German Beer Vignettes: A Kölsch at Früh in Cologne

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

Kölsch is part of the very fabric of Cologne, an element of the city’s cultural heritage as important as Carnival. Kölsch is a relatively young style, and it wasn’t until after WWII that Kölsch cemented its status as the premier beer in the city. Things developed quickly from there. By 1986, Cologne’s brewers had come together to sign the Kölsch Convention, an agreement that turned Kölsch into a protected appellation.

Like any major city, Cologne is worth several days in its own right, but you’re also in luck if you’re just passing through. Not only is the Dom (cathedral) located just outside of the train station, so, too, are a handful of taverns serving up Kölsch. If you have an hour or so, stop off for a peek into the Dom followed by a Kölsch or three within half a kilometer of the train station.

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Kerfluffles & Redesigns

It’s amazing how much dust can get kicked up in two weeks. In this episode we’re looking at a bunch of kerfluffles (both serious and not so) that have risen recently before diving into some news about native African beers and what we’ve been brewing. (Oh and Drew tells you why you’re wrong about Pliny)

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Oldest evidence of malted barley shows ancient Scandinavians made beer

Ancient malted barley grains have revealed that Danes were probably using this to brew beer and raising their drinking horns at least two millennia ago.

The oldest known beers in the world trace back to the beginning of agriculture in the Middle East. In Scandinavia, the oldest evidence of this drink is based on residue in a bark bucket from roughly 1370 BC which was found in the grave of a Bronze Age teenager known as the Egtved Girl. But chemical …

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5,000-year-old brewery, possibly world’s oldest, uncovered in Egypt Social Sharing

American and Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed what could be the oldest known beer factory at one of the most prominent archaeological sites of ancient Egypt, according to a top antiquities official.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the factory was found in Abydos, an ancient burial ground located in the desert west of the Nile River, over 450 kilometres south of Cairo.

He said the factory apparently dates back to the region of King Narmer, who is widely known for his unification of ancient Egypt at the beginning of the First Dynastic Period (3150 BC- 2613 BC).

Archaeologists found eight huge units — each is 20 metres (about 65 feet) long and 2.5 metres (about eight feet) wide. Each unit includes some 40 pottery basins in two rows, which had been used to heat up a mixture of grains and water to produce beer, Waziri said.

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From the Bottle Collection: Daleside’s Monkey Wrench Dark Ale

 Without intent, I have collected well over 1,000 beer bottles since the early 70s. When something finally had to be done about the cheap paneling in this old modular, I had a choice: tear down the walls while, oh, so carefully, replacing the often rotted 1X3s; OR, cover them with…

The Bottle Collection

 Have you had this? The bottle I have is pretty old and I haven’t seen this for a while. But I haven’t been looking. Listed as a Strong Dark Ale it gets a 3.5 on untappd, 85 on BA, 48 and 52 on RB (3.23 out of 5). Though claimed to be strong it is a mere 5.3 abv.
 The site asked if I was at least 18. Drinking age must be a8 in England; as it used to be here. Continue reading “From the Bottle Collection: Daleside’s Monkey Wrench Dark Ale”

Beyond ‘Roasty’: The Surprising Psychology of Stout

Rich, dark, deeply flavored, and sometimes beastly, stouts are a style that people don’t like—they love. Or hate. There’s no “meh” in stout-land. The near-universal rap from the haters is that they’re “heavy,” or strong, or filling, and occasionally they are. But one of the world’s most popular stouts isn’t even as strong, or rich, or filling as your average mass-market lager—it’s as light on its feet as a ballerina—and you can dance with her all night long.

Whether we’re a drinker or a brewer, our misperceptions revolve around our psychology—especially the way our brains integrate our senses and bring them to our consciousness. As tasters, we like to think we’re pulling apart the various threads of taste, aroma, mouthfeel, and that elusive synthetic construct called flavor. But that’s not how we’re built. Shaped by billions of years of evolution, our chemical senses are gloriously effective at translating the outside world into an action plan. The results of this unconscious sensory integration are notions that are strongly motivating, either attractive or repulsive. Analysis takes too much time in the heat of the moment; we’re not all that good at it anyway.

Our every sensory experience is shaped not just by the sensations of the moment but by a lifetime of expectations and experiences that set the framework for what is delivered to our window of consciousness. We rarely have access to the raw data. We struggle to focus on the parts when our mind really wants to give us the bottom line.

Colors, Names, and Other Lies

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The Perfect Crush

My summer crush began in the warmest months of 2017, shortly after quitting my corporate job to work full-time for MoreBeer! I know, most love stories don’t start with a change of occupation. Then again, this isn’t a love story, unless of course you count the love to learn more about brewing. Before signing on full-time, I had been working weekends at my local homebrew shop and a frequently asked question was, “What is the ideal gap setting for my grain mill?” On the surface it seems to be an easy, straightforward question with a simple answer.

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Whatever Happened to American Stout?

Looking at trends, you could get a very confused perspective on what the American drinker wants. On the one hand, IPA—whether aggressive and bitter or fruity and smooth—still rules the roost. On the other hand, aficionados wrap the blocks for the latest big, burly, rich sweet stout that tastes of bourbon, vanilla, and a Boston cream donut. So, you might think that we, as a group, would appreciate a rich, roasty pint with an aggressive slap of hops.

At one time, we did. What happened to us, and what can we do to restore the proud tradition of the American stout—while still being playful?

Early American brewing had its share of porters and stouts before lagers began to dominate the market, pushing out all but a few old stalwarts. I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about craft American stout.

The Roots…

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Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

Weihenstephan is a brewing institution steeped in superlatives. The very name of this venerable old brewery north of Munich evokes associations with some of the most respected wheat beers in the world, beers like the style-defining Hefe-Weissbier, and Vitus, a lush Weizenbock. And not only is Weihenstephan home to one of the most famous brewing schools in the world, it’s also the world’s oldest existing brewery.


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