Cask-Aged Robitussin for Your Finer Colds

cask tussinOh satire, thy truest barbs are sharpest! I know I’m late to the party and this Onion article already made the rounds on the beer Web sites, but I love it too much not to share. If only one person sees this that wouldn’t have otherwise, it is worth the post.

The concept of a cask-aged Robitussin for a “very special cold” is an accurate and informed send up of beer (and wine) culture. I’m definitely one to buy into the beer hype and everything this article lampoons, so consider me zinged. That said, if it were real,…I’d probably try it.

Pfizer Releases Vintage Cask-Aged Robitussin

Beer Styles – Gose vs. Gueuze

Gose and GueuzeIf you’ve ever been out roaming among the beer hipsters of the beer-iverse, you’ve probably heard plenty of chatter about sour beers. While it seems like a conversation in an encrypted WWII language made to fool the Nazi’s, not everything us beer hipsters say is nonsense. Sour beers are a stronghold of the beer hipster, so if you want to stand any chance of finding out about or discussing the newest sours to hit the local beer shoppes, you need to know your styles. This will only focus on a small part of the sour beer world, but step one is pronunciation.

G-oh-suh (as in Van Gogh with a “suh” at the end)

G-er-zah (if you’re Belgian);
Goo-zuh (if you’re nasty);
G-oo-z (as in “goo” with a marketing firm’s urban “z” at the end)

So the terms sound similar and no one can entirely agree on the pronunciation, but dammit they do have real meaning! Those meanings may not be entirely different as a Gose and Gueuze are basically sour cousins, but there are a few distinctions. Those distinctions are sussed out in the brew process, so lets explore both to see where the paths in this wood diverge.

Continue reading “Beer Styles – Gose vs. Gueuze”

Why that Bourbon Beer was Better Last Year

Burbon_Barrel1If you’ve been to a big beer release of a popular bourbon barrel-aged beer, let’s say Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout, you’ve probably overheard some craft beer types proclaiming “it was better last year” or something of the like. Pro Tip: If you encounter a herd of craft beer hipsters like me in the wild, just mutter “Last years was better” and take a long, self-satisfied sip off whatever unpronounceable Belgian you’re pretending to like and bask in the bearded nods of approval.

First off, we have to acknowledge that whatever beer it is, no matter how good this years beer is, a remembered beer always tastes best. The bias of memory and a year’s worth of beer tasting and palate expanding can change just as much as the beer. While the concept that last year’s version of a beer is better might seem like beer snobbery of the highest regard, and sometimes it is, there is some legitimacy to this.

Continue reading “Why that Bourbon Beer was Better Last Year”

Home Brewing – Just the Tips

HomeBrewPoster1I’m far from a prolific home brewer (yet), but I’ve brewed several batches with moderate success and every time I’ve learned something new about the science of brewing, We, i.e. dad and I, recently completed home brewing our summer beer, an orange zest and coriander Wit and we are patiently waiting for the carbonation to fully kick in. The fermentation process got a bit explosive (our bubbler got clogged from the orange zest and coriander, blowing the top of the fermenting bucket twice), but I think we fixed a few of our previous mistakes. Mistakes that involve bacteria running rampant through our Pliny the Elder clone because our bottles weren’t clean. Oops!

Nothing is more disappointing than waiting a month to taste your hard work only to get a mouthful of bitter, peachy cardboard. At least we got three good bottles… Anyway, if you are thinking of brewing up a kit or two to see what the home brewing fuss is all about, check out these 10 tips from the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Just remember, the majority of your time will be spent cleaning, sanitizing (oh the sanitizing!) and waiting.

Top Ten Home Brewing Tips

BBC Warns of Hops Shortage

_74866092_beer-and-hopsSmell that? It’s a hop shortage! According to the BBC, the surge of craft beer in the U.S. and abroad is leading to a shortage of hops, specifically aromatic varieties. The high-yield hops used for bittering, alpha rich hops, are not as in vogue (that’s what the kids say these days, right?) as the citrusy, beta heavy ones, which you need more of to reach the appropriate IBU levels. The main take away: hoppy craft beers are hoppy, thus use more hops (surprise!) and smaller brewers are going to be hit hardest for 2014.

For this reason and just because we’ve wanted to do it, my awesome sister-in-law is growing some hops in her backyard. We are starting with Centennial, Chinook, Willamette and a pocket full of rainbows and wide-eyed optimism. Having never tried to grow hops, we hope to have at least a tiny harvest by the end of summer. I don’t know if the yield will even be enough to bitter a batch of beer, but it’s an exciting step towards a beery future. I’m sure this experience will be full of frustration and fraught with more complications then we ever thought possible. Just like homebrewing! Bring it on.

Who, What, Why: Is the craft beer craze going to cause a hops shortage?