Intro To Microbrews With their varying flavor intensities and alcohol contents, microbrews are here because beer distributors noticed a market demand and took a gamble on imports like Corona in the 70s. This type of flavorful beer sold to a limited yet very enthusiastic crowd. Beer manufacturers create what sells, therefore they didn't believe there would be a significant maket with those types of beers. Consumer studies and sales showed that the biggest part of the American audiences enjoyed watery brew. Then, out of nowhere, microbrews popped up after the first successful brew, Samuel Adams, fought with import distributors to try and convince them that a flavorful American beer would sell. Now, we have more microbrews than ever before with more coming out each and every day. Microbrews really hit when distributors really believed that at least some people would buy them. On the other hand, home brewers and brewpubs had legal wars. In 1968, home brewing was legalized and home brewers now had the support and assistance of supply and advice stores. Until 1983, brewpubs were illegal in all states. Late in 1983, California first began to allow brewpubs to brew and distribute their brands of beer on site. These charming, yet small batch breweries experienced high sales, especially in restaurants. Around a century ago, the United States had more than 2,000 breweries making many different styles and variations. By the 80's, there were only 40 brewing companies that offered a brand of American Pilsner. Today, there are over 500 microbreweries and brewpubs in the United States. Over the past few years, brewpubs have been popping up all over th e place, even in bars that used to only carry the top beers. Discovering Microbrews Brewed on every continent around the world and enjoyed in every nation , beer can quench every type of thirst and go down as easily as spring water to thick, heady concoctions that resemble that of the thickest oatmeal. Just as the gourmet blends have conquered a large portion of the coffee business, handcrafted brews continue to keep a firm hold on the most serious of beer drinkers. There are hundreds of thousands of brews out there, which are sure to please even the hardest to please. When it comes to the gourmet types of microbrews, there are some things to keep in mind. If you are new to microbrews and gourmet types, you'll find the tips below to be very beneficial. Start light When you go to a pub or just out to drink, you should start off light with a basic lager, pilsner, or wheat beer. After that, you can work your way towards the full flavored beers, such as porters and Oktoberfest beers. These can be very potent, especially for those who don't really drink that much. Starting light is also good for your overall tolerance, as drinking light will prepare you for the more potent drinks. This way, you can enjoy plenty of microbrews without having to worry about stopping too early. Brewpub The ideal way to try new types of beer is to pay a visit to a local brewpub. Many of these small brewery/restaurants will offer samplers, which feature small glasses with four to five of their most popular beers. This way, you can experience a variety of beer tastes without having to spend a lot of money. Once you have tried a couple of the beers, you'll know what to order. Dark beers If you are a casual beer drinker or can handle your tolerance, you shouldn't be afraid in the least to try dark beers. The dark color doesn't mean that the beer is heavier or contains more calories, it simply means that the malt in the beer is roasted longer or roasted to a more darker color than most. Small business Small businesses and small businessmen are yet another reason to get into microbrewed beer other than the taste. Local microbrew producers brew their beers in small batches, so you'll be helping to keep the business afloat, rather than supporting the large giants of the industry. When you know that your money is going to help the little people, you'll normally find the brew to go down much smoother. Small microbreweries need all the help they can get to continue brewing, which is reason enough to support them. You'll get a great beer for your money -- and you'll be supporting those that actually need your help. Guide To Microbrews Below, you will find a guide to some of the best brews out there. Long Trail Brewery -- Bridgewater, Vermont This brewery offers several brews that will easily quench your thirst. The long trail ale is a very good choice, as it's very tasty and not too heavy, just right. The hibernator is also good, although it's winter seasonal and high in alcohol. With a pinch of honey, the pollenator provides a thirst quenching solution to a hot summer haze. Catamount Brewery -- White River Junction -- Vermont The best seller here is the Catamount amber, as it is very tasty. The Catamount gold is also good, as it is lighter than the amber and offers plenty of refreshment on a hot day. For winter months, the Catamount Christmas ale offers a crisp taste for the cold. 7 Barrel Brewery -- New Hampshire The 7 Barrel Brewery is a restaurant as well as a brewery. The best brews here are the Dublin brown ale and the red 7 ale, although you really can't go wrong with any of their offerings. They also offer live music every Friday night with many great bands. Vermont Pub -- Burlington, Vermont This pub is the sister brewery of the 7 Barrel Brewery. They offer a great bar that serves two rooms, with plenty of fresh and tasty beer. The brown ale and dog bite bitter are the best, as they are both very tasty. Magic Hat Brewery -- Burlington, Vermont This brewery offers some of the best in the state of Vermont -- as well as the entire United States! Their well known popular number 9 can be found on taps around the state. When you visit, don't forget to look under the cap, as they call it "Magic Hat" for a reason! Methods Of Microbrewing The first thing you'll need to do when brewing is to sanitize everything that will come in contact with your unfermented beer. It will take time for the sanitizer to do its job, so don't rush things. Next, you'll need to rinse everything to remove any remaining sanitizer. Any remaining sanitizer can kill of your yeast if you don't rinse things well. Add 3 1/2 gallons of water to your fermenter then seal it with the fermenter's lid or a rubber stopper. This should be done as soon as you can before you begin to cook the wort. Cooking Add 2 gallons of cold water to the pot and bring it to a boil. Once the water has started to boil, add your malt syrup