Belgium loses Trappist beer

Beer brewed at Achel Abbey in Limburg will no longer be allowed to bear the name Trappist beer. The abbey is being sold to businessman Jan Tormans and the brewery at the abbey will cut all links with Westmalle Abbey that supervised operations at the Achel Abbey brewery until now. Earlier, when the Trappist monks moved out, the brewery lost the right to display the ATP label, proving Authentic Trappist Product, on its brews. The ATP label can only be used when beer is brewed in an abbey with live-in monks. The name could still be used thanks to the connection with Westmalle Abbey, but with the sale to private hands that now too is a thing of the past.

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Of Martyrs and Moby Dick: Weihenstephan’s Vitus Weizenbock

~Or, what do Melville’s white whale, a cathedral in Prague, and Weihenstephan’s Vitus have in common?~

I’ve been drinking Weihenstephan’s lush and expansive Vitus for years now, especially when the weather turns cool. I can’t get enough of that subtly spiced honey and orange zest layered over rich banana custard. But I hadn’t ever troubled myself with looking deeper into the beer’s namesake, St. Vitus, despite my fondness for another material object connected with Vitus’s memory: the imposing Gothic cathedral that looms over Prague.

But then I came across what was, for me, a puzzling reference to St. Vitus in Moby Dick. I immediately had to know what connected the dots between Moby Dick, a cathedral in Prague with some of the most wondrous stained-glass windows I’ve seen, and that elegant Weizenbock from Weihenstephan.

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Navigating the Wild: Judging American Wild and European Sour Ales


Judging American Wild Ales and traditional European Sour Ales can be a tricky business. Being familiar with the wide assortment and possibility of flavor compounds and a keen ability to understand how they work (or don’t work) together takes experience and training. Which can be challenging when suitable commercial examples are hard to come by in some areas. Additionally, homebrewers that utilize a mixed fermentation, Brettanomyces, and/or souring bacteria in their beers can be a fairly passionate group. Producing beers that can sometimes be years in the making with expression as intricate as stained glass. Given all this, judging can sometimes be hard to navigate for the novice or uninitiated. To help with this, the BJCP Communications Team decided to ask a few experts their views on best practice when judging these styles.

(Please scroll down from author credits.}

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The Most Wonderful Time for a Beer: Rediscovering Bier de Noel

by Ryan Pachmayer & Sachin “Chino” Darji

November typically heralds the arrival of Biere de Noel, or Christmas beer, on store shelves. Charlie Gottenkieny, co-founder of Bruz Beers in Denver and two-time AHA Homebrewer of the Year, explains that the modern style harks back to a special beer that brewers offered to their patrons each holiday season, usually with a stronger-than-typical punch. Christmas beers are not always high ABV beers bombs however, and its not uncommon for a brewery to make their holiday offering special by bumping up the flavor and alcohol on their flagship beer. “On the continent they started spicing them,” explains Gottenkieny, but “less so in England,” where holiday beers tend to be maltier and stronger than their everyday pints, old ales and British strong ales that are often called winter warmers. Consistent with their brewing culture, American brewers tend to spice their Noel beers with a heavier hand and bolder flavors than the Belgians do, setting up a trichotomy in world culture of holiday beers.

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’TIS THE SEASON FOR A MUG OF MULLED BEER

Hot beer with spices – vanilla, cinnamon, anise, citrus. Mulled dark beer drink. Dark wooden background copy space

Tis the season, once again. Chances are you’ve fended off the icy grip of a frosty December night with a cup of mulled wine at some point in your life, especially if you’ve been to Europe around this time of year. But mulled beer?

Last year I related the story about my first sip of Glühwein (mulled wine) in the western German city of Saarbrücken. Aromas of baking spice, roasted nuts, and pine boughs drifted fragrantly in the bracing winter air, leading me not only to the Christkindl market in the main square, but also setting me down the path of annual Glühwein parties and get-togethers.IMG_5371

A few decades on, I did what might well come naturally to a catholic imbiber like myself: I heated up a bunch o’ beer and spiced it. Turns out the whole endeavour isn’t without historical precedent.

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OF MARTYRS AND MOBY DICK: WEIHENSTEPHAN’S VITUS WEIZENBOCK

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

~Or, what do Melville’s white whale, a cathedral in Prague, and Weihenstephan’s Vitus have in common?~

I’ve been drinking Weihenstephan’s lush and expansive Vitus for years now, especially when the weather turns cool. I can’t get enough of that subtly spiced honey and orange zest layered over rich banana custard. But I hadn’t ever troubled myself with looking deeper into the beer’s namesake, St. Vitus, despite my fondness for another material object connected with Vitus’s memory: the imposing Gothic cathedral that looms over Prague.

