The Import Snobs

TPFJust this morning, I was reading a list of tweets and a couple of comments from a person who shall remain anonymous. The comments and tweets leaned heavily on this theme:

“Dear US Craft Beer: You are trying too hard.”

“The reason for calling something “craft beer” is an additional $2 – $4 a six-pack.”

“@GABF In terms of German styles, not winning a medal would appear to be more of a badge of honor than winning one. Embarrassing.”

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Say No to Style Loyalty in 2016


Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

Coke or Pepsi. Bud, Miller, or Coors. Many a craft beer aficionado has railed against brand loyalty, criticizing the consumption of advertising over what’s in the bottle. And rightly so.

But a specter haunts the craft beer world –– the specter of style loyalty. A chicken in every pot and an IPA in every fridge is one thing. Entire lineups of IPAs?

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7 Tips on Brewing German Wheat Beers


Chris Swersey and Chuck Skypeck currently serve as technical staffers at the Brewers Association (BA). Both had long careers as craft brewers before joining the BA staff. As brewers at Mickey Finn’s (Libertyville, Illinois), Leinenkugel’s Ballyard Brewery (Phoenix, Arizona), and Boscos (Tennessee and Arkansas), Swersey and Skypeck racked up 14 Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup medals in various German-style wheat beer categories ranging from the light Leichtes style through Bavarian Hefeweizen and on to Dunkelweiss.

Consider these tips from the (former) pros next time you fire up your burners to brew a traditional tasting German-style wheat beer.’

1) Pick the Right Yeast for the Job

Select your yeast strain carefully to develop the flavor profile you desire. Different stains produce varying amounts of the esters and flavor compounds associated with German-style wheat beers. Choose a strain that emphasizes the characteristics you desire.

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Hops Used to Save Honey Bees


We all know that hops are a major component of craft beer, but it turns out they have another important function—saving the world’s honey bee population! Researchers have discovered that the beta acids of Humulus lupulus can be used to repel plant pests, including the varroa mite, which is a main contributor to the colony collapse disorder (CCD) that has been destroying the bee population in recent years.

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Penn Students Can Ferment Beer 9 Times Faster

Siddharth Shah, Shashwata Narain and Alexander David, the winners of this year's Y-Prize Competition.

A group of Penn students have a plan to streamline the beer-making process — and it just earned them $10,000.

Siddharth Shah, Shashwata Narain and Alexander David took home the grand prize of the 2016 Y-Prize Competition from the University of Pennsylvania for developing a process that speeds up the fermentation process in beer production by up to nine times — while maintaining alcohol quality and composition. Not to shabby for three students in the Wharton School and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Their advisors include executives from some of the biggest brewers in the world: MillerCoors, Anheuser-Busch, InBev, Biocon India and Heineken.

Shah is already the founder and CEO of a financial services startup and an e-commerce startup. They’re located in Dubai and India. Narain has worked in product development at a logistics technology startup in India.

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Top 10 Tips for Brew Day

When you first start to homebrew, it seems like there are a million people telling you a million different things you HAVE to do to make good beer. Fortunately, as you get more experience, you start to figure out how things work and what really matters. Now, while I may not have as much experience as some homebrewers, I’ve brewed 493 batches since I began in March 1998. And since my brewing is driven by my laziness, I’ve used that experience to figure out what matters and what doesn’t.

If you’ve read the writings (Experimental Homebrewing or or listened to the podcast (“Experimental Brewing,” available on iTunes and others) I do with my co-author, Drew Beechum, you might think my tips come down to: 1.) Brew like me and 2.) Don’t brew like him! But that leaves out the other 8, so here’s a list of my Top 10 Tips for Brew Day.

1. Plan and prepare….I like to think about my recipe at least a week ahead of brew day and get my ingredients prepped at least the day before. Even if you’re doing a spur of the moment brew, take a few minutes to calmly think through what your brew day will be like and get your brewing supplies mise en place….that’s French for “aggregate your fecal matter.” 🙂

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4 Trappist Brewing Tips from Spencer Trappist Brewery

This is part 3 in the Style of the Month: Trappist Ale series (part 1). See part 2 to discover the history of Trappist monasteries and breweries. 

