Australia is a place with no shortage of great beer and since Tasmania accounts for majority of the hop supply, it’s no wonder that there would be a handful of breweries putting out some excellent craft beers in the state’s capitol of Hobart. We spent a week in Tasmania, using Hobart as a base, and since we never made it up to Launceston (home of James Boag’s and also close to Van Dieman’s) I decided to focus this post on the breweries of Hobart.
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.
Since my wife hails from the "O.C." (Orange County) we find ourselves visiting regularly. Over the years we've seen an impressive growth of craft beer in her neck of the woods. While Huntington Beach, CA is known as "Surf City USA" and is typically a summer destination for campers, beach-goers, and surfers alike, it is also starting to build a reputation as a craft beer destination.
The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) has been around since the 1990s with a purpose of defining and distinguishing between various beer styles throughout the world and providing the common vocabulary necessary to describe the differences in the taste, smell, mouthfeel, and appearance of those styles. Thus, it provides a standard framework upon which brewing competitions may be based when comparing the quality of various beers produced by both hobbyists and professional brewers. In this series of two posts I will discuss my experience in preparing for the BJCP exam which enables individuals to participate as qualified judges in BJCP-sanctioned brewing competitions. In this first part I will discuss the preparation for and completion of the online portion of the exam ("Entrance Exam") and in the second part I will discuss the tasting portion of the exam.