CVIndependent

Mon06252018

Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

Beer

04 Jan 2018
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One of the skills I had to acquire before becoming a certified cicerone (the beer equivalent of a sommelier, more or less) was pairing beer with food. In other words, the IPA I was ordering with my hamburger was research! Works for me. You may be familiar with the idea of wine dinners, but you might not know that when it comes to pairing foods with beverages, beer wipes the floor with wine. Yeah, I included that sentence to provoke a reaction with wine-lovers. The thing is … it happens to be true! Just think about how beer is made for a moment: The grains are prepared in various ways (malting, kilning and/or roasting), then steeped in the mashing process (much like hot cereal); the sugars are then boiled, with ingredients added at any number of points during the end of the boil and fermentation. With wine? There are grapes.…
11 Dec 2017
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Today, we’re going to go over some tips on how to buy beer. Before you throw up your hands and say, “Please … what is there to know about buying beer?! You enter a store that sells it, and you buy it!”—let me explain. If you drink mass-produced lager and are perfectly happy with that, you don’t need this advice. The one thing the “big boys” in the brewing industry are good at is making their beer exactly the same, every time, and getting it to you as fresh as possible, as often as possible. But if you are like me and love craft beer—in other words, you look forward to having your taste buds challenged and your mind blown—this advice will help. I have some good and bad news for you. First, the bad: There is bad beer everywhere. The good news: There is excellent beer almost everywhere, and…
06 Dec 2017
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It wasn’t that long ago that IBUs were all that mattered. International bitterness units were all the rage as IPAs ascended to the top of the craft-beer mountain, and the higher IBU count, the better—if you wanted to prove yourself as the top “hophead” in your beer peer group. Bitterness was king, and the counterbalance was a big, thick, malty backbone that sometimes made it feel like you were drinking a burlap sack. IBUs are scarcely an afterthought these days, as new catchphrases emerge to fill the mouths of craft-beer aficionados everywhere. One of those phrases—one I hear more and more often every day, in fact—is the word “juicy.” Juicy is now often used in reference to a beer, usually a Northeast-style IPA, that is particularly fruity or tropical in flavor, and actually drinks sort of like a juice as much as it does a beer. As in, “Try this…
07 Nov 2017
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There’s been a turn toward the wild and less-predictable side of beers over the past several years—and the sour-beer spectrum is evolving into a maze of conflicting substyles. Kettle sours vs. barrel-aged sours? Berliner weisse or gose? What about dry-hopped American kettle sours? Sour beers are refreshing and delicious during hotter months, but I’m going to go against the yeasty grain and delve into sours now that fall has arrived. What some non-beer-drinkers may not know—I’m looking at you, drinkers of only wine—is that sour beers can be perfect substitutes for wine. This is good news, considering that we’re coming up on the celebratory time of year with Thanksgiving feasts and holiday parties. The bright, wild, vibrant world of sours offers a wide range of flavors and intensity—meaning they’re perfect for pairing with rich dishes. Many sour beers are fermented using a strain of Brettanomyces yeast, or Brett, for short.…
01 Oct 2017
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Bier ist gut. For those who don’t know German, here’s a rough translation: Beer frickin’ rocks. It’s the 184th anniversary of Oktoberfest in Munich. In the 1800s, some beer-loving members of the German royalty decided to get hitched—and that’s how we ended up with the rich, amber and copper seasonals that are Oktoberfest-style beers. (It’s kind of like a really long, international game of telephone that started with a traditional German marriage and horse race, and ended with a bunch of people gathering to drink beer, roast sausages and wear some of the funniest outfits you’ll ever see.) Even if you can’t make the trek to Munich for the pretzel-and-beer bacchanal, you can enjoy some of these fall beers while wearing lederhosen (or not). Oktoberfest-style beers, also known as Märzen, were originally brewed around March (März is the German word for March) and stored to be consumed in the fall,…
02 Sep 2017
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India pale ales—you know them as IPAs—may still be the best-selling beer style, but many of us prefer the darker side of things. Yes, stouts are perfect as the nights begin to get just a little longer; it’s a great time to enjoy oatmeal-y, chocolate-y, coffee-flavored deliciousness in a glass. For my money, here are some of the best stouts in the world right now: Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout: With more than 12,000 votes and a 4.5 rating (out of 5) on BeerAdvocate.com, this is arguably the best stout in the world. Coming in at 12.8 percent alcohol by volume, the beer offers hints of caramel, bourbon and dried fruit on the nose. This is a full-bodied, smooth stout with flavors of vanilla, oak and yet more bourbon. It’s the epitome of the imperial stout style—a beautifully crafted beer. Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout: Of the most widely known…