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What Beer Are You Serving?

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The other day I was with a gentleman, who is in the process of setting up a microbrewery/ brewpub. While a lot of detailing was in place about the location, feel of the interiors, licencing, identifying prospect places to buy their equipment from, it seemed few measures had been taken to identify the brews that would eventually be served at the brewpub.

The kind of resources that we have today, makes it possible to have 16 billion different brews. I was reading that there are about 150 varieties of malt extracts, 15 specialty grains, 25 hops, and 32 yeast varieties which are available to the brewer today. Given this fact, it is important to consider what brew is being served to the customer.

A good way to launch a brewpub is to get the brewing licence for a good international brand and introduce the flavours to the local market, or brew your own. While a good consultant should help you achieve the former, a good brewmaster would be able to deliver a good brew based on resources available, taste and likeability factor by the customers.

While personal choice is important when considering what to serve like a stout, a lager, an ale or even flavored beer like strawberry, cranberry and so on, one must also think on the following while answering what to brew?

Competition: You may be the first to open a brewpub in a city, or setting up in a place, where a brewpub already exists. So what would differentiate you? It will be wise to peep into the neighborhood taverns, pubs, restrobars, brewpubs and profile the place vis-a-vis menu, seating, entertainment options, theme etc. Doing this successfully will give you a heads-up in doing your own brewpub and also understanding what kind of brew your customers would like and what kind of food can be paired along with it.

Clientele: Once you have got a hang of what your competition offers or doesnot offer, profiling customers is the next thing to realise your brew potential. Are you targetting the absolute beer enthusiasts, the young college going crowd, working professionals, creative people or a mix of all. Once you have identified the kind of clientle which will be walking into your brewpub it would be easier for you to identify the right brew to be served. You can perhaps engage your prospect clientele with a survey about their liking or if there is a possibility to do small tasting sessions with select group of people. This will give you deep insights about their preferences and willingness to experiment. I had done an earlier post on the types of Beer available. You may find it useful here.

Having answered “What Beer are you Serving?” it will also lead you to asking, “How big should your Brewery be? What is the capacity of equipment’s that one should order etc.  Since it will be a bit of lengthy post,  I will take it up next 🙂

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August 1, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Lambic beer – beer or wine?

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Most people I know would trade the world for a glass of chilled, cold beer and have a huge smile on their face once they have it. They would smirk at people having the “sophisticated” glass of wine and likewise. But very few people know that a glass of beer can be as expensive and sophisticated as the delicate wine. There are fierce loyalists to this type of beer known as the Lambic beer.

Lambics are living beers that contain living microbes and is brewed in the southwest region of Brussels, Belgium. Traditionally, wheat beer is made with 70% barley malt, 30% unmalted wheat and hops are added only as preservatives, not for the bitterness. Lambic’s  is then fermented by exposing it to wild yeasts and bacteria that are native to the Senne valley, in Brussels. The fermented brew is stored in barrels, just like wine,  for a period of 3-4 months (young) to about 3-6 years (mature). This unusual process gives the beer its distinctive dry, vinous, and cidery flavour with a slight aftertaste.

The aged brew stored in cool, dark places or under mild refrigeration takes on a rich, fruity complexity and much like wine, are not exposed to excessive temperatures because the living microbes will otherwise die. This delicate craft of producing a Lambic, makes it the most sought after fine drink, just like wine.

Lambic beer, is to be savored  like wine and not gulped like beer often is 🙂 The beer is often paired with a wide range of foods. A true Lambic beer goes well with light, white meat entrees like roasted rosemary lemon chicken and goes wonderfully well with desserts from chocolates, to cheesecakes.

The Timmermans Brewery has been around for more than 300 years brewing Lambic beer. History traces them to 1702 when they set up their brewery in Itterbeek. It was then known as ‘Brasserie de la Taupe’. Today they produce a fine variety of Lambic beer namely: Tradition Gueuze Lambic, Tradition Faro Lambic, Tradition Lambicus, Framboise Lambic, Kriek Lambic, Peche Lambic, Strawberry Lambic.