or extract kit. Always watch your pot boil and never leave it. Stir it well, until the extract has dissolved. Boiling over can create a mess and cause you to loose precious ingredients. Malt doesn't boil like water, as it comes to a boil the liquid will expand and foam over the top. Stir constantly and keep a close watch to avoid boiling over. Add a few tablespoons of your boiling wort to 1 cup of cool water in a santized container, making sure the temperature isn't too high. Next, add your yeast packet and cover the container with a saucer or lid. Pitching yeast After the wort has finished boiling, allow the mixture time to cool to 70 -- 80 degrees then pitch the yeast into your fermenter, which you already have filled to 2/3 of the desired final level with cold water. These are the basic steps for brewing your own microbrews. You'll also have to siphon, bottle, then pour your brew. The final steps aren't that difficult, although they do require a certain level of precision. If this is your first time brewing, you should watch someone experienced first. With microbrewing, there are many different methods, including fruit. Fruit is unlike other types of microbrews, as the method introduces fruit into the equation and makes for a very unique -- yet interesting taste. When brewing your own beers, you can use any method you prefer. Some are harder than others, although a little bit of time is all you need to become a pro. Once you have been brewing for a while, you'll be able to brew even the most exotic of microbrews -- all it takes is time and dedication. The Brewing Process Brewing is the actual process of alcoholic beverages and alcohol through fermentation. This method is used with beer production, although the term can also be used for other drinks as well. The term brewing is also used to refer to any chemical mixing process as well. The process of brewing has a long history indeed, which archeological evidence tells us that this technique was actually used in ancient Egypt as well. Many descriptions of various beer recipes can be found in Sumerian writings, which are some of the oldest writings of any type. Even though the process of brewing is complex and varies greatly, Below, you'll find the basic stages relating to brewing. 1. Mashing -- This is the first phase of brewing, in which the malted grains are crushed and soaked in warm water in order to create an extract of the malt. The mash is then held at constant temperature long enough for the enzymes to convert starches into fermentable sugar. 2. Sparging -- At this stage, water is filtered through the mash to dissolve all of the sugars. The darker, sugar heavy liquid is known as the wort. 3. Boiling -- The wort is boiled along with any remaining ingredients to remove any excess water and kill any type of microorganisms. The hops, either whole or extract are added at some point during this stage. 4. Fermentation -- The yeast is now added and the beer is left to ferment. After it has fermented, the beer may be allowed to ferment again, which will allow further settling of the yeast and other particulate matter which may have been introduced earlier in the process. 5. Packaging -- At the final stage, the beer will contain alcohol, but not too much carbon dioxide. The brewer will have a few options to increase the levels of carbon dioxide. The most common approach is force carbonation, via the direct addition of CO2 gas to the keg or bottle. After it has been brewed, the beer in normally a finished product. At this point, the beer is kegged, casked, bottled, or canned. Beers that are unfiltered may be stored for further fermentation in conditioning tanks, casks, or bottles to allow smoothing of harsh alcohol or heavy hops. There are some beer enthusiasts that consider a long conditioning period attractive for various strong beers such as Barley and wines. Depending on the beer enthusiast and what he likes to drink, it will vary. Beer Ingredients The main ingredients found in beer are water, malted barley, hops, and yeast. There are other ingredients such as flavoring, sugar, and other ingredients that are commonly used. Starches are used as well, as they convert in the mashing process to easily fermentable sugars that will help to increase the alcohol content of beer while adding body and flavor. Water Seeing as how beer is mainly composed of water, the source of water and its characteristics have a very important effect on the character of the beer. A lot of beer styles were influenced by the characteristics of water in the region. Although the effect of minerals in brewing water is complex, hard water is more suited to dark styles, while soft ware is more suited to light styles. Malt Among malts, barley is the most widely used due to its high amylase content, and a digestive enzyme that facilitates the breakdown of starch into sugars. Depending on what can be cultivated locally, other malts and unmalted grains can be used, such as wheat, rice, oats, and rye. Malt is obtained by soaking grain in water, allowing it to germinate, then drying the germinated grain in a kiln. By malting the grain, enzymes will eventually convert the starches in the grain into fermentable sugars. Hops Since the seventeenth century, hops have been commonly used as a bittering agent in beer. Hops help to contribute a bitterness that will balance the sweetness of the malts. They also contribute aromas which range from citrus to herbal. Hops also provide an antibiotic effect that favors the activity of brewer's yeast over the less desirable microorganisms. The bitterness in beer is normally measured on the International Bitterness Units scale. Yeast Yeast is a microorganism that's responsible for fermentation. Specific strains of yeast are chosen depending on the type of beer produced, as the two main strains are ale yeast and lager yeast, with other variations available as well. Yeast helps to metabolise the sugars that are extracted from the grains, and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide as a result. Before the functions of yeast were understood, all fermentations were done using wild or airborne yeasts. Clarifying agent A lot of brewers prefer to add one or more clarifying agents to beer that aren't required to be published as ingredients. Examples include Isinglas finings, which are obtained from swim bladders of fish and Irish moss, which is a type of red alga. Since these ingredients can be obtained from animals, those who are concerned with either the use or consumption of animal products should obtain detailed