India Session Ales – tremendous new trend or oxymoronic category fail?

“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 English brewers been using American hops? Much longer than you think

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

The Graveney Boat, a hop history mystery

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

So what DID Pliny the Elder say about hops?

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?

Befuggled: doubts about a hop’s birth

(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