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(NPR)   ProTip: When your "craft brewery" has to start chemically tweaking out-of-state water to taste like the water where your actual brewery is supposed to be located, you might not be a "craft brewery" anymore   (npr.org) divider line 111
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9259 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 Aug 2014 at 10:39 PM (18 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-08-12 08:08:10 PM  
Sounds like they're just adding salt and filtering the water. Hardly the stuff of mad science.
 
2014-08-12 08:13:53 PM  
Why don't they just add hops? Adding hops fixes everything. You add hops, then stir in a few more hops, then hop it up a little, then increase the hops by a hair. Then you add just a few more hops, mix with some hops, and voila! Perfection. And then you can even add a clever reference to hops in the beer's name. That's always awesome and good for a belly chuckle or two.
 
2014-08-12 08:33:55 PM  
adding minerals to adjust water hardness/softness is pretty common in homebrewing.  as a matter of fact, depending on your water you might not have a choice.
 
2014-08-12 08:34:36 PM  

Pocket Ninja: Why don't they just add hops? Adding hops fixes everything. You add hops, then stir in a few more hops, then hop it up a little, then increase the hops by a hair. Then you add just a few more hops, mix with some hops, and voila! Perfection. And then you can even add a clever reference to hops in the beer's name. That's always awesome and good for a belly chuckle or two.


Hmmm maybe we could add some hops to scotch to combine that with the whisky trend . We could call it Hop-Scotch. We could even have a logo with our initials PN & TT Craft Distillery Est. 2014. Maybe add some Deco/communist propaganda stlye graphic of an arm holding a piece of chalk
 
2014-08-12 08:46:39 PM  
They're now a Kraft brewery.
 
2014-08-12 09:06:41 PM  
Sadly, these beers become victims of their own success.  They outgrow their original brewery and have to contract out the brewing.  F.X. Matt's in Utica, NY brews lots of beers that you think are from somewhere else.
 
2014-08-12 09:08:23 PM  
All large breweries do this. This is only an outrage to the ignorant.
 
2014-08-12 09:10:30 PM  
I've never heard of Oskar Blues, but I've always considered Sierra Nevada to be in that gray area between craft breweries and megabreweries.

Still, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a great beer, and it's my go-to choice if I'm picking beer up at a Publix or something like that that doesn't have much (or any) of an actual craft beer selection.
 
2014-08-12 09:20:08 PM  
People who love to make great beer should all move to small towns just a little bit out of the way so you can go on a trip, discover them, have a pint, eat some local food and leave with a full growler. If you rent a small shop in a small town and start making and selling good beer you will make enough money to keep going. If you have lots of money, start the small shop and then sell it to the employees and move on. Be a Johnny Appleseed of small craft breweries.

Also do this with cheese, wine, coffee and baked goods. I'd drive an hour for good bread.
 
2014-08-12 10:10:05 PM  
Where do we draw the line on "chemically tweaking"?  Is it ok if they boil the water with a wort derived from hops and grains, then let it sit while yeast converts the sugars into alcohol?
 
2014-08-12 10:12:18 PM  

Pocket Ninja: Why don't they just add hops? Adding hops fixes everything. You add hops, then stir in a few more hops, then hop it up a little, then increase the hops by a hair. Then you add just a few more hops, mix with some hops, and voila! Perfection. And then you can even add a clever reference to hops in the beer's name. That's always awesome and good for a belly chuckle or two.


They;ll need to give it a clever hop-based pun for its name.  Sierra Hopvada or Hopierra Nevada.  I can't decide which, so let's go with Hopierra Hopvada to cover our bases.

Tellingthem: add some hops to scotch to combine that with the whisky trend . We could call it Hop-Scotch


shiat. you make it, I'll buy it.
 
