Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas beer

At this time of year, beer lovers are eagerly looking forward to the new harvest of brews that they will enjoy relaxing in front of an open fire. Aficionados of Belgian beer are well aware that they have to book their tastings and place their orders without delay. These are genuine limited editions and once they’re gone they’re gone.

The great thing about Christmas beers is that they tend to be strong, rich and rather complex, best enjoyed at the end of a meal or when you have plenty of time to discover their riches. Herbs and spices will never be far away and there is always a good dose of warming alcohol.
These Christmas beers are usually robust and will keep in your cellar for quite a few years. But why would you wait that long? Belgian Breweries use the very best pale and roast malts and freshly harvested hops with the judicious addition of herbs to create these beers that are ready to drink.
A Christmas beer will show up dark in the glass, its hop bitters balancing the sweet taste to give it a long-lasting appeal.

To find out all about the Belgian Christmas beers that have been brewing away over the past year, make your way to mid-December’s international Kerstbierfestival or Christmas Beer Festival in the village of Essen, just to the north of Antwerp.

You’ll see hordes of passionate beer lovers at work.
They want to taste all that is on offer and will diligently make notes of every single experience.
So, what can you expect to find in your glass? Evil tongues have it that brewers jumble together all the residues from their tanks at the last moment and call it a 'Christmas Blend'.
Fortunately, the truth is far more nuanced than that.
There are breweries, such as Palm Belgian Craft Breweries, Dubuisson and De Koninck, which introduce a seasonal beer for the end-of-year period that is based on their familiar amber beers but usually higher in strength.
As to abbey brewers, you are quite likely to come across a Christmas version of their regular dark/dubbel.

Particularly in the south of the country, brewers tend to have a more generous hand when it comes to adding herbs. And alcohol content goes up as well. After all, in winter you can turn up the heat a degree or two.

No Rules, Great Beer...
Precisely because Christmas beer is not a well-defined beer style, the Christmas themes have endless variations. Too many to mention, in fact. You may come across a seasonal beer that stays
a long way from the brewer’s usual path and can rightly be called an outsider.
The Slaghmuylder brewery, for example, surprises its customers with an extra-hopped, malty, blond, bottom-fermented beer. With this pils-style beer, the brewery hopes to appeal to thirsty partygoers.
There are Christmas beers to suit every taste and every moment; no-nonsense or more complex. However, as a rule, we are talking about degustation beers rather than thirst quenchers.
A pick-me-up with a few more degrees of alcohol due to a re-fermentation slipped into the brewing process, strong caramel aromas thanks to the roast malt, a fruitiness from the yeast and sufficient hops to stem the tide of sweetness.
Often you wil detect that one particular herb that compels you to order a second round so you can find out which one it is. Maybe cloves...? Or were they used in the warm 'Glühkriek' you had just now? I can’t wait to see the winter colours that will soon show up in my glass.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Need reasons to drink beer?

If you've made red wine your go-to adult beverage because you think it's the healthiest alcohol—or because you associate beer drinking with Homer Simpson, fraternity parties and a bloated gut—it's time to rethink your drink. Swedish research has found that beer may protect your heart.The study, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, followed 1,500 women for nearly 50 years, charting their intake of beer, wine, and spirits and their ensuing incidence of heart attacks, stroke, diabetes and cancer. By the end of the study, the women who drank beer "moderately"—  which the researchers defined as once or twice a week at most—were 30% less likely to suffer a heart attack compared to both heavy drinking and abstainers.

"This study suggests that when consumed a couple of times a week, beer may lower heart attack risk more so than wine," says Andrea Giancoli, RD, an L.A.-based registered dietitian and beer enthusiast. "We don't know yet if there are ‘magic' ingredients or compounds in beer. But beer does contain a complex of nutrients that may possibly play some role in helping avert atherosclerosis, the hardening of the arteries that can lead to heart attack and stroke, if—and that's a big IF— it's consumed in moderation and responsibly." (Looking to take back control of your health? 
While it's really too early to make any specific recommendations, these findings echo earlier studies, including one in 2013 from the Greek Harokopio University, showing that beer increased the flexibility of arteries; and one in 2011 in the European Journal of Epidemiology in which beer came out ahead of wine in terms of cardiovascular protection—wine was 31% protective at 21 g a day, and beer was 42% protective at 43 g a day.

