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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.

The Session #125: SMaSH beer

The Session
Host Mark Linder has announced the top for the 125th gathering of The Session will be simple and singular: SMaSH beers. For those of you who may not not know the term, SMaSH is code for single malt, single hop. I always though they should be call SHSAM, because a) I am inclined to put hops first, b) I might not be a great speller, and c) sounds like magic to me.

Mark offers plenty of options. Even though I’ll be in South Africa July 7, I plan to partcipate, so you should as well.

The announcement also gives me an opportunity to suggest you sign up for Hop Queries, my free monthly hop-focused newsletter. It will ship shortly after Homebrew Con, because I’ll be in both hop talking and hop information collecting mode in Minneapolis later this week.

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Session #124: Remembering that Belgian lemonade

Joe's Gueuze

Where have you gone, Joe’s Gueuze
Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you
Wu wu wu

               – With apologies to Paul Simon

There was the time, just after last call went out on a Friday night, that I was standing at the bar at Joe’s Brewery in Champaign, Illinois, and the young person in front of me—who may or may not have using a legal ID card— threw up all over the nicely polished wood surface. So some times were better to visit than others.

Like Tuesday afternoons. We did not witness this ourselves, but John Isenhour, who brewed the gueuze Michael Jackson gave three stars (out of four) in the sixth edition of his Pocket Guide to Beer, said that is when farmers from the surrounding rural area would come in to try what they called “Belgian lemonade.”

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