Today, we take it for granted that the beer we’re consuming will use some type of hops. In fact, hops have been one of the key ingredients for beer for quite a long time – dating back to the Reinheitsgebot in Germany, although it took quite some time for the use of hops to spread throughout Europe and even longer for England to get on board.
The days when you could pick up a bottle of beer and know immediately what it was all about are largely over, unless you’re still drinking Big Beer, of course. These days, you’re likely to encounter a wide range of strange and even bizarre terms on the bottles you buy. Knowing what those various terms mean will make the difference between an enjoyable brew and a rather unpleasant surprise. So, what do some of the more common terms mean, and how do they apply to the craft beer lover? Let’s go over a few.
Most beer drinkers are familiar with the more widespread beer styles – IPAs, stouts, porters, red ales and the like are pretty common. However, walk into any decent bottle shop and you’re sure to find a few styles that aren’t quite so common. Taking a chance on these can be a gamble, particularly given the fact that some of them are quite expensive (smaller batches equal higher per-bottle prices). With that being said, many of them offer entirely new worlds of taste and flavor to explore, so let’s take a closer look at some of the not-so-common beer styles you might have not yet decided to enjoy.
Once upon a time, brewing beer was a woman’s task. Then it became a man’s world – Prohibition was responsible for ending a lot of traditions in the US, including the role of women in brewing. After Prohibition, brewing became a man’s game. Most beer was consumed by men and brewed by men. It was marked by men and breweries were built and helmed by men. That’s changing today.
With the rise of craft beer, things have changed. Where you could once walk into a bar, order “a beer” and receive pretty much the same thing all over the country, you can’t do that today. In order to actually enjoy your beer drinking explorations, you need to know the language of the new world of beer. A great deal of the new lingo was influenced by craft brewers, but you’ll find that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Many of these terms have been around for years. Americans simply didn’t know them because they were too tightly tied to big beer and their 12-ounce bottles of lightly colored water.
Beer and food pair just as well (or better) as wine and food. Ask any craft beer fan, and you’ll be directed to a plethora of different brews that pair with specific types of food and individual dishes. However, beer and food have a much longer history than just being consumed in tandem to accent flavors and enjoyment. Beer has been used in cooking since time out of mind, and cooking, well baking, actually formed the core of many brewing concerns – the ancient Egyptians added baked bread to their brew.
It’s well known that beer was created by the earliest civilizations and has remained a major part of human life since antiquity. However, new studies seem to indicate that society was formed as a result of beer, rather than beer brewing stemming from the birth of society. It’s a “chicken or the egg” question for the thirsty philosopher – which came first?
Any self-respecting beer lover knows that their preferred beverage has a rich, deep history and takes great pride in that fact. However, many don't realize just how deep that past goes, nor how it ties into our culture, our ways of thinking and even our character. In a way, you could say that beer is in our blood. It's been part of most civilizations since the dawn of the Agricultural Revolution, and shows no signs of letting up. In fact, beer is enjoying yet another renaissance, as the booming craft beer industry can attest. Just how deep does the history of beer go?
As the weather warms up, it’s time for outdoors activities. Cookouts, parties and just hanging out in the yard are among the most common activities that mark the summer months. Of course, you’ll also have to dodge mosquitos as well. These pests are an inextricable component of hot days and long nights and most people go to great lengths to try and keep them away. For beer drinkers, that might be harder than you think.
Beer has been used since time out of mind for a wide variety of different things. It once formed the cornerstone of feasts and festivals during ancient times, and has been a “social lubricant” as long as it’s been around. Today, most people use beer as, well, a beverage. However, there are a few other uses for your favorite brew that you might not be aware of. Here are some of the weirder things that you can do with a can of your favorite lager.
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?
Only a handful of ingredients are needed to brew beer. A brewer needs water, hops, malt and yeast. While each of these is a vital ingredient, yeast is perhaps the most important. Without yeast, there would be no way to transform the sugars from the malt into alcohol – you’d be left with a strange tasting mixture with no alcohol content. Really, it’s yeast that makes beer… well, beer!
For most people in the world, beer has a single use – quenching your thirst and satisfying your need for a relaxing beverage. However, beer has a wide range of other uses that might not be apparent at first. While drinking your beer is certainly the best use for it, there are some others out there that might surprise you more than a little bit.
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.
The world of big-beer has been rocked with mergers and acquisitions for some time now. It’s been an ongoing thing around the world. There is more news on the way – August Busch IV has announced that he will be stepping down from his position as a director for Anheuser-Busch InBev. This will mark the final severing of ties between Anheuser-Busch and the family that founded the company.
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?
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."
For many Americans, dark beer is something to be avoided. It's scary – the full body and complex flavor characteristics are so completely different from Budweiser that many people shy away on impulse. However, if you do venture into the realm of dark beer, you'll find several delicious varieties to choose from. The two primary options are porter and stout – what's the difference, though? Which is better? In the battle of porter vs. stout, who wins?
Enjoying your beer, no matter what variety you're currently imbibing, often means choosing the right glass. While there are those of us who prefer to drink straight from the bottle, there's a lot to be gained by using the right type of glass. Pouring the perfect pint means knowing what each type of glass offers and why you might want (or not want) to use it.
When you consider beer, you're more talking about a beverage made from grains – both barley and wheat play an important role in the brewing process. However, there are some types of beer that rely heavily on the use of wheat. These wheat beers offer specific characteristics and flavors, as well. Often, they are lighter in color than those brews that use a higher concentration of barley, which provides a dark, heavier body.