Newsletter: Happy Summer! Enjoy a cold one… or not. ;-)

Chillsner, one way to keep you beer cold this summer!

Now that we have officially passed the first day of summer, we know that the really hot days are still ahead of us.  With that in mind, we figured a rundown of ways to keep your beer cool was in order.  There’s nothing like getting to the bottom of your favorite beer only to realize that it is uncomfortably warm.

Ask the Brewer

How do you keep beer at a good drinking temperature during the summer?

As with other things in the brewing industry, there are many opinions on this subject.  We are going to skip past the whole style vs. temperature discussion and make the assumption that since we are talking about the summer heat that means we are talking about Lagers, Pilsners and other summer centric styles.

With that in mind, we know that many macro-brews are advertised as being best when served ice-cold, and beer glasses can be found in freezers far and wide because of this. Thermodynamics hold true that a cold liquid poured into a cold container is going to stay colder longer.  However, many craft beer lovers object to frozen mugs for several reasons:

  1. Freezing mugs can create ice crystals (or frozen sanitizing chemicals) on the inside of the glass which may water down the beer
  2. Beer that is really, really cold, can numb the palate and thereby suppress various flavors and aromas
  3. With the air circulation that occurs in modern freezers, you can end up with a lot of bacteria deposited on the inside of the glass

In contrast, having your beer be too warm can also be a problem.  Greg Engert, one of the earliest ‘beer sommeliers’ in the industry, has stated that “It’s a delicate balancing act, since going too warm will rob some beers of their sparkle and the refreshing qualities they provide in congress with their flavor profiles.”

That being said, many people still find a really cold beer more refreshing than a slightly warmer one.  So, what can you do besides freezing the glass?

  1. Keep your beer glass in the refrigerator (instead of the freezer); there are no ice crystals that way, and the beer will stay cooler longer
  2. Koozies can be a good option as they help to insulate the beer from the summer heat as well as help to keep a good grip on your beer
  3. Consider the Chillsner (pictured above); for those who love a good bottle of beer but want to go a bit more high tech, they aren’t so good at getting a warm beer cooled down, however, they can keep an already chilled beer from warming up too fast

When you get right down to it, you should drink your beer at whatever temp you prefer.  Life’s too short to get your undies in a bunch.  Relax… have a beer!

Taproom Tidings

This Friday, June 24th, we welcome R Taco back for their first visit of the summer. A fistful of tacos in one hand and a pint of Lime Shandy in the other sounds like a great start to the weekend!

On Saturday, June 25th, Soup Coupe will be here with their summer selection of selection of both hot and cold soups as well as a tantalizing variety of lettuce wraps.  I can personally attest that the gazpacho pairs perfectly with an IPA…. just sayin!

Also on Friday (the 24th), we’ll once again be tapping a batch of Raspberry Infused Pyro, because you all still keep asking for it.  Not that I blame you, it is a bit of a hot weather quencher.

  • Tap selection includes Pyro APA, Roasted Coffee Ale, Fused Orange Blossom Honey Ale, Parched Lime Shandy, Raj-Agni IPA and Raspberry Infused Pyro
  • Thirsty Thursdays $1 off pints and $2 off growler fills (no growler or grumbler fills after 8pm on Thursdays)
  • Chocolate-Strawberry and Orange Cupcake from Groundswell includes a moist chocolate strawberry cake with an orange curd center, and a chocolate whipped cream with orange zest and chocolate chunks

Final Thoughts

On Friday, June 24th, we are excited to once again be part of the Beer Dabbler at Twin Cities Pride!  The 50+ participating Minnesota breweries will each be serving a special, one-off beer that celebrates and pays homage to the icons and advocates from the GLBT community.  For our contribution, we will be unveiling our “Rad Bromance”, a Raspberry Chocolate Strong Ale in tribute to Lady Gaga.  We hope to see you there!

As always, if you have questions, drop us a note via Email, Facebook or Twitter.

Cheers!

Newsletter: Dad is the best, don’t you owe him a beer (or two)?

Growler on Board… a safe way to transport precious cargo

This Sunday, June 18th, is Father’s Day!  While our taproom is open that day and Burning Brothers Beer is an awesome father’s day gift (not so subtle hint), we also know that there are other awesome beer themed gifts out there.  Which (unsurprisingly) brings us to our latest edition of…

Ask the Brewer

Do you have any recommendations on gifts for beer lovers?

Since there are beer lovers who are very serious about their chosen passion and those that are more in it for the fun and flavor, we thought we could highlight some gifts for both.

Almost all taprooms have Growler Gift Packs.  These generally contain a growler of beer (your choice of style) and one or two pint glasses.  If you are undecided as to which beer dad may like best, most breweries have gift cards as well.

