Czech Beer Blog

News from Czech beer scene plus some more stuff. Na zdravi!

America’s taste in beer, in five maps — May 13, 2014

America’s taste in beer, in five maps

us_bars_groceries_100122

vox.com
There is an unmistakable geography to beer preferences in America.
By analyzing over one million location-specific tweets related to beer, geographers Matthew Zook and Ate Poorthuis have mapped the geographical patterns hidden in the brews we like to drink. Their fascinating maps are featured in a chapter of a new textbook, The Geography of Beer.
Of course, with all these maps, there’s a caveat: The people who are tweeting are not everybody in the US,” Zook says. “It’s a distinct population, so it’s important to be cognizant of that.”

full story – vox.com

The Man Who Brings Ancient Beers to Life — May 2, 2014

The Man Who Brings Ancient Beers to Life

A perfect article about ancient beers and a project to bring them back to life.

large_beer

Myles Karp – http://munchies.vice.com/

University of Pennsylvania molecular archaeologist Patrick McGovern has devoted much of his academic career to the study of prehistoric alcoholic beverages. Using some technical wizardry involving something called “Fourier transform infrared spectrometry,” Dr. Pat (his preferred moniker) chemically analyzes residues found in ancient pottery from archaeological excavation sites around the world, detecting evidence of former ingredients.

In perhaps the world’s first commercial application of a PhD in archaeology, the professor then passes his ancient recipes to Delaware’s Dogfish Head Brewery, where the drinks are brewed and bottled.

King Midas was Dr. Pat’s first beer re-creation muse. Although he’s better known as the protagonist of the “Golden Touch” fable, Midas was an actual monarch who ruled over Phrygia in modern Turkey in the 8th century BCE. In 1957, Penn Museum researchers excavated his tomb, in which they found the corpse of an old man, a heap of fancy textiles, and a collection of bronze drinking vessels from the funerary feast. Thirty years later, Dr. Pat studied the vessels and found that they contained a beverage that mixed fermented barley, grapes, and honey, as well as a bittering agent that was likely saffron rather than hops.

Dr. Pat wanted to re-create Midas’s funerary feast, complete with the spicy barbecued lamb and lentil entrée culled from different vessels, at a fundraising dinner for Penn’s molecular archaeology program. But first, he needed a brewer to make the beer.

He initially pitched the idea at a beer tasting that happened to be held at the Penn Museum in 2000. “I said if anybody among the microbrewers would like to try to do a re-creation, they could come to my laboratory at 9 AM the next morning,” he said. “And so I had like 20 or 25 microbrewers show up. I couldn’t believe it.”

Samples began to arrive in Dr. Pat’s mail. “My job was to taste them and think about the parameters of how this ancient beverage might have been made,” he said. “It was a pretty tough job, but somebody had to do it.” Ultimately, Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head returned the best product. It was so well received, in fact, that Calagione decided to release it to the public. Midas Touch remains Dogfish Head’s most awarded beer.

rest of the article – munchies.vice.com

 

EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT BARREL-AGED BEER — April 29, 2014

EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT BARREL-AGED BEER

Barrel-Aged beers are big hit among the beer geeks. Even here, in CZ, there are some breweries trying to master this craft somehow Czech Way – they use Czech Porter beers and Czech wine barrels. So it´s always good to know about it a little bit more.

tmg-slideshow_xl

http://www.thrillist.com/
It used to be that the only age bar owners were concerned with was 21, but nowadays every serious craft beer bar has at least one brew that’s spent time in a wooden barrel before it’s old enough to drink.

To better understand how barrel-aging works, we consulted a pair of experts: the trend-setting Scottish brewers Innis & Gunn, who’ve been sneaking oak flavors into beers since 2003, and Austin, TX’s young-gun experimentalists Jester King, who’re known for using wood to make their fermentation go wild.

Why barrel age?
Innis & Gunn ages primarily to give their beer the flavor characteristics of wood, whereas Jester King uses the wood to affect the fermentation process. Hence, I&G chars their barrels heavily to allow the flavors to easily seep into the beer, while Jester King wants barrels to be as neutral as possible.

What flavors result from aging?
Oak’s most prominent flavor is vanilla, but the barrel’s previous contents have a big effect on the sloppy-second flavor characteristics. Bourbon barrels give off a toffee finish, gin has a more complex suite of botanicals, mezcal imparts more smoke and spice, and cedar spirals lend a piney aroma.

the rest of the questions and photos – thrillist.com

A Brief History of Beer by Kathy Padden — April 20, 2014

A Brief History of Beer by Kathy Padden

http://www.todayifoundout.com/
Beer brewing and drinking are activities that have been part of the human experience seemingly since the dawn of civilization. Around 10,000 years ago, mankind began to move away from living life as nomadic hunter gatherers, and began settling down in one spot to farm the land. Grain, a vital ingredient in beer making, was cultivated by these new agricultural societies.

