Beer is Healthy Part 3

I know I keep bringing this up. I’m sorry. It just seems people keep coming up with healthy reasons for drinking beer. I don’t particularly think you need healthy reasons to drink beer. It is delicious, and compliments a variety of foods. The health benefits just give me a greater pieces of mind, especially since the rest of my eating is pretty healthy.

I actually found an entire website about Beer and Health. It looks like an actual symposium about the health attributes of beer.  Some of the things they talk about are pretty basic, such as how alcohol helps the cardiovascular system, delays the onset of dementia, and the beer belly probably has a lot more to do with the things you eat along with the beer than the drinking of the beer itself. One interesting thing they brought up is that beer contains high levels of well absorbed silicone which helps bone health.

One real surprise that I found very interesting is their research of beer and exercise. I have heard many times (sometimes just joking) that beer is good for exercise recovery. Meaning, eating and drinking something within about half an hour of exercise when your body is most receptive to refilling glycogen levels. I have also heard that alcohol dehydrates you, and therefore wouldn’t be a particularly good form of hydration. This site claims “Research into whether alcohol content prevented adequate recovery and/or rehydration found that neither a specific nor a negative effect could be attributed to the intake of beer compared to the intake of just water. In conclusion, at least in healthy, young adults, beer in moderate amounts is as effective as water for rehydration and recovery after exercise.” That is very exciting to me.

Two Hearted Ale

In my search for a wedding beer I came across Two Hearted Ale several times. I think people like it for weddings because of the name, even though I believe the name refers to a fish. It did fit my criteria of being a relatively local beer, but it is way too hop forward for the sole good beer that my wedding budget allows me. Maybe I can have a few for the bridal party.


Straight up hop right off the bat. Not really as hop forward as I had come to expect from reading about the beer. The aromas does not last very long, but I am kind of sick so my smelling ability is fishy at best.


Golden yellow.  I took the picture at night, so the golden color doesn’t really come through. It has good lacing, and a small white head.


Hops are definitely the first thing you taste. They aren’t very grapefruity like a cascade or a simcoe, but there is still a hint of orange (which made sense when I looked up the beer and found it uses only Centennial hops). There is a noticeable amount of sweetness. It is crisp, but not a beer I would consider particularly refreshing. It is very bitter on the tip of the tongue which is an indicator of just how bitter it is, as most of the bitter taste buds are on the back of the tongue. I really think the overwhelming taste of this whole beer is bitter. Not warheads bitter of course, but decently bitter for an IPA. As it warms up, I strangely feel that it gets slightly less bitter, and slightly more orange flavored. And really, the bitterness does not have that aftertaste that many IPAs have.  I think this beer is growing on me the more I drink.


 It has a medium mouthfeel, with a moderate amount of carbonation. The bitterness fatigues the palette quickly.

Overall Impression.

It is very bitter, but because of that, I wouldn’t really call it refreshing. Although as the beer warms up,  the orange flavor comes out, and the 7.0% ABV kicks in. It is starting to become a very nice beer to drink while I sit in the back yard on this breezy night, with my dog chewing a stick next to me, writing blog posts. It is definitely a good beer to have one of.

The Most Exciting Time in the History of Beer

Beer has been around for about 10,000 years. Some anthropologists claim that the reason people settled down towns was to have enough barley to make beer. The Sumerians invented writing  to keep track of commodities, especially beer. The language has 60 different words for beer, more than the Eskimos have for snow.

It was a major food stuff in ancient Egypt. Despite what watching certain movies would tell you, the Pyramids were not built by slaves, and in fact a pyramid builder would be paid 1 gallon of beer a day.

Beer in Europe went from a largely home-made product, brewed by the lady of the house or Alewife, to a major industry starting with the Church in the Middle ages, and expanding to the Nobility, whose legacy can still be found in the Hofbräuhaus.

In 1870, there were over 3,000 breweries in the US. Prohibition didn’t start the decline of the number breweries, but it certainly nailed down the coffin. After prohibition ended, ridiculous alcohol laws, and a generally poor attitude to food culture (think wonder bread and processed American Cheese) between WWII and the 1980s kept the number of breweries declining until in 1970, there were only 40 left. With the legalizing of homebrewing in 1978, and a generally change in the food culture, we now have over 2,000 breweries in the US, with 1,500 additional breweries being planned. Without a real unbroken beer tradition like Germany, were aren’t mired in a stagnant beer culture, and beer is going places it has never gone before.

With the rapid rise in the number of breweries, and new styles and brewing methods being tried out every day, the year 2012 is the most exciting time in the 10,000 year history of beer. The best part about that statement, is that I will probably be able to say that about 2013 as well.

Breakfast Brewpub

I was sitting at L Woods Tap and Pine Lounge drinking a 5 Rabbits Beer Blonde Ale by 5 Rabbits Cerveseria, and I had the greatest idea in the world. An idea that will change the world, that will bring back something that people have been missing for hundreds of years. The breakfast beer.

If you ever go out for breakfast, your drink options generally are coffee or juice. Once in a awhile, especially at brunch, you will get to choose a mimosa or a Bloody Mary. I’m not sure about your, but those two drinks don’t really go with much. A mimosa might go with something nice and citrusy, but not very much more. A Bloody Mary will get you through your steak and eggs, but I’m not too big of a fan of steak and eggs. No, the only drink that is versatile enough to play with the vast menagerie that is breakfast, is beer.

