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FEATURES - IN DEPTH BEER ARTICLES

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

Entries in #beer (5)

Friday
Jul262013

HOP THIEF GOES YEAR-ROUND


James Squire is turning its Hop Thief into a full time beer.

The Australian team captain for The Bashes will, late this month, become a permanent member of the James Squire range. 

The fifth generation of the Hop Thief varietal series, the Hop Thief 5 is a celebration of Centennial and Citra hops in the chase for James Squire's aim of a "Life full of flavour".

Whilst there have been four limited Hop Thief releases over the past few years that showcased hops from around the world, Hop Thief 5 marks the transition to a permanent release series. From now on the beer will be available all year round; with seasonal changes to the hop recipe,” said Malt Shovel Head Brewer, Jeff Potter.

James Squire has tried to develop a full-bodied hop flavour, true to the American Pale Ale ethos, with the specific hops chosen for their citrus and stone fruit profiles, all balanced by a creamy malt body.

We hope this new release will give our drinkers something to savour, as well as build anticipation for the next edition to the Varietal Series, which will once again celebrate the unique characteristics of different hop varieties,” said Potter.

James Squire Hop Thief 5 will be available on tap at select venues across Australia from this month.

Like all of the Hop Thief varieties, it commemorates Australia's first brewer, James Squire, who stole horehound so he could brew his own beer shortly after arriving in Australia during its convict days.

The judge ordered that he receive 150 lashes, plus deliver him two barrels of his ale, as punishment and it took Squire another 15 years to become the first person to grow hops on Australian soil, thereby becoming the first to brew fresh beer.

All of that history, plus the sheer quality of the preceding four versions of the Hop Thief, is why it's the Australian team captain in The Bashes.

Saturday
Jul202013

CEREBRAL PALSY BEER SKIRTS CONTROVERSY

The Swedes have long been known for their inclusive, humanistic approach to those from all walks of ilfe, but they've courted controversy with their latest move.

The Gothenburg Cooperative for Independent Living (GIL) has created a beer to get people talking about physical and mental disabilities.

The Cerebral Palsy Ale, known as the CPA, is a hybrized Indian and American pale ale and its label is even a cartoon image of a female cerebral palsy sufferer in a wheelchair.

The social idea behind the CPA is to highlight the Gothenburg's lack of disabled access in its bars, restaurants and nightclubs, which GIL argues has not improved since a 2010 law that ordered easier access and disabled toilets.

So the CPA is being used as a reward, with only 220 litres of it brewed at first, but that has been bumped up to a total of over 1800 litres.

Anders Westgerd of GIL told the BBC: “We like to cause a stir and make people react and create feelings.

“Disabled people are marginalised in media and hence you have to do something non-traditional to create feelings and make people angry.”

It will remain a limited edition beer, though, as GIL isn't geared up to be a full-time brewer.

It's not their first big attempt to raise awareness through controversy, though, as they've also had campaigns that included a “retard doll” (CP-docken in Swedish), with the motto: “treat her like a real retard”.

In an earlier campagin, they planted 30 fridges around Gothenburg, home of conservative favourite, Volvo, covered with slogans to promote inclusiveness of handicapped people.

GIL said that the topic of disability, like the fridges, were not “sexy” and usually brushed under the carpet or tucked away out of sight.

Monday
Jul082013

THE RISE AND RISE OF CANNED BEER

It wasn't that long ago that the world's best brewers sneered at beer cans. It was OK to use beer cans if you were a mass-production brewer whose beers didn't have enough flavour to be adulterated in the first place, but not for craft beers.

It wasn't that long ago that a beer can ruined the taste of a beer and, to craft brewers, that was diametrically opposed to what they were trying to do. 

But those days are changing and even the most famous craft-verging-on-volume brewer, Samuel Adams maker, Boston Brewing, is moving into cans. So what's changed?

Beer can technology, that's what. Beer cans have come a long way since they were invented in the US in 1935, when an enthusiastic drinker had to carry a tool to pierce the top twice to drain the precious nectar. (Oh, and can you name the first beer to be canned? The answer* is at the end...)

Now, the beer can revolution is here, following closely in the wake of the craft beer revolution.

Sam Adams has developed its own can to improve the flavour of its Boston Lager, US-based Sly Fox brewing has a can that lets drinkers rip the entire top off and drain it like it's a glass and even Budweiser has developed a new bow tie-shaped can, years in the planning.

“It’s a beer can, but it's not your father’s beer can anymore,” Boston Beer founder, Jim Koch, said after finally coming around to the beer can phenomenon. Koch's team has spent more than a million US dollars developing its own beer can and went through nearly 30 evolutions before arriving at the Sam Can, with its bigger hole and thicker lip. What's more, the Sam Can has been made available to other craft brewers, and they can even put their own logos on it...

Craftcans.com says that the takeup rate amongst craft brewers has gone from one craft brewer in 2002 to more than 300 today. 

Pennsylvania's Sly Fox also developed its own can, where you rip the entire lid off, for its Helles Golden Lager (widespread) and its Pikeland Pilsner (which is only sold in cans at the Phillies baseball home games).

The benefits of cans have long been known. They seal better than bottles, they are lighter and easier to transport, they can be served on planes, they don't let in light, so you don't get light-struck cans and they are less sensitive about where they are stored.

But for craft brewers, it's more important that today's cans don't ruin the taste of a beer, thanks to a water-based polymer that lines the sides and the inner lid so that the beer itself can never touch the metal.

 

 

*Krueger’s Cream Ale

Thursday
Jul042013

INTERACTIVE CRAFT BEER MAP

Beeriosity loves New York City. It's vibrant, it's got something for everyone, it's got some very good beer bars.

Beeriosity loves The New Yorker even more. It's got a new, brilliant interactive craft beer map of the US 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.