It feels like summer might never actually get here. Iowa received a record 17.66 inches of rain during the spring, triggering flooding, and leading to a general soggy feeling. It’s a good thing that I have not bottled any “lawnmower beers” because I might be craving stouts if the cool temperatures and overcast skies continue much longer.
Single hop beers are taking off as brewers, both of the home variety and commercial craft type, are seeking to make beers that stand out. A plethora of hop options also makes this possible, as do techniques like dry hopping or using freshly harvested hops.
I jumped on the bandwagon by brewing up the Chinook IPA recipe from Northern Brewer:
According to the calculations in iBrewmaster the Chinook IPA was going to clock in at ~52 IBU and ~4.9% ABV. The bitterness was lower than the recipe called for because I reduced the boil time of the initial 1 ounce of hops to get to around the ~52 IBU, which I am beginning to think is the optimal point of bitterness.
Single hopped beers are supposed to accentuate the particular hop profile of the chosen hop. I am not familiar enough with the Chinook variety to tell if anyone particular flavor or note was accentuated compared with a beer that has a blend of hops. The beer did lack some of the earthy or “piney” notes of IPAs that use Cascade or Willamette hops.
The first bottle came out a little flat. I do not know if it is the “magic” or “voodoo” of bottle conditioning, but some bottles come out less carbonated than others. Maybe that’s another reason to make the transition to kegs and forced carbonation. Never mind the two to three weeks cut in production time.
Next up into bottles is a recipe called Synchronicity, which should prove interesting given the use of sweet orange peel and lemongrass.
AB-InBev, the corporate monster behind Bud Light and about half of the world’s beer it seems, is truly showing its corporate colors lately. Unable to innovate in terms of products, because as one commentator put it there is not much you can do to Bud Light besides add a little lime flavoring, the behemoth is turning to packaging. Two things caught my eye recently, the so-called “bow tie” can and the new punch top.
Punch tops, vented cans, wide mouth openings…whatever is next make me laugh. The brewer is saying to the customer, “Please pour this swill down your throat as fast as possible so that you cannot actually taste anything and you come back to the liquor store to buy more.” In the case of Coors Light the can actually signals when it is so cold that the beer cannot taste like much more than grain steeped water. That is the idea I guess.
AB-InBev now has aped SABMiller’s “punch top” can with a pop top that also punches a whole in the can for faster guzzling. You see, SABMiller’s version required you use an accessory. Granted, that accessory could be a spark plug, drumstick of the musical variety, car key, or properly branded use-specific tool. AB-InBev has done them one better by doing away with the accessory and including the power to vent the can right there on top of the can itself. Damn, that is innovation.
Well, if you thought that a punch top copy was ridiculous wait until you get a load of the “bow-tie” can. Yep, AB-InBev is packaging Budweiser in a can that is said to evoke the classic inconagprahy of the Budweiser bow tie. Huh? Was anyone actually asking for a specially shaped can? Does anyone actually care? Never mind that the can actually holds 11.3 ounces of beer versus a traditional can’s 12 ounces. Oh, and it comes in a new packaging quantity…wait for it…the 8-pack. I cannot wait to check out the variety of packaging available for summer with the introduction of the 8-pack.