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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mark Your Calendar

Dunno if this has an Olympics tie-in, but Belmont Station is tapping the much-anticipated Russian River Supplication on Tuesday. It is a (Flanders?) brown ale "aged in Pinot Noir wine barrels for one year with sour cherries, Brettanomyces yeast, and Lactobacillus & Pedicoccus bacteria." Yes, bacteria--and it's intentional! It is a two-time GABF silver medalist, and I have heard it spoken of only in the sotto voce of those who know. Erase Pliny the Elder from your memory--this is not your pappy's strong ale (unless your pappy's a Flemish brewer).

Thanks partly to a harmonic convergence of brewing trends and also the lack of hops, this has been a banner year in Belgian experimentation in the US. By all accounts, Russian River is one of a handful of breweries that have attained some mastery over the art. Put it on your calendar--Tuesday the 12th. Actually, you better put it down as Wednesday. You wouldn't want to rush into anything. Go Wednesday, for sure. That way your trusty blogger will have gotten the lay of the land for you.

1 comment:

  1. A little info in regard to Bacteria and beer.....

    Lactobacillus & Pedicoccus bacteria are no strangers in the brewing process.

    In our distant human history it was reported that stored grain would eventually sprout due to moisture. In order to SAVE their food these people would quickly boil into a porridge to consume, rather than waste. At some point this porridge would be left out for days until it came in contact with wild yeasts and bacteria. These bacteria would ferment the porridge and create an alcoholic beverage and food. History tells us this concoction became the first beer.

    Fast forward thousands of years later. It wasn't until Louis Pasteur started experiments with the process of yeast (1859) that we started to actually understand how yeast functions and thrives.

    Pasteur first proposed the production of carbon dioxide from yeast as responsible for raising a loaf of bread in 1859.

    Before Pasteur's time (150 years ago), ALL beers were fermented by Wild Yeasts and common bacteria like Lactobacillus & Pedicoccus bacteria.

    Once the discovery and isolation of "Saccaromyces cerevisiae" (Brewers yeast)became the preference for brewing, we started using this yeast for brewing beer on a wide scale and is still used today.

    Brewing evolved a little differently in Belgium ( and we should be grateful). Belgian lambics, Belgian wheat beers and some Belgian ales (such as reds known as the "Burgundies of Belgium") are acidic and full of complex flavors due to bacteria. Their brewing process welcomes bacteria! Windows and sometimes roofs of traditional breweries are kept open so that native bacteria can fall into and onto the cooling and beer wort to assist in fermenetation. Cobwebs and dust (riddled with bacteria) are allowed to adorn the walls and aged barrels with similar bacteria, are used to ferment or help ferment the beers. In some cases, these processes have been unchanged for 500-800 years in Belgian brewing history.

    In fact, it's only been less than 150 years that mostly Brewers YEAST has been used throughout the world.

    Lactobacillus and Pediococcus convert sugars to lactic and other acids to give a pleasant acidic flavor to beers. Germany's Berliner Weisse is also fermented with a lactic type bacteria to produce an acidity.

    In short.... Bacteria and beer have evolved hand in hand for thousands of years. Embrace our human history and drink some bacteria today... ;-}