2014-08-12 10:12:46 PM  

Pocket Ninja: Why don't they just add hops? Adding hops fixes everything. You add hops, then stir in a few more hops, then hop it up a little, then increase the hops by a hair. Then you add just a few more hops, mix with some hops, and voila! Perfection. And then you can even add a clever reference to hops in the beer's name. That's always awesome and good for a belly chuckle or two.


www.wmi.org

Hops Sing
 
2014-08-12 10:17:24 PM  

Pocket Ninja: Why don't they just add hops? Adding hops fixes everything. You add hops, then stir in a few more hops, then hop it up a little, then increase the hops by a hair

hare.

Pretty soon, you have more hops than a bunny farm on meth.

/Methbunny Beer -- We're full of Hops!
 
2014-08-12 10:41:31 PM  
Sounds crafty to me.
 
2014-08-12 10:43:08 PM  
sorry, but Coors has been doing this for years. They were on it before it was cool.
 
2014-08-12 10:43:19 PM  

TheHighlandHowler: Sadly, these beers become victims of their own success.  They outgrow their original brewery and have to contract out the brewing.  F.X. Matt's in Utica, NY brews lots of beers that you think are from somewhere else.


No, not these beers. Sierra and Oskar Blues make their own beer
 
2014-08-12 10:49:34 PM  
All brewers are chemists. That is the heart of brewing.
This is hardly new or shocking.
 
2014-08-12 10:49:42 PM  
What if the man crafting the beer has an "F" on his forehead?
 
rka
2014-08-12 10:50:16 PM  
Oskar Blues is a solid beer here locally, but definitely getting up to the big boy stage with Lefthand, Odells, Great Divide, New Belgium and Breckenridge (no where near Coors of course). One of the first craft breweries to embrace going back to cans. I'm a fan of the Mamas Yella Pils and the ol' standby Dale's Pale Ale. Some of their more aggressive beers are a bit much for me. Chubb, Gub'na. More of an easy drinking type of guy these days. Always nice to drink a beer or two at their tasting room up in Longmont, the Tasty Weasel. Interesting stuff you can't find in retail.

They've also started a restaurant called Chuburger that has a good presence at Coors Field.

I hope they don't go the way of Flying Dog though who basically moved their entire business out east but still tried to trade in their Colorado roots. I refuse to drink Flying Dog to this day.
 
2014-08-12 10:50:30 PM  
Nothing new. Guinness has been doing this for years.
 
2014-08-12 10:51:08 PM  
It's funny because the reason these breweries gave for settling on Asheville was because the water was supposedly chemically similar to the groundwater where the breweries were originally located.
 
2014-08-12 10:51:26 PM  
CHEMICALS?!?!?!? NOT IN MY BEEEEER!!!!!111
 
2014-08-12 10:51:27 PM  
Hey Subby, care to show me in the rule book where this is forbidden?
 
2014-08-12 10:52:01 PM  
Not a "fail" at all. Water quality and trace minerals can make a tremendous difference in the quality of the final product. If your beer is just right with a certain combination of hops and malts a change in water can make the final brew noticeably different. Making the new water more like the old doesn't mean you're "non-craft". It means you're a careful craftsperson who wants to make sure the product is consistent.

Back in the day there were standard formulas for dozens of different mineral waters. People ordered them by name and could tell the difference if the bartender or soda fountain gave them the wrong one.
 
2014-08-12 10:52:40 PM  

Pocket Ninja: Why don't they just add hops? Adding hops fixes everything. You add hops, then stir in a few more hops, then hop it up a little, then increase the hops by a hair. Then you add just a few more hops, mix with some hops, and voila! Perfection. And then you can even add a clever reference to hops in the beer's name. That's always awesome and good for a belly chuckle or two.


My favorite beer is Hop Therapy from Rough Draft. It's very hoppy.
 
2014-08-12 10:53:06 PM  
Isn't replicating the water quality and taste a craft as well? If I'm in N.C. and the only micro option is Sierra Nevada, I want it to smell and taste like Chico beer. Problem unseen.
 
