Thursday, 5 February 2009

American beer

I managed to four beers in today. Two at lunch, two with dinner. I'm so lucky.

Lunchtine drinking can be problematic in the States. At least that's what I've read. I was hesitating ordering a beer, when a colleague soleved my dilemna my by asking for a chardonnay. Then I looked at the menu and my spirits fell. A choice of 20, all mediocre or worse. I ended up with a flavour-free Dos Equis. Well two, actually. I'm so crazy.

Tea, sorry, dinner, was better. No worries about the accceptability of getting a beer. Amongst the usual multinational bollocks, there were, at least, two regionals. Now, which should I order? Sam Adams Winter Lager or Yuengling? I went for the former. Being positive, it was more flavourful than Dos Equis. But not much. Bit of chewy caramel and little else. It wasn't nasty. Positive. Be positive.

I'm back in my hotel. Obviously. How else could I be typing this in on my fliptop? Now where can I get my hands on something more challenging? Not at the hotel bar. The best they have is Flying Fish Extra Pale Ale. I had one last night. It's local, there's that going for it. Maybe I should say no more. I struggled to finish it.

Ooh look. There's the beer box. A lot more chance of flavour there. Let's give Kristen's Columbus IPA a try. How about my tasting notes? You've shown interest in them, that's my excuse.

Orange colour, little head (it's been rebottled so that's to be expected).
Grapefruit, lemon and sherbert aroma.
Sweetish/bitter taste.
Grapefruit, orange, resin and wood aromas.
Bitter finish.
Caramel, grapefruit, malt and resin aromas.

Quite pleasant, in a citrusy sort of way. Though I'm not sure I could drink ten of them. Finally something with tongue-stripping qualities.

I'm starting to wonder if there's something wrong with my tastebuds. Even the DIPA doesn't seem that extreme. Must be the American air.


Whorst said...

I'm just reading this after hitting various IPA's and Green Flash Imperial IPA at my local. When you're ready to drink with the big boys, look me up. You need to do the
West Coast.

Anonymous said...

Ron: some follow-ups on points discussed or raised recently.

"Intermediate" ales. The term comes from an 1823 statute under Geo. IV. It created (by this name) a class of medium-strength brews, and the correlative duty. Before that, only strong beer or small beer (including table beer as I undestand) could be made. The new intermediate ale was required to produce between 5 and 51/2 barrels from a quarter of malt. I thought maybe the K designations came from that law. They appear not to, there is no Schedule K in the law nor any clue I can find that suggests the intermediate category were later called AK or K after something in this law. Also, I've seen at least one ad now from the late 1800's that described as intermediate beers pale ales, i.e., there was no reference to K beers in this regard.

It seems that intermediate beers became less important when duties were removed completely around 1830. The use of the term in the Lovibond ad and the other one I found is probably a historical relic.

Monckton's book has some lines on the 1823 statute and intermediate ales by the way. Wilson's may as well but I have no easy way to check that.

In general, I have to reiterate how impressed I was with the sophistication of the bigger brewing businesses in the 1800's. A book on gauging in this period is replete for example with sophisticated tables and algebra formulae. The Harris book is similary sophisticated on the business and accounting levels.

Harris states (circa-1900 again) that there is a significant difference being an auditor for a company owned by a man who has worked his up the ladder and one with "hundreds" of shareholders managed by a professional board. I always have to remind myself that these issues are not new.

Some or I at any rate tend to think of brewing before the 1960's as largely a quaint or craft business affair or with those characteristics. That was often far from the case, however.


Lew Bryson said...

Hey, Wurst: kiss my eastern ass. He's in NEW JERSEY. Not exactly beer paradise on the east coast. If I could have tempted him down to Philly, we'd have stripped his tongue proper (not that tongue-stripping is the be-all and end-all of beer appreciation...).