Czech Beer Blog

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

5+1 Monday Beer Readings (7) — May 5, 2014

5+1 Monday Beer Readings (7)

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Craft Beer Branding Wars: 10 BREWERIES THAT HAVE STEPPED UP THEIR PACKAGING GAME
http://firstwefeast.com/
Since the 1970s, the number of craft breweries operating in the U.S. has skyrocketed from less than 100 to more than 2,500. That’s promising news for the industry as a whole, but if you’re a new upstart fighting for recognition—or an older outfit trying to stay relevant—it spells fierce competition. Go to any beer store—or even the local bodega—and you’ll be inundated by choice. Which of the 60 different IPAs on offer are you going to pick? In craft beer, as in any business, branding matters. But rather than relying on million-dollar Super Bowl commercials and sponsorships to push their product, most small breweries duke it out on the shelves simply with cool bottles and cans. If you’re as into label art as we are, it’s exciting is to see how these brands create visual identities to match the creativity of their beers.

The attack of Haynau: “Down with the Austrian butcher!”
http://hopbot.co/
The Spring of Nations took Europe by storm. People for various reasons from different background thought it was time to act. From Paris to Debrecen people fought for what they thought was right against their opressor, military officials like Julius Jacob von Haynau. In 1801 he started his military career in the Austrian army, rose quickly in the ranks and when the revolutionary insurrections of 1848 broke out in Italy, Haynau was selected to command troops to suppress them. He is still known as the “Hangman of Arad“, the “Hyena of Brescia” or just simply as “The Butcher” He had earned his delightful moniker by torturing prisoners and flogging women while suppressing revolts in Italy and Hungary. But this is a beer blog, so why do I write all about this you ask? I get to it now.

Pop the Top: The 15 Best Canned Beers
http://hiconsumption.com/
There’s no denying that cans are more convenient than bottles. Cans are lighter, less breakable, and they’re also better for the environment. But canned beers come with a stigma–that they all taste metallic and are, therefore, inferior to bottled brews. This may have been the case when canned beers were first introduced in 1935, but both brewing and canning technologies have come a long way since then, right? There are now a growing number of canned suds that satisfy. Even Samuel Adams began canning their brews in 2013, paving the way for smaller craft breweries to follow the trend. But now when you go into your local beverage center, you might see a wall of beer which all look similar–which includes the less-tasty offerings from the big brewers. In fact, some of the big guys are now masking their mediocre beer with a craft-style can design (we’re looking at you, Anheuser-Busch). So without further ado, here are the 15 best canned beers.

Mexican craft beer a Cinco de Mayo review
http://www.examiner.com/
With Cinco de Mayo coming up Sunday, May 5, a look at the state of affairs of Mexican craft beer is in order. Mexican beer has come a long way from the pale yellow fizzy lagers like Corona and Tecate. In today’s Mexico, craft brewers are setting up shop in and around major cities like Mexico City, Tijuana and Guadalajara. These pioneers have seen the craft beer craze sweep through the United States and seek to bring the great flavors of Mexico to artfully crafted ales. In an article by Yahoo Food editor Rachel Tepper, John Holl, editor of All About Beer Magazine, explained, “We’re seeing stouts, Belgian-style ales, tripels, beers that have local ingredients in with the mash,” Holl explained. “I think local ingredients can really be everything. Beers are brewed with cactus. Beers are aged in tequila barrels, or with spices that might go into certain local dishes.”

5 unlikely celebrities with some skin in the craft beer game
http://hopbox.co/
Ever wonder what celebrities do with their spare time and money? We’ve all heard stories about Charlie Sheen taking a hit of the devil’s dandruff and threatening porn stars. Justin Bieber might get a little high, hurl some eggs at his neighbor’s house, and then blame cocaine possession on his African American friend when the cops show up. Should we go on? Some celebrities, however, are productive, participating members of the community. And not just any community, we’re talking the craft beer community we’ve all come to know and love. In fact, we did a little research and put together a list of 5 celebrity-backed beers you’ve probably never heard of but should know about. There are some unlikely names in here, so get ready.

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Cicero´s Beer School Podcast
http://www.cicerosbeerschool.com/
Live beer tasting with the Brewmasters! Cicero’s Beer School has been rocking St Louis since 2006. Share the thirst for knowledge, right here. Or join us at Cicero’s Restaraunt in The Loop, 6691 Delmar, St Louis, MO 63130.

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/

5+1 Monday Beer Readings (2) — April 7, 2014

5+1 Monday Beer Readings (2)

 

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The Best Kind of Geography Is Beer Geography
http://www.psmag.com/
University of Kentucky geographers used millions of geotagged tweets to produce fascinating beer maps of the United States. Last fall, a hangover remedy company called Blowfish produced a somewhat questionable map of the favorite beer brands in each state. According to the company’s data, collected by a third-party survey of more than 5,000 “drinkers” across the United States, the faux craft beer Blue Moon was proclaimed as the country’s most preferred brand. Considering Blue Moon’s relatively low market share, this company, which believes there’s actually a cure for hangovers, cannot be trusted for its methodological prowess.

