A Stirring Tale Behind Father of Homebrewing

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Picture courtesy All About Beer

Amelia Earhart flew a plane. Chuck Berry rocked an electric guitar. To secure his place in history, Charlie Papazian — the father of America’s transformational homebrewing and craft brewing cultures — twirled a wooden spoon.

Just this week, Papazian announced he’d be exiting the Brewers Association in January 2019, marking four decades of influence on American brewing. His spoon is part of the story.

For its role in the first dozen years of Papazian’s tasty overthrow of America’s beer culture, Papazian’s wooden spoon — 18 inches long, wort-stained and worn from hundreds of brewing days — has a new address in the nation’s capital. Later this year it will become part of a Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History exhibit entitled “FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000.” Centerpieced by Julia Child’s reconstructed home kitchen, the exhibit chronicles the “impact of innovations and new technologies” on America’s post-World War II food and drink landscape.

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Beer Profile: Ommegang’s Shadow Brewer

Profiled by Ken Carman

What, did they have too much roasted barley in stock and decided to get rid of it? Don’t get me wrong: it’s by no means bad, it’s just that the balance is off. And I LOVE roasted barley. Personally I’d rather all stouts have at least a smidge. This is no smidge: it’s the focus, making what a Russian should have: some malt complexity not 2nd, 3rd or 4th fiddle: hardly any fiddling at all.

Slightest bitter, which is fine: provides balance, something this mostly lacks. Yet that bitter is blown away by roasted barley. They brought it right to the edge of astringent: not in itself inappropriate if it hadn’t become the star outshining all the rest. This sense hogs the stage, all the other performers must be so annoyed.

I really enjoyed it, but not the point.

Black as hell: obsidian. Closing in on light brown head. Great thick glass cling. No light shines through. Head lasts and lasts” pure pillow that really doesn’t want to stop caressing the glass.

Mouthfeel finishes with roasted barley. Hefty body. Medium carbonation that foams in mouth with just a hint of creaminess. Finishes just a tad dry.

This could be so much more. Fix the balance, pull back on roasted barley sense. I think I know now why Ommegang’s brews almost always seem to play it too safe, because every time I’ve had one where they obviously haven’t ‘played it safe’ they don’t seem to get it quite right.

4 ant BA and untappd.



Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”


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Of Hearths and Heated Ales: A Taste of Drinking History

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

Like W.T. Marchant and John Bickerdyke writing in Britain nearly a century before, Gregg Smith takes up the theme of mixed drinks made with beer in his Beer in America: The Early Years (1998). And like those nineteenth-century writers before him, Smith’s rumination on what American tavern denizens were drinking in times prior to the rise of industrialism is revealing, both in terms of the ingredients and attitudes toward warm drinks. Just as in the old country, beer was thought to be better than drinking water, but warm beer was thought to be best, presumably because warm liquids were easier to digest and because beer was considered healthy. And it had the physician’s imprimatur. Indeed, many a colonial drinker influenced by the recommendations of physicians and prevailing lore “were as likely to order a warmed, mixed beer as a tall, cold one” (Smith, 211).

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Why I’m Into “Boring” Beer These Days

Victors in the world of competitive barbecue are judged by just a single bite. Thus, when you’re producing some ribs or brisket for the blind tasting, competitors look to pack each and every possible bite with an overwhelming amount of sugary, salty, smoky, fatty flavor. The funny thing is, were you to actually try to eat an entire meal of these “competition” ribs or brisket, you couldn’t. They would be far too sickly sweet, way too nauseatingly rich.

When I look back at how I used to judge beer, I’m embarrassed to say I once acted like those blind-folded barbecue judges.

In my twenties, I strictly sought out the most ingredient-laden beers around. IPAs hopped and dry-hopped and perhaps even Randall-ized with numerous avant-garde varietals. Imperial stouts packed with more sugary adjuncts than an ice cream sundae bar. Sours jammed with a fruit salad of funk. Often these were enjoyed in few-ounce pours, sometimes as part of a tasting flight. Much better than having a full pint of something “drinkable,” something traditional, something not much different than the macro-lagers the craft beer industry was running from in the first place.

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Warming Beers for Cold Nights

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

You might have ended up here thinking this post was going to be about barley wines, Belgian quads, barrel-aged imperial stouts, or winter warmers. It’s not, much as I enjoy those typically malty styles. My apologies. Blame it on a piece I wrote a few years back called “When Once They Drank Beer Warm.” My enthusiasm for introducing readers to a nearly forgotten past did not mesh well with the timing of the piece. (Read: not an inordinate number of page views.) You see, I posted this article about warm beer at the height of summer. Who in this day and age wants to contemplate warm beer when the temperatures say beach and biking? But with a good two months’ worth of cold weather on the horizon, now might not be a bad time to revisit the past and cook up a tankard or two of warmed and spiced ale to parry the cold. So buckle up for a journey into the brave old world of warm beer concoctions, along with several recipes sure to expand what you thought possible of those aforementioned winter warmers.

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Weihenstephaner: How to Pronounce It and Why You REALLY Want to Drink It

Okay…that’s how you say it. No, as is the case with a lot of Germanic names, it refuses to roll off most American tongues. It took my wife almost six months, back when we ran our wine shop, to learn to even remember the word “Gewürztraminer”, and then maybe another eight months to learn to say it. She did, finally, but I think she may actually have sprained her tongue twice. (FYI: “Guh-VERTS-truh-meener”)

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