Sunday, 19 March 2017

Good beers & bad beers, breweries & shitteries

Right upon unwrapping a blue cheese or opening a bottle of beer, one's olfaction usually is tuned to a high state of selective sensitivity. This reflex probably resides deep in our backbone as an evolutionary safeguard. Would a caveman have accepted a glass of Czech or German Pilsner or a pint of fragrantly dry hopped IPA from San Diego...?

The aroma, the first sniff usually is decisively telltale when it comes either to danger or fulfillment of expectations. It seems as if the concept and differentiation of appetizing crispy freshness vs. discouraging staleness were an instinctive built-in faculty in everyone of us.

When thinking of beer and its quality the primary expectation certainly is crispness, the appetizing freshness produced by healthy yeast metabolism, i.e. fermentation, and hops. Different yeast strains produce different and distinctive profiles of fermenting aromas whereas different hop varieties impart specific hop aromas. Different malts impart their share.  All the foregoing basic variables, plus many more, make a beer style or a recipe within the beer style in question.

Whatever the beer style or the fixed set of brewing variables might be, the resulting beer must be fresh, and, microbiologically clean enough at the time of its release. Furthermore, the beer must retain its freshness up to the moment of consumption. In any beer or beer style, apart from crispy freshness, anything else is more or less a matter of taste and pretty irrelevant.

Thus according to the universal accord, fresh beer is good beer, stale beer is bad beer. Furthermore, we should all remember that any good beer inevitably becomes bad beer in the course of time, the decline being the faster the worse the conditions of storage. We could think of the length of a fuse. The disappearance of the blade of the finest hop aromas is actually a matter of days or weeks, even in the most favorable conditions...!

The foremost interest and the lifeblood of any brewery certainly is, at least ought to be, the ability of loading the maximum freshness possible into the beer at the time of release; the longer the fuse, the better the beer keeps, and, competes.

Inasmuch as there are good beers and bad beers there seem to be good breweries and bad breweries as well. The good ones make crispy fresh beers. The bad ones tend to make stale beers. How about calling the bad ones, instead of breweries, simply shitteries ("paskantamot" in blogger's native language).

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