What is Reinheitsgebot?

Reinheitsgebot, pronounced ryn-hyts-ga-boat, is Germany’s world famous “purity law”.  This came about in the 1400’s, in Bavaria, and after it was put into law in 1516 was originally used to reduce the usage of chemicals or additives to beer and to reduce competition with bakers for wheat and rye.

According to the law, it was illegal to use anything in beer except water, barley, and hops (yeast was added to the list after Louis Pasteur determined that yeast was responsible for fermentation).  Because of this law, many popular beer styles arose, including doppelbocks.

According to the law, the bearer of questionable beer would have the kegs confiscated without compensation.

Some of the adjuncts that would be illegal according to the purity law would be sugar, rice, corn, fruit, and even wheat, although the law was expanded in 1993 to allow wheat and sugar additives.

What do you think?  Should reinheitsgebot be followed, or do you like your wheat and/or fruit beers?

Caramel Apple Tart

So, I had a chance to sample the Caramel Apple Tart beer this evening, in preparation for this weekend’s get-together.

It was really good.  I increased up the carbonation a bit to make it light and refreshing, and the hint of caramel balances the sour apple flavor and aroma.  It doesn’t have as much body as I would have liked, but it’s going to be great on the warm day.

I had my tasting panel tell me that it was top 5 beers I’ve made.  So, for my experimental beers, that makes 2 of 2 that turned out great.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Cinco de Mayo has grown into a fairly large celebration in the US, thanks to several major beer producers.  However, it’s not Mexico’s independence day.  Instead, it was the victory of the weak Mexican Army against the stronger French Armies, and the holiday is quite minor in Mexico, except in the city of Puebla, where the battle took place.

In America, we will celebrate tonight as the people of Puebla do, with Spanish music, and authentic food and drink.  Right now, there is no shortage of imported Mexican beer to choose from.  Most people know about the Mexican Lager or Island Lager, such as Corona, but what you may not know is that Mexico revived a beer style that at one point was almost gone: the Vienna Lager.

The Vienna Lager was developed by Anton Dresher in Vienna in 1841, but the style never caught on in Europe.  Instead, it was revived in the late 1800’s by several Austrian brewers who emigrated Mexico, and has been popular since.

Great examples of the style include Negra Modelo and Dos Equis Ambar, and it is classified by being caramel-colored, being a bit sweeter malt flavored, and being light in body and smooth.

Enjoy Cinco de Mayo, and let me know how your night goes!

IPTV Iowa Journal – State of Beer in Iowa

I was finally able to watch the Iowa Public Television show, Iowa Journal, that was aired last Thursday night on the state of beer and the brewing industry in Iowa. It was a panel discussion that included three beer experts: Iowa Brewers Guild president and head brewer at Raccoon River, Dave Coy, Sioux City Journal beer writer Tim Hynds and John’s Grocery manager and bier guy Doug Alberhasky.

The panel discussed how beer in Iowa will expand and gives the consumer better choices after the March 10th passage of SF 2088.  The episode is available online.