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About that boring German beer – blame it on their yeast

MONDAY BEER LINKS, MUSING 09.22.14

Zut alors! Great British pub may have been invented by the French. Ted Bruning spent 30 years trying to find Britain’s oldest pubs. What he learned and what he writes about in “Merrie England: The Medieval Roots of the Great British Pub” will turn some heads. After the Norman invasion of 1066, a wave of French merchants traveled to and from London to buy and sell wares from the banks of the Thames. It appears the wine bars they set up in the City of London might have been the first pubs in England. They would predate the first English-style “alehouses” by around 150 years. I’ve already ordered the book.
[Via Daily Mail, HT Martyn Cornell]

Billion dollar beer war is brewing. By the time the whole AB Inbev, SABMiller, Heineken story sorts itself out we’re all going to be exhausted. And somehow — don’t you think? — Pabst is going to end up involved. “Although no one quite knows what the next move will be, the beer industry looks to be on the verge of its biggest-ever arms race.”
[Via The Telegraph]

Meet Anne-Françoise Pypaert, the first female Trappist brewmaster. Anne-Françoise Pypaert was the only women working at Orval when she was first hired in late 1992. Now, there are eight women employed at Orval. And Pypaert is the brewmaster.
[Via Belgian Beer Specialist]

Yeast and German Brewing. An interesting premise — that a lack of variety of yeast strains has resulted in a lack of variety of German beer. “In my opinion, the common use of a well-understood single lager yeast strain for bottom-fermenting styles for the last century has resulted in generations of brewers in Germany who see yeast more as a tool for fermentation, rather than a key ingredient in their recipe. Only when the variety of yeasts is understood will German brewers be willing to experiment.”
[Via Brew Berlin]

Old guys: Don’t like the wine list? Eat somewhere else! Since I’m quite often the old guy in the group I try to think twice, or even a third time, before I comment on the new. After you read the gazillion comments following this post, dig into The Empire Strikes Back: Laube Takes on IPOB and you’ll find even more comments. These wine types sure get worked up.
[Via Palate Press and Steve Heimoff]

The Industry Series: Gavin Sacks, Flavour Chemist. Wine at the top, but there’s beer (and hops) later on.
[Via A Tempest in a Tankard]

2 Responses to About that boring German beer – blame it on their yeast

  1. Thomas September 22, 2014 at 6:40 am #

    In ‘Man walks into a Pub’ by Pete Brown, he mentions wine bars as a component to the development of pub but considered them a bit different. Worth the mention.

  2. Gary Gillman September 29, 2014 at 3:22 am #

    Just catching up to a few points here.

    Regarding wild hops, I am trying to understand the difference between neo-Mexicanus and other hops in the wild. Is it that the latter are (or were once) cultivars, say Cluster, which self-reproduce from stray vines which survived from old hop fields?

    I would think theoretically there are three types of wild hops: the stray type which is still pure cultivar; the cultivar which has cross-bred with neo-Mexicanus; and neo-Mexicanus on its own. The beers using pure meo-Mexicanus should be very interesting, I would think all the pine and blackcurrant qualities often spoken of in American-grown hops reside in this hop but who knows?

    On the point of German yeast, the characteristics of single cell lager yeast were originally to be clean and fairly neutral. The malt and hop qualities are the primary features of German lager beers, and there are many ways to differentiate flavour brewery to brewery with these components. You can use different types of malt, or in different combinations, and the same for hops. You can attenuate to a greater or lesser degree, same for hopping. I think the reduction of lagering times may have increased the “green” (sulphur and other) flavours of German lager, and I do agree that much of the helles and pils have this flavour. This argues for a return to longer lagering periods which would remove these flavours or minimize them. Apart from that, I don’t see yeast as the issue.

    In contrast, modern Belgian brewing of top-fermented beers IMO has become uninspiring due to the omnipresent strong bread/raison/clove taste resulting from top-fermenting Belgian yeast. You see that taste everywhere, I find it overpowering in most (not all) Belgian ales seemingly that I try. I have have always wondered if this yeast type derives from Champagne yeasts because the taste reminds me of the yeasty flavour of a lot of Champagne and similar sparkling wines. Be that as it may, I would encourage Belgian brewers to become more diverse in their yeast selection, and German brewers simply to lager longer.

    Gary Gillman

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