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Archive for September, 2020

Belgian, Trappist and Abbey Beers: Truly Divine (Book Review)

Friday, September 25th, 2020

Belgian, Trappist and Abbey Beers book cover
A small indulgence of my last birthday was the purchase of a most beautiful coffee table book about Belgian beer (because I’m a fan of the Belgian quadrupel ringing in from 9.1%-14.2% ABV). This dead tree indulgence is called Belgian, Trappist and Abbey Beers: Truly Divine by Jef Van Den Steen with the beautiful photography throughout by food and wine photographer Andrew Verschetze. At the exorbitant price that I paid it’s saying something that I am more than happy with the quality of the product. Heavy, hard cover, exquisitely designed with voluptuous photographs of the abbeys, breweries, gardens and beers that continue to make Belgium a unique destination for beer nerds (and lovers of their wonderful beer culture).

Because we need to appreciate that this idea we have in Australia, Britain and the United States about a beer style isn’t august reality. A porter is a definition agreed upon for competition purposes, but the lines between these styles are smudged and blurred over centuries. We argue about the difference between stout and a porter, the line between pale ale and IPA; but these are merely constructs that enable people in the industry to compete and market their beer in ways that form agreement and competitive edge in the mind of consumers. And if people think that the beer you made is a lager, but it hasn’t been lagered and it was made using an ale yeast… is it a lager? And does it even matter? The Belgians don’t get hung up by this pointless splitting of hairs that we’re accustomed to in our beer culture.

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For the Love of Hops (Book Review)

Friday, September 4th, 2020

For the Love of Hops coverBy far and away the sexiest brewing ingredient in the craft brewing / home brewing landscape is the not-so-humble hop. We’re in the age of the IPA and the NEIPA. And there have never been more varieties and opportunities to mix and match these flavourful bittering additions to work our artistic visions for designing the beer we desire. So, as an all grain home brewer, it was inevitable that I would fall into the pages of For the Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops by Stan Hieronymus.

There are a many aspects to this farm product we call hops (a close relation of cannabis) and our relationship to hops. We have the history of hops and it’s cultural impact on society through beer. We have the personalities and places that figure in that history as beer evolved and science improved and global politics pushed us into the 20th Century and through World Wars. And we have the botany and chemistry of hops with ever-evolving frontiers of knowledge about what can be achieved by using hops in a variety of ways.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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