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Archive for the ‘Beer learnin’’

Five facts for National Lager Day

December 10, 2014 By: mike Category: Beer learnin', Craft beer, History of beer

Fourth of July beer

Today is National Lager Day, a day for craft beer drinkers to celebrate this often under-appreciated category of beers.

Think lagers are boring? Wiseacre Brewing Co.’s Kellan Bartosch refuted that notion last year in this piece for craftbeer.com.

Bartosch, who would “take a well done lager over a poorly made IPA any day,” suggested that beers don’t need to be extreme to be good.

“The best beer drinkers I know enjoy every style and can pick out good and bad versions of each, including lagers,” Bartosch wrote.

So skip the IPA today and pick up a lager. There are many styles to choose from that don’t include American macrobrews. I’m particularly fond of Schwarzbiers and Märzens, but even a good old Samuel Adams Boston Lager (style: Vienna Lager) will do.

Speaking of, the brewers at Samuel Adams shared with us these facts for National Lager Day. Cheers!

1.) The word “lager” is derived from the German “lager” which means “to store.”

2.) Lagers are relatively new to the beer scene, first appearing in Bavaria during the 16th century; before that, ales were brewed for over 7,000 years because ales are easier to ferment.

3.) Lager yeast, as opposed to ale yeast, ferments (eats sugar to produce carbonation and alcohol) at cooler temperatures and, when done fermenting, settles to the bottom of the fermentation tank. Lager yeast also takes a longer time to condition the beer than ale yeast.

4.) Due in part to their clean, crisp character, lagers are sometimes incorrectly labeled plain and boring. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! Craft lagers are flavorful and complex, and a number of different styles fall under the lager category and include Märzen/Oktoberfest beers, Bock beers like Maibock/Helles Bocks, Pilsners, Dunkelweizens, Rauchbiers, and Schwarzbiers, to name a few.

5.) Before modern refrigeration, brewers needed a way to keep their lagers cool during the brewing process. In lieu of today’s larger cooling tanks, German lager brewers of old sometimes cooled their beer in Alpine caves or in cellars dug deeply into hillsides.

Science of Beer returns to Pink Palace Museum on Jan. 16

December 04, 2014 By: mike Category: Beer learnin', Breweries, Craft beer, Events, Memphis

Science of BeerThe Pink Palace Museum is bringing back its popular Science of Beer event on Friday, Jan. 16.

The event, which runs from 6 to 9:30 p.m at 3050 Central Ave., is part beer tasting, part science lesson.

You’ll get to taste beer from professional brewers and local homebrewers, snack on chili courtesy of Tamp & Tap, and drink from glasses provided by Memphis Filling Station.

But you’ll also get to explore the science behind making beer, take a closer look at hops, malt and yeast, and engage your senses more fully to better enjoy your beer.

There will also be fun activities like decorating your own beer koozie and making a pretzel necklace.

Tickets are $30 for museum members, $35 non-members and $15 for designated drivers. All tickets must be purchased in advance. Buy tickets at the museum box office or call the museum’s reservations department at 901-636-2362.

The vendor list, subject to change, includes:

  • A.S. Barboro
  • Abita Brewing Company
  • Bernoulli Brew Werks
  • Bluff City Brewers and Connoisseurs
  • Boscos
  • Chattanooga Brewing Co.
  • Eagle Distributing (formerly Budweiser of Memphis)
  • Ghost River Brewing Co.
  • High Cotton Brewing Co.
  • Memphis Brewer’s Association
  • Memphis Made Brewing Co.
  • Schlafly Beer
  • Southern Prohibition Brewing
  • Yazoo Brewing Co.
  • Wiseacre Brewing Co.

An evening with Michael Tonsmeire, The Mad Fermentationist and sour beer brewer

June 20, 2013 By: grant Category: Beer learnin', Homebrew

Grapefruit American Pale Ale Recipe

Tonsmeire recently brewed a Grapefruit American Pale Ale

Last week Michael Tonsmeire joined the Bluff City Brewers & Connoisseurs via the magic of teleconferencing to talk primarily about brewing sour beers.

Tonsmeire writes about his homebrewing experiences at The Mad Fermentationist, and I hope he’ll soon be blogging about his upcoming adventures helping San Diego’s Modern Times brewery with some pilot batches.

Huge thanks to Tonsmeire for sharing his knowledge and to Jeff Kinzer for setting the evening up.

I’ve only used regular brewers yeast to produce ales (though I tried my first hybrid Kölsh recently), so I’ve never brewed a sour ale before.

Tonsmeire’s basic process is like this:

  1. After single-infusion mash, pitch:
    1. brewer’s yeast
    2. microbe blend from Wyeast or White Labs
    3. 2-3 bottles of sediment from unpasteurized sour beers
  2. If you’re going to rack to secondary, wait 3-4 weeks
    1. add oak cubes if you like
    2. store in carboy at 60-75 degrees for 6-18 months.
      • If adding fruit, 2-3 more months before bottling
  3. Bottle when gravity is stable and it tastes good

Additional knowledge dropped:

  •  There are different types of yeasts/microbes. The big ones are:
    • Saccharaomyces cerevisiae/pastorianus – brewers yeast
    • Brettanoymyces bruxellensis/anomalus – a yeast used in some sour beers to produce specific esters. Wyeast is fresher, White Labs is a bit more “horse blanket”
    • Lactobacillus delbrueckii/brevis – a bacteria that produces tangy lactic acid
    • Pediocococcus damnosus – a bacteria that produces even more lactic acid, but also some diacetyl, which is a buttery flavor. It can also be kind of “ropy.” Used in combination with brett, which will take care of both the diacetyl and ropiness.
  • Sour beers aim for no more than 5-10 IBUs.
  • Let your sour beers fully ferment, or you might get sick. The ole standby “You can’t get sick from bad homebrew” really only applies to beers that have fully fermented. Leave a few gallons of wort outside for while and yeah, bad stuff can grow in it.
  • If you’re going to add fruit, add it to secondary after a few months. Freeze the fruit, drop it in an empty vessel and dump the wort on top. Puree also works.
    • Make sure there’s no oil on the fruit; rinse the fruit in fruit and veggie wash or star-san before freezing.
  • If you’re going to reuse wood, keep it wet to keep those little microbes alive till next time.
  • Lightly damaged fruit has natural Saccharomyces and Brettanoymyces on it.
  • Brett is hardcore. It doesn’t need sugar from the wort — it can eat yeast byproducts, hop compounds or wood sugar.
  • When hoping to capture wild yeast, Tonsmeire will make a couple different starters. You can taste which one is best.
  • Keep sour beer gear and nonsour beer gear separate; use your older gear for  sours to avoid contamination.

Maybe it’s time to start replacing some gear and making sour beers…



The Case for Beer: Why You Should Enjoy it and Enjoy it Right (Infographic)

May 05, 2012 By: mike Category: Beer learnin', Craft beer, Opinion

If you’re drinking your beer ice cold, you’re doing it wrong. If it’s too cold, you miss out on certain flavors and aromas.

Get more good tips in the infographic below from FrugalDad.com:

Beer Infographic