May 23, 2018

Beer Break

Beer Break Vol. 2, No. 26
A matter of style

April 4, 2002

In the current All About Beer Magazine, Fred Eckhardt writes: "I can't help but remember the old days: when beer was cataloged by the country; when lagers came in brown bottles (and just in brown bottles); when ales and import beers comes in green bottles; and only Miller and Champale came in a clear bottle. Life was much simpler then.


"There was western beer (i.e. cheap beer) and there was eastern beer (beer brewed anywhere east of the West Coast, perhaps as far away as eastern Oregon, Colorado or Missouri, and always more expensive).

"There weren't that many beer styles, either. There was light beer, dark beer, ale beer and import beer. Period."

Fred isn't saying that acknowledging a myriad of styles - most of which he and Michael Jackson help define 20-plus years ago - is bad, but that they make life a little more complicated. We've written, and will probably write more, here about specific styles. Learning about them certainly may enhance your drinking pleasure - we wouldn't have started the "What are we tasting" feature and asked you to name the style if we thought they didn't matter.

However, when we get tempted this time of year to focus on stout or bock (and then maibock) we realize we could do that every week for a year and still not have covered all the categories in the Great American Beer Festival. Instead, we recommend:

- Michael Jackson's "Beer Companion." Learn what various styles taste like and how they were developed.

- You can find the Cliff Notes version at Jackson's website.

- If you really want to dig deep, then learn what certified homebrew judges are looking for. Read a complete listing of what is appropriate for each style from aroma to overall impression, plus examples of each style:

Pairing of the week

Chicken breasts cooked with red and green peppers, onion, garlic, chorizo (Mexican) sausage and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce served with a hoppy pale ale. The hoppier the better, but it should be a pale ale rather than an IPA because the malty sweetness of the bigger beer will start to overwhelm the food.

Tasting notes

Brewed by Heavyweight Brewing in New Jersey
Michael Jackson writes:
The name suggests a tribute to the Baltic stout of Estonia. Having traveled there twice to encourage the revival of the style, I am delighted to see this American example. Perkuno's Hammer packs a tremendous power - slightly smoky, cookies-in-the-oven, spicy cinnamon aroma; creamy, chewy, chocolaty palate; passion fruit and pepper in a big, resounding finish.

Produced through the efforts of two breweries
Roger Protz writes:
Extremely pale, hazy color with a deep collar of snow foam, this is a blend of mead made by the Lurgashall winery in England with Hanssens gueuze from Belgium. The blend is 30:70 in favor of gueuze. The aroma is honey rich, balanced by the traditional "horse-blanket" musty sourness of gueuze. The palate is fruity, tart but not too sour thanks to the welcome presence of the honey. The finish starts sweet but dries into a slightly sour and nutty end. Intriguing and delicious; the blend works well.

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