Blogs privilege the moment. I’d like to think, though, that the brewery profiles, travelogues, recipes, reflections on craft beer and culture, industry interviews, and beer evaluations will be useful for you beyond the few days after I post it. This annotated index will help you find recent highlights along with those older articles buried deep in the virtual archives of the blog. Below you’ll find articles grouped under the following categories:
- Reflections on Beer and Culture
- City and Regional Spotlights
- Brewery Profiles
- Featured Beers
- Of Historical Interest
- The Industry Series
- Beer and Food/Recipes
- Sundry Articles
Last updated: November 2016
In Case You Missed Them: Articles from 2016
The Oktoberfest Series
O’ zapft is! Oktoberfest 2016––The only three words of German you need to know beyond bier and prost.
From Horse Races to Beer Steins: Oktoberfest Since 1810––Did you know that Oktoberfest started its two-hundred year history as a horse race in honour of a royal wedding?
Where Did All the Märzen Go? Provisioning Oktoberfest Imbibers over the Centuries––It wasn’t until the latter half of the nineteenth century that Oktoberfest started to resemble the festival we all know and love today. Learn more about how beer tents supplanted “beer castles,” and how the golden Festbier eventually replaced Märzen on the Theresienwiese.
Autumn in a Glass: Märzen, Oktoberfest Beer, and Vienna Lager––You’re probably not the only one who thinks that Märzen is the beer served up during Munich’s Oktoberfest. “Autumn in a Glass” clears up the confusion. A handy reference not only for the general drinker, but also for homebrewers and competition judges.
The Colour of Fall Leaves: Tasting Notes on Märzen, Oktoberfestbier, and Vienna Lager––Follows up on “Autumn in a Glass” with tasting notes to illustrate the differences between these great alternatives to pumpkin beer.
The Wild-Fermented Beer in Belgium Series
Where the Wild Beers Are: Brussels and Flemish Brabant––Rent a bike just outside of Brussels and follow along to breweries such as Drie Fonteinen, Oud Beersel, and Boon. Suggestions about where to get your sour funk in Brussels as well.
Of Coolships, Cobwebs, and Cantillon––Need I say more about this iconic brewery? Maybe just one thing: go there at least once in your life.
The Vienna Beer Garden Series
Exploring Vienna’s Beer Gardens––Vienna: city of classical music, café culture, and stunning architecture. Vienna is also home to a rich but understated beer garden scene. The first article in the series recounts the history of Vienna’s beloved Prater before heading to the Schweizerhaus for a beer and roasted pork knuckle.
A Beer Garden in Vienna’s Wine Country––Alas, Bamkraxler closed its doors on 16 October 2016.
Vienna, City of Beer Gardens––When you’re done with all the museums and sights that Vienna has to offer, hop on Vienna’s superb public transportation network and head out in search of these classic beer gardens.
An exploration of stouts beyond the British Isles that’ll keep you warm on any non-summer night. Rich brews from Japan, Norway, Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark, the Czech Republic, and Sri Lanka.
A write-up of my adventures traversing the region one last time in 2015 before I packed up more or less for good.
Bohemia in all its majesty. Don’t miss the tour of Pilsener Urquell’s labyrinthine cellars.
For the intrepid beer traveler, the Innviertel of Upper Austria is a gem of bucolic scenery, colourful towns, and top-notch breweries that don’t see wide distribution.
Fortunately for those of us who enjoy good food and drink, tasting is an aptitude that only gets better with practice. In this article you’ll find tips and ideas for organizing targeted tastings, blind tastings, and the perennial favourite, “stump the chump.”
We live in an era of unprecedented beer selection. Yet a number of venerable styles currently on the books stand on the verge of extinction. Mild Ale, anyone?
A match made in heaven. And the perfect way to serve up rich and smoky sauerkraut to your vegetarian friends.
Reflections on Beer and Culture
About a year and a half back, I wrote a short article with some thoughts on aging Belgian sour beers. I followed it up recently with some more systematic thoughts on what styles of beers to age, how to age them, and what to expect a few years down the road.
