BEER Thread!

Sparhawk wrote:
Norfair wrote:

I had pizza here and while there I had one of these on tap:

IMAGE(http://pictures.polandforall.com/images/polish-beer-zywiec.jpg)

Very delicious.

Recognized the label. Had that one as well. Got it gifted from someone I helped out at work.
Very nice beer indeed sir!

While it's decent, it's really nothing to write home about. It's your standard Eastern European lager with a nice bitterness and light taste. The problem is that most of the large Eastern European breweries are owned by either Heineken (Zywiec is) or South African Breweries (Czech legendary Pilsner Urquell, the first lager beer) which makes most of their brands across the countries here taste pretty uniform. The two companies practically own the markets between them in the most countries (they make up 96%(!!!) percent of the overall production here in Slovakia) which makes for a sad situation in the beer market today. Luckily, small breweries are popping up recently in most of the countries and they make very unique brews. If some goodjer shows up in Eastern Europe I'll happily provide a small beer tasting tour

(Sorry UCRC, I don't mean to berate Polish beer, it was just a nice launching point for a rant about quality of beer in our region )

Heineken is owned by ABInbev (crossed out because this may be bad information). See the last page for my thoughts on them.

Macrobreweries do provide consistency. I like that every Pilsner Urquell (ABInbev) or Peroni (SABMillerCoors) I drink is the same as the last. I don't like that I will sometimes have to throw out a craft beer due to infection in the lines (a non sour beer tasting sour, for example) or poor bottling practices. In other words, they have a place. And yes, my friends who visit Ireland swear the Guinness is different there, and my friends who lived in the Czech Republic insist the Pilsner Urquell is different there, which is fine. Macrobreweries have their place.

Related -- it's interesting to think that the three largest American breweries are the Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams), Yuengling, and Sierra Nevada. Everything larger is owned by either South African Brewing or Inbev.

I definitely agree, Seth, that the big'uns are great for consistency, generally good beer (even if generic) and availability. What I wanted to add was that it's quite difficult to get your hands on anything else around here. The problem also is that they buy up traditional breweries and optimize them - cut down reheat cycles, for example, or use the same strain of yeast across all brands. Suddenly your tried & tested beer of choice tastes differently - not necessarily worse, just differently.
They for example cook a sort of "beer syrup" which is then diluted to the required alcohol level by water in local breweries. While it gives totally consistent products, it also strips down any semblance of difference from a lot of brands.

This is still my beer of choice, however, despite the fact that it's now produced in our local brewery "under license and supervision of the original brewmasters". It's still good.

IMAGE(http://strategie.hnonline.sk/images/gallery/dennespravy/2009/vpk_premium_inov.jpg)

I haven't had Kozel -- a buddy of mine likes it a lot, but is partial to a beer that has a translated name of the Golden Pheasant. Those lesser known Czech pilseners are tougher to find in my hometown, though.

I don't think you can fault macrobreweries for want to increase their profits; such is the march of capitalism. If they sat idly by and let local brewers cut millions of dollars from their bottom line, they would be bad stewards of the business.

What I don't like -- and we're obviously in agreement, here -- is the method by which Macros increase their profits. Historically, they are more interested in the brand than they are the quality. Successful, small breweries tend to develop a reputation for delicious beer; take that name and marry it to the marketing and distribution machine of a large brewer and you have a huge, untapped, thirsty market ready to pay high prices for a good beer.

Inevitably, the increased demand means there is a much higher incentive to cut operating costs -- which you mentioned. It's natural. That's why certain breweries -- Dogfish Head, Short's, and Dark Horse, for example, have made it clear that instead of risking their quality, they are literally pulling out of certain markets so that they do not need to make the choice that Goose Island made.

Obviously, I feel that that's the right choice. It may suck that I can't drink Yuengling here in Michigan, and it may suck that Dogfish Head's perfect 90 minute IPA becomes a once-in-a-great while appearance. But if the alternative is to have the discussion "yeah, but back in 2009, this beer was so different so and much better..." I'll take the rarity any day of the week.

Seth wrote:

But if the alternative is to have the discussion "yeah, but back in 2009, this beer was so different so and much better..." I'll take the rarity any day of the week.

Indeed. Becoming a beer hipster is not an option.

Seth wrote:

What I don't like -- and we're obviously in agreement, here -- is the method by which Macros increase their profits. Historically, they are more interested in the brand than they are the quality. Successful, small breweries tend to develop a reputation for delicious beer; take that name and marry it to the marketing and distribution machine of a large brewer and you have a huge, untapped, thirsty market ready to pay high prices for a good beer.

Just a random bit of info people may find interesting. My father used to be a chemical technician for South African Breweries in the late '70s. At the time the mass produced beers took 3 weeks to make, while Amstel Lager, a Dutch brand always punted as a 'slow brewed' beer took 4 weeks. While he was there a new process was introduced that brought the times down to 3 and 4 days respectively, it probably even faster now.

It's pretty wild, but speeding up the process would make it far more profitable. Also, all the standard beer brands were essentially identical, but each would be flavoured just before bottling, one would have more hops, one a bit of caramel, etc etc.

