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This week at Beer Hawk University we're going to get prepped to homebrew last week's recipe for the Mosaic golden ale. The time has come!
This week at Beer Hawk University, we're going to take a closer look at the BeerSmith software. This software is vital in creating a fantastic homebrew recipe.
Now that we know what basic ingredients and kit we need to make a beer, it's now onto the fun stuff! Since most of the brewers we've "met" along this trip probably started as homebrewers, it makes sense that we plan our first homebrewing recipe. It's almost brew day!
No matter whether you're the head brewer in one of the world's biggest breweries or the head brewer in your kitchen, the basic brewing process remains the same. Welcome back to BHU as we take you on a brewery tour to discuss the basic brewing equipment needed to brew beer!
Out of all the buzzwords in the beer world, the different names for different types breweries are among the most bewildering. So let's clarify what makes a brewery a micro or a mega, once and for all.
From microbrewery to macrobrewery--and everything in between--there's a need to define exactly what is meant by those terms. Consumers deserve the clarification and breweries depend on these labels. One of the beer industry's most respected bodies, the Brewer's Association (BA), has made it their mission to tell the consumer exactly what it is they're drinking so that the innovative spirit and respect for traditions live on. You can decide for yourself which you prefer, but let's walk through what the BA has decreed.
According to the Brewer's Association (BA) in the USA a microbrewery is defined as a small,
Welcome to Unit 3 of Beer Hawk University. It's time to see things from grain to glass! This unit will focus on the brewing process, ingredients, homebrewing and breweries. Before we get stuck in, let's take a look around at some of our favourite breweries we've toured.
The brewery tour: the thing we all seem to tell ourselves we like to go on. But when it gets down to it, you're really just walking around looking at big shiny tanks in an old warehouse and they all kind of look the same. Some might enjoy staring up at the top of a fermenter, wondering what it might feel like to swan dive into their favourite beer; each to their own. Yet, here are our favourite brewery tours for those who want something more to look at:
We love this brewery tour for
We like ourselves a proper quiz--don't you? Let's end Beer Hawk University Unit Two by looking over the answers from last week's quiz. We're sure you did well, so we'll see you at the pub for a quick one to celebrate?
1.) What's important to do at a beer festival?
A.) Go for 1/3 pints B.) Talk to those pouring your beer
C.) Try something new D.) All of the above
2.) Which is a prominent Belgian beer style?
Between all the sipping and the tasting, we've finally made it to the end of Unit 2 at Beer Hawk University. Let's test our knowledge; we'll cover the answers next week but we're sure you'll all do great!
Ok, Unit 2 was a lot of fun! Who doesn't like "studying" about beer festivals? That was pretty intense reading. Ok, it wasn't, but let's do a quick recap on all we've learned in this unit's lessons anyways. We're almost done with BHU Unit 2!
This week we're wrapping up Unit 2 of Beer Hawk University. We've been enjoying our favourite beer festivals this unit but before we head off we should have a taste of our favourite saison and Belgian quadrupel from the ever-popular Belgian bar. Not a bad way to end a good time!
During Unit 2, we've been discussing international beer cultures as well as tasting beer and starting to identify styles a bit more in-depth. Before we leave this unit--and our favourite beer festivals--let's have a good look at a couple of the most popular Belgian beer styles. The saison and quadrupel (or sometimes called a strong dark ale) are firm favourites among brewers and drinkers alike. Since we celebrated international beer this time, we'd be remiss if we didn't give the Belgians their own time in the sun.
By the end of this lesson you should be able to identify and recommend these two beer styles.
Volunteering at a beer festival gets you so much more than just a free t-shirt and beer tokens. Not only are you somebody everybody loves--because you're serving them beer--but you have the power of suggestion. This week at Beer Hawk University, let's learn about which beer styles you should suggest to those thirsty punters.
Beer festivals can be overwhelming! Sometimes there are hundreds of beers and hundreds of breweries. And just when you think you know what you're headed for--it's gone off only to be replaced with something else! There's goes the plan.
If you're volunteering at a beer festival, you're in prime position to help out those now desperate looking people, forlornly standing there with an empty glass. But many times a patron may not know exactly what they're looking for or even what they like. They throw around words they only partially know the meaning to or want to try something completely
As we've been off enjoying the beer festivals here at Beer Hawk University, there's one thing we should talk more about: what's the difference between cask and keg?
We're always impressed by the stacks and stacks of kegs and casks behind the bars at our favourite beer festivals. With all those hoses, lines and racking--that's a lot of hard work. And that's before the punters make their way in the door! While the volunteer or brewer fills your glass from the kegs or the casks behind them, have you thought about what makes it different? No? Too busy enjoying to wonder about such things? Well, let's talk about what makes cask and keg the same, but different.