information from the brewer. Equipment For Microbrews Before you can start brewing beer, you'll need to have the right equipment. If this is your first time brewing, you should start simple. Before you begin, the first thing that you'll need is a brewpot. Before you rush out and buy one, you may already have one that will work just fine. The pot should hold at least three gallons of liquid. The next thing you'll need is a fermenter. For the average five gallon batch, the fermenter should hold six gallons or more, allowing space for a foam that will form during the vigorous process of fermentation. For this stage, a glass carboy or food grade plastic bucket is often used. You'll also need an airlock for your fermenter to allow the C02 to escape while also keeping the air out. A siphon hose is also needed to transfer beer from the fermenter when it's ready, without having to mix air into it. A bottling bucket will also help to make the process much easier. Bottling buckets are similiar to fermenters, except the fact that they have a spigot at the bottom that allows you to fill the bottles directly, which makes the entire process less messy and gets things done much quicker. You'll also need a capper to seal your bottles; as bottles and caps or even a keg will be needed to store and serve your brew. If you look around, you may be able to find a kit that will contain everything you need. You can purchase kits on the internet, many of which offer the top quality equipment you'll need to brew. All you have to do is look around the net, as there are many different web sites that offer equipment for microbrews. If you don't want to buy a kit, you can always buy each piece of equipment seperately. This tends to be a bit more expensive than buying a kit, although you'll be able to pick each piece of equipment yourself, without having to take what's included in the kit. Once you get all of the necessary equipment together, you should know how to use it before you get started. This way, you won't run into any problems once you start brewing. The equipment needed for brewing is easy to use, so you shouldn't have any problems. Brewing microbrews can be both fun and exciting, especially when you start brewing your own creations. You can drink the brew yourself, or serve it to friends and family. Microbrews are fun to drink and create -- which makes having the proper equipment all the more while. History of Microbrews Many historians believe that the ancient Sumerians and Mesopotamians were brewing as early back as 10,000 B.C. Even though this product would have been different from the bottles varieties of today, it would have still been recognizable. The ancient Egyptians and the Chinese brewed their beer, as did civilizations in America, where they used corn instead of barley. Back then, thousands of years ago, microbrews were very popular and on their way to what we now know and love today. In the middle ages, European monks were the guardians of literature and science, as well as the art of making beer. They refined the process to perfection, and even institutionalized the use of hops as both flavoring and a preservative. It wasn't however, until Louis Pasteur came along that a final, important development was determined. Until this time, brewers had to depend on the wild yet airborne yeast for fermentation. By establishing that yeast is actually a living organism, he opened the gates for controlling the conversion of sugar into alcohol. Grapes grow well in warmer climates, while barley grows better in cool climates. This is how the northern areas of Germany and England first became famous for their beers. Beer in America Everything in America went dim until the dark day of 1920, when prohibition took effect. A lot of breweries went out of business or switched their production to soda pop. Not everyone stopped drinking, but gangster related products weren't known for high quality. When Franklin D. Roosevelt became president, he quickly appealed the very unpopular law. The new breeds of now famous beer came after World War 2 were generally mass produced and very bland. Wheat Beers Wheat beers are beers that are brewed with both malted barley and malted wheat, rather than using just barley. The addition of wheat will lend wheat beers a lighter flavor and somewhat paler color than most all barley ales and beers. Wheat beer is normally top fermented, which is fermentation with ale yeast. All types of wheat beers have become very popular in the last several years, especially in warm weather. In earlier centuries, the brewing of wheat beer was illegal in many places, simply because wheat was too important as both bread and cereal to waste it with brewing beers. The two most important varieties of wheat beers are Belgian and German. Belgian Belgian wheat beers are easily the best known, as they get their name from the suspended wheat proteins which give it the whitish color. Belgian white beers often have spices such as coriander or orange peels added, which help to give them a hint of fruity flavor. German German wheat beer is a well known variation through the sourthern part of the country. The German yeast wheat is a variety in which the yeast isn't filtered out. The filtration will take the yeast out, and also strips wheat proteins which will make it appear cloudy. A lot of microbrewers in the United States as well as Canada that make their own variations of wheat beer, which is particularly popular in Portland Oregon, which is considered to be the beer capital. In Europe, wheat beer is normally served in special types of wheat beer glasses. In Belgium they are normally solid glasses. Other countries will take half a liter, in which the glasses are normally tall and slim, tapering slightly towards the base. In the United States, wheat beer is normally served with a slice of lemon. Process Of Homebrewing Microbrews The normal batch of homebrewed beer is five gallons in volume, which is enough for 2 cases, or 48 12 ounce bottle of beer. The typical homebrewed beer is produced by boiling water, malt extract and hops together in a large kettle and then cooling the resulting wort and adding yeast for fermenting. Experienced homebrewers will make their own extract from crushed malt barley by a more complicated process of mashing the grain in boiling hot water. With both cases, the wort is boiled for 15 min to an hour, to help remove some impurities, dissolve the character of the hops, then break down some of the sugar. The wort is then cooled down to a pitching temperature. The cooled wort is then