Trappist BrewingIn 1950, Saint Joseph’s Abbey was founded on the crest of sloping hill blanketed in trees just north of the town of Spencer, Massachusetts. The Roman Catholic monastery is home to the monks of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, which you may know better as Trappists.

It is common for Trappists to produce goods and provide services to help fund their monastery and support charitable efforts. Since 1950, the monks at Spencer Abbey have packaged jams and jellies for such purposes, but it wasn’t until more recently that the Massachusetts abbey decided to pursue brewing traditions that have long been rooted in the Trappist monasteries of Europe.

After spending much time researching brewing practices and visiting some of the most well-known Trappist breweries, Spencer Trappist Brewery opened its doors in 2013 becoming the United States’ first, and currently only, ITA-recognized Trappist brewery.


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Brew Biz: Werts and All

 Will the Predator try to kill Ted, Kathy, Millie and Ken as they enter No Li Brewery? 

           Perry Street Brewery
           1025 S Perry St #2, Spokane, WA 99202
           Phone:(509) 279-2820

           No Li Brewery
           1003 E Trent Ave, Spokane, WA 99202
           Phone:(509) 242-2739

           Iron Goat Brewery
           2204 E Mallon Ave, Spokane, WA 99202
           Phone:(509) 474-0722

           Laughing Dog Brewing
           1109 Fontaine Dr. Ponderay ID 83852

           (Though, in another spot on their site, they list it as Sandpoint)

   Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay, Clarksville Carboys and Music City Homebrewers, who has been interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast for over 20 years.

 My oldest brother, Ted Carman, escaped to the west coast, and eventually Spokane, Washington, many moons ago, and now kendrawalso has a cabin in Sandpoint, Idaho. Despite all my tours as an entertainer I have never been west of Texas, and haven’t seen my oldest brother since 2007, the brother who started my life’s adventure into music in the late 50s. So last week we flew out to Spokane via Seattle. What a great opportunity to see him, his wife, his grownup kids and discover… 
 …new BEER!
 Joking aside, what we did do had to be limited. Millie and I weren’t even sure if we were going to get out, and that if we didn’t, no big shakes. The object here was visiting family. Plus, Ted and Kathy aren’t all that geared towards beer hence, even if we did get out, we knew any reviews would be brief.
 Three of the four breweries are in Spokane, one in Ponderay, Idaho. Maybe Sandpoint? I saw both cities mentioned on sites that seemed connected to the brewery. Four was all we had time for, on a three day, mostly family-related, visit. Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All”

Writeup: Yeast Comparison of the “same” strain – Wyeast 1056 / WLP001

For our very first experiment we asked our to tackle a fairly simple experiment. Can tasters detect a difference between the same wort fermented with the classics Wyeast 1056 American Ale (nee Chico) and White Labs WLP001 California Ale? See the link above for the full writeup on the parameters of the experiment.

The Experiment

Here are the basics – IGORs brewed and split a batch of our Magnum Blonde ale, chilled and then pitched one part with a pack of Wyeast 1056 and the other with a vial/pack of WLP001. We asked the IGORs to grab yeast samples of roughly the same manufacture date and to pitch without making starters to reduce possible variations. (Thought on that towards the end!) After fermentation, the IGORs were instructed to package the beers in the same manner and run a basic triangle test to determine if tasters could reliably detect the different beer. We gave no instruction on weighting the samples in favor of Wyeast or White Labs.

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How to Drink All Night Without Getting Drunk

The professor cannot vouch for this method, but it is interesting…
“That guy from the TV commercials!” That’s what they call him, either because they don’t know his name, or are by now too drunk to remember it. As the co-founder and chairman of the Boston Beer Company, he has appeared in countless Sam Adams commercials over thirty years. And, while this always-smiling man is a regular guy like you and me while walking the street, the second he enters a bar Jim Koch becomes a celebrity.

We met at a midtown Manhattan monstrosity called The Keg Room, where at least four people stopped Koch to say hello as we made our way to a table. One apologized for currently drinking something yellow and fizzy as opposed to a Boston Lager as we sat down.

“So many beer lists are poorly arranged, but this is pretty nice,” Koch noted. “A good mix of styles, not just a bunch of IPAs like most bars have nowadays.”

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