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Brew Bloods: Drink Beer, Think Beer

Join Marc and Dustin each week as they pick a beer, drink a beer, and rate a beer, plus dispensing education and laughs along the way.
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Brew Bloods: Drink Beer, Think Beer
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Now displaying: 2015
Dec 30, 2015

We wrap up 2015 with a shorty on Deschutes Black Butte Porter Anniversary series, plus discuss upcoming changes for the show.

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Dec 23, 2015

"What's drinking? A mere pause from thinking." - Lord Byron

We celebrate our first Christmas with the Christmas Vacation series from Fish Tale Ales: the Cousin Eddie's RV Imperial Brown Ale, the Yule Crack Up Gingerbread Stout and the Family Wagon Imperial IPA. 

Fish Tale Ales was started in 1993 in Olympia, Washington by Crayne and Mary Horton with the backing of a few dozen investors. They started with a 15 barrel brewhouse and after massive success, they had to expand to a former lumber mill in 1996. In 2001 they merged with Leavenworth Bier, a German style brewery, and in 2004 they merged again with Spire Mountain Ciders. All three breweries now operate on Jefferson Street.

Fish Tale Ales specializes in organic beer, with five currently being brewed regularly.

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Dec 16, 2015

"Always remember that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me" - Winston Churchill

We head to the release party for Lakewood Brewing's 2015 Bourbon Barrel Temptress this week, and we're joined by Dustin's former co-worker Jim. 

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Dec 9, 2015

"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." - Dean Martin

We head to McKinney, Texas this week to talk to father and son brewing team Keith and Chase Lewis from Tupps Brewery about the life and struggles of a small startup brewery.

In the education corner we discuss what exactly a cicerone is.

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Dec 2, 2015

“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” — Ernest Hemingway

We tackle Black Friday culture heavily and how it's impacting beer culture, as well as a review of Goose Island's Bourbon County Brand Stout 2015. 

In the education corner we discuss what exactly a cicerone is.

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Nov 25, 2015

"To good eating belongs good drinking." - German proverb

We celebrate our first Thanksgiving on the show with a vertical of Saint Arnold Pumpkinator 2011 through 2015. We're joined by Javi Fuentes (@JaviFuentes) and Angela Jones (@angjonesy) from Central Track.

In the education corner we discuss how beer led to the first Thanksgiving.

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Nov 18, 2015

Dustin and Marc take trips excursions to Las Vegas and Untapped Dallas 2015 this week and talk about the beer that was had. Guest starring Javi Fuentes (@JaviFuentes) from Central Track.

Check out Javi's review of Untapped Dallas 2015!

Check out all of our pictures from Untapped Dallas 2015!

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Nov 11, 2015

Tim Matson, author of Mountain Brew: A High-Spirited Guide to Country-Style Beer Making, joins us to talk about life as a home brewer in Vermont in the 1970s, set against the backdrop of epic cultural shifts in the United States at the time.

Buy Mountain Brew here!

Check out Tim's site and pictures here!

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Oct 28, 2015

We're taking a Vegas vacation this week, so here is our first shorty episode: a review of a beer that WE made. Will it be as big of a disaster as our previous efforts?

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Oct 21, 2015

“Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; the best of life is but intoxication.” - Lord Byron

We finally get a hold of Russian River's Pliny the Elder here in Texas, a legendary beer from a brewery that has near 100 ratings on each of their offerings. Russian River is a small brewer out of California that was started by Korbel Champagne, but sold to its brewer when they decided to get out of the business. 

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Music Provided By: 

Bensound - "Jazz Comedy"
Kevin McLeod - "Off to Osaka"
Kevin McLeod - "Hustle"
Quantum Jazz - "Orbiting a Distant Planet"

Oct 14, 2015

"Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life.” - George Bernard Shaw

We take on the purple mountains' majesty with Twin Peaks Knotty Brunette. Twin Peaks is a breastaurant brewpub chain operating out of Irving, Texas who are dipping their toes into the craft brewing waters. They are fresh off a bronze medal at GABF and produce a brown a white ale, a golden ale and this brown ale. 

In the education corner, we talk about Reinheitsgebot.

In news we talk about these stories: 

- SAB Miller rejecting AB InBev's offer 
- Craft beer's big dilemma
- Chuck E. Cheese is expanding into craft beer and wine
- Morocco's first craft beer festival has been canceled

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Bensound - "Jazz Comedy"
Kevin McLeod - "Off to Osaka"
Kevin McLeod - "Hustle"
Quantum Jazz - "Orbiting a Distant Planet"

Oct 7, 2015

"Everybody's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer.” - W.C. Fields

Fresh off their Heineken takeover, we take on Laguitas Sucks, a double IPA that was brewed as an apology for not having the capacity to produce Brown Shugga back in 2011.