If a gift card or a growler gift pack isn’t quite enough, or your dad is a guy who enjoys wearing his love of beer, baseball hats and T-shirts are also available at most taprooms.  If you are internet savvy, you can also find beer themed socks, ties, phone cases, briefcases, holsters, soaps, and all sorts of other crazy… stuff.

Many cities have taproom adventures – things like passports or guidebooks that allow you to gift your dad with a fun activity.  Here in Minnesota we have two that we are participating in: Barventure and the Northern Ale Guide.  There are also beer events going on throughout the summer, that you can buy tickets to.  Beer festivals and beer pairing dinners are just a few of the neat activities going on this summer.  You can even find unique beer activities like the Beer and Bacon cruises that are being run here on the Mississippi.  Burning Brothers is the featured beer for cruises on both July 30th and September 10th.

Taproom Tidings

This Friday, June 17th, we have a brand new food truck, Wholesoul, joining us featuring wholesome soul food.  On Saturday, June 18th, Crazy Puppy will be here with a new menu item, fried green beans, to compliment the usual fair food menu.

  • Tap selection includes Pyro APA, Roasted Coffee Ale, Fused Orange Blossom Honey Ale, Parched Lime Shandy, and Raj-Agni IPA
  • Thirsty Thursdays $1 off pints and $2 off growler fills (no growler or grumbler fills after 8pm on Thursdays)
  • Chocolate-Strawberry and Orange Cupcake from Groundswell includes a moist chocolate strawberry cake with an orange curd center, and a chocolate whipped cream with orange zest and chocolate chunks

Final Thoughts

This Saturday we have two different beer events running, on opposite sides of the Twin Cities.  To the Northwest we will be at the Maple Lake Brewfest, and to the Northeast we will be at the Hay Lake Beer Tasting.  Both of these events look to be a lot of fun, with the Maple Lake Brewfest featuring over 50 breweries, and the Hay Lake Beer Tasting supporting the Washington County Historical Society.  We hope to see you at one or the other of them!

As always, if you have questions, drop us a note via Email, Facebook or Twitter.

Cheers!

Newsletter: Thursday’s newsletter… on Friday! (it happens…)

Piped fermentation tanks on the left, waiting to be piped on the right!

This Saturday, June 11th, is Carl Von Linde day, our June beer holiday (unless of course, you count Father’s Day).  Carl Von Linde is the “father” of the modern lagering process, allowing lagers to be produced year round, rather than having seasonal dependency.  It was in 1871 that Carl created the first large scale refrigerated lagering tanks.  These tanks allowed the beer to be fermented at the relatively cool temperatures necessary to create a good lager, and ushered in a new era of temperature controlled fermentation.

Ask the Brewer

Are all those pipes connected to the tanks used for moving the beer around?

Actually, all of those pipes help to control the temperature of the tanks.  When we move beer around, we use big hoses.  The pipes that you see, wrapped in the black insulation foam, actually carry glycol from tank to tank, maintaining each tank at a specific temperature.  There is a thermostat on each tank, that allows the brewers to set that particular tank’s temperature, depending on where the beer is at in the brewing process.

When beer first moves from the kettle to the fermenter, it needs to be maintained at a specific temperature for the yeast to get busy, which is what allows fermentation to happy.  Ales are usually around 65 degrees, while lagers are kept in the 50’s, a relatively cold temperature compared to other beers.

Once the beer has finished fermentation, it is “cold crashed”.  This involves dropping the temperature on the tank to between 33 and 40 degrees, with 38 being the most common.  Cold crashing encourages the yeast and any other solids to drop to the bottom of the fermentation vessel, where it can be dumped out as waste (“trub”).  Dumping the trub helps to prevent it from imparting any off flavors to the beer and also makes the filtering process much faster and more efficient.

Taproom Tidings

Tap selection for this weekend includes the usual suspects along with the remainder of our Raspberry Infused Pyro.  This Friday, June 10th, we have Signature on Wheels joining us, with their delicious take on classic American cuisine.  On Saturday, June 11th, Soup Coupe will be here, with soups for hot weather!  Ever tried gazpacho before?  Now’s your chance!

  • Tap selection includes Pyro APA, Roasted Coffee Ale, Fused Orange Blossom Honey Ale, Parched Lime Shandy, Raj-Agni IPA, and Raspberry Pyro
  • Thirsty Thursdays $1 off pints and $2 off growler fills (no growler or grumbler fills after 8pm on Thursdays)
  • Chocolate-Strawberry and Orange Cupcake from Groundswell includes a moist chocolate strawberry cake with an orange curd center, and a chocolate whipped cream with orange zest and chocolate chunks

Final Thoughts

On Saturday, June 11th, we will be in Milwaukee serving up refreshment at Beer Camp Across America.  Join us as we celebrate the craft beer movement with 99 other breweries, and hundreds of beers to try.  Running from 3 to 7PM, with music by Maritime and local food trucks, it is sure to be a good time!

