Monday, May 31, 2021

WEEK 191---Some recently had bottles.....

It's almost half a year---covid scenario is not looking good here in Asia with many places facing up surge in cases---Malaysia is one of those---while international travelling is still very much out of the question---thankfully overseas beer mails been coming in small batches (personal pack as well group guys various packs)---these are some which were either shared(when situation permitted) or cracked at home not long ago....

最近和本地瓶子分享会固定啤迷成员聊天谈到大约八九年前大家都在喝些什么,随着对craft beer的认知转变以及味蕾鉴赏力的提升,对酒质素要求也更高,自多年前自己从欧美市场找想喝的酒进来後就没改变过,去年至今大家更积极的向外找酒,疫情反复不定情况下,瓶子分享会没能开几次,但好酒还是会喝一些的,以下是几款值得一提瓶子,有分享会喝到也有在家小酌的。


Belgium Lambic
For the uninitiated---the term Lambic already in itself represent Belgium---just like champagne meaning those originated/produced from the region of Champagne in France---Lambic is that unique spontaneously fermented sour beer originated/produced in Belgium which sour beer geeks goes head over heels with.
Here's 2 which were had recently
3Fonteinen Aardbei Kriek Bio(1819)
A Lambic with strawberries & cherries--very obvious nose of unripe fruits with funk--sour berries notes on initial sips which gets more jammy as the beer warms up with profound strawberry notes--sourish with dry finishing.
比利时天然发酵酸啤 
喜爱比利时天然发酵酸啤的啤迷都知道这家大师级酿坊,除了基本款,也一定会有加入不同水果或食材然后通过不同酒类旧酒桶陈放提味的或常态款或限量版,这款加入草莓和樱桃的算是亚洲比较少见的果酸版本,喝起来水果风味显著,是出色作品。

Giradin Black Label Gueuze
Had this as well the White Label years ago--personally do think Lambic from Giradin is grossly under-rated though they are really good, as well one of few base lambic wort providers for the very sought after Bokke's blend.
Revisited this one after few years---still very much a lovely solid one--nice notes of wood-earthy-green apple-ish--pleasant sips after sips.
一家被低估或者说不太受注目的出色天然发酸啤酿坊,虽然作品不太多,最受酸啤迷认识的大概也就是黑白两部曲,基本出现在市场的量也不多,但确实是基本功非常扎实的出色作品,虽然相对低调但绝对不容忽视,几年後再喝仍然很喜欢

Not Your Usual English Cider
Cider can be very straight forward of crushed apple juices with sugar---obviously not these 2 :-
英国非一般苹果酒
一般来说苹果酒被认为是很普通的,在英国更可以是家常酿制饮料,这两款当然不是家酿,也不是一般直截了当的苹果酒:-
Mills + Oliver's Foxbic Three
Mills is about natural fermentation beers--while Oliver's is about cider making---this one is a collab-blend of both styles---notes of tangerine with oak influence---dry though fruity--bit of clove but mostly fruits with funk.
Mills是英国酿坊新贵,玩的是天然发酵(spontaneous fermentation)酸啤或农场风格啤酒,这款是跟苹果酒作坊Oliver's合酿的混酒作品,结合两个不同类型酒风味,喝起来既不是酸啤也不是苹果酒,相当有特色。

Starvecrow Natural Cider Bourbon BA
sort of cross borders brew--with cider from different types of English apples thrown into used American Bourbon barrel to soaked on those bourbon goodness---light tartness with obvious barrel influence--easy sipping with undertone of bourbon--never one dimensional--a pleasant one with depth.
英美跨界结合的作品,把几款不同苹果酿制的苹果酒放进使用过的美国波本酒桶陈放提味,入口微酸回甘中很明显的带有旧木桶波本风味,虽易喝但有层次有特点。

Fruited/Adjuncts Sour--UK variants
throwing fruits/adjuncts into beer is not something new--it's been done years ago---but not until quite recently with trend of escalating the "throwing game" to a new level where the sheer volume of fruits/adjuncts being thrown into beer has gotten very very heavy handed.... such as this one:-
玩水果加料的英国酸啤
投放大量水果让原本风味比较纯粹的啤酒(比如德式酸啤Gose或柏林小麦啤Berliner Weisse)变得复杂,改头换面,甚至面目全非是近期趋势,以下是两款同样玩水果加料但手法成品不一的酸啤:-
Fallen Acorn Have You Got Any Samples
loads of black berries+raspberries+passion fruits as well marshmallow added--from color/body to how thick/murky the lacing looks--one can tell just by looking at the pic above that this is very obviously NOT your typical sour beer---in fact with the very smoothie like mouth feel---this one surely don't look or taste like beer at all....
加入大量黑梅,覆盆子和百香果,之后再融入棉花糖,从外观颜色到酒体浓稠度到满满水果味道的风味呈现,加上应该是特意保留的颗粒感,类似沙冰口感喝起来完全没有让人觉得这是啤酒的可能性。

Neon Raptor Hydra Fight
in total contrast to the one above---this "imperial lassi gose" does look and feel like a beer---even though it was added with lots of mango-passion fruits & pineapples---nothing murky or hazy about the looks but taste wise fruits influences is very obvious while still maintaining how a gose would taste with adequate sour/saltiness--a nice slow sipper.
酒体颜色看起来都很正常的德式咸酸啤,加入芒果百香果凤梨,虽然看起来一点不浓稠浑浊,但投放水果带来的风味影响很明显,也有这类型啤酒应该出现的咸酸风味,是适合也需要慢嚐的作品。

American Farmhouse ale + Stouts
美国农村风格+黑啤
Hillfarmstead Florence
A saison/farmstead ale from Hillfarmstead--that in itself already sounded like a no-brainer--though "only" a regular variant--it's already a real pleasant easy sipper---aroma of lime/orange peels/citrusy yet with hints of malts--light tart light salty--nice.
美国顶级酿坊的易喝型农场风格常态款,青柠清香橘皮风味还有麦芽气息,微酸中有那么一点点微咸,简单易喝但有时简单才是难以做得出色的。