Lagnuitas is a brewery that was founded in 1993 by Tony Magree and proceeded to explode from there. Aside from their beer, they're also infamous for having a strong association with marijuana, from their former weekly parties in the early 2000s to naming a beer 420.

In the education corner, we talk about why American beer sucks.

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Music Provided By: 

Bensound - "Jazz Comedy"
Kevin McLeod - "Off to Osaka"
Quantum Jazz - "Orbiting a Distant Planet"

Sep 30, 2015

"A little brawling, a lot of drinking: fresh, happy and free, persevering and loyal: ready to go through fire for the king, that is a Bavarian.” - an inscription on a German beer stein

Throw on a dirndl and some lederhosen as we face off two beers for Oktoberfest: Samuel Adams' Octoberfest versus Franconia Brewing Company's Oktoberfest. 

In one corner we have Samuel Adams (aka the Boston Beer Company): one of the older and bigger craft breweries, having been founded in the mid-1980s by Jim Koch. Currently they brew over 50 beer styles and sell to more than 20 countries. 

In the other corner we have Franconia Brewing Company, a small brewer out of McKinney, Texas that was started by German immigrant Dennis Wehrmann, who is a descendant of a long line of brewers. 

In the education corner, we talk about the origins and history of Oktoberfest.

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Music Provided By: 

Bensound - "Jazz Comedy"
Kevin McLeod - "Off to Osaka"
Quantum Jazz - "Orbiting a Distant Planet"

Sep 23, 2015

“When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.” — Henny Youngman

It's our very first Face Off: Hard Root Beer!

In one corner we have Mission Brewery's Hard Root Beer, fighting out of San Diego. The original Mission Brewery started out in 1913, but fell apart during Prohibition. In 2007 the name was revived by Dan Selis, and in 2014 the brewery decided to start making "craft cocktails," starting with Hard Root Beer.

In the other corner we have Small Town Brewery's Not Your Father's Root Beer, fighting out of Wauconda, Illinois. Small Town was started in 2010 as a way for father and son to bond. The brewery uses a supposed recipe book to make Not Your Father dating back to the 1600s, but there is some controversy surrounding them.

To listen to Strange Brews' investigation into Small Town, listen here: 

Part1

Part 2

To read Michael Agnew's thoughts on Small Town and Not Your Father's Root Beer, including his visit, click here.

In the education corner, we talk about the purpose of hops in beer.

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Education Corner: What are Hops?

We talk a lot about hops, but, what exactly are hops?

In brewing, hops provide a bittering agent to contrast or balance the sweetness of malt, provide aroma, act as a preservative, aid with head retention, and provide a unique profile to a beer.

Hops are the female flowers of the plant humulus lupulus, a perennial climbing plant that will grow up to 18 feet tall and is native to North America, Europe and Western Asia. It tends to grow in the same soil that potatoes prefer and prefers a soil that is rich in boron, but depending on the qualities of the soil and climate, a hop from one region will taste very different from a hop from another region.

Being a climbing plant, like grape vines, farmers use trellises to help them grow; this produces a heartier crop because trellises free up energy that would’ve been used for structural growth. Because seeds are undesirable for brewing, farmers only plant female plants in hop fields. They’re planted in rows 6 to 8 feet apart and in the spring, the plants begin to grow, with the hop flowers, or cones, near the top. Harvest comes near the end of summer, when the cones are taken to a hop house for processing.

The cones themselves contain a gland called the lupulin gland, which is yellow and waxy, and it contains alpha acids that provide bitterness and essential oils that provide flavor and aroma.

The hop plant prefers a temperate climate and grows mostly along the 48th parallel north latitude. In fact you may have seen the Sam Adams beer called Latitude 48, which makes references to this zone.

The 48th Parallel crosses Germany, Austria, Hungary, China, France, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Russia, Canada, and the United States. No surprise, in the U.S., the 48th parallel crosses Washington state, where the most of the hops in the United States are grown.

Hops can also be classified into two very broad categories: bittering hops and flavor/aroma hops. Bittering hops have higher alpha acid, lower essential oils, and provide the bittering quality. Aroma and flavor hops have lower alpha acid and higher essential oils, and, of course, are used to provide aroma. Bittering hops are used early in the beer boil, whereas flavor hops are added when there about 15-20 minutes are left. Aroma hops are typically added near the end within minutes of the end of the boil. Some brewers also use a technique known as dry hopping where they add hops during fermentation. This increases both bitterness and aroma.

Hops are also divided further into subcategories based on region: Continental, English or American. Continental hops (also known as Noble hops) grow in central Europe, and are low in bitterness and have a strong floral or spicy aroma. English hops are also low in both bitterness and have an herbal or grassy aroma, while American hops vary wildly, with some providing both a high amount of bitterness and aroma. From there hops are divided even further into regions or other subcategories.