As always, if you have questions, drop us a note via Email, Facebook or Twitter.

Cheers!

Newsletter: Who make the beer? (i.e., Living the Dream!)

Where we store our brewers, when they aren’t working!

It’s actually quite amazing how much work can be done on a brew floor by just a few people.  Of the four full-time and 4 part-time people that we have working at Burning Brothers, only three spend more than half (or close to all) of their time out in the brewhouse itself!  The person who spends the most time out there is our brewer Andrew, pictured above.  Without his hard work, we wouldn’t have nearly so much good beer to drink, which brings us to …

Ask the Brewer

So, who makes all your beer?

It would be fair to say that a huge portion of our beer is made by Andrew.  Without his attention to detail, focus on quality and skill with a squeegee, we would be up the proverbial creek without a paddle.  While Andrew does not spend a whole lot of time in the taproom, he is a regular at beer festivals.  It only seems fair to give people a little insight into what he does, hence, the quick interview, which he managed to do while working the canning line – way to multi-task, Andrew!

What do you do at Burning Brothers?
About 80% of all the physical activity that happens on the brew floor, I’m involved in.  Brewing, cleaning, canning, cleaning, kegging, cleaning, filtering, oh, and cleaning, in case I forgot to mention that.  I’m also the DJ, all those dance parties, those are me!  (A quick note from the interviewer – there is always music going on the brew floor, and it is eclectic!  Anything from movie soundtracks (Jurassic Park?) to musicals (Les Miserables is a fav), bluegrass, industrial, classic rock or alternative).

What’s the best part of your job?
As much as I enjoy shoveling rock while landscaping (his last job), brewing beer is a lot more satisfying.  Being at the beginning of a new business, there from the start, is also a pretty unique thrill.  Also, having a career for the first time in my life, rather than just a job, is really great.  Having a beer at 11AM on a hot day doesn’t stink, either!

What’s the worst part of your job?
I never thought I would be moving water from one place to another as much as I do when I started here.  Brewing is a wet business, so I spend a lot of time with the squeegee, whom I have a love-hate relationship with.

What’s your favorite Burning Brothers Beer?
Oh, they’re all good (Andrew said this with a grin and a glance at Thom, one of the owners who he was working the canning line with).  After a moment of serious thought, though, he replied with “The Belgian Dubbel was really fantastic, we will have to brew that again soon”.

What is your favorite other beer?
I really enjoy brown ales.  You don’t see them all that often, however, you can enjoy them any time of year.  If I could get my hands on a Pliny the Elder, I would drink that! (Editor’s note: this is more of an inside joke)  However, if I am by a lake, I’ll pick up a six pack of a Miller High Life – I’ve grown to appreciate the fact that it’s just not that easy to brew a good lager.

Pirates or Ninjas?
Neo, because he’s the one (harking back to his love for the Matrix).  If I could brew a series of cinema themed beers, I would do it!

If you could add one thing to the brewery/taproom, what would it be?
The first thing that comes to mind is a grated floor (see squeegee above)!  A patio would be cool for the taproom.  A centrifuge wouldn’t be too bad, either.  Oh, and a pool table, it would be for our regulars, not just employee use!

Taproom Tidings

Beer for this weekend includes the usual suspects along with another round of our Raspberry Infused Pyro, tapped on Friday, June 3rd (you all keep asking, so we keep making).  Also, on Friday the 3rd we will be joined for the first time by Xstream Cuisine, bringing us their American and Caribbean deliciousness.  On Saturday, June 4th, we will have Patacones back for their second visit, serving their authentic Colombian street food.

  • Tap selection includes Pyro APA, Roasted Coffee Ale, Fused Orange Blossom Honey Ale, Parched Lime Shandy, Raj-Agni IPA, and Raspberry Pyro starting on Friday
  • Thirsty Thursdays $1 off pints and $2 off growler fills (no growler or grumbler fills after 8pm on Thursdays)
  • Chocolate-Strawberry and Orange Cupcake from Groundswell includes a moist chocolate strawberry cake with an orange curd center, and a chocolate whipped cream with orange zest and chocolate chunks

Final Thoughts

This Saturday, June 4th marks the 8th annual St. Paul Summer Beer Fest, taking place from 2-5pm (VIP at 1pm) at the MN State Fairgrounds – International Bazaar.  This outdoor craft beer festival will feature sampling from over 100 breweries in a commemorative tasting glass, live music, tasty food, educational seminars, a silent auction benefiting the YMCA of St. Paul, and the fun atmosphere of MN State Fairgrounds.  We hope you will join us there!