Key nutrients might make beer a heart-healthy choice—if you drink moderately. According to the USDA, that's one 12-ounce bottle of beer a day for women, two for men. "Just don't save up all seven drinks for Friday night," Giancoli says, "or you'll overload your body, erase any potential health benefits, and possibly even cause damage." 
Check out these other health perks it's associated with, and our suggestions for the brews that deliver: It's linked to lower kidney stone risk. Beer is up to 93% water, by some estimates. "It's heads and tails above wine in terms of water content," Giancoli says. "You get a lot more fluid, so it's more hydrating, and that may have some protective effect." Beer can also have a diuretic effect, which may be why beer drinkers seem to have a lower risk of kidney stones than those who go for the harder stuff. It's been speculated that hops may also slow the leak of calcium from bones, which is linked to kidney stones. In a 2013 analysis, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston found that regular beer swillers had a 41% lower risk of developing kidney stones.
Brew to buy: Go for the lighter beers, which have the most water. Giancoli suggests Samuel Adams Light Lager and Pacifico, a Mexican pilsner, both great-tasting drinks that have less than 140 calories.
Beer may contribute to bone strength. Silicon, or orthosilicic acid, may fortify the skeleton. When a team at the University of California, Davis, analyzed 100 commercial brews, they found that the hoppier beers were a significant source of dietary silicon, which helps promote bone formation. Two beers may provide as much as 30 mg of the nutrient—most people get 20 to 50 mg per day. An earlier study from Tufts Medical Center showed that men and postmenopausal women who drank 1 to 2 drinks a day had greater bone mineral density in their hips and spine than non-drinkers. Hoppy beers, like pale-colored malts have more silica than the darker brews.

Brew to buy: India Pale Ale (IPA), with 41.2 mg of silicon, per the Tufts study.
Drinkers have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Since drinking beer increases the production of bile, it can help us digest fatty food more efficiently. In a 2011 study from Harvard School of Public Health, middle-aged men who upped their beer habit to one or two glasses per day saw their risk for type 2 diabetes fall by 25% over four years. The researchers chalk up the effect to improved blood glucose levels and increased levels of adiponectin, a hormone that boosts insulin sensitivity and lower cholesterol levels. Though you won't find this info on the label—the USDA Nutrient Database lists beer's fiber content as zero—a Spanish study confirmed that beer contains beta-glucans, a type of soluble fiber that's been shown to lower cholesterol. Dark brews may contain up to 3.5 grams of soluble fiber per liter and lagers contain up to 2. "The darker the beer, the more fiber it may have," Giancolo says, so choose stouts and porters to fiber up.

Brew to buy: Guinness Draught, a traditional Irish stout with 3-plus grams of fiber, compared with the 2 grams or less found in lighter beers.
There are actual nutrients in there. Beer contains calcium, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, iodine, potassium and heart-healthy B vitamins—B6, B12 and folate. "A regular beer has about 3% of the recommended adult intake of vitamin B-12, making this beverage one of the very few plant sources of this important nutrient," Giancoli says. "That's good news for vegetarians." One 12-ounce brew also provides around 12.5% of your daily dose of B6.
Brew to buy: Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus, a Belgian beer loaded with raspberries and extra vitamin C for a crisp fruity flavor and big antioxidant punch, or Lambrucha, a tart lemony beer that's combined with kombucha tea for extra vitamins B and C.  
Beer could help prevent sun damage. Thanks to barley and hops, beer also contains phytonutrients, namely ferulic acid. This plant compound is a powerful antioxidant that may scavenge free radicals in the body before they can start causing oxidative damage. While there are phytonutrients in other foods we eat every day—tomatoes, corn and rice bran, for example—research shows that we absorb it better from beer.  
Brew to buy: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, which is heavy on the hops, so it has more phytochemicals, or Japanese Green Tea IPA, grown with a variety of French and Japanese hops.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Gulden Draak

The legend says the gilded dragon first featured on the prow of the ship with which the Norwegian king Sigrid Magnusson left on a crusade in 1111. He offered the statue to the emperor of Constantinople (the current Istanbul) to put it on the cupola of the Aya Sophia. Some hundred years later, the Flemish count Baldwin IX had the showpiece transported to our regions. Here, the Norwegian dragon ended up in the hands of Bruges. After the battle on the field of Beverhout in 1382, the inhabitants of Ghent took the dragon as war booty and put it on top of their Belfry. In the Belfry all communal charters were kept. The dragon had to protect these documents and it was also the symbol of the freedom and might of the city.