Cask beer: that brilliant institution that British beer culture is based on. But just how does a cask ale get from the brewery to your glass? Hint: the publican
We've discussed some major beer producing countries--UK, USA, Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic. This week at Beer Hawk University, we'll discuss the differences between major beer styles so you can pick out a witbier from your Weissbier!
Beer is fascinating for so many reasons not least of which is how beer styles have come to be and how they have adapted and evolved. We'll save the specifics with regards to ingredients for a later date but, for now, let's take some of the world's most popular beer styles and take a deeper look at them. We'll do a cheeky tasting at the end!
The famed IPA. Arguably the most-loved beer style in the world (if we're not counting lagers) the India pale ale is single-handedly responsible for our current infatuation with all things hops. This style came to be in the late
There's a lot of beer to be tasted at a beer festival and we like to keep notes! Welcome to Week 17 of Beer Hawk University where we'll discuss how to make some proper tasting notes and offer up some helpful tasting terminology.
Beer festivals are great not only because of all of the interesting local brews on offer but because, many times, many international breweries come to join in the party to show what's going on in the rest of the beery world. Join Beer Hawk University as we discuss two major beer producing countries and their prominent styles.
As we know, beer has had an impact on cultures around the world for thousands of years. While the importance of our favourite beverage has shifted in some societies over time, let's discuss two of today's most prominent beer nations and their most historic or well-known styles. (We don't want to overwhelm you in one lesson, so we'll get to the USA, the Czech Republic and Germany next week!)
Ok, we'll categorise this under the "No Shit Sherlock" file but we'd be remiss if we didn't talk about our glorious ales first.
A beer festival is a great place to try amazing beers from all around the world. Here in Week 16 of Beer Hawk University, we'll discuss some more of the world's most prominent beer cultures--so we all can have a better understanding of that next international tipple!
Welcome to Unit 2 of Beer Hawk University. Let's move over to one of the best places to do some beery learning: the beer festival! This unit will focus on more beer-tasting terminology, more international beer styles and even the difference between keg and cask dispensing. But first, let's talk about our favourite beer festivals and how to make the best of it. Grab your festival glass, and let's go!
There's no better place to experience all that beer has to offer than the beer festival. It doesn't matter if it's your local CAMRA branch's annual fest or one worth getting on a plane for--like the Great American Beer Festival--the number of different beers just waiting to be poured into that glorious keepsake glass of yours is almost infinite. Well, at least it feels that way when you're a bit blurry at the end of the night.
While a beer fest may seem like a big, beery free-for-all
Well done! Let's end Beer Hawk University Unit One with a quick recap of the answers from last week's quiz (we're confident you did well--great teachers, you know?)
1.) What is the name of the Goddess of Beer?
A.) Maggie B.) Ninkasi
C.) Mother Louse D.) Brewster
Remember that the ancient Sumerians named their goddess of beer Ninkasi.
2.) Which is not a basic flavour that the human
It's all come down to this: weeks of drinking, reading and dreaming about beer and we've finally reached the end of Unit 1 at Beer Hawk University. Answers to this quiz will be revealed next week but we're sure you've got this. You're ready, we're ready, let's do this!
2.) Which is not a basic flavour that the human tongue can taste?
Here we are in the final weeks of Unit 1 at Beer Hawk University. Before we leave the taproom for some of our favourite beer festivals, our Week 10 lesson is an in-depth look at two of the world's favourite styles--the American IPA and the Munich Helles. Let's take everything we've learned from the taproom and have a final taste! (Hint: it'll help on the quiz!)
Throughout Unit 1 we discussed the history of beer, how to best serve, pour and store a beer and what you're looking for when tasting. Here's a succinct look putting that all together for two famous beers which are the standard for their respective styles: Stone IPA and Augustiner Helles.
American IPA (India Pale Ale)
History of the Style:
The American style IPA is quite obviously a direct descendent of the English
Most of us don't think twice about the package that a beer comes in, so long as it gets safely into our glass. For Week 9 of Beer Hawk University, however, we'll take a look at some of the things your favourite taproom considers when it comes to choosing bottle or can.
All the hard work of the brewer will be lost if a beer isn't properly stored before it gets to your glass. In Week 8 of Beer Hawk University we'll discuss how your favourite taproom stores all of that delicious bottled and canned beer before serving it to you.