No one is exactly sure how the process of beer making was discovered or who first discovered it, but it is thought that some bread or grain got wet, fermenting into an inebriating pile of mush thanks to yeast in the air. One has to wonder at the thought process of the person tasting the result for the first time – perhaps it was a dare between Mesopotamian frat boys… or more likely it was simply that up until very recently, no one would have dreamed of wasting any food, even putrid mush.  If there was a way to make it palatable and it didn’t kill you, people would do it to avoid waste.

What we do know is that the oldest written documentation pertaining to beer making can be traced back at least six thousand years, to the ancient civilization of Sumeria. A hymn, entitled “Hymn to Ninkasi,” which includes (translated):

Ninkasi, you are the one who pours out the filtered beer of the collector vat
It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates.

The beverage made ancient Sumerians feel “exhilarated, wonderful and blissful”- it’s no wonder that beer was considered to be a gift form the gods.

Back then, the beer wasn’t well filtered, giving it a cloudy appearance due to the residue it contained. To try to avoid the horribly bitter solids, Sumerians would drink their beer through a straw. The ghastly bitterness did nothing to stem the popularity of beer. The Ancient Babylonians, the descendants of the Sumerian people, were brewing at least 20 different varieties of beer by 2000 B.C. All citizens were entitled to a daily beer ration, calculated by the person’s social standing. Beer was such a vital part of these ancient economies that it was even used to barter, and a portion of worker’s wages were paid in beer, efficiently eliminating the need for a middle man.

The Egyptians carried on the beer brewing tradition, altering the taste with the addition of dates. The Greeks and Romans also made beer, but as wine grew in popularity the Romans began to consider beer the drink of Barbarians. As wine was considered ambrosia gifted to man directly from the god Bacchus, beer never really stood a chance in the area. Soon, beer was only commonly seen on the very edges of the Roman Empire – places where it was next to impossible to either cultivate or import wine.

Beer is known to have been brewed by certain Germanic groups as early as 800 B.C., and the ancient historian Tacitus reported that

To drink, the Teutons have a horrible brew fermented from barley or wheat, a brew which has only a very far removed similarity to wine.

Much later, the Catholic Church also got involved in beer making, and the abbeys were instrumental in refining the methods used for brewing. In time, many religious communities owed their very existence to beer, as the profits from its sale kept many a monastery in the black.  Charlemagne himself was thought to have even trained a few people in the brewing of beer and considered it to be an important staple item.  Much like their forebears, Christians at this point also felt that beer was a gift from God, which is an idea only very recently changed thanks to rampant alcoholism in the late 19th century particularly.

Beer was not only prized for its ability to intoxicate, which was a small comfort not to be underestimated considering the tough times your average person in medieval Europe would encounter as a matter of course, but just as importantly, during the Middle Ages, and even beyond, drinking beer was a much safer proposition than drinking water. The water supply of the time was rife with disease-causing bacteria thanks to extremely poor sanitation. Besides the alcohol content, beer also went through a “cooking” process, which greatly aided in eliminating any nasty stuff in the brew. As a result, beer was consumed by people of all ages and classes, and along with bread, was a staple of most people’s daily diets for centuries.

Back in Germany, after hops had been introduced (as early as the 9th century in some areas, slowly spreading from there over the next few centuries), brewers came up with a set of standards for German beer and began commonly mass-brewing it, rather than as many did at the time- home-brewing. These mass production methods and guidelines quickly spread throughout Europe.

When you’re not making it yourself at home, you might question what’s in your beer.  As a result of this, German brewers came up with the Beer Purity Law, or the Reinheitsgebot, which was devised in 1516. This purity pledge, the first of its kind for beer, guaranteed the medieval beer drinker a certain level of quality when drinking a German brew. The pledge also indicated that all German beer must consist of only a few base ingredients: water, hops, malted barley and malted wheat, along with yeast.

The 1800s bought significant advancement in the art of beer brewing, including Louis Pasteur’s discovery of yeast’s role in the fermentation process, and the invention of pasteurization. The advent of automatic bottling, commercial refrigeration and the rise of the railroads made mass production and distribution possible across huge, sparsely populated areas like the United States. By 1880, there were an estimated 3200 breweries in operation across the U.S.