On my garage!
Such an imposing symbol that has lasted for over 6 centuries needs an equally imposing beer. Like the dragon shines at the top of the city, the Gulden Draak is part of the international top of beers. It is a dark triple, which in itself makes it an exceptional beer. But it is the complex taste with hints of caramel, roasted malt and coffee in combination with the creamy hazel head that makes it unique. It is a beer that is worthy of its name.

Like the other special beers of the Brewery Van Steenberge, Gulden Draak is a high fermentation beer with secondary fermentation. For the secondary fermentation, wine yeast is used. This also contributes to the unparalleled taste.
And of course, a unique beer deserves a unique presentation. That’s why Gulden Draak is presented in a white bottle. The white bottle, the black banner, the golden dragon and the red letters, constitute a stylish result that has no equal among the many Belgian special beers.
Gulden Draak can be drunk as an aperitif or dessert, or whenever you have the time to sit back and relax. But this barley wine is also perfect with and in stews, especially the Ghent variety. It is also a plus in sauces for red meat, such as a bordelaise. It is particularly suited as a dessert beer, especially in combination with dark chocolate.

If available in Traverse City, Café Anvers will serve it! I had a glass of it in New York City couple weeks ago and it was excellent maybe one of my favorite! (never had it in Belgium!!)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Bottling line up and running!

Finally finish the bottling line it is up and running.

Machine from my own design
allowed to fill 4 bottles at the time.
Include Co2 purge.
Adjustable for different size bottles.
50 bottles of Slabtown Kriek!
Only took couple hours to fill!

Air operated caper!
I downloaded the instructions
and blue print to build this caper. 

Stop by the brewery to checkout the new equipment and get a beer too!

Monday, August 31, 2015


Gueuze or Geuze?
Gueuze - or Geuze using the Flemish spelling – is not brewed, but blended, or gestoken in Flemish. This lambiek-based beer dates back to the 19th century, when a lambiek brewer based in Geuzenstraat (rue des Gueux)
in Brussels wanted to deliver some lambiek to private clients but found himself bereft of barrel space.
Instead, he poured his beer into empty champagne bottles. He observed that the resulting beer had a higher clarity and had developed a frothy sparkle as a result of in-bottle re-fermentation.
A name was quickly found, based on where this beer style originated. Drinkers asked for gueuze lambiek or Gueuze for short. If you lived in the Zenne valley, you would use the term “bottle lambiek”.
Plenty of experiments were conducted to improve this bottled lambiek. Bottles were filled off with a blend of young and old lambiek that would re-ferment in the bottle.
The young lambiek prompted the fermentation and the old lambiek determined the final taste.
A typical blend is made up of 60% young lambiek (one year old), 30% two-year-old lambiek, and 10% that is three years old. Gueuze beer is cloudy, its color varying between matt gold and amber.
Its flavor is tart and this beer is not low on alcohol, coming in at between 5% and 8% by volume. Interestingly, thanks to the in-bottle re-fermentation, Gueuze has a very low sugar content – 0.2%