poured into the primary fermenter in a manner of aggression, as to aerate the wort. Sufficient oxygen is also necessary for the yeast's growth stage. The yeast is then put into the wort. The primary fermentation will take place in a large food bucket or carboy. Sometimes it is left open but often stoppered with the carbon dioxide gas that's produced by venting through a fermentation lock. The process of making microbrews takes a lot of time indeed, although you can take the necessary short cuts once you learn more about how the process works. If this is your first time brewing, you should always use common sense and know what you are doing. One of the best things about making your own homebrews is the fact that you can experiment with ingredients and brew your own creations. You can brew almost anything, providing you have the right type of equipment -- which can easily be found. Oregon Microbrews To get the most out of a visit to Oregon, you'll need to try a local craft beer. Even if you don't like to drink craft beer, it's something you should at least experience. If you are knew to microbrews, you should know that just because the beer is a microbrew, it doesn't mean that you'll need a knife and fork to drink it. All over the state, you'll find several different microbreweries that offer everything you could ever want. All mass produced American style lagers have set a rather disappointing standard for the beer drinkers of the country. These beers can only be as good as their ingredients. Instead of the fine grains such as barley and wheat, corn and rice are often used as cheaper replacements. In place of the whole kiln hops, the bigger breweries rely on small pellets of compressed hop dust. Throughout the state of Oregon, there are more than 50 breweries that provide both locals and visitors with many alternatives to drinking. The microbrewed craft will rely on tradition, using the more expensive ingredients in place of money saving shortcuts. The implication here, is that these types of beer are normally bitter or overly sweet. Anytime you visit an unfamiliar brewpub, there is a great way to sample a variety of brews without having to buy a whole pint. Several pubs offer a sampler tray with five to seven two ounce beers, often labeled to avoid any type of confusion. Throughout Oregon, microbrews are very popular, in the pubs and on the street. You can find many different varieties, more than you can find in other states. If you don't live in Oregon, and you get the chance to visit, you shouldn't hesitate to check out some of the excellent microbrews. Anheuser Busch And Microbrews Beer brewing has always been the core business of the Anheuser-Busch company. An industry leader since 1957, Anheuser-Busch currently owns over half of the domestic beer market. The market share has grown so much that Anheuser- Busch now has a bigger portion of the market than the next four competitors, with the international sales being no different. Anheuser-Busch remains the leading exporter of beer from the United States, with sales in more than 60 countries. Microbreweries, or microbrews for short, have been gaining a lot of attention in the past several years. Microbrews are best classified as breweries that produce less than 15,000 barrels in a given year. The strength of microbrews is found in their philosophy that beer should be of the highest quality. Therefore, microbrews are only brewed with malted barley, hops, water, and yeast, which are the only four ingredients found in the purist German beers. Mass bottled beers normally add rice and corn to help lower costs. The only drawback to microbrews is what they cost. The more expensive ingredients found in microbrews cost on average 60% higher than the mass bottled beers. Beer isn't like wine, which tends to get better with age. Beer is instead a food that should be consumed as soon as possible after production. With this in mind, pubs or microbrews that produce beer on the premises are the hottest new trends, with four new pubs on average popping up each and every week. Each year, sales of microbrews goes up an average of 40% each year. This figure is very impressive when you consider that the market is shrinking as a whole. Even with this amazing success, the microbrew sales represent around two percent of the entire beer market. In their pursuit to continue dominating the entire beer market, Anheuser-Busch has tapped into the trend of microbrews. They recently purchased a stake in the Seattle based Red Hook Ale microbrewery. The new products they released into the beer market include Red Wolf, Elk Mountain Red, and Elk Mountain Amber Ale. Microbrews are normally produced regionally, therefore Anheuser-Busch is developing regional manufacturers and distributors. By doing this, they must decide on the best possible way to handle their short term cash needs for purchasing inventory in these tiny plants. With their recent transition into the world of microbrews, you can count on Anheuser-Busch to make quite the impact. They will be offering more microbrews in the future, which is great news for beer drinkers. If you like the wild taste of microbrews, Anheuser-Busch is more than worth your time and money. Lagers Lagering, as a process, was discovered around 200 years ago in Bavaria. Here, it was found that beers experiencing secondary fermentation in casks stored in the caves of the Alps would produce beers with differnet characteristics than ales. The process of lagering became very popular in areas where fermentating with cool temperatures could be maintained, although it wasn't until the invention of the refrigerator that lagers really spread around the world. Over the last several years, flat sales have been seen for breweries as a growth in sales for American microbrews. Even though a lot of the beer volume from lager is composed of cheap quality product from the large breweries, there's plenty of great products available, although most are from Europe. European all malt Pilsener World wild, Pilseners are the most popular style. The style originated in Bohemia in a town that was named Pilsen by the brewery. Even though there are some superb Pilseners made outside this region, the style is frequently cheapened and is also the basis for many beers lacking quality or being just plain ol' cheap beer. German Pilsener Classic German Pilseners are very light in color and well hopped, with the hop bitterness being high. It's a well attenuated, medium bodied beer although a malty accent can be perceived. There shouldn't be any chill haze, as the head of the beer should be dense and rich. Bohemian lager Lagers in this category are very similar to German Pilseners, although they are more full bodied and can be as dark as light amber. This style of beer will balance the moderate bitterness and noble hop aroma with a malty, yet slightly sweet body.
