“All the IBUs, half the ABV” is how the American beer writer Brian Yaeger describes the newest (?) beery trend in the United States: the “India Session Ale”. As you’ll have gathered, the ISA is meant to have the flavours of an American-style IPA, but at a more “sessionable” gravity. “Sessionable” is in the eye… Read More India Session Ales – tremendous new trend or oxymoronic category fail?
How long have British brewers been using American hops? Far, far longer than you might have guessed: for around two centuries, in fact. The earliest evidence I’ve collected so far of hops from the United States in England is from exactly 196 years ago: May 1817, when the Liverpool Mercury newspaper carried a notice of… Read More How long have English brewers been using American hops? Much longer than you think
In the history of brewing in Britain, the Graveney Boat is an archaeological anomaly almost as great as finding the skeleton of an Anglo-Saxon warrior with a hole in his skull that could only have been made by a 17th-century musket ball. The boat – actually a clinker-built cross-channel cargo vessel, reconstructed as some 44… Read More The Graveney Boat, a hop history mystery
What did Pliny the Elder actually say about hops? Not what you’ve been told, probably – and quite possibly he said nothing about hops at all. Thanks to the chaps at the Russian River brewery in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California, who named their extremely hoppy, strong “double IPA” after him, the Roman author, lawyer… Read More So what DID Pliny the Elder say about hops?
I was lucky, I think, in having my first pint of Bengal Lancer IPA, Fuller’s latest offering, in the Prince Blucher in Twickenham, where it was in excellent condition: a couple of subsequent trials elsewhere in West London haven’t been quite as good, so to borrow an Americanism, “your mileage may vary.” But I don’t… Read More Two horsey beers and a short kipple
How long did ale and beer remain as separate brews? Most* drinkers, I think, know that “ale” was originally the English name for an unhopped fermented malt drink, and beer was the name of the fermented malt drink flavoured with hops, a taste for which was brought to this country from the continental mainland about… Read More The long battle between ale and beer
One of the great unanswered questions in the history of beer is why it took 9,000 years or so after brewing began for brewers to start using hops. Today there are very few beers made without hops. They give beer flavour and, most importantly, they keep it from going off. The shelf life for unhopped… Read More A short history of hops
Actually, I’m not mad so much as grumpy and depressed, after reading an article by a beer writer I know and admire that contained this piece of nonsense about the hop: In 1079, the Abbess Hildegarde of St Ruprechtsberg in Baden referred to the use if [sic] hops in beer. No she blahdy didn’t, because… Read More Hopping mad at bitter untruths
I just caught up with BBC 4’s Food Programme from last Sunday, which was about the British hop industry, and as a side issue, IPA in a couple or so of its current incarnations – there are just two days left before it disappears from the BBC website, so if you’re quick, and you’ve got… Read More Doesn’t the BBC Food Programme read this blog?
(Update December 2014 – for more on this subject, answering several questions, see here) Bang, bang, another beery myth hits the floorboards, or at least staggers back badly wounded, after excellent work by Kim Cook in an article called “Who produced Fuggle’s Hops” just published in the latest (Spring 2009, issue 130) edition of Brewery… Read More Befuggled: doubts about a hop’s birth