Ink? Paper? Musty? Feet? These were four of my notes from a Cicerone Off-Flavor Tutored Tasting I attended this week at the Great Lakes Brewing Co. taproom. The off-flavor in question was trans-2-nonenal (T2N) or oxidation. Poorly handle a beer, store it warm or let it sit for a few months too long and you will have a glass of inky paper foot must on your hands.
If you haven’t gone through a Cicerone Off-Flavor Training (or tried out their kits), I definitely recommend it. I got something out of it, and I’m rarely able to pick up on stuff other people say when drinking beer. Or any food really. A taste is less “cinnamon” or “apricot with touches of ginger” to me and more oddly contextual like “McDonald’s cinnamon roll” or inexpressible nothingness like “fruity, but like that one kind I don’t like. It’s in that other beer too.” But I learned that’s perfectly fine as long my brain is associating that off-flavor experience with that specificity or subconscious correlation. Regional Instructor and Advanced Cicerone Annette May emphasized this over and over — it’s about your experience — your smell, sip, memories, cultural context, impressions, biome, astrological sign, favorite wrestler, etc. Your brain mixes it all together and spits out what it spits out (and in some cases, your mouth does too).
The only hitch here — some of these flavors were so subtle my mental rolodex for these off-flavors was just bad beers I’ve had. So, for DMS, instead of “corn” or “roasted vegetables,” my notes simply read: “lame PBR.” Didn’t feel descriptive enough, but I know a lame PBR when I taste one. Now I know it means this beer needed to boil longer. I can assure you there are no off-flavors in the five beers hightlighted below or your money back.
Yazoo Brewing uses fancy hop extraction machine in Hazy Peel IPA
Yazoo Brewing Co. in Nashville has launched a new hoppy beer using the ShockWave Xtractor from Hydro Dynamics. The beer is called Hazy Peel IPA and is a “hazy” Imperal Double IPA, which sounds delish, but what makes it super interesting is its use of the enhanced extraction capability of the ShockWave Xtraction to assist in dry hopping. Head to this article for more information on the technology, but the ShockWave Xtractor harnesses the pressure fluctuations of cavitation to improve extraction and increase hop flavor (and the company claims you can produce bitter beers with up to 50 percent less hops).
The beer is “an unfiltered, double dry-hopped IPA utilizing new cavitation technology during dry hopping to extract all the hoppy goodness from Denali and Centennial hops.” You possibly had it during the Craft Brewers Conference, but it remains available in the Yazoo taproom.
Breakside Brewery blends old school hops in latest NE IPA
Breakside Brewery has added Thirst Trap to its IPA series, which combines the iconic complexity of the Mosaic hop with a generous helping of grapefruit-aroma-laden Simcoe and Chinook hops. This intricate aroma profile is balanced with a blend of four malts, including Two Row, Flaked Wheat, Munich and Light Crystal. Breakside brewers brought all these ingredients together to create a beer that has big notes of ruby red grapefruit, citrus zest and pine needles, paired with aromas reminiscent of guava, Sauvignon Blanc grapes, pineapple and mango.
“Thirst Trap continues our exploration of the far reaches of the world of hazy and juicy IPAs. What excites me about this particular beer is the way that it combines some hops that some brewers have written off as old school — Chinook, specifically — and really highlights just how contemporary a profile it really has,” said Ben Edmunds, brewmaster for Breakside Brewery. “Chinook has these huge grapefruit notes, and when you pair it with Mosaic and Simcoe, it becomes a real symphony of hop flavor. In some ways, this is like West Coast IPA gone east … kind of like what would happen if Breakside IPA, Wanderlust and What Rough Beast had a kid sister that was way cooler than all of them.”
This Colorado liquor store partners with area breweries on in-store collabs
Molly’s Spirits, a destination liquor store in Colorado, has partnered with breweries (Big Choice, Mockery, Bonfire and Liquid Mechanics to name a few) in the past to create one-of-a-kind offerings. Its latest: Molly’s Spirits is teaming with New Image Brewing for Better Together.
Better Together (6.5 percent) is an exploration of the hazy New England Style IPA, using New Image’s flagship IPA, Coriolis Effect, as the base beer but with the individual hop varietals chosen from some of the brewery’s most popular variants, which include Citra and Mosaic. Inspired by a mutual desire to create a high quality beer, Molly’s and New Image is also committed to give back to the community they serve. One dollar of every 6six-pack sold of Better Together at Molly’s will be donated by Molly’s Spirits and matched by New Image to the Jefferson Center for Mental Health.
Alert! Alert! Cascade Brewing’s 2017 Kriek is now on draft
CBB favorite Cascade Brewing has released its Kriek 2017 project on draft and in a new 500-ml bottle format. Cascade Kriek is a blend of sour red ales aged in oak wine barrels for up to 17 months with more than 16,000 lbs of fresh Bing and sour pie cherries. It is one of Cascade Brewing’s earliest and most recognized sour beers and has twice been named the “Top Sour Beer in America” by the New York Times. The beer features complex flavors of cherries, roast malts, oak and spice and comes in at 7.7 percent ABV. Please, tell me more, Tim Larrance, Cascade VP of sales and marketing.
“This year’s project is highlighted by a deep rich color brought on by the roughly 1.3 million wonderfully decadent Bing and sour pie cherries we brought in last summer. Word around the cellar is that this is the best version of Kriek we’ve made to date.”
This marks the second 500-ml launch for Cascade Northwest Sour Ales. The brewery introduced the new format with the release of its Apricot 2017 last month. The brewery switched from 750-ml bottles to the new size to enable first-time consumers to purchase its barrel-aged sour beers in a format that works for them, while allowing long-standing customers to purchase its beers in more locations.
Summit Brewing ready for fall with new variety pack (and new nut brown ale)
Leave it to a Minnesota craft brewery to already be ready for fall. Summit Brewing sent word that the Summit Bonfire Box variety pack is nearing release, featuring four beers for the fast-approaching mild evenings spent outdoors. Those beers? Summit Extra Pale Ale, Keller Pils, Oktoberfest and a brand-new Summit Cranky Woodsman — a Nut Brown Ale offering roasty notes of smoke and maple syrup. Brewed with Minnesota-grown puffed wild rice, Cascade hops from Mighty Axe Farms and Lacey barley from Alexandria, Minn. — plus a touch of smoked oat malt and just a splash of maple syrup — Cranky Woodsman celebrates the flavorful and aromatic terroir of the upper Midwest. Summit rightly asks “WHY ON EARTH WOULD ANYONE WANT TO WAIT TWO MORE MONTHS FOR THIS?” to which I have no answers. Summit Cranky Woodsman is pouring for the first time Thursday, Aug. 2. Meet you there.