Last time I sent out a trio of blog posts, the northern hemisphere was melting. The same couldn’t be less true today in Vienna, where a blanket of snow has cast a hush over the city. Even if next spring or summer seems far away, it’s never too late to start planning your next beer travel adventure. If you prefer armchair travel, this German-themed trio has plenty for you, too.
Most folks who head to Germany for beer make a beeline for Bavaria, and with good reason. But German beer is much more than Bavaria. This trio introduces you to two large cities (Cologne and Dresden) and, via a beer hike, a regional brewery in the Black Forest (Rothaus). You can click on the links at the top of this email, or the ones right below.
Looks wonderful, doesn’t it? Looks can be so deceiving.
Scribe bought 2 four packs. One was fabulous, the other qualifies for yet another “worst beer in the world.”
The can says, “Northway Brewing Co.,” but actually brewed by Glens Falls Brewing Company. Scribe can’t say anything about their other brews, just this on called Oat-Bituary.” It’s like the brewer chose too much roasted barley and combined it with too much black patent. What hops there are bitter and annoying. The best aspect is chewy oat sense way in the background.
Scribe has had worse beer, but for this edition “worst” applies. If Scribe had the time and the ability he’d line them all up and see which is THE worst, however they tend to disappear fast. Gee, wonder why?????????
The mouthfeel is annoying due to the other. However, Scribe can recommend Slushy XXL by North Brewing Company, Columbus, Indiana, if you like over the top fruit and chocolate/fudge beer. The fruit practically dances in the mouth.
The rush of cool mountain air was bracing as I stepped off the train on the banks of the Schluchsee. A short bus ride later and I’d be in front of an old beer wagon laden with barrels, the coral-coloured Rothaus brewery rising up in the background. By then the fresh air was starting to warm, mingling fragrances of the forest with the aromas of brewing.
Anyone with even a passing acquaintance with German beer knows Rothaus, the Black Forest brewery with colourfully labeled bottles depicting a young woman in traditional dress. What fewer people know is that Rothaus is a short train ride from Freiburg, southwestern Germany’s city of Gothic spires, cobblestone lanes, and medieval gates.
Whether you’re coming from Switzerland in the south or points north in Germany, Freiburg makes for an ideal day or two of beer explorations before you venture into the heart of the Black Forest. After you’ve had your fill of Freiburg, it’s a mere 2 hours by train and bus to Rothaus.
The ride up from Freiburg is a like a curtain lifting on the hiking that awaits you in the region. The train traverses meadows tucked up against the rolling foothills of the Alps and trundles through narrow valleys with rushing waterfalls. Black Forest houses with distinctive sloped roofs and carved balconies dot the fields and cling to hillsides overlooking pristine lakes. Before the train ends its journey in the town of Seebrugg on the Schluchsee, you’ll pass the steely blue waters of Titisee and its resort village as well. It’s worth stopping off at either of these places if you have time. If not, get the bus that climbs up the steep and winding road to Rothaus.
In the four-plus decades of craft brewing, arguably no other style has more profoundly changed what and how we drink than the opaque, fruit-smoothie sweet IPAs New Englanders started brewing in the mid-2010s. Thanks to a flood of juicy new hop varieties bred for their tropicality, brewers used hazy IPAs to make us reassess bitterness. The colorful, geometric pint-sized cans sold over the counter of taprooms prompted us to rethink the beer bottle. And the weekly stream of new releases at our local brewery caused us to reconsider familiar old flagships.
But nearly a decade on, something has changed. Hazies haven’t gone away, but they don’t seem to cause the same giddy delirium they once did. In some quarters, they’ve even caused a counter-trend back to lip-smacking bitter IPAs or clear, sparkling lagers.
You’ve heard/read about Barleywine. I mean, unless you’ve been living on the International Space Station for the past decade and maybe even if you have. I’ve been drinking them and selling them and preaching the Gospel of Barleywine for well over 20 years, now. It is the style of beer that I enjoy most, except when I don’t and those periods in which I prefer an IPA or winter seasonal ales tend to come at wider intervals and be of shorter duration as I (badly) age.
It is also easily the most misunderstood major style of beer, exceeded only by Steinbiers and Kvieks and Grisettes and oddities like those, of largely foreign origins.
In my now thirty years in the beverage trade, here are a few of the explanations I’ve heard, first-hand of what “barleywine” means:
“It’s beer that fermented with wine yeast.”
“It’s beer that’s partially blended with wine.”
“It’s a beer but not a beer because the alcohol level makes it a liquor.”
