Category: Style

Long lost extinct beers

A LIKE DINOSAURS, the dodo and disco, some beer goes extinct, too.

It’s a result of evolution, of course: The fittest survive while the weak disappear. Typically, the lost ones were obscure regional varieties that fell under the weight of widely distributed brands. Others were best-sellers that simply lost favor as tastes and customs changed.

Dortmund Adambier, Pennsylvania Swankey, Grodziski, … Read the rest

Green and bear it

I LIKE MY COFFEE black, my whiskey straight and my hefeweizen without a lemon slice. But I’m a total sucker for that green syrup they pour into Berliner Weisse.

It’s called woodruff, made from a sweet, aromatic herb, and it’s usually served as a dessert topping. How anyone thought to spike a wheat beer with the stuff is beyond me. … Read the rest

Braggot is a honey of a beer

LAST COLUMN, I mentioned that one of my favorite beers of Philly Beer Week was the homemade braggot that George Hummel of Home Sweet Homebrew served at Opening Tap. That had a few of my readers scratching their heads, “Brag-what?”

It’s not a common beer style, and some will argue it’s not really beer at all.

Braggot is beer mixed … Read the rest

Rye Not?

RYE IS A dirty grain – bitter and black and somber-looking. It is unfit for human consumption, except during famine. It is very “disagreeable to the stomach.”

This point of view is not mine, for I count myself among those delicatessen faithful who kneel in the presence of pastrami piled high between slices of rye.

Instead, these are the learned … Read the rest

Oyster stout edges into popularity

“HE WAS A BOLD MAN,” wrote 18th-century Irish satirist Jonathan Swift, “that first eat an oyster.” But no less bold was the first brewer who added oysters to his stout. After all, salty, squishy and arousing are not adjectives one normally associates with beer.

And, yet, lately we’re seeing an unexpected surge in the quirky style known as oyster stout:… Read the rest

In spring, our fancy turns to…spring beers

WHAT DOES the label mean when it says “spring beer”?

I know what it used to mean: bock. Bavaria’s seasonal beer of Lent. Brewed dark, malty and strong to sustain fasting 17th-century monks, bock beer’s annual appearance on the shelves stemmed from a longstanding historic tradition.

These days? “Spring beer” means anything a crafty copywriter can come up with, which … Read the rest

The rise and fall of mighty bock

IMAGINE THE SCENE: The winter has ended, the sun is shining and the sidewalks are packed with milling crowds. A stream of beer trucks parades down the avenue. Celebrities judge a beauty pageant for goats in the city park. Brass bands play Strauss in outdoor gardens.

And a quarter-million barrels of strong, dark, malty lager are about to be tapped … Read the rest

This St. Patty’s day, forget green – go for Irish red

ST. PATRICK’S DAY is upon us, and you’re going to hear a lot of people insist that if you really want to be Irish for a day, you’ve got to drink black-as-ink stout. Either that, or green-dyed beer.

Here’s another color for you to consider on this holy day of beer drinking: red, as in Irish red ale.

Hundreds of … Read the rest

Seductive and perfidious – it must be Scottish

WHEN IN Scotland, don’t ask what’s in the haggis, don’t ask what’s underneath the kilts and, for god’s sake, don’t ask for a Scotch ale.

You’re going to get a strange look from the bartender and then . . . who knows? He might pour you anything from¬†Belhaven 60 Shilling, which at 3 percent alcohol is light-bodied and … Read the rest

Get ready to toast a new/old kind of brew

OUT WITH the old, and in with the new – it’s time for some new beer in the new year. Here are two for 2011.

A national survey for Samuel Adams beers claims that more than 60 percent of men prefer to toast with beer versus champagne, if given the choice. I think it would have been 100 percent if … Read the rest