Press-Republican

FYI...

October 31, 2013

Craft beer, or crafty pretenders?

(Continued)

"I don't think we're trying to fool anyone," says Peter Kraemer, Anheuser-Busch's vice president of supply and its chief brew master. He says beer-savvy drinkers, the ones who care most about where their brew originated, are likely to have apps that will give them that information with a few taps on a smartphone.

It has been a smoldering issue, and the magazine Consumer Reports might have thrown more gasoline on the fire when it awarded its CR Best Buy stamp of approval to Shock Top Wheat IPA in a tasting of "craft" beers that appeared in its August issue.

In fairness, not all of the specialty beers flowing out of large breweries' tanks attempt to hide their origins. This week, Anheuser-Busch released its second annual Project 12, a variety 12-pack of three experimental lagers fermented with the Budweiser yeast. The packages and labels carry the Bud logo, and the beers take their names from the Zip codes of the plants where they're produced.

One of the three is Batch 23185, a bourbon-and-vanilla lager from the company's brewery in Williamburg, Va. Senior brew master Daniel Westmoreland created the recipe, aging the tawny lager on barrel staves from a Virginia distillery and sacks of Madagascar vanilla beans. He first brewed the beer in 2012 and upped the flavor this time around in response to customer comments.

Could Batch 23185 become part of the company's regular product line? An amber lager from last year's Project 12 assortment was rechristened Budweiser Black Crown and promoted to year-round status. "That would be the ultimate honor for a brew master," says Westmoreland, but he cautions that his recipe is labor-intensive and, needing one oak stave per barrel of beer, would require a large and steady stream of used distiller's wood.

Regardless of the size of the brewery, a beer can't be cost-prohibitive. It has to sell briskly enough to justify its continued production. That's a bigger challenge when you're brewing in increments of 500 barrels (the batch size in Williamsburg) instead of 25 or 50. Apparently, Shock Top Wheat IPA didn't make the grade. Ironically, the brand had been yanked by the time Consumer Reports bestowed its plaudits.

 

 

Text Only | Photo Reprints
FYI...
  • Why it's basically impossible to delete those naked selfies you text

    If you're selling an old Android smartphone on an online auction site, you could be giving away rather more than you intend to, according to a recent investigation by anti-malware company Avast.

    July 21, 2014

  • Why does the Vatican need a bank?

    The Vatican Bank's history reads more like Dan Brown than the financial pages, but its worst -- and weirdest -- days may be behind it.

    July 18, 2014

  • Almost half of the world actually prefers instant coffee

    Americans' taste in coffee might be getting more high-end _with a growing fixation on perfectly roasted beans, pricier caffeinated concoctions, and artisan coffee brewers - but it turns out a surprisingly big part of the world is going in the opposite direction: toward instant coffee.

    July 17, 2014

  • ent_taylorswift.jpg There's less good music now — here's why

    Taylor Swift, the seven-time Grammy winner, is known for her articulate lyrics, so there was nothing surprising about her writing a long column for The Wall Street Journal about the future of the music industry. Yet there's reason to doubt the optimism of what she had to say.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can plants hear? Study finds that vibrations prompt some to boost their defenses

    They have no specialized structure to perceive sound as we do, but a new study has found that plants can discern the sound of predators through tiny vibrations of their leaves - and beef up their defenses in response.

    July 12, 2014

  • wheat1.jpg Backlash has begun against gluten-free dieters

    The swelling ranks of Americans adopting gluten-free diets have given rise to another hot trend: people calling the whole thing a bunch of baloney.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140516-recalls_1357_88cb85dbc81b724b4ae9c83db4426fd8.jpg Auto recalls break single-year US record with six months to go

    With six months left in 2014, automakers have already recalled more vehicles in the United States than in any other year on record.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • The science of shyness

    Shy people have quite a bit to contend with - not least the word itself. It has a number of different meanings, none of which are flattering. To "shy away" from something implies avoidance; to "shy" can also mean to move suddenly in fright; to "be shy of" something can mean to come up short, or be insufficient.

    July 8, 2014

  • Wanna write a pop song? Here's a foolproof equation

    Pop songs (generally) stay in one key, are in 4/4 time, last between three and five minutes, are organized into chunks of four or eight bars, have a repeating chorus played two to four times, include the title sung at least three times, and feature short melodic fragments that repeat a lot to help everyone to remember them.

    July 7, 2014

  • Americans falling out of love with shopping malls

    Abandoned malls are hot: The Dead Malls Enthusiasts Facebook group boasts almost 14,000 members; a Google search of "dead malls" produces 5.7 million results; and the desolate interiors of these unused retailing meccas keep making cameos in thrillers and horror films.

    July 6, 2014