 

Prairie Holiday Weekend
though now is the age of pastry stouts--and the fact that perhaps the "branch out"America Solera stouts is more in trend than Prairie's ---still nice to have this early days 'wow" factor stouts( think Bomb) maker's dark brew---notes of cinnamon/dark chocolate/dark fruits--a little 'old-school" but nothing wrong with that.
较早期喝到美国黑啤中很出色的一家,多年後再喝酿坊作品,虽然已被新一代甜点黑啤(Pastry Stout风潮淹没,但扎实基本功还是会说话,喝起来以肉桂黑巧克力黑色果实风味为主轴的“旧派”黑啤喝起来还是很不错。

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

WEEK 190---What is drinking craft beer all about?


*a back dated post--written earlier in the year.

i was asked by someone who is not a craft drinker--"what is it about that some of you craft beer geeks are so serious about beer drinking?"
有不熟悉craft beer是什么的朋友问说为什么一些啤迷看起来对喝craft beer这件事好像非常认真,不就是喝啤酒吗,到底有什么需要那么认真的?
一年刚开始不久,就来重新审视下喝craft beer对不同人来说可能会是怎么一回事。
let's try to find out why:-
The Serious Drinkers
Indeed there are some beer geeks who are dead serious when it comes to craft beer drinking--why so is simple--because these geeks view beer drinking as a process of discovering flavours in a beer---seeking out well made/ delicious/ interesting beers is the aim---simply put--beer drinking has gone above and beyond the basic/general idea of simply drinking alcoholic beverages---it has become a sort of "gourmet drinking"---like foodies trying to find the best available delicacies--beer geeks are( sort of ) on a mission to seek out the best possible beers one can get--with the aim of finding out awesome flavours available in a beer.
认真喝
朋友问的没错,众多不同喝craft beer群体中确实有一批啤迷对喝啤酒这件事抱持着比较认真心态,对这些啤迷而言,探寻啤酒中能找到的不同类型风味层次是乐趣,找到喝到心目中佳酿是目标,没期待情况下喝到好喝的惊喜更是可以成为不断往前探索的原动力。
简单来说,喝酒对这些啤迷来说很大程度上已经超越了一般朋友聚会单纯吃吃喝喝的意义,虽然啤迷瓶子分享会看起来也离不开喝喝吃吃,但跟一般笑谈吃喝聚会不同的是,啤迷最关心的是为了什么样的酒而聚在一起分享,换句话说,聚在一起固然很不错但前提是当天大家能拿出手的是什么质素的不同类型啤酒,只有大家认同认可了可以摆上台面分享的啤酒类型够资格之后,分享会才能成型,对啤迷来说,瓶子分享会最基本不成文规则是,酒的质素一定要优质而且对称,虽然怎么判定什么就是A级水平并没有简易统一方法,但能聚在一起分享的啤迷之间会有一定默契和鉴赏水平,什么是够资格的什么是摆不上台面的,大家心中基本都有一条线,目光一致的都以喝好酒为出发点和最终目标,认真的理由其实很单纯,就是想喝到高水平佳酿。
因为那样,啤迷为了啤酒节庆又或是为了找酒而出国是正常不过的事,不同于一般人出国旅游的关注点,啤迷出国最主要景点一定离不开专卖吧瓶子店以及啤酒节庆会场,这种为了啤酒而飛的举动看在一般喝酒人眼里是有点让人摸不着头脑的,毕竟啤酒哪里不能喝非要花钱花时间飞到国外去喝?
认真的啤迷除了瓶子分享会,为酒而飞,或通过自己努力从国外找所住地方完全没机会找到的啤酒之外,不少人也会考取比如认证啤酒裁判(BJCP)或侍酒师(CICERONE)的课程认证资格,而且很多时候出发点也不是为了个人职业规划,更多的是因为兴趣或想提升对啤酒的认识又或者是为了可以从比较专业的角度看待啤酒有关的认知,可以更正确的分享craft文化等等因为对craft beer热情所以自动自发的想要更好。
here's a few things about serious drinkers/geeks :-
1) bottle sharing session is vital--and always treated seriously where liked minded people /"equal standards/ and or perceived/accepted bottle standards is crucial to a high quality session. In simple words--one cannot bring a  B or C level bottle to a share when it is clearly an A or A+ level sharing session---as for the question of how do one determine what is A,B,C level bottle---the thing is geeks generally has got a way of agreeing or disagreeing what is which level---so long it is agreeable then it's all good. *(if one is clueless then obviously don't belong).
2) sourcing for own bottles when local market cannot satisfy the kind of demand where likely geeks has out grown the local market supply chain in terms of the need for varieties/beer styles or specific breweries bottles/cans. 
3) travelling overseas for beers--where daily schedule is solely or mainly to craft beer bars/ bottle shops or breweries tasting rooms or particular beer festival related venue/s
4)   taking beer related courses/exams such as BJCP or Cicerone out of personal interests and not necessarily for beer related jobs.