In other news, we thought we would share the fact that we are one of the 18 recommended projects for this year’s Neighborhood STAR program.  This means that if we get approval from both the City Council and the Mayor, we will have funding for the patio we are hoping to build.  We find out what the final word is sometime in July.

As always, if you have questions, drop us a note via Email, Facebook or Twitter.

Cheers!

Newsletter: Beer and Zombies, it’s a thing…

The World’s End Zombie Fighting Pub Crawl…

As the weather warms up, more and more people are getting out and about and doing the things they love.  They walk, they bike, they use buses and light rail… all in search of delicious beer! (OK, maybe not ALL of them)  Throughout many cultures, beer lovers will get together in groups to search out new styles (or fight zombies) and also enjoy well-known favorites.  That camaraderie (AKA bar/beer crawl) brings us to today’s edition of…

Ask the Brewer

What’s with beer crawls anyways? Aren’t they just a way to get drunk?

Beer crawls (or whatever you want to call them) actually have a rich and varied history, starting in the Basque region of Spain with the first mention of a beer or pub crawl in the 1915’s.  Basque tradition has groups of male friends roaming the streets, going from pub to pub, having a short glass of wine and a pintxos (small bite to eat) while singing traditional songs.

This happy traveling while socializing, called txikiteo or chiquiteo, can occur night or day and eventually expanded to include women.  It is as much about drinking and socializing as it is about trying new and different foods made specifically to be eaten in a couple of bites while standing up. (think something like our appetizers or Spanish tapas)

According to the New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, by 1915 the word Pub Crawl had entered popular usage as a noun, and in 1937 as a verb.  The noun was defined as “a drinking session that moves from one licensed premises to the next, and so on”, and the verb as “to move in a group from one drinking establishment to the next, drinking at each.” The term is a combination of “pub (a public house, licensed for the sale of alcohol) and a less-and-less figurative sense of crawl“.

Some other interesting similar terms include bar crawl, bar tour, bar-hopping, gin crawl, and our favorite, in use since the late 1900’s, Bohemian death march! (Truth is stranger than fiction)

Bringing things into the modern day, there are multiple epic pub crawls that come to mind:

  • The “World’s Greatest”, held in Australia and holding the 2009 Guinness World Record for largest crawl
  • The “Manly Man” in Cheltenham, England, where teams participate in specific tasks at each location over a twelve hour period
  • The “Zombie Crawl”, started in 2005 here in Minneapolis, and attracting over 30,000 Zombies in 2012

For at least one member of the Burning Brothers crew, their favorite crawl is in the movie “The World’s End” occurring in the town of Newton Haven.  This pub crawl involves zombies (sort of), but unlike Minneapolis’ Zombie Crawl, the participants have to fight them at each pub, rather than getting to join them!

Taproom Tidings

Beer for this weekend includes the usual suspects along with the last of the Dry Stout on Thursday, May 26th, followed by our Raspberry Infused Pyro once the stout is gone. On Saturday, May 28th, we will be tapping our Mighty Axe Imperial IPA, made with MN grown hops by Mighty Axe.(Updated 5/27/16)

The story on food is that on Friday, May 27th, we will be joined by Signature on Wheels, with there unique take on American classics.  On Saturday, May 28th, we will have the Tatanka Truck, serving traditional Native American foods for both the taproom and the Brews & Buses participants.

  • Tap selection includes Pyro APA, Roasted Coffee Ale, Fused Orange Blossom Honey Ale, Parched Lime Shandy, Raj-Agni IPA, Dry Stout on Thursday until gone, then Raspberry Pyro, and Mighty Axe Imperial IPA on Saturday.
  • Thirsty Thursdays $1 off pints and $2 off growler fills (no growler or grumbler fills after 8pm on Thursdays)
  • Chocolate-Strawberry and Orange Cupcake from Groundswell includes a moist chocolate strawberry cake with an orange curd center, and a chocolate whipped cream with orange zest and chocolate chunks

As always, if you have questions, drop us a note via Email, Facebook or Twitter.

Cheers!

Newsletter: When in doubt, drink a stout!

Mmmmm, Stout!

This weekend finishes out American Craft Beer Week, and we are celebrating in style.  Not only are we tapping the Dry Stout that we have waited so patiently for, we are participating in the City Pages Beer Fest on Saturday.  Join us in sending Craft Beer Week out with a bang!

Ask the Brewer

Stout is just one style of beer, right?

