Inspection- COVID and Beer Yeast

By Ken Carman
 The analogy is by all means imperfect. I will point out some of the ways it is imperfect. But I do believe it will help folks who might not understand yet some thing about the nature of COVID.
 We keep talking about flattening the curve and how once it starts going back down things can open back up. I think when it comes to basic biology that’s a mistake. And I am open to you, dear readers, pointing out
any errors here. Hey, I was the Education/English major who ended up in Communications/Mass Media for my BA, then to Music Business and Recording. Science was NOT my strongest field in school. (However I have always had a vast interest in it, if only it they didn’t insist on turning it into a foreign language. But that’s another topic.)
 I am also a homebrewer who has written about beer for many years. But I admit I am a generalist in almost all fields, including brewing. I think that’s why some analogies I use can work well helping others understand. Not all. Ask my wife.
 How is beer yeast like COVID? Continue reading “Inspection- COVID and Beer Yeast”

It’s Time to Rethink Craft Beer

Have you heard the story about how IPA was invented in the 1800s because brewers were trying to figure out how to make a beer that could be shipped to India without going bad? They figured out that increasing the amount of alcohol and hops would help preserve the beer and a new style was born.

This story is not true. By the time I started working in the beer industry this myth had been widely debunked yet still spread. Those of us who know try their best to set the record straight.

In the same way it’s important to re-explore history, it’s valuable to re-examine how we talk about beer basics. Beer basics include ingredients and process, styles and flavors and pairing beer with food–what people need to know to start their journey as a beer geek.

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Belfast pub delivering pints of freshly-poured Guinness door-to-door during lockdown

A BELFAST pub is pulling out all the stops  – and the pints – to keep spirits up for those living in lockdown with a door-to-door Guinness delivery service. 

The Hatfield House on Ormeau Road in south Belfast has been delivering freshly-poured pints of Guinness to customers across the Northern Irish capital since the coronavirus pandemic prompted the temporary closure of all pubs.

Using a state-of-the-art van kitted out with a portable tap system, the service was created to help cater to those missing the distinctive taste of a perfectly poured pint of the black stuff.

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Questioning Traditional Palate Cleansers in Competitions

Hi, My name is Mirella and I’m a Craft Beer and Sensory consultant in Toronto. I’d like to share with you one of four things I think we should let go of as an industry. The below is a transcript of a video I originally posted on Youtube. If you’re interested, you can find the original video, as well as the other three topics on YouTube.

Transcript: Questioning Old Beer Habits Part 1

It’s time we reconsider using crackers (or bread) on the table during beer tasting and judging sessions.

Like most of the things I’m questioning, this custom was adopted from wine.The idea is to have some plain bread or unsalted crackers as a palate cleanser between beers.  Here’s the issue: there are number of beers that have a bread or cracker-like note. It would be the equivalent of using apple slices as a palate cleanser for wine. The reason bread and crackers work as a palate cleanser, in this instance, is that there are no bread-like flavours in wine; it’s fruit based.

Beer, on the other hand, is grain based. And, yes, it’s for the most part a different grain (we’re talking barley versus wheat) but the flavours are quite similar and I’ve found especially with light golden beers, that the cereal grain note in the crackers is stronger than the one in the beer and it impairs the evaluation process. Regardless of style, bread and crackers aren’t really ‘cleansing the palate’ between beers. The whole idea of a palate cleanser is to provide a sensory break, which doesn’t work when you’re presenting a food with similar flavours.

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Here at PGA we have had regular links to A Tempest in a Tankard, a website we highly recommend. Because of the crisis we have permission to post the whole article. Please visit A Tempest in a Tankard, where Franz will have more articles during this crisis.

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

Never in recent memory has the phrase “support your local brewery” meant more than it does now.

I published an article in the local newspaper a week ago about the inaugural Oklahoma Craft Beer Awards. It began like this:

“Oklahoma may have been a craft beer desert a decade ago, but the beer scene has exploded in the past seven years. The Sooner State is now home to over sixty breweries, and just about every city has a brewpub or three.”

In retrospect, it seems I had begun to take craft beer for granted. I can find literally dozens more brands and styles now than when we moved to Oklahoma. Our town, Stillwater, has a brewery. When we go to OKC or Tulsa, we can easily spend an afternoon visiting new breweries and old favourites. And I’m set whenever I visit family and friends in Vancouver.

What a difference a week makes.