The Casual Drinkers
it is largely acknowledge that casual beer drinkers are the much bigger consumers group than serious drinkers---this is very understandable especially when MACRO BEER has long been seen as very easy thirst quenching cheap alcoholic beverages---things don't really change that much when it comes to craft beer drinking since many only drink casually---for examples drink in large volume is common among some craft beer drinkers---downing 6-7-8 of the same bottle in one go is not uncommon (which serious drinkers will never do)---most of the time casual drinkers are more like drinking according to mood/occasion rather than specifically seeking for varieties of flavours in beers. To some casual drinkers--the manner in which serious drinkers go about a tasting session is too rigid/laughable/pretentious even...
随意喝
在喝craft beer的群体中,虽然没有正式数据不过可以说相比占少数对喝啤酒保持比较认真心态的啤迷们,随意喝的群体其实是占大多数的。
情况或许有点类似吃东西,大多数人都喜欢吃自己觉得对口味或者说感觉好吃的东西,但绝大多数人是不会想要比较认真“研究”一些相关资讯的,反正东西好吃就可以,吃完了就是,没什么必要知道更多,这其实也没什么可以诟病的,放在喝craft beer角度来看,不少已经知道并在喝着craft beer的喝酒人其实并不会像那些比较认真啤迷那样为了喝啤酒去做一些特定的事情,更多时候随意喝的人们只想按照自己的心情/渴望度/或是当时的环境决定怎么喝,认真啤迷们那些对瓶子分享会的门当户对讲究或花钱花时间国外找酒进来的举动听在耳中是有点侨情可笑的,感觉喝啤酒喝到那样好像没什么意思,因为好像已经失去了朋友相聚吃吃喝喝聊聊的最基本喝酒乐趣,那些所谓认真的瓶子分享会听起来就像是设了一定门槛才能参与的什么学术研究班那样,喝酒喝成那样,能有趣吗?

In the End
there is absolutely no right or wrong for anyone to be very casual or being serious about craft beer drinking---it is of course all about personal preferences---perhaps to brewers/ bars/bottle shop owners---serious drinkers/geeks are the ones who can better appreciate a brew( but could also be a bunch of demanding picky assholes)--while casual drinkers are definitely a much needed market supporters/consumers to be reckoned with--in a way both are important to the craft beer industry.
As for the question of which type of drinker one wanted to be--the serious one or the casual one--in fact one would see/figure out a direction for him/herself after drinking craft for a while.

小结

craft beer到底喝的是什么,应该怎么喝这问题没有绝对标准答案,一切都看个人意向而定,认真的啤迷们觉得应该要讲究酒的质素整体表现等等,喜欢比较随意的喝酒人们也有自己的看法喝法,虽然道不同但也没有什么大问题,或许对酿酒师还有craft beer店家经营者们来说,认真啤迷们可能是比较看重和珍惜佳酿的一群(但反过来也可能是吹毛求疵的讨厌鬼),但比较随意的喝酒人是不能或缺的销售支撑力量,两者缺一不可,该怎么喝到底喝什么,是要走认真啤迷路线还是随意喝喝就可以,喝着喝着一段时间心中会有大概方向的。

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

WEEK 189 --- April Bottle Share--a few nice as well peculiar ones

 
and so we are almost half way through 2021 with things pretty much the same as last where travelling or gathering "normally" is still far from normal--here in Malaysia--even though things are yet to calm down but at the very least small gathering for bottle sharing was made possible by the lifting of stricter movement control order not too long ago--making it possible for the few of us in KL Tasting Group to meet and share some privately sourced overseas beer mail--this session is the most recent one where a beer or two actually triggered some "commotion" due to peculiarity rather than deliciousness....

疫情延续影响下,不少亚洲啤迷某种程度上去年开始把找酒眼光瞄向欧美网购市场,一些平时已在买的更是因为开始出现以前不会网上卖的好酒而加大搜购力度,而酒一旦收得稍微多了难免要跟同好开喝分享。

好酒是要分享的,上周末和本地瓶子分享会几位固定啤迷成员聚首,重点当然是把各自不同时间从国外找来的不同类型风格私藏拿出来分享,以下是一些好喝或不算好喝但有趣有特点的瓶子:-
basically we don't do many bottles at one go--no vertical--but a mixture of different beer styles and usually do not surpass 15-16 bottles/cans per session so as not to waste beer with numbed taste buds towards later part of session.
here's a few nice/peculiar ones from recent session worth mentioning:-

Angry Chair---BA Cake Pop
this is probably the most pleasing imperial stouts i have had in recent time---even with first sip when it's relatively still cold---it was already showing how much chocolate/roasted coconut/sweet coconut forward this can be---nothing cloying--hints of vanilla and bourbon influence---so drinkable for a stout with thick yet silky smooth body/mouth feel--guys were surprised to see me pouring myself to add on small pour for a few times--for a guy who is not a big fan of anything pastry---that says a lot about how well made/pleasing it was.
personally--this felt like a sure fire hit song in the Karaoke--one can keep going.
"愤怒的椅子是美国佛州芸芸高手酿坊中的一家,拿手类型是黑啤,比如这款第一口就让人满腔尽是黑巧克力椰香,顺滑的酒体带有香草味,也有波本酒桶余韵,虽然酒精度是11%,但美味易喝均衡程度几乎感受不到酒精影响,也忘了这是款喝之前可能让人先入为主觉得腻口的甜点黑啤类型,实际上因为可口好喝而很少有的小小添加了两次而被啤迷朋友惊呼说没想到说不怎么喜欢甜点黑啤的家伙竟然自动添酒了。

Toppling Goliath--Assassin Tequila Barrel
for guys who knows about the big stouts from TG--the Assassin series( along with KBBS - SR 71- Mornin Delights and the most recent Shadow Raptor) are big stouts which needs no introduction.
However-- i certainly have some doubts about how well Tequila barrel can complement/enhance  stouts--even if this is Assassin.
after sipping it initially as well when it's much warmer---i'm curious about how the base beer would be---for this tequila version--it was very obviously rough on the edges---there was no palate pleasing roundness--alcohol was obvious--but despite the lack of balance---this is undoubtedly a Big Stout--the rich base of the stouts dominated all things even in somewhat rougher manner.
对爱喝黑啤,也懂什么是过去多年来最被啤迷推崇追捧大黑啤清单的一定知道这家美国爱荷华州酿坊有几款盛名在外黑啤作品,包括被认为是黑啤金字塔顶端之一的KBBS,此外还有SR-71Mornin Delight以及有着几款不同食材添加或桶陈处理分支的杀手系列。
这款是经过龙舌兰酒桶处理版本,整体来说并没有那种讨喜的浑圆饱满,相反的非常菱角外露,闻起来喝起来都能清楚感受到酒精感,但霸道的黑啤底蕴粉碎了被认为没酿好只是泛泛之流黑啤的可能性,虽不圆润也不均衡但确实是有实力的霸气大黑啤。

