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Session #129 announced: Missing local beer styles

The SessionHost Eoghan Walsh has announced the topic for The Session #129 is Missing Local Beer Styles.

Which means?

Essentially: what beer style would you like to see being brewed in your local market that is not yet being brewed?

Don’t everybody type “NEIPA” all at once.

(The Session #129 meets Nov. 3 – sends links to comments on the announcement page or share it on Twitter via #thesessions or @BruBeerCity.)


Session #128 topic announced: Bottle shops

The SessionHost Jack Perdue has announced the topic for The Session #128 is Bottle Shops: Good, Bad & The Ugly.

I find it vaguely reassuring that Argonaut Wine & Liquor remains an excellent stop in Denver, given that the Great American Beer Festival will be going on when The Session convenes Oct. 6. Like small breweries, small bottle shops catering to a niche crowd that cares little about beer from large breweries available in a nearby gas station have popped up seemingly everywhere. But there still something appealing about a warehouse setting, where there’s little danger of beer becoming too dang precious.

The fest makes Oktoberfest bier better

Stuttgart Oktoberfest

The SessionThe topic for the 127th gathering of The Session is Oktoberfest lagers. At the risk of having my beer geek credentials revoked I must confess we have not been to Oktoberfest in Munich. We have been to Cannstatter Volkfest in Stuttgart, which began in 1818 and occurs annually at about the same time as the Munich celebration, and attracts four million visitors over the course of two weeks. Three of the beer tents accommodate 5,000, and smaller ones pack in thousands. Outside food and crafts vendors share the midway with rides more impressive than those at the average U.S. state fair or seaside boardwalk; witness the photo above.

We saw young Germans — you know, the ones who no longer find beer relevant — standing on benches lining long beer tables, hoisting one-liter mugs, banging them together, singing along to songs like “YMCA” and “Take Me Home Country Roads,” boogying big time.

Earlier in the day we listened to brass bands like those you’d hear at Americanized Oktoberfest celebrations, playing traditional German tunes. After about every fourth song the afternoon bands stopped to sing “Ein Prosit” and lead thousands of revelers in a toast. Ohlala-Partyband, the group on the stage when the drinkers were on the benches, followed the same formula, but then quickly returned to belting out another pop song that doesn’t sound all that different in German.

Finding an excellent Oktoberfest beer — Urban Chestnut’s Oachkatzlschwoaf (O-Katz), Bob’s 47 from Boulevard, Sierra Nevada’s collaboration with Milternberger, or Ayinger Fest-Märzen for starters — is easy in our parts. And Urban Chestnut throws an excellent Oktoberfest party (every Oktoberfest should include the Bolzen Beer Band). But there’s just something about here German-speakers try to sing “West Virginia, mountain momma” in unison.

Session #127 announced: Oktoberfest

The SessionHost Alistair Reece has chosen Oktoberfest as the theme for the 127th gathering of The Session.

He writes, “Feel free to dress up for your tasting, dirndls, lederhosen, that Australian backpacker outfit you keep in the back of your wardrobe for special occasions. Hire yourself an oompah band, play the birdy song, and …” you get the idea. Of course, it starts with an Oktoberfest or Festbier or three.

The first Friday of September falls on the first day of September this year (so before Labor Day). All bloggers are invited to participate. Simply drop him a line or leave a comment with a link to your post

Why I’m waiting to write about NEIPA

The SessionThursday was IPA Day. Friday was International Beer Day. It was also the first Friday of the month, so Session Day. You have to pick your spots and this is mine. Gail Ann Williams has told us the topic is Hazy, Cloudy, Juicy: IPA’s strange twist and asking and answering “What’s the deal with these beers? We’re going to find out together.”

I think you are going to have to find out without me, at least for now. Right now I have more questions than answers, and feel a bit guilty about that. I want to know just how hazy these beers need to be to provide the aroma and flavor drinkers expect. How stable the appearance will be. The aroma and flavor. Questions I’ve been asking brewers and other hop smart people for most of 2017.

John Duffy’s Session post makes it evident that first of all we need to identify what they should be looking for. Defining a style — wait, don’t run away — means identifying expecations. I’m on my second pass through Flavor: The Science of Our Most Neglected Sense, which is a fascinating reminder of how much more there is to learn about how our brains turn odor compounds into aroma (and then flavor). The interaction of odor and visual, not to mention sometimes sound “Listen to your beer” – Fred Eckhardt) is astonishingly powerful.

In addition, Friday I talked about hops at Side Project Brewing and those in attendance sampled both bright and hazy beers. To get those beers they had to commit to listening to me ramble on about hops (kind of testing their Lupulin Threshold in a new way). The hazy beers were different, and excellent in their own way. Rather obviously brewers are learning to wring more out of odor compounds in hops and consumers are willing to pay for the experience. There’s more science to be figured out, and then I’ll have plenty to write.

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