Historically, the first documented cultivation of hops can be traced back to 736 AD, but the first documentation of using hops in beer doesn’t come until 822 in a series of German legal statutes describing tithes to a monastery. However, it wasn’t until the 13th century that hops began to see serious use in commercial brewing, as before hops came along (or later when the nobility imparted high taxes on hops) brewers would use gruit, which is a mixture of herbs and spices that brewers used to flavor their beer.

The dominance of hops in brewing really started after April 23rd, 1516, when Bavaria instituted the German Beer Purity Law and declared that hops were one of only three ingredients allowed in beer. And then in 1710, England declared that hops were the only bittering substance allowed by law in brewing, so that brewers wouldn’t skirt the hop tax of a penny per pound.

Lastly, hops aren’t just used for beer. In some countries they’re used for soft drinks and they’re often used as an herbal medicinal treatment for anxiety and insomnia. Studies are also currently under way to investigate the use of hops as relief for menstrual problems and there is some evidence that they may be used in the fight against cancer.

Sep 16, 2015

“When I drink, I think; and when I think, I drink.” — Frantois Rabelais 

Ground control to Major Tom, let's blast off with Ninkasi's Ground Control and @FelipeThirteen from CinemaDiabolica! 

Ninkasi Brewing is a brewery out of Oregon named after the goddess Ninkasi. In 2014, they founded the Ninkasi Space Program to send yeast into space to see how it affected the beer. 

In the education corner, we talk about the goddess Ninkasi.

In Brews in the News, we talk about the these stories:

- Heineken acquires 50% of Lagunitas
- BrewDog ditches Lagunitas 
- Dogfish Head tries to be nice to Pizza Boy Brewing 
- There's a Pop Tart beer?

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Education Corner: The Goddess Ninkasi

When you hear the name Ninkasi today, the brewery is likely to come to mind first and foremost. While the brewing has been in existence for roughly a decade, the origins of the name Ninkasi are much older.

Ninkasi is a goddess, an ancient beer goddess to be more specific. She was discovered via the Hymn to Ninkasi, a poem written on several clay tablets roughly around the year 1800 BC. The daughter of the King of Uruk and high priestess of the temple of Ishtar (who herself was the goddess of procreation), Ninkasi, the goddess of alcohol, was brought to earth to help heal wounds. This hymn was written via the Sumerian language, and is amongst the earliest human writings ever found.

Ninkasi makes for an excellent brewery name not just for the fact that she was a beer goddess, but that the Hymn to Ninkasi was in itself a recipe for brewing beer, also once known as kash. The poem illustrates that the brewing process at the time used grapes, bappir (a form of grain), and honey. The result was so thick, straws had to be used to consume it.

The Hymn to Ninkasi was likely used, as many songs and poems throughout past generations have been, to pass down these brewing instructions in a way they would be remembered. The hymn has been credited as the oldest record of a correlation between the importance of brewing beer, and women’s responsibility in providing beer and bread to their households. The fact Ninkasi was female, and used in prayer regarding brewing beer, shows how important women were to the process.


The craft beer scene may have a general vibe of masculinity, leaving some women to feel like outsiders at times. However, the Hymn to Ninkasi illustrates that men may be the ones that were late to the craft beer movement.

Music Provided By: 

Bensound - "Jazz Comedy"

Kevin McLeod - "Off to Osaka"

Quantum Jazz - "Orbiting a Distant Planet"

Sep 9, 2015

“An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools.” - Ernest Hemingway

Time to hit the Texas Hill Country with the Robert Earl Keen Honey Pils from Pedernales Brewing. Pedernales is a microbrewery out of Fredericksburg, Texas that makes a lot of lager. Texas Country singer Robert Earl Keen is a big fan of their beer and pitched it to them to make a beer together and Pedernales brought in Fain's Honey in Llano to give it a new twist.

In the education corner, we talk about macro versus micro breweries.

In news, we talk about the these stories:

- Are women better at tasting than men?
- Would you use a glass from the Pretentious Beer Glass Company?
- Texas officially rules crowlers illegal
- AB InBev may be preparing a takeover of SAB Miller
- Kroger is getting craft taps

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Macro vs Micro

Beer ads have gotten nasty these days. Much of the focus has been around the pretentious nature of the little guy vs the cool, fun, readily available goliaths of the industry. The terms Macro and Micro are used to make the divide between what brewers are small and persnickety or just your frat buddy that’s ready to party at a moment’s notice.  This begs the question, what is the real difference between a macro and microbrewery?

There are a few currently accepted definitions of what is a microbrewery. Fans like us would say things like there’s the good stuff, and the popular stuff. While this could in theory be used to define what a craft beer is, the true definition of microbrewery is based much more on numbers than taste.