Stouts are known for their dark color, rich texture, roast aroma, and malty — sometimes sweet — flavor.  However, there is more than one variety of Stout out there.  Stouts actually originated as an off-shoot of Porters, which were popular in the 1700s among “porters” who carried heavy loads of dry goods from warehouses to markets.  Around the same time, stout was a term applied to any beer that was strong with a higher alcohol content, darker color, and bolder taste.  It was often used to describe the stronger and darker porters, as in a “Stout Porter”.  By the time the 1820s rolled around, brewers began to drop the term porter, and specifically produce a beer style called Stout.

Fast forward to today, and the first style of Stout we’re touching on is a Dry Stout.  This stout has the characteristic stout color, with an aroma that is dark-roasted, sometimes toasty or bready, and often coffee-like. Unlike most other styles of stout, this one has little to no chocolate or cocoa notes. The flavor is dry, not sweet, with a roasted malt and hop bitterness that is moderate to high, leading to a smooth and drinkable beer.

The second style of Stout is a Sweet Stout, also called a milk or cream stout because it is brewed with lactose, or milk sugar.  This sugar is one of the sugars that doesn’t get consumed by yeast in the fermentation process, so it adds extra body and sweetness to the finished beer.  It has a milder roasted aroma than other stouts, while still holding onto the coffee or chocolate notes, in some cases even being reminiscent of chocolate milk.

The third stout is Oatmeal Stout, which is brewed from up to 20% malted oats.  It was also brewed in the late 1800s, with people perceiving it as being nourishing and healthier.  The oats can add a nutty aroma, and help with head retention, providing for a rich malty beer with very mild hop aroma and flavor.

The fourth stout is the Imperial Stout, originating in the late 1700s, with the first batch purportedly brewed for Czarina Catherine the Great.  This beer was made specifically for export to Russia and the Baltic States.  Imperial Stouts are basically a stout on steroids.  They have the traditional stout flavors, as well as flavors that are described as toffee-like, burnt, barleywine-like and port-like, with notes of bittersweet chocolate, fresh ground coffee, espresso, prunes, plums, raisins, currants and more.

The fifth, and final stout on our list, is the American Style Stout.  American stouts have the same dark color and rich flavor of other stouts, but the hops are more predominant.  While not as hoppy as a Black Ale or an IPA, American Stouts have a higher bitterness, hop aroma and more citrus notes than other stouts.

While these are the main styles of Stouts available, there are as many variations available as there are craft breweries.  Many of these styles get paired with fruits or aged in barrels to highlight specific flavors.  Additional flavors that can be added are coffee, chocolate, or even oysters, which bring out a slightly salty note.

Taproom Tidings

Beer options this weekend include Raspberry Pyro on Thursday, May 19th and the aforementioned Dry Stout starting Friday, May 20th.

Food choices bring us Crazy Puppy on Friday, and Soup Coupe on Saturday.

  • Tap selection includes Pyro APA, Roasted Coffee Ale, Fused Orange Blossom Honey Ale, Parched Lime Shandy, Raj-Agni IPA, Raspberry Pyro on Thursday & Dry Stout starting on Friday
  • Thirsty Thursdays $1 off pints and $2 off growler fills (no growler or grumbler fills after 8pm on Thursdays)
  • Coconut Turtle Cupcake from Groundswell includes a coconut chocolate fudge cake with pecans, whipped cream, honey caramel sauce, and chocolate ganache

As always, if you have questions, drop us a note via Email, Facebook or Twitter.

Cheers!

 

Newsletter: 4,200 and Counting

A small celebration, with a few (thousand) breweries

This next week, from Monday May 16th through Sunday, May 22nd, is American Craft Beer Week!  This year marks the tenth anniversary of this celebration, with over 4,200 craft brewers in all 50 states participating.  We hope that you will take time to get out, visit a new brewery or taproom, or an old favorite, and join in the celebration.

Ask the Brewer

How did the modern craft brewing movement get started?

Picture yourself in the late 1970s, standing in the beer aisle, staring at your choices.  Lager, lager, light lager, and lager (“…Check it out! They’ve got both kinds of beer, Bud AND Bud Light…”).  At this point, the US beer industry was down to just 44 brewing companies, beer imports were at an all time low, and industry experts were predicting that soon there would be only 5 brewing companies left operating in the United States.

Now, picture the advent of the home brewer.  The individual who wanted to be able to taste the beers of other countries, and other times.  These early home brewers, and the microbreweries and brewpubs they started, were some of the first craft beer pioneers of the modern movement, fighting their way through the 1980s, when industry experts flat out refused to recognize their existence as anything serious.  These early brewers emerged with their passion and vision, serving their local communities a taste of full-flavored beer and old world traditions; all with a uniquely American character.