Drinking Away The Past: Beer Brewed With Fossils
http://geekologie.com/
So, can I drink that as-is or do I need to wait? “You need to wait.” Woopsie. *wiping mustache* Bone Dusters Paleo Ale is a soon-to-be-released beer from Lost Rhino Brewing Company of Ashburn, Virginia, that’s brewed with a new yeast subspecies swabbed from an ancient fossil. The first batch is coming from a 14-million year old whale skull. Cool, but call me when you brew a Tyrannosaurus Wrecked Pale Ale. Even better, just send me a case. Plus a t-shirt and some koozies.

Your Favorite Beer Doesn’t Even Exist Yet
http://www.policymic.com/
When most people think GMO crops, they think of Monsanto, corn and genetic tinkering with industrial-scale agriculture. But what if an entire, familiar industry — like beer — could undergo a revolution by rewriting an entire organism — like yeast — from scratch?That’s what a team of geneticists at Johns Hopkins University is doing and if they’re successful, the ramifications could be felt far beyond your next ill-advised 3 a.m. pint. As Popular Mechanics reports, the Yeast 2.0 project has designed and written an 11-million-letter DNA code which is being snipped out and snapped into cultures of regular yeast. And recently, they blew past their first development milestone by completing an entire chromosome — the third in yeast’s 16-chromosome structure. And as Popular Mechanics reports, they’re doing more than rewriting. They’re optimizing and downsizing the length of the genetic code that the yeast relies upon to fulfill its genetic destiny, essentially turning the blueprint of life into something more like computer code. Ultimately, it’s 10-15% shorter.

How Global Warming Will Affect Your Beer
http://www.popsci.com/
A pilot study examines how drought affects the quality of starch in barley. There are many things that will change as Earth’s climate warms. Doctoral student Peter Gous is worried about the price and quality of beer. The aspiring plant bioengineer worked with a team of scientists to test how not getting enough water altered the quality of barley grains. In a small pilot study, the scientists found that the starches inside barley grains grown with too little water are different from starches found inside nicely-watered barley grains. The dryness-stressed barley had longer-chain starch grains and more protein than normally grown barley. From there, Gous made an interesting conjecture about the future—one we’ve never thought of.

8 Beers That You Should Stop Drinking Immediately
http://banoosh.com/
Many of us choose what we eat very carefully, or at least dedicate our minimum attention to it. But when it comes to drinks, especially alcoholic beverages, we do little to make the best decisions for our health. Which is a HUGE mistake. All the work for your body can be ruined in a weekend out. While foods and non alcoholic beverages are required to list their ingredients and are monitored by the FDA, beer does not belong in either. Alcohol industry had lobbied for years to avoid labeling its ingredients. Some to protect its recipes, but most – to hide harmful ingredients.

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Which type of Beer are you?
http://www.whichblankareyou.com/
A quiz to determine which type of beer you are, and of course which type of beer you should be drinking right now!

5+1 Monday Beer Readings (1) — March 31, 2014

5+1 Monday Beer Readings (1)

A new segment is here! Every Monday you will have a chance to browse through five articles or blogpost I collected over the weekend. So the very first edition is ready!

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London’s best historical pubs: the ultimate tour
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/
There are few more quintessentially English experiences than supping a pint of ale in a centuries-old public house, where the walls could tell you stories. London is awash with such places, remarkably so in some respects, given the destruction wreaked by the Great Fire of London, Second World War bombs and post-war planners. Marked in the map above are some wonderfully historical pubs in the heart of London. Some were around before Shakespeare; others are comparatively recent Victorian additions – but all have a fascinating story behind them. There are many more options beyond this map, and we have highlighted some of the most noteworthy below.

MIKKELLER AND EARL OF ESSEX BREW DAY
http://www.theeveningbrews.co.uk/
It’s always great when the Mikkeller crew comes to town. They were here for two collaboration brews, one with Partizan for the Rainbow Project and one with the brewpub Earl of Essex, and a tap takeover at the Kings Arms. It’s safe to say they were making the most of their recent visit.

 

Beer Run!
http://www.runnersworld.com/
A (somewhat) scientific look at how a postrun pint (or two) affects your favorite activity. Biggest surprise? It’s different for women.

 

History of Brewing – Industrial Revolution and Pasteur (1780 – 1860)
http://drunkalchemist.blogspot.cz/
The Industrial Revolution provided the tools to make large batches of consistent beers for the first time in history. This is because the hydrometer, thermometer, and microscope were all invented during this period. Industrialization provided breweries with the infrastructure to brew, package, and distribute large quantities of beer.

 

3 Common Beer Myths Busted
http://lovebeerlovefood.com
Beer is a beautiful thing – A perfect balance of four ingredients: water, malted barley, hops, and yeast. Recently I have been hearing vicious lies circulating about this wonderfully complex and diverse beverage causing people to dismiss entire categories or even colors of beer. Tragic, I know. Let’s bust open  some of the most common beer myths, why don’t we?

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Bloxi (bloxi.com) Beer Quiz!

Archaeologists discover 100-year-old St Austell Brewery beer at St Piran site in Cornwall — March 22, 2014

Archaeologists discover 100-year-old St Austell Brewery beer at St Piran site in Cornwall

I love beer archaelogy and I love Cornwall! And guys from foodiessouthwest published a great article about both!

Foodies South West

Archaeologists unearthing the secrets of St Piran’s Oratory in the shifting sands at Perranporth, Cornwall have discovered a bootle of local beer more than 100 years old.

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The green bottle of Walter Hicks ale from St Austell Brewery is thought to date from around the time of the encasement of the oratory in 1910.

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