In our annual Technical Brewing issue of The New Brewer, we take a look at some hot topics in brewing, including barrel aging and kettle souring. We also provide coverage and photos of the BA Congressional Hill Climb that took place prior to SAVOR in Washington, D.C. in June.
Here’s a look at some of the features you’ll find in this issue:
Embracing the Chaos Factor:
Starting a Barrel Program
Although we’re a brewery that makes a wide variety of hop-infused beers, very few people ask us about bittering varieties or dry hopping techniques at Avery Brewing Co. Instead we are constantly asked for advice on aging beer in oak barrels. There’s a brave new world of flavors to explore, but not many available resources on how to make sure you’re producing quality beers from barrels. The barrel-aging world is filled with risk—as soon as your beer goes from pristine stainless steel to porous wood barrels, you’re introducing a chaos factor that you won’t always be able to control. By Andy Parker
A Kettle Souring Primer
As the production of sour beers has grown recently—and as the market has expanded for high acid beers—kettle souring has piqued the interest of many brewers. Kettle souring should be viewed as a versatile skill for any craft brewer. The ability to produce clean, lactic wort opens up myriad opportunities for blending, enhancing, or brightening the character of beers in a current portfolio, or creating new, style-defying beers with moderate to high acidity. By Ben Edmunds
Developing an Efficient Dry-Hopping Process
We don’t know everything about hops and dry hopping at New Belgium, only what works well for us—an efficient use of hops, rapidly, with limited beer loss. We use several thousand pounds of hops every week. As the craft brewing industry grows and resources get tighter, we owe it to ourselves and to our fellow brewers to get as much out of our hops as possible. By Matty Gilliland
Eliminating Haze in Hoppy Beer
Haze stability is an aspect of beer that’s probably not at the top of every brewer’s checklist, but the appearance of a beer can have as much of an impact as flavor, aroma, and freshness. With brewers using more and more hops in their beers, clarity is becoming more of an issue. At White Labs, we’re even seeing an increase in hoppy beers that have progressed from hazy to flaky: imagine corn flakes floating in golden milk. By Kara Taylor
Climbing the Hill:
Making Congress Craft Beer Conscious
The Brewers Association mounted its most ambitious lobbying effort to date, dispatching 155 brewers, brewery owners, and guild leaders to 315 Congressional offices. Of those visits, 153 were “member” meetings with actual U.S. Representatives and Senators. This despite the fact that June 4, the date of the Capitol Hill Climb, was a “fly-out date”—a lull when lawmakers traditionally fly back to their home districts to hobnob with their constituents. By Greg Kitsock
Also in this issue, you’ll find a wealth of information and “news you can use” for your brewery in our departments; news about the craft brewing community in the Brew News and New Releases sections; and new products and innovations from the craft brewing industry in our Industry Supplier News section. In our back page interview, we highlight Allagash Brewing founder Rob Tod.
Cheers to another year of growth!