The expansion of the craft beer movement has truly been an explosion, with 8 craft brewers in 1980, 537 in 1994, over 2,800 in 2013, and now over 4,200 in 2016.  At this point, the majority of Americans live within 10 miles of a local brewery or brewpub.  There has never been a better time or place to be a craft beer lover than right now in America.

Taproom Tidings

Apparently, once was not enough. 😉 This Friday, May 13th brings the return of our Raspberry Infused Pyro.  This tart favorite has had so many requests since we last served it that we decided to bring it back yet again.

Also on Friday, May 13th we are pleased to welcome back Hot Indian Food (Yes, we are down with the brown!).  On Saturday, May 14th Signature on Wheels will be joining us with their unique take on American classics.

  • Tap selection includes Pyro APA, Roasted Coffee Ale, Fused Orange Blossom Honey Ale, Parched Lime Shandy, Raj-Agni IPA, and Raspberry Pyro starting on Friday
  • Thirsty Thursdays $1 off pints and $2 off growler fills (no growler or grumbler fills after 8pm on Thursdays)
  • Coconut Turtle Cupcake from Groundswell includes a coconut chocolate fudge cake with pecans, whipped cream, honey caramel sauce, and chocolate ganache

Final Thoughts

ATTENTION DARK BEER LOVERS!!

Next Friday, May 20th at the taproom, we will be tapping our Dry Stout that we have been waiting so patiently for (well, somewhat patiently) as part of American Craft Beer Week.

Following that, on Saturday, May 21st, we will pouring beer at the City Pages Beer Fest to close out American Craft Beer Week and kick off summer in the Twin Cities.  One of longest running events of its kind in the Midwest (24 years and counting!), this outdoor festival has become a yearly tradition for beer lovers, food lovers, and music lovers alike.  We hope to see you there!

As always, if you have questions, drop us a note via Email, Facebook or Twitter.

Cheers!

Newsletter: Buy Mom a Beer! No, Seriously!

Beer, a lovely beverage enjoyed by women…

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, so we wanted to offer a great big “Thank You!” to our mothers, our wives, our partners, our daughters and our female friends!  We couldn’t do it without you.  As part of our salute to the women in our lives, we wanted to take a look at women and beer, because a lot of women love beer (a societal perception that is changing… thankfully!), and a lot of women have been influential in this still very male dominated industry.

Ask the Brewer

How long have women been involved in the beer industry?

While the current beer industry is very male dominated, the earliest brewers were women with documentation going as far back as 3500 B.C.  The women of Sumer brewed low-alcohol beer both for religious ceremonies and for daily consumption. These Sumerian brewers enjoyed tremendous respect, in part due to the likelihood they served as priestesses of the revered beer goddess, Ninkasi (so that is where that brewery got their name). Sumerians believed Ninkasi oversaw the brewing process and “worked” as head brewer to the gods, who’d gifted beer to humans to preserve peace and promote well-being. Their reverence is illustrated in the Hymn to Ninkasi, history’s oldest written beer recipe.

There is also compelling evidence that women were the ones who invented straws for drinking beer in Babylon between 1900 and 1600 B.C. (probably to get through the fermentation scum that formed on top of the earliest brews)  By 800 A.D., brewing had spread to Europe, and Germanic women were brewing in the clearings of the forests.  In 1150 A.D., the German Abbess Hildegard recommended hops as a preservative, and from 1600 to 1800 women in America were serving “small beer” to their families.  With the advent of the industrial revolution and commercial brewing, women were forced to take a step back from their traditional roles.  However, with Prohibition, many of them revived old recipes, and went back to brewing in their kitchens.  When Prohibition was repealed, beer was back in business, in large scale, with men at the helm.

It wasn’t until 1986 that things began to change, with Mellie Pullman helping launch Wasatch Brewery; becoming the first female brewmaster in Modern American history, and ushering in a new era of women working in the beer industry.  From there, women have become more and more involved, with Carol Stoudt of Pennsylvania becoming the nation’s first female sole proprietor (and brewer) in 1987, and Barbara Groom and Wendy Pound opening Lost Coast Brewing in Eureka, California, in 1990, as the first female ownership team.  In 2008, the Pink Boots Society was formed by Portland-based craft brewer Teri Fahrendorf.  The Pink Boots Society is dedicated to mentoring and supporting women working in all aspects of the beer industry.  In February of 2011, Barley’s Angels was founded, providing a forum for women who love craft beer.  Barley’s Angels focuses on creating a safe space for women who “respect beer and brewing, have a thirst for education, enjoy beer responsibly and act appropriately at all times.”  And, in 2013, Minnesota got it’s first women owned brewery in Urban Growler, founded and owned by Deb Loch and Jill Pavlak.

