Month: November 2016
I’m sure it’s happened to you once or twice before: you’re sitting at a lovely worn-in bar with your go-to beer and some bar snacks. You take a sip and wince–why does your familiar beer taste…funny? Or maybe you’re at home, cracking cans for friends–and off-flavors creep in. Why, and how? And how do you, loyal consumer, prevent this unwanted occurrence? While there are a multitude of potential reasons any beer produced has the taste it has for better and for worse, a few major culprits dominate certain off-flavors of packaged beer. You may not be able to determine what constitutes these issues in beer you’ve never had before–but you may easily know something is awry with brands you drink regularly and have a taste memory for. So let’s think briefly about where issues can arise, starting in the brewery itself. We’ll save off-flavors from the brewing process for another day and instead talk about one area alone: packaging.
We’re approaching the specialty bottle release season for breweries across the country–from glossy wax-dipped barrel-aged stouts to spiced seasonal strong ales and big barleywines in boxes, it seems everyone is putting out something interesting and shiny. At this point in the industry, aged beer in one or more of its various styles has become practically expected for new breweries. Home cellar collectors have become a larger and larger part of a higher-spending customer base, launching social networks to enable trading, standing for long drizzly hours in lines for limited releases and attending festival after festival. Aged strong ales are not exactly a new concept, but many of today’s breweries are approaching barreling and blending is with huge levels of excitement and innovation. With American craft’s glorious mishmash of inspiration and global focus, who wouldn’t be excited?