Antidoot L'Obscur Amaro
the one which caused a "commotion" with the guys immediately upon opening--the first guy who opened the bottle went "errr...smell very strange"--then 2nd guy smell and right away had this "horror look"--3rd guy took a smell and nothing good came out of his facial expressions as well---following comments were made after each smell and took initial sips:-
"yaks--like medicinal herbal tea"
"smell like newly dead body--if this were to be my first Antidoot--i will not seek for it anymore"
"with obvious dislike expression"--not my style of beer"
"with somewhat struggling expression"--i'm trying--give it some time and see how..."
I sadly missed out on the initial nose upon opening as i was enjoying other glasses slowly and wanted to let this one warm bit more before pouring---from what i tasted its was sort of in between abshinte/herbal/ wood/ with hints of herbs & mints on the nose though it's likely neither--taste sourish brown ale with all the herbs/roots influence--certainly not a pleasing one--as well not an easy one but definitely not awful--far from it--this is a very polarizing one for sure---and perhaps thought provoking too.
分享会中最有趣的一款,一开瓶就引起一阵骚动,导因是最初开瓶後的酒体气味让啤迷朋友们都或皱眉或露出困惑或啼笑皆非的表情,说是好难闻好奇怪(个人因为慢啜之前其他酒迟倒入杯而错过了体会最初开瓶味道),朋友们刚喝都觉得味道不容易接受,有位朋友说如果第一次喝这家比利时新贵酿坊作品是这款的话,肯定会对这家酿坊水准打上大问号。
个人喝到时并没有感受到朋友们说的难闻怪味,气息酒味微酸涩草本加苦艾酒风味,绝对不是易喝讨喜类型但也绝对不难喝,是可以开拓味蕾感知的一款。

Hill Farmstead Civil Disobedience #28
another one which also caused a little commotion--this time mainly due to how this dark blended ale tasted---it was nothing close to what Hill's fans came to know of---there was nothing very recognizable about this blend ( if compare to CD 2020 which was had at same session)---it was tasting more to the direction of vinegar, wood, herbs. malts with sour tones---very unlike the mellow lemony easy drinking nature of CD 2020.
当天另一款让啤迷朋友们皱眉头的盛名酿坊作品,公民起义系列是酿坊每年都会出的混酒作品,而每年混合选酒都不尽相同,有趣的是每四年就一定会出一款黑色混酒作品,这款就是黑色版本,跟当天喝的同款2020年版本无论酒体颜色或口感风味完全南辕北辙,要是说2020版本是酿坊一贯美味易喝有层次的话,#28则是让人有点摸不着头脑的风味,微酸中带醋味,木桶,麦芽,草本,基本没有讨喜的味道,对期待酿坊一贯风味呈现的啤迷来说是很反差的味蕾体验。

Fallen Acorn   leave home with an orange and pretend you're laughing at it
2nd time drinking creation from this newly found UK brewery--this time also an easy drinking style of beer --basically wheat ale drowned in good company of orange blossom plants + orange blossom honey---very light body yet aromatic nose and mouth feel once it hits your palate---with lingering layers of honey, floral notes---awesome depth and layers for a seemingly easy light beer.
第二次喝这家英国新酿坊简单易喝型作品,这次是使用了橙花草本加橙花蜂蜜酿造的小麦啤酒,味道非常清香特出,是一闻一喝就立刻感觉很好喝,蜂蜜花香特出,酒体轻盈非常易喝但层次明显感受得到,余韵悠长带回甘,简单中尽见功力,不是高手绝对办不到。

The Veil   Never Calm3 Xtreme
a really heavily fruited Gose---but this is really more of a fruited juice bomb than anything else--such thick body and color with intense nose of guava /passion fruits/pineapples---no hints of alcohol at all---personally did not think i was drinking a beer but more of a concentrated fruit juice---the joke was if we were to mix this with some soda water/ sparkling water and give it to anyone---people will just drink this thinking it's fruit juice......
近期大热的不像啤酒类型作品,超重手水果投放让人怀疑到底是喝浓郁果酱汁还是德式酸咸啤,无论从酒体颜色浓度都不是啤酒应该有的模式,味道口感是很香浓的青色番石榴味道中带百香果和凤梨,酸甜果味中喝不出任何酒精味,朋友说如果加入气泡水稀释调和大概所有人都会自然的觉得就是果汁,完全不会想到竟是啤酒。

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

WEEK 188---What or How beer should taste like?


someone who is fairly new to craft beer recently had a heavily fruited berliner weisse---his first reaction "is this beer?"--followed with "feel strange, this don't seem like beer, more like sweet sour cordial, never thought beer can be like this..."
indeed beer can be like that---specifically speaking craft beer---this is the world of beer where traditional ways of brewing is very much respected but at the same time freehand /unorthodox are very much embraced---meaning beer can be anything a brewer intended it to be--beer can be very beer like--or beer can be very very un-beer-like.

