Most have heard stories of how beer came to be and know some of the history, but few have gone this deep into the details. A Natural History Of Beer takes an intimate look at that beverage we all love.
The Natural History Of Beer In Detail
There are tons of books on the topic of beer and how it came to be. They mostly tell the same story, with some a bit more detailed than others and a little differentiation between histories. A Natural History Of Beer dispenses with the stories we’ve all heard and gets into a level not normally seen in beer books.
The authors here come from a scientific background, and it shows. A Natural History Of Beer looks at beer element by element. They start higher-level and then really get into the science of things.
It starts with history, people, and beer. Innovation, industry, and more. Various cultures and their relationship with beer are explored. Not the simple stories you hear on a brewery tour, but much more detailed looks at various groups throughout history and the role beer played.
Then it’s on to science. Things start heavy and stay that way. Exploration of molecules and factors involved in brewing are followed by chapters devoted to water, barley, yeast, and hops. We get into scientific formulas and things not covered even in advanced homebrew books. It’s certainly more than most expect to find in a beer book.
Part three gets into our relationship with beer. We’re talking a detailed look at the mechanisms that allow us to smell and taste it, along with the effects it has on our body. Science is the focus here again, and chemical interactions with the brain, blood, tongue, stomach, and more are examined closely.
It ends with the phylogeny of beer, recreation of historical brews, and what the future may hold.
History In Detail
A Natural History Of Beer is an interesting read, but be warned that it’s more than the typical beer lover may be looking for. The science involved may be better suited to a more advanced home brewer, though it may be more than they’re looking for too. If you want to learn the basic history of your favorite beverage, I’d look elsewhere first. If you want to really get into what beer is made of, how it interacts with our bodies and our world, this is a great read.
You wait and wait and finally the time comes and goes too quickly. Limited release beers are lovely but often gone too soon. Wouldn’t you love that brew to be available all the time? Here’s why you may not want your favorite limited release/seasonal beer to become year-round.
Leave Limited Limited
Though the life of limited release beers is often far too brief, there are lots of positive thing about those that come into our lives but leave too fast.
The craft beer world has become very focused on the next new thing. The newest releases of the month, the newest breweries in town, the newest popular styles. When a beer is a limited release, or even seasonal, it still retains that newness craft beer fan fawn over. This has a number of positive effects on the beer and drinker.
First, that newness and limited availability help move product. You know you’re getting fresh beer because it’s only been out for a short time and limited/seasonal releases tend to sit on the shelves for far shorter periods of time than year-round brews do.
Items that are limited (including seasonals) also have a positive phycological impact on our overall enjoyment. Studies have shown that we not only value things that are limited more than the less-rare, but the enjoyment center of our brains light up brighter when we consume them. This means we may actually gain more pleasure from drinking a seasonal beer than a year-round one. The simple act of making a limited-release beer year-round may be enough to cause us to feel less enjoyment from it, even when nothing else about that beer has been changed, besides the release schedule.
Disadvantages Of Being Year-Round
As much as there are advantages to remaining limited or seasonal, there are disadvantages to going year-round too. They could sadly lead to you falling out of love with a favorite.
While limited availability beers tend to sell quickly, year-round often sit on the shelves for longer periods of time. People know they can get them anything they like, so they go for the limited stuff they may miss out on instead.
This leads to product sitting on the shelf for longer. While a good liquor store and distributor should take care of anything past date-code, that doesn’t mean the beer is as fresh as can be. With styles that are better as fresh as possible (IPAs for example), even the difference between a week and a month can be noticeable. With year-round product sitting longer, you may find you enjoy the brew less than you did before it became more available.
We’ve all done it. We see that awesome year-round beer on the shelf (maybe it’s an old favorite or the one that turned you on the craft in the first place) but then find ourselves buying the brew of the moment instead. “I’ll buy this one because I can only get it for a limited time, while those others I can get any time.”, you justify to yourself. The problem is there’s always a new limited release, and you never/rarely return to those year-round offerings. You’ve just gone from buying a beer in as large of quantities as possible when it’s a limited release, to rarely (if ever) buying it when it becomes easily available.
