Category: Feature

Savoring Acidity: The Quest to Explain Sourness in Beer Feature by

As sour beers proliferate in the market, the search for a quantitative yardstick to determine acidity has intensified. Could Titratable Acidity, or TA, a measurement borrowed from the wine industry, be the answer?

Calculating for the Future: Can Breweries Provide More STEM Jobs for Women? Feature by

Rapid growth and continued innovation in the beer industry have made it a professional pipeline for women in STEM careers, from researching yeast genomes to studying the science of taste.

Skipping the Store: Will Beer Delivery Services Change Consumer Behavior? Feature by

With the rise of mobile commerce, beer-delivery services are shaking up the status quo, from customized 24-packs to freshly filled growlers direct from local breweries.

Sequencing Wild Yeast: Brewers Team Up with Scientists to Better Understand Fermentation Feature by

To create more consistent wild beers and better understand fermentation, brewers are teaming up with scientists. The future of sour beer has never looked better.

Drinking Games: Have Social Media and Apps like Untapped Changed the Way We Consume Beer? Feature by

If you drink a beer, and your friends aren’t instantly notified about it, did it really happen? How is technology changing the beer drinking experience for so many enthusiasts, and why are they frantically sharing their experiences anyway?

Drought vs. Draft: California Craft Breweries Innovate, Conserve, and Pray to Combat Four Years of Little Rain Feature by

While green lawns go brown, farms go fallow, and everyone is asked to cut their water usage at every turn, beer drinkers are forced to consider whether their favorite drink is worth such a reservoir-sucking impact.

Unlocking the Secrets of Smell: Hop Chemists Are Advancing How We Understand and Manipulate Aroma Feature by

Don’t let the names confuse you. Aroma compounds are being engineered into your beers, so think about them the next time you smell a hop bomb. Does your nose detect anything besides that hop character?

Flying High: Pilot Systems Guide the Way at Breweries Large and Small Feature by

The recent boom in new breweries has come with a secondary phenomenon: the growth in smaller scale commercial brewing equipment. Today, it seems, almost no one runs a commercial brewery without a pilot system.

Crossing Cultures: Making a True Sake-Beer Hybrid Feature by

The idea of marrying sake and beer has been around for a while, but a hybrid has never been made in any great quantity. One of the issues is that many brewers, in spite of their creativity, do not have experience with sake.

To Drink or Not to Drink: What Date Codes Say About Your Beer Feature by

When a beer is labeled “best by,” the brewery makes a judgment weighing freshness against shelf life, and, presumably, the brewery’s bottom line. With “bottled on” dates, buyers must decide for themselves.

New Wave Funk: The Next Generation of American Wild Ale Brewers Feature by

While terroir is certainly popular, one of the other trademarks of today’s Wild Ale makers is collaborating with distant brewers who float in and out of host breweries like microflora in the breeze.

The Great Barrel Race: Foeders Are a Rare (and Mysterious) Commodity Feature by

Increasingly, sour beers—and the foeders used to produce them—are becoming a less-surprising feature among American craft breweries. And while larger breweries with connections acquire as they go, the demand for foeders among smaller breweries is only growing.

Better by Degrees: Why Cold Storage Matters to Your Beer Feature by

Craft breweries of all sizes are responding to the consumer demand for variety by shipping their beer to far-flung accounts. So how do breweries maintain the condition of their beer, please fickle customers and simultaneously grow their brands? The answer is cold storage.

Stemming the Rise of Barley Diseases: How Nasty Fungal Infections Could Affect Our Grains and Beer Feature by

The world produced over 134 million metric-tons of barley between 2011 and 2012. But up to 95 percent of the world’s barley is susceptible to a variety of a fungal disease called stem rust that was discovered in Uganda in 1999. Dubbed Ug99, it has spread across East Africa and up into the Middle East.

A Long, Cold Storage: Making Way for Craft Lagers Feature by

The vast majority of craft brewers make forgiving, warm-fermenting ales. But new lager-focused breweries are taking a two-tracked approach to changing that, making fresh versions of the German classics and pushing American lagers into new territory with pumpkins, coffee, rye malt and candi sugar.

Yeast Ranching: Wrangling Wild Yeast and Other Microorganisms, Off the Grid Feature by

In their quest to push the boundaries of brewing and redefine craft beer styles, American brewers are deep into experimenting with brewing’s most fickle ingredient: wild yeast. And as demand for Brett and other wild strains skyrockets, lab geeks like Dmitri Serjanov are stepping up to meet it.

Keeping Brewing Safe Feature by

Brewing accidents are not a thing of the past. Most brewers know of someone who has been injured on the job or have plenty of harrowing stories about close calls.

Designer Drafts: Keeping Tabs on Tap Technology Feature by

Taphouses with 20 lines or more are becoming the new standard—and what goes on behind the scenes is anything but simple.

Brewing in Thin Air: What Alpine Breweries Are Doing at High Altitude Feature by

Most of Colorado’s breweries are more than 5,000 feet above sea level. But professional brewers at altitude are downright scientific with their methods. And the first thing they point to is the temperature at which they boil.

Lab Report: The Science of Tasting Beers Feature by

Tasting panels are trained by smelling the chemical aroma standards responsible for each flavor—as beer geeks know, banana flavor is isoamyl acetate and butter is diacetyl—in decreasing dilutions. They taste the isolated chemicals added to polyethylene glycol until small amounts can be detected.

The Lager Yeast Genome Project Feature by

While walking in the woods, Argentinian microbiologist Diego Libkind stumbled upon a familiar smell: ethanol. Scattered on the ground were fungus clusters. Taking a sample back to the lab, Libkind found a species of Saccharomyces yeast, the same genus used to brew beer, living on these edible mushrooms.

When Good Beers Go Bad: The Tears and Triumphs of Failed Experiments Feature by

Craft beer drinkers, like brewers, want to be challenged. From Chipotle Ale to peanut butter and jelly beer, we never know what will pleasantly surprise us, and the true craft beer drinker will try anything once.

Native Cultures: Experiments in Spontaneous Fermentation Feature by

Allagash’s Rob Tod recalls visiting spontaneous Belgian breweries with a group of American brewers, and wondering whether their techniques could be imported to the US.

Expanding the Palette: Engineering the Future of Hops Feature by

In addition to their bittering, flavor and aroma properties, hops help stabilize beer foam, kill unwanted bacteria and, according to some studies, impart body-boosting antioxidants. And that’s just what today’s hops can do. Future breeds might bring an entire revolution to the brewing industry.

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