The types of Lambic/ Derived beer and the foods that they are usually paired with are:

Gueuze: A good gueuze can be kept for about 10-20 years, and is made by refermenting (for a year) a mixture of bottled young (1 year old) and old (2/3 year old) lambics.  Gueuze is usually paired with spiced desserts.

Faro: A light, sweet beer made by adding water/lighter beer to lambics along with herbs and brown sugar. It tastes divine when had with a dark Belgian chocolate or a chocolate truffle.

Kriek: Usually cherries are steeped in the beers, thereby producing a stark, penetrating dryness in the beer, accentuated by bitter, earthy and mineral flavors. Cheesecakes  go well along with Kriek.

Fruit: Lambics with addition of raspberries, strawberries, peaches, black currant and grapes. This has to be paired with fruit complimentary foods to feel the real richness of the flavor.

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July 7, 2011 at 2:13 am

Beer, India and the India Pale Beer

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With the rule of the British, came the beer.

Before long, India had its first brewery in Shimla. This was around the late 1820’s when Edward Dyer set up Dyer Beweries. It was in 1840’s that Lion Beer, the first brand that was sold in the market and has since become famous as Asia’s then first, and now oldest beer. Also because of the British Empire, other countries like New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka started producing the beer.

Over the years Dyer Breweries changed hands, and was renamed as Mohan Meakin Limited.

Before setting up of the Dyer Breweries, The East India Company was importing a lot of October beer, brewed by George Hodgson (Bow Brewery).  The journey to India by ship, would usually take couple of months and it seems this style of beer stayed fresh (not flat) after the months of journey to India. Hodgson is often mentioned as the inventor of the India Pale beer.

The Lion Beer was originally an India Pale Ale (IPA) and only in the 1960’s did it become a lager. The IPA version of Lion Beer became such a hit with the Britishers in India that they would exclaim “As good as back home”.

The name “pale ale” came from brews made from pale malt. Its roots have been traced since the 17th century Britain. This type of beer was lightly hopped and because there was less smoking/roasting of barley, the brew was paler in colour.

The other styles of the IPA are:

American-Style Black Ale: This type of beer retains the aroma of a typical IPA style beer, but because of use of roasted malts, the appearance is dark/black.

Belgian-Style IPA: Belgian brewers added thei own twist to the IPA by fermenting the IPA with a Belgian yeast strain and follow it with adding Belgian candi sugar.

Double India Pale Ale: This type has a very high amount of malts, hops and usually the alcohol content is also above 7%.


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July 5, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Keg and Cask Beer

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How does one distinguish between a Keg and a Cask beer? A true beer lover usually differentiates by the following 3 ways:

Temperature: Cask beer is usually warmer than the temperature controlled cold Keg beer. However nowadays, many pubs keep the cask beer in chillers, which keeps the temperature low than the desired level. So often the temperature at which the beer is served is usually same. However a good pub serves the cask beer at the right temperature.

Smell and taste: Cask beer has much more wholesomeness and fresher aroma to it than a bottled beer. Though the intensity of the aroma is less because a cask usually comes in touch with the air much before a bottled beer. But the flavour is awesome because of less carbonation. However with bottled beer, it is the burst of bubbles which takes precedence and doesnot allow to taste the beer first. Only once when the beer has settled down is when you can actually enjoy the taste of a bottled beer.

How it feels: Cask beer shouldnt be fizzy. If it is, it means that the Beer has been retreived too soon. A beer should have a natural feel to it doing what it should do – that is makes you want to drink another sip 🙂

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June 14, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Posted in Beer Facts, Beer Types

Types of wheat Beer

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The most important difference between regular (barley) beer brewing and wheat beer brewing is the yeast. The unique aroma and flavor profile that represents wheat beer comes only partly from the use of wheat malt.

In my last post I discussed about wheat Beer. Today I am doing to discuss about the different types of wheat Beer.