The microbrewery movement can be traced back to the 1970s in the United Kingdom. One of the earliest noted microbreweries was the Litchborough Brewery founded by Bill Urquhart in 1974 in the Northamptonshire village of the same name. From there, the term spread across the UK, and eventually into the U.S. starting in the 1980s.

Today, according to the Brewer's Association, breweries that produce fewer than 15,000 U.S. beer barrels (1,800,000 liters; 460,000 U.S. gallons) annually are considered microbreweries. While there is no specific definition for a “macro brewery”, the term falls into the same category as Large Brewery. These are defined as breweries with annual beer production over 6,000,000 barrels. Macro breweries have also been defined as breweries too large or economically diversified to be a microbrewery.

In short, as the naming would imply, the macro vs microbrewery battle is a classic David and Goliath scenario. Macro brews are readily available, simple, and mass produced. Micro brews, while perhaps more fussy at times, are more diverse and specialized. Now when ordering a cold draft beer at your local bar, you’ll know a bit more precisely which side of the battlefield you’re on. 

Music Provided By: 

Bensound - "Jazz Comedy"

Kevin McLeod - "Off to Osaka"

Quantum Jazz - "Orbiting a Distant Planet"

Aug 26, 2015

“In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria.” Benjamin Franklin

Pucker up, as this week we take on Bell's Brewery's Cherry Stout, a stout that's normally quite tart, but we've aged this one to see how it's changed. Bell's Brewery is a brewery that started out as a Michigan home brewing supply shop and was the first Michigan brewery to open an onsite pub in 1989.

The Cherry Stout is lightly hopped and brewed with tart Montomorency cherries grown in Michigan.

In the education corner, we talk the origins of IPA and what exactly it is.

In news, we talk about the these stories:

- Now there's a Count Chocula beer
- What is the next IPA?
- The geography of America's beer preferences
- How to be a beer geek without everyone hating you

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What is an IPA?

Frequently on this show we talk about IPAs and we’ve even talked in this segment before about what exactly a West Coast IPA is. But, what exactly is an IPA and how does it differ from other styles of beer?

First, IPA stands for India Pale Ale and its origins began when the British were colonizing India in the early 19th century. When Brits were shipping pale ale beer to the troops, the beer would have to travel by sea south all the way to the Cape of Good Hope, which is the southernmost tip of Africa, and then northeast again to India.

With such a long voyage that took six months, extreme temperature changes thanks to crossing the equator twice and no refrigeration, the beer was frequently stale or infected by the time it reached India. While legend has it that it was all beer, it’s worth noting that porters were also shipped successfully to India. But, given the heat of India, the British soldiers were unhappy with such a heavy, dark beer.

George Hodgson of the Bow Brewery in East London is the one that solved the beer spoilage problem and created the first IPA. When trying to solve the problem of spoilage, Hodgson first recognized the preservative qualities of hops through barleywine, a beer that was brewed for wealthy country estates when disputes with France caused wine shortages. It was meant to be aged and in fact, many estate owners would brew a barrel of barleywine when a son was born and tap it when the son turned 18.Barleywines were  also known as October beer, named after the harvest, and they used intense amounts of freshly-picked hops to keep them fresh. 

Hodgson’s resulting beer was more alcoholic and very bitter, but it would survive the trip. It first arrived in India in January of 1822 and the rest is history.

Eventually refrigeration was invented, of course, and spoilage was no longer an issue. But, the bitter style has survived and become very popular today.

The bitter characteristic in IPAs has remained throughout history and of course, this means that the beer will be much more bitter than you may be used to with other beer styles. As we’ve talked about before, the bitterness in beer is measured in IBU, which stands for International Bitterness Unit. The higher the IBU in a beer, the more bitter it is expected to be, but this also depends on the malt profile. With the lower malt profile of an IPA, you IBU will hold more weight than it will with, say, a stout or a porter.

Alcohol in an IPA tends to start higher than other beers, at around 5.5% ABV, though that is changing quickly with the advent of session IPAs in recent history, such as Lakewood’s Hopochondria or Founder’s All Day IPA.

Today there are three main styles of IPA: American, English and Imperial and beneath that there are many substyles, such as a black IPA. All three use an abundance of hops both in flavoring the beer and providing an aroma, and often brewers will use several varieties in one recipe.

Both American and English IPAs tend have medium-high to intense bitterness, flavor and aroma with medium-high alcohol content. American IPAS tend towards the fruity, floral or citrus flavors and aromas thanks to hops from America, whereas English IPAs are typically more earthy and spicy, using hops of a variety of origins.

The Imperial or Double IPAs are those at have intense bitterness, flavor and aroma and alcohol content will be high, like most Imperial beers. There is no one hop or hop origin that comprises an Imperial. The presence of malt will likely be higher as well.

