Style Profile: New American Gin

Bombay Sapphire, extra vermouth (always extra vermouth), shaken like the dickens, and served with a few plump Sable & Rosenfeld olives. That was the first martini I ever consumed, shaken up after a round of golf by my uncle James. We enjoyed them at dusk prior to a meal shared with my aunt Cynthia, the pleasant […]

Style Profile: Pumpkin Ales

Pumpkin beers are a love ’em or leave ’em proposition. Those who love them eagerly await October (or July as is often the case these days). They can’t wait to snatch up six-packs or bombers of the latest gourd-infused grog. Those who hate them… well, they really hate them. Whichever side you fall on, the […]

Style Profile: American Amber Ale

Fall comes quickly in Minnesota. The steamy heat of August yields almost overnight to the relieving snap of September. The days get rapidly shorter. By the end of the month the first blazes of orange and red are appearing in the trees. September is arguably the best month to be in Minnesota. The air is […]

Style Profile: Foreign Extra Stout

Eyes closed, you lie in the sun listening to the waves lapping at the beach. Warm sand cradles you in form-fitting softness. The air is steamy, but a gentle breeze makes it bearable. The quiet buzz of other beachcombers lulls you into a hazy half sleep. Then, a voice startles you back to wakefulness. “Holy […]

Style Profile: Kölsch

Germany is mostly thought of as a land of lagers. The brewing of cold-conditioned, bottom-fermented beers is thought to have originated in Bavaria some four to five hundred years ago. Fermentation in cool caves hindered the growth of beer-spoiling bacteria and stimulated cellular mutations in yeast that yielded strains well suited to colder climes. Through […]

Style Profile: American Rye Ale

Rye has a spotty past. Even though it’s one of many grains that grows wild in the Fertile Crescent where settled, agricultural civilization was born, rye remains virtually absent from the archeological record until the Bronze Age in Central Europe. Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder, the famed “discoverer” of hops, wrote of rye: “It is […]

Style Profile: Smoked Beer

There once was a time when most beer was smoky. This is because the final stage of turning grain into malt for brewing, called kilning, requires heat. In arid regions, that heat could come from the sun. But in the cool, wet climate of northern Europe, air-drying wasn’t always possible and fire was needed to […]

What’s Really in That American Pale Ale?

Illustration by David Witt Pale ale has been around for a long time. It owes its existence to technology. Sometime in the mid-seventeenth century, enterprising maltsters figured out that using coke as the fuel for malt kilns instead of wood or straw gave them more control. This discovery enabled the production of malt that was […]

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Style Profile: Holiday Ales

Illustration by David Witt Cue the sleigh bells. Winter’s cold has arrived and brought with it the holiday ales. Liquor store shelves are lined with poinsettia and elf bedecked bottles. Winter warmers can be found by the dozens. There is even a Hanukkah beer or two out there. What is it that makes these beers […]

All About Bocks and Dopplebocks

Style Profile looks at a German (and Minnesotan) original. By Michael Agnew, A Perfect Pint Illustration by DWITT “Is it true that bock beer is made from the dregs left in the tanks at the end of the year?” I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked that question. I don’t know […]

Profiling Pilsner (And Dashing Its Bad Rap)

This Style Profile mounts a passionate defense of an “ordinary” beer. By Michael Agnew, A Perfect Pint  Illustrations by DWITT  Anyone who has talked to me at any length about beer knows that in my world, pilsner is the perfect beer. People are often taken aback by this. “Why pilsner?” they ask. “I would expect […]

Old Ale: Like a Fine Wine, But Better

A Style Profile of a Real Classic by Michael Agnew Hopped beers were first introduced into England from Holland sometime around 1400. Hops have preservative properties that stabilize beer and help prevent spoilage. Their arrival on the island allowed for the brewing of strong beers that were meant for aging. They were called “stale” beers; […]

Biere de Garde: Getting to Know a Real Farmhouse Ale

Style Profile Goes Rustic By Michael Agnew, A Perfect Pint The border between France and Belgium is also a beverage border of sorts. It marks the point where the wine culture of southern Europe gives way to the beer culture of the north. While France is rightfully lauded for its fine wines, as one edges […]

Prost! Digging Down on the Origins of Oktoberfest

Style Profile with Michael Agnew By Michael Agnew, A Perfect Pint  Munich’s Oktoberfest is the biggest beer festival in the world. It’s been held nearly every year on the famous Theresienwiese since 1810 when Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig organized a series of horse races to celebrate his marriage to Princess Therese of Bavaria. Ironically, beer […]