前不久有新朋友喝了一款感觉完全不像啤酒的水果浸泡德式酸啤,根据他的说法是,好奇怪,又酸又甜的像是在喝果汁,想像不到啤酒可以是这样的味道表现
在尊崇传统酿法同时也极力鼓励创意发挥跳脱固有框框的craft beer世界里,啤酒的确是可以那样,而且是可以更多变化更多样性的,换个角度看的话,可以说跟比如时尚界那样,变与不变,经典和新风格一直是并存的,craft beer界每隔一段时间也有所谓的流行风潮出现,意思是某个类型风格的酒款会爆红会当时得令,一时之间很多不同酿坊都会推出自己版本的同类型酿品,好像不那样做就跟不上市场脚步。

In some ways the craft beer world is quite similar to for examples the world of fashion where there is this cliche thing about InTrend--about being Trendy--over recent years the craft beer scene has seen some emerging new trends where a particular beer style became HOT ITEM and suddenly many breweries are onto the bandwagon brewing each's version of that same style of beer(with or without the somewhat "obligatory" twist or tweak). One of the most obvious trend in recent times is that somehow many breweries were into brews which either "DON'T taste like beer or Totally Don't taste like beer at all".....

当然也不是所有酿坊会跟风,craft beer世界之所以有趣就是因为不同类型风格啤酒选择非常多,而且,在市场出现被追捧爆款啤酒类型时,总有好些酿坊完全不为所动的只是专注于酿造自己绝对拿手专长的酒款。

近几年流行趋势显示,更多时候酿坊都倾向于酿造<喝起来比较不像/或根本不像啤酒>的类型风格,比如说:-
here's some of the recent HOT ITEMS which somewhat made beer taste not so beer :-( and yeah i don't even included the popular SELTZER)

Heavily Fruited Beer
throwing all kind of fruits into a beer to either soak it or mash it in order to make beer more flavourful is nothing new---not until brewers started throwing at times ridiculous amount of fruits into the tank---or sort of making fruits/puree the center of attractions rather than usual ways of using fruits as supplementing item---the idea is to make a beer much more closer to either a fruity slushie or fruity cordial--and turned these into NOT your typical beer like beer be it color/ body /thickness / taste and so on..
Heavily Fruited Beer (重手水果啤酒)
在啤酒中投放水果或使用水果浸泡提味是常见的手法,从农场风格啤酒到黑啤到不同类型酸啤都有,但近期有不少酿坊把投放水果这件事成倍放大,基本概念是把啤酒变成类似水果沙冰或浓缩果汁那样,无论酒体或颜色或口感都不会是那种大家认知中的啤酒。

NEIPA
long before this "mostly sweet/cloying fruit juices" version of IPA came a calling and swept the craft beer world away----IPA has always been( and likely very much still is to the hardcore) the glorious Bitter King of beer---especially if you are the heavy West Coast IPA type---but everything we thought we knew about IPA was sort of turned upside down with the popularity of NEIPA--the fruit juice like version of IPA is so popular some newbies don't even know there's such a thing as old school bitter ipas though technically speaking NEIPA is still very much hops centric brew where the differences is more on twist and tweak on the technic /timing /amount of hops thrown in as well use of supporting brewing materials for examples use of oats....
NEIPA (类果汁印度淡啤)
在类果汁味道口感变奏版出现之前,印度淡啤(IPA)一直都是苦味啤酒象征,特别是美国西岸印度淡啤(West Coast IPA)更加让一些人觉得只有大喇喇的苦不堪言才是好料,不过类果汁印度淡啤的出现完全改变了这些观点,虽然有争论说NEIPA并不是一路来认知中的印度淡啤所以应该把这类啤酒排除在IPA类型之外,但事实是酿酒师用的主料的确是啤酒花(HOPS),而且是大量投放,啤酒味道口感酒体颜色浑浊或清澈之所以跟传统认知的印度淡陴很不一样是在手法和佐料上做了调整。

Pastry Stouts
similarly--using adjuncts in a stouts has long been the way brewers adds intended taste/aroma/flavours to a stout---but the emergence of Pastry Stouts would mean brewers are throwing much bigger quantities of food items/spices/adjuncts---the idea is to make a stout as close possible to or even way more decadent than actual dessert or pastry items---though at times most would think of pastry stouts as too sweet/cloying/thick/lower drinkability but not all are like that--there are nice and balance tasty ones out there to be found.
Pastry Stouts (甜点黑啤)
同样的,黑啤中添加食材蔬果香料是一直都有的,但甜点黑啤通过重手投放食材大力加料的做法,把酿酒师想呈现的黑啤风味更暴烈直白的加倍体现出来,虽然有批评觉得这类型黑啤很多时候倾向过甜过腻过于厚重,但也不是所有都一样,还是可以找到有不同口感味道表现的重手甜点黑啤。

should a beer always taste beer-like is something not every geeks or brewers would agree upon---for examples this is what Shaun Hill of Hillfarmstead said not long ago to Seven Days( a local weekly in Vermont)--click for full interview here:-Shaun's interview

"I think that to some extent beer can be prized and analyzed — but at the same time it is getting further away from itself.
On one side (perhaps the "negative" side), some brewers have gone beyond the beverage formerly known as "beer" to adding oddities such as hamburgers and French fries, Oreos, cereal brands and just about any other food product into their mash tun or fermenter. 
Brewers are now fermenting water and dextrose (100 percent GMO corn sugar), calling it seltzer, and falling under the umbrella license of beer manufacturing. 
啤酒是不是喝起来一定要有“啤酒味道这件事(跟一般大众认知的大厂啤酒味道完全无关),不同啤迷有不同看法,不同酿酒师也有不同认知,比如公认为当今世上最佳酿坊Hill Farmstead的主创酿酒师Shaun Hill不久前接受酿坊所在美国Vermont当地周刊Seven Days访问时说,某种程度来说,的确出现了偏离啤酒现象,比如会有些人把汉堡,薯条,奥利饼或其他奇怪食材丢进酿酒桶,又或是近期出现的利用啤酒酿造执照把玉米糖浆加水酿造成酒精气泡水(Seltzer)的情况。
那么,对绝对顶级酿坊大师来说,什么才是追求目标?酿造有质感让人愉悦易喝啤酒

so what is beer to a master brewer like Shaun? "many of us do love beer that is still beerBeer-flavored beer. "
"I set out to create beer that possessed a formerly unexplored quality of mouthfeel and that was pleasant to drink. Simple."

