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Oh the lengths some people go to. The show The walking dead wanted to have a beer in its name, and so they contacted a brewery to do it, and they put a small amount of sheep brains in there. The sky isn't the limit obviously...

By the way I recently had an amazing barley wine; Old foghorn by anchor brewery. Great great stuff.old-foghorn-bio.png

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This concentrated hop powder is making brewers go crazy

 Reporter 

 

 

The annual hop harvest is just around the corner in Washington state’s Yakima Valley, the agricultural area where 75 percent of America’s hops are grown, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And as brewers and hop brokers from across the country head to Yakima’s farms to sniff just-picked whole-cone hops and taste IPAs created to showcase different varieties, they’re also going to be talking about something that sounds far more futuristic than traditional hop farming: Cryo Hops.

 

 

Soft, juicy and aromatic IPAs remain one of the hottest segments of the craft beer world, and brewers who specialize in these beers are always on the hunt for new ways to make drinkers feel like they’ve stuck their face in a pile of tropical citrus, or to smooth all the bitterness out of a pale ale. 

Their latest weapon is Cryo Hops LupuLN2 — pronounced “loop-you-lin” — which looks like the name of a Star Wars droid but is actually a bright-green hop powder created by Yakima Chief-Hopunion, or YCH, a major Yakima-based hop supplier. “Brewers were coming to us and saying, ‘We’re making IPAs and double IPAs, and dry-hopping and double dry-hopping, and using too many hops,’ ” says Karl Vanevenhoven, senior vice president of operations at YCH. You’d think that selling more hops would be good for business, but instead, YCH turned to developing a new kind of hop product. 

Its proprietary process dramatically lowers the temperature of hops using liquid nitrogen — LN2 in the name refers to the chemical symbol — before separating the lupulin, the substance that contains the oils and resins that provide beers with flavors and aromas, from the hops’ leaves and stems. (The vegetal material, or bract, is turned into another Cryo Hops product, called Debittered Leaf.)

 

The resulting powder is much more concentrated than whole hop cones or the standard dried, milled hop pellets — YCH recommends that brewers use half the amount of regular hops — and bursting with the zesty citrus aromas and pungent dank notes that drive New England-style-IPA fans wild, without any astringency. “Pellets can have grassier notes,” says Mike McGarvey, the co-founder of Washington’s 3 Stars Brewing, who’s brewed several beers with Cryo Hops. “Powder is all that you like about hops without the bitterness.” It doesn’t hurt that the initial batch of Cryo Hops available to brewers included some of the most popular aroma hops on the market, such as Mosaic and Citra.

 

 

JC Tetreault, the co-founder of Boston’s Trillium Brewing, remembers the first time he was exposed to lupulin powder. He had been invited to join up with five other brewers, led by Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione, to produce a collaboration beer for Sierra Nevada’s 2016 Beer Camp series. “The team got talking about what we could do that was new and innovative in the hop world,” Tetreault says. When some brewers began talking about Cryo Hops, “my interest was piqued.” 

A bag was produced. “Every time you open a bag of hops, you take a deep breath,” Tetreault says. “Every brewer takes a deep breath.” And when he inhaled the magic dust, “The aroma and everything about it had the hairs standing up on the back of my neck,” he says. “Wheels started turning like crazy.” Trillium is known for IPAs and pale ales with rich citrus notes, but that effect is created by dry-hopping and double dry-hopping the beer. This was something else entirely. 

Last November, Tetreault got together with brewer Sean Lawson of the acclaimed Lawson’s Finest Liquids to experiment with lupulin powders. The result was Pow Pow, a double IPA made with Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe Cryo Hop powders, augmented with regular Galaxy and Nelson Sauvin hops. Ratebeer.com reviewers gave it a 99 out of 100. Beer Advocate reviewers rated it “World Class” with a 96 out of 100. “Aroma absolutely explodes from the can,” one review said. “Expect a blast of fresh tropical and citrus fruits and beyond your daily dose of needed hops,” opined another. Pow Pow was a one-off, Tetreault says, and the experiments continue for Trillium. “We have to see how it plays out in use,” he explains. 

Beers made with lupulin powder from highly regarded brewers, such as Interboro, Other Half and Burial, have earned similar buzz.

