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FEATURES - IN DEPTH BEER ARTICLES

A deeper look at breweries, beer culture and the beer world

Thursday
May302013

SCIENCE SUPPORTS BEER!

 

 

 

Forget water and forget Gatorade. Just sit back, all sweaty and exhausted, and grab yourself a cold beer. With no guilt.

As Beeriosity's own Chris Aylen has long known, a cold beer is the perfect follow up to hard exercise (the rest of us leave him to do it for us). Now science has jumped on board to support him.

Researchers at Spain's Granada University have discovered that the body can rehydrate faster after exercise with beer than it can with either water or the commercial electrolyte drinks.

As the university's Professor Manuel Garzon explained, the carbonation in beer helps slake a thirst quickly and its high carbohydrate levels replaces lost calories before you've even realised they've gone.

I'm not sure where we were when all this was going on, but the study brought together a group of students who were ordered to exercise hard (oh, so that's where...) until their body temperature reached 40 degrees celsius. Half of the sweaty youngsters were given beer, the other half were given water. Then Professor Garzon sat back, presumably over a quiet beer, and calculated the results.

As reported in the UK's The Telegraph, Professor Garzon told a press conference in Granada that the beer drinkers had "slightly better" hydration results. Which is good enough for us.

In search of backup, he called in Real Madrid's cardiologist, Dr Juan Antonio Corbaian, who said he had long recommended barley drinks (eg, beer) to his team's athletes after training and workouts.

 

Thursday
May302013

CARLING WORKERS TO STRIKE?

Workers at the Molson Coors-owned Carling brewery in Burton-on-Trent, England, have voted overwhelmingly to walk out on strike, British union Unite have claimed.

An astonishing 97 percent of the brewery's 455 workers voted to strike after its owners told them they would all be fired on June 10, then re-employed on lower wages with lessened working conditions.

The brewery produces the Carling, Grolsch, Coors Lite (no loss there) and Cobra lagers, alongside such British staples as Worthington, White Shield and Stones.

“The overwhelming vote in favour of strike action shows the strength of feeling at the way the company has behaved towards its loyal workforce," Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said.

Mr Coyle said any strike action will be delayed until negotiations with Molson Coors concluded.

For its part, Molson Coors released a statement saying: "Clearly we are disappointed by the announcement. However, this vote does not make strike action a certainty given that negotiations are ongoing.

“We continue our engagement in meaningful consultation with Unite and its members so that we come to a solution that supports a competitive future for Burton brewery and is fair to our employees.

“As a company we have strong contingency plans in place to ensure that we can fulfil our customers’ orders."

So, essentially, strike all you want, people will still get their beer and you have no leg to stand on.

Saturday
Mar302013

HOUSTON HALL - WEST VILLAGE, MANHATTAN

So Beeriosity has found a quality drinking spot in Manhattan. 

A relatively new addition to New York's tippling scene, Houston Hall (pronounced Howston, in the Manhattan way) has been open about a month now.

Owned by the Heartland Brewery, it's a converted parking garage and has a rotating beer list.

It's capable of housing 500 people and it sure felt that full when we were there. The bar staff work brilliantly and know their beers, too.

Not all the beers are to our taste, but the staff there know how to direct people towards stuff they'll prefer.

It's like a German outdoor beer garden transplanted inside a rustic-feeling brick factory from a movie set.

Get there early, though, because by 6.30pm the place is starting to go nuts

It's not the only good bar in the area, though, with the Ear Inn around the corner in Spring Street.

 

Tuesday
Jan292013

BEST BREW BARS - NEW YORK

Beeriosity has visited this joint. And would happily set up camp in a quiet corner for a month because you'll need that long to work your way through the beer menu.

Two Thumbs Up.

 

 

Thursday
Jan102013

THE COOLEST BEERS FOR THE HOTTEST DAYS

BEERIOSITY RATES THE BEST COLDIES FOR SUMMER SCORCHERS.

 

It has been a scorching week in Australia. Usually, that would be a generalisation for a country the size of the United States and far bigger than Europe. But in this instance, the entire country cooked to the point where the Bureau of Meteorology had to invent a new colour for the predicted maximum of 54 degrees Celsius.