Original Microbrews Beer is almost as old as civilization itself. It is mentioned in Sumerian texts that date back more than 5,000 years ago. Beginning in the 1950s, scientists debated the notion that beer, not bread, was actually the start of the development for agriculture. Almost every culture around the world has invented its own concotion of beer. History says brewing was a home based operation, a s part of the preparation in meals. From South Africa to China, the production of beer grew in scale with the rise of society, then later became primarily a function of the state. The physical evidence of ancient brewing isn't easy to obtain. With most cultures, home beer brewing required only the basic of ingredients, such as a fire, cooking vessels, and some jars. None of these materials are unique to the brewing process. Jars that were found near a kiln could have been used for storing barley or wheat for bread, while cooking pots could have been used for heating liquids. So far, archaeologists haven't been able to find a complete set of evidence. One of the oldest breweries was found in southern Egypt and dates back to over 5,000 years ago. At this site, teams found well heated vats that were encrusted on the inside with a cereal based residue. Another ancient brewery was discovered along the Nile in the middle of Egypt. The site was located in what is thought to be the Sun Temple, where a king's wife was buried. Archaeologists found a complex set of rooms that had been used for cereal processing. Ovens, grains, and larger jars indicate that the rooms were used as a bakery or a brewery. In a different area of the world, excavators found a brewery dating back to the times of the Romans. On this site, there were preserved tables that date from A.D. 100, with beer being specifically mentioned on several of the tablets. The chemical evidence of beer would prove to be a site's purpose once and for all, although that normally isn't easy. Alcohol is much too delicate to last for centuries, as any cereal based residue found could have come from baking just as easily as from brewing. Throughout the course of time, there will always be evidence of beer being brewed many centuries ago. Without actually finding physical evidence though, it can be really hard to determine. If there were physical evidence, it would be really different indeed. Brewpub Heaven Everyone knows that if your looking for the best in coffee, you go to Seattle. For wine, you go to California. When it comes to the best in beer, you go to Portland Oregon, where your never more than 15 minutes away from a quality brewpub. The Williamette Rive in western Oregon has been the center of hop growing and brewing since the days of the pioneers. When the microbrew revolution began, the history and the hops were already there, along with the spring water, the grain, and the fruit for summer beers. As a result, regional brewers and microbrewers began to pop up all over the place. After that, it didn't take long at all for the brewpub to follow. These beers weren't just for washing down food anymore. The hand crafted beers could be used in cooking, just like wine. In the brewpubs of Portland, the beer also forms a base for salad dressing, spices up marinades, and even helps to sweeten the desserts as well. Many brewpubs will offer a sampler of the best in beer tasting. You can think of it as wine tasting without the snooty steward. You sip on small amounts of a variety of brews to see what the brewer can do, from the light and hoppy to the dark yet sweet brews. What to expect: 1. Good head on the beer. Good head ensures that you'll get a strong smell of the brew, so be sure to pour it into your glass very carefully. 2. Always use a glass. You should always use a clean glass, a very clean glass. In most brewing establishments, the glasses are always hand washed and air dried to ensure that there isn't a speck of grease in the glass to deflate the head and leave soapy looking bubbles behind. 3. The English are right. As the English know, refrigerated beer is too cold to fully appreciate the taste. In brewpubs, the beer is served at temperatures that are cool but not that cold. The iced and chilled glasses are saved for martinis. 4. Vocabulary. Beer has a mouth feel, which describes the body of the brew -light, medium, and full. The color can be misleading, as even light bodied beers can be full bodied. Anytime you are looking for the best in microbrews, you can count on Oregon to deliver the best in beer. There are hundreds of brewpubs here, with everything you could ever want. Anytime you are in the area, don't hesitate to stop off and see why the microbrews here are easily among the best in the United States -- or the world for that matter. Differences Between Keg And Cask Ale Over the years, keg beers have gotten a lot better. If a cask beer is in poor condition, it's actually possible for a fresh keg beer to be much better tasting. Even though this may sound absurd, it's very common for someone who's unfamilar with cask ale to not be able to taste the difference between keg and cask beer. The warm temperature that cask beer is famous for doesn't apply in the summer months all that often these days, as temperature control units in pubs have beer run through coolers. The fact is, some pubs will run cask ale lines through lager chillers in order to get the beer below the maximum temperature required, so cask ale may very well end up just as cold as a keg lager. This isn't really a good thing, as ale requires a cool rather than very cold temperature to bring out all of its flavors. In a well run pub however, the cask ale will be served at the right temperature -- cool but not too cold. The smell of cask ale is much fresher and more wholesome than keg beer. Keep in mind, the aroma of cask ale doesn't have the stored up impact of bottled type beers, as this beer has already been exposed to the air for a couple of days -meaning there is no impact when you transfer it to your beer glass. Normally, the aroma wil be released into the air when it has been warmed up, which will probably happen when you get near the bottom of the glass. The flavor of cask ale is very similiar to the aroma in it, which is very fresh and delicate. Unlike