Monday, 22 June 2009

Summer theme

I need a good theme for the summer. Something like the decoction mashing series from last year. (If you can remember that far back.)

I'm not usually short on ideas. In fact, the opposite is more often true. That I have way too many ideas. Time for some author-reader interaction. Can any of you lot think of a good theme for the summer? Preferably something I can stretch out to a minimum of a dozen posts.

I suppose there will be a prize for the winner. One of my books, as usual. There's a choice available at the moment. "Trips!", "Numbers" and, by the time the competition is finished, probably "Trips! East", too. Or is the next volume scheduled for release "Trips! South"? Trips something, anyway.


Aaron Bennett said...

How about IPA, myth vs history, with some looks at current IPA's as well. I know a ton of homebrewers who still think that authentic english style ipa's should be conditioned with oak chips to replicate the way the ales were shipped in oak casks. On the other extreme of ignorance there's people who consider an IPA of less then 80 IBU's to be weak.

What actually is an IPA, historically? Where they ever really even for India or is that just BJCS baloney? How bitter were they? What did they taste like?

Is that enough of an essay question for you?

Pivní Filosof said...

How about spontaneously fermented beers, and other sour beers? I think there is quite a bit of material there. Maybe you could compare the better known Belgians with others from other countries.

I was speaking with some Danish beer enthusiasts the other day and they told me that Mikkeler made a spontaneously fermented beers not aiming to copy the Belgians but because they had seen an ancient text (or something referring to it) that mentioned the Norse god Thor spitting on the wort to start the fermentation, that made some people believe that at least some beers were brewed without the use of "domesticated" yeasts. Or at least that is what they said.

Andrew Elliott said...

How about a series on conditioning practices? That should be enough material, considering North German, South German, Belgian, Different parts of the UK, and also how they may have chagned over time. Also conditioning makes me think cooler thoughts which are especially welcome in these hot summers!

Alan said...

Can't the IPA question be addressed by Pete Brown's book or at least a critique of it?

I would have more family travel posts. I do like tales of the seaside.

mentaldental said...

There are three good ideas there.

I'll go for the IPA option. I would like to know more of how the style developed via it probable origins in October beer through it's development into a separate beer intended for export to the EIC, the changes brought about by change of taxation regime, war etc, and its 20C revival. Plenty to work on there, I would think! You could make us a nice timeline. To make a change from your usual tables.

Pete Brown's "Hops and Glory" describes the EIC officers chilling the beer (well actually they had a servant to do it for them, obviously). A early example of a chilled, pale beer? I guess so, before pils was around too I think.

Barm said...

Hasn't IPA been done to death already? Although, having said that, I'm sure there is still much fascinating stuff to be dug up on the subject.

I'm more interested in milk stout, boys' bitter and AK. How about a series on small beer and its disappearance? Dispense methods in England and Scotland and Germany, 1800–1954. Those pink china pint pots that George Orwell wrote about. The 1960s beer keller fad in the UK. Mock Tudor pubs. Tropical Stout. Whether brewers made any money from selling yeast to bakers or spent grain to farmers. Did German/Czech/Belgian brewers in wartime resort to odd mashes of whatever malt was available as the British did?

Zak said...

Seasonal October / March brewing? Stock ales? Beers that are drunk in the summer, but brewed at other times of year?

Gary Gillman said...

Summer theme = a beer that used to be a byword for summer beer in England. Lager. How about a discussion of the origins and development of U.K. lager-brewing?

It may have been long odds that a relatively bland drink, at its best in hot weather, would take the cool and rainy British Isles by storm, but somehow it happened.

Lord Pattinson is petitioned to explain the why's and wherefore's.


First Stater said...

Benelux brewing. You are in the heart of one of the world's best brewing regions and could spend years expounding on styles, ingredients and techniques. I'd slurp that up.

Barm said...

It's more bizarre than that, Gary — Tennent's in Glasgow have been brewing lager for longer than pretty much anyone else in the UK, so lager first became popular in the coolest, rainiest part of the country!

Ron Pattinson said...

Let's work through these in order:

IPA - I don't have access to the enough information, in particular brewing records from Burton.

Spontaneous fermenation - that's not a bad idea. I've got stuff on British methods of spontaneous fermenation. But I've already published some of it.

Conditioning methods - Mmm. Again, it's a question of getting hold of the material. There's definitely a lot to write about. The Czech air-pressure system, for example. And Germnay - how were they serving beer 100 years ago?

Milk stout, boys' bitter and AK - now that's a thought. Any excuse to discuss AK. I'd throw in XK, too.

The 1960s beer keller fad in the UK - fun idea, but no.

Mock Tudor pubs - outside my personally imposed limit of interest. I have to draw the line somewhere.

Tropical Stout - good one. It's the forgotten export. Weird, isn't it, how IPA, which disappeared decades ago is seen as the classic tropical export beer. While Stout both preceded and outlived it.

Whether brewers made any money from selling yeast to bakers or spent grain to farmers - that's too obsessive even for me. Now the trade between breweries in bottom-fermenting yeast strains. That's more promising. Where did all the yeast come from when everyone swapped to lager?

Did German/Czech/Belgian brewers in wartime resort to odd mashes of whatever malt was available as the British did? - If anything, I would expect it to be more extreme. And then a grinding halt. Though, according to my statistics book, the Belgian and Czechs brewed all the way through.

Seasonal October / March brewing Stock ales - not bad. But not very summery. I've got some cracking Truman K Ale recipes.

U.K. lager-brewing - very good. Summery and something I've been looking at. But I did a summer of lager last year.

Benelux brewing - a very reasonable idea. Except, I have virtually no decent material for Belgium and don't really know bugger all about Belgian beer, except that I like drinking it. I've got a book on Luxemburg beer. Which is something. And I've quite a few books. And I've some brewing records. Would Nelux be good enough?

Eric said...

I propose you do a series on wheat in beer. I love drinking wheat beers during the summer so it seems a fitting time to cover it (if you haven't already).

Prof. Berghoff said...

How about the exact date and time when the the lemon wedge was introduced in Bavarian Hefeweizen? If you want to go full circle, I would like to know when the Mexican's introduced it to Corona as well.