It’s sad that seasonal and limited release beers are only around for a short time but there are downsides to becoming year-round that may be worse than limited availability.
Part of the magic of these beers is their limited availability. We shouldn’t be crying about it, but rather celebrating it.
Enjoy the limited/seasonal releases while you can and don’t always wish you had more. Being year-round may not be awesome as you think. And when you run out, be sure to grab one of the many amazing year-round brews you haven’t had in a while. The next limited-release will be out soon enough.
When you need a snack to go with your beer, some roasted nuts are the perfect option. They’re packed full of protein, healthy fat, and they taste great. And they’re even better in the various varieties Squirrel Stash Nuts has to offer, roasted with craft beer.
Buzzed Craft Beer Roasted Cashews are made by blending Squirrel Stash maple cinnamon glaze with craft beer to create a sweet and tasty treat. The beer imparts a unique flavor and the brews they use change frequently, so there’s always something new to try. I had both the Sam Adams Holiday Porter and Merry Maker roasted cashews and there’s a subtle difference, with porter imparting a light chocolatey sweetness to the Merry Maker’s lighter caramel tone.
In addition to craft beer roasted cashews, Squirrel Stash offers a number of other fun flavor options. These include Turmeric Chai, Sweet Heat, along with almonds, pumpkin seeds, and more.
Squirrel Stash nuts are packed in compostable bags, so you can enjoy your snack without guilt. Please throw the wrapper in the proper place.
Nuts are a great addition to munch on at your next beer tasting or any time you get hungry. Squirrel Stash Nuts took our favorite beverage and created a unique snack using it.
Who doesn’t want an awesome new brewery shirt in the mail each month? Shirts On Tap delivers that and more.
Subscribers can pick from 6 different cities to receive brewery shirts from (more cities are on the way) or receive a shirt from a random city each month. You can pick from a number of styles for both women and men (heavy or soft cotton t-shirts, tank tops, v-necks, and more). In addition, you also choose if they want the logo on the font or the back of the shirt.
In addition to a brewery shirt, each shipment comes with a bit of information about the brewery of the month, so you can learn more about who’s gear you’re rocking. That way, even if you haven’t been to the brewery, you won’t look like a total poser if people ask about it.
But truthfully, no one will judge you for wearing a shirt to a brewery you haven’t been to. A Goose Island employee asked about my Empirical Brewery shirt when we ran into each other at a local bar on Thanksgiving night. When I said I hadn’t been, he told me how awesome they were, then bought me a beer while we chatted.
Your Shirts On Tap shipment also includes coupons to the brewery, good for free pints, free flights, discounted food, merchandise, and more. Now you’ve got a sweet shirt and an awesome reason to go check out the brewer featured on it. They also throw in stickers.
Growing your beer gear is easier than ever with a subscription to Shirts On Tap. It’s a great way to get new shirts, learn about new breweries, and grab great discounts.
No matter where outdoor winter adventure takes you, cold beer is a must. That’s why the 686 Men’s Sixer Beer Jacket features special pockets for packing plenty your favorite brews.
This thing has all kinds of beer pockets! 10 in total. That means you can carry a full 12-pack of 12oz or tallboys (you carry one in each hand too, right?).
The three front and one inner pocket are insulated, keeping you warm and your beers cold. With beer pockets inside and out, there’s somewhere to stash beer everywhere you look.
In addition to places to put a brew, the 686 Men’s Sixer Jacket also has lots of awesome features for any outdoor enthusiast. It’s waterproof but also breathable, warm but not heavyweight. Get too warm? There are Air-Flo mesh lined underarm vents you can open to help cool down.
The thumb-hole lycra wrist gaiters keep your hands warm when not rocking gloves and make gripping a beer easier. Along with the adjustable cuff, they make keeping sleeves in place simple.
