Perhaps the most interesting bit of beer news comes from the Lagunitas Brewing Company. The brewery cannot provide any of their powerhouse and popular seasonal brew Brown Shugga this year. When time came to start making Brown Shugga, the folks at Lagunitas realized they lacked the capacity. Their tanks were all full. To compensate, the brewery released Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Substitute Ale. With tongue-in-cheek verve, the label tells the whole mortifying story, with plenty of shame at this logistical failure. Lagunitas Sucks uses barley, wheat, rye and oats grains and a universe of hops to produce a potent and complex IPA. Nothing like Brown Shugga but delicious nonetheless.
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Outside of stray bottles, most autumn releases have run their course. So long season of mist and mellow fruitfulness! The first winter warmers arrived around Halloween. Eventually breweries will be so far ahead, they will be right on time again.
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Anchor has released its Christmas Ale, which it has done each year since 1975. Few American breweries go back that far. The brewery’s famous Steam Beer has been made beer since 1896. Still a great beer.
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The German Beer Purity Law originally, back in the 16th century, allowed only water, barley, and hops in beer. No one understood then that fermentation requires yeast, as well. Before Louis Pasteur discover discovered the effect of yeast, fermenting beer depended on whatever wild yeasts happened into the brew. The Beer Purity Law came about to prevent brewers from using questionable ingredients, usually as preservatives. Some brewers in those days added soot and, worse yet, fly agaric. Fly agaric is a toxic mushroom of the amanita family. The Law is no longer in effect, as such. It has been superseded by more up-to-date and comprehensive laws. Brewers may now use many more ingredients than the original three.
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Fruit lambic beers make terrific holiday fare. These Belgian beers barely resemble most others. Usually made from barley malt and unmalted wheat, they depend on wild yeast strains to create the fermentation. Since unwanted bacteria can also find its way into the brew when using this open air technique, dry hops are added for their anti-bacterial advantage. The dry hops add little flavor. Plain limbic is dry and uncarbonated. It is used as a blending component. The addition of fruit juice produces a festive and delicious beverage. Lindemann makes a Kriek (cherry), Peche (peach), and Framboise (raspberry). Each is delicious, with bright fruit flavors, modest sweetness, and a truly vinous complexity. Serve chilled in wine glass or champagne flute as a celebratory and crowd-pleasing aperitif.
Remember to check out the website: Walden Liquors.