In Defence of Innovation

Alan and Ron (and, to a lesser degree, Martyn) have of late taken to calling out innovation in brewing as simply another way to separate the punters from their money. Which is their prerogative, but excuse me if I decide to chime in, too.

I am fond of innovative beers. One I like took pale malt and fragrant hops, brewed them up with soft water and fermented the results with a bottom-fermenting yeast. It’s called Pilsner Urquell these days, and in 1842 its innovation was nothing less than the commencement of what is today the world’s most popular, and most bastardized, style of beer.

Another pair of brews arrived on the scene within a few years of each other, showcasing a particular variety of American hop, called Cascade, and starting not just a beer style, but a whole movement in brewing. Yes, Anchor Liberty Ale and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale were pretty innovative in their day.

Hell, you could even say that in their respective day, all three of the above beers were, dare I say, “extreme”!

Yoghurtbier: Something New from the GABF?

Those of you familiar with Ron Pattinson’s blog “Shut Up About Barclay Perkins” will also be familiar with his posts on all things interesting, historic and occasionally downright weird. Like this:

Yoghurtbier…is not dissimilar in taste to Berliner Weissbier; it is made by souring the wort (of barley malt and wheat malt) with a pure culture of bacillus bulgaricus and fermenting the soured wort with a highly-attenuating top-fermenting yeast and contains living bacillus bulgaricus.

Sam Calagione’s newest project? No, that would be the spit beer. Something quite beyond the pale from southern California? Wrong again. The latest from Mikkeller? Third strike, you’re out!

Yoghurtbier is, according to Ron’s research, something widely brewed in central and northern Germany in the early 1900’s. And, according to my interpretation, further proof that there is