other bottled beers, the flavor of cask ale is even more noticeable than the aroma. At first, the aroma is very slight, although the flavor more than makes up for it. The intensity of the flavor will depend on the style of beer. The CO2 bubbles themselves will have very little flavor, therefore a mass of bursting bubbles against your tongue will prevent the actual beer from making contact. With cask ale, there is little to no carbonation, so more of the flavor will connect with your taste buds. You should be able to note the fruity taste up front, with balance in the middle and bitterness in the end. The flavor of a cask ale is much more noticed than keg or even bottled beer. Bottle conditioned beers will also have this type of flavor profile, although they'll need to be prepared and conditioned well in advance, meaning that the bottle will need to be opened and allowed to settle for a while. Cask ales offer the conditioning being done fro you, so you won't need to do it. The most important aspect of cask ale is how it feels in your mouth. It shouldn't be fizzy. If it is, it's either a keg beer or a cask ale that's been put on too soon. There will be a natural feel in the beer, a life that makes you want to drink it. Alaskan Brewing The Alaskan brewing company is the oldest operating brewery in Alaska, with their amber beer being their most popular brand. They produce two other brands as well, pale ale and Alaskan frontier amber. If you enjoy fresh amber beer, Alaskan brewing is what you want. As you may already know, brewing beer in Alaska is very hard to do. The coastal community of Juneau doesn't have road connections to the lower 48 states, so everything arrives and leaves by water or air, with weather always having the final say. In 1986, the Alaskan brewing company became the 67th brewery to operate in the United States and the only one to operate in Alaska. Sinc e that time, Alaskan brewery has received more than 30 major medals and awards, including the best beer in the nation award during the 1988 Great American Beer Festival. The popularity of their beers has led to a great amount of efforts to keep up with the demand from consumers. They also hold the unnofficial record for the production on a 10 barrel brewing system, which produces an amazing 42 batches a week. The Alaskan Brewery offers several different styles of brew as well, which are listed below: 1. Amber -- This is the company's flagship beer, based on a turn of the century recipe that was used to quench the thirst of the miners during the Gold Rush era. It provides a smooth, malty, rich taste that goes well with meals -or friends. 2. Pale -- Pale is fresh, crips, and inviting. Alaskan pale is great with crab, pawns, and salads. The floral aroma of the hops is derived from dry hopping the tanks during the entire fermentation process. 3. Stout -- The oatmeal style beer of stout doesn't have the harshness of other stouts. Great with chocolate and hearty meals, stout is also ideal to enjoy while walking in the snow. 4. ESB -- If you like hops, the infusion of hops in this delight will amaze your nose while the refreshing cascade hops will provide a wonderful crispness to both the flavor and the finish. This beer is great with spicy food, wild game, and other wintery food. 5. Smoked porter -- Very exclusive, Alaskan smoked porter has a world class reputation for its excellence. Brewed in the fall, this beer is ideal for storing in the cellar for later enjoyment. 6. Winter ale -- This tender brew of spruce trees has been used for brewing in Alaska since the late 1700s. Microbrews Of The Northwest The ideal place to sample the best of Northwest handcrafted ale is a well run brewpub, which will stimulate the human spirit with warmth, the scent of malt, pleasant conversation, and hearty food. Helping to combat the chilly, damp climate of the region, brewpubs have become great places of refuge where you can shake off the tears of a hostile world, order a pint of cask beer, then savor a complex beer that will caress every one of your senses. Microbreweries (companies that produce less than 20,000 kegs a year) can be found everywhere from Minneapolis to Maui, although it all began in the Pacific Northwest. On any evening, many dozen locally brewed beers and ales are available for your enjoyment in Portland and Seattle. Most East Coast microbreweries produce German style lagers, which is the most famous style of brewing for American palates. The microbreweries of the Northwest go all out for wildly adventerous bitters, stouts, and porters. With all of these amazing beers to choose from, you may be wondering where to begin. When you look for a microbrew, you should always be thinking about variety. At any time in both Seattle and Portland, you can find several dozen fresh, locally made brew on tap. They all range in strength from the standard 3 1/2% to a very potent 8 1/2%. As for the flavor, you'll have to taste it for yourself. There's the rich sweetness of malt, balanced well with good bitter hops. Then, there's also the mocha java overtones of roasted barley, used with stouts and porters, and the spicy kick of malted wheat. There are also the sweet ales and tart ales, mild ales, and ales that are so charged with flavor that they linger on the tongue. No matter which type of microbrew you choose, your sure to get a flavor that will make you come back for more. Pale Ale Beer English pale ale The style of English pale ale was originated by producers in Burton during the 1800's. The high levels of calcium found in the water compliment this style quite well, by making a more efficient extraction of bitter resins from the hops. The taste and aroma of English pale ale is similar to that of the English Bitter. The term "pale" was intended originally to distinguish beers of this type from the black London Porter. Classic English ales aren't pale, rather golden to copper colored. American pale ale The types of American pale ales range from golden to light colored copper. This style of ale is best characterized by American variety hops used to produce high hop bitterness, aroma, and flavor. These types of beers are less malty than their British counterparts. These beers have medium body and low to medium maltiness. Chill haze is acceptable only at cold temperatures. Belgian pale ale The Belgian ales are very similar to British ales, although they are more spicy and aromatic -- both in malt and yeast character. These types of ales are known by low, yet noticeable hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma. Low