Aside from the pumpkin beers, fall is typically characterized by Oktoberfest style beers. But does anyone really know what an Oktoberfest beer is? How is this style of beer any different from festbier, Märzen, or the classic Vienna lager? Here in America, we do not have the rich history of lager style beers that Europe, and in particular Germany, has. Oftentimes, we Americans tend to lump most lager styles together, so I thought that in honor of Oktoberfest, I would explore the history of this style.
Prior to the mid 1800’s, beer in Germany primarily consisted of dark styles, like dunkels and bocks. This changed in the early 1800’s when Gabriel Sedlmayr, whose family owned the Spaten brewery, took a trip around Europe to learn other styles of beer production. When Sedlmayr saw that England was using coke to dry malt, allowing the malted barley to be a paler color, he brought this technique back to Germany and shared the idea of using these types of malt to make German style beers.
If you’re anything like me, then when you do something for the first time, you like to make it as complicated as possible. Case in point: making a sour beer.
Sour beers get sour by adding bacteria that converts sugars into various acids. Lactic acid is most common in sour beers, providing a clean, lemony taste. However other acids that could be found include malic acid; which tastes like sour apples, acetic acid; which is basically vinegar, and butyric acid; which is similar in aroma to bile. The bacterias and wild yeasts that create these acids (namely lactobacillus, pediococcus, sherry flor, and brettanomyces) can very easily be purchased by a number of yeast labs. But I thought it would be more fun to culture my own lactobacillus.
WARNING: long-winded, microbiology filled post!
Lactobacillus (henceforth known by it’s more common street name: lacto) can be found virtually everywhere, including inside the human body. Lacto is also what’s used to sour milk into yogurt. In fact, I’ve read that you can even use yogurt as a lacto starter to add directly to beer. I decided instead to use a more practical source: malted barley. (more…)
I had the wonderful pleasure last night of being invited to a sneak peek of Las Vegas’ newest local brewery, CraftHaus. The grand opening is slated for this weekend, and you can find more info on the special event here.
CraftHaus is located in Henderson in The Booze District. For the past year and a half, I’ve been communicating back and forth with owners Dave and Wyndee Forrest, regarding CraftHaus, and its so exciting to finally see it open and brewing beer!
First things first: The beer is fantastic. You’ve likely had some of Dave’s home-brewed batches if you have attended some of the local beer festivals the past couple of years. Now the recipes have been scaled up to 10 barrel batches by head brewer Steph Cope. Steph, the first and only female head brewer in Nevada, did a great job keeping the beers true to Dave’s original recipes, while also fine tuning them to perfection. Evocation Saison in particular was what stood out to me. With only 4.7% alcohol, the beer is very light bodied and dry, but still manages to fit in a lot of Belgian yeast characteristics. I think this beer will be perfect for not only the hot Vegas summers, but the fruity esters, clove phenolics, and dry body would make this perfect to pair with food.
I should also state though that what makes this brewery so exciting isn’t just the beer. Nor is it the clean, modern taproom, filled with board games, a chalkboard, and several cuckoo clocks. It’s the people behind the brewery.
“We don’t want you to think of this as our brewery. We want you to think of this as your brewery.”
-Dave and Wyndee Forrest
Welcome to the very first episode of the Hooked on Hops podcast! On this episode, we drink beer from Golden Road Brewing Company of Los Angeles and discuss our thoughts on the purpose of beer styles, the subjectivity of taste, how consumers navigate the beer aisle, and how to pronounce pamplemousse. These are fantastic beers that I hope you will seek out and enjoy the next chance that you get. More information can be found at goldenroad.la
Expect to see more episodes trickle in periodically over the next few months!
Everyone, the day is finally here! Having covered much of the progress that Dave and Wyndee made to get this point, I am exceptionally excited and happy for both of them. The entire CraftHaus team has worked very hard to get to this point, and they have some awesome beer to finally share with all of you. As an added bonus, if you are present on Saturday, then you may recognize Big Friendly Corporation singer Melissa Marth from her and Emily’s beer review videos. I hope to see you all there!