啤酒应该是什么样的酒体颜色厚薄口感味道尾韵,不同人一定有不同个人喜好,很大程度上这也是craft beer让人着迷因素之一,不管喜欢的是高质简单易喝啤酒还是复杂度高甚至花样百出的酿品,懂得喝啤酒一定要选喝高质有层次craft beer是唯一不变的道理。

It is obvious not everyone would agree on how  a beer should taste like or even look like---and that's perfectly fine--in fact that's part of the fun of craft beer--the diversity of beer styles/flavours is the reason why craft beer is fascinating and worth exploring---though personally i would think one thing is for sure---that regardless if one like very beer like beer or very un-beer-like beer---those who knows will certainly choose to drink well made tasty craft beer.( not that this whole discussion has anything to do with MACRO BEER anyway.....)

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

WEEK 187---2020 Most Memorable Beer List---from Kenneth ( HK )

 

2020最有印象酒单进入尾声,这期是香港朋友KENNETH的去年感想篇,中英文都是他自己写,本人只是改几个字然后基本都在剪贴。

The list of memorable ones from last year continues--this time with a list from my Hong Kong geek friend Kenneth---who took the time to write his piece in both English as well as Chinese---hence leaving me with the minor task of very minor editing and mainly copy & paste ☺

here's full text by Kenneth:-

“It is the best of times, it is the worst of times…” During the pandemic period, it is definitely difficult for many of us. With the closure of pubs, bars, breweries and the postponement /cancellation of beer events, the usual beer communities have evolved into new ways of life.

In 2021, life for many of us are still facing challenges and struggles, but the show must go on…looking back to 2020, though it was tough, there was still a lot that could be highlighted.

這是一個最好的時代,這是一個最壞的時代……”在這疫情時期,對我們許多人來說絕對是艱難的。隨著酒吧、啤酒廠的關閉以及啤酒活動的延期/取消,正常的啤酒社交已發展出全新的體驗。
2021年,我們的生活仍在挑戰和掙扎中,但世間沒有回頭路,只有勇敢努力撐下去!……回顧到2020年,仍有很多值得我們回想的地方。
1) The love must go on…
Beer industry is built by love. Other Half brewery from New York had pushed a global campaign “All together” by providing two simple WCIPA/NEIPA recipes, beer label designs etc that allowed all breweries around the world to join. In Hong Kong, Moonzen Brewery had also joined this delightful campaign.
啤酒業是靠著愛互相支持。來自紐約的Other Half啤酒廠通過提供兩種簡單的WCIPA / NEIPA啤你配方、啤酒標籤設計等,推動了全球啤酒運動 “All Together”,世界各地的所有精釀啤酒廠都可以參加。在香港,門神啤酒廠也參加了這個活動。


2) Beer sharing must go on…
Though a lot of cities had been locked down and beer geeks were parted by social distancing, beer sharing had kept going, setup online by Zoom, Google Meet etc, or usual sharing with more safety precautions.
儘管許多國家封城,啤酒愛好者因疫情影響了社交距離,但一起品嘗啤酒這些社交活動仍在繼續:通過ZoomGoogle Meet等在網上共享,或做足安全預防措施,進行常規啤酒品嘗。

3) Hyped trains must go on...
Together with some beer geeks, we had a chance to taste some of the most “hyped” Imperial stout ever: Toppling Goliath Morning Delight, Assassin, and KBBS!
Are they worth the hype and money? Beer Sharing with beer geeks friends in the tough time is priceless....
Besides, when beer consumption is not allowed on-site in bars, pubs and no travel is allowed, we are glad that able to purchase some precious bottles/cans online: Russian Rivers, Side Projects, Trilliums from US had adapted to a new purchase model where customers can order online and pick up onsite; while Mills, Antidoot and Bokke from Europe were sold online and shipped locally/internationally.
2020年有機會跟一班啤酒愛好者,品嚐了三款世上最熱炒的 Imperial StoutToppling GoliathGoliath Morning DelightAssassinKBBS
他們的炒賣價格合乎品飲期望嗎?只能說,在這艱難時期,跟朋友分享啤酒是無價的....
此外,當不允許在酒吧現場喝酒,並且不允許旅行的時候,我們很高興能夠從網上購買一些熱炒酒款:美國的 Russian RiversSide ProjectsTrilliums酒廠等都適應了新的購買模式,客戶可以在線訂購併在酒廠取貨;歐洲的MillsAntidootBokke也偶然在網上發售,並運送到世界各地。

4)  “Drink local” must go on…
During the tough time, it is important to support our local communities. Hong Kong local breweries like Carbon, Heroes, Yardley Brothers had kept improving and making good beers.
在這疫情時期,我們需要不斷支持本地社區。 香港本地酒廠.

5) Good Beers must go on...
No matter how good or bad the situation it is, grab a good beer, enjoy yourself or share with you beer friends, enjoy and always stay positive, cheers everyone!
無論情況是好是壞,喝一杯好啤酒,盡情獨享或與酒友們分享,保持正能量,加油!



Wednesday, March 17, 2021

WEEK 186---2020 Most Memorable Beer & Mead List---from Liam (HK)


2021 already into March---still not too late to look back at some nice beers & mead listed as most memorable by some geek friends living in Asia. This is a list by Liam from Hong Kong--as usual--Chinese version written by the man himself while i do a bit of English transcript:-

4年獲馬來西亞好友 Ct Tai @Craftbeer Art 邀請, 記錄在疫情下對啤酒/ 蜂蜜酒最深刻的的幾件事, 今年限聚令著實使酒聚減少但疫情卻讓不少珍貴酒款網上銷售真不知是禍是福? 無論如何喝到一些特別酒款心情也會高興點

in a year with covid restriction--beer sharing session been harder to come by but the pandemic scenario prompted some breweries/ bars to list some "rarer" beers for sale--under the situation to be able to sip on some "usually hard to get' ones does make you feel happy/happier....