Popularity for IPAs has skyrocketed in the last decade, as drinkers’ palates have evolved and grown accustomed to more bitter flavors. They’ve gotten so popular now that people are looking for the “next” IPA, whether that’s goses or wild ales or sours, but so far IPA is the king of craft beer.

You may hate IPAs the first time you try them; I certainly did. However, the more I drank them, the more I came to appreciate the wide range of flavor that is present. Keep trying them and you may find that a whole new world opens up for you.

Music Provided By: 

Bensound - "Jazz Comedy"

Kevin McLeod - "Off to Osaka"

Quantum Jazz - "Orbiting a Distant Planet"

Aug 19, 2015

“I feel sorry for those who don’t drink because when they get up in the morning that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.” — Frank Sinatra

Javi Fuentes (@JaviFuentes) from Central Track joins us in our linen suits, bolo ties and a Kentucky Ale Old Fashioned Barrel Ale, a beer based on the cocktail know as an Old Fashioned. Kentucky Ale, aka Alltech Lexington Brewing, is a regional brewery out of Lexington, Kentucky started by Irish entrepreneur Dr. Pearse Lyons, who loved a beer with a bourbon back and wanted to replicate that flavor combo in a beer. 

The Old Fashioned Barrel Ale is based on Kentucky's standard issue ale, brewed with orange peel and then aged with cherries in bourbon and bitters barrels.

In the education corner, we talk about cellaring your beer.

In news, we talk about the these stories:

- 17 weird drinking laws from around the world
- North Korea is wants foreign investors for craft beer 
- CAMRA are trying to protect British pubs
- There's going to be a Wheaties beer. Sure, why not?

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Cellaring Beer

A common discussion amongst beer enthusiasts is how long to cellar a beer. Beer nerds enjoy collecting rare releases, as many as possible, and often don’t want to drink them immediately. In some cases, this effects a beer in a positive way, in others, it can be detrimental. So the question is, which beers cellar well and which should be enjoyed immediately?

Several factors contribute to how your beer will age. First, style. Generally beers with a high abv (7% or higher) will age better than lower abv beers. Light, as we have discussed before, can cause beers to get skunkier, so the less light the better. Third is temperature, which effects the speed of the aging process. The hotter it is, the faster it ages. Keep your beer cold, but not frozen, to keep it fresh longer. The last factor is movement, which agitates the beer and causes oxidation.

  •          Bitterness decreases
  •          Harshness increases
  •          Fruity and floral esters decrease
  •          Ribes (catty/black currant character) increase
  •          Wet paper/cardboard character increases
  •          Bready character increases
  •          Sweetness (toffee/honey) increases
  •          Metallic character increases
  •          Earthy character increases
  •          Straw character increases
  •          Woody character increases
  •          Vinuous character (wine/sherry/stale fruit) increases
  •          Meaty-like/brothy flavors can develop

IPAs, along with any other hop forward beers, should not be aged as the bitter, floral and citrus flavors fade over time. The same can be said for many types of seasonal and fruit beers as well.

Remember one key point when aging your beer, it won’t spoil. It won’t make you sick like an old carton of milk, however the way in which it ages may not be pleasant. While there are some beers that tend to age better than others based on the way they were originally brewed, it’s ultimately all about your palate and the tastes you prefer. So buy a six pack, drink some, age some, and see what your taste buds enjoy.

Aug 12, 2015

“Do not cease to drink beer, to eat, to intoxicate thyself, to make love, and to celebrate the good days.” — Ancient Egyptian Credo

We take on our highest rated beer yet with the Prairie Artisan Ales Prairie Bomb. Will it bomb? Prairie Artisan Ales is a brewery out of Oklahoma that has exploded to success and they have several very highly rated beers.

In the education corner, we talk about diacetyl and how it's ruining your beer.

In news, we talk about the these stories:

- A study says there 4 types of drunks

- AB InBev did right by a microbrewer

- Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are opening a Dallas brewpub

- Lagunitas may be exploring their options for sale 

- Who wants semen in their beer?

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Identifying Diacetyl   

In the past we’ve talked about the skunking of beer, which is an off flavor produced by beer gone bad via light waves, but there are many other flavors and aromas that can indicate when a beer has gone bad, one of which is diacetyl, or as mists say, die-uh-cee-til.

Diacetyl is a chemical that presents a buttery flavor or aroma and if you’ve ever made microwave popcorn, then you’ve ingested it, because it’s what’s manufacturer’s use to give it that “real butter flavor.”

Diacetyl is also known as a culprit behind popcorn lung, which isn’t as fun as it sounds. Popcorn lung, or bronchitis obliterans in fancy science man terms, first gained widespread notoriety in the early 2000s when a number of workers at a popcorn factory developed this condition due to the airborne inhalation of diacetyl.

