Barley, Hops, Water and…Yogurt?

Edit: This story was awarded 1st place in the “Short Form” category at the 2016 North American Guild of Beer Writers (NAGBW) awards.

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #103:

No one raises their eyebrows when black currants are used in a beer these days, but yogurt? To create the desired tartness and acidity in The Commons Brewery’s Biere Royale—a riff on the cassis-based Kir Royale cocktail—head brewer Sean Burke pitched tubs of the stuff. Specifically Nancy’s brand Greek yogurt. Burke is from Eugene, Ore., not far from the creamery’s location. Plus, it was in his fridge. Remarkably, the creation of that beer for the 2013 Portland Fruit Beer Festival is one the first uses of Lactobacillus found in unpasteurized yogurt to acidify beer. Instead of extensive aging in barrels inoculated with acid-producing bacteria, Burke went with a probiotic-rich dairy product.

“We knew we wanted to have a high amount of acidity,” said Burke at the time. “We took Nancy’s Greek yogurt and created a starter and soured in the kettle. Nancy’s has multiple strains of Lactobacillus… We mashed into the mash tun, lautered into the kettle, then soured the collected wort.”

 

An Oral History of BridgePort India Pale Ale

This is the second installment of this type of oral history of a Portland beer that would go onto help shape not only the Portland beer scene, but impact the national beer climate as well. Crazy to think that before this beer debuted in 1996, most beer drinkers in America had no clue what an India Pale Ale was.

Image courtesy BridgePort

Image courtesy BridgePort

Willamette Week “Drank” reviews

Wherein I review the following new releases on shelves or on tap:

Flat Tail: Cider Wit (Jan. ’12)

Philadelphia’s: Barrel-aged Betsy Ross Golden Ale (Feb. ’12)

Everybody’s Brewing: Little Sister ISA (Mar. ’12)

Lompoc: Batch 69 Baltic Porter (Apr. ’12)

Fort George: Roses on Roses (May ’12)

Hopworks Urban Brewery: Abbey Ale (June ’12)

Double Mountain: Devil’s Kriek (July ’12)

Base Camp: In Tents IPL (Nov. ’12)

Salmon Creek: Märzen (Dec. ’12)

Caldera: Mogli Bourbon-oaked Imp. Chocolate Porter (Jan. ’13)

Agrarian: Espelette chili beer (Apr. ’13)

Flat Tail: Lemon Diesel (Aug. ’13)

Lucky Labrador: Black Sheep bourbon-aged CDA (Sep. ’13)

Finally, well, most recently, this review of Rogue’s Brutal IPA…per the editor’s request to review it particularly as it tastes having traveled to Amsterdam. (Jan. ’14)

Rye Revolution

For nearly 500 years, Germans mandated that beer be made from only water, hops, and barley. More recently, however, Northwest brewers began embracing virtues of rye. This segment of Portland Monthly’s feature, “Wallet Guide,” explored five rye-fueled brews that embrace the flavor-packed grain.

 

India Session Ales

All the IBUs. Half the ABV. Welcome to the India session ale (ISA). This is the story for CraftBeer.com that inspired one of my most revered beer writer colleagues, Martyn Cornell from the UK, to posit, “India Session Ales – tremendous new trend or oxymoronic category fail?” What’s your favorite sessionable IPA? What’s your take on the debate over this style?

India Session Ales

The beauty of an India Session Ale? The brew retains the hop-powered IBUs (international bitterness units) of an IPA while you retain more of your wits with lower ABV. In time for summer in the May, 2013 issue of Portland Monthly, I delved into five ISAs for the “Wallet Guide.”