Inside, there’s a pocket for your smartphone that allows you to operate it through the clear plastic. It’s accessible from both inside the coat and out, so getting at your device is easy.
Earphone loops in the collar keep your earbuds within easy reach, and prevent them from getting tangled.
This jacket has everything you need to attack the winter, packing all you need along for the ride.
Ready For Winter Fun
Winter weather is here and it’s time to keep the party going outside. With the 686 Men’s SIxer Beer Jacket, you can be ready to play outside and have plenty of beers too. Pack some brew and head out for some fun.
Bottle openers don’t have to be a single function gadget. The HexFlex Multi-Tool packs a bottle opener and tons of other functionality into a tiny package.
Original designed as a snowboard tool, this little device isn’t just for on the slopes. The HexFlex is 15 tools in one. Arranged in a snowflake-design, it’s full of utility:
#2 Philips Screwdriver
#3 Philips Screwdriver
Flathead Screwdriver & Boxcutter
Even with all that functionality, it weighs only 2.3 ounces and is just over 2″ in diameter, making it small enough to put on your keychain or coat. It’s great to carry a bottle opener but even better to carry a tool that can meet all kinds of additional needs.
The HexFlex is available in standard or metric sizes and a variety of finishes, metals, colors, and anodized styles. No matter your needs, they’ve got one to fit them.
Tiny Tool, Big Utility
For those looking for a tiny tool to assist in all types of situations (including opening your beer bottle, of course), the HexFlex Multi-Tool is a great gadget to carry. It packs a ton of utility into a small tool and comes in handy all the time.
Put two of Minnesota’s best brewers together and you know you’re going to get something special. This twosome is known for their brewing badassery, so it should be no shock that the Fair State Coop and Barrel Theory collaboration Mr. Falcon is fantastic.
Meet Mr. Falcon
When it comes to hazy IPA street cred, these two have it covered. From Barrel Theory with their Rain Drops, Shooter McGavin, Boat Shoes, and more, killing it, to Fair State Coop with Mirror Universe, Spirit Foul, and others crushing it, they’ve certainly shown their ability to brew the style (and any other beer style too).
Available exclusively at Zipp’s Liquor in Minneapolis in 4-packs of tallboy cans, and a limited amount to crowlers out of the Fair State Coop taproom in NE Minneapolis, Mr. Falcon is a double dry-hopped IPA packing a big hop punch.
Citra, Strata, and Simcoe Cryo hops are kings of the castle here. Simcoe has long been a favorite but appears in cryo-hop form here (do some of you still pickup cat-piss aroma even in the cryo-hop equivalent?). Citra has become one of the hop-head hits in recent years, and Strata is a recent darling of many, after being first bred in 2009. Wow, do they make a combo.
You can smell the juiciness from the start. Smooth tropical aromas, light peach, mango, and crushed ripe pineapple.
Take a sip and you’re about to get bowled over. Suddenly, this silky-smooth brew hit with a hogshead of hops (sorry, it’s not literally 54 imperial gallons but just know it’s a lot of hop flavor). Tropical abundance with ripe pineapple, light mango, touch of tangerine, and a bit of marijuana green.
The mouthfeel is silly smooth. These two really have the water profile dialed in to be able to create that NE-style smoothness, haze, hops, and delicious drinkability.
Did you read what I wrote above? What’s not to love? The Barrel Theory boys and Fair State folks collaborated to bring about a delicious drink that any hop head would go head-over-heels for. They certainly succeeded. I’ll have another please. Keep ’em comin!
Forget those little brick bastards, Junkyard Brewing packs Green Terrain New England Style IPA with a wonderful combination of Azacca, Mosaic, and Calypso hops.
The hop combo creates soft notes of melon and a tropical fruit in the nose.
Take a sip and your tongue is met with tons of tropical fruit up front, with notes of pineapple and orange zest standing out. The mouthfeel is soft and the malt balances things nicely, but the hops quickly overtake. A long bit of herbal bitterness and green hop flavor last long on in the aftertaste.