A Beer-y Good Story: How Studebaker Might Help Craft Beer in the Days of COVID-19

“Really, Ken, a failed company?” Actually Studebaker survived, now part of Worthington Industries. They simply don’t make cars anymore, which hooks right back into my main point here…

 Yes, Brew-ginia, there IS Studebaker Beer! And it’s in Tippecanoe Mansion, former home to the Studebaker family!

 I know Studebaker no longer makes cars, a fact I have never been happy with. However, I may never have met my first love on 4 wheels: a 61 Studebaker car I bought for $25 and took me 100,000 miles before rust and burning oil issues took Harvey away, if they had stayed in the car business. A 7 year old car for $25? Eventually Harvey went to automotive heaven where oil changes happen every day and no rust dare enter those chrome hubcap gates.
 I didn’t name the car. My ex-girlfriend’s friend did.
 Studebaker as a car and truck builder survived, often barely, though tough times, like craft brewing will be going through now. Yes, there are Studebaker-related lessons for tough times, like during Corona, for the small professional brewer to heed. I will bring it back around to just beer.

Studebaker Mansion and Studebaker beer.
Continue reading “A Beer-y Good Story: How Studebaker Might Help Craft Beer in the Days of COVID-19”

The impact of COVID19 on my brewery

On Monday morning this week, I woke up and prepared myself to shut the business my husband and I have spent 5 years and all of our savings to build. The dream we had to create something lasting for ourselves and our community was potentially coming to an end. Last year, we leveraged our early success to build a second production facility and expanded our sales into New York and Pennsylvania using distribution partners in those states. We overcame a government shutdown that halted our plans, but not our expenses, and we opened that facility in July. We sunk more of our savings into this expansion and took on more debt to make it happen. We knew it would be worth the risk. The American Dream is ALWAYS worth the risk.

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Beer Profile: DS9 Wild Things, Superstitious Pigeons

Profiled by Ken Carman

Hazy golden yellow with almost no head. This head fades quickly probably due to sour, peanut butter, raspberries. Very tiny bubbles. Yellow in color. Clarity low due to haze.
Aroma:lactobacillus dominant, no peanut, hint of raspberries at best. Slightest sour. No malt or hop aroma. No hops.
Mouthfeel: medium carbonation, slightly carbonic. Medium body. Tingles and tangles up the tongue with the sour combined with carbonic carbonation.
Flavor: lacto first, lacto dominant. Almost no peanut butter, almost no raspberries, lacto aftertaste. Everything takes the most backseat in the theater to the lacto. As it warms I got a hint of peanut: like it sltightly touches the tongue then goes away.
The mouthfeel is solid with a medium body, but any sense of that body otherwise vanished with lacto. Carbonation a very light tingle and quite low.
The balance here is off. If one seeks a solid lacto dominant beer this might be it, but the rest is lost. Please back off on lacto, find the fruit, find the peanut butter. The malt is there, but even that is severely subservient to the lacto. No hops.

3.9 BA
3.74 Untappd
3.83 Rate Beer



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.”


_____________________Beer HERE

Profile: Saranac Bee Catcher

Profiled by Maria Devan

Golden amber color with an eggshell white head of foam that fell clinging leaving some bubbles and a light film.

Nose is grassy hops with a touch of mint and a sweet breeze from honey. Light lemon backing to these hops give a delightful nose. Clean, no diacetyl. No acetaldehyde, no fruity esters from yeast.

Malt is a sweetened cracker without any fruity scents of its own to offer. Drinks with moderate carbonation and surprisingly bready flavor. The taste of honey permeates but doesn’t dominate. Moderately strong carbonation and a balanced bitterness to leave some of that sweet honey flavor behind. Delightful beer. This beer will pair with my Mexican style lamb chops and cumin rice.



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.”


___________________________Beer HERE

Lupulin Powder vs. Pellets Experiment

Lupulin Powder in the Hop Stand

Intense juicy and resinous hop flavor and aroma, less astringent vegetal flavors while using half the amount of hop material–I’m interested! In this article, I look at some of the research surrounding hops, proteins, and clarity and how those might apply to using a new product called lupulin powder. I brew an experimental side-by-side Mosaic pellet to Mosaic lupulin powder beer and reach out to two breweries who have been included in the testing stages of LupuLN2 to get their opinions and results.

YCH Hops was nice enough to send me samples of their Mosaic lupulin powder product called LupuLN2, which they describe as being a purified lupulin powder containing most of the resin compounds and aromatic oils derived directly from whole hop flowers. They create LupuLN2 with a proprietary cryogenic separation process that preserves the aromatic hop components and removes most of the vegetal leafy material.
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