Then came very dark days for American beer drinkers, and all who enjoyed alcohol in any form. As a response to rampant alcohol abuse that was blamed for most of the problems in the U.S. (sometimes fairly, often not), the 18th Amendment ushered in the era of Prohibition, turning average citizens who decided to brew at home into common criminals.

Prohibition involving beer came to an end in 1933, but not before such atrocious acts as the U.S. government intentionally poisoning certain alcohol supplies that they knew people would drink- killing at least 10,000 American citizens. As a response to this, certain members of congress advocated increasing the program to eliminate more of those choosing to drink,  seen as undesirables in a civilized nation. (Eugenics was a popular idea at this time throughout much of the developed world; this would change thanks to the Nazis and WWII: See The Fascinating History of Eugenics) By 1935, a mere five decades after the U.S. had boasted over three thousand breweries, only about 160 breweries were still in operation.

During World War II, food shortages led to the brewing of a lighter beer, which was supposedly more appealing to the Rosie the Riveters than the heartier beers favored by the men off fighting the war. When the war ended, both kinds of beer remained popular, and the surviving breweries were quick to exploit this new market.

Today’s beer drinker is most undoubtedly spoiled for choice, with almost limitless options when it comes to what kind of beer they prefer. Beer connoisseurs also have the ability to create and brew high quality beer of their own at home easy enough, creating truly custom brews perfectly aligned with the brewer’s preference and taste. The resurgence in home brewing had led to a Renaissance of sorts in beer making, improving the quality of the finished product while also remaining true to the original methods of beer brewing. This also brings those beer drinkers full circle- going back to the earliest of days of beer making, when most made it themselves at home.

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2014/04/history-beer/

AT THE INTERSECTION OF BLACK METAL AND ECONOMIC SUICIDE — JESTER KING HAS THE LAST LAUGH — April 16, 2014

AT THE INTERSECTION OF BLACK METAL AND ECONOMIC SUICIDE — JESTER KING HAS THE LAST LAUGH

This is probably my most favourite small brewery in US. Crafty, with sense of humour, great desingn and labels, punk style!

jkb

http://goodbeerhunting.com/
There’s a new term in craft brewing — artisanal. You’ve seen it in cheese, woodworking, bread, and wine. But until now, it hasn’t been used to describe beer all that often. And that’s because we already had the word “craft.” But in recent years, you’ve probably heard more about the craft industry — a bit of an oxymoron — than the craft of small batch beer-making itself. That’s because craft beer is quickly becoming the new default — somewhat disregarding the craft of beer-making in any meaningful sense of the word. Most of the attention on the definition of a craft brewery is focused on size and ownership structure more than the process or artistry itself. Larger craft brewers are still making amazing beers with the same original intent, utilizing many of the same ingredients as they did when they were small. But with all the growth in the craft sector, a new niche has emerged that has little chance of ever becoming industrialized, or defined by objective metrics. And that’s artisanal brewers.
The term artisanal can be bastardized like anything else, but so far it’s most often used to describe a brewer who’s making small batches, often aged or fermented in wood, and otherwise incorporates natural elements like yeast, bacteria, and ambient temperatures into the brewing process through wild and spontaneous fermentation. It takes time, sometimes a lot, and a healthy sense of humility in the brewing process. Where industrialization, even on the level of craft, reduces beer-making down to a series of weights and measures and chemistry, the artisanal process does the same, but then releases that beer into the wild. And from that moment on, it’s a matter of balancing the brewer’s intent with nature’s will.

The whole story and beautiful photogallery from Jester King brewery here

Gypsy breweries are educating Czech consumers (CZ) — April 13, 2014

Gypsy breweries are educating Czech consumers (CZ)

An article in Lidove Noviny about so called gypsy breweries. It´s a pretty new phenomena here but some of them are pretty good. if you want to taste something from their production look for labels like Holy Farm,  Nomad brewery, Prager Laffe or Falcon. They are very brave as for styles and even their lagers or dunkels are very well drinkable (Holy Dog and Holy Cat by Holy Farm brewery are great examples.). I wish them all the best and I hope that for many of them “be Gypsy” is a first step to their full scale brewery.
MEV5279c4_byz15pivoTTT

lidovky.cz

PRAHA – V zahraničí, zejména ve Spojených státech nebo v Dánsku, mají svou tradici. V Česku jsou takzvané létající pivovary nedávnou novinkou. Jejich počet postupně roste, i když ve srovnání prodaného množství se nemohou měřit s velkými producenty, a dokonce ani malými minipivovary.

