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Next up, a shortage of Mosaic hops?

Hops drying in Yakima kiln

Another press release, another foreign brewery raiding American hop stocks. First there was Heineken. Now it turns out Guinness Blonde American Lager is being brewed with a combination of Mosaic, Willamette and Mount Hood hops for a “floral, hoppy aroma.”

I have no idea how hoppy it might be, but when a press release goes out of its way to mention aroma it insinuates brewers are using more hops than the global average. That one of the varieties, Mosaic, is a costly propriety hop in rather short supply is almost incidental. Willamette and Mount Hood may not be sexy choices these days, but they are growing on land where farmers could be planting Cascade or Centennial or some other hop that may (or may not) soon be in short supply. Real estate is going to be a short term issue in the American northwest, although maybe not a long term one. We’ll see.

It is also worth reporting that last month in Oregon hop farmers talked about new demand for Willamette and Mount Rainier hops, primarily from A-B InBev, which — like Heineken and Guinness — has no problem paying for an ingredient the company wants.


What I learned about beer today

BEER From The Expert's Viewpoint

“The original extract is … the most reliable measure of quality, and the determiner of types of products of the brewing industry.”

That’s from an “expert’s viewpoint.” At least in 1937.

I’m a sucker for the classic reprint series that began releasing in 2005. Granted, my “needs” are a little different than yours. John Arnold’s “Origin And History of Beer And Brewing From Prehistoric Times to the Beginning of Brewing Science And Technology” is a delightful if sometimes clumsy read, but from my viewpoint packed with essential information (some fact checking needed). Arnold’s “History of the Brewing Industry and Brewing Science in America” is likewise essential, along with “Beer, Its History And Its Economic Value As A National Beverage.”

BEER From The Expert's ViewpointThe latest, “BEER From The Expert’s Viewpoint” was written to serve the new generation of brewers who went to work after Prohibition ended in 1933. Before Prohibition, the Wahl-Henius Institute of Fermentology in Chicago was the premier brewing school in the country at the beginning of the twentieth century. “The Wahl-Henius Handy Book of Brewing, Malting and the Auxillary Trades” (by institute founders Robert Wahl and Max Henius) remains an essential resource, both for the details about brewing as well basic chemical analyses of many American and European beers not seen elsewhere.

Robert Wahl wrote the “Expert’s View” with his son Arnold Spencer Wahl, and it is full of his personal observations on the previous 50 years of brewing. The Table of Contents reveals the rather broad scope of the book, but the bits of cultural history Wahl throws in are as valuable as looking at what brewers knew, or needed to know, in 1937. If you want to better understand the beer culture in and around Bamberg, Germany, you can visit the area. If you want to better understand how American beer culture evolved immediately following Prohibition you need to find a time machine or read a book like this.

But back to the value of original extract, and what made for a quality beer.

The original extract gives a beer all its distinguishing features and contributes not only the quality but the character of the brew! The original extract is also responsible for the real extract (residual extract) which is the main substance in the beer or ale … Alcohol is of minor consideration for the brewer. He does brew some of his products to obtain that tang demanded by the consumer but the composition of the extract is responsible for the flavor, the taste, the smell, for the fragrance, savor, bouquet, smack, and aroma; the palate-fullness, foam fineness, lasting quality, adhesiveness; color, clarity, brilliancy, sparkle, effervescence and süffigkeit. All these look to the real extract for their origin which is in turn indebted to the original extract for its existence.”

I also learned about “hospital odor” but will spare you those details.


Citra hops were here

Oakham Ales Brewery, Peterborough

Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker has won Champion Beer of Britain. Boak & Bailey offer some thoughts.

Oakham Ales Citra captured the silver. The picture at the top was taken at Oakham’s brewery in Peterborough last year and I wrote about the hop dust then. I don’t have anything to add, nor would I even try to match Ben McFarland’s ode to Citra.