Taproom Tidings

Brewer’s Choice being tapped on Friday, May 6th is Andrew’s Maibock. This German substyle of Bock (shocking, right?!) is a stronger, yet paler lager that is more hopped than it’s cousin and is traditionally served at Spring festivals.

On Friday, May 6th we welcome the return of Crepe and Cake with their delicious French crepes, and on Saturday, May 7th we are excited to be joined for the first time ever by the Salsa Spot, serving authentic Mexican cuisine on wheels.

  • Tap selection includes Pyro APA, Roasted Coffee Ale, Fused Orange Blossom Honey Ale, Raj-Agni IPA, Parched Lime Shandy, and Maibock on Friday
  • Thirsty Thursdays $1 off pints and $2 off growler fills (no growler or grumbler fills after 8pm on Thursdays)
  • Coconut Turtle Cupcake from Groundswell includes a coconut chocolate fudge cake with pecans, whipped cream, honey caramel sauce, and chocolate ganache

Final Thoughts

Beer festival season is only a few weeks away. That means we are getting ourselves ready to start slinging beer here, there and everywhere in between!

To start the season off, the City Pages Beer Fest will continue with its tradition of kicking off summer in the Twin Cities on May 21st.  One of longest running events of its kind in the Midwest (24 years and counting!), this outdoor festival has become a yearly tradition for beer aficionados who can enjoy a variety of brews, food vendors, live music featuring Free and Easy, hammerschlagen, accordionist Bill Koncar and the ever-popular Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band!

As always, if you have questions, drop us a note via Email, Facebook or Twitter.

Cheers!

Newsletter: Reinheitsgebot – gesundheit?

The Reinheitsgebot (i.e., German Beer Purity Law)

This past weekend marked the 500 year anniversary of the Reinheitsgebot (i.e., the German Beer Purity Law) and multiple articles and opinions on it have been circulating throughout the beer community as a result. This brings us to our…

Ask the Brewer

…where we ask “What the heck is the Reinheitsgebot, anyways?”

The Reinheitsgebot dictates that only 4 ingredients are allowed to be used in making beer.  Those ingredients are water, barley, hops, and yeast.

Preliminary versions of beer laws were passed in Augsburg in 1156, Nuremberg in 1293, Munich in 1363 and Regensburg in 1447.  Most of the laws focused on either preventing the addition of harmful ingredients to beer as either flavorings or preservatives (such as pitch, soot or henbane) or limiting brewing to using barley so that wheat and rye were reserved for bread.  In 1487 the direct predecessor to the Reinheitsgebot was passed in Munich by Duke Albrecht IV.  This law stated that only barley, water and hops could be used to make beer.  In 1516 this law was expanded by Bavaria’s Wittelsbach Duke, Wilhelm IV, to cover all of Bavaria.  Yeast was not added to the list until centuries later, when it’s role in brewing was discovered and understood.

The Reinheitsgebot matters because it is still in active use.  There are over 5,000 different beers (primarily produced in Germany) that still adhere to this law and carry it’s seal.  Many brewers in Germany feel that this law represents the purity and high quality of German beers, and is enough a part of their cultural heritage that it should be part of the UNESCO World Heritage List, as are the Argentinian tango, Iranian carpet weaving and French gastronomy (all considered unique and worth protecting).  While many German Brewers are being more creative with their beers by using more aromatic varieties of hops while still holding true to the Reinheitsgebot, other German Brewers feel that it is outdated and restrictive.

Under the Beer Purity Law, beer made in Germany with anything other than the approved ingredients cannot be labelled “bier”.  This stance is being challenged by German breweries, such as Klosterbrauerei-neuzelle, which has been brewing the same beer recipe since 1410, but falls afoul of the Reinheitsgebot because they add sugar to their brew.  Small brewers like Neuzelle, who produces 6 million pints a year, and a growing number of craft beer producers who are keen to experiment with different ingredients such as fruits and spices, say the purity law stifles creativity and innovation.

As gluten-free brewers who can’t use traditional ingredients, but who also re-create traditional beer profiles, we can see the value of both points of view.

Taproom Tidings

We still have a partial keg of Raspberry Pyro on tap for Thursday, but will be switching that out for the Belgian Dubbel on Friday, April 29th. For those who don’t know, a Belgian Dubbel is a mid-strength Belgian style beer with slight spicy notes.  The style was originally brewed in the Trappist Abbey of Westmalle in 1856. (updated 4/30/16)

Food on Friday, April 29th brings us the Native American flavors of the Tatanka crew, and Saturday, April 30th we are joined by Signature Cafe, and their unique take on American classics.