1. Toppling Goliath Brewing Co. "KBBS", "Assassin" and "Mornin' Delight"
終於有機會一嚐精釀界炒價最瘋狂的幾款 imperial stout, 雖則 "Mornin' Delight" 相對便宜, 但強勁的咖啡和楓葉糖漿, 香氣, 甜度和酒體都是剛好, 不會過膩, 一人可幹掉一瓶的平衡度;  "Assassin"雖則每年也要經抽韱才買得到, 沒有驚人的感覺, 也是能輕鬆地完成一瓶的水準; 終於 "打大佬",  今次喝的是 2018年版本 "KBBS" , 咖啡和威士忌桶陳釀 , 是好喝imperial stout 的不二法門, 但對得起這價錢嗎? 會否比一般上佳的stout 好喝1020?都是那一句, 錢是來支付喝這些酒的 "經驗", haha.
Finally have the chance to sample some of the most crazily priced stouts (secondary "fried" pricing)--the "cheaper" Mornin' Delight with coffee/maple syrup--from aroma to sweetness to body was well balance--can down the whole bottle by yourself.
Assassin--need to go through lottery to decide if eligible to buy from first release--nothing awe-inspiring--a stouts which one can down easily by oneself.
Then came that BIG ONE---KBBS--coffee/ whisky barrel--almost a sure fire way to make good imperial stouts--the BIG QUESTION though is this super hyped stouts worth those crazy "fried" prices? is this beer 10x or 20x more awesome than a very good but non hyped stouts?
Liam's verdict?---money is the tool to buy experience( haha)

2.  Antidoot - Wilde Fermenten Hype
任何酒類嚐多了, 自然想找些罕有限量的去試試, 近這1, 2年來, Antidoot 在精釀界 (甚至葡萄酒界) 都掀起熱潮, 產量極少, 以會員制出售 , 傳統的自發性發酵 coolship (少得像家中飯桌.... ) 釀製啤酒, 蘋果酒 和葡萄酒嚐過不同的酸啤酒, 老實說, 有點失望水果味道很強, 但沒有lambic的複雜度, 反而蘋果酒 "Cydonia", 用了蘋果的近親榲桲 (Quince), 淡淡然發酵蘋果, 平衡度極佳總括來說, 幾款都是舒服, 但不會有"爆發"的感覺有幸試過便夠了.
It's natural for geeks to want to look out for some "rarer'/"hyped" bottles --Antidoot is one such new brewery which not only was raved about in craft beer scene but wine scene too( with their natural wine brewing as well beer wine hybrid)---a tiny brewery known for wild fermentation beer, cider, beer wine hybrid and so on---limited production meaning the only way to consistently getting Antidoot brew is by somehow becoming a member(random pick so no sure way for geeks)---having tasted some especially the wild fermented ones--Liam felt disappointed as there was no Lambic complexity---but was impressed with cider --especially Cydonia which uses Quince--very well balance--Overall the brews were very drinkable. comforting but not the "exploding" types---good to have sampled some.

3. Smoothie-style hype
2年來此酒款可說是顛覆大家對啤酒印象味道大部分由果蓉 (puree) 主導甚麼麥芽啤酒花通通被遮掉充滿糖分的果蓉也同時掀起 "爆罐"熱潮像一次 450 North Brewing 酒聚差不多一半也有過多CO2, 一罐變了一Jar 的份量,老實說此酒款的複雜度低只嚐到水果味道但還是不斷喝......有誰會討厭有氣果汁?
A new trend where adjunct especially "puree' is the main player in a beer--making a beer look and taste very "not beer"---but seems too much puree/sugar also causing scene of exploding cans---there was a sharing session of mainly/mostly 450 North Brewing cans--where at least half of the cans with too much CO2--turning a can into a JUG!!   Honestly this type of beer is lacking in complexity--it's basically carbonated fruit juices--but still keep drinking somehow--who would hate bubbling fruit juices?

4. NE IPA

自從 2015年左右嚐過第一口 NE IPA (應該是 Heady Topper), 到今天已把它和 lambic 視作最愛酒款甚麼 session, double, triple, quadruple, (今年嚐過5quintuple....), 每年也喝不少今年最深印象有俄羅斯酒廠 Wild Lab  "Citra Citra Citra" double IPA, 啤酒花和ester 產生的爆炸般果汁感有適中甜度厚滑酒體, 低苦澀度平衡正中我的評分準則來自波蘭的 Funky Fluid 無酒精 (abv <0.5%)  "Point Five" 更不得了大部分geek都不愛無酒精啤酒味道微弱酒體單薄.....NE IPA 應有的東西都在此酒俱備太不可思議還有之後說的 "PB&J", 此新酒廠已成為我常購入的選擇.
Since the days of Heady Topper back in 2015--neipa has become the most preferred beer style along side Lambic for Liam---this year the most memorable one was "Citra Citra Citra" from Wild Lab( Russian brewery)--with explosive burst of fruit juice sensation, moderate sweetness, thick body low bitterness--very balance--totally to Liam's liking.
Another one was an almost no alcohol brew " Point Five" from Polish brewery Funky Fluid--while no alcohol brew can be very thin and no taste--this one amazingly has got all the neipa's characteristics!! ( along with another one mentioned below--this brewery has become Liam's fav regular picking)

