Top Menu

Archive | Beers of conviction

Don’t these people understand the term ‘craft beer’ has no meaning?

And these are just the headlines.

Beer on demand: Craft breweries like Piece, Half Acre start delivery service
Bordeaux wine for craft beer drinkers
What’s it like when your startup craft brewery gets bought by Anheuser-Busch?
Hopsteiner picks its top hops for craft brewing professionals
Hopping mad about craft beer
Illegal Alcohol: Where to Drink Thai Craft Beer in Bangkok
10 California Craft Beers That Cost a Bundle on the Black Market

This is not an argument about the validity of whatever definition of “craft beer” you want to use. I find it generally easy to simply use the word beer myself. When I write a story for one of the Brewers Association publications (Zymurgy or New Brewer) I use the term because it is defined within that context of the magazine. I just wrote a sentence in a story for All About Beer magazine where it would have been easier to use the term than not. But I found a way not to, because that’s the AABM philosophy.

But, and you knew that was coming, as the headlines that took me litttletime to collect indicate the term must mean something to somebody (even though you can easily strike the word craft from most of them).

0

pH is the new IBU

Wicked Weed Funkatorium

This beer menu board at Wicked Weed Funkatorium in Asheville, N.C., should look familiar, but not quite the same. That number following the alcohol by volume is the pH, not the IBUs (International Bitterness Units) you see elsewhere. A useful bit of information for beer drinkers, one indicator of how sour a beer might taste.

What might the downside be? Brewers pushing pH levels lower just so they can (or maybe because they don’t know any better). Kinda like previous IBU wars. (See New Beer Rule #2.)

American Sour Beers author Michael Tonsmeire made the danger clear Saturday during the Asheville Homebrewers Conference when he made it clear he said brewing a beer with the lowest pH is like making an IPA with the most IBUs.

0

The Session #114: A St. Louis pilsner

The SessionWe Changed The World … For This?
[Via All About Beer]
An American Story.
IPAs as National Tradition.
[Both via Beervana]

Whoa! What’s all of this have to do with The Session #114, given that Alistair Reece has asked us to write about pilsners? But what Jeff Alworth has to say about the use of American hops and about how American brewers, and now brewers around the world who are mimicking them, is relevant.

Urban Chestnut Brewing Forest Park PilsnerThere is such a thing as an Americanized pilsner out there that has nothing to do with Miller Lite. Who You Callin’ Wussie from Arrogant Brewing* is an example. It is a well made flavorful beer, brimming with lots of aromas and flavors, some of which you won’t find in an old world pilsner. Basically, it’s kind of loud and it bangs into the furniture. That’s OK, as long as it is adding diversity, not eliminating choice. These are the sorts of things you should be thinking about when you read Lew Bryson’s column in All About Beer.

*Yes, this is the same brewery as Stone, although I find the explanation exhausting.

I’m not sure any beer can get inside your bones like certain music — let’s say just about any song from Son Volt’s Trace — but one like Stammtisch from Urban Chestnut Brewing just up the road from us, or Live Oak Pilz, or Marble Pils, has a better chance than any IPA I can think of. Or a pilsner like Wussie, which ranked seventh in a blind tasting of pilsners conducted by Paste magazine. Stammtisch was first, and Pilz and Pils apparently were not tasted.

Paste praises Urban Chestnut for brewing “superlative German beer styles.” I understand this, but maybe because I’ve been in St. Louis almost as long as Urban Chestnut (and Daria has been here longer) I figure I’m drinking St. Louis beer, not German beer. Part of the attraction of Stammtisch is that it has become a familiar flavor, just as Trace is familiar. Oh, and that drinking a liter isn’t a challenge. It’s more like humming along when Jay Farrar sings, “Ste. Genevieve can hold back the water, but saints don’t bother with a tear stained eye.”

*****

The beer in the photo is Urban Chestnut’s Forest Park Pilsner, which is brewed with six-row barley malt, corn, and Cluster hops. I wrote about in the August/September issue of Craft Beer & Brewing.

2

Step one: Heat 800 pounds of rocks

Six brewers and 800 pound of rocks. There was no efficiency on display Monday at Scratch Brewing outside of Ava, Illinois.

Visitors from Jester King Brewing inn Texas — co-founder Jeff Stuffings, head brewer Garrett Crowell, and production manager Averie Swanson — joined Marika Josephson, Aaron Kleidon, and Frank Wesseln of Scratch to make 60 gallons of wort. It is fermenting now in a used wine barrel and soon will be beer. Details later, beyond the facts that is was mashed in a barrel and filtered through cedar branches, boiled in barrels, contains a variety of botanicals, and is fermenting with Scratch’s sourdough bread yeast.

Any single one of these things would make a beer unique, but the true inefficiencies are realized by bringing wort to a boil with rocks. It is like viewing history live, but makes it clear people must really have wanted to drink beer when it took this much work to make.

Building a fire to make stone beer (stein bier) at Scratch Brewing
Step 1: Bury stones in a pile of scrap wood and set it afire.

Jeff Stuffings delivers hot stones to boiling barrel at Scratch Brewing
Step 2: Haul heated stones, one at a time, to the boiling barrel.

Lower hot stones into wort at Scratch Brewing

Lower hot stones into wort at Scratch Brewing

Lower hot stones into wort at Scratch Brewing
Steps 3-4-5: Submerge stone.
Stein bier (stone beer) boil over at Scratch Brewing
Step 6: Watch for boil overs. Oops.

3

Powered by WordPress