Archive for natescape

Upstream IPA

Beer Geeking

ABV – 5.5%
SRM – 9 (est.)
Hops – Chinook
Grains – 2-row Pale, Belgian Caramel Pils, Caramel 120
Season – Summer

Named in homage to the Chinook Salmon, this brew uses only Chinook hops for a bright, citrus flavor perfect for the hot summer months. We use lighter grains (varieties of caramel and pilsen malts) to give this brew a much lighter color than our Three Cs IPA.

Three Cs IPA

Beer Geeking

ABV – 7.4%
SRM – 18 (est.)
Hops – Columbus, Cascade, Centennial, Amarillo
Grains – Maris Otter, Munich, Caramel 40L, Victory, Caramel 120L, Pale Chocolate
Season – Year-round

Brewed with Columbus, Cascade, and Centennial hops, this smooth amber IPA is an example of “hopbursting” and dry-hopping (with Amarillo hops thrown in for good measure). Most of the hops are added late in the boil or at the end of fermentation to create a massive hop aroma that’s bigger than the hop taste. The result is an IPA that’s smooth but complex, accessible enough for the typical “Sam Adams” drinker, but with a flavor profile to satisfy everyone’s favorite beer geek.

Ales and Lagers – How they differ

Beer comes in a near infinite variety of combinations and styles, but it can always be placed into one of two categories: ale or lager. Both can be light or dark, low-alcohol sippers (often called “session” beers) or boozy beasts, hop-forward or malty. So how are they different? The yeast.

Ales use … drum roll please … ALE yeast, whereas lagers use lager yeast. While there are technical ways these two yeasts are different (we’ll get into that later), the main difference that the average beer drinker is concerned about is flavor, and the flavors are distinctly different. Lagers tend to be smooth, subtle, and crisp. Ales are generally more robust and complex. Read more

American Lagers – Yellow, fizzy. Refreshing??

Light Lager

Beer Geeking

ABV – 3.2 – 6%
IBUs – 5-25
SRM – 2-6
Tasting Notes: This very pale lager should have only the faintest hints of hops, if any at all. It should be crisp, clean-tasting, and can have a small amount of sweetness.
Food Pairing Suggestions: This really isn’t a beer to pair with food in order to taste/compliment the beer, as there’s very little TO taste. That being said, American lagers’ crispness can be an excellent compliment to fatty foods like barbecue or pizza because they cut through the thicker mouthfeel of the food.
Ideal Glass Choice: A nice pilsner glass will emphasize the light, fizzy nature of the beer.

The beer America is known for: yellow, highly carbonated, served as cold as possible, and almost flavorless. Amazingly, or sadly, American lagers are the best selling beers in the world. Easy drinking and inoffensive, these beers are not “bad,” as many a beer snob will opine. They’re simply bland and mediocre.

Despite being inspired by German Pilsner beers, American lagers are an ocean apart from their European counterparts. In fact, the only real similarity between the two lies in the color, with none rising above 6 SRM. German Pilsners like Pilsner Urquell are complex, faintly hoppy, and do well in the “warm beer” test … which is why Europeans don’t mind warm beers. Try drinking a warm Bud/Miller/Coors and learn just how critical it is that those Rocky Mountains are blue on the cold-activated can. Read more

Beer Glass Styles

The American shaker glass - avoid if possibleAmericans have truly messed up the beer glass. Here in the good ol’ US of A, we use the “shaker pint” for our beer … a glass that is so-named because it’s designed to mix drinks not serve beer. It’s also used for soda, milk, water, iced tea, and every other manner of drink. Its ubiquity isn’t the issue … its SHAPE is the issue.

If one set out to design the worst possible beer glass, it very well might look like the shaker. Aroma disappears quickly out the gaping top. The ever widening glass encourages carbonation to flee like guests at a bad party. The wide body forces one to grip it with the whole hand, leading to maximum body heat transfer and rapidly warming brew.

As a bonus, shaker glasses are nightmares to separate if they accidentally get stacked!

The shaker pint has literally no redeeming qualities as a beer glass and should not be used if other choices are available. This is why just about every other beer-loving country uses OTHER glassware. Don’t go throwing out all your shakers, they’re great utilitarian glasses … just not for beer (although it’s almost always better to pour a beer into a shaker than drink it from the bottle/can). Below are some better choices. Read more

Beer Styles – Stout

Stout head

Beer Geeking

ABV – 4-8%
IBUs – 20-75
SRM – 22-40
Tasting Notes: Dark brown to completely opaque black, stouts always look intimidating to the average beer drinker, but can actually be fairly light on the tongue. While often smacking of roasted flavors like chocolate or coffee, stouts can actually be quite sweet and occasionally vaguely hoppy (depending on the style).
Food Pairing Suggestions: Stouts’ deep flavors are excellent dance partners with spicy and rich foods like creamy pastas, barbecue, and roasted dishes like tandoori chicken.
Ideal Glass Choices: While we always love a good tulip glass and think they go great with stouts, the English tulip pint is also a solid choice.