5. Local breweries: Carbon Brews "All Funked Up" and Heroes Beer Co. "Kupzzy"

本地精釀依舊多產兼高水準, 各酒廠釀製酒款愈見多元化, "All Funked Up" 讓我想起 Mikkeller Baghaven "Polly", 番石榴的味道"相當"特出, brett 和菠羅明顯, 紅桑莓卻不太察覺, 甜度低但未至於"bone dry", 沒有苦澀, 帶點小麥的餘韻, 9.5%酒精隱藏極好, 雖然被歸類為 IPA. 但更像加入水果的 sour ale! 喝後絕對有滿足的感覺; "Kupzzy" 則是跟 Carbon Brews "XX Rich Lupulin" 一樣, 另一能與外地各知名酒廠相比! 啤酒花新鮮度, 酵母而來的果汁感esters十足, 酒體和甜度也正好用作平衡, 輕易地進駐本地 NE IPA 三甲.
Local breweries in HK been brewing up some high quality varieties---one such is "All Funked Up' by Carbon Brew--though labelled as ipa but tasting much more closer to a well made sour ale which reminds Liam of Mikeller Baghaven "Polly"--with guava, brett, pineapple, light malty taste and well hidden 9.5% abv.
Another is "Kupzzy"--along side Carbon Brew's "xx rich lupulin"---is another NEIPA which is well made and can stand head and shoulder along side those more famous overseas brews--the goodness from fresh hops, thick body and balance sweetness easily make this TOP 3 local neipa.

6.  Brasserie Auval Brewing co. online sale
這酒廠被稱為加拿大的 Hill Farmstead Brewery,  曾經被譽為最難買得到之一, 多倫多的朋友們也沒有見過,官方也說要買的話, 一就是到酒廠, 二就是留意FB 報料羣組隨機出現....... 疫情下竟出現在德國的 online shop! 目前為止只試了 "Espinay", 典型微酸saison的特質俱在, 那標誌的檸檬氣息更是特出, 果然名不虛傳!
Seen by some as the hillfamrstead of Canada--this highly regarded brewery is also known for very limited availability of bottles for sale( even Liam's friends in Toronto never seen any)---was totally insane to see the bottles available for sale on a German bar's online sale!
So far only tasted "Espinay"--lemony with typical light sourish saison character--the hype is real!

7. Not so sweet pastry stouts....  S43 Brewery "You're Not You When You're Thirsty" & 3 Sons Brewing Co. "Baby Scoop"

可能真的老了 (.....), 對甜度甚高的 pastry stout已達抗拒或只嚐一少口的地步當然也有例外...... "Snickers" 液態版本的"You're Not You When You're Thirsty", 啤酒甜度不高, 滿口朱古力, 花生醬氣息, 配以""snickers 出奇地匹配新興 stout 皇者 3 Sons Brewing Co.  "Baby Scoop" 是他們少見的正常 stout 版本同樣是甜度低清楚嚐到Neapolitan 三色雪糕的味道配以適中的氣泡感輕鬆完成.
Probably age is catching up....when it comes to those sweet pastry stouts--Liam would either reject or just take very tiny sips---though there are exception at times--like this liquid version snickers--"You're Not You When You're Thirsty"--not sweet, full of chocolate and peanut butter--goes absolutely amazing with a Real Snicker too.
Baby Scoop is a non-pastry style stout from 3sons brewing which is nice--low sweetness--clear taste of Neapolitan ice cream with moderate carbonation--easily completed.

8. Most surprising beer 2020 Funky Fluid "Gelato Pastry Sour PB&J"

加入花生醬的酒不少但大都是甜度高的 imperial stout甚或 mead,  "PB&J (peanut butter & jelly) 在啤酒又如何解讀? 誰不知那花生濃烈味道正好跟紅桑莓和黑加侖子配搭, 酒體夠厚, 甜度較低也有水果酸度平衡, 顏色也討人喜歡, 感嘆這新酒廠的意念和技術, 像極"PB&J"的液態甜品忍不住喝了3遍了!!
Having tasted/seen peanut butter jelly in a mead or say imperial stouts---how would this one go? totally surprised by the matching level of PB&J with raspberry and black currants--thick body, low sweetness with fruity tartness and lovely colors---so impressed with the skills and concept of this one---Liam actually had 3 of these PB&J liquid dessert!!

9. Mead

今年雖買過不少蜂蜜酒但喝的機會卻不多但試過的都是佳品, Schramm's Mead 這老大哥都是上品, "Heritage" 雖用了名為 Heritage 的紅桑莓但老實說不太喝得出分別但水果濃烈氣息和酸度正好平衡mead 的甜膩初嚐 Copenhagen Mead Company , 相當顯著的杏仁味道讓很普遍的車厘子蜂蜜酒變得不平凡終於也嚐到又是會員才買到的 Pips Meadery, 試了 "A Man & His Mjød", 加入肉桂和波本桶陳釀滿以為相當重口味誰不知各樣味道恰到好處怪不得讓人追捧!
Bought some mead last year but did not have the appropriate opportunities to taste that many---of the few tasted--the fruit tartness nicely balance out Schramm's  Mead Heritage sweet factor.  While the use of apricot makes Copenhagen Mead Company's cherry mead  very interesting/
And finally got to sample the very hard to come by Pip's Meadery's  "A Man & His Mjød"--with cinnamon and bourbon barrel--Liam thought it could be tasting "heavy"--but all things was so balance and just nice----the HYPE IS VERY REAL.

寫後才發覺今年沒有 lambic 的份兒其實今年喝lambic也很頻密但始終和上年的lambic之旅不能比擬最後多謝 Ct 的邀請也希望大家快點能再次啤酒旅行!
After finishing the list only realized there is no mention of  Lambic though had quite many last year but really no comparison to the lambic tour in 2019. Lastly thanks to ct for again inviting for list and hopefully all of us can go beer travelling sooner.