2014-08-12 10:53:09 PM  
Tellingthem:
Hmmm maybe we could add some hops to scotch to combine that with the whisky trend . We could call it Hop-Scotch. We could even have a logo with our initials PN & TT Craft Distillery Est. 2014. Maybe add some Deco/communist propaganda stlye graphic of an arm holding a piece of chalk

There are already hopped whiskeys. I've had a few. Some where horrible bitter swill. Others were very good.
 
2014-08-12 10:54:04 PM  

ultraholland: sorry, but Coors has been doing this for years. They were on it before it was cool.



People went nuts because they didn't only use the water from the Rockies. They had to have a commercial to explain that they finish it with spring water from the Blue Ridge Mountains. Which, I can tell you, is great. We go camping and the water is clean and pure.
 
2014-08-12 10:57:14 PM  

Tr0mBoNe: People who love to make great beer should all move to small towns just a little bit out of the way so you can go on a trip, discover them, have a pint, eat some local food and leave with a full growler. If you rent a small shop in a small town and start making and selling good beer you will make enough money to keep going. If you have lots of money, start the small shop and then sell it to the employees and move on. Be a Johnny Appleseed of small craft breweries.

Also do this with cheese, wine, coffee and baked goods. I'd drive an hour for good bread.


Maybe you ought to just check into a plane ticket to Oregon. I have over 100 different microbrews within walking distance of the house.

Protip - the difference between rainwater and municipal water is the pounding headache you get from beer made from treated city water. These guys probably didn't get too many taste complaints, but more likely people quit drinking their brand after the first pounder when they moved from CO to NC. This isn't the delayed hangover type of headache, but temple pain that starts before you finish the first glass. Easiest way to tell if an outfit went cheap and used tap water in their brew. It might taste great, but it shouldn't hurt to drink beer. They might try to tell you that isn't it, but it is.
 
rka
2014-08-12 10:59:28 PM  
There is something to be said about the characteristics of the land you came from. Wine makers refer to terroir as maybe the most important aspect of wine.

I wouldn't mind American beer makers taking a bit more heed to it as well. You wouldn't find a Belgian sour beer maker moving breweries. The local, wild yeast is the heart and soul of his beer and moving even a few miles down the road, or even completely cleaning out his brewhouse would alter his beer in such ways as to be unrecognizable. I don't always like the industrialization of beer making. It loses something when you can just dial up a beer on a computer and have everything tweaked to make it.

That said, plenty of breweries (even home brewers) take water down to bare minimum and then build up using salt additions to mimic water character in their quest to reproduce certain beer styles. Every brewer doing international styles knows the water profiles of Dublin, Burton-on-Trent or Pilsen like the back of their hand. I certainly play around with water chemistry with my dinky 5-10 gallon batches.
 
2014-08-12 10:59:32 PM  

ultraholland: sorry, but Coors has been doing this for years. They were on it before it was cool.


But Coors isn't beer. It's Rocky Mountain spring water and trucker piss.
 
2014-08-12 10:59:37 PM  

the_cnidarian: Sounds crafty to me.


It's like ... they're crafting the water that goes into their craft beer.
 
2014-08-12 10:59:52 PM  
I thought the only requirement to having a "craft beer" is be one that only pretentious assholes drink
 
rka
2014-08-12 11:05:02 PM  

Guilty_plea_bargain: ultraholland: sorry, but Coors has been doing this for years. They were on it before it was cool.

But Coors isn't beer. It's Rocky Mountain spring water and trucker piss.


But, at least before it became all audio and self guided in Golden, it was the best brewery tour out there. Beat the pants off of the Guinness marketing marketing marketing tour. Gasp...people actually talked about *making* beer. You actually saw beer being made and not row after row of that damn Guinness toucan bird adverts. Budweiser's tour in Ft. Collins (and St. Louis) are pretty good too.

And finally, it wasn't packed with Euro-trash teenagers just running to the top to get their free pints.
 