Now that we've mastered the art of the perfect pour, let's backtrack a little bit and talk about how that delicious beer you're enjoying should be taken care of before it gets to your glass. Some beers are perfect for aging and some should be enjoyed as fresh as possible. So what's what?
Generally speaking, beers with lots of hops--IPAs, Pale Ales, Bitters and the like--should be consumed as quickly as possible. The flavours and character from the hops deteriorate quickly and if not polished off soon you'll be left with a malty, stale beverage. Certainly not what
We've been discussing how to taste beer but in Week 7 of Beer Hawk University we'll be going over how a great taproom properly serves a beer so that we can get the most of its fantastic flavour. Serving temperature, glassware and even the pour itself counts!
The brewing team has worked their behinds off designing recipes, buying ingredients, shoveling spent grain and babysitting temperatures all so that we can enjoy a flawless product. Yet, all that hard work would go down the proverbial and literal drain if, at the last second, it hasn’t been served properly. A great brewery taproom has trained their team how a beer should be served so let’s go over how they make sure they don’t rile the brewer.
We drink with our eyes first, believe it or not. And it won’t matter if you’ve got
All the hard work of the brewer will be lost if a beer isn't properly stored before it gets to your glass. In Week 8 of Beer Hawk University we'll discuss how your favourite taproom takes care of all that delicious bottled and canned beer before serving it to you.
Week 6 of Beer Hawk University will focus on the widely varied and mostly undefineable ale. Most brewing cultures have their own version of an ale and, today, you won't find a taproom in all the land that won't have at least 10 on the bar. But what, exactly, is an ale?
We discussed this a bit more in depth in Week Two but if lagers depend on lager yeast strains then, you guessed it, ales require ale yeast strains. There are hundreds of ale yeast strains all doing their bit to impart scores of flavours to your beer. While these strains may differ in the end result, by and large these so-called ale yeasts are considered "top-fermenting" as they indeed rise to the top during fermentation. Ale yeast strains typically like to do their job
For Week 5 of Beer Hawk University we'll be discussing the gorgeously refreshing and sparkling clean lager. What it lacks in pizzaz it makes up for in precision and there are many fine examples to be found in taprooms the world over. Long live the lager!
As mentioned in Week 2, lagers depend on lager yeast strains. These guys are “bottom-fermenting” and rather stoically prefer to ferment at colder temperatures—about 7-13?C. One of the results of colder fermentation is that it takes longer, a lot longer, than warmer fermentation and the yeast eats up virtually all of the fruity flavours called esters as well as other flavours for which the yeast is responsible. In turn, the brewer’s patience is rewarded with a clean,
We're here. We're in the taproom, we've picked our beer and we're settling in to our seats. Now here's where things get interesting at Beer Hawk University because, this week, we learn how to taste beer! We'll be discussing some best-practices in order to make sure you're appreciating all you can. Cheers!
Sure, we all know how to taste beer but how can we really taste it? It's a bit more than just pouring one into a glass and tipping your head back. Knocking back a pint is all well and good, yet if you really want to taste beer there’s a way to do it and things to look for.
Before we get started we should take a minute to discuss what's going on in your head (and face and mouth and nose) when tasting beer:
Your tongue is covered with over 10,000 taste buds. Each one is sensitive and responds to a particular set of chemicals which works its way through our sensory system and comes
Welcome back! Hope you enjoyed last week's overview of what's in that glass of beer you've been waiting to have. You all did very well and have now earned a proper drink. (Oh wait, you have been already?). This week we're crossing the threshold of one of beer's most sacred spaces: the taproom. You can now officially enjoy this amazing beverage.
There are no better places to drink than in the taproom of the brewery itself. There’s been an explosion in the taproom in the UK recently, and it makes perfect sense. Breweries are realising not only can they make money straight out of the brewery, but it can really be an expression of the brand itself. Their customers will experience the brand as a whole, rather than a label on a can or a short visit to a website.
Yet for us, the drinker, there are few better places
Welcome class! We're going to begin our beery adventure in earnest this week. Unit 1 will be set in most people's first stop on the path to beer greatness: The taproom. Yet, before you pull up a stool at the bar there are four very important things you should know before taking a sip: what's in my glass?
As mentioned in Lesson 1, beer has taken a long meandering route to get to what it looks and tastes like today. While in eons past pretty much anything was chucked in a vessel with the hopes it would come out somewhat palatable on the other side, today is a different story. Thanks to the discovery of yeast by Louis Pasteur, advanced kilning methods by Daniel Wheeler, different chemical makeups of water and the happy discovery by the Germans that hops made it all taste better we have modern day beer. And it doesn't look or taste like slop.
