Thursday, June 28, 2012

Europe is Enjoying American Beer, Latest Brews

I ran across the end of a news piece on my radio dial today talking about American craft beer having more of an influence overseas. I had to go back and hear more of it, especially when they made the comparison between the U.S. craft beer rise in Europe with the "Judgement of Paris" wine revolution and subsequent California invasion into the world wine market. There is also a subtle dig on the Reinheitsgebot culture at the very end. 

While I don't expect Bear Republic to appear across bars in Munich, I would not be surprised to see a few more U.S. brands outside the big 3 to get more traction. When you think of the foothold regional European beers have made across the U.S., who is to say the reverse couldn't be true?

Here's the link to the episode (The story starts around the 10 minute mark).

Meanwhile, back in my closet, I've had three different beers mature in their bottles. I've been very enthusiastic about the results I've been getting from my brand new rectangle cooler mash tun. For a man who doesn't usually build things, this is pretty solid. I only lose 2 degrees while I mash and I haven't had a stuck sparge yet. I'll put some pictures of my system in another post.

Here's a breakdown of what's been bottled:

Saison- I made this Saison largely as a test of the system. It couldn't have turned out better. Light, crisp, subtle Belgian yeast notes on the end. I would like a little more bite from the hops, but it was a great first effort. So good, in fact, that I'm brewing it again this week. Another 1/2oz of bittering hops this time around should round things out.

American Orange Wheat- I thought I'd get fancy with the next brew and do an American wheat. I know oranges don't ferment well, but I thought if I added the crushed oranges vs. orange juice in the ferment I would get a better flavor. This one turned out to have a very "white wheat" profile similar to a Hoegaarden with a cool citrus note, but not really much of an orange tinge. I don't think I'd throw the oranges in next time, but the beer is solid and perfect for summer. I did another batch with Belgian Wheat yeast ( the original had American wheat yeast) to see if I could detect any difference. It's sitting in the fermenter right now and should be bottled early next week. Given how long I conditioned this first one, the Belgian Wheat should be ready for tasting around mid July.

Amber Ale- I feel like I should call this "Random Amber" because I literally threw the recipe together seconds before I started driving to the store to get the grains. It was the best work I have ever done. Medium body with great head retention and a delicious bite at the end. This is something I feel like I can hang my hat on.

Cases of beer just waiting to be drunk. What a perfect situation for summer!


  1. Did you crush the entire orange, Matt? I'm curious how much "orange" flavor in a beer comes from the juice compared to the orange oil.

    1. I used 1 orange per gallon, frozen to burst the cell wall, then pasteurized. I think I could have crushed them a little more, though. They were basically chopped into chunks.

  2. I'm going to Munich in July! I will keep my eye out for American beers and report back.