This isn’t the first thing I’ve written about the relationship between beer and place, and it likely won’t be the last. The crux: How can a well-crafted “Munich Helles” from Austin and a helles Bier from München express “unique” terroirs when they can taste virtually the same in the hands of skilled brewers in different countries?
My very first article for A Tempest in a Tankard, one that I posted when I had about three regular visitors to the site. The article answers a provocation unleashed by another beer blogger on the occasion of a monthly beer writers’ forum called The Session. The question: “What the hell has America done to beer?, AKA, USA versus Old World Beer Culture.”
Times, they are a changing, but the gender gap continues to be a yawning one in the craft beer world. Marketing plays an obvious role here. And I’d be rich if I had a dollar for every time someone told me that women prefer fruity beers.
A few thoughts on how our taste is shaped by trends and tastemakers. I don’t mind hops, and Imperial Stouts are up there among my favourite beer styles. But by indulging our drive toward ever more intense and novel flavours, we have, perhaps, shortchanged more subtle beer styles in the process.
On the fine line between craft beer advocacy and craft beer evangelism. My longest (and probably most polemical) piece to date. If you’re not a fan of Wagner or Tolstoy, just skip the beginning.
Guest writer Kevin Goldberg’s insightful piece debunking the notion of terroir, which generated so much interesting discussion that I wasn’t able to confine my own response to the comments section of the article.
What do we taste when we drink a glass of beer or wine? Are we imbibing the liquid that’s in the glass, or is there more to it? How do ratings and other factors influence our taste in craft beer?
Malt heads of the world, unite!
The Beer, Place, and Locality Series
The following three articles approach the notion of place and locality from different angles. A fourth piece will appear at some point that redeems some elements of the notion of beer and place.
This response to the “Food Babe’s” article on the “shocking” ingredients in beer is my most widely-read piece to date, likely because the issue of fish bladder in beer flares up at regular intervals.
As much an article on a particular beer (Kapsreiter Landbier), it also represents a challenge to prevailing sentiments that sometimes confuse IBU levels with quality.
Donuts? Bacon? Ancient recipes? Southern Tier’s Crème Brûlée features here, but expect other articles on beers in my curiosity cabinet in the coming months.
From glassware to serving temperatures, here are some ideas guaranteed to enhance your drinking experience.
Because we should all want to be more kind to the environment. Handy infographic as well.
City and Regional Spotlights
Colorado’s Northern Front Range Series
What’s not to like about an abundance of summer and winter leisure opportunities, three hundred days of sunshine per year, and world-class craft beer? Oregon may have more breweries, but the Denver-Boulder-Fort Collins area is the epicenter of the North American craft beer revival.
- Craft Beer in the Mile High City
- Boulder: Craft Beer at the Foot of the Mountain
- Striking Gold: Boulder Breweries Further Afield
Austin: A User’s Guide for the Craft Beer Enthusiast:
This is a comprehensive series that you can take with you as you visit Austin. Break it down into parts, or read the series as a whole.
- Part I––Brewpubs
- Part II––Breweries. Saké, too.
- Part III––Taprooms and Bottle Shops. Craft Pride and Sunrise Mini-Mart. ’Nuf said.
- Part IV––Tempest’s Tankard Ratings and the Best Brews in Austin. The tankard system unveiled.
The Epic Stillwater to Vancouver Road Trip, Spring 2014:
- Tempest Hits the Open Road: Dispatches from the Beerways of North America. Not much about beer, but the piece––one of my personal favourites––lays the groundwork for the rest of my Stillwater-Vancouver road trip this past April and May.
- Wyoming––A Snapshot from a Moving Vehicle. Cheyenne kicks things off, followed by Coal Creek in Laramie.
- Idaho and Montana––Of Roadtrips and Aleways. I’ve always been fascinated by the routes we travel. The “discovery” of this trip is Trickster’s Brewing in Coeur d’Alene. Missoula has plenty to offer, too, including Kettle House’s Cold Smoke Scotch Ale.
Gorges and Good Beer in Ithaca and Environs:
- Part I: A brief history of the Ithaca area, followed by a visit to Ithaca’s oldest craft brewery.
- Part II: Includes features of the newer faces on Ithaca’s craft beer scene: Bandwagon Brewpub, Hopshire, and Rogues’ Harbor.