Hello! Welcome to Beer Hawk University. We’re going to spend the next umpteen weeks getting really geeky about beer. We’re going to learn about each little bit that goes into a glass, how to evaluate beer, what to eat with it, how to store it, pour it and enjoy it. We’ll also delve into current events, modern trends and even give a shout-out to some of our favourite breweries, taprooms and beer festivals. Before we get into that however...
Mother Louse image courtesy of The British Museum. Logo added.
For Lesson One we're going to look at a brief overview of the history of beer. We can’t move forward until we know where we’ve come from. With thousands of years and billions
Every Thursday we're releasing a fun lesson that covers everything you need to know about beer. From what you're drinking to where you should be drinking.
Be on the lookout next week for the debut of our new beer adventure: Beer Hawk U! That’s right, it’s our very own course on almost everything you need to know about the world’s greatest beverage.
For more weeks than there are taps at your local (well, in some cases many, many more) we’re going to go on beer excursions, drink some of our favourites together and get right down to the nitty gritty of what makes beer so amazing.
Whether this is your beery Freshers’ Week or you could don a tweed jacket and teach the course yourself we’re going to have some fun together—all online! So come along and join us on our journal every week and be a part of the team. Let’s go B-H-U!
Perhaps, perhaps not – but we’ll certainly see a lot of super-smooth nitro beers over the next year. We chat to pioneers Left Hand Brewing to find out exactly why the nitro process makes beer taste amazing
What is nitro beer? Nitrogen is tasteless, odourless, colourless, and inert. It’s the impact of nitrogen on the mouthfeel and texture of beer that changes the flavour perception. Because it has minimal solubility it forms lots of tiny bubbles in your glass, in stark difference to larger CO2 bubbles. So when the beer is dispensed, a cascade of these tiny nitrogen bubbles is unleashed, gliding upwards to reveal the body and build a tight, thick head. Nitro beer is a great exercise in how changing one parameter, the gas, can affect the whole beer-drinking experience.
Why does Nitro work for Milk Stout?
Adnams was established 1872, but it wasn’t until 2008 when they announced they were installing a distillery. A few eyes blinked, but they went onto win a cocktail of awards, including the World’s Best Gin. Yet Adnams’ foray into the spirit world isn’t unprecedented. Across in the US, Rogue, Ballast Point, Dogfish Head, Ska and Anchor have all been distilling, and now BrewDog is getting in on the act with Lone Wolf. Hoptical caught up with a couple of brewers-turned-distillers who rank among the best. Make ours a double...
From an industry perspective it seems that the spirit world and the beer world rarely meet.
A notable coming-together is when an imperial stout is poured into a second-use bourbon barrel for aging. After a year in these barrels – previously used for whisky, tequila or even mescal – the flavours and aromas in the wood are imparted into the beer itself, adding richness and recapturing some of the character of what wen
We like beer. We like food. We LOVE to put them together. On a weekend evening there's nothing better than grilling a steak and cracking open something dark. Our Beer Sommelier Maggie Cubbler talks to a top chef for advice
We turned to Farmison & Co. for some input on how to grill a great steak. With their master butchers, Michelin-quality butchery and unrelenting commitment to the great British farmer, we trust them to know how to do it better than anybody else. We had a quick catch up with Farmison & Co.’s Executive Chef, Jeff Baker, who gave us his tips for cooking the perfect ribeye. Have a read, get your steak and grab a beer: we’ll be waiting for the invite...
METHOD1. Remember to remove your steaks out of the packaging, pat dry and bring to room temperature.
The India Pale Ale: this is the flagship beer for craft beer. The history of the IPA is rooted in England in the 19th century (but it's notoriously hard to find out how it first started). What is clear, is that the IPA is stronger and more bitter than a pale ale. The US version, that has become wildly popular, was brewed with local hops that gave it grapefruit, pine, and citrus flavours that we love so much. Here are a few we love at the moment.
Wow there’s a lot of flavour in this transatlantic beer. It’s been dry-hopped three separate times, and, on first sip, it’s a full on West Coast IPA – loads of hop aromas of citrus, resin and grapefruit, but they are curbed by a malty sweetness that is reminiscent of caramel cake. A f
Pilsner is the beer that took over the planet. Its light, crisp, clear taste, with an earthy hint of Saaz hops, has become the most common style of beer worldwide. And on a hot summer’s day, nothing on Earth beats a world-class Pilsner.