Brewing & Blending
Gueuze is a great beer for to store, as the wild yeasts continue their work in the bottle until all residual sugars have been converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide. There are two types of Gueuze makers. Lambiek brewers are involved in the steken, or blending, of their own Gueuzes.
You will also come across Gueuzestekers, including De Cam, Oud Beersel, Hanssens and Tilquin, who buy Lambiek to create their own final blends.
Several years ago the ‘Oude Gueuze’ label was accorded legal protection by the European Union. Brewers are now only allowed to call their product Oude Gueuze if the older lambiek used in the process has been aged for three years, has matured in oak barrels and is free of any artificial sweeteners.
An artisan Gueuze of this type may be recognized by its champagne-type bottle that must be topped by a cork and a wire cage that prevents the cork from flying out.
Gueuze is often sold in these champagne-type bottles, usually containing 37.5 or 75 centiliters. So why is this kind of bottle used for such a popular drink?
Both Champagne and Gueuze ferment in the bottle releasing carbon dioxide and building up a pressure. When you open up a bottled Gueuze, a pressure of up to six bars atmosphere? is released. A sturdy bottle is needed for the job.
All these different varieties are popularly just called “Gueuze”, a blanket term that includes pure artisan brews and industrially produced beers enhanced with sweeteners.
A Delicate Product
Like Lambiek, Gueuze is a rather delicate product. Managing its spontaneous fermentation takes years of experience. Many factors have an impact on the end result: temperature, the maturation on wood, not forgetting the workings of the wild yeast…The proportions of old and young Lambiek varies between different Gueuzes.
The general preference is for a ‘tender’ Lambiek, one that is not too sour. The more Old Lambiek is added, the longer-lasting and deeper will be the aromas you will find in your glass.
A classic Gueuze is likely to contain a small proportion of young Lambiek, typically only around 15%. A successful re-fermentation produces persistent air bubbles and lends liveliness to the brew.
A Gueuze is dry, tart and either fruity or fragrant with roasted aromas.
After at least five consecutive, interacting in-barrel fermentation phases, the lambiek beers will be ‘cut’ (blended) in three stages that allow them to continue their development.
This process is once again governed by four or five of the original yeasts and other micro flora, hence the complex character of this beer. True connoisseurs swear by a fully fermented Oude Gueuze. This brew is allowed to have a hint of cloud when served, with yeast deposits gathering at the bottom of the glass.
Both Lambiek and Gueuze are veritable thirst quenchers. They serve as an aperitif to stimulate the appetite at all sorts of official functions.
Gueuze is served in a cone-shaped glass, with indents towards the bottom and a thick, sturdy base. If you find your Gueuze just slightly on the sour side, you can add a sugar cube to be mashed up in the bottom of the glass using an iron device called a Lambiekstoemper.

 If you want to delve further into the world of Lambiek beers, the place to go is Café Anvers. Here you can taste house Gueuze, Lambic, Faro, Kriek, and other Belgian Beers.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

2015 Union Party!

2nd annual Schooner Union party was a success! Everyone had a good time and the Kriek beer was a hit! Tyler's belgian fries were also a hit! We hope to see everyone again next year on August 13, 2016 at 6pm.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Barrel Aged Belgian Beer Style

My own barrels!
Barrel aging is an up-and-coming trend in the production of strong beers. Some breweries are maturing their beers in barrels previously used for wine, brandy, port or whisky. The scents and tastes of barrel’s previous contents will be transferred into the young beer. The aim is a deeper, more complex taste. And different beers age in different ways. Barrel aging is especially suitable for heavy beers that are amber or dark in color, and in which hops are not a dominant ingredient. For some Belgian beer styles - sour beers such as Flemish red and brown or lambic beers - maturing in oak barrels is nothing less than a basic requirement.

Rich Flavors
When Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck in Belgium used recycled Cognac barrels to mature its Kasteel Tripel, the exclusive Trignac degustation beer was born. The taste of a Trignac is midway between beer and Cognac. It has matured just long enough so it can still be called a beer. It is enriched with impressions of Cognac, but stops short of being turned into the spirit.
Brasserie La Binchoise’s XO, matured in Armagnac barrels, packs a punch. This is a strong, heavy brew with a complex beer taste that is complemented by impressions of fruit that are worthy of an Armagnac.The Dubuisson Brewery matures its Bush Ambrée amber beer in oak wine barrels to create Bush Prestige. This method releases wood tannins as well as the sherry, whisky or cognac aromas into the beer. Dubuisson’s Bush de Nuits is a Bush de Noël Christmas beer matured in Burgundy wine barrels. Bush de Nuits is an intriguing beer, reminiscent of a wine enhanced with touches of berries. To produce Embrasse Peat Oak Aged, the brewer takes its heavy, dark Embrasse stout and allows it to mature in recycled peat whisky barrels, lending smoky touches to the beer. Barrel aging is not a recent addition to Belgian beer culture, brewers using wooden containers to add flavour to their beers is a long-lived practice and can be traced back very far indeed.