Here’s how McFarland described the beer last October:

In a derelict warehouse somewhere in Peterborough sits the Citra hop, its arms strapped behind its back, its feet shackled to a chair built from pale malt and wheat. Surrounding it, their eyes a maniacal mix of menace and madness, are Oakham’s brewers going to work with hacksaws and hammers in each hand, the Citra squealing gooseberry, greengage and grapefruit. A superb single-hop beer.

Makes figure Boltmaker must be pretty good.


Because what would life be without petty debates?


EVERYTHING wrong with Beer at this moment. It’s a list. That would be more obvious if each item had a number in front of it. But it’s a list, and proof that (contrary to the impression I might sometimes toss about here) not all lists are bad. A comment from Pete Brown provides a bit of balance, “But the petty debates only matter if you pay attention to them: the momentum behind beer is now bigger and more powerful than a bunch of bloggers and hopheads can have any control over.” (Thanks to Roger Baylor for mentioning the comment — one disadvantage to saving things in Pocket and not revisiting posts.)
[Via Beer Compurgation]

The Belgian brewery: fifty shades of grey
Carl Kins — pro tip: a go-to source for information about Belgian beer — did not write this to help bloggers prep for the next Session, although anybody posting about their “First Belgian” might start by considering just what “Belgian beer” means.
[Via Belgian Beer Specialist]

Why Does Craft Beer Suddenly Seem to Have a Problem With Women? Not exactly suddenly, but evidence that things are no better in 2014 than they were in 2012 (Honest Pint: Sexist Shouldn’t Sell)
[Via Guys Drinking Beer]

Thanks to anonymous supporters Stone Brewing reached goal of Groundbreaking campaign! The campaign received plenty of negative attention but blasted right through its one million dollar target. Lots of large contributions. “But it looks like that some retailers and some ‘anonymous’ friends helped out and bought huge amounts of cases of beer in the last weeks…. I bet that retailers and wholesalers from all over the world bought the beers to resell it to their customers for a higher price.”
[Via Lieblingbier]

The Wine Blogging Community Is A Joke (But It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way). Is this true? “Because we (wine bloggers) are a joke of a community online, particularly when compared to our beer and spirits counterparts.”
[Via 1 Wine Dude]


Local beer: 63105

Beamer Eisele of Modern Brewery hard at work

More than an hour into the Modern Brewery’s launch party Friday at Craft Beer Cellar Clayton CEO/president Beamer Eisele was still in the store cooler, struggling to get a third keg of the brewery’s beer online. He’d already been back to the brewery to pick up the proper equipment.

“Now I can enjoy the party,” he said after the final beer was flowing. A few minutes later he and partner Ronnie Fink (that’s Eisele above and Fink below) looked at the line for beer at the rather small tasting bar in the back of the store and at friends and CBC customers pretty much filling up the place. Eisele sighed, then headed back to the brewery, this time to pick up another keg.

Ronnie Fink of Modern Brewery talks with a customer

Now that Modern Brewery is officially open there are four breweries within four miles of our house. When we moved to Clayton (ZIP Code 63105) three years ago there was one.

Clayton CBC, the western-most outpost of a chain that started in Massachusetts, just opened in May. It’s a 15-minute walk from there to The Wine and Cheese Place, the best retail store in Missouri, according to Rate Beer members and many others. For its weekly tasting Friday, Wine and Cheese was pouring Cathedral Square Ave Maria Bourbon Barrel Aged, Alpha Brewing Lapsided, Summit Brewing Sparkling Ale, Brasserie La Goutte D’Or La Mome Saison Orientale, and Brouwerij Verhaeghe Barbe Ruby Kriek.

Last month, Book & Bailey wrote that “For some, local is enough.” Local is important to me. It really does make a beer taste better (no I’m not suggesting it is something that might be replicated in a blind taste test). I’m pretty sure that it is “enough” to build a business on, but that “enough” must includes a decent level of skill in the brewhouse. There are too many quality beers, local and not-so-local, close at hand not to notice when others don’t measure up.


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