06/22/12

Rogue Moves From Beard to Beer…

Photo by kynan tait

Mild nausea isn’t a feeling I expect while discussing the habits of some of the world’s top brewers, but it does occur on some rare occasion. The last instance I can recollect was upon learning that Brooklyn Brewery was adopting a process known as “fat-washing” to create a bacon flavored beer. The fat-washing process includes soaking heated bacon fat in beer before it congeals at which point it’s removed while the flavor and only the bacon flavor supposedly remains.  We wrote about it on Trappist Punks a while back. LINK

Well last night it happened again, and this time caused by one of my favorite brewers, Rouge… Rogue is in the process of trying to find new wild yeast strains from their hop yards to create new truly local beers, a very honorable effort.  While they’ve succeeded in uncovering a new strain it wasn’t from their hop yards. Here’s two quotes that sum up the discovery process quite nicely, “In cooperation with White Labs, samples were collected from Rogue’s hopyard and sent to White Labs for culture and testing.” OK quite normal, but then, “As a joke, nine beard follicles were carefully cut from the beard of Rogue Brewmaster John Maier. The follicles were placed in a petri dish and sent in for testing.”

By now you’ve probably figured it out, the samples from the hop yard, all negative, the sample from John’s beard, which he has been growing since 1978, positive.  The result, “The beard yeast is currently being used in test brews to determine the perfect style & yeast combination. The beard beer, New Crustacean, will be released in early 2013.”  Possibly more disturbing than my original bilious reaction is that I still wanted to try Brooklyn’s bacon beer, and now I look forward to tasting a brew from the yeast discovered sitting in John’s 34 year old beard…  Luckily Rogue is available here in Hong Kong thanks to HopLeaf.  The article: Beard Beer

06/2/12

This Week Needs Only One Headline & It Involves Gatecrashing Cows…

A recent AP article picked up by a few local media outlets turns our attention to one of the new most serious dangers of hosting an outdoor summer barbecue with free flowing cold beer: roving herds of cattle.  That’s right — roving cattle herds are now a clear and present danger to all those partying outdoors.  Let me explain.

The South China Morning Post headline goes like this: “Gatecrashing Cows Sour the Mood at Backyard Party”.  But once you read the succinct 127-word story, you realize this title is quite tame compared to the actual events.  Apparently, a herd of cattle in Massachusetts crashed a backyard BBQ. Then, like an American version of Pamplona’s running of the bulls, they chased the attendees away from the party and began drinking their beer:  “the cows had knocked the beer cans over on a table and were lapping up what spilled… they even started rooting around the recycled cans for some extra drops.”  Here is a version of the article published by The Herald.

What worries me the most is that out of all the states in the U.S., Massachusetts has the fifth fewest number of cows. If cows can organize there in such small numbers, what can they do in states where their numbers are higher? Massachusetts is home to a meager 41,000 cows; there are 30 states in the U.S. with over a million.  Looking at the data and assuming this trend persists, outdoor BBQs may be most at risk in California, Kansas, Nebraska and Texas — all states with over 5 million cattle each.  Alaskans and Rhode Islanders may be the safest from cow-crashers as neither of those states has over 15,000 cows.  If you happen to live in a high risk state, then BBQ with caution and keep those beers locked up. You can see the number of cattle by state here to see how at risk you may be…