Imagine barrels of beer, stacked as far as the eye can see, row upon row of wooden casks tenderly nurturing their contents as they age over years. It’s a lovely image, isn’t it? Now imagine that–every once in a while–your friendly neighborhood brewer cracks open the eldest barrels of their generation, drains portions of their liquid bounties, and then tops them off with beer from the adolescents of the bunch. The drained beer is bottled. The elder barrels get a shot of youthful vigor in the arm. The adolescent barrels get a top off from the older barrels. The brewer’s thirsty patrons top off their glasses. The circle of barrel-aging beer life continues. Everybody’s happy.
In news that won’t surprise any hop enthusiasts, 2018 was a big year for the modern IPA
In an industry where the lupulin love continues to move all things juicy, fruity, and tropical, the continued ascension of Citra—now one of the country’s most beloved and harvested hop varieties—reflects broader changes in how hops find their way from the field to the glass. In its latest year-end report, the USDA shared a variety of figures that shed light on recent shifts in hop trends and production (and obliquely revealed how breweries are looking to keep beer drinkers excited).
Craft breweries across the country cannot sell their new IPAs or lagers in cans or bottles because an obscure agency within the Treasury Department, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, is shuttered. That’s the entity that has to sign off on product labeling, making sure it includes the necessary details about alcohol content and health warnings and no unsubstantiated claims.