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Joel Deerwester

Joel Deerwester Beer Blog

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Dunkels, Bocks and Less Conventional Beer

Saturday May 31, 2014

Recently, we reviewed a few unconventional American craft dark beers, The Bruery's Tart of Darkness and Otter Creek's Black IPA, both of which push the envelope of their style's limits. While the craft brewing community has been exploring hybrid styles based on styles with firmly rooted traditions, even under the stricture of Reinheitsgebot have created over the centuries variations on styles such as Dunkelbier that give new life to traditional styles with strong cultural roots.

We've also explored Bockbier, a style of brewing strong German lager with many iterations such as Maibock, Doppelbock and Eisbock.

Let us know if you've tried or have discovered new and convincing takes on these styles.

Cheers!

beer@about

Other Dark Beers

Saturday May 31, 2014

The craft brewing community has pushed the limits on many styles of brewing, from the Belgian IPAs to Black IPAs and blurred the lines between classifications. We've reviewed a couple of these boundary-pushing brews this month.

Placentia, California's The Bruery brews one of these boundary defying beers. Tart of Darkness marries wild yeasts usually used in sour ales with stout, producing an extremely lively and dark beer. This sour stout works surprisingly well and balances the seemingly conflicting crisp sourness with the deeper roasted flavors from the stout.

We've also reviewed Vermont's Otter Creek Brewing Company's Black IPA which is part of a newer trend on the craft brewing scene that takes darker malts and infuses them with a generous dose of hops, giving the beer the piney bitterness of an India Pale Ale. The flavor is less challenging and less of a surprise than Tart of Darkness but equally complex.

If you've tried some boundary blurring beers lately that we can't miss, leave a note.

Cheers!

beer@about

The Yeast Family Tree

Wednesday May 28, 2014

Perhaps the single greatest contributor to a beer's character is the strain of brewing yeast that is used to ferment the sugary mixture of grains, hops and water that constitute beer. And for such an essential component, brewers didn't know it to exist in beer until the 1860s when it was discovered by Louis Pasteur after which the German Reinheitsgebot had to be amended to include yeast in beer's formal definition.

According to Chris White, founder of White Labsbrewing yeast contains over five hundred compounds that contribute to flavor and aroma. So combining forces with the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology and the University of Leuven, a team of microbiologists aim to create a family tree that not only identifies the compounds present in a strain of yeast and what character they contribute to a beer, but also identifies a particular brewery's strain of yeast's relation to yeasts used by other breweries.

With the ability to isolate elements within yeasts that contribute to a beer's flavor, White Labs, already a major supplier of brewer's yeast will be able to design specialty strains by tweaking the ratios of contributing compounds, giving a beer a bit more cherry or stone fruit aroma while lending more aniseed and coriander to another.

Leave us your thoughts. What's missing in your almost-favorite beers that you would add just a bit more of?

Cheers!

beer@about

Weizenbocks and Red Ales

Wednesday April 30, 2014

See our latest reviews of Schneider and Sohn's Aventinus Weizenbock and Ommegang's Fire and Blood, part of their Game of Thrones series, following their Iron Throne blonde ale and Take the Black Stout.

Cheers,

beer@about

Yeast and Pale Beer, from Pale Lagers to Pale Ales

Monday March 31, 2014

After diving into the different styles of pale ale, we've started to explore their bottom-fermented counterparts, pale lagers.

Keep an eye out for upcoming beer reviews and more in depth looks into beer across Europe.

Cheers!

beer@about

Pilsners and Kölsch beers and other European Beer Styles

Monday March 31, 2014

Continuing our dive into German beer styles this month, we've taken a deeper look into pilsner and kölsch styles of beer.

Pilsners are brewed using bottom-fermenting yeast (see our conversation on beer yeast for more detail) and originated in the Bohemian town of Plzen in the Czech Republic. Pilsner is a very common style in the Czech Republic as well as in Germany where for most of the past five hundred years, brewers have by law only been technically allowed to brew with bottom-fermenting lager yeast.

Kölsch is a top-fermented ale which is by definition brewed in Cologne, Germany that has grown in popularity internationally in the latter half of the 20th century.

If you've tried examples of the styles that we can't miss or that you want reviewed, leave a comment.

Cheers!

beer@about

Anchor Brewery Liberty Ale, Pale Ales and IPAs

Monday March 31, 2014

If you're still confused about the difference between pale ales, India pale ales and American pale ales, you're not alone. A great blog by Anchor Brewery, Ask Bob Brewer takes on the difficult task of clearing up a few of the differences between the styles in a recent post.

For some examples of different kinds of pale ale, check out our reviews of different styles like Dale's Pale Ale and Southern Tier's Live.

Cheers!

beer@about

Ommegang's Game of Thrones Fire & Blood Releases Nationwide this Monday

Sunday March 30, 2014

If dragons and White Walkers are more your brand of geek than Klingons, Brewery Ommegang is releasing the next release in their Game of Thrones line of beers this Monday, March 31st. Fire & Blood will aptly be a red ale, inspired by Daenerys Targaryen and her three dragons.

It will be bottled at 6.8% ABV, brewed with a grain bill of pilsner, Cara-60, Midnight Wheat, flaked rye and spelt and seasoned with CTZ, Styrian Golding, Tettnang hops and Ancho chilies.

If Ancho chilies and spelt sound a little bit too out there for you, maybe beers brewed under the Reinheitsgebot are more up your alley. This month we've started to dive into the often misunderstood world of German beers, starting with a list of the principal styles of beer found in Germany.

Leave us a comment if you've had a beer we can't miss or that you want reviewed.

Cheers!

beer@about

Warnog, a Klingon Dunkleweizen to Release in the U.S.

Thursday March 27, 2014

Following up on their sci-fi geek-targeted 2013 release of Vulcan Ale, Tin Man Brewery of Evansville, IN just released Warnog. Named after the popular Star Trek Klingon ale, Warnog features notes of cloves and banana, though as CNET points out, Klingons would likely be more into "something that tastes like more like victory and less like wheat". Warnog is set to release to the public later this year.

Warnog was commissioned by the Canadian Federation of Beer and will be their first Star Trek themed beer available in the United States (Vulcan Ale has only been available in Canada). So if you like mixing your sci-fi with your craft beer and are in the United States, this one's for you!

Cheers,

beer@about

Pliny the Champagne of Beers

Wednesday March 5, 2014

The annual West Coast dash for the short supply of Russian River Brewing's annual "pub draft only" release Pliny the Younger had one Portland bar thinking outside the box to make sure their regulars didn't have to wait in line to get a taste of the short-in-supply release. The Beer Monger listed their supply of Pliny's triple IPA as Miller High Life at $7 a pint.

But even if you were tipped off by the high price tag for a pint of High Life, your Pliny-privileges would be taken if there were any "...yelping, tweeting, selfieing, facebooking, instagramming, posting and/ or whatever else it is you kids do these days." (Inside Scoop SF) That's dedication to your regulars.

Best of luck with the lines. But if you're on the East Coast or are looking for something a little more available, check out our dive into pale ales and a few of our reviews for ideas.

Cheers,

beer@about

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