First, I’d like to congratulate our local chapter of Barley’s Angels on their upcoming one year anniversary! Be sure to attend their anniversary party at Velveteen Rabbit on August 3rd.
The following is a guest post written by Andrea Runco of Barley’s Angels Las Vegas. Read on to learn more about the impact that they are having in Las Vegas, and how you can get involved as well.
You may have seen us floating through various craft beer events, gathered around in a bar, or at delicious beer pairing dinners and tastings, but who are we? Established in August 2013, the ladies-only craft beer organization known as the Barley’s Angels have been gracing local establishments and recruiting more members along the way. With multiple chapters all across the globe, we are completely dedicated to the love of craft beer.
On April 26th, the fine folks at Motley Brews, along with 80+ breweries, descended upon downtown Las Vegas, and unleashed the 2014 Great Las Vegas Festival of Beer. This year’s incarnation was both the biggest, and arguably the best festival to date, boasting more events, breweries, and food than ever before. Downtown was a fantastic setting, giving plenty of space for festival goers to enjoy the event without feeling like a sardine. It was also the perfect location to continue the festivities once the festival had ended. All in all, I hope that this location is utilized again.
I received an email about a Kickstarter campaign that just launched for a home draft system. I thought I’d share it here for anyone who may be interested in this sort of thing.
I personally really like the idea. For many people, this is an easier and cheaper option than purchasing a second refrigerator and setting up a standard draft system. The main drawback here though is that the system holds 1 gallon. If you are the type who likes growler fills, this is an awesome alternative: twice as much beer compared to a typical growler and a much better shelf life. However for homebrewers, only being able to package 1 gallon at a time may be too limiting, depending on your batch size.
Ultimately, I would love to see something like this succeed. The more effort that is put into beer packaging technology, the better it will be for consumers in the long run. I think it would be awesome to go grocery shopping and while I’m there, fill up a gallon of beer to have available on draft at home for the next week.
SYNEK has a very lofty goal of raising $250,000 in one month, so if you like the idea of this, be sure to spread the word. Keep in mind that there are still a few final design elements that are yet to be finalized (ie: refrigeration method). This is great, as it allows the backers to help with designing the type of product that they want to own, but it also could mean a delay in the the final product release.
For more information, and to support SYNEK, visit their Kickstarter page here.
Very excited to see Las Vegas’ newest brewery opening up next month. Henderson is looking to be the future of locally produced alcohol in this city, with not only Bad Beat, but also the Las Vegas Distillery, the winemaking business Grape Expectations, and later this year CraftHaus, all located in the same business park; or “The Booze District” as it is being called.
I can say that what makes me personally most excited about Bad Beat, is the hiring of Weston Barkley as their head brewer. I never personally had any of Weston’s homebrew, but I got to enjoy several of his beers while at Joseph James. Magic Sticke was his creation, and I can say that it is my favorite brown ale and I’m excited to see what he does at Bad Beat. Knowing that he prefers to create easy drinking, flavorful, balanced beers, I have no doubt that this will be reflected at Bad Beat, and you will be hard pressed to have any flavorless, fizzy beer.
Congrats on the grand opening. Full press release can be seen below. (more…)
Contrary to what may be suggested, I do enjoy wine. Typically just the red varieties though. While I am clearly a bit biased, I’ve always believed that beer can pair better with food than wine. That belief mostly stems from my limited knowledge of wine compared to the amount of time that I’ve spent studying beer. Nevertheless, I was very excited to not only attend a wine pairing dinner, but a wine and beer pairing dinner. This allows for a great opportunity to compare differences in how both wine and beer can pair with food.
Last week miX Restaurant, located at the the top of the Mandalay Bay hotel, hosted a dinner with both Firestone Walker Brewing Company and Herman Story Wines. Russell From, owner and winemaker for Herman Story, was present. Russell, along with Mandalay Bay’s Director of Wine, Harley Carbery, represented Team Wine. Team Beer was represented by Matt Brynildson, brewmaster for Firestone Walker, and Mandalay Bay’s Director of Food and Beverage, Sarah Johnson. (more…)