watching over magnificent squares and Gothic spires reaching skyward. Dimly lit train stations redolent of times past. Castle towns that drew artists like Egon Schiele away from the bustle of Vienna. The Vlatava (Moldau) winding its way languidly through České Budějovice (Budweis) and Český Krumlov.
What if a good friend wrote you a letter…and in this letter, your friend said that he or she needed your help; would possibly suffer without it? What if that friend was facing a profound injustice. Would you stand up with them and say, “This Far and No Farther!” What if it were even simpler than that? What if they just had their roof damaged in a big windstorm and you wanted to help. Would you grab that hammer, climb the ladder, lend them a tarp, bring a dinner plate so they’d know you’re there for them?
A worker fastens trellis wire to poles about 15 feet above the ground for a new hop planting at a farm between Prosser and Benton City last March. The planting was postponed because of drought. Fields like this will be planted this year.
Germany usually leads the United States as the world’s top hop producer, but drought switch that around in 2015.
MOXEE, Wash. — For only the third time in the past 10 years, the United States bested Germany to lead the world in hop production last year, according to a final 2015 report by Hop Growers of America in Moxee.
The U.S. — overwhelmingly Washington, Oregon and Idaho — produced 80.2 million pounds of hops which was 42 percent of the world production, compared to Germany at 62.2 million pounds and 33 percent, according to the report.
It was once said by a very wise person that no one is ever wrong when they taste a beer. Everyone tastes beer differently. Someone’s flavor masterpiece is another person’s drain pour — that’s just the fact of genetics and sensory science.
There has been a general agreement amongst brewers over a class of flavors that indicate that something went wrong with the brewing process or fermentation, however — most beer people know them as off-flavors. Getting to know and recognize off-flavors is somewhat difficult for the average homebrewer without significant monetary resources, but it’s definitely not impossible. With some guidance, even the casual beer geek can set up an affordable off-flavors tasting panel with friends. Let’s talk about some sensory basics first before getting into the nitty-gritty of off-flavors.
There are some bigger breweries out there that can use expensive pieces of equipment to precisely measure attributes of off-flavors in their beer. However, most craft and homebreweries have to utilize the most precise, cheap, and fickle instrument of all — the human palate. It’s a fact that we humans can detect thousands of flavor and aromatic chemical compounds to such a degree that the fanciest gas chromatograph with mass spectrometry can’t hold a candle to our ability to detect off-flavors. The only thing that gets in our way is bias.