I recently had the opportunity to help organize the annual home-brew competition held by the Hong Kong Homebrewers' Association (HKHA) at the beginning of June. It wasn't really my intention to fill that role, as I'd much rather just brew and enter beers, but sometimes things just turn out that way. On the bright side, there's always something to be learned from a new challenge so in this post I'd like to point out a few things that I have gleaned from this experience.
"Session Beer" is a relatively recent term that is entirely made-up, but refers to beer that is of a lower alcohol content (typically under 5%) that allow for drinking more than one in a single "session". The challenge with brewing beers of lower alcohol strength is in ensuring that they have enough flavor to keep them interesting, and enough balance to invite multiple rounds. In this blog post I'll cover some takeaways from Jennifer Talley's new book Session Beers, including relevant styles and brewing tips. Talley has spent majority of her brewing career in Salt Lake City, Utah where she was restrained to brewing low-alcohol beers due to state laws. Out of necessity she has learned to brew great beer under 5% ABV and shares her tips (and recipes) in this 2017 publication.
This past holiday season I spent a few weeks along the Eastern coast of the USA visiting friends and family. Although we experienced some abnormally frigid weather for late December, my wife and I were still able to make our rounds to visit some of the breweries around Boston and the surrounding suburbs to the northeast.
Gluten is a troublesome protein found in cereal grains such as barley, wheat, and rye. Approximately 1% of the world population is affected by celiac disease which is an autoimmune disorder that damages the small intestine and affects nutrient absorption. Gluten sensitivity is a recognised condition affecting about 6% of the US population, and involves other, less serious reactions from ingested gluten. Since the primary source of sugar in brewing comes from cereal grains, most people with celiac disease and gluten intolerances avoid beer altogether, but craft brewers have gotten creative over the years in trying to offer gluten-free options that still taste great. This post will introduce you to the basics of gluten-free brewing.
German "craft beer"? Why would they need that? For a country that oozes "craft" in everything that they do, and a history that is steeped in strict traditions when it comes to brewing, it seemed unlikely that we would ever see German brewers joining the craft beer revolution. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that the most diverse and international city in Germany would serve as a catalyst for this new German craft beer movement.