 

3 Stars has used powdered hops in several releases this year, including Pounding Trees, a double IPA that was double dry-hopped with Citra and Mosaic powders, and Star Dust, a beer whose name was inspired by the use of lupulin powder. “If you want a bitter backbone, it might not be the right [ingredient],” McGarvey says. But the audience for these IPAs, he says, is “people who aren’t interested in the bitterness of hops. They’re interested in these fruity flavor qualities.”

And while most of the beers to hit the market so far have been pale ales and IPAs, 3 Stars has begun experimenting with lupulin powder in other styles. Flip the Script, a collaboration brewed with Aslin for the Craft Brewers Conference in April, was a dry-hopped sour made with lactobacillus bacteria. “If you’re bringing in hoppiness, you can have a problem with the lacto souring,” McGarvey explains, because of a reaction between hops and the bacteria. “With powder, there’s less risk. I think it will lead to more experimentation.”

 

While this is all great news for beer lovers looking for intense hop aromas and flavors, brewers are also interested in Cryo Hops for other reasons. When hops are added during brewing, they can leave behind organic material, which joins proteins, yeast and other byproducts in a mixture called trub, which gets dumped out. However, the trub has absorbed a bit of liquid — wort or beer — and that is going right down the drain. Using powder instead of pellets, says 3 Stars’ McGarvey, “is more efficient — it could be 5 to 10 percent more. You have that much more finished beer to sell.” 

Trillium’s Tetreault points to other cost benefits: “Shipping rates are half. Storage rates are half,” because of smaller amounts needed. “That’s a huge benefit from an operations perspective.”

YCH is expecting to produce several million pounds of Cryo Hops this year, and Vanevenhoven says they have “already touched over 500 breweries, and we haven’t really marketed it yet.” 

Only one year into production, “We’ve already doubled the size of the [processing] facility,” Vanevenhoven says. “I hope that’s enough.”

 

from this: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/this-concentrated-hop-powder-is-making-brewers-go-crazy/2017/08/11/510782f4-7e14-11e7-a669-b400c5c7e1cc_story.html?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.d161f776ae3b

 

 

 

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The Best Unpretentious Beers You Can Find Just About Anywhere

Five beer connoisseurs give their top two choices for when you’re low on options.
 
 
 
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Discerning beer drinkers don’t always have the luxury of boutique craft shops or well-stocked grocery stores,

 

particularly when traveling. What, then, are consistently worthwhile—while also generously manufactured and

 

distributed—selections that might be found amid otherwise lackluster choices at a big, chain supermarket?

 

(Or, if you’re lucky, at your local gas station?)

 

We asked some of America’s top craft brewers to select a couple of their favorite brews that are produced in large

 

enough quantities and distributed widely enough to be considered a quotidian imbibe in their areas.

 

(For the various distribution details, follow the linked pages below.) 

 
 

According to Tim Adams of Maine’s Oxbow Beer, “Firestone Walker Pivo Pils is not only one of the best pilsners in

 

the USA but also one of the most widely distributed, making it a top pick for those looking to get a Euro-hop blast

 

in a pinch.”

 

A noteworthy endorsement, considering that Adams’s love of pilsners led him to throw a beer festival called

 

Pils & Live via his brewery last year, hosting all the world’s best examples of the style. In Pivo,

 

“[l]ook for pronounced grassy and floral hop notes supported by a crisp and refreshing pilsner malt base in this canned crusher.”

 

As for his favorite widely distributed seasonal beer release, that’s easily Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale.

 

“Celebration is a dank and resinous, ruby-red, old school, West Coast hop-bomb that welcomes the holiday

 

season with fresh American hops and rich specialty malts.”

 
 


Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the perpetual choice for Matt Levy at Threes Brewing in Brooklyn, N.Y.,

 

seconding the love for the de facto godfathers of American craft.

 

“I was recently traveling through the craft beer desert that is Utah and was reminded of the pure joy of drinking a 12-ounce bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale,” says Levy.

 

According to him, this beer has served as inspiration to a generation of brewers to ensure that process is valued.

 

“Still bottle-conditioned and hopped with selected whole-cone hops, these details show their commitment to doing things not the easy way but the right way.”

