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,
- 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
PERKUNO'S HAMMER IMPERIAL PORTER
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.
MEAD THE GUEUZE
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.