malt aroma and light to medium body are typical for Belgian pal ale. In color, they are golden to deep amber. Noble hop types are normally used, while low to medium fruity esters are evident in both flavor and aroma. Chill haze with Belgian pale ale is acceptable at cold temperatures. Pale ale beers are very popular throughout the world, being served in hundreds of thousands of bars. They are also great for social occasions as well, as millions of people enjoy their dark yet satisfying tastes. If you've never experienced pale ale beer -- you shouldn't deprive yourself any longer. Beer Culture Social context Many social traditions and activities are very associated with drinking beer, such as playing cards, darts, or other games. The consumption of beer in isolation and excess may be associated with people drinking away their troubles, while drinking in excess with company may be associated with binge drinking. Around the world All over the world, beer is consumed. There are several breweries in the Middle East countries as well, such as Iraq and Syria. There is also breweries in African countries and other remote countries such as Mongolia as well. Glassware serving Getting an appropriate beer glass is considered desirable by some drinkers. There are some drinkers of beer that may sometimes drink out of the bottle or can, while others may choose to pour their beer into a glass. Drinking from a bottle picks up aromas by the nose, so if a drinker wishes to appreciate the aroma of a beer, the beer is first poured into a mug, glass, or stein. Similar to wine, there is specialized styles of glasses for some types of beer, with some breweries producing glassware intended for their own styles of beer. Temperature The conditions for serving beer have a big influence on a drinker's experiences. An important factor when drinking is the temperature -- as colder temperatures will start to inhibit the chemical senses of the tongue and throat, which will narrow down the flavor profile of beer, allow certain lagers to release their crispness. Pouring The process of pouring will have an influence on the presentation of beer. The flow rate from the tap, titling of the glass, and position of the pour into the glass will all affect the outcome, such as the size and longevity of the head and the turbulence of the bar as it begins to release the carbonation. The more heavily carbonated beers such as German pilseners will need settling time before they are served, although many of them are served with the addition of the remaining yeast at the bottom to add extra color and flavor. Beer rating The rating of beer is a craze that combines the enjoyment of drinking beer with the hobby of collecting it. Those that drink beer sometimes tend to record their scores and comments on various internet websites. This is a worldwide activity, as people in the United States will swap bottles of beer with those living in New Zealand and Russia. The scores may then be tallied together to create lists of the most popular beers in each country as well as those throughout the world. Troubleshooting Home Brewing Stuck fermentation Stuck fermentation occurs when your beer fails to ferment to completion. This can result from the use of old yeast or poor ingredients. The best way to take care of this problem, is to prevent it from starting. To do this, you should: 1. Re-hydrate the yeast by adding it to some water and adding wort to the yeast an hour or more before you pitch. This will help ensure that your yeast is still active. 2. Use an all malt or a recipe that has a lot of it, as yeast needs nutrients to stay alive. Corn and sugar lack these nutrients. If your yeast still fails to survive, it cannot reproduce. For this very reason, distilled water shouldn't be used when making beer. Under carbonation If you've used the proper amount of priming sugar and your beer is still flat, it's probably due to the fact that you didn't properly rise the sanitizing solution from the bottles. If too much sanitizer is left in the bottles, it can kill the yeast, which results in flat beer. The only way to prevent this is to stop it from happening. Over carbonation Over carbonation can cause your beer to turn into a foam disaster. It can result from these causes: 1. Too much or uneven priming sugar. You should measure your primer carefully and dissolve it thoroughly in boiling water and allow it the proper time to cool. Before bottling, make sure to stir this into your beer. 2. Bottling your beer too early can also result in too much carbonation. 3. Poor sanitization is also a cause. If you allow your beer to come in contact with wild yeast, it can result in over carbonation and possibly even off flavors. 4. Bottles that are under filled can also contribute to over carbonation. You should allow 1/2 inch of head space to allow your beer time to pressurize. By taking the proper time to fix problems, you'll ensure that your brew comes out great every time you brew it. If you happen to run into a problem, always take the time to rationize it before you rush into fixing it. If you rush into fixing a problem, you may start another one. You should expect problems, especially if this is your first time brewing. Even for expert home brewers, problems can occur from time to time -- which is something you'll learn to deal with. Microbrewery And America The term microbrewery originally originated in the United Kingdom during the late 1970s. Though it was originally used to reflect on the size of the breweries, it gradually came to reflect a different attitude and approach to adaptability, flexibility, experimentation, and customer service. The term eventually spread to the United States, where it was eventually used to indicate a brewery that produces no less than 15,000 barrels of beer per year. The term microbrewery is now falling out of touch in the United States, as the term craft brewer is preferred. During the early twentieth century, prohibition drove a majority of the breweries into bankruptcy because they couldn't rely on selling bogus wine as wineries of that era previously did. After going through several decades of consolidation of breweries, most commercial American beer produced by a few large companies, resulting in a mild tasting lager of which Budweiser is a great example. Some beer drinks will consequently crave a variety and turn to homebrewing and eventually start doing it on a much larger scale. When they need inspiration they'll turn to Britain, Germany, and Belgium where centuries old tradition of artisan beer and cask ale