2014-08-12 11:06:16 PM  

WTF Indeed: All large breweries do this. This is only an outrage to the ignorant.


So do home brewers.  There are entire books written about tweaking water, not to mention all sorts of chemicals for testing. Fortunately the people I'm brewing with now have lovely delicious well water, so I don't have to worry about fretting over a municipal water report.
 
2014-08-12 11:06:45 PM  

Pocket Ninja: Why don't they just add hops? Adding hops fixes everything. You add hops, then stir in a few more hops, then hop it up a little, then increase the hops by a hair. Then you add just a few more hops, mix with some hops, and voila! Perfection. And then you can even add a clever reference to hops in the beer's name. That's always awesome and good for a belly chuckle or two.


Why don't they just add fracking? Adding fracking fixes everything. You add fracking, then stir in a few more frackinvs, then frack it up a little, then increase the fracks by a hair. Then you add just a few more fracks, mix with some fracks, and voila! Perfection. And then you can even add a clever reference to fracks in the beer's name. That's always awesome and good for a belly chuckle or two.

Pocketninja getting stale. Gotta frack it up some son.
 
2014-08-12 11:06:59 PM  

Guilty_plea_bargain: ultraholland: sorry, but Coors has been doing this for years. They were on it before it was cool.

But Coors isn't beer. It's Rocky Mountain spring water and trucker piss.


What do Coors Lite and sex on the beach have in common? They're both close to water.
 
2014-08-12 11:07:28 PM  
Sierra Nevada is pretty much craft beer zero as far as I'm concerned.  I remember my father downing a few in the late 70's when we lived in Boulder.  I'm sure someone will correct me and say that "Old Stillingswill" is older, but Sierra Nevada seems to be the first one that's stood the test of time.   If they have to add a bit of salt to the east coast water to match the water profile then BFD.  If that bother's you then don't ever look at how "your" beer is made, you'll never drink it again.
 
2014-08-12 11:08:00 PM  
Once I saw a bag of potatoes that said "Locally grown in Bumblefark, Idaho." Yes, yes, I'm sure everything is locally grown somewhere, but that's not what "local" is supposed to mean.

I gotta go. My business selling artisanal pickles from my front porch is booming. I had to open a third factory in another state last month.
 
2014-08-12 11:09:13 PM  
Being a beer connoisseur is like being a cat food connoisseur, the point is not the taste it's how farked up you can get because your life sucks.
 
2014-08-12 11:11:48 PM  

Pocket Ninja: Why don't they just add hops? Adding hops fixes everything. You add hops, then stir in a few more hops, then hop it up a little, then increase the hops by a hair. Then you add just a few more hops, mix with some hops, and voila! Perfection. And then you can even add a clever reference to hops in the beer's name. That's always awesome and good for a belly chuckle or two.


Someone should hopslam you in your hoptimum. This is a hopocalypse I tell you. Now wait 120 minute till you post again.
 
2014-08-12 11:11:59 PM  

quentina875: Nothing new. Guinness has been doing this for years.


Guinness? You mean a 50/50 ratio of bog water and chocolate syrup?
 
2014-08-12 11:13:17 PM  
Meh, whatever. It's not a craft brewery, but Sam Adams tweaks the chemistry of the water in their breweries in Pennsylvania and elsewhere to match the profile of Boston tapwater, which is instrumental to the flavor of Boston Lager.

Before you get all "ewwww gross", Boston tapwater comes from the Quabbin and Wachusett reservoirs in central Mass, and the state spent a chunk of change to purchase a bunch of land around them and turned it into protected forest. Twenty years later the forest basically cleans the water before it gets to the reservoir and very little post-processing is necessary.

Tl; dr: water quality and chemistry is important in brewing.
 
2014-08-12 11:13:29 PM  

pippi longstocking: Being a beer connoisseur is like being a cat food connoisseur, the point is not the taste it's how farked up you can get because your life sucks.


If that's the goal just go straight for the Popov, much better bang for the buck.
 
