Sunday, 1 February 2009

Back in the USA

Well here I am back in the USA. Who o oh, oh, yeah. As the MC5 put it. Without hardly even any delay. And it only took 45 minutes to get through immigration.

I'm in my hotel room. It's so exciting. I noticed there's a bar in the lobby. What am I doing wasting my time here? And I'll be seeing Lew Bryson in half an hour. Just a shame the rest of the week will be nothing but work.

16 comments:

Artist formerly known as Wurst said...

Where in the USA?

Loren said...

Defiant Brewery in Pearl River is fairly close to Hillsdale, NJ. Give Neill Acer a call and stop by the taproom for some suds.

Enjoy!

Ron Pattinson said...

Wurst, I'm in Northern New Jersey.

Artist formerly known as Wurst said...

Shit, you're nowhere near me. Let me know when you come to a real beer town, like San Diego.

Matt said...

I've oftern wondered why the brewpubs I've been to in the US - like Heartland in New York - use taps instead of handpumps. Even though it's dispensed under pressure, I'm assuming the beer isn't filtered or pasteurised(?)

Gary Gillman said...

Matt: the operating concept of craft breweries in the U.S. and Canada has been to make filtered but unpasteurised beer dispensed cold from CO2-assisted kegs (or now beer gas in many cases). So it's not keg or container beer really, it's more like the Scots did draft beer in the 1800's (see Byrn on this). I agree that cask ale dispense would be better, but getting good cask ale in the States and Canada is a relative rarity in my experience - even after 30 years. It is perhaps best to, ahem, dispense with the cask idea here. The fact of beer being unpasteurised is really the key to quality, a rough filtering and a little CO2 won't hurt it much.

Gary

Ron Pattinson said...

Loren, as you may have seen from toady's post, Lew took me to Defiant yesterday. I really liked the basic industrial air of the place.

Gary, it sounds like you're describing what was called "bright beer" in my youth. Many breweries in the Midlands and the North went over to this type of beer in the early 1970's. It was filtered, but unpasteurised, and served by electric pumps. It could be difficult sometimes to tell the difference between young cask beer and well-served bright beer.

Gary Gillman said...

Ron, yes, and I didn't know that the bright beer you described wasn't pasteurised. I thought all keg or container production was pasteurised in the U.K., and electric metered pumps are merely a power-assisted way to serve some real ale.

Since as you say some of the container and keg beer was not pasteurised, this would be a parallel to the way most North American craft beer is served on draught.

To be sure a small part of it, very small, is sold cask-conditioned, and some of it is great. Cask beer when done right is the best beer in the world. But, again in my experience, a lack of knowledge of handling real beer, and sometimes poor turnover, often results in a sub-par pint (often one that is too cloudy). So sometimes I think it is better just to go with unpasteurised beer served fizzy... But still there is no question you can get a good pint of cask beer in many parts of the U.S., and in certain places in Canada too. The Gingerman in New York often has Chelsea Sunset ale, made on the Island, in excellent condition on hand-pull. Gingerman know how to handle real beer, so do some other places especially in beer-aware cities like Seattle or Portland.

Speaking of Portland, I am pretty sure in London an early North American-style brewpub was located in Great Portland Road, and I hope is still there. It's a large place with a modern decor. Their beer is excellent and is served in this style, cold and fizzy but otherwise straight from the tank. There were a couple of places in Soho and Covent Garden that were similar (in regard to how the beer was served).

Commercial (large-brewery) draft beer in North American was not pasteurised (and still may not be here and there) until recent decades. This may have provided the impetus to craft-brewers here to dispense beer in the way mentioned. Byrn (perhaps Roberts too?) states that much beer in Scotland was allowed to become bright and then racked as such for dispatch to the pubs, no sugar solution or young fermenting beer added, no finings... Same idea.

Gary

Joe said...

I've never had a problem with a little CO2. Whee, bubbles! It's the "cold" part that annoys me about so many brewpubs in the US.

If you want to serve your Kölsch-esque summery ale a bit chilly, I'm OK with that. But do you have to serve your stout at the same temperature?

In January?

Lew Bryson said...

Gary,

Almost all U.S. brewery draft beer is unpasteurized. It's usually filtered pretty tightly, but unpasteurized. There's not much draft that IS pasteurized, though a few craft brewers do flash-pasteurization -- Anchor does, I'm pretty sure. You won't see un-refrigerated kegs in the U.S. -- or you shouldn't, anyway.

Gary Gillman said...

Lew, what you state is my understanding for craft beer, but I thought that commercial (big brewery) draft has largely become pasteurised (heat-pasteurised) in recent decades. Not Miller Genuine Draft, and not Coors Light (both tightly filtered), but the other major big sellers. Is that not so? I'll be glad if it isn't!

Gary

Gary Gillman said...

I did some online checking and I think Lew you're right. I must have confused a recollection that most EU draft beer (domestic and export) is pasteurised, excepting of course real ale and some small-scale production.

I wonder why this difference exists, but I believe it does...

Gary

Lew Bryson said...

Did an article on this, years ago, Gary. Almost all European lager beer -- from at least medium-sized breweries, anyway -- is either flash-pasteurized or aseptically packaged. That's why they don't have to refrigerate their kegs. The technology was offered to U.S. brewers back in the 1960s, but they stuck to their old ways, and, generally, have ever since. It's an incredible expense, refrigerating all that beer, but it's why brewers tend to prefer draft: it's been mucked with the least.
Bottles and cans, yes, mostly pasteurized, except for Coors and Miller Genuine Draft, and a few other small brands.

Lew Bryson said...

BTW, Gary...I'm not ignoring your e-mail. I'm just not able to work at my desk much these past couple weeks -- which is, for arcane reasons, the only place I can reliably access mail to that address -- because of the new puppy we got. I WILL respond, and I apologize for the delay!

(Sorry for hijacking this little bit of space on the blog, Ron: put it on my account, will you?)

Gary Gillman said...

Thanks Lew, on both accounts!

And I enjoyed your post on your blog recounting the journey to meet Ron. Wish I could have been there.

Gary

Ron Pattinson said...

Lew, your account with me is still healthily in credit. Hijack away.