Diacetyl production is a perfectly normal part of beer fermentation and it’s produced by normal yeast metabolism. However, you don’t need to worry about the diacetyl produced through beer fermentation, because the amount you’re consuming won’t approach harmful levels.

If brewed correctly, the buttery diacetyl flavors will mostly be cleaned up by the yeast and the presence of a little bit diacetyl is considered normal in some beers. However, diacetyl is hard to control and as a beer ages the diacetyl flavors can spin out of control, become unpredictable and of course ruin the beer.

A variety of factors can cause a diacetyl bomb, which is when a beer goes bad and you get a mouthful of butter.

First, high levels diacetyl can be produced if you’re unknowingly using mutant yeast and not in the fun X-men weay. Mutant yeast are yeast colonies that lose their ability to metabolize oxygen properly and they won’t be able to clean up diacetyl appropriately.

A second culprit behind diacetyl is a bacteria known as pediococcus, which can make a beer both sour or buttery. Brewers routinely test their beer for this bacteria, but test results can take up to a week.

A third culprit is unsanitary conditions, and not just on the part of the brewer. Sanitation is important at all stages of a beer’s life, from the word go to the tap lines that are used to deliver beer into your glass.

So, if you’re ever having a beer and you notice a strong buttery or butterscotch flavor, now you know that diacetyl is the villain. If you’re at a pub and they’re not cleaning their tap lines every two weeks, you need to alert the brewer, talk to the bar manager, and consider going somewhere else. 

Aug 5, 2015

“Stay with the beer. Beer is continuous blood. A continuous lover.” Charles Bukowski

BrewDog's Tokio (or is it Tokyo?) comes to stomp our faces in at a boozy 18% ABV. BrewDog is a craft brewery out of Scotland that has exploded in popularity since its inception in 2007.

In the education corner, we talk about the differences between porters and stouts (text below).

In news, we talk about the these stories:

- One brewery says price hikes are coming

- Washington's Yakima Valley is about to have a hop shortage

- How craft beer is impacting the economy

- Who exactly makes 90% of the beer in the U.S.A.?

- The world's northernmost brewery is about to open

- AB InBev was interested in Dogfish

- BeerAdvocate is returning to its ratings roots

- The band 311 is getting its own beer

- The show The Walking Dead is getting its own beer

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Porter Vs Stout

There are so many types of beer brewed today. Everything from the generic light lager to the triple mango IPA has made its way to your local beer store shelf. Some of these styles are noticeably different, yet others aren’t. Two common basic styles that many of us have issue distinguishing from one another are the classic porter and its big brother, the stout.

The first of the two styles to make an appearance was the porter. This showed up in London in the 1700s. The dark, medium bodied beer was a hit amongst the strong, portly workers who drank it. Hence came the name, porter. But as with anything these porters were not the end of beer experimentation. Brewers quickly wanted more body, and more alcohol. From these desires, a stout was born. A stout, in its original form, was just a stronger, “stouter”, version of a porter. At its conception, it was even called a stout porter.

The reason people have issue with keeping this formula straight today is the fact that brewers have since crossed the paths of porters and stouts. Many craft brewers have created porters that are stouter than your average stout, and vice versa when it comes to stouts. Some brewers still determine the difference based on the malt that is used within each style. Porters generally use malted barley, and stouts unmalted roasted barley. This is not a hard and fast rule in the industry however.

In the same way some Pale Ales taste more like IPAs, and vice versa, the porter and stout dividing line has blurred dramatically since the stouts creation. The brewers themselves often cross the lines of the source material, making it difficult for the nerdiest beer nerd to fully define why a beer is called one or the other. The debate rages on, so grab your favorite stout porter or porter-y stout, and discuss.

 

Jul 29, 2015

“Without beer, life would be a mistake.” Frederick Nietzche

We investigate our first Trappist Ale with the one and only from Spencery Brewery, a brewery run by St. Joseph's Abbey, a Trappist Monastery out of Spencer, Massachusetts. Spencer's is the only United States brewery allowed to carry the Trappist logo on the beer and it was voted #1 new brewery by Huffington Post and Fox News.

In the education corner, we talk about what makes a Trappist Ale.

In news, we talk about the these stories:

- How to drink all night without getting drunk
- TABC is telling Cuvee Coffee to get rid of their crowler
- The baby is gone from Founders Breakfast Stout
- A Maine brewer is making beer out of live lobsters

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What makes a Trappist Beer

Today’s episode is all about Trappist Ales, but what exactly is a Trappist Ale and why is it called Trappist?

First of all, a Trappist Ale is not a style. Rather, it’s more of an official seal of approval. That being said, most Trappist Ales follow the Belgian styles, which in a broad sense means that they’ll be a bit earthy and citrusy, retain some sweetness, you may get some spicy notes like coriander and grains of paradise, it will be effervescent some what like champagne, and it will finish dry.