But then I came across what was, for me, a puzzling reference to St. Vitus in Moby Dick. I immediately had to know what connected the dots between Moby Dick, a cathedral in Prague with some of the most wondrous stained-glass windows I’ve seen, and that elegant Weizenbock from Weihenstephan.

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Improving Your Descriptive Ability

While this article is excellent, the Editors at PGA feel sometimes some approach this topic in a problematic way. No one wants word Nazi, yet there are preferred words, descriptors that have ben suggested. The tests given sometimes include grading via acceptable adjectives. This eliminates judge ability to describe by substituting preferred words that are no more object and just as objective.
 Of course, using one example in the article, when you order a ham sandwich you want a hand sandwich, but some takes on word usage could have menus “juicy” considered to be inappropriate (probably due to dirty minds), so “liquid retained” preferable, ending our analogy. In BJCP terms, yes, just saying “nice” or “good” is no good enough. Adjectives help. But the editors feel preferred adjectives goes too far.

By Emma Schmitz

The author interviewed sensory experts Kristen England, Shawna Cormier, and Jen Blair for this article.

“Language is an incomplete tool providing a limited choice of words,” Morten Meilgaard, the guy who wrote the “book” on Beer Flavor Terminology, admits in an essay in Evaluating Beer (Brewers Publications).

However mediocre language is when it comes to representing what we actually experience, it’s our job as judges to do our best to relay what we’re tasting in concise, relatable terms. We can accomplish this by learning ways to strengthen our vocabulary. The more measly words we know and the more we practice, the better judges we can become.

Good Judging Is All About Respect

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OF BREWERIES AND BEER HIKES IN MURNAU

Written by Franz Hofer

We arrived in Murnau to a golden autumn afternoon perfect for wandering through this landscape famed for its light and colours. Since all good beer hikes need a certain beverage to make them what they are, we made straight for the shimmering Staffelsee lake on the edge of town to stock up on electrolytes. Beers from the kiosk in hand, we found a spot on the terrace near a small beach alive with quacking ducks and kids splashing around in the shallows.

The light falls differently here, more vivid and crystalline. Looking out over the cobalt-blue lake reflecting the red and yellow fall foliage, I could see why Expressionist artists in the Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider) orbit prized the light in this part of the world they called “the blue land.” Wassily Kandinsky and Gabrielle Münter, two of the founders of the Blaue Reiter, were so captivated by the colour palette of the landscape that they moved to Murnau in 1908.

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The bronzed expanse of the Murnauer Moos against the Alps

Geaux? Gone: A Cautionary Rant and Tale

I did my once-weekly run through the posts on Instagram, which I seldom use and haven’t posted in for maybe 2 1/2 years, and ran across a note from my old friend, Jeremy Hubbell, owner of Geaux Brewing, late of Bellevue, Washington, now of Auburn, Washington. No, wait…”late” of Auburn, too.

I have written a couple of times, in the going-on fifteen years The Pour Fool has existed, About Geaux. I used to live in Bellevue – or, as I always call it, “Bellevoid” – which was to the Northwest Craft Beer Boom what the Sahara is to ice-skating rinks. There was ONE brewery in Bellevoid, an outpost of the highly-questionable Rock Bottom Brewing which, in that yuppified location near the Microsoft Sprawl of downtown, became basically a happy hour meat market that happened to make a few listless, predictable beers as a sort of moist courtesy to its customers, many of whom use brewer visits as lifestyle cred. In the mid 00s, Rock Bottom was joined by a second brewery, run by an enormous, self-aggrandizing fathead who was convinced that hiring a certain brewer would put them firmly into the beer stratosphere. (It didn’t) That was that for a relatively short time. Then, a youngish New Orleanian named Jeremy Hubbell, a technical and design consultant whose LinkedIn profile reads like this: “Specialties: New business development, product marketing, product management, product design, international business.” He had a successful business doing all this, in a large space in a small urban light-industrial/retail development, tucked away in a secluded side-street just outside of downtown Bellevoid.

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Is beer good for men’s gut health and can it prevent diabetes? Experts answer

According to Dr Kiran Rukadikar, bariatric physician and obesity consultant, one can understand the pros and cons of beer by looking “into the process of making the beer across different continents, and check the ingredients.”

A new study from Portugal has claimed that drinking beer is beneficial for the intestines and also has the potential to prevent chronic diseases.

“Beer consumption contributes to the improvement of the composition of the intestinal microbiota, a factor that has been associated with the prevention of very common chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases,” The Center for Research in Health Technologies and Services (CINTESIS) , which conducted the study, said in a statement.

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