Making funky beers at home can be alot of fun and exciting. We will look at some funky beers that may even be pushing the boundaries and why you should still have a good grounding in the homebrewing beer making process.
These days we have all sort of new and exciting food and beverages to choose from. And the matching of food and beverages, especially beer, seems endless.
Lets look at some beers and their ingredients and ways to make them.
One style of beer, in particular, that is making a statement is sour beer.
Sour beer appears to be increasing in popularity as suggested by one drinks article. (http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2011/05/the-other-sour-beers-berliner-weisse-gose-german-beer-history.html)
These sour beers can be produced using natural fermentation techniques utilising Brettanomyces, a yeast that imparts an unmistakable ‘barnyard’ quality, or even Lactobacillus bacteria.However the traditional brewer in Australia and other countries have been wary of these sort of “infections”, as they’re called, in their breweries as they produce “off’ beers that really have no place in most beers. Commercially, it is very risky to make sour beers in the same brewery as non-sour beers because of the high probability of cross-contamination.
But there are some styles that are pushing the boundaries; those that are using coca (of which Cocaine is derived) from the leaf (http://lifestyle.iafrica.com/food/857805.html) or hemp from its seed (http://voices.yahoo.com/try-these-hemp-ale-beers-different-taste-5276125.html) .
It may come as some surprise that hemp (cannibis) is related to the hop plant.
I’m not suggesting you go out and brew using any of these substances, for obvious reasons, but it is interesting how some brewers in other countries push the boundaries. There was a case in Australia where someone was producing a beverage (sports drink) that was named Hemp and the outrage that followed in the media like Neil Mitchel’s 3AW radio program was substantial.
Others are producing beers with all sorts of ingredients such as oysters, world’s strongest beer (http://newslite.tv/2010/07/30/dutch-brewery-produces-worlds.html) at 60% ABV, spirulina, juniper berries, and the list goes on. In fact you can almost add any food to beer which would have the wine buffs shudder. So the imagination of the brewer is really the limit.
So Does BrewingFunky Beers Mean We Can Let Our Gaurd Down In Terms Of Quality?
This is an interesting question in general. Why? Because I have seen at least 2 commercial cases where the brewer has made substandard beer and tried to use some marketing “smoke and mirrors” arguement to disguise the off-flavour as being part of the beer they apparently intended to brew!
Is that a cop out for their incompetence? Or lack of knowledge in brewing good, consistent beer?
Hiding behind marketing tricks is really trying to fix the symptoms and not the cause. These beers will always vary each time you brew them and you as the drinker will obviously note they’re different whether they taste good or bad. If you are thinking of one day going into the microbrewing industry you really need to start now to learn the habits of good brewing practices, required when you brew any style of beer.
If your friends compliment you on your beer over and over again maybe you are at the stage of having nailed the good brewing practises. But how do you know for sure?
Where Do You Learn Good Brewing Practices From?
Good brewing practices are commonly referred to in breweries as following a set of time proven and scientific standards gained in the brewing industry over a long period of time. It is not restricted to any one company but is talked about and accepted as the standard in brewing circles. When reading brewing text books and many published papers in the brewing world one gets a sense of what those practices are.
* using good raw materials and proper storage
* understanding how the type of equipment affects beer flavour
* understanding how to use your equipment
* how temperature, time, pH and other parameters affect the final beer flavour
* how oxygen is the killer of all beer flavour
* why hygiene is not just about going through the motions
* why its not all over after the beer is packaged
Those homebrewers who would like to improve their home brewing practices in order achieve good, consistent beer, or those who want to enter the microbrewing industry can attend short brewing courses at Ballarat or Massey Universities. Or can attend short courses run on a fairly regular basis by Costanzo Brewing School around Australia or New Zealand.
So if you would like to push the boundaries in your homebrewing then you should first make sure the foundation to brewing good, consistent beer is sturdy. Then you can try different ingredients and methods using good brewing practices.
You will surely produce exceptional beer that is not only rewarding to produce but flavoursome to drink with your friends at a BBQ or while watching your favourite sport.
Should you require further advice on this subject you can contact me directly through this website.