Přesto poptávka po pivech, jako jsou třeba pražský Nomád, Prager Laffe, žatecký Falkon nebo značky ze série Holy Farm z Petrova na Hodonínsku, neustále roste. K mání jsou nejen klasické české ležáky, ale hlavně různá piva speciální, nakuřovaná, anglosaské „ejly“ (Ale) nebo uvařená s využitím netradičních surovin.

Majitel receptury a značky v podstatě zajišťuje jen distribuci. Pivo si podle svého patentu a pod svým dohledem nechává vařit ve vybraných většinou mini nebo malých průmyslových pivovarech. Ve světě jsou tyto létající pivovary označována jako gypsy brewery (ve významu kočovné) nebo contract brewing.

„Je to příležitost, jak vyzkoušet, které pivní styly se u zákazníků chytí, a přitom neriskujete případnou ztrátu z velké produkce, pokud zájem dobře neodhadnete,“ říká na adresu zřejmě prvního českého létajícího pivovaru Nomád jeho majitel Jan Kočka.

Značku Nomád si nechává vařit třeba v Břevnovském klášterním pivovaru v Praze nebo v Pivovaru Bobr v Zadní Třebani. Teď ale chystá spolupráci i s pivovary v Belgii a na Slovensku.

Létající pivovary prodají za rok řádově stovky hektolitrů piv, což je sotva viditelný zlomek celkové pivní produkce, která v Česku dosahuje zhruba 18 milionů hektolitrů. Nabídkou konkurují nejvíc restauračním minipivovarům, jejichž počet v posledních letech také nevídaně roste. Existuje jich už na 230 a dalších 40 až 50 do konce roku zahájí provoz.

„Létající pivovary mohou být pestrostí nabídky zajímavých značek a pivních stylů přínosem pro český trh. Jejich růst je však omezený kapacitou pivovarů, které pro ně vaří. V zimě jsou minipivovary vytížené méně, ale v sezoně mají jejich odběratelé situaci horší,“ komentuje situaci Radovan Koudelka z Českomoravského svazu minipivovarů.

Někteří prodejci na zakázku vyráběných piv rovnou připouštějí, že létající pivovar je pro ně předstupínek ke stavbě skutečného pivovaru. „Samozřejmě že to je můj sen. Ale zatím nám chybí dostatek finančních prostředků,“ říká Rudolf Lach z létajícího pivovaru Prager Laffe, profesí sládek z pražského minipivovaru U medvídků.

I bez pivovaru však mají „kočovní“ prodejci u určité (a stále početnější) skupiny zákazníků odbyt zajištěný. „Nenabízím do supernebo hypermarketů, spíš jen specializovaných obchodů, hospod a pivoték. I tak ale prodej těchto piv hodně roste. Tenhle byznys s vlastními značkami nám už přináší víc než provoz naší vlastní pivotéky, kde prodáváme i piva dalších výrobců,“ komentuje situaci Michal Staněk, provozovatel pivotéky Pod ořechem na Hodonínsku a majitel létající pivní řady Holy Farm. Její piva mu vaří například pivovar Vyškov nebo brněnský minipivovar Lucky Bastard.

Zdroj: http://byznys.lidovky.cz/gypsy-brewing-letajici-pivovary-rozsiruji-cechum-pivni-obzory-pwa-/moje-penize.aspx?c=A140411_130352_moje-penize_mev

New Stout Glass by Left Hand Brewing Co. Beautiful! — April 3, 2014

New Stout Glass by Left Hand Brewing Co. Beautiful!

I´ve been very very nice and if you want to give me some present – I LOVE THIS GLASS! So awesome, such a piece of beer glass art. Well done Left Hand!

Spiegelau-Social-Media-Square

http://lefthandbrewing.com/

The New Standard in Stout Glass is here: introducing Spiegelau’s next style specific glass, developed in collaboration with Left Hand Brewing Company and Rogue Ales!

Stout Glass Merits:

  • Voluminous, open bottom glass base drives beer and aromatic foam upward into main bowl
  • Ultra-pure quartz material makes for unsurpassed clarity and flawless, true color presentation of stout beer
  • Wider, conical bowl significantly amplifies aromas & also provides superior flow to mid palate, improving the taste, mouth feel and finish of complex a stout
  • Stark, angular shape and open base creates dramatic visual cascading effect into glass as beer is poured

Get your Left Hand Stout Glass!

See more at: http://lefthandbrewing.com/

Ten of our favourite columns by beer writer Michael Jackson — March 28, 2014

Ten of our favourite columns by beer writer Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson would have 72 today. Happy Beer Birthday. I would love to know what you are drinking right now!

