If you were disappointed not to find the dubbel, grand cru, and Four on tap at the Allagash kick-off party Sunday at the 5th Earl Market, you were not alone. Owner Brian Falcon assured me that he had expressed his displeasure to the distributor, as well. Apparently some of the kegs were mislabeled and they got the tripel and Fluxus instead. Hopefully some of the darker varieties will appear soon. That said, the triple was delicious, and I enjoyed revisiting the Fluxus, a very interesting and complex beer.
Bottle-conditioned beers have a layer of yeast on the bottom that is left in to allow fermentation to continue after bottling. The label should indicate if the beer is bottle conditioned. Some common bottle conditioned beers are Bridgeport IPA, Fuller's 1845 and some other British ales, and a number of Belgian-style ales (Ommegang, Maudite, La Chouffe). As a rule, you should decant these beers to leave the yeast sediment in the bottom, although it is difficult to prevent a little coming out. Don't worry, some people like the taste of the yeast, and it will not hurt you. In fact, it is actually loaded with B-vitamins that are good for you and may prevent hangovers. I usually drink most of the beer without the yeast, then swirl it around and pour it in the bottom of the glass for a little healthy "shot." Then I can decide if I like it better with or without.
Most commerical beers are filtered to remove sediment, but excessive age can cause "floaties" to form when chemical reactions result in the formation of solids. If you see particles in your beer(as opposed to cloudiness), you should dump it out, or pass it to your drunk friend.
You mention that most beer should not have sedimetn but a few exceptions do. Which brands are the exceptions? If you have one of these beers and the sediment is at the bottom, should you mix it up or try to leave it at the bottom of the bottle?
I will tell you why this state doesn't get great beer, because you have a bunch of losers that assume Guinness is the greatest beer in the world. I am sure half of the people drinking Guinness do not even realize that it is a Stout. I read a Creative Loafing article where a guy said that his favorite beer was Stella Artois and another guy said his was Guinness! Are you kidding me these beers suck! Guinness and Stella Artois are the paragons for crappy stouts and pale lagers. Stay away from these beers. The American microbreweries are completely underminded due to this type of thinking! Don't people realize that the three-tier system has nothing to do with it. People in Georgia simply don't know what great beer is, so how are they supposed to request something when they don't even know about it. One more thing, never go to Brick Store Pub in Decatur. They markup their beer by %100 in some cases, you fucking thieves. I hope your bar goes out of business. Charging $25 for a $12.00 beer (specifically Dogfish Head Black and Blue) is ridiculous. I hope you make tons of money and I hope you keep taking advantage of your naive customers. Fuck You Midtown for charging $5 for a pint of stupid Guinness.
I haven't really had the opportunity to taste many beers from Asia except the "international style" lagers that are often modeled after American macro lagers or European standard lagers like Heineken. These beers, such as Tsingtao from China, Kirin from Japan, and Singha from Thailand, use rice as an adjunct that typically represents 30 to 40 percent of the overall grain bill, with malt still being the source of most of the fermentable sugars. These are usually good examples of the style, but to me are not worth the extra cost associated with imports. I will often have an Asian import with my meal when I eat at an ethnic restaurant, though. The national beers are usually brewed to complement the county's cuisine.
In Japan, brewers have had to progressively cut back on the amount of malt in beer to avoid a tiered beer tax, imposed to protect the sake industry, which is based on the percentage of malt. The new formulations, are no longer considered "beer" by law, and are called "happoshu." Imported versions of Kirin, Sapporo, and Asahi have malt content similar to American Lagers, but some happoshu has less than 25 percent malt. I haven't tried these (I'm not sure if they are exported), but I would probably have to judge them on different criteria than beer. They are popular in Japan, probably because they are cheap, and they may be refreshing, but are rumored to cause bad hangovers.
There are a few Asian "craft beers" that use a variety of ingredients and are brewed for a complex flavor. Japan's Kiuchi Brewery, long known for its sake, makes a unique red rice ale, part of its Hitachino Nest beers. This might be a good summer ale, although at 8.5 percent ABV, it's a bit strong for quaffing.
What is your opinion of beer that has rice as a main ingredient, as a summer brew and in general?
I can't wait to see where you go with this column. It should certainly be great for the craft beer community...best of luck with it!
Creative Loafing Atlanta
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