Seth wrote:

I haven't had Kozel -- a buddy of mine likes it a lot, but is partial to a beer that has a translated name of the Golden Pheasant. Those lesser known Czech pilseners are tougher to find in my hometown, though.

Golden Pheasant is actually a Slovak beer, i.e. from my country (woot!) and a Heineken crown jewel here. I find its taste a bit mild, but it's a really good beer nonetheless. At least I'm assuming it's this one:

IMAGE(http://pivo.php5.sk/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Zlaty-Bazant-znak.gif)

Now I'm hoping that someone will pick up an Austrian tradition of brewing wheat beer, which I fell in love with in the Alps. The bottled ones are not exactly the same experience, although there are a scant few pubs that offer it on tap.

Also, I just found a guy who started to brew beer at home, fell in love with brewing, sold his house (lives with parents-in-law now), rented a pub and brews his own beer there, selling it right there without pasteurization, CO2 etc. I'm planning to do an interview with him and I could just hear passion flowing over the phone as we talked and negotiated a meeting. Beer is fun. There is just so much I'm looking forward to learn: sourcing hops and malt, maintaining a consistency, economic viability of small-scale brewing etc. Will report here if there is an interest.

That's the one! they actually translate it here:

IMAGE(http://www.beeraday.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/goldenpheasantlabel.jpg)

I often dream of doing what your friend is doing. Maybe my real issue with the Big Name Breweries is that beer to me is a community event, and when you mass produce it, you extract some of that feeling of community from the experience.

That may be one of the more hipstery things I've said; I realize you can still have community in a smoky barroom while you drink your Bud Light, but it's not that same as getting a taste of a new beer that the bartender / master brewer / owner just put on, and talking about which farmer he bought the barley and hops from**, and which beef farmer he sold the wort to. It's just a different atmosphere, and it's one I prefer.

**In my state, it's still tough to find local hops, but it's a fast growing industry.

Norfair wrote:

I had pizza here and while there I had one of these on tap:

IMAGE(http://pictures.polandforall.com/images/polish-beer-zywiec.jpg)

Very delicious.

Polish beers are really underappreciated, in my view. Then again, I think most Polish things are underappreciated.

wanderingtaoist wrote:

(Sorry UCRC, I don't mean to berate Polish beer, it was just a nice launching point for a rant about quality of beer in our region )

Hate all you want. I wish Okocim was the baseline in the US.

I bought this beer several weeks ago; 12 bucks for a British pint of beer is a bit high for me, so I was saving it for......well, today, I suppose.

IMAGE(http://www.ratebeer.com/beerimages/98771.jpg)

(not my photo)

GREAT beer. Peanut + coffee + chocolate + alcohol. Well worth the 12 bucks and I hasten to the store to replace it.

Great job, HaandBryggeriet.

Seth wrote:

Heineken is owned by ABInbev (crossed out because this may be bad information).

For even letting the thought linger that Heineken might be affiliated to a partly Belgian beer producer, you are now my mortal enemy.

dejanzie wrote:
Seth wrote:

Heineken is owned by ABInbev (crossed out because this may be bad information).

For even letting the thought linger that Heineken might be affiliated to a partly Belgian beer producer, you are now my mortal enemy.

I never updated my post, but yeah. I deserve a severe flogging for thinking Heineken was a subsidiary of ABInbev.

There really should be a beer history class available to people.

Or, hell, a full-on brewing/distilling degree course. Part chemistry, part business, part art, part history.

Seth wrote:
dejanzie wrote:
Seth wrote:

Heineken is owned by ABInbev (crossed out because this may be bad information).

For even letting the thought linger that Heineken might be affiliated to a partly Belgian beer producer, you are now my mortal enemy.

I never updated my post, but yeah. I deserve a severe flogging for thinking Heineken was a subsidiary of ABInbev.

There really should be a beer history class available to people.

Or, hell, a full-on brewing/distilling degree course. Part chemistry, part business, part art, part history.

Like this.

haha. Awesome! I did not know things like that existed!

f*ck, I think I need a physics and some chemistry before I can apply.

Granville Island Brewing used to be a decent microbrewery, right around the corner from where I work. Then they were bought by Molson Coors and now you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. Actually, I don't think their beers have suffered too much. Earlier this week a friend brought over a bottle of their new Imperial IPA. It was alright, though I'd be hard-pressed to distinguish it much from their regular Brockton IPA. My friend thought it had more caramel flavour, but I wasn't overly impressed. It hid its 8% well, but even being a limited edition, I wouldn't choose it over many other IPAs.

IMAGE(http://www3.telus.net/public/me8428/files/imperialipa.jpg)

Hey, any beer the Empire likes is okay with me.

IMAGE(http://www.boilr.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/darth-vader-guinness.jpg)

boogle wrote:

f*ck, I think I need a physics and some chemistry before I can apply.

Serious brewers have some pretty decent o-chem chops, at least in the compounds and reactions that take place in malting, mashing, and fermenting.
The killer for me would be the thermal physics. That sh*t's like a jigsaw where the pieces are partial differential equations.