*Please note: This geek info does not include imperial stouts, which are described below.

Black as midnight in the Irish countryside on a moonless, cloudy night while wearing sunglasses, stouts are to beer what a fine French roast coffee is to tea. Dark, powerful, pungent brews, stouts’ aroma and appearance often belie a smooth drinkability that typically puts at least one stout near the top of any beer connoisseur’s favorite brews list.

Almost everyone thinks of Guinness when they think of stout beer, but Guinness’s fine brew is nearly the Budweiser of stout beers … simple, popular, consistent, but ultimately a mild comparison to others in the field. What most don’t know is that Guinness is simply one example of one branch of stouts – Irish dry stout. Other common varieties of stouts include the sweet (or milk) stout, oatmeal stout, foreign/extra stout, American stout, and the Kraken of the genre: imperial stout. Read more

IBUs Defined – How bitter is your beer?

The hop cone, source of beer bitterness.

The hop cone, source of beer bitterness and all that is holy!

On the surface, IBUs (International Bittering Units) is a straightforward measurement of how bitter a beer is, but it’s not that simple. Like a super-light colored IPA, appearances can be deceiving. While high-IBU beers are usually quite bitter, the IBU bite can be balanced by high-malt sweetness – so some heavy, sweet, not-at-all-bitter beers like imperial stouts can have higher IBUs than some “punch you in the tongue” IPAs. Read more

SRM Defined – The color of your beer

srm_verticalSRM, or Standard Reference Method, is the primary way we measure/define beer color. The chart to the right gives rough approximations as to the expected color at various degrees.

Below are a pair of charts that further explain what to expect:

Color and SRM
Straw: 2-3
Yellow: 3-4
Gold: 5-6
Amber: 6-9
Deep amber/light copper: 10-14
Copper: 14-17
Deep copper/light brown: 17-18
Brown: 19-22
Ruby Brown: 22-30
Deep Brown: 30-35
Black, opaque: 40+
Styles and SRM
American Light Lager: 2-3
Witbier, Berliner Weisse: 2-4
Pilsner: 2-7
Belgian Strong: 4-7
English Golden Ale: 4-8
Bavarian Weizen: 4-10
Maibock: 4-10
Oktoberfest: 4-12
Pale Ale: 5-14
IPA: 6-15
Vienna Lager: 7-14
Marzen: 7-15
California Common: 10-14
Amber: 11-18
Brown: 12-22
Bock: 15-30
Baltic Porter: 17-40
Porter: 20-40
Oatmeal Stout: 25-40
Foreign Stout: 30-65
Imperial Stout: 50-80

SRM is derived from a color scheme devised by Joseph Lovibond in the late 19th century. The Lovibond Scale was like a stereoscope with different colored glasses that were held next to the beer to determine the color. SRM follows the Lovibond Scale exactly, so sometimes you’ll also see SRM called “Degrees Lovibond.” The two terms are interchangeable.

Beer Styles – IPA

IPA with head

Beer Geeking

ABV – 5-10+%
IBUs – 40-100+
SRM – 6-15
Tasting Notes: Typically, light-colored, with a small but persistent head. One of the more aromatic beers, IPAs have scents that range from citrusy to piney, from earthy to resinous.
Food Pairing Suggestions: Unless you have a milder IPA like Harpoon’s brilliantly drinkable brew, IPAs can be difficult to pair with foods because of their overwhelming hop character. That being said, they usually go well with burgers and grilled meats. IPAs can also be excellent companions (when thoughtfully considered) to spicy foods like Indian or Thai.
Ideal Glass Choices: Tulips are ideal. Imperials also do well in snifters or goblets. Mugs are good if your intent is to drink vast quantities of beer.

India Pale Ales, or IPAs, are like your your quick-witted buddy from school who always has a sarcastic zinger AND your back in any battle – they keep you on your toes, and keep you coming back for more.

Always hoppy, often bitter, usually sharp-tasting, and occasionally tongue-punching, IPAs are the current kings of American craft brewing. Just about every brewery has at least one in their lineup, and they made up 11.2% of craft beer sales in 2011 (up 2%) and may very well overtake pale ales as the top beer style when the 2012 numbers come out.

There are three basic types of IPAs: English IPAs, American IPAs, and Imperial IPAs (in order from mild to powerful). Read more