- Part III: A guide to some of the best craft beer watering holes and bottle shops in Ithaca.
In case you missed it, cider’s in. And places like the Finger Lakes Cider House are perfect for sampling a broad range of styles from a number of producers. Great locally produced food, too.
Long a travel destination for connoisseurs of fine wine, the Finger Lakes is quickly gaining a sterling reputation locally and regionally for its craft beers. A scenic beer route has grown up along the country roads that meander along the lakeshores. Hop farms and fields of barley sway in the lakeshore breeze alongside row upon row of grapes.
A few impressions of the city after moving here in late August 2015.
So far, my brewery profiles cover an uneven patchwork of the United States, but I’m working on shading in the map of the U.S., and will make the occasional foray into Canada as well. Look for city spotlights on Madison, Ann Arbor, and Kansas City, along with regional spotlights on northern Indiana and parts of Colorado, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kansas, New York, Michigan, and Illinois at some point.
Asher (Boulder)––Green Pints at Asher Brewing Company
When Chris Asher opened his eponymously-named brewery, it was Colorado’s first all-organic brewery––and still is. Some people express concern about the higher price of organic beers. I have to confess that I find this rather perplexing, given what some craft beer drinkers are willing to spend on their favourite brews. If you’re in the area, support these folks.
Crystal Springs (Boulder area)––Crystal Springs and the Music Teacher Turned Brewer
Tom Horst, a former Amarillo Symphony Orchestra percussionist and still-part-time music teacher at Boulder High School, brewed out of his garage until opening his production facility and taproom in the autumn of 2013.
Grimm Bros. (Fort Collins area)––Milling Against the Grain: Grimm Goes All-Germanic
If you’ve been wanting to try some of those neglected German historical styles that have been enjoying a resurgence in popularity of late, Grimm Bros. has you covered. Broyhahn, Kottbusser or Lichtenhainer, anyone?
Wild Mountain (Nederland)––Come for the Great Outdoors, Stay for the Beer and BBQ
Located about a half-hour’s drive up the canyon from Boulder, Nederland offers hiking, biking, winter sports, the Frozen Dead Guy Days, and Wild Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery. Great for a day trip.
A transplant from Tulsa, OK, set up shop in this wooded and mountainous lakeside town. Worth a detour off the I-90 to seek out the elusive Trickster. Beers walk the tightrope between balance and boldness.
Kansas City Bier Co.––Every Day is Craft Lager Day at KCBC. Serving up some of the best Munich Helles in the Midwest, along with a broad range of well-crafted German style beer. Biergarten-style food, too.
New York State
Abandon (Finger Lakes)––The Barn and the Brewery
Nestled amid the vineyards of Keuka Lake, Abandon has been turning out compelling Belgian-inflected ales for a little under a year now. If the bucolic scenery doesn’t win you over, the beer will.
Hopshire Farm and Brewery (Ithaca area)––Cultural Archeology: The Revival of Hop Cultivation in New York
Randy Lacey was one of the driving forces behind the Farm Brewery Legislation (2013), which has been a boon for brewers in New York State. When he’s not advocating on behalf of the region’s brewers, Lacey brews up beers that feature, among other things, local honey and local ginger.
Roughtail (Oklahoma City)––Roughtail Enters the Ring with a Selection of Heavy-Weight Beers
Along with breweries such as Coop Aleworks and Prairie Artisan Ales, Roughtail has been working hard to put Oklahoma on the craft beer map. Their motto: “Aggressive. Flavor Forward.” If you’re someone who raises your eyes reverently skyward when the conversation turns to IBUs and the ineffable beauty of hops, Tony Tielli’s beers are well worth your attention.
Texas: Austin Area
Flix––Craft Beer at a Theatre Near You
The cinematic programming is on the corporate side, but the beers are worth a taste if you find yourself in this strip mall and big-box corridor along I-35 north of Austin.
North by Northwest––Fine Food to Accompany Beers Novel and Classic
This upscale brewpub in northern Austin combines higher end food with solid German-style beers and an experimental barrel program.