2014-08-12 11:13:38 PM  
Mineral additions to water and removing chlorine aren't the things only microbrews do. Not by a long shot.

Anyway...FTA:

"You know, that's what defines a great brewer - consistency. There's plenty of people out there that make these wonderful beers, but can they make it every single time?" he says.

Eh. To be able to replicate your beers exactly every single time, sure, it does take serious skill as a brewer. But is it really that critical? Is Oskar Blues' Old Chubb going to be markedly worse if it has 6% chocolate malt instead of 5%? It might taste a little different to a high-level BJCP judge, but is anybody really going to say, "I think the 6% chocolate malt is just too chocolatey! I want my money back!"

In my mind, there's no such thing as a perfect recipe. Some people would prefer the 5% chocolate malt, some people would prefer the 6%, most people wouldn't even care.
 
2014-08-12 11:16:02 PM  
I prefer the taste of the Tampa, FL brewed Yuengling over the Pottstown, PA brewed Yuengling.
 
2014-08-12 11:16:27 PM  

rka: Guilty_plea_bargain: ultraholland: sorry, but Coors has been doing this for years. They were on it before it was cool.

But Coors isn't beer. It's Rocky Mountain spring water and trucker piss.

But, at least before it became all audio and self guided in Golden, it was the best brewery tour out there. Beat the pants off of the Guinness marketing marketing marketing tour. Gasp...people actually talked about *making* beer. You actually saw beer being made and not row after row of that damn Guinness toucan bird adverts. Budweiser's tour in Ft. Collins (and St. Louis) are pretty good too.

And finally, it wasn't packed with Euro-trash teenagers just running to the top to get their free pints.


If an ingredient is rice, then it's not beer. Therefore Budweiser* is not beer. Anyone who says otherwise is a moron. (* not to be confused with Budějovice)
 
2014-08-12 11:17:55 PM  
Brewers adjust their water all the time. If you're brewing an English ale you might want to add some gypsum to get some calcium in there and lower the pH. If you want to get fancy schmancy, Burton-on-Trent has fairly high levels of sulfates as well, which can make the hops stand out and seem crisper, etc. etc.

The only thing I do regularly is add lactic acid or gypsum to bring the pH up or down as desired.
 
2014-08-12 11:18:29 PM  

Lando Lincoln: Mineral additions to water and removing chlorine aren't the things only microbrews do. Not by a long shot.

Anyway...FTA:

"You know, that's what defines a great brewer - consistency. There's plenty of people out there that make these wonderful beers, but can they make it every single time?" he says.

Eh. To be able to replicate your beers exactly every single time, sure, it does take serious skill as a brewer. But is it really that critical? Is Oskar Blues' Old Chubb going to be markedly worse if it has 6% chocolate malt instead of 5%? It might taste a little different to a high-level BJCP judge, but is anybody really going to say, "I think the 6% chocolate malt is just too chocolatey! I want my money back!"

In my mind, there's no such thing as a perfect recipe. Some people would prefer the 5% chocolate malt, some people would prefer the 6%, most people wouldn't even care.


Yeah, and a lot of them just have a garden hose attached to a faucet. As long as they use the same hose and faucet - it's consistent. They develop a following for their below average beer like Samuel Adams did, good marketing.
 
2014-08-12 11:21:49 PM  

beefoe: Sierra Nevada is pretty much craft beer zero as far as I'm concerned.  I remember my father downing a few in the late 70's when we lived in Boulder.  I'm sure someone will correct me and say that "Old Stillingswill" is older, but Sierra Nevada seems to be the first one that's stood the test of time.   If they have to add a bit of salt to the east coast water to match the water profile then BFD.  If that bother's you then don't ever look at how "your" beer is made, you'll never drink it again.


There are pre-prohibition, post-prohibition (crap), and post-post-prohibition beers. I think Sierra falls into the latter most category. Everything except maybe miller light from the middling category is shiat.
 
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