  • Tap selection includes Pyro APA, Roasted Coffee Ale, Fused Orange Blossom Honey Ale, Raj-Agni IPA, Parched Lime Shandy, Raspberry Pyro on Thursday and Belgian Dubbel on Friday
  • Thirsty Thursdays $1 off pints and $2 off growler fills (no growler or grumbler fills after 8pm on Thursdays)
  • Coconut Turtle Cupcake from Groundswell includes a coconut chocolate fudge cake with pecans, whipped cream, honey caramel sauce, and chocolate ganache

Final Thoughts

There are two events going this weekend, join us at either.

For those who like to keep it local (as in, your neighborhood local), we will be at Yarmo Liquor in Highland Park doing a tasting on Thursday, April 28th.  They specialize in local and unique craft beers, and their Thursday tastings (from 4 to 6pm) are a chance to try something new.

On Saturday, April 29th we will be at the SNIT of MN.  This event hosted by the St. Michael’s Lions Club at the Fox Hollow golf course runs from 7 to 9:30PM, and features only Minnesota breweries, distilleries and wineries.  Why SNIT, well our understanding is that a Snit is the little glass of beer, served next to your Bloody Mary – who knew!

As always, if you have questions, drop us a note via Email, Facebook or Twitter.

Cheers!

Newsletter: Earth, the only planet with beer

One heck of a good reason to celebrate Earth Day!

This Friday, April 22nd, is Earth Day. At Burning Brothers, we feel this holiday is important because it helps to focus attention on our society’s use of natural resources, including one of the most important for beer which is water. Good beer requires good water, so, on Friday, we’ll be raising a glass to Earth Day, abundant clean water, and great beer!

Ask the Brewer

How important is water to the brewing process?

Considering that beer is 90% water (or more), the quality of the water is incredibly important.  While you can’t brew a good beer with bad water, it is also possible to brew a bad beer with good water!  Good water comes in a wide range of hardness, alkalinity and mineral content, and all of these can affect how a brewer in one location can brew a specific style of beer successfully, while a brewer in another may not.

One simple truth when it comes to brewing is there is no one water that is ideal for all beer styles. That is why you end up with certain regions that are known for producing a specific style of beer really well.  For example, water in Dublin, which has high alkalinity, is best suited for brewing stouts and other dark ales, while in Pilsen, the water has very low mineral content, making it perfect for Bohemian Pilsners.

Here in St. Paul, multiple factors came together in the mid 1800’s to fuel a beer boom.  There were lots of German immigrants, with a love of “bier”, and the knowledge necessary to brew it well.  There was fertile soil for growing the necessary ingredients, sandstone caves for cold aging lagers, and a well balanced water profile, especially suited to lighter beers.  The water was also plentiful.  This wonderful congruence can be seen in the fact that breweries have existed here in one form or another since the mid 1800s.

Taproom Tidings

Back by popular demand… (no, really, we get asked about it all the time) our brewer’s choice for this weekend is our Raspberry Infused Pyro. We’ll be tapping it on Friday, April 22nd, so plan to stop in, have a pint and grab a growler before it’s gone.

Food options on Friday, April 22nd brings us our first seasonal visit of Crazy Puppy G.W. and their Gluten-Free fair food.  On Saturday, April 23rd, Signature Cafe will be here with their unique take on American classics.

  • Tap selection includes Pyro APA, Roasted Coffee Ale, Fused Orange Blossom Honey Ale, Raj-Agni IPA, Parched Lime Shandy, and Raspberry Infused Pyro
  • Thirsty Thursdays $1 off pints and $2 off growler fills (no growler or grumbler fills after 8pm on Thursdays)
  • Coconut Turtle Cupcake from Groundswell includes a coconut chocolate fudge cake with pecans, whipped cream, honey caramel sauce, and chocolate ganache

Final Thoughts

There are three (count them, 3) events going this weekend.  We would love to see you at any or all of them.

On April 23rd, we have both the MN Craft Beer Fest and the Second Annual Arts & Crafts. The MN Craft Beer Fest benefits Habitat For Humanity, while the Second Annual Arts & Crafts benefits COMPAS.  Whichever one you are going to, you can drink beer and listen to music while supporting an organization that provides housing for all, or arts for all!

On Sunday, April 24th the second ever gluten-free beer dinner pairing Burning Brothers Beers with Signature Cafe foods is happening.  Seats are still available, so call Signature Cafe at 612-378-0237 to make your reservation!

As always, if you have questions, drop us a note via Email, Facebook or Twitter.

Cheers!