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The bitter battle between Miller and A-B

We can’t really call the latest round of commercials from Miller Brewing, the “Great Taste Trial,” much ado about nothing because there’s all kind of advertising money involved, they’ll be seen by millions and they’ve generated plenty of additional publicity.

However, as our old editor liked to ask: Is there a story here?

Basically Miller claims Bud Light increased its bitterness by nearly 11% this year, reversing steady declines of bitterness over the last 15 years. Light beers in general, including Miller Lite, have decreased their bitterness. Miller also says Bud Light’s carbonation level rose this year by about 4%.

Now the St. Louis Post-Disptach asks beer experts if drinkers can taste changes that were measured in laboratories.

“It seems they want to make something out of nothing,” said Michael Lewis, professor emeritus of brewing science at the University of California at Davis.

Brewers constantly tweak their recipes.

“Beer is a natural product, and agricultural products shift from year to year, much less generation to generation,” said Keith Lemcke, vice president of Chicago-based Siebel Institute of Technology, which trains brewers. Any minor variations Miller might have found couldn’t be detected by consumers, he said.

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Rodebach adds markets

RedbachRodenbach and Rodenbach Grand Cru – which returned to the U.S. market earlier this year – are now available in New York and North Carolina and are on the way to Ohio.

Winking Lizard Taverns in Ohio will be the first in the United States to serve Redbach. Redbach is based on Rodenbach, with unfermented cherry juice blended in.

Rodenbach brewmaster Rudi Ghequire and Kris Walgraeve of Palm Brewery helped kick off Rodenbach’s entry into New York City earlier this month. Along with Duvel USA, they sponsored and participated in parties at The Blind Tiger, Grammercy Tavern, DBA, Le Frit Kot, the Hop Devil, the Waterfront Ale House, and BXL Café.

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Take that, hopheads

Lew Bryson stands up for malty beers:

This is probably my fifth or sixth direct rant about hopheads. I apologize, but only a little, and only because it might be boring. But there’s just so much more to the whole beer palate than the variety of flavors available from hops, and the enthusiasts, the people who should be reaching out to the future craft beer drinkers, largely aren’t getting it. They’re impassioned about the one flavor/aroma component of beer that is least likely to entrance newcomers: bitterness. Their passion is beautiful, but so narrow. Love beer, not just hops.

An engaging argument, although it hardly seems fair to lump hop flavor and hop bitterness together.

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Food pairings included

Delaware online offers a timely guide to winter beers from local breweries.

As Ric Hoffman, who runs the brewery at Stewart’s Brewing Company in Bear puts it:

“You want a darker beer for the cold weather. One that warms you and puts meat on your bones.

A nice touch to the article is the addition of suggested dishes to have with the beers. For instance, chocolate cake or pecan pie with Stewart’s barleywine or southwestern cuisine with Iron Hill American barleywine. How about spicy foods like barbeque, Indian and Mexican with Dogfish Head Pangea (which features ingredients from every continent)?

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Rocky Mountain News picks Dale’s Pale

Rocky Mountain News chooses Dale’s Pale Ale as the top Colorado-brewed beer. The explanation:

Why it’s tops: The folks at Oskar Blues in Lyons have turned the craft-brewing world on its head by packing Dale’s in cans. This rich-tasting brew loaded with European malt and American hops has become popular because it tastes great, travels well, and it’s fresher tasting because it’s protected from light.

New Belgium’s Fat Tire captured the People’s Choice award.