Rogness––A Plethora of Beers from Pflugerville
Diane and Forrest Rogness, owners of Austin Homebrew, have brought innovative beer to the northern reaches of the Austin exurbs, establishing a community gathering point in the process.
Texas: Dallas Area
Four Corners Brewing Company––Across Calatrava’s Bridge: Four Corners Anchors Revitalization of West Dallas
Sessionable beers reign supreme here. And why not? Four Corners’ beers are a fine antidote to the summer time heat. The visual iconography (labels, tap handles, and the like) pays tribute to the long-established Hispanic community in which the brewery finds itself.
Franconia Brewing Co.––A Bavarian in Texas
Brewing’s in Dennis Wehrmann’s DNA. His family has been brewing for generations in and near Nuremberg. Six years back, Wehrmann began brewing a taste of his native Franconia in a town north of Dallas, where beers are crafted according to the German Purity Laws (Reinheitsgebot).
Featured Beers (Individual Beers, Flights, Style Spotlights)
The Saturday Six-Pack Series
- Your Saturday Six-Pack (Vol. 1)––Go ahead, grab that cream ale or Irish red off the shelf! Try something new (or “old”) this weekend.
- Brown Beers Get No Luvin’––A whole six-pack of them. You’ll be happy you gave these overlooked beers a shot.
- A Taste of Oklahoma in Six Glasses––The results of a blind-tasting of eighteen Oklahoma beers.
- Let Us Now Praise Famous Lagers––The original inspiration for this piece was a January 2015 article on Boston Beer Co.’s founder, Jim Koch (of Sam Adams fame).
- Augurs of Spring: Wheat Beers from Around the World (Vol.4)––German, Belgian, American. Weizen, Wit, Gose, Berliner Weisse. Vitus from Weihenstephan, Ritterguts Gose, and a few more treats.
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Saisons––Vol. 5 of the Saturday 6-Pack Series. Saison DuPont, saisons with elderberry flowers from Cazeaux, bold and tropically inflected saisons from Funkwerks in Colorado, and Dogfish Head’s surprisingly drinkable Saison du Buff with parsley, rosemary, and thyme. Stillwater Artisan Ales and Boulevard round out the selection.
Barley Wine/Wheat Wine
A comparison of three barley wines from disparate locations and of different stylistic underpinnings:
- Harvey’s Elizabethan Ale (Sussex, UK)
- Real Ale’s 2012 Sisyphus (Texas)
- Dieu du Ciel’s Solstice d’hiver (Quebec)
- New Holland’s 2013 Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout
- Founders’ 2012 Backwoods Bastard
- Victory’s 2011 Dark Intrigue (Pennsylvania)
- Goose Island’s 2013 Bourbon County Brand Stout (Chicago)
- Prairie Artisan Ales’ Pirate Bomb! (Oklahoma)
Gose (See the Historical Interest section below for a short history of the style)
- Anderson Valley
- Bayrischer Bahnhof
Bonator (Klosterbrauerei Weissenohe, Bavaria)
Kapsreiter Landbier (Kapsreiter, Austria)
Crème Brûlée (Southern Tier, NY)
Hel & Verdoemenis (Brouwerij de Molen, Netherlands)
This Bird’s for You: Black Raven’s Pour Les Oiseaux Saison––Aesthetics made me do it. That, and the intriguing description of the beer on the back of this attractively packaged embossed bottle crowned with gold foil and unconventional of size and shape. The sleek packaging contains a beer that’s more than up to the challenge. An exquisitely wrought beer.
Sours and Wild-Fermented Beers (including Oud Bruin and Flanders Red)
Marking Time with a 2013 Brett-Saison from Boulevard––You could just as well file this one under cellaring beer. Drunk in May 2015.
The Sunday Sour Sessions: Jolly Pumpkin’s Baudelaire Saison––An entirely unique drinking experience from a pioneering brewery.
A Twist of Sour––Comparison of La Folie (New Belgium, CO) and the inimitable Duchesse de Bourgogne (Verhaeghe, Belgium).
Sofie (Goose Island, Chicago)––A vertical of the 2011, 2012, and 2013 bottlings.
