Topic: Brewing History

Belgian Blond Ale: The best known Belgian Abbey beer

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Some people have asked me how I choose the styles to write about in this column. At the start, it was easy — I just started writing about new styles in the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines. But after I wrote about all of those, I now have a free hand to pick a style. Sometimes

Beers From the Top of the World

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“Denmark?” my wife asks, slightly incredulously. “Denmark,” I say. It was Valentine’s Day 2010 and my wife and I had just finished up a fairly extensive beer tasting of commercial offerings of chocolate, coffee and vanilla stouts. The line up of beers was a present to my wife who — luckily for me — doesn’t want

Take Me to Your Liter

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One of the things that makes drinking beer in Germany unique from North America is that depending where in the country you are, the beer style you find will be different. Take a beer-style tour of Germany to discover some of the most notable German beer styles (plus recipes) and the regions they come from.

Raw Ale


A whole other type of beer exists in northern Europe known as “raw ale.” It is not so much a style, but rather a technique. The major feature that sets raw ale apart is that it is never boiled. Learn the history, stories, and techniques behind raw ale.

Make Mine a Ballantine

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During the late 1960s and 1970s, when I was young and did a fair amount of traveling, one beer I was fond of was Ballantine XXX Ale. It was an ale rather than a lager, and it had a very noticeable hop character and presence. At a time when other American beers were becoming increasingly

Burton Ale: Style Profile

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Burton ale was the beer that originally put Burton on the map, beer-wise. It pre-dates IPA, and was a big export beer to the Baltic countries from about 1740 to 1822.

Wit Bier

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It may be hard for modern homebrewers to think of a time when witbier was virtually unknown. Today, it is one of the more popular Belgian style beers, if not the most popular Belgian beer style. There are many well-known commercial examples and it shows up quite frequently as a spring or summer seasonal at

Pre-Prohibition Porter

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by the numbers OG: 1.046–1.060 FG:1.010–1.016 SRM:18–30 IBU:20–30 ABV:4.5–6% The United States has been called the melting pot, but that metaphor was meant to describe cultural assimilation of immigrants not the creation of beer styles. However, I think it also works to talk about taking a popular beer style from England, having it brewed by

Prohibition-Era Homebrew Club

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Next time you go to a homebrew club meeting, take a look around. You will see friends and people who share a passion for crafting beer at home. More important, you do not see a group of people defying state and Federal law by producing beer. Yet, if you rewind a century earlier, you would

Making Pre-Prohibition Beers: Tips from the Pros

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When American Prohibition started in 1920 (and earlier in some U.S. states) the doors forever closed at many American breweries. Beer styles changed after the repeal of Prohibition and many recipes were lost forever. But, a number of breweries are now trying to replicate beers from the past, and you can at home too. Brewer:

How Did Hops End Up in Beer?

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Photo courtesy of Walter Konig There are some 350,000 known plant species on earth, but only one of them, Humulus lupulus, the hop plant, has become the universal flavoring agent for beer. Sure, brewers occasionally use other flavorings in their beers, such as coriander, passion fruit, or orange peel. Statistically, however, the perennial, herbaceous, creeping,

Brewing Historical Porters & Stouts

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I have attempted to brew versions of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century porters and stouts that do not always fit our modern definitions, but are simply good beers in their own right. In other words, you might find it rewarding to brew one or more of them. Although I have tried hard to reconstruct these beers as

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