Dogfish Head, the quirky commercial brewery out of Milton, Delaware, has a reputation for their style-defying—and style creating—experimental brews. Their 60 and 90 minute IPAs…
The Hoppy Half-Pint
I figured it’s probably about time I explained who the “we” I sometimes refer to are. Though I’ve been known to be a bit bossy, it’s not the royal “we” I’m using; there’s me (Meagan), the main writer behind this operation, and the one for whom the blog is named, in a manner of speaking. And then there’s Ben, who does much of the real brewing work (including all of the heavy lifting), at least half of the beer tasting, and most of the science and maths.
This post was supposed to be about Heady Topper, the “Flagship Double IPA” from The Alchemist brewery in Waterbury, VT. This 8% ABV, 75 IBU brew is barely distributed outside of its hometown, making it notoriously difficult to get hold of. But Ben managed to find one store within a four hour drive that carries it, so after confirming that they actually had some in stock, we planned a weekend trip to check it out. Yes, there were one or two other attractions in the area, but the Heady Topper was a big draw. Feel free to form your own conclusions about how much of a beer geek that makes me.
When we’re interested in brewing a new style, we generally look for a good example of the style to try. As the post title suggests, today’s research topic is Russian Imperial Stout.
Munich’s Oktoberfest has been over for a week and a half, but that doesn’t stop us American beer lovers from enjoying a good Märzen—also called oktoberfestbier—throughout the month of October. Traditionally, these beers were brewed in late winter to early spring, which is why the style is named for the month of March. Back in the day, German beers tended to come out pretty funky in the summer—it’s not like they knew a great deal about sanitation, and yeast hadn’t even been ‘discovered’ yet—so brewers did most of their work in the cooler months. Come fall, it was time to finish off the last batch so they could fill the barrels with new beer. This led, naturally enough, to some beer-drinking revelry around early autumn.
While your modern Märzen may not be aged for six months like its predecessors, it should still be at least a month old, according to the German Beer Institute. A good Märzenbier should be amber in color, with a rich malty flavor and plenty of body. It should also be fairly hoppy, at least for a German beer. Every fall, lots of American breweries come out with variations on the style—some good, some not-so-good. Since we couldn’t get to Munich, we rounded up a few examples and had a rather pleasant afternoon.