Non-alcoholic craft beer continues to grow and is expected to be a $25 billion market by 2024. With more breweries brewing NA options, Surreal Brewing Company is offering two great beers for any fan of good brew without the buzz.
Non-alcoholic beer isn’t new, but up until recently, the options just weren’t there. Now craft brewers have jumped in to offer great tasting beer without the alcohol. Surreal Brewing Company offers two for those that want full-flavor without the buzz.
Chandelier Red IPA
Chandelier Red IPA pours a deep clear mahogany with a small head of white foam atop, which dissipates fairly quickly and leaves a bit of lacing on the walls of the glass.
Aroma of rich amber and caramel malt, with a slight sweetness in the nose.
Taking a sip, you find slightly sweet caramel malt up front, with a smooth toasted malt body backing it. A hint of fruity hop bitterness, with notes of citrus and light peach. The body is a bit thin, though it makes this beer very easy drinking.
Alcohol and residual sugars are where most of the calories in beer come from. While craft beers often weigh in at 200 calories or more per 12oz, non-alcoholic beers tend to be far less calorically heavy. Chandelier Red IPA has only 45 calories per can. Enjoy a few without the guilt that you’re throwing your diet off course.
17 Mile Porter
This porter pours a murky brown with a small tan head that settles, leaving just a ring around the edge of the glass.
Aroma of roasted grain and a hint of coffee in the nose.
Dark chocolate malt and a touch of earthy hops before big coffee in the aftertaste. It’s almost as if fresh coffee grounds were added right to the malt bill or post-fermentation. Body is a bit thin but that again is something alcohol normally helps to build. Easy drinking and coffee-kicking.
Beer Without The Buzz
Non-alcoholic beer is growing and the awesome options available continue to expand. Surreal Brewing Company has two great beers without the buzz and more to come. If you’re looking for full-flavor without the downsides of alcohol, check out their innovative non-alcoholic brews.
Normally, non-alcoholic beers have been made one of two ways. Either they stop fermentation before much alcohol is produced, or they take the fermented beer and heat it, to boil off the alcohol. Both negatively impact the final product, resulting in beer that’s thin, watery, and often has a bad aftertaste. WellBeing Brewing Company takes a different approach to non-alcoholic.
They use technology to put the finished beer into a vacuum and lower the boiling point, to gently remove the alcohol. The finished product maintains the aroma, body, flavor, and mouthfeel you expect in a great beer.
Heavenly Body Golden Wheat
Based on a GABF award-winning recipe, Heavenly Body Golden Wheat has a light sweetness in the nose with a touch of herbal hops.
The body is medium-light, with a nice balance of wheat and a touch of citrus hop character. It’s light, easy drinking, and crisp. The mouthfeel is what you’d expect from a light wheat beer. Not at all thin like some non-alcoholic beers can be. I’d never guess it was non-alcoholic.
No hangover or DUI aren’t the only advantages of non-alcoholic beers. They also pack less calories and sugar than their fully-fueled friends. Heavenly Body Golden Wheat has just 68 calories (compared to the 200+ found in most craft beers) and no sugar. You can consume it post-workout or anytime, without worry.
Hellraiser Dark Amber
This dark amber ale has aromas of toasted golden malt and fruity hops.
From the first sip, you’d never know it’s non-alcoholic. Medium caramel malt with a light toastiness balanced by a great floral hop flavor. A touch of hop spiciness and plenty of fruity hop notes in the aftertaste. It’s really well balanced and easy to drink.
This beer makes you give up nothing to enjoy a delicious amber ale. At only 80 calories, you can have a few.
NA Is More Than OK
Non-alcoholic craft beer just keeps getting better. You no longer have to give up flavor along with the alcohol, as WellBeing Brewing shows with Heavenly Body Golden Wheat and Hellraiser Dark Amber. It’s full-flavored and delicious drinking that doesn’t leave you longing for the missing ingredient.