Flemish Red & Brown
Flemish red-brown beers of the Rodenbach type are mixed-fermentation beers. They mature, partly or wholly, in vertical foeders made of oak, giant barrels or vats. They take on their reddish brown color from the roasted barley malts used in the brewing process. They are called mixed-fermentation beers because several micro-organisms work on the beer during brewing and then during maturation in the oak foeders. This process is largely responsible for the beer’s taste. Mixed fermentation and maturating on oak are traditional techniques to extend the storage life of the beer. They allow some of the beer to turn sour, and this is blended with a young beer that has finished its fermentation. These beers taste rather like wine. Although hops are used, they are barely noticeable.

The Rodenbach ingredients list also includes several roasted malts, corn meal to promote the feeling of moelleux (a gentle sweetness) and Belgian hops grown in Poperinge. The beer’s fruity character is down to that period of maturing on oak.
The De Brabandere brewery gives its Flemish red-brown Petrus beers a colour that is… blond! The brewer starts off with a blond-amber, top-fermented beer that has matured on oak for This ripening in oak foeders produces a fresh and slightly sour taste. The beer breathes inside the barrel, with just enough oxygen around it to support the development of up to six micro-organisms that grow on the inside of the barrel. These bacteria do their bit to convert sugars remaining after the main fermentation into organic acids, esters and alcohol.

Lambic & Gueuze
Maturating on oak is essential for traditional lambic beers. The wort of the lambic is poured into the open-air cooling basin. After cooling it will start to spontaneously ferment through contact with micro-organisms in the wooden barrels it matures in. At that stage it can then be called lambic. The characteristic lambic aroma can mostly be credited to two wild yeasts: the Brettanomyces bruxellensis and the Brettanomyces lambicus, both of which thrive in the Valley of the Zenne near Brussels. After this exposure, the lambic will mature for up to three years in oak barrels. The oak lets through just enough oxygen to promote the growth of the wild yeasts. Only ancient oak will do; new wood contains too much tannin to use in making beer. This spontaneous fermentation process produces the very best oude gueuze, mixtures of lambic beers that re-ferment in the bottle. Each lambic foeder, or barrel, is filled to the brim with its own character and will affect the taste of the oude gueuzes it gives birth to in its own specific way. Properly produced gueuze and kriek (the cherry-flavoured variant) will be ready to drink half a year after bottling and will keep for 20 years or more. The wild yeasts will enrich the taste of the bottled beer as it ages. It takes a long time to brew a good lambic - the beer gains in taste and character as it matures in the foeders. 

3 years old pLambic in it!
Gueuzestekers blend the young and old lambic until they are satisfied with the taste. They then allow the beer to re-ferment and continue to mature in the bottle. The trade of gueuzesteker isn’t dissimilar to that of a whisky blender or Champagne master. In the same way that a base wine is processed into a sparkling wine, a lambic becomes an oude gueuze through a three-year maturation period. The 'gueuzesteker' uses a number of lambic beers to create his masterpieces. Every barrel tells its own story and so, this artisan is able to put his signature on every single one of the beers he develops. Creating the right environment for the lambic to mature is a demanding task. The barrels must be fill to the rim so the risk of oxidation is minimised. A constant temperature must be maintain. Mastering barrel ageing takes skill and time.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Duvel Tripel Hop 2015 officially launched

This stronger version of a Duvel was brewed using three varieties of hops. In addition to the familiar Saaz-Saaz and Styrian Golding there is a third variety which changes every year.
The Duvel Tripel Hop remains a Duvel, albeit with a higher alcohol content, a higher density and a more powerful bitter flavour. Its pearlisation and frothy collar contribute to the familiar Duvel signature. However, the beer is explosively different when it comes to aroma and taste. “You should never be in doubt between a Duvel and a Duvel Tripel Hop,” says the brewer.