Oh my. The ludicrousness arrived in the mail from Scotland.

IMAGE(http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5103/5600487241_eb6896afc5.jpg)

Extreme close-up!
IMAGE(http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5221/5600487717_414b48c08b.jpg)

At $170 including shipping, this is by far and away the most expensive 'beer' I'll ever purchase. I'm having a bunch of interested friends come round, chip in a few bucks each, and we'll get to tasting.

Needless to say, I'll report back.

Jonman, I am very excited for your words on those.

Oh man, I love Brew Dog. I'm so pissed that the local stores don't carry Punk IPA anymore.

You should clone the Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA. Paleo and I made a batch of it, and it was possibly the most delicious beer ever.

Going to crack this tonight. I'm planning on brewing my first Belgian, a Golden Strong Ale so I figured I should start sampling some.

Will probably drink an Orval this weekend as well.. my favorite Belgian and I only have 2 left. Going to have to clone that one as well!

Kegging my NB Ranger IPA clone tomorrow, so hopefully it will be basically carbed to have a pint before the weekend is over.

IMAGE(http://mesparolessenvolent.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/unibroue.jpg)

KrazyTacoFO wrote:

You should clone the Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA. Paleo and I made a batch of it, and it was possibly the most delicious beer ever.

Recipe?

Edit - Is this close? Apparantly this is right from the brewer.

The Maharaja
OG: 1.090
AE: 1.012

Grist:
Pale 2-Row – 93.8%
Victory Malt – 3.1%
C-120 – 3.1%

Hops:
60min – Columbus (13.9% AA) – 1.09 oz
30min – Columbus (13.9% AA) – 1.09 oz
0min – Centennial (13.9% AA) – 2.18 oz
0min – Simcoe (11.4% AA) – 2.18 oz
Dry-Hop – Simcoe – 4.38 oz
Dry-Hop – Centennial – 2.18 oz
Dry-Hop – Chinook – 2.18 oz

Yeast – California
Ferm Temp – 74F

El-Producto wrote:
KrazyTacoFO wrote:

You should clone the Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA. Paleo and I made a batch of it, and it was possibly the most delicious beer ever.

Recipe?

Edit-http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/maha...

Is that close?

Pretty close. We used Columbus hops instead of mostly Centennial, no Zeus hops and the Yeast we used was WLP099 Super High Gravity. It ended up being ~12.5% but didn't have an alcoholly taste to it or being real citrusy, overall it was extremely well balanced. The recipe we used is in this book.

**edit- Dang you and your editing Mr. Product. Actually that's spot on.

KrazyTacoFO wrote:
El-Producto wrote:
KrazyTacoFO wrote:

You should clone the Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA. Paleo and I made a batch of it, and it was possibly the most delicious beer ever.

Recipe?

Edit-http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/maha...

Is that close?

Pretty close. We used Columbus hops instead of Centennial, no Zeus hops and the Yeast we used was WLP099 Super High Gravity. It ended up being ~12.5% but didn't have an alcoholly taste to it or being real citrusy, overall it was extremely well balanced. The recipe we used is in this book.

**edit- Dang you and your editing Mr. Product. Actually that's spot on.

Nice. I think I'll do 3 gallons.. that's a BIG ASS BEER that I'd like to drink fresh.

Thanks!!! I've been tossing around the idea of a pliny clone, but I like that this has some more malt complexity to it. I don' thave Victory, but I'll just toast some 2-row.

BTW, Is that book good?

Nice. I have no access to the commercial version in Canada, so cloning isn't that important.

El-Producto wrote:
KrazyTacoFO wrote:
El-Producto wrote:
KrazyTacoFO wrote:

You should clone the Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA. Paleo and I made a batch of it, and it was possibly the most delicious beer ever.

Recipe?

Edit-http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/maha...

Is that close?

Pretty close. We used Columbus hops instead of Centennial, no Zeus hops and the Yeast we used was WLP099 Super High Gravity. It ended up being ~12.5% but didn't have an alcoholly taste to it or being real citrusy, overall it was extremely well balanced. The recipe we used is in this book.

**edit- Dang you and your editing Mr. Product. Actually that's spot on.

Nice. I think I'll do 3 gallons.. that's a BIG ASS BEER that I'd like to drink fresh.

Thanks!!! I've been tossing around the idea of a pliny clone, but I like that this has some more malt complexity to it. I don' thave Victory, but I'll just toast some 2-row.

BTW, Is that book good?

I have a few other books, but for cloning it is extremely awesome. If you are looking for complexity, this beer has it. Our clone was one of the most complex beers I've ever drank, and it tasted better than the actual brew we were cloning.

A buddy of mine that homebrews tasted it and if it wasn't for the fact that I told him it was 12.5%, or the fact that he could feel it after a couple he would have sworn it tasted like a 6-8% brew. He also commented on the complexity of it; that's how damn awesome it was.

My god you guys are crazy. I think I'll put my brother's o-chem university degree to use once he comes back from the US. He's more into petrochemistry, but no one can get drunk on that stuff, let's be honest.