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28/11/2020

Randy Mosher – „Tasting Beer”

Filed under: FRAGMENTE DIN CARTI SI BLOGURI — afractalus @ 23:47
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   ”In the town of Plzeň in 1842, a number of things came together to create a beer that would eventually dominate the world market beyond anybody’s dreams. The beer, Pilsner, was a confluence of ingredients, technology, and a business plan just right for the times. Community leaders thought it would be a good idea to build a sizable brewery to make lager beer and capitalize on the lager boom and the extraordinarily high quality of the malt and hops of the region. The story goes that a brewer named Josef Grolle actually flubbed the recipe, and instead of a dark Munich-style beer, a much paler beer gushed forth; but this seems very unlikely for a number of reasons. I think when the historians have dug into it a little deeper we will find that the parts and pieces were all there before 1842, and probably the beer, too, on a small scale. What the town fathers of Plzeň did was bet big on it, perhaps seeking to trade on the raging popularity of the English pale ale that seemed to be everywhere in those days. In any event, the pale, crisp, effervescent Pilsner beer was a huge hit, bringing its little hometown worldwide”.

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„Bavaria joined the German Union in 1871, bringing its restrictive beer purity law with it; by 1879 this Reinheitsgebot had the force of law across Germany. Prior to this time, northern Germany’s beers had a lot more in common with Belgium than they did with Bavaria. It was white-beer country up north. Beers brewed with a proportion of wheat, often smoked, sometimes sour, and using herbs such as coriander and sugars such as molasses and honey, were very popular. Beers from that time, like grätzer, lichtenhainer, kotbüsser, Broyhan, and gose, can be lovely beers and deserve to be brewed again — a few of them actually are. Of all the northern German ales, only Berliner Weisse and the lovely specialty ales of the Rhine valley, Kölsch and Düsseldorfer Alt, have survived in any meaningful way”.

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„Belgian beer has taproots that go back to the Middle Ages. Those dancing peasants in the Breughel painting are most likely drinking something along the lines of lambic, the sour, wild-fermented beer of the Brussels region. Witbier also has a long pedigree. But many of what we think of as ancient and characteristic beers, such as Trappist Dubbels and Tripels, are actually inventions of the twentieth century, so what you may have heard isn’t always the real story”.

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„Belgium has never had a beer purity law. This means there was never a purge of the ancient spices, herbs, and sugars that were once widespread in European brewing. Coriander, orange peel, cumin, grains of paradise (a pungent, peppery spice), and many kinds of sugars find their way into Belgian beers, often in quite subtle ways. For a beer lover seeking new experiences, Belgium is a wonderland of the highest order”.

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„In whatever manner people were getting their alcohol, small beer remained important in early America. George Washington’s famous recipe of a little molasses and a handful of bran is probably typical. He was a commercial-scale distiller and had access to imported Madeira and other products for serious imbibing, but still, small beer was vital to the functioning of his estate. The idea was to add just enough flavoring to make it palatable as a source of safe water for slaves, servants, and master alike. After the Revolution, Thomas Jefferson saw beer as a temperate path for a spirits-soaked populace and began brewing experiments at Monticello, but ultimately nothing much came of this”.

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   „Consumption shifted away from saloons to the home. Before Prohibition, 75 percent of beer had been draft and the remainder bottled. By 1945, this had reversed, and three-quarters of all beer was packaged, not draft, and increasingly sold to take home, which meant that beer was more available to women, and more importantly, they became involved in its purchase”.

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„THE FIRST CANNED BEER was released in 1935 by the Kruger Brewing Company of Newark, New Jersey. The new cans were light, quick to chill, and took up less room than bottles in the refrigerator, all of which was very appealing to women. When masses of GIs returned home after World War II, having enjoyed canned beer in the intense arena of war, cans were a comfortable fit at home. They were a big hit”.

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„A NUMBER OF different additives were used to make these discount beers more palatable. Cobalt salts were found to dramatically improve beer foam, and this was hailed as a godsend until people started getting sick and the product was withdrawn. By the late 1980s, most of these additives were gone for good, and it should also be noted that not all breweries resorted to extreme means to slice the price”.

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„For some beers the best minerals are no minerals at all. The Czech town of Plzeň, famous for the pale Pilsner lager that changed the beer world, has extremely soft water, and they coupled that with an elaborate mashing procedure to create one of the world’s classics. Mineral-free water is not well suited for most beers or brewing methods, but of course with very soft water it’s easy for a brewer to simply add the needed minerals. Removing minerals is a little more difficult, and until about a hundred years ago, brewers really didn’t understand this in any depth. Today, there are many methods that can be used. The beautiful advertising mythology about northern waters or pristine mountain springs is just a big, beautiful lie”.

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„Historically, many styles develop spontaneously and only later get the name by which they become famous. Dark brown ales were brewed in London for a generation before the name “porter” was applied to them sometime around 1725. “Stout” was a term used generically for strong beer in England as early as the late seventeenth century, but it didn’t find common use until a generation later, when it came exclusively to mean a strong porter. Münchener beers were simply the local brew until they became popular elsewhere and then took on the city’s name. Other beers are the product of invention, not evolution. Pilsner dates quite precisely to 1842, when the city fathers decided to build and brew a pale beer, then a new idea in the lager world. Bill Owens, the creative force behind one of the first latter-day U.S. brew-pubs, lays claim to the invention of the “amber” designation: “I had a dark and light, and what was I gonna call that middle one? Amber.”

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„The domestic-scale recipe given by Elizabethan chronicler William Harrison (The Description of England, 1577) is a barley-malt beer with 5 or 6 percent each of wheat and oats, showing those grains still in use in mainstream beers of the time. Elsewhere called “headcorne,” they were likely used to enhance the beer’s head, a task to which wheat is still applied in English beers. This recipe also makes use of about three-quarters of a pound per barrel of hops, a reasonable quantity by modern standards. Harrison likely got the recipe from his wife — she was the brewer in the family”.

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