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Showing posts from July, 2012

In Praise of macro brewers

Craftophiles and micro brewers, mutually feeding their respective rhetorics, enjoy throwing shit at the macro breweries. They accuse them of being greedy mega corporations, whose only interest is to produce profit for their shareholders, and through the brain detergent that is their marketing they sell their shit beer, full of adjuncts and chemical additives, while defecating on proper beer culture. Let's be honest, this is is something that most of us, at some point or another, have said, and not without reason. Some of the business practices of the large brewers are not too ethical and should be condemned. But, how ethical is it to, knowingly or not, sell an evidently flawed product? And, aren't micro breweries also commercial enterprises whose purpose is to generate profits for their owners? And isn't that the reason why some of them will sell a beer even though it's contaminated? The stuff about quality, adjuncts , etc. has been discussed enough. Regarding &quo

Bless the differences

School Teacher, Tram Driver, Journalist, Mechanic, Chemist, Brewer, PR Consultant, Manager, Writer, Waiter, Librarian, Civil Servant, Restaurant Owner, Trader, Translator, Engineer, Sommelier, Entrepreneur, IT Specialist, Designer, Sales Representative, Publisher, Tax Auditor, Student, Travel Agent, School Director, Builder, Punk Rocker, Carpenter, Pensioner, Pathologist, Window Cleaner. Those are the professions and trades of some of my friends and other people I often hang out with. Their ages range from twentycouple to past sixty. Their nationalities, Argentina, Chile, Spain, Italy, England, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, United States, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, Germany, Wales... The only thing, at all, that I have in common with all these people, and that these people have in common among themselves, is beer. Some earn a living out of making and/or selling it or writing about it. To others, beer is a passion, a hobby, while the rest "only" likes

Friday Morning Musings

For some time, I've been calling brewers to be more open about their products , to tell us more about the ingredients that make a beer, instead of putting empty words or fantastic tales on the labels, because I believe that would help us make a more informed purchase. No I'm not so sure... The other day I fancied opening the bottle of Otley 08 my Welsh friend David brought me last May. The beer is superb, complex, intriguing, it doesn't need to scream, or even speak in a loud voice, to surprise you and absorb your attention. At one point, there in the back, I felt the distinctive notes of peated malts. I went to the kitchen to fetch the bottle to see if there was any mention of them. Let's just say that the information about the ingredients is as minimalist as the branding. I complained to myself a little and had another sip. It was then that I realised that I was feeling those malts, or at least I was feeling something that strongly reminded me of them and that i

Filtered, pasteurised = Craft

There are not few among the craftophiles who believe that craft beer should not be pasteurised or even filtered. Frankly, I find it hard to understand, in particular, the opposition to filtering, of any kind. To me it is as reasonable as saying that, in order to be considered "craft", a beer has to be of a certain colour, have at least X IBU's and no less than a certain percentage of ABV. It wouldn't make any sense, would it? The only reason someone has been able to give me was that a filtered beer will not evolve and therefore it's not craft. If by "evolve" we understand "improve" then this person doesn't seem to know very much what they are talking about. Without conditioning, unfiltered beers, once matured, will not evolve, quite the opposite. In the e-mails about this topic I exchanged with Stan Hieronymus, author of Brew Like a Monk , he explained that dead yeasts in unfiltered beers will rupture and produce some off-flavours. H

A Few Quick Reviews (III)

Man, I love writing this round up of reviews (or rather, Ctrl+Cing and Ctrl+Ving it). And you seem to love reading it, too. And if you don't, well, I've got bad news, because here it is again. Matuška Hellcat Imperial IPA . Those elderflower and blueberry flavoured candy notes were sexier than Markéta Bělonohá (Google that name) Achel Blonde : Finally a Blonde that speaks to me clearly and affectionately while I sip it during a summer rain. I like it when a beer has a contrast between nose and taste, and Ossian does just that, flowers and tropical fruit on one side, herbs, grain and silk on the other. The nicest bottled Golden Ale I've had so far. Thanks Alan! Kocour IPA (@Kulový blesk): Libeček is not the kind of herbal note I like in my beer.... M&S Staffordshire IPA : Perhaps, what "normal" IPA's should be like, instead of what they have become like. (make of that what you want) Schlammersdorfer Landbier : Though a bit gassy, it deliv

The Session #65: Who's lonenly?

Here I am, once again in The Session . The thing that has made me take part this time is that going to the pub alone, the topic proposed by the host  Booze Beats and Bites , besides being quite interesting, still carries a bit of a stigma, a very similar one early drinking does. It seems that for some people getting absolutely hammered with friends in the evening is healthier and/or more civilised than a quiet pint or two alone in the morning. Hard to understand, pointless to argue. I don't care what those people think, I enjoy going alone to a pub or café to have a beer whatever the time of the day might be. But being alone doesn't mean being lonely. If I go to one of my locals, chances are that I will find someone I know, someone I can chat with, at least the staff. If I go to one of those pubs that I know, but don't know me , or a new pub, I can rely on some good reading material or seek the company of my own thoughts, who can be quite fun, actually. One the other han

Selected readings: June

We are already into the second half of the year and... Well I can't think of any other bollocks to open this month's edition of everyone's favourite section. Martyn Cornell shares with us a fascinating history of Guinness . It's full of gossip and, as it's often the case, it's also juicier and more fun than the myths. Speaking about myths, Pilsner Urquell likes spreading them left and right and Des de Moor wonders why the makers of one of the most important beers in history aren't a bit more proud of their legacy. Zak Avery analyses in some depth the way he comsumes beer and the beers he consumes and the result is an interesting graph , which, if adapted to each one's regional beer realities, wouldn't change too much. Some of the comments are also worth reading. Velký Al deals with the "hand made" falacy , or rather, with how little sense it makes to believe that a "hand made" beer is by nature better and that automatisa

Missing the point

"industrial beers have adjuncts that shouldn't be used" "'it's rubbish because it's brewed with adjuncts" "it'd be good if it wasn't for the adjuncts" "craft beers are good and natural because they don't have adjuncts" "we are craft brewers, we don't use adjuncts" Dear brewers (and craftophiles), I'd be very grateful if you, once and for all, cut it out with all that because it's nothing but a big pile of steaming, stinking bullshit (bullshit, that I must admit, I used to believe ). The funniest thing about this is that there is a huge number of great beers, the mention of which can give boners to many a beer geek, that are brewed with "adjuncts". But of course, if, say, DeMolen fancies using maize in their new (yet another) Imperial Stout brewed in (yet another) collaboration with an American craft brewer, they are doing it because of the profile the grain will give to the bee