All Trappist are bottle conditioned, and fall into one of four Belgian categories categories: single, double, triple or quadruple, which mostly categorizes the strength of the beer. A single, also known as a blonde ale, comes in at 5 to 6.5% ABV, a dubble comes in at  to 7% ABV, a triple at 8 to 9.5% and a quadruple, also known as a strong dark ale, is 10 to 12 percent ABV.

The name Trappist comes from the Catholic Cistercian monks of the Order of the Strict Observerance that brew the beer, who are nicknamed Trappists after La Trappe, France which is where their order originates from.

In 1664, the Abbot of La Trappe felt that Cistercians were becoming too liberal and imposed the rules known as Strict Observance. Many rules were put into place, but were eventually relaxed. However, one fundamental rule has remained: ora et labora, which in English means “prayer and work.” The Abbot meant that the Trappist monasteries should be self-sustaining and that they should work to help others.

Following the foundation of Strict Observance, Trappist monasteries began brewing beer for themselves and then to feed the community. That practice continues today, as the modern Trappist monasteries brew beer and use that money to sustain their monasteries and to fund charitable causes.

In the 20th century, the Trappist style began to grow in popularity and some brewers began using the word Trappist in their beers even though they had no connection to the monks themselves.

As a result 8 Trappist abbeys banded together in 1997 to form the International Trappist Association to secure a trademark and prevent commercial companies from using the name. They also set up criteria for the breweries to achieve the official Trappist logo:

  • The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery, either by the monks themselves or under their supervision.

  • The brewery must be of secondary importance within the monastery and it should witness to the business practices proper to a monastic way of life

  • The brewery is not intended to be a profit-making venture. The income covers the living expenses of the monks and the maintenance of the buildings and grounds. Whatever remains is donated to charity for social work and to help persons in need.

  • Trappist breweries are constantly monitored to assure the irreproachable quality of their beers.

Once an application is received, the board of the ITA and the chairman begin an evaluation procedure which lasts months, which includes compiling an extensive dossier, on site visits to check the facility and of course, a taste test. Once the license is granted, it’s valid for five years.

Today, there are 11 active Trappist breweries active: six in Belgium, 2 in the Netherlands, one in Austria,one in Italy and the one we discussed today in the United States: St. Joseph’s Abbey.

If you see a so-called Trappist beer and they don’t follow the Trappist rules, the beer should be called an Abbey beer, meaning that it was produced by a non-Trappist monastery, by a commercial brewer who has slapped the name of a fake abbey on the beer, or the beer has a vaguely monastic branding without mentioning anyone specific. When this happens, don’t forget to alert your nearest Trappist abbey so that one of their monastic enforcers can destroy that brewery with his holy fire.

 

Jul 22, 2015

“Without beer, life would be a mistake.” Frederick Nietzche 

We stick with the Northwest this week as we take on the classic Deschutes Black Butte Porter. Deschutes is a craft brewery out of Bend, Oregon that produces around 105,000 barrels per year and focus on being green.

In education, we talk about the oldest active brewery: Weihenstephaner.

In news we talk about the following stories:

- Does craft beer have a sexism problem?
- The band Queen is getting their own beer
- There's a big fight brewing over Myanmar

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What is the oldest active Brewery?

While we know that beer has been brewed for thousands of years going back to the ancient Sumerians and beyond, there’s only one brewery that we know of that can claim to be the oldest active brewery at almost 1000 years old: the Weihenstephaner Monastery Brewery, a brewery that has survived many disasters.

Weihenstephaner started out as a Benedictine monastery in a small town just north of Munich German. Saint Korbinian started the monastery in 740 AD to honor Saint Steven. Tithing records of a hop garden show that the monks may have started brewing beer there in 768 but they were not yet a legal brewery. In 955, the Hungarians plundered and destroyed the monastery, forcing them to rebuild. but they didn’t officially become a legal brewery until 1040 when an abbott secured brewing rights and a brewing license.

In 1336, the Hungarians returned again under Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian and destroyed the monastery and brewery yet again. The Swedish took their turn during the 30 Years War between 1618 and 1648, and the Austrians had theirs during the Spanish War of Succession between 1701 and 1714. Each invading army destroyed the monastery, but each time the Benedictine monks rebuilt.

If that weren’t enough, the monks faced other natural disasters. Between 1085 and 1463 the monastery burned down four times, destroyed one time by a gigantic earthquake, and was depopulated three times by three plagues and several more times by an unknown number of famines.

In 1803, all monasteries were secularized by the Bavarian State and thus, Weihenstephaner Monastery was dissolved and all posessions and rights were transferred to the state. However, the state opted to continue the brewery’s operations. 

