Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Et Tu, Brut?

Et tu, Brut? (Cliché of the day)

IPAs have been the most popular craft beer styles for several years now with new variations being released weekly it seems. In my case, I'm drinking a lot of NEIPAs, aka New England or North East style, with its characteristic haze, tropical flavors and moderate ABV.
So now here comes another new one: Brut IPA.

As you may know, brut is a term used to describe sweetness in champagne or sparkling wines. Brut in this case means dry. So the Brut style is a very dry, light colored Champagne-like beer that is low on bitterness but very high in hop aroma.

This style is credited to Kim Sturdavant, brewer at Social Kitchen in San Francsco, who brewed it first in 2017.

The grain bill will consist of a light base malt with slight coloring from an adjunct. Friend of mine made one using pilsner malts and flaked corn. A properly chosen malt can also help clarify the wort which is a desirable style point.

Yeast likes sugar. Converts it to alcohol. If you want a dry beer, you help the yeast convert as much sugar as possible. In this brut scenario where extreme dryness is the goal, an enzyme is added to the wort (preferably during early fermentation stages) which makes the yeast convert the remaining sugar/carbs more efficiently. There are very technical terms for this which I will leave to you to research.
The yeast used is usually a fairly neutral ale tho I have had a brut which used a champagne yeast. To me, a noticeable difference in flavor results.

Then come the hops. Lots of hops. Mosaic is a common choice as is Amarillo, Nelson Sauvin, Huell Melon, all dry hopped and double dry hopped sometimes. By keeping the specific gravity at 1.00 or lower, the perceived bitterness usually associated with hops is actually more than the final IBU readings.
The result is a very dry, very drinkable hop forward beer, hopefully with extra carbonation to complete the champagne-like experience. Go try one for yourself and report back!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

The 48 Beer Project

t's a well known fact that when you head to a favorite taproom (brewery or otherwise) you invariably meet interesting people.
Such was the case yesterday while having a new beer at Birds Fly South Ale Project. Met and talked with Heidi Geist who is in the midst of an "insane goal" type of campaign called the 48 Beer Project. Heidi, a graphic artist, intends to collaborate on a beer label design with a brewery in each of the lower 48 states. That brought her and her traveling bus home to BFS which has become the SC representative. You can learn more about Heidi and the 48 Beer Project at her website.

The Studio of the Collective Unconscious.

Cheers and safe, successful travels, Heidi.

Friday, December 21, 2018

#ResilienceIPA Quest Brewing

Eric Boice tasting #ResilienceIPA for the first time at Quest Brewing Company’s early keg release. A very special time for all of us.

Looking on is Kyle Paxton, Jared Tuttle, both among Greenville's top brewers.


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Habitat Brewing Taproom in Asheville Finally Visited

Reporting back on my research mission to Asheville and Habitat Brewing Tavern and Commons.

I'm pleased to relate that the group liked all the beers on tap (and we did have them all) which is the goal of all these research trips. Check the menu photo to see all that were offered.

After the requisite tasting flights, I realized that brewmaster Matt Addis certainly has a way with pumpkin beers. The Pumpkin Ale was so surprisingly good, it should set the standard for the style. A confident malt structure with the most balanced blend of spicing that I've tasted in years. Matt confided to the group that he uses a judicious spice blend with some extra addition of cinnamon sticks. This is a properly spiced ale, easy to drink and is not a pumpkin pie.

Did I mention the Pumpkin Gose? 

Overall I'm very glad that we finally discovered Habitat, which has been around almost two years, and promise to pay more attention to the area west of I-240 which doesn't get the attention the other parts of Asheville receive. Oh, and they don't distribute, so visiting the taproom is essential.

Some photos of folks enjoying the beer and a conversation with Matt:


Monday, October 29, 2018

Winter Warmer Coming to FireForge Brewing

Stopped by for some Ponderosa Farms eggs... decided to have a beer (since I’m here) and there was Brian Cendrowski up to his elbows in wild persimmons. I think there’s a special Winter Warmer Auld (Old) Ale in our future.