This is the first beer in my series of experiments with the new German hop varieties. This is a fairly simple, slightly Americanized blonde ale in the Kolsch tradition. Continue Reading »
My last post was about how the Germans are their own worst enemies when it comes to limiting their beers. Stuck in the thinking that they are the greatest brewers in the world, they failed to look outside the borders of their country, and stagnated. Well, that isn’t entirely true. They realized that perhaps Hallertau Mittelfruh is not the be all and end all of flavor in hops. They did for quite a long while and found themselves left behind by the new hop varieties coming out of the U.S. and New Zealand.
Well, they’re trying to catch up the pace, and I have the proof in my freezer. I received samples of four new flavor/aroma varieties out of Germany and am planning experimental brews to try out and show off each. I will be sharing details and observations about the brews and the results for people interested in these hops.
Huell Melon – lots of honeydew melon flavor, and supposed to be some strawberry notes as well. I will do a Kolsch/Blond ale style beer for this. Technical data
Mandarina Bavaria – mandarin orange and citrus aroma. Will do a saison for citrus and spice. Technical data
Hallertau Blanc – supposed to be a direct competitor to Nelson Sauvin. Grape, gooseberry, and tropical fruits. Will probably do a Belgian style blonde. Technical data
Polaris – fruity, spicy-piney, and minty. Just handling this, it is a fairly incredible hop. Easily the oiliest, stickiest hop I have ever seen. I will probably do something between a pale and IPA with this hop. Technical data
Posted in General Beer Information, Thoughts, and Philosophy | Tagged hops | 1 Comment »
Is the German Purity Law good or bad for brewing?
There is a lot said of the Reinheitsgebot, Germany’s famed brewing purity law. Germans, of course, laud it as why their beer is clearly superior to the rest of the world, since it is held to such rigorous standards of purity. People who have moved to Germany from elsewhere with good beer insist that it is a horrendously limiting thing that stifles ingenuity and forces breweries to produce the same few styles. People from outside of Germany look at it with a mix of awe and confusion.
What is the Reinheitsgebot?
Posted in General Beer Information, Thoughts, and Philosophy | Tagged German Beer, Reinheitsgebot | Leave a Comment »
Prior to our trip through Germany and Belgium, Julie had never been to a good cocktail bar before. While in Ghent towards the end of the trip, after having sampled many wonderful beers, I got it into my head that she and I needed a proper cocktail at a genuine cocktail bar. So in Ghent and Cologne we looked for the best place to find a drink.
Now, I’m sure you’re a bit surprised that she’d never gone out for cocktails before. Hasn’t every drinker? Yes, of course she’s had cocktails before. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a real Cocktail Bar run and staffed by true professional bartenders. Anyone can mix a cocktail, but a real bartender is an artist who crafts works of quaffable art. It’s the difference between going out to a good sushi restaurant and watching a master sushi chef at work. It is an experience for all of your senses. If you have never done it before, do. It will almost certainly not be cheap, but it will be worth doing at least once.
It has been a very long hiatus since I posted anything new on here. I should probably update on what has happened since leaving Germany.
My education at VLB has proven to be quite invaluable to launching a career. After returning to the U.S., I first spent some time interning at August Schell’s Brewing Company in Minnesota. They are the second oldest family owned brewing company in the U.S., and the experience was quite intriguing.
I very quickly landed myself a brewing position at North Coast Brewing Company in Fort Bragg, CA. I was incredibly excited to have the opportunity to work at what has been my favorite brewing company since I first discovered craft beer. Red Seal, PranQster, and Old Rasputin were formative beers for me and remain among my very favorites. I was also excited to be working with one of my fellow VLB classmates for a while. When he decided to move to San Diego for a job at Lost Abbey, I was bumped up into a shift supervisor role at North Coast. We’re now looking at some exciting expansions and will see what is what.
Sorry this has led to a lack of new content. I’ve mostly been drinking the same North Coast beers (I get to bring home beer faster than I can drink it) and not running around exciting foreign cities on adventures. I promise some interesting thoughts to come though.
Brewery: August Schell Brewing
Impression: Brushing the dust off your hands after finishing a successful day of yard work.
Description: This is one of the best Pilsners I’ve ever had. I hadn’t had any Schell’s beer before coming out here for an internship. I was very pleasantly surprised to have this as my first introduction. I drank lots of Pilsner in Berlin. That’s what you do there. This beer is better than any Pils I had over in Germany.
The big difference is that Schell’s dry hops this beer (puts hops in the fermenter, not just the boil) which the Germans don’t do partly because of the purity laws, but mostly because it just costs more money. The result is a beer that is more aromatic, herbal, and grassy. In a Pilsner style, that’s just wonderful. It keeps this beer thoroughly in style but gives it some real character and kick that the style deserves yet so often lacks. It is thoroughly quaffable and satisfying on all levels.
After our visit to Brouwerij De Glazen Toren, we went over to Brouwerij Bosteels. Bosteels brews three of the very best beers in the world: Tripel Karmeliet, Kwak, and Deus. Tripel Karmeliet in particular is one of both the fiancee’s and my favorite beers. It is darned near the perfect beer.