 

While hazy juice-bombs are all the rage in contemporary, hyped craft brewing, Levy is quick to remind that the Belgian-inspired wheat-based Allagash White was one of America’s first unapologetically turbid examples.

 

“A beer way ahead of its time,” says Levy.

 

While he finds Allagash’s more experimental limited-edition sour beers inspiring, Levy says he “would happily give those up for a lifetime supply of cold bottles of White on the beach.”

 
 


What do craft brewers tend to drink to “tune out” and punctuate a long day of making their own beer?

 

According to Colin Lenfesty of Seattle’s Holy Mountain Brewing Co., “The staff [here] drinks a lot of Rainier Beer.

 

Call it throw-back or nostalgic, but the big red ‘R’ [on the can] will always be a part of Seattle's history.”

 

Holy Mountain’s meticulous focus is generally in producing complex barrel-aged beers, but sometimes, something simpler is apt.

 

With a hop presence more noticeable than in other macro-lagers and a slight corn and sweet-malty presence, “It’s a very social beer between everyone at the brewery.

 

We drink these icy cold, so we usually don’t have time to even think about it.”

 

If a barbeque is planned, Lenfesty will generally go a little more for flavor and pick up some Kona Big Wave Golden Ale

 

“Easy drinking, with a big burst of Galaxy and Citra hop additions at the end. Slightly sweet but not overpowering honey character.”

 
 


When Ed Marszewski of Marz Community Brewing, out of Chicago, finds himself picking up prescription drugs at

 

CVS or Walgreens, he’ll usually “do some quick shopping as well and grab a four pack of Half Acre Daisy Cutter to wash down with a bag of Vitner’s Crunchy Kurls or regular Bugles.”

 

This West Coast-style American Pale Ale from his brewing neighbors is “floral and grapefruit-y, balanced and crisp,” says Marszewski.

 

“Daisy Cutter is what an American Pale Ale should taste like.”

 

In the event that Marszewski finds himself at a gas station, he’ll still generally go for something produced locally.

 

“The last time I stopped by to fill up for a camping trip in Michigan, I saw 19.2oz cans of Revolution Anti-Hero on the shelf.”

 

It’s a fruitily aromatic IPA that boasts a blend of Citra, Crystal, Centennial, and Chinook hops.


“If I’m in a beer desert, the first thing I think about is the fact that [a bottle] may have been sitting on the shelf for months,” says Joe Grimm of Brooklyn-based Grimm Artisanal Ales.

 

Though he’s perhaps best known for producing hop-forward beers best consumed as fresh as possible, he has a soft spot for the charmingly rustic, musty flavor found in older bottles of perennial Belgian classic Saison Dupont.

 

“The flavor is resilient; if you can find one, go for a green bottle, instead of brown.”

 

When Grimm is on the road, he looks for a beer that has been bottle-conditioned, meaning one packaged to re-ferment with additional live yeast for natural carbonation.

 

“[This] helps the beer age gracefully; and I look for something that doesn’t have too much in the way of hop flavor, because there's nothing worse than oxidized hops.”

 

Another bottle-conditioned Belgian gem that Grimm loves is Lindemans Cuvée René, the famed lambic brewery’s unsweetened gueuze (a traditional style of blended lambic beer aged in oak for one, two, and three years).

 

“It’s tart, complex, and leathery. Just steer clear of their sweetened fruit beers,” warns Grimm.

 

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Interesting. Thanks. Seems like there's a bit of a(nother of the periodic) backlash(es) against overly-elaborate beer. Here's one from one of the original American better-beer breweries. I don't drink much and don't know much about beer, but this tasted OK to me (and I generally don't like this style of beer):

 

Beer for Drinking

There are days when you want a beer—just a beer—that hits all the right spots. Well, this is it. No snifters required, no special occasions—just an unfussy, uncomplicated, hoppy blonde ale brewed to fit in no matter where it goes. This isn’t beer for collecting, this is beer for drinking.

 

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duvelcitra.jpg


I don't usually photograph bottles of beer, but for some reason I needed to take a snap of this one. Normal Duvel is pretty good as well, but the Citra version is divine. Citra is one of my favorite hops in any case. Word of warning though, it's a strong one and since it's so tasty, you'll get pretty drunk pretty fast if you don't take your time with it and savour the taste.

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