Archive for the Hops Category

The Mad Hopper

Posted in Beer, Brewing, Hops with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2013 by themadhopper

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Welcome, I am the Madd Hopper. Because I am Mad about Hops. Hops for beer that is. The hoppier the beer the better. Sadly, I live away from any Hop mecca and am forced to consume flavorless, hop devoid beer. Curse you giant beer companies, curse you. Its my own personal hell you might say, and its driving me quite mad. So thus I rave, and I rant, about hops. And some times about beer and other libations, so stay tuned and watch as I progress down the rabbit whole.

Note to self, next time take the blue pill

Beer Dogma and the path to enlightened libations

Posted in Beer, Brewing, Hops with tags , , , on January 20, 2013 by themadhopper

beeringredients

Water, Hops, and Barley.

Those three original ingredients use to be the soul heart and mind of beer as it was crafted in Germany . The Reinheitsgebot was a law put into place during the early 1500’s in Bolivar, the epicenter of beer brewing for Europe and really the world during that time. The Reinheitsgebot was established as a law of purity that forced brewers to limit their beer ingredients only to water, hops and barley. This came about in part for health issues as well as economic ones.

Hops are used to bitter beer as well as preserve it. Before the creation of the Reinheitsgebot many different herbs where used for both bittering and preservation. However, some of these ingredients proved to be unhealthy and it was decided that hops where a much more suitable ingredient.

The use of barley in beer came about as economic pressure drove up the price of other grains like rye or wheat which caused the price of bread to skyrocket. Barley on the other hand is inexpensive and although not the best grain to use in bread works well in the fermentation of beer.

The purity laws were quickly adopted in most of Bulvaria but saw resistance outside of Bulvaria where a great deal of fruit beers where produced. Sadly it wasn’t for a couple hundred year before fruit beers really started to emerge on the market again

Then in the 1800’s the Reinheitsgebot was expanded to included yeast and cane sugar. Yeast has always been a very important aspect of fermentation and brewing but it wasn’t until scientific development allowed for the comprehension of what yeast actually was and the role it played in fermentation.

Towards the later half of the century as the craft of beer brewing spread across the world to England and the U.S there was a gradual movement away from Reinheitsgebot and the German tradition of beer. New beer styles emerged such as the pale ale, and IPA which although still used the basic ingredients expanded upon the depth and complexity of certain beer styles no seen in Germany.

Many Germans still prefer the taste of their traditional lagers and pilsner to the hoppy desires of their American and British cousins. IPAs have become a much loved and stable beer for Americans especially in the Pacific Northwest where craft beer and microbreweries thrive.

It’s amazing to imagine how beer has evolved over the last thousand years from a simple fermentation process that only included 3 ingredients to the complex science that now creates the beers that line our refrigirators and the local taps.

Society is about progression; in the arts, the sciences, and of course the stuff that really counts, libations. If you experiment beyond a certain point eventually you’ll end up with something that simply isn’t beer. But everything in-between is fair game and should be not only supported but sought after. If a new combination doesn’t work right or isn’t appealing let the consumer decide, let the market decide, just as long as you aren’t purpesoufuly trying to make shit beer

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