You want something light, maybe a few slices of melon, maybe even a fish, how about a nice wheat beer, or blonde ale.

You want a Mexican Skillet, then how about an American IPA. Still want your steak and eggs, we got an american brown.

Oh, you want a stuffed waffle, with whipped cream and strawberries on top (and maple syrup). We got lots of options. I give you the english stout or maybe a traditional tart Lambic, or Flanders Oud Bruin – brewed with or without fruit.

The problem is that the number of establishments that will cater to this match made in heaven are few and far between. That leaves us with one option. To start our own Breakfast Brewpub.

Beer and Food Pairing: Charkoota Rye and Molasses Coffee Marinated Pork Chops

I’ve wanted to try something new with pork chops. Mostly it has been brine, brine, and more brine, then grill. During my Good Eats watching, I saw him make a marinade application for pork chops that uses molasses.  That is good since I have molasses for the ginger snap cookies I made several years ago, and… nothing else. I mean, what do you ever use molasses for anyway?

I’ve had the New Holland Charkoota Rye Smoked Dopplebock since I recapped it after drinking half of the bottle during lent. The New Holland website is all about pairing this with pork, so I figured why not. I wasn’t sure the beer would will still be good, since the head space was now filled with oxygenating air instead of a barrier of CO2, but it seems to have done alright.

The Pork was a no brainer. It was almost like somebody designed the beer to go with this pork. The pork takes on a bit of smokiness, although not as much as with a proper barbecue. The beer takes your backyard grilled pork chop and adds the flavor of a nicely smoked pulled pork sandwich, with a tad bit more charring. The malt sweetness  of the beer mingled very nicely with the molasses and coffee flavors of the pork. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a second date between all the flavors.

The rice took on a lot of the flavors and sweetness of the reduction sauce made from the pork marinade. Brown rice generally has a pretty nutty flavor, and with the sauce it became almost like a nutty winter treat. Pairing it with the beer brought you right back to the middle of summer with campfires and Independence Day grill fests. It was kind of like Christmas in July.

I also had lemon glazed kale. I have never had kale, but it is a more hearty green than something like romaine, red leaf, or the other leafy greens generally used for salads. My theory was that it could therefore stand up to a more substantial beer than the Weiss and witbiers a salad would best with. I’m not sure it would have worked out so well if it  didn’t have that lemon honey glaze. It also had a pretty good kick from the red peppers and garlic, and I most definitely over salted it. In light of the over salting, the beer was a life (food) savor, as the sweet malt flavor blunted the saltiness of the kale.  If you remember from my last post on the beer, it has a very smoke forward taste and aroma, which I think at times is overpowering. The lemon glaze cut through the smokiness of the beer.  The kale turned out decently sweet as well from the lemon glaze. There was, quite frankly, a lot of competing flavors in the kale, and the beer did its job of bringing them all together.  I can’t really see the beer going with very many leafy greens, but if you cooked them with strong flavors like I did, then you might be good to go.

All in all, it was a pretty good meal. After I sent the dog away I was finally able to enjoy its full gastronomic potential, where the food and the beer became greater than the sum-total of their parts.

Family Reunion Summer Ale

A few weeks ago I brewed a beer specifically for my family reunion with my Brother.  I’ve been thinking about doing one for the reunion for about as long as I have been brewing beer. I actually “polled” the family reunion Facebook event page. From the responses they thought brewing a beer for the family reunion was a great idea, and preferred a lighter color beer, but not lighter in flavor (sound familiar?). I think it goes with the activity of the 3-day reunion perfectly, which consists of sitting around and drinking beer for 75% of the time.

I scoured the interwebs and my homebrew books, and I decided to try my hand at one of the summer ales from Radical Brewing. I know this is my 3rd beer in a row based on a recipe from that book, but I do love the book so much. My wheat beer and coffee stout were highly acclaimed at my award show for the First Annual Montgomery Burns Award in Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence (In Beer Drinking) or “drink my beer so I have room to make more beer party”.

I attempted to make the Summer Ale, What if Version, which is like the Summer Ale, but higher in gravity, and with the addition of coriander and candied ginger at 5 minutes left in the boil. I’m very proud that I made my own candied ginger for the first time out of 1 pound of ginger root  (or more accurately rhizome), despite the fact that the 0.25 oz required for 5 gallons amounted to 2 whole pieces. The rest are delicious by themselves.

This beer is a whole family affair. I got my brother to help me brew the beer. I decided on 7.5 gallons, which basically required doing two different brews at the same time. My cousin is designing a label. I’m still trying to figure out how to get them on the bottle and have them stay on in a cooler full of ice. Vinyl stickers have been brought up as an idea, but I’m not sure they are cost effective.

In the end the brew session turned out well. We did one 5 gallon batch and one 2.5 gallon batch using my biggest non-brewing specific pot. It was the first time I’ve ever done a non-5 gallon batch, and both came in under my target gravity. The 2.5 gallon batch came in at 1.050, about 6 points under target, but the 5 gallon batch came in quite a bit under and I ended up throwing in some extra malt extract at the last-minute to get the original gravity similar to the 2.5 gallon batch.

I took a final gravity reading the other day and got 1.013, which comes out to a little under 5% ABV, a good drinkable percentage. It is also the clearest beer I’ve ever made, probably due to the Wyeast 1968 London ESB used. It tasted pretty hoppy, and I’m excited about how it will taste after carbonation. Next week is bottling week.