Learning About Beer: Adjunct Grains

The four main ingredients in beer are water, barley, hops, and yeast. Those four things have allowed for the creation of a plethora of flavors. However, some people wanted different flavors or textures. Other folks had different crops available to them. Both of these things changed what they used in the beer. These changes are what led to the use of adjuncts in beer.

Simply put an adjunct is anything other than barley that contributes starch to the beer. More simply? Anything adding sugar that will get fermented by the yeast. The most common are corn, rice, wheat, oat, and rye. To find the dividing line of what is an adjunct we have to go back to 1516 when the Reinheitsgebot defined beer as water, hops, and barley. You can read one of my first posts to learn more about the Reinheitsgebot, but for now all you need to know is it set the precedent for what is, and is not, an adjunct. Let’s take a closer look at the big five.

Continue reading “Learning About Beer: Adjunct Grains”

Introducing Boulevard Brewing Company

Boulevard Brewing Company beers started showing up on Ohio shelves for the first time two weeks ago. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this moment. In all my travels, I always try to bring back one or two of the 750s from their Smokestack series like Bourbon Barrel Quad or Brett-Saison. I had some of the core beers but don’t recall being too excited by them, at least not enough to make sure I smuggled them back into Ohio.Boulevard Brewing Company

Boulevard started in Kansas City way back in 1989. They slowly grew to be one of the largest Midwest breweries. Boulevard was the 12th biggest craft brewery in 2012. Come 2013 they didn’t show up on the list anymore. That was because they were bought out by Duvel Moortgat which helped pull the combined company up to the 8th spot. Their beer has been available in 25 states, the closest being Indiana though I don’t recall seeing much there. I’m familiar with the brand thanks to travels to North Carolina and Georgia but now all we have to do is travel to the nearest grocery store!

On to the beers!

Continue reading “Introducing Boulevard Brewing Company”

Beer Review: Sam Adam’s Summer Ale

Attention all brewers please take note: April is not summer, it is spring. March (when I first spotted this beer as well as Bell’s Oberon) is also not summer, May is kinda summer, June is officially summer. Summer ales belong in summer… However it was over 70 degrees yesterday, and I spent all day doing yard work followed by beer & grilling out… So it’s close enough to summer.

There was a time a few years back when Sam Adam’s Summer Ale was pretty much the only beer I’d drink whenever it was available. I enjoyed a few craft beers but had no “true” idea of what was out there. Like I said that was  a few years back, last year I only had one of these and it was at a bar where the other options were less than “optimal”.

The following is the Sam Adam’s blurb about this brew:

Samuel Adams® Summer Ale is an American wheat ale. This summer seasonal uses malted wheat, lemon zest and Grains of Paradise, a rare pepper from Africa first used as a brewing spice in the 13th century, to create a crisp taste, spicy flavor and medium body. The ale fermentation imparts a background tropical fruit note reminiscent of mangos and peaches. All of these flavors come together to create a thirst quenching, clean finishing beer perfect for those warm summer days.

To me that sounds like a bunch of PR hype. “Grains of Paradise” and “a rare pepper from Africa” seriously??

Brewery: Sam Adams
Beer: Summer Ale
Style: Wheat Ale
ABV: 5.3%
Calories: ~160

A very attractive wheat beer with a nice cloudy orange/yellow color and pure white head.

Smells of lemon and a bit of grass… really not the most appetizing aroma.

Decent, though very light, flavor of mostly lemon mixed with the sweet wheat and some orange-citrus hops. Nothing to get excited about but also nothing to complain about. And there is an intangible taste that just “feels” like “summer”… though this may be part of my memory of this beer more than anything else.

Very light bodied mouth feel with plenty of carbonation.

As I said initially before I truly knew of the world of craft beer I loved this beer and it was “summer” to me. Now I know a good deal better, that doesn’t make it a bad beer it just puts this into perspective a bit. I still enjoy this in warm weather but there are superior summer wheat beers out there like Bell’s Oberon. Though I have come to prefer a nice sessionable IPA or a high quality Helles lager (by Rivertown) over one of these wheat beers… But that’s just me.

Beer math: Is a 5L mini keg of Bell’s Oberon a good deal?

Bell's Oberon mini keg
(Picture courtesy of Premium Beverage’s Facebook page)

With the announcement of Bell’s Oberon 5L mini keg hitting shelves in the Cincinnati-area just in time for the long holiday weekend, the question that must be asked (or maybe not, but I’m going to ask it anyways) is whether or not buying one is cheaper than buying a few six-packs of the same beer. To figure this out, I’ve done the math for you.
Continue reading “Beer math: Is a 5L mini keg of Bell’s Oberon a good deal?”