With their Duvel Tripel Hop has Duvel Moortgat joined the fashionable quest for hop bitterness pursued by all those craft brewers with their many India Pale Ales (IPA)?  Well there is a simple answer to that question - no - the Duvel Tripel Hop cannot be described as a classic IPA.
What started in 2007 as a one-off experiment and produced in only a limited volume has turned into a regular release since 2012.
In addition to the strong blonde Duvel, the brewing diary now includes the – even stronger - Duvel Tripel Hop (9.5% ABV).
Just like the flagship Duvel, this beer is brewed with Saaz-Saaz and Styrian Golding hops.

Fundamentally Different
Even while we discuss the latest edition, the brewers have started preparations for Duvel Tripel Hop 2016. Hedwig Neven: “We experiment with different varieties of hops, research their qualities, taste the various combination and, once all the noses are pointing in the same direction, our team, made up of four brewing engineers, will give its approval.”
Duvel Tripel Hop is fundamentally different from the classic Duvel. And convinced Duvel fans are not always won over by this variant – whether you love Duvel Tripel Hop will depend very much on individual taste and aroma preferences.
The classic Duvel recipe forms the basis of Duvel Tripel Hop, with that third hop variety added by dry hopping late in the brewing process.
The beer also re-ferments in the bottle, leading to a production time of three months and one week from start to finish.
The basic Duvel recipe is never altered in any way. However, in making the Duvel Tripel Hop the brewer encounters new hop varieties. For example, Duvel Moortgat now use Citra for some of its other beers.

The Art is in The Nuance
“Do not view this Duvel Tripel Hop as an IPA,” Hedwig advises. “We are not in search of extreme bitterness. I’ll have you know that in the USA, our Vedett IPA is considered a pale-ale.” This brewer wants to make beers that tempt you into ordering seconds, while some extreme beers are aimed at a niche audience.
This applies equally to IPAs and to the up-and-coming sour ales. “Brewers will have to keep an even closer eye on the limits of sourness,” says Hedwig. “The art is in the nuance. Beers that are too sour are frankly undrinkable.”
This year Duvel Moortgat will be introducing a quartet of new Belgian beers. These beers will be launched first in a limited number of cafés and, if customers give the thumbs-up, they will be officially introduced to the market.
This was the path taken by Duvel Tripel Hop. It started off as an experiment and is now a regular annual addition to the range.
Is American beer culture increasingly filtering through to Belgium? “We are talking about two very different worlds,” Hedwig responds. “But I feel that they are becoming closer. The Americans become less extreme and the Belgians are experimenting more than they used to. In both countries I see a trend towards lighter beers with plenty of taste.”
Hedwig Neven knows exactly what he is talking about; he is in charge of 30 Belgian and 50 American beers, brewed in six Duvel Moortgat breweries, four in Belgium and two in the USA.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Compounds in beer protect brain cells!

Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease that seems to strike innocent people out of nowhere. Any news of something that can help prevent it is good news, especially if the new preventative is something people want to consume anyway, like beer.
According to Foodbeast, a new study in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reports that a compound commonly found in hops has an antioxidant property that can help protect brain cells. Oxidation causes damage to brain cells, which can contribute to the development of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

According to the new study, antioxidant compounds in beer can help protect brain cells from oxidation. This study has so far only been conducted on rats, but the implications give one reason to be optimistic. Further studies will need to be conducted before any kind of protective effect on human brains can be confirmed, but in the meantime come down to Café Anvers for a beer or two for some easy ways to sneak some more hops into your diet.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Go for the best pour not greed!

Beer head is the frothy foam on top of beer which is produced by bubbles of gas, typically carbon dioxide, rising to the surface. The elements that produce the head are wort protein, yeast and hop residue. The carbon dioxide that forms the bubbles in the head is produced during fermentation. A beer often tastes different when it’s topped with head of foam, and this is due to surface active compounds that move into the bubble walls as they percolate to the top of your glass.