A Rodenbach Grand Cru in the Fridge?––Some thoughts on aging Oud Bruin, Flanders Red, Gueuze, Lambic, and that increasingly broad rubric, Farmhouse Beers.
Hefeweizen: A Beer for All Seasons––Includes tasting notes for: Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier; Ayinger Bräu Weisse; Ayinger Ur-Weisse Dunkel Weizen; Franziskaner Weissbier Dunkel; Schneider Aventinus; Weihenstephaner Vitus; Erdinger Pikantus; Widmer Hefeweizen; and Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat.
Of Historical Interest
In the Cool Shade of the Beer Garden––In this, one of my favourite articles, I trace the historical roots of all those chestnut trees shading beer gardens in Germanic lands. Cited in The Atlantic to boot.
Madison County Hop Fest 2014––Not only an announcement for a contemporary celebration of hops in the historical heart of U.S. hop production, this piece recalls the nineteenth-century cultural history of hop fests in Madison, Otsego, and Oneida counties.
When Once They Drank Beer Warm: Cocktails and Concoctions from Olde Albion––If the past is a foreign country, it is one is which they drank warm beer. Recipes from Marchant’s 1888 In Praise of Ale, a book that deserves much more attention. Dust some of these off and make them for your friends during the holiday season.
Gose: A Beer Worth Its Salt––Tracing its lineage back to Goslar, Gose took Leipzig by storm in the nineteenth century, only to fade to near-oblivion in the post-WWII period. Fortunately, the style was revived and has made a strong comeback.
The Industry Series
In this new occasional series, I interview people who have interesting or unique positions within the beverage industry.
How to Become a Beer Liaison: An Interview with Genesee’s Sean Coughlin––Sean Coughlin describes his transition from music teacher to member of Genesee’s daily tasting panel and head of beer education.
Tasting Tips from Cornell Flavour Chemist, Gavin Sachs––Even though Gavin Sachs works in the wine industry, much of what he does is directly applicable to how we approach the evaluation and enjoyment of beer.
Beer and Food/Recipes
If you like cooking, or have friends who like cooking, here’s a small but growing list of Tempest recipes that feature beer as a central ingredient. Suggested beer/food pairings are included, too.
Down the Rabbit Hole: Doppelbock-Braised Rabbit––Like duck and venison, rabbit traditionally evokes the autumn hunt and harvest, but this subtly smoky rabbit suits just about any season from early fall to late spring.
Fondues with Beer and Cider––Want a change from the classic cheese and wine fondue? This article contains recipes for Gorgonzola Apple Cider Fondue and Aged Gouda and Doppelbock Fondue.
Choucroute/Sauerkraut made with Gueuze––Instead of white wine in your sauerkraut, try Gueuze to give the dish a lift. Also included: instructions for fermenting your own sauerkraut.
Maple-Glazed Bourbon and Apple Cider Pork Belly––Pair this one with a barrel-aged beer, and you’ll be in seventh heaven in no time.
Five Recipes for Your Cocktail Hour––Because we all need a change of pace from beer sometimes. Recipes concocted by yours truly.
A Coal Town and a Cold One––On my conversion to flavourful beer at the hands of a Maisel’s Hefeweizen in Saarbrücken, Germany.
So You Wanna Brew a Weizen––Style parameters and a discussion of the ingredients you’ll need to whip up a batch of German-style Weissbier in your kitchen. Companion piece to Hefeweizen: A Beer for All Seasons, an article that contains tasting notes for several commercially available wheat beers.
Holiday Gift Ideas for the Craft Beer Enthusiast (2014 Edition)
Seven Steps to Surviving the Great American Beer Festival (2014 Edition)––A must-read for anyone heading to Denver every autumn.
Six Tips to Help You Get the Most out of the GABF (2015 Edition)
Books for the Craft Beer Enthusiast––Friends often ask me to recommend books on beer. I wrote this piece for the holiday season, but it’s worth a read if you’re looking for books that deal with different facets of craft beer appreciation. The article contains short write-ups of the following books:
- Tim Webb and Stephen Beaumont, The World Atlas of Beer (2012).
- Garrett Oliver, The Brewmaster’s Table (2003).
- Maureen Ogle, Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer (2006).
- Charlie Papazian, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing (2003).