Digression: Learning about beer (a little)

I’ve continued my noble effort to try as many beers from iTap in Columbia as is possible for a lightweight such as myself. Originally, of course, I went in blind – and I still know basically nothing about beer at all.

I have come up with some… interesting ways to describe it, though. But I’ve decided I should probably at least learn a little bit about the brewing process and what all those acronyms mean. I credit Kraig Bridgeford, the new head brewer at the much anticipated new local brewery Bur Oak, with this new interest. I ran into him at – where else? – iTap when I was waiting for friends and trying to decide what beer to order.

He tried to explain the method used to brew traditional Belgian gueuze. He also said that while European breweries often used the same way to brew beers for a long time and stuck with it, American breweries experimented more and sometimes just made a particular brew one time before switching it up.

So, I decided to read up on gueuze beers after finally getting around to trying one on draft at iTap.

It sounds like a fairly complex, long process to make this more sour, light beer. Basically, it’s a re-fermented blend of different ages of “lambic” beer that’s been aged for another year or so. Lambic is, again, a very specific kind of brewing process – instead of being fermented with cultivated yeast strains, it’s exposed to airborne, wild yeast. Weird, right? And then it has to age in wooden casks (sometimes old wine ones to add unique flavors).

I mean, this sounds awesome. And I really dug the sour flavor of the final product that I tried. Now I kind of want to try all the different kinds of gueuze they have at iTap. So that’s something I’ll work on after they stop having all these cool seasonal brews.


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