There are four primary ingredients for beer – water, hops, yeast and grain/malt. Of those, hops, yeast and grain get a lot of attention. Water seems to take a backseat. It’s just a carrier for the rest of the ingredients, right? Wrong. Actually, water is just as vital to the ultimate character of the beer in question as anything else.
When you think about beer ingredients, chances are good that you can come up with the classic four. Every beer needs some combination of water, yeast, hops and malt. Otherwise, it’s not beer. If you follow the dictates of the German beer purity law (the Reinheitsgebot), then that’s probably the end of it for you. However, craft brewers are more and more frequently going beyond the pale in terms of what they’re adding to beer, and it results in some interesting, and often delicious, results.
Wine has been stored and aged for centuries, but aging isn’t only for vino. Beer does very well when aged properly (well, a lot of beers do). Aging allows beer time to develop character, new flavors, and for strong flavors to mellow out and blend better with the beer as a whole.
Home brewing is certainly nothing new – it’s actually a throwback to the roots of brewing, when families made their own brews because there were few alternatives. That changed in the US with the rise of big breweries, but the modern resurgence in brewing at home truly is something new, or rather, something old happening for new reasons. Why is home brewing gaining so much steam? Here are some interesting reasons cited by actual home brewers.
American beer drinkers once had only watery, weak options when it came to their beer choices. However, the rise of craft brewing has changed that irrevocably and consumers today have access to a very wide range of beer options with a variety of different characteristics. In fact, sampling the various styles of beer out there can be an incredible experience. Beer tastings give you the chance to explore your various options but those new to “tasting” their beer can find some of the terms used to describe a beer a bit confusing. For instance, what exactly is a “hoppy” beer? What does a “malty” beer taste like?
The days of “a beer is a beer” are long gone. While big beer might not have gotten the message yet that bland, boring beer is out (and who cares if they ever do), craft brewers are definitely on the leading edge of innovation when it comes to taste and flavor for their brews. Increasingly, more and more brewers are choosing to add ingredients to their brews to make them stand out and add unique character. What are some of the more popular options out there? Here’s a quick rundown, and some of these might surprise you.
The craft beer world has been making headlines for quite some time now as more and more Americans make the switch from mass produced, bland beer options to small batch brews with flavor, character and real taste. However, beer’s not the only thing on the menu these days. Craft mead is actually becoming more and more popular in today’s world and you might just find that local mead producers in your area have some rather tempting options to offer you. What is mead? Should you bother with it? Let’s take a look at what it is, where it came from and where it’s going in the modern era.
Most people are unaware that most of the Founding Fathers of the nation also brewed their own beer. Thomas Jefferson’s recipe has actually seen the light of day in recent years after being revived by a local brewing company. In contrast, George Washington’s whiskey distillery is better known than his beer brewing exploits, though he did brew his own beer. Now Washington’s own personal beer recipe will be available to the public again. A partnership between the New York Public Library (the holder of the original recipe) and Coney Island Brewing Company will bring back a (very) limited release of this historic beer.
In all, only 25 gallons of George Washington’s beer will be available and it will not be available commercially. The only place that you could get your mitts on one of these brews is if you managed to visit the Rattle N Hum in Manhattan or if you made it to the New York Public Library’s 100th birthday celebration in NYC. The brewers in charge of bringing Washington’s recipe back to fermented life stayed true to the original recipe as much as possible, though a few tweaks had to be made. The final brew is a rich porter and uses small batch dark malts as well as specialty hops to create a remarkable beer.
Fortitude’s Founding Father Brew, as it is being named, is a taste from the past, a glimpse into the mind and character of one of the nation’s most important historical figures and also a remarkable modern innovation. This dedication to recreating this historic brew is even more apparent when you read Washington’s very brief recipe. The following is contained on a scrap of paper held in the New York Public Library’s Washington Archives:
To Make Small Beer
Take a large Sifter full of Bran Hops to your Taste. -- Boil these 3 hours then strain out 30 Gallons into a cooler put in 3 Gallons Molasses while the Beer is Scalding hot or rather draw the Melasses into the cooler & Strain the Beer on it while boiling Hot. Let this stand till it is little more than Blood warm then put in a quart of Yeast if the Weather is very Cold cover it over with a Blanket & let it Work in the Cooler 24 hours then put it into the Cask -- leave the bung open till it is almost done Working -- Bottle it that day Week it was Brewed.
When you take a peek inside the craft brew industry, chances are good that you’re going to find lots of men. That holds true on both sides of the Pond – men dominate both the UK and American craft beer scenes. That doesn’t mean that there are no female brewers out there though. In fact, things might just be changing in this traditionally male-dominated world. What’s on tap here? There are quite a few things going on.
Craft beer is all the rage today – you’ll find it being served everywhere from your local brewpub to the White House. With that popularity has come an incredible diversity of brands and styles, too. You will find a rich experience in the world of craft beer, but it can be a confusing place for those new to the industry. This is where a craft beer guide comes into play. What is a craft beer guide and who can benefit from one?
Ask any beer lover and you'll learn that water is an essential ingredient of beer – there's simply no replacement for it. However, water is also one of the most important substances on the planet and finding ways to conserve water is vital. Many areas of the globe suffer from water shortages, and many companies have stepped up to help curb water waste.
We're all familiar with the fact that hops are found in our beer. Many of us even prefer "highly hopped" brews. If you have paid attention at all to the beverages you're consuming, then you know that hops are an integral part of the brewing process and have probably at least heard of noble hops. What are they, though? Let's take a closer look at the four noble varieties and what makes them "noble."
It's no secret that America's craft brew industry has hit all time highs. Craft beer is almost anywhere you look these days, from your local watering hole to beer fests that draw in crowds from around the nation. However, it might be somewhere that you didn't expect to find it – in your local education system. There is at least one college in Washington offering brewing courses – is there one in your area?
For most of recorded history, beer has been made with grains like barley and wheat. However, for many people, this is a problem. That's because these grains contain gluten, and those with a gluten-intolerant condition can become very ill from consuming it. For those with a gluten-intolerance problem, consuming products that contain gluten can start an autoimmune reaction that leads to serious problems. Therefore, traditionally brewed beers cannot be enjoyed by those with this medical condition. Does that mean that they can't pop open a cold one and enjoy it? Well, that may once have been the case, but there are some innovative breweries out there that are giving these folks more options.
There are four main components of beer: water, malt, hops and yeast. This article is the third of a four part series that will be covered in that order.
There are four main components of beer: water, malt, hops and yeast. This article is the second of a four part series that will be covered in that order.
There are four main components of beer: water, malt, hops and yeast. This article is the first of a four part series that will be covered in that order.
The times are looking dark for craft beer – dark in color, that is. The winter is traditionally reserved for heavier, darker beers, and with spring still some time off, there are plenty of opportunities to find out what dark beers offer. In fact, a growing number of beer lovers prefer to have dark brews throughout the year. Whether you are just looking for a seasonal dark or you want a dark beer that will take you through to next winter, there are plenty of options out there.
There is a considerable amount of contention out there in the beer world today. While there are controversies over label design and the never-ending battle of "my beer is better than yours," there's a fight brewing over something else – that of cans versus bottles. Which is better? Why is one better than the other, anyway?
When you think of craft beer, what basic ingredients do you think of? If you're like most folks, you probably think of hops, barley (or wheat), malt, yeast and cold, clear, clean water. If you've been enjoying craft beer for some time, then you might think of a few more – lemon, orange, strawberry and other fruit flavors are used to a considerable degree. However, for those with more adventurous taste buds, there are some rather exotic options out there.