Wheat Beer can be classified mainly in 3 following categories:

A. German wheat Beer
B. Belgian wheat Beer
C. Other wheat Beer

wheat beer types

A. German wheat Beer can be further divided into following 4 categories based on the proportion of wheat, hops and yeast used.

1. Weizen or Weissbier wheat Beer– Weizen (wheat), also called Weissbier (white beer), is the flavored wheat beer of southern Germany. This kind of wheat Beer is golden yellow in color and so much lighter than the typically dark German ales that it came to be called “white beer.” Weissbier contain around 5% of
alcohol by volume, and lightly hopped.

2. Dunkelweizen wheat Beer– Dunkels (dark) Weissbier or Dunkelweizen is a dark version of weizen. Dunkleweizen is similar to regular weizen as to body, bitterness, and alcohol levels but is brewed with darker malts to produce a richer, maltier aroma and flavor.

3. Weizenbock wheat Beer – Bock is a style of German lager that is traditionally malty, somewhat sweet, strongly alcoholic, with little or no hop flavor or aroma. Weizenbock combines the characteristics of the two styles. It is the heartiest of the wheat beers. It can be either dark or light in color, with alcohol vary from 7% to over 9% by volume.

4. Berliner Weisse wheat Beer – Berliner Weisse is very light in body, pale in color. Contains alcohol as low as 3% by volume), with almost no hop bitterness. Like the Belgian lambic beer family, Berliner Weisse is a lactic beer. It is fermented with both yeast and lactic bacteria, resulting in a sharply sour Beer. It is something of an acquired taste, and challenging to microbreweres consistently because of the dual fermentation.

B.Beligian wheat Beer Belgium enjoys a huge reputation for its high-quality ales, but when it comes to wheat beers, there’s really only one style which is Wit beer.

5. Wit wheat Beer – Wit is a wonderful springtime beer. It is light and refreshing, with a bit of cloudiness to it. It is a slightly tart acidic and some light spiciness from coriander and curacao orange. The Beer is made using equal proportion of blend of pale malted barley and unmalted wheat.

C. Other wheat Beer:

6. American wheat Beer – Around 10 years ago when the brewpub and microbrewery craze took hold in the USA, many small breweries started making light wheat ales that were much different from European variety of wheat Beer. They used less wheat and they used standard beer (ale) yeasts. This light, drinkable beer also served as an ideal base for creating fruit flavored beers, and lots of craft breweries start making flavored wheat beers.

7. Flavoured wheat Beer –  Experimenting in Beer making is not a new idea. Lot of people like the refreshing flavors of fruit and honey and light spices that different brewers use to attract new consumers to the Beer marketplace. These styles offer a lot of space for creativity and innovation, and this Beers often appeal to younger consumers.

I hope I have managed to give you a little bit of idea about what to expect when you are trying to figure out which wheat Beers to buy.

Enjoy Beer!

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Wheat Beer

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Wheat BeerWheat Beer basically is a kind of Beer which is brewed with a significant quantity of wheat. In other words we can say that major constituents of mash should  be wheat. So wheat Beer contains larger portion of wheat malt, generally vary from 50%-70% and the remaining is regular barley malt. Wheat Beer generally are  top fermented and vary substantially with the style is brewing is used. During the fermentation process, yeast cells rise to the surface is called top fermented. On the other hand the bottom fermenting yeast settles at the bottom of the beer.

Wheat Beers are comparatively thicker than barley Beer. The reason is that wheat has a lot of protein in it than barley. This protein also creates haze in most  wheat beers. Wheat contributes very little flavor to a beer but it does contribute a distinctively silky mouthfeel. Wheat Beer is highly bubbling and are  generally light in flavour. That is why wheat Beer is preferred in summer.

During last several years wheat Beer have become very popular. Especially because people prefer wheat Beer more during summers. In earlier centuries, the use
of wheat beer in Beer making was illegal in many places, simply because of scarcity wheat to be used in Beer making.

In my next blog I shall discuss about the types of wheat Beer.

Beer Types – A comprehensive flow chart

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In my previous posts I have posted types of Beer.  I found the following info on the net and found it worth sharing.

beer types- a comprehensive list