production have never died out. The popularity behind these products was the fact that they trend was spread quickly, and hundreds of smaller breweries popped up, attached to a bar where the product could be enjoyed by all. As microbrews gained in popularity, some became more than just simple microbrews, as they catered to a broader range of beer. Normally, American microbreweries will distribute through wholesalers in traditional three tier systems, then act as their own distributor and sell to retailers. Selling includes tap rooms, restaurants, or even off premise sales. Microbrewing With Fruit Adding fruit to beers will add a new and unique twist of complexity to the beverage. A raspberry wheat for example, would add a tart flavor as peach would add the smooth sweet taste that we all associate with peaches in your brew. If you plan to add fruit to your brew, it's highly recommended that your fruit is fresh. The longer fruit is allowed to ripen from the time it has been picked, the greater the chance that airborne bacteria can infect your batch. Although the fruit will most likely be boiled with the wort, the precaution above is still highly recommended. Alternately, you may decide to use fruit puree, which will offer homebrewers the chance to brew with fruit without having the fear of contamination. Regardless of your style of brew, you can normally add fruit to it. The process of adding fruit is simple. Crush, chop, or break up the fruit that you are planning to use. Next, place the processed fruit into a sparging bag then let it steep in the hot wort for five to ten minutes after the boiling has been finished. When you are transfering your brew mixture to your primary fermenter, you may choose to sparge your fruit with some added water to extract every last drop of essence from the fruit. Always keep in mind that when you add fruit, you are adding additional sugar to your wort. This added sugar concentration will effect your original and final specific gravity when you measure it with a hydrometer. Some fruits that you use are actually easier to work with than others. Raspberries for example, may leave seeds in your primary fermenter if they aren't properly filtered. The basic object to achieve a quality fruit beer is to capture the essence from the fruit then remove all that remains before you start the primary fermentation. Adding fruit to your microbrew will give your brew a unique taste. There are many brews out there that take full advantage of fruit, many of which are extremely popular. Fruit can bring a very refreshing taste, especially when it is brewed the right way. For homebrewers all over the world, fruit is a nice addition to any microbrew. You can use virtually any type of fruit you can think of, which is one of the reasons why fruit brewing is so very popular. Just like wine, fruit can make any brew taste like a tropical paradise. Clipper City Microbrew Company The Clipper City Brewing Company was founded by by pioneer Hugh Sisson, with the intention of restoring a rich brewing tradition to the entire Baltimore area. By focusing on the classic styles of beer that are made with fresh ingredients and high standards, Clipper City is the largest brewing company in Baltimore, giving the entire Bay area residents reason to celebrate. After the inception of craft brewing in Baltimore, Hugh immersed himself in developing and market recognition of both Sisson's brewpub and all of its beers. The Clipper City Brewing Company produces three regular offerings year round -- Chesapeake lager, Chesapeake amber, and the Chesapeake gold ale, which was chosen as the official beer of the Baltimore City bicentennial. Clipper City also includes a line of specialty beers under the Clipper Reserve heading. These types include a Pilsner which is available in May, Irish stout available in February, Oktoberfest available in September, and a winter ale that's available in late November. Clipper City also manufacturers a seperate line of beer, known as the Oxford Brands, which include an English pale ale and a refreshing summer blend made with real raspberries known as the Oxford raspberry wheat. For many years, Clipper City has proven that they are the dominant brewing company in the entire Baltimore area. Residents of the area enjoy the many varieties this brewing company offers, as they have everything for the seasons. Even if you don't live in the Baltimore area, there are other ways to get the excellent beers that Clipper City has to offer. There are several bars and pubs that carry their beers, although most are in the Baltimore and surrounding areas. If you've been looking for a brew that is different from the rest, you can count on the Clipper City Brewing Company to deliver everything that you've never thought possible about beer and microbrews. Hybrid Microbrews Cream ale/American lager/blonde ale This blend produces a mild, pale, light bodied ale. This can be made using a warm fermentation (either top or bottom) and cold lagering or also by blending top and bottom fermented beers. The hop bitterness in the style is normally very low, with hip aroma often absent. Sometimes they are referred to as cream ales, yet they are crisp and very refreshing. American wheat ale/American wheat lager This type of beer can be made by using either lager yeast or an ale. Brewed with 50 percent wheat, the hop rates are higher and the carbonation is lower than German styles of wheat beers. At low levels, a fruity estery aroma and flavor is normal, although clovelike characteristics shouldn't be perceived. The color is normally golden to light amber, with the body being light to medium in character. Fruit beers These types of beers are made by using fruit as an adjunct in the primary or secondary fermentation. Fruit beers provide a very unique taste, and they can also be quite potent if made in the right ways. Vegetable beers These beers use vegetables as an adjunct in primary or secondary fermentation, helping to provide an obvious, yet harmonious quality. These beers shouldn't be overpowered by hop character. Herb and spice beers Herb and spice beers use either herbs or spices other than hops to create a very distinct taste and character. The spices can be derived from roots, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Hybrid microbrews offer you a break from the ordinary beers, providing unique tastes and very distinct character. There are many types of hybrid microbrews available, all you have to do is look around or experiment.
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