David Jensen is based out of San Francisco and is the primary writer and photographer for Beer 47, a blog focused on craft beer, beer events, cooking with beer, and homebrewing. In addition to the blog, you can frequently find David on Twitter as @beer47, tweeting interesting news and sparking up conversations about craft beer while sipping his favorite Double IPA. By day David is a software engineer for a small Internet company.
As the weather gets cold, the shelves start to fill with this season’s winter beer selections. But what exactly is winter beer? Since there is no official winter style of beer, I sought out some opinions from the craft beer industry.
“A beer that gives you that little extra push during the cold winter months. It should warm you up and keep life a little spicier than usual with a strong malt backbone and high octane influence.” – Mark Goodwin, Brewer, McMenamins Old Church & Pub
“A good winter warmer should smell like winter. Like snow, spice, and booze. There’s something so seasonally evocative about a winter warmer. It’s the Instant Beer Drink of Winter. It’s the beverage of slow down, savor, and (perhaps ironically) chill.” – Sean Lilly Wilson, Founder and Chief Executive Optimist, Fullsteam Brewery
Thank Oskar Blues of Lyons, Colorado, for serving Dale’s Pale Ale in a can back in 2002. Ten years later, there are dozens of craft breweries making their beer available in cans.
But why cans? Doesn’t it ruin the taste of the beer? Actually, just the opposite is true. Modern cans, unlike cans from more than 20 years ago, have a water-based polymer lining that prevent the beer from touching any metal while in the can. Canned beer has a better seal than bottles, locking out oxygen that can damage the beer. No light can get inside, which means a canned beer will never be light struck, or skunked. Environmentally, cans are more easily and more often recycled than glass, and because cans are lighter, they take less energy to ship. Finally, cans are much more portable and can go many places where glass cannot. (more…)
Have you ever walked into a beer bar or pub and noticed some of the taps both looked and dispensed beer differently? Or have you ever been to a beer festival, or beer event, where beer was served directly from a spigot in the side of a metal container propped up on a table? If so, then you may have already encountered cask conditioned beer. If not, then after you read this article, I hope you seek some out. (more…)
Spring is nearly here and it is a time for renewal, growth, cleaning, and warmer weather. It’s the perfect opportunity to renew your ideas about beer and to clean out old misconceptions by exploring craft beer in new, different, and creative ways. If you want to make this Spring the season to seek out new craft beer experiences, I have outlined ten different ways below. (more…)
“In Belgium, there are no styles,” proclaims Peter Bouckaert, Brewmaster of New Belgium Brewing. This statement exemplifies the individuality, non-conformity and creativity of Belgian brewers. Notwithstanding their individualism, Belgian brewers have strong ties to their history and tradition of brewing. What does all this mean to the Belgian beer drinker? It’s simple: you can have two beers that are technically the same style, and feature some similar attributes, but taste quite different. In this way, Belgian brewers have had a strong influence on brewers around the world, especially on the craft beer movement in America.
Despite the non-conformity of Belgian brewers and American brewers of Belgian-style beers, this style of beer does feature common attributes across different types. These categorizations are important because they create a language that brewers use to communicate with consumers what they’re about to drink. This guide introduces some of the most popular types of Belgian-style beers, and what you can expect from each type. (more…)
As winter draws near and the weather gets cold, many beer drinkers are drawn to the appeal of something richer, darker, stronger and more complex. For many, stout fits the bill perfectly. For others, stout is a year-long staple. Regardless of the time of year, there is no doubt that this centuries-old style has a broad appeal for its rich texture, roasty aroma, and malty—sometimes sweet—flavor. In fact, in April 2011, the Brewers Association reported that stout was the fastest-growing style of beer, outpacing both pilsner and IPA.
One of the most common stouts on the market today is Guinness. If you’ve had this beer, then you’re familiar with the creamy mouthfeel and full-bodied texture. Although it seems heavy, Guinness is a relatively light beer weighing in at roughly 4 percent alcohol by volume. The creamy, heavy feeling comes from being gassed with nitrogen instead of carbon dioxide. Furthermore, Guinness is merely a single example of one style of stout. The world of stout is far broader and more delicious than any single example. Today there’s a wide variety of stouts, including oatmeal stout, milk stout, dry stout, imperial stout, bourbon barrel-aged stout, cherry stout, chocolate stout, coffee stout and oyster stout. (more…)
To truly understand and appreciate craft beer, and to communicate about it with friends and enthusiasts, it helps to know the terminology used in the beer world. Expanding your craft beer vocabulary can help you better understand the differences between different styles and appreciate your beer more. For beer newbies and longtime enthusiasts, this beer glossary covers all the beer jargon, beer terms, and beer descriptors you need to know to enjoy drinking craft beer. (more…)
On August 4, 2011, beer enthusiasts around the world gathered to celebrate the first International IPA Day. What’s so special about this particular beer style that it warrants its own worldwide celebration?
The answer to that question is bound to be as varied as IPA’s many devotees, but most would surely agree there’s something about the balance of intense hop bitterness with malt sweetness coupled with the floral, piney, citrus aromas that attracts so many craft beer drinkers to IPA. After all, many beer enthusiasts are self-proclaimed “hop heads,” or lovers of hoppy beer, and (usually) nothing is hoppier than an IPA. (more…)
The biggest challenge in compiling this list of 15 beers to try before you die: narrowing the selection to a mere 15 beers. The list is by no means complete and it is entirely subjective, but these are the beers that left a lasting impression. In writing this list, I adhered to three simple guidelines. First and foremost, each beer on the list is available at least once a year. You might have to travel to a particular region to get it, but you should be able to find it. This criterion eliminates all anniversary and most collaboration beers. Second, the list reflects a variety of beer styles from various regions, a necessity on any “beers to try before you die” list. Finally, I tried each of these beers prior to writing this article.
In no particular order, here are 15 beers to try before you die. (more…)
Whether you’re new to craft beer or are a hardcore beer geek, there’s no disputing that pale ale is a staple of the craft beer movement. Nearly every craft brewery makes a pale ale.
What is it that makes pale ale so popular among beer drinkers as well as breweries? For starters, it’s accessible, drinkable and a good gateway to the world of craft beer. Pale ales can be interpreted in many ways by the brewer but still remain within the expectations of the beer drinker, regardless of the drinker’s level of experience. Novice craft beer drinkers might think that all pale ales taste the same, but an experienced craft beer drinker will enjoy the nuances in the various interpretations of the style. (more…)