Today the brewery is known as the Bavarian State Brewery Weihenstephan and it’s still brewing several beers including pale lagers, bocks, weissbiers and hefeweizens. The original brewery’s original buildings and rooms are still used as well; they’ve just traded wood for stainless steel. The brewery has also become a center for beer research and technology, operating in conjuncton and right across the street from the Technical University of Munich, where aspiring brewers can become brewmasters. 

 

Jul 15, 2015

13 isn't so lucky for us as we take on the worst beer we've ever had: Rogue Ales Voodoo Doughnut Lemon Chiffon Crueller Ale. Rogue is one of the bigger craft breweries going, starting in 1998 in southern Oregon and now distributing to all 50 states and internationally. Oddly enough, they have had some heavy criticism levied against them about their employee practices and cleanliness. 

In the education corner, we talk about what makes for a good beer pour.

In news, we talk about the these stories:

- The 7 most annoying things that beer snobs say

- The ongoing beer shortage in Venezuela

- AB InBev is withdrawing from Oklahoma

- New Zealand has made biofuel out of beer waste

- Denmark has a music festival where they recycle your urine to make beer

- Kroger is adding craft beer taps in Ohio

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What Makes for a Good Beer Pour?

Everyone enjoys a well poured beer. Just the right amount of head, decanted if needed, enough beer to get a full pour without over pouring, all are keys to a great tasting beer. There’s more to getting this perfect pour than some may think, and bad pours are a frequent occurrence.

The fine researchers at Beer Advocate, through many pints of research, have discovered some common bad pour techniques. Many of these you have likely run into at a local pub in your town. These can range from the Over or Under pour, one of which can waste up to half a pint of beer, and the second often indicating you're dealing with a cheap bar owner. The Stadium pour, which you will find any any sporting event you ever attend, where the bartender fills your cheap plastic cup to the rim with a nice MillerCoors or Anheuser Busch product. Another poor pour you'll see often is the incorrect glassware used for the style of beer you have ordered. Theres also the under carbonated pour, found in those bars that wish to avoid heads on beers, they will intentionally under carbonate your beer. And finally, the yeasty pour, which occurs when a beer that is bottle conditioned and contains a layer of yeast at the bottom of it, is poured entirely into your glass.

If you run into any of these scenarios, you should kindly and gently bring it to the bartender's attention. Don't be a beer snob and bully them about it, but letting the bar know the proper way to serve their product helps the drinker and the bar alike.

 

Jul 8, 2015

"God made yeast, as well as dough, and loves fermentation just as dearly as he loves vegetation." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Marc's dad brought us beer from Colorado: Ouray Brewing's Box Canyon Brown. Set in the San Juan mountains, Ouray is a family owned brewpub. They make 4 beers year round and have 11 seasonals.

In the education corner, we talk about what the term "real ale" means.

In news, we talk about the these stories:

Feedback is appreciated and please leave us an iTunes review!

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Jul 1, 2015

“There is an ancient Celtic axiom that says ‘Good people drink good beer.’ Which is true, then as now. Just look around you in any public barroom and you will quickly see: Bad people drink bad beer. Think about it.” - Hunter S. Thompson

Stean from Sweden (@LostInSweden) returns again to bring us our first Swedish beer: the Coppersmiths White IPA.

Coppersmiths is a craft brewery out of Vasteras, Sweden that opened its doors in 2014. The brewers Petri Karhu Korpi and Goran Carlsson wanted to take on new challenges in life and took the bronze medal at the Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival.

In the education corner, we talk about the origins of the name "growler."

In news, we talk about the these stories:

Feedback is appreciated and please leave us an iTunes review!

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Why do we call them Growlers?

The dictionary defines the term “Growler” simply as “a vessel for carrying beer”. Any craft beer drinker these days is familiar with the term, however, its doubtful many know its origin.

While there is not definitive origin to the term growler, there are a few interesting theories as to why we now call these glass bottles full of malty suds this term.

One theory points to a reference in a Harpers issue from 1893, in which they discuss the practice of “rushing the growler”, which referred to kids delivering beer to their parents.

Another states that beer deliveries often arrived during lunch breaks before the workers had eaten, so their stomachs were making said growling noise, in beer anticipation.

Yet another points to the idea that bartenders and beer drinkers would often argue about just how much beer should be added to their not so precisely sized galvanized pails to take home with them at the end of a drinking session, resulting on the customer whining and growling like little dogs.

The last, and most accepted theory, says that in the late 1800s, fresh beer that was carried home in galvanized pails would slosh around in the container, creating a rumbling/growling type noise as the C02 escaped between the lid and pail itself.

Whichever origin story you chose to support, continue to support the growler as it is today, and the craft beer movement it assists. 

 

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