Rory's Craft Beer Picks

Posted in Beer, Kemp's Blog

Flying Dog Raging Bitch - Flying Dog’s Website says “Nectar imprisoned in a bottle. Let it out. It is cruel to keep a wild animal locked up. Uncap it. Release it... stand back!! Wallow in its golden glow in a glass beneath a white foaming head.”

Flying Dog In Heat Wheat Hefeweizen - Flying Dog’s Website says” In Heat Wheat is our German style Hefeweizen. She is a full flavor beer, perfect for the more adventurous craft beer drinker. The addition of malted white wheat gives this brew its smooth, full mouthfeel. A proprietary yeast creates intriguing flavors of bananas and cloves.

Dogfish Head Squall - From the Dogfish Head Website, “An unfiltered, 100% bottle-conditioned, super-pungent imperial I.P.A. clocking in at 9% ABV and dry-hopped with Palisade, Amarillo, Simcoe, Cascade, CTZ, and Willamette hops.”

Dogfish Head Red & White - Dogfish Head says, “A big, Belgian-style Wit brewed with coriander and orange peel and fermented with Pinot Noir juice. After fermentation a fraction of the batch is aged in one of our giant oak tanks. This has been one of our most popular Limited Edition beers at both our Rehoboth Beach, DE brewpub and at festivals. It successfully marries the refreshing citrusy qualities of a Belgian-style white beer with the robust complexity of a bold red wine.”

Troegs Java head Stout - Troegs Website description, “JavaHead's recipe is based off of our original oatmeal stout. After the boil, the hot wort passes through our hopback vessel on it's way to fermentation. Packed full of whole leaf hops and a bed of ground coffee beans, the hopback vessel is similar to using a huge French press, intensifying the coffee nose and releasing subtle hints of coffee flavor. The result is a lush oatmeal mouthfeel balanced with cocoa, roast and subtle coffee flavors.

Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop 3 IPA - The Heavy Seas website describes Loose Cannon as “Burnished gold with a rich citrus hop aroma, it is wonderfully drinkable with a big hop flavor. We’ve knicknamed it Hop3 (hop cubed) ale to reflect the enormous amount of hops in this beer: over 3 pounds per barrel! It is hopped 3 ways: in the kettle, in the hop back, and dry hopped. Pairs well with strong cheeses and steak. 2nd Place CAMRA award winner at the 2010 Great British Beer Festival. Approx 7.25% ABV.”

Trappist Rochefort 10 - The Trappist Rochefort website describes 10 as “Dark brown color. Great strength balanced by a complexity of flavors and firm malt backbone. The bouquet covers a wide range: port wine, leather, apricots, oak, spices - a deeply intriguing beverage.”

What is Craft Beer?

Posted in Beer

What is craft beer?

The Brewers Association has created a definition of what a craft brewer is- small, independent and traditional. 

  • Small means an annual production of 6 million barrels or less. (This limit was raised in January, 2011 from 2 million.  Many people think this was done because Sam Adams is now producing 2 million barrels and the industry still wants Sam Adams included in the craft beer category)
  • Independent means that it is less than 25% owned or controlled by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not a craft brewer.  (Some larger breweries who hope to profit from the recent popularity of craft beer believe they should be able to market all of their malt beers as craft).
  • Traditional means a brewer who either has an all malt flagship (the beer which represents the greatest volume among that brewers brands) or has at least 50% of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor. Some definitions of craft beer say that craft beer is brewed without adjuncts such as rice or corn.

Many craft beers are unfiltered and bottle or cask conditioned.

Styles of craft beer

Beers are generally characterized as Ales or Lagers.

Ale uses top fermenting warmer fermentation yeast strains- fruitiness and esters are often part of ale’s character.  An ester is a volatile flavor compound naturally created in fermentation and is often fruit, flowery or spicy.

Examples of Ales:

American Ales- includes American Double-IPA, Porter, Stout and Wheatwine
Belgian/French- included Lambic, Tripel, Witbier

English- includes Porter, Stout, Oatmeal Stout, and Winter Warmer

German Ales- includes Altbier

Lager uses bottom fermenting yeasts- colder fermentation inhibits natural production of esters and other byproducts creating a crisper tasting product.

Examples of Lagers:

American- includes malt liquor, imperial pilsner

German- includes bock and doublebock, pilsners, dortmunder

Hops are the flowering cone of a perennial vining plant. Males and females flower on separate plants and the female cones are used in the brewing process. They ward off spoilage from wild bacteria and bring balance to sweet malts.  They also lend a hand in head retention, help to clear beer (acting as a natural filter) and please the palate by imparting their unique characters and flavors.  Basically, hops put the “bitter in beer”.  There are many different varieties of hops.

Malts and adjuncts provide the fermentable sugars that are required to make beer (and to make beer sweet).

Many beers benefit from extended aging (no not the light beers produced by the big brewers with sell by dates).

For more information, check out the wonderful website at the Beer Advocate.

What types of glasses to serve craft beer in?

Beer glasses are not just pilsners and mugs-  think of flutes, snifters, goblets, pint glasses, tulip, authentic Wiezen glasses and  oversized red wine type glasses.  The shape of the glassware will impact head development and retention. In Europe, especially Belgium, each brand of beer will often have its own glass.

The Beer Advocate site recommends the following types of glasses:

Flute- like the champagne flute but with a shorter stem-this glass enhances and showcases carbonation- use for Dortmunder, German pilsner, Lambic fruit, American Wild Ale

Goblet or Chalice- designed to maintain head.  Wide mouthed for deep sips-  use for Belgian IPA, Tripel

Mug- easy to drink, holds plenty of volume- use for American Amber, American IPA, Black & Tan, English ale and lager

Pilsner- showcases color, clarity and carbonation, promotes head retention-  use for American Malt liquor, Bock, Doublebock

Pint glass- easy to store and drink out of-use for  American and English ales and lagers

Snifter- captures and enhances aromas- use for  American  Double/Imperial, American  IPA, stout, lambic-fruit, wheatwine

Stange – tall and narrow like a Tom Collins glass- promotes a tighter concentration of flavors- use for Lambic, Altbier, and Bock

Tulip shaped- induces and supports large foamy heads-use for  American Double, American IPA, Belgian Ale

Weizen- authentic Bavarian glass for wheat beer

Oversized Wine glass- use for  American Ale, Belgian Ale

Never chill glassware- condensation occurs and dilutes the beer and alters the serving temperature.

At what temperature should you serve craft beer?

The general rule is the higher the alcohol content, the  higher the temperature and the lower the alcohol content, the lower the temperature at which the beer should be served.

  • Strong beers- (barleywines, tripels, and dark ales) will be best  served at room temp 55-60 degrees
  • Standard ales (bitters, IPA’s, dobbelbocks, lambics, and stouts)will be best served at 50-55 degrees
  • Lighter beers-( lagers, pilsners, wheat beers, milds)- 45-50

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