Pilsner traditionally comes from the town of Pilsen, located in what is in the Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, an area renowned for its brewing quality since the late 1200s. Like Burton- up-Trent, it was the quality of water that initially made it such a great place for brewing, although it wasn’t until the 18th century that brewers began to record the use of bottom-fermenting yeasts – one of the two defining factors of a lager. The other is that it has been ‘lagered’, which literally means ‘cold-stored’, and refers to a method of making beer rather than a specific style. It was on Oct
Tasting beer is a very personal experience – we’re all different after all – but here at Beer Hawk we have our opinions. Here’s some of our favourite beers right now...
Brewed (obviously!) using large amounts of wheat, wheat beers come in several forms. Alongside varieties like German Hefeweizens and Berliner Weisse, a couple of the more prominent styles are the Belgian Witbiers and the
Classic American Wheat. While each style is brewed with a significant amount of wheat, other factors such as the standard yeast strain or hops used can significantly change the characteristics of the style.
The Celis White is an award-winning, classic witbier with a convoluted history. The original founder of the Hoegaarden brewery, Pierre Celis, took his recipe
Beautiful flavours of banana, bubblegum and tart citrus are complemented by sweet biscuity malts.
Brewed with juniper berries and whole lemons, this session IPA features prominent notes of lemon.
Always on draught in Beer Hawk’s local, this light session beer has refreshing citrus flavours.
I am a beer you will scrape and save and queue and turn blue for; I am a beer for which anticipation, impatience, hysteria and fear mix and match within the soul when thought of. I am a beer you will swoon over, fall in love with and give out signals to the universe that this is why you drink beer.
I have many names — Cantillon Zwanze, Dark Lord, Kentucky Breakfast Stout, various manifestations of Bourbon County Stout, Pliny the Younger, Un-Human Cannonball, DIPA v3 (plus v4 and v5), Surly Darkness.
Maybe once in a while I am also a special release blended and bonded and aged and hounded and brought forth into the world. Tonight as I write I am Wild Beer’s The Blend Summer 2015, gueuze-like in my spritziness, sweet and sour, citrus on the edge of ruin, but bought back to make the palate jump with joy. I was only available last summer and t
Belgium is the fatherland of quality beer-brewing. The country has a huge variety of beer styles, from well-established pale ales, saisons, tripels and dubbels to the more unusual Flemish sours, lambics and gueuzes. It is also, of course, the spiritual home of Trappist beer, claiming six of the eleven breweries in the world where Trappist monks oversee the beer making (and usually cheese too) to support the charitable works of their monastery.
Trappist beers aren’t beer styles per se, but to be described as such they have to be brewed either by monks or within the walls of a Trappist monastery. Today the Belgian beer scene itself is highly regionalised. You shouldn’t impose any such constraints on yourself, of course – with such a rich brewing history, Belgian beers are an essential addition to your fridge.
BELGIAN BEER GLOSSARY:
Adrian Tierney-Jones talks to the key players in the new wave of the new wave.
Now is the time of our content when it comes to the British beer scene. Whether it’s a deep and soul-devouring hop narcissistic IPA, a porter or stout whose darkness the truly devout can get lost in, or a ringing, chiming, zinging, thrilling sour, we are living through perhaps the most exciting time for drinking beer since the end of the 19th century (and don’t let any self-appointed beer historian tell you otherwise).
That Germany is a great beer country is indisputable. This is the country of Pilsners and Kellerbiers, Kolschs and Weissebiers. It’s where beer is served in foaming steins at tables of thirsty drinkers. The cornerstone of brewing is the Reinheitsgebot, a Purity law that celebrates its 500th birthday in 2016. It dictated that only water, barley and hops could be used - yeast was added when we knew what it was. But far from being restrictive, the variety of German beers is astonishing and occasionally bizarre. Here are the most important...
Four Essential Beers
Mittenwalder Edel Marzen / 5.3%
A fantastic example of the Marzen/Oktoberfest style.
A legendary dark and aromatic German beer with a rich a
It’s the big one - the competition that every brewer of real ale wants to win. Every year at CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival, the Champion Bottled Beer of Britain is announced.
The winner this year is one of the most interesting beers we’ve ever had: Harvey’s Imperial Double Stout, a worthy victor. Beer Hawk’s co-founder Chris France was one of the judges. He says: ‘This year’s panel really struggled to pick a winner. In the end Harvey’s edged it due to the complexity and quality of the flavours going on, but others like Mordue, Wye Valley and Otley’s Oxymoron were all battling hard. So another great event and nice to see so many more dark beers coming through this year.’
Beer judging is a very serious business... no really! Each competition has its own criteria and rules. CAMRA’s guidelines state the following: ‘The underlying question for CAMRA events is ‘Is this beer true to style?’’ To aid with that, judges are