"Here’s an understatement for you: 2014 was a great year for beer. Seriously, it’s hard to put into words just how awesome American craft beer was this year. IPAs got sessionable, then they got fresh-hopped, breweries collaborated like hip hop moguls, older (let’s call them classic?) breweries reinvented themselves with ambitious experiments while young breweries helped push the envelope of style and taste…there were hundreds, probably thousands of new beers hitting the shelves and taps all year long, challenging our palates and expectations day after day. It’s an exciting time to be alive."
As a taster, it’s important to know that compared with sour or salty, bitterness is slow to affect our palates. The first two are very simple chemical phenomena and require only the simplest of cellular mechanisms to fire off their signals to the brain. Bitterness, like sweetness and umami, requires an intermediate molecule, something called a G-coupled protein. It takes a little longer to do its thing, and this time dimension of tasting is something that you always need to pay attention to.
"Tasting notes: As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, I'm accustomed to IPAs so hoppy that they attempt to kick your teeth out on the first sip, and keep on fighting for the rest of the drink. In contrast, the Icky IPA is refreshingly crisp with a sly nudge of hops underlain with a tongue-twist of citrus. This is a pale ale to sip and savour, not a masochistic endurance contest with barely-concealed whimpering winces. Apparently I'm not the only one who appreciates the relative gentleness of this IPA: the Icky is their best-selling beer." [more inside]
"With over 200 breweries, Oregon is often considered the craft beer capital of America. Beer geeks and casual drinkers across the country can also thank the state’s farmers for their brews: hops, the essential ingredient that gives beer its bitter flavor, is a rare crop throughout the U.S. but not in Oregon. Last year, Oregon State University established the Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives (OHBA), the first archive in the U.S., dedicated to preserving and telling the intertwined story of hop and beer production and the craft brewing movement. They're posting materials from their collection to Tumblr, Flickr and Zotero.
Even in the grips of the Great Recession, one industry's profits are bubbling up, pouring forth, and experiencing growth in market share, dollars spent, and profit: craft beer! [more inside]
Beer Calculus is a freely available homebrewing recipe generator, which allows you to easily create, save and share your own beer recipe(s). The calculator includes hundreds of malt, hop and yeast varieties, adjuncts and other ingredients, different mash processes, and fermentation and storage variables, and can toggle between US and metric units. Also, if you associate your recipe with a BJCP-recognized style, the calculator will give you guidance regarding your recipe's adherence to the style's guidelines. Homebrewers, have at it!
Is the hopocalypse upon us? Hops are an essential ingredient in beer (even dictated by law in Germany). But recent shortages and rising worldwide demand (pdf) have many craft brewers, hops dealers and homebrewers worried. How can you cope? Maybe it's time to try some gruit or mead.
Mmmm, beeeer: ratebeer.com The World's Worst Beers, Best Beers - 2007, find the top beers by category or region. Emphasis on craft brews. (See also the previously mentioned BeerAdvocate.com) Happy Friday, everyone!
Randall the Enamel Animal is an organoleptic hop transducer module. Click on the links, they're about beer!