Foam also carries a profound trigeminal sensation—that is, “taste” effects which are actually perceived physically. Think of the “cool” sensation of mint, or the “hot” sensation of chili peppers. Neither is delivering an actual thermal load, but rather they cause a physical perception. The creamy, fluffy feel of foam can dramatically alter the perception of any given beer by “softening” the overall palate. It’s also important to remember that our senses of taste and smell are intimately interwoven. In fact, many times a specific characteristic that a drinker may describe as ‘taste’ is actually detected in their nasal passage. Foam brings more odor compounds to the surface of your beer, kind of like un-stuffing your nose and opening up the full range of flavors. The proteins form a coating around every foam bubble, interact with other compounds that also happen to rise to the top of your glass. Once these proteins and compounds begin to interact with one another, they become denser, undergoing a textural transition, and begin to stick to the sides of the glass when left alone for a bit. This is why a beer consumed slowly will accumulate much more lacing than its guzzled counterpart.

 How to pour beer:
 Use a clean glass. A dirty glass, containing oils, dirt or residuals from a previous beer, may inhibit head creation and flavours. Hold your glass at a 45° angle. Pour the beer, targeting the middle of the slope of the glass. Don't be afraid to pour hard or add some air between the bottle and glass. At the half-way point bring the glass at a 90° angle and continue to pour in the middle of the glass. This will induce the perfect foam head. And remember, having a head on a beer is a good thing. It releases the beer's aromatics and adds to the overall presentation. You may also want to gradually add distance between the bottle and glass as you pour, to also inspire a good head. An ideal head should be 1" to 1-1/2". With bottled conditioned beers, that may have a considerable amount of yeast in the bottle, you may wish to watch closely as you pour ... if you don't like yeast in your poured beer. However, this is the highlight of some beers and actually wanted. Just note that the inclusion of yeast will alter the clearness and taste of your poured beer, and lively yeast is high in vitamins and nutrients!

 Belgian (or Brussels) lace:
The latticework of foam from the head of the beer that is left on the glass after a drink of beer has been taken. Reflects both the care taken in brewing the beer and the cleanliness of the glass from which it is being served.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

What is Lambic?

Some smaller brewers still pride themselves on the unpredictability of their manufacturing process, because it promises to reveal whole new tastes. Belgian “Lambic” beers, which come from Pajottenland near Brussels. These are made by taking the wort (the sugary liquid that turns into beer after fermentation) and leaving it overnight in large dishes, where it gathers yeast and bacteria from the air.

Belgians call it spontaneous fermentation. There’s something quite romantic about how they do it, it’s very much in touch with where they are.”
Knowing that yeast is ubiquitous and that there are thousands of strains, others have taken to novel approaches for harvesting wild yeast from the environment. A US company called Rogue Ales brews one of its beers using yeast cultivated from the beard of the chief brewer.
And a London-based brewer, James Rylance, says he has lately been trying to gather wild yeast from orchards and caves. Who knows, perhaps one of these strains will make the perfect beer?
The most talked about yeast of the moment is a strain called brettanomyces. It’s been present in brewing cultures for centuries, but has recently been popularised as a primary strain for beer-making. They are now a handful of brewers attempting to popularise “sour beers”, which are made with brettanomyces.

The yeast delivers a beer which can be less susceptible to contamination or oxidisation and has a characterful, slightly sour flavour that sometimes pairs particularly well with certain foods, for instance cheese or saltier dishes. Unlike many beers, its quality can improve drastically with age, which is why breweries like The Kernel are buying up old wine barrels to play with.
Some of these beers are like wine and have the ability to age 10 or 20 years. They just keep getting better.
This creativity and spontaneity must be balanced with careful methodology and rigour. The joy of brewing is discovering a great beer, but the secret is in knowing how to produce it consistently time and time again. It’s an endeavour on which larger breweries have spent millions, and one that every smaller outfit aspires to. But if anything, science has helped level the playing field for those who want to take their first steps.

Gueuze is a type of lambic. It is made by blending young (1-year-old) and old (2- to 3-year-old) lambics, which is then bottled for a second fermentation. Because the young lambics are not fully fermented, the blended beer contains fermentable sugar, which allow a second fermentation to occur. Lambic that undergoes a second fermentation in the presence of sour cherries before bottling results in Kriek Lambic, a beer closely related to gueuze.

As far as my own Lambic Beer, after two and a half year process we did a tasting this past month and the beer is very dry with a lot of flavor, I'm thinking of pasteurizing my Kriek beer to preserve more cherry flavor! Looking forward to the release this summer.