We've trawled through our taste buds here at Beeriosity to come up with the world's best summer beers so Australians don't have to swelter in pain.

When it's 40 degrees outside, the best summer beer isn't necessarily the one with the most hops or the biggest IBU or the most nuanced flavours. It's the nicest beer you can throw down in a hurry and feel instantly refreshed.

 

Shane's Hot Five

1. Little Creatures Bright Ale. All round tilt-your-head-back and pour it down your throat beer. It's good, it's easy, it's refreshing.

2. Burleigh Brewing 28 Pale Ale. Named after a momentous 28-day run of perfect waves off Australia's iconic surf beach, Burleigh Heads. So, as you drink this on a hot-assed day, you can dream of perfect waves day after day, after day...

3. 4 Pines Brewing Pale Ale. One of the most refreshing beers going around. Full stop.

4. Balmain Brewing Pilsner. Nothing beats a good pilsner and a steak sandwich while you relax and enjoy a cool sea breeze.

5. Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta Tea Leaf IPA. Sitting on the front porch strumming the banjo and sipping an ICED TEA looking over the bayou... Not in New Orleans? Well then, grab a Gunnamatta and enjoy a beer so different and refreshingly well-crafted, you'll forget about the 45-degree oven you call a back yard.

 

Scott's Hot Five

1.         Lowenbrau. The quintessential German hot weather beer, this is GREAT very cold, doesn't lose any of the flavours that a lot of beers need a few extra degrees to deliver. Go on, crack one now, you know you want to.

2.         Resch's Pilsner. Like the label says, it refreshes. Designed for Aussie heat, this shines in summer. More flavour than the other macro offerings means it can stand a bit of chilling and still satisfy the palate.

3.         Burleigh Brewing's Figjam IPA. Not as thick and stodgy as a lot of IPAs, this is a great balance of flavours that shows why these beers were enjoyed in hot climates like... well, like India to be honest.

4.         Boag's Draught. A good, strong beer (five percent), drink it in the shower after a hot day and this really takes the edge off the burning brow.

5.         Fourex Gold. I know, I know, it's Fourex Gold, everyone hates it, but think about it - there's a reason this beer outsells just about everything else in Far North Queensland - and mostly in middie glasses (that's a small one). It's cold, has a decent flavour for a mid-strength beer and you can drink A LOT of it without getting hammered. The small glasses help keep it cold, too.

Oh, and never overlook the value of a good shandy. That's a Radler to Europeans. You're thinking SACRILEGE! But seriously, try your favourite beer with some Seven-Up or Schweppes added. It's a grown-up soft drink.

 

Michael's Hot Five*

1.         Tegernsee Helles. Not only is it one of the world's greatest unsung beers, but also those great, thick Bavarian "mass" keep the beers cold for a surprisingly long time on a hot day.

2.         Modelo Lager. If anybody would know how to deliver an easy-drinking hot-day beer, you'd think it would be the Mexicans, yet almost all of the mainstreamers are crud. Except the Modelo family. Good taste, refreshing and lightly fizzed. Easy drinking.

3.         Ichnuser Speciale. Most Italian brewers still have their training wheels on, but Ichnuser is based on Sardegna (OK, Sardinia to non Italians) and is specifically brewed to be knocked over while staring at barely-clad girls on sweltering summer days.

4.         Fuller's IPA. The IPA is bred for these kinds of stinking hot days and Fuller's was one of the first making them commercially and remains one of the best. Not a throwdown, so don't make it your first beer when you walk in the door, but very good as the second one.

5.         Augustiner Pilsner. There are (only slightly) better pilsners out there, but the Munich-based Augustiner holds its head down the glass, has a refreshingly bitter late bite and can be drained in about three mouthfuls.

* If memory serves (and it usually does), there are plenty of Australian beers I'd throw in here, too. Like a XXXX off the wood at the Creek, a Jimmy Boag's Premium and the late, lamented Castlemaine Special Dry from Queensland. But I haven't lived in Australia for seven years and Scott won't send them to me...