Michael-Jackson-Cartoon

allaboutbeer.com

When famed beer writer Michael Jackson died in 2007, he left behind much more than a library of educational books on beer and whisky. The entirety of his archives—including 1,800 books, the contents of 29 filing cabinets, and countless handwritten notes—is now housed at the Oxford Brookes University library.

In the September issue of All About Beer Magazine, Stan Hieronymus takes a peek into the Beer Hunter’s collection and the efforts to preserve his legacy. While the collection at Oxford isn’t available to the general public, we asked former All About Beer Magazine editor Julie Johnson to dig through our own archives and pick her 10 favorite columns by Jackson.

TEN OF OUR FAVORITE COLUMNS BY BEER WRITER MICHAEL JACKSON

Milton Glaser Critiques Modern Beer Art — March 27, 2014

Milton Glaser Critiques Modern Beer Art

Beer and logo design as a topic for New York Times? And with Milton Glaser himself? Awesome!

milton-glaser-main2

nytimes.com

“I have a theory that most of design, in general, is the creation of affection,” says Milton Glaser, the 84-year-old graphic-design legend, who created the I ♥ NY logo. When it comes to craft beer, Glaser, who also designed the Brooklyn Brewery identity, believes that it comes down to creating a label that looks quirkily amateurish — if not downright unprofessional. “The one thing you don’t want to look like is Budweiser,” Glaser says. “This creates a paradox: How do you deliberately create the illusion of not knowing what you’re doing when you actually do?” As he notes below, some companies do it better than others.

11 Glaser´s beer label critiques in NY Times

Clock brewery in Potštejn is opening soon! (CZ) — March 25, 2014

Clock brewery in Potštejn is opening soon! (CZ)

New modern-style brewery should open soon in Potstejn near Pardubice. It should be in reconstructed area of old castle brewery and founders are promising new and hi tech modern style beers and styles. It´s one of the most anticipated projects in Czech brewing scene. For translation use Google Translator or similar. 🙂

fotobig3

orlicky.net

Chátrající objekt bývalého zámeckého pivovaru v Potštejně zažívá znovuzrození. Již jen pár měsíců dělí minipivovar v budově č.p. 2 od otevření. Hosté se mohou těšit na zajímavá piva a originální prostředí pod značkou Clock.
Až 2500hl nepasterovaného a nefiltrovaného piva plánuje ročně vyrobit nový řemeslný pivovar Clock v Potštejně. Za projektem stojí trojice Jiří Andrš, Ivo Muthsam a Jakub Sychra, kteří tak v budově bývalého zámeckého pivovaru zhmotňují svůj zájem o pivo. Obyvatelé Potštejna rekonstrukci budovy, která po dlouhou dobu narušovala upravený vzhled centra obce, vítají a na pivo se těší. Původní pivovar byl uzavřen v roce 1914, vaření piva se tak do Potštejna vrátí přesně po 100 letech.
„Chystáme se našim zákazníkům představit pestrý svět pivní rozmanitosti, ze kterého pro ně již nyní vybíráme a připravujeme to nejzajímavější,“ říká Jiří Andrš, jednatel pivovaru. „Pivo budeme vařit pouze z kvalitních přírodních surovin – vody, sladu, chmele a kvasnic,“ doplňuje Jakub Sychra, budoucí sládek, který i tak zaručuje, že piva budou vjemově velmi rozmanitá. Druhů sladu, chmele a kvasnic totiž existují desítky a stejně tak i pivních stylů, které z těchto základních surovin vychází.
Součástí pivovaru bude také stylová pivnice a v letní sezoně budou hosté moci posedět na prosluněné zahrádce. „Nechceme být jen lákadlem pro turisty, ale také místem setkávání pro místní,“ ujišťuje Ivo Muthsam.
Přestože pivovar vzniká v historických prostorách, nechtějí se majitelé nechat minulostí svazovat a plánují vařit moderní pivo a prezentovat jej spíše jako gurmánský produkt zapadající do moderního životního stylu. „Pivovary se často ohánějí tím, že vaří tradičně a dodržují původní receptury, což v téměř všech případech není uskutečnitelné,“ říká Jakub Sychra, „My rovnou přiznáváme, že chceme našim hostům nabídnout novodobé pojetí piva, které kvalitou a rozmanitostí leckoho překvapí“.
Nový řemeslný pivovar nepřitáhne do Potštejna jen zájemce o uhašení žízně, ale také ty, co se chtějí o pivu něco dozvědět. Pravidelné řízené degustace nebo párování jídla a piva, to jsou jen některé z plánovaných akcí, které mají za cíl rozšířit povědomí o pivu. „Zatím jsme ve stádiu příprav, otevřeme ale v první polovině roku,“ slibuje Jiří Andrš.