“It’s another term for a weaker brandy.”
“It’s a form of barrel-aged Stout, mixed with grain alcohol.”
“It’s a beer made from a base of alcohol, instead of water.”
“It’s made from grapes and then distilled, like Grappa, and then is aged with barley and hops.”
It was a busy weekend starting with a rather shoddy Motel 6 where the shoddy wasn’t much of a problem. First morning: on to Studebakers at Dunkirk. We own a 63 Stude truck and I had a book I wanted to hawk, Studebaker Hawk pun somewhat intended.
Back to the Motel 6 and next morning off to offices at Genesee Brewery to judge for UNYHA: Upstate New York Homebrewer’s Association. Beautiful offices! Even down to the bathrooms.
Neither of us had ever been to the Genny brewery, so we even stopped the night before. Good porter, the orange and cranberry “sour” was orange and orange peel dominant, light cran. Where’s the malt? If we had wanted something seltzer like we could have ordered that.
The morning was amber lagers, the afternoon cider. The lager judging was clockwork, as was amber lager mini-BOS.
I still feel we need more BJCP cider judges, being a freshly minted cider judge last year, having taken the test 12/21. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Cider and UNYHA”
This is a near-perfect fresh-hopped IPA, best one, in fact, since Deschutes immortal “Hop Trip”.
It is balanced, complex, fruity, prettily bitter, and damnably easy to drink. Look for it. Get it. Drink it. Love it.
Here’s my bottom line on the new “Iowa Bar Fight” Fresh Hop IPA from Double Mountain Brewery and Solera Brewery of Hood River, Oregon…
An Iowa Bar Fight is not only the best wet-hopped ale I’ve found since the heyday of Deschutes “Hop Trip”, it is also, with zero exaggeration, one of the most delicious, crazy drinkable, replete, well-crafted, and flat-out compelling IPAs I’ve sampled in the past ten years.
The scent of hops wafting through the air. The cookie dough fragrance of mashing grain. These are the first telltale signs as you make your way from Munich’s main train station a short walk away that you’re getting close to the Augustiner Bräustuben on the old brewery grounds.
The Augustiner Bräustuben is both a beerhall exuding Gemütlichkeit and current location of the Augustiner-Bräu brewery, Munich’s oldest (founded 1328). It’s a classic beer hall with character to spare, more down-home than other beerhalls in the city.
Want to read more? Please click… HERE!!!
Nothing gets beer geeks and connoisseurs riled up these days like a strikingly hazy New England IPA. There’s something about the opaque, orange-yellow liquid that sends craft beer enthusiasts into a tizzy. Many a skeptic has been won over with a whiff of that insanely fruity aromatic punch. Hazy IPAs are not the only beers that qualify as unfiltered, as the venerable Kellerbier style, as well as various Witbiers, Berliner Weisses and other sour offerings are also unfiltered. So what exactly is an unfiltered beer and why are these styles among the most popular in the world right now?
Filtration can be performed through various methods depending on beer style. For example, beer can be filtered by passing through a caked or powdered substance in order to filter out any brewing particulates that occur. One common filter is finings, which can sometimes include swim bladders of fish as a filtering agent.
If a beer is lautered – a process in which the mash is separated into the clear liquid wort and the residual grain – the grain bed serves as its own filtering agent. In a lager beer, gravity filters the beer with many particulates falling to the base of a bright tank. Cold filtering is another option: lower temperatures during filtration cause proteins to lump together, making them easier to remove.
Willoughby Brewing Company, launched in 1998 by T.J. Reagan, helped spur the revitalization of downtown Willoughby while simultaneously making some damn fine craft beer. The award-winning brewpub, set in a 120-year-old railcar repair depot, enjoyed a remarkable run under a handful of owners until January 2020, when the landlord locked out the last owners for nonpayment of rent.
Since then, the hulking property has sat fallow. But as luck would have it, entrepreneur Bobby Ehasz was looking for his next craft beer project. Ehasz, a career military guy, is a partner in Pompatus Brewing, a nano brewery in Bainbridge. While scouting locations for possible expansion, he was pointed in the direction of downtown Willoughby. While the former brewpub was not a good fit for Pompatus, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up, he says.
“In `96, `98 when they were building this place out, they had some real vision,” he explains. “Whoever did that was brilliant; they really did a beautiful job getting this place built.”
Already work has begun to convert the former Willoughby Brewing into Tricky Tortoise (4057 Erie St.). It’s a hefty undertaking considering the building’s current state of affairs, but Ehasz is already knee-deep into the venture.