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 … [ Read more]

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 … [ Read more]

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 … [ Read more]

The 7 Most Annoying Things Beer Snobs Say

The crazy rise in the popularity of beer has brought with it an increase of beer snobbery. It’s not a new phenomenon. Beer snobs have been there all along. But as more and more people get caught up in the frenzy, the level of puffery has definitely inflated. In part it’s just a numbers game. … [ Read more]

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 … [ Read more]

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 … [ Read more]

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Zen and the Art of Beer Sensory Analysis

“Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.” -Psychology Today “What do you smell?” I pose … [ Read more]

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Domestic Flights: Musings from the Airport Bar

I’m nursing a $10 beer in a bar called Beers of the World at St. Louis Lambert International Airport. My flight home to Minneapolis is delayed at least half an hour as storms move in from the southwest. I’ve already had one $10 beer, but what else is there to do? The knowledge that a … [ Read more]

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Style Profile: Brown Ale

Illustration by David Witt Ask brewers and beer drinkers alike about their least-favorite beer style (aside from light lager, of course) and the answer is likely to be brown ale. To many, brown ale is boring. It’s an in-between beer—neither here nor there. It lacks the creamy body and roasty snap of a porter and … [ Read more]

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Serial Drinking: The Journey, or the Destination?

By Michael Agnew, A Perfect Pint “I just reached an important milestone!” exclaimed my friend as I entered the room. Her enthusiasm made me ask the question. “Wow. What milestone?” “I just passed 1,000 unique beers on Untappd.” Really? I thought, as I offered my congratulations. Getting married, graduating college, a major career advancement, having … [ Read more]

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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 … [ Read more]

Style Profile: Barley Wine

We explore barley wine, an often misunderstood style that warms the throat—and heart. Illustration by David Witt As much as many of us wish it weren’t so, winter is on its way. Already there is a chill in the air and the long days are quickly losing their battle with the night. But the inevitable … [ Read more]

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To Age or Not to Age?

All over this country, good beer is dying. These are not dramatic or heroic deaths, not the explosive demise of dropped bottles nor the panicked jerk of clumsily overturned pints. These are slow, invisible deaths, stretching over weeks, months, and years, hidden out of sight and mind in dark basements and cramped closets across the … [ Read more]

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Beer Run: Exploring the Brewery Boom of America’s Heartland

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” The opening phrase from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities could have been an apt beginning for my book A Perfect Pint’s Beer Guide to the Heartland that was published in May by the University of Illinois Press. I really couldn’t have … [ Read more]

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Style Profile: Vienna Lager

By Michael Agnew, A Perfect Pint A phenomenon of human migration is that traditions, customs, and cultural idiosyncrasies may be retained in the adopted land long after they have died out in their place of origin. A good example of this is the archaic version of the German language still spoken by the Amish of … [ Read more]