Wednesday
Jan092013

BANKING ON BEER

They say British banks are being tight with their lending at the moment, but they seem to think beer is a good bet. 

In the last week alone, British bankers have tipped £24.7 million pounds into brewer and pub owners Camerons and another million into the smaller brewer, Joule’s.

Northern England’s Camerons is a relative giant compared to Joule’s, and boasts 69 pubs and its brewery pumps out a million hectoliters on a good year. If you’d know any of their beers, you’d probably recognize the Strongarm Ruby Red Ale or the Strongarm Trophy Special. 

A tick over three quarters of the company is owned by David Soley (whose clout makes him chairman), while Heineken UK owns the rest.

Camerons has done a deal with the Royal Bank of Scotland and is trying to buy more pubs in England and Wales. Maybe they should go to Ireland, where they’re giving the things away at the moment.

Joule’s is pushing a similar line, albeit at a smaller scale, with MD Steve Nuttal resurrecting a dead beer brand in 2010. It still brews to the recipe concocted by (you guess it) monks in 1780, but now also has 17 pubs.

Its smaller size means it has gone with the smaller Co-operative Bank in the UK.

The Joule’s pub experience is: “All about the simple things in life,” Nuttal said. “Really good beer, good food and really stripped back and uncomplicated interiors in lovely, historical buildings.”

Tuesday
Jan082013

PALESTINE TAKES ON THE WORLD

Ask the average man in the street to name three things about Palestine and it’s unlikely he’ll mention brewing.

Hamas might rate a mention. Jerusalem, too, then the West Bank, the Gaza Strip or the continuing struggle with neighbours, Israel. But Taybeh Brewing is working to make Palestine known for more than occupation and the general frustration of its people.

Taybeh, which means “delicious” in Arabic (and shares half of its name with Beeriosity founder, Michael Taylor), is a microbrewery with big ideas. So big, in fact, that the ale maker is working to find a toe hold into the US craft beer market.

It’s already relatively big in Japan, with around 6000 of its 60,000 barrels of annual production being poured into Tokyo, so the US is seen as a logical next step for the brewery, named after its home village, just north of Jerusalem. 

Founded in the mid-1990s, Taybeh was the first microbrewery in the region and it continues to be driven by co-founder and head brewer, Nadim Khoury.

Taybeh punches out about 4000 bottles of its four beer varieties an hour, has an Oktoberfest of its own and is now even produced under license in Germany.

You can check out Taybeh's form here.

Friday
Dec282012

GOLDEN BEAR BREWERY VISIT

Squeezed in my hand is a Fat Toad Pale Ale at the Golden Bear Brewery, Mapua, Tasman, South Island of New Zealand and this is more about the brewery than the individual beers.

The Fat Toad was hoppy with good bitterness for a Kiwi beer; most of which are too sweet for my liking.

The Cimmaron Dark and Hoppy was dark and hoppy, which might not surprise you.

Lefty's Leftovers was fairly good for a wheat beer and Owner/Brewer Jim Matranga gave me an early taster of the superb Siesmic IPA (a week short of tapping).

They may not all be on the menu when you visit, but I am sure that any of the dozen beers on tap will be good.

It's half an hour west of Nelson. Enjoy.

 

Friday
Dec072012

THE BEERS AMERICANS NO LONGER DRINK

It seems mainstream brewers have been taking a kicking lately in the US.

The helpfully nerdy chaps at 24/7 Wall Street have compiled a thorough analysis of what's been going on in the market since 2006 and you can find it here

 

 

 

 

 

 

The short version is, though, if you are drinking any of the following:

9. Milwaukee's Best Light (which shed 35.5% of its drinkers between 2006 and today)

8. Miller High Life Light (37.6%)

7. Amstel Light (47.7%)

6. Miller Genuine Draft (52.3%)

5. Old Milwaukee (52.8%)

4. Milwaukee's Best (57%)

3. Budweiser Select (60.8%)

2. Michelob Light (66%)

1. Michelob (71%)

...then chances are you're becoming increasingly isolated. 

I know. Maybe they could make some beers with flavour and craftsmanship. Like the small brewers across the US who seem to be kicking their dates.

Well, many of them are trying to copy the craft brewers and specialty brewers who have eaten into their full-strength beer market.

Anheuser-Busch Inbev went the old fashioned way and introduced Bud Light Platinum during the Superbowl to make it stick and it's selling well.

Anheuser-Busch also makes Shock Top, which is supposed to look like a craft beer and it's doing well, too.

 

Friday
Dec072012

HOW TO SPOT A BAD BEER

Beer should be about beer. But it isn't.

There are two kinds of beer. There are the beers that are crafted by small brewers and cast into the maelstrom of big supermarkets or, as the Germans would say, the getrinkmarkt, in the hope of being picked up and then there's the other kind, where the omnibrewers push them through every possible outlet in the hope of dominating.

Commercial beer is now about throwing gazillions of dollars to push the mediocre onto the uncritical, but that also unwittingly helped us create some rules for spotting bad beers.

Well, not rules, exactly. More like 99% proof guidelines. 

CLEAR BOTTLES

If a beer comes in a clear bottle, it's almost certain to be a watery, limpid, insipid little number. Often from a hot climate, best consumed very cold, if at all.

BLUE BOTTLES

Like clear bottles, but worse.

GREEN BOTTLES

Plenty of bad beers come in green bottles. As a rule, it's a bit iffy, though, because there are enough decent beers in green bottles to muddy the waters.

THE WORD "PREMIUM" ON THE LABEL

"Premium", it seems, is industry code for unwarranted markup. It's also an industry trick to reposition mediocre beers upstream, away from lesser-priced, but higher-quality rivals. "Premium" is instant run-away material.

GLUTEN FREE

There are people who need gluten-free beers. Sadly, nobody has figured out how to offer them one that they might enjoy. Drink water instead, people.

FRUIT INFUSIONS

Really? Your beer doesn't quite cut it with the Big Four ingredients, so you think you'll make it better by throwing in some essence of lemon, coriander, cherries et al?

No, no it won't make it better. Stop it.

MARKETING TIE-UP BEERS

So far, we've had an AC-DC beer and a KISS beer. They've both been rubbish. 

Granted, it's not a big sample size, but polling so far indicates... 

BREWED UNDER LICENCE

There's a chance it was a good beer at home. There's no chance it will maintain that integrity when somebody offers them royalties to make it somewhere else with different water, different tools, different malts...

IT'S FROM SOUTH AMERICA

One day, a beer might come along that proves us wrong. Until that day comes, however, this post stays...

Friday
Aug172012

THE GERMAN BEER PURITY LAW

 

It's written on just about every beer bottle that comes out of Germany and beer lovers the world over know about the Reinheitsgebot.

The most global of the German brands, Beck's, even puts it on the back of the bottle: Brewed under the German Beer Purity Laws of 1516.

Admirably, these laws were introduced in Bavaria on April 23, 1516 (as good a reason as any for a cellar-bration) and insist that brewers use only Barley, Hops and Water. Yeast was added afterwards, because nobody would know it existed until 300 years later.

Nothing else is tolerated, though the laws were later tweaked a bit to allow wheat beers and other styles.

Admirably, this brought about a purity of brewing, with no additions allowed to and no modifications allowed to the water, beyond filtering. 

Its strictures spread when Bavaria (then a nation in its own right) made its adoption a condition of joining the united Germany in the late 19th Century (which doubtless helped the Bavarian brewers gain a stronghold in the north, too).

But all is not what it seems. There is no German Beer Purity law anymore. Hasn't been for 25 years. 

The Reinheitsgebot fell victim to Belgian complaints to the European Union that the law was a restraint of trade that stopped them selling their fruity beers in Germany. It died, officially, in 1987.

That hasn't stopped most German brewers from sticking to the Reinheitsgebot and it hasn't stopped German drinkers from insisting on it from them, either.

Almost every brewery in Bavaria sticks to the Reinheitsgebot. Even though it doesn't officially exist. 

 

Tuesday
Aug142012

BEER STYLES

Lager, Pils, Stout, Abbey Ale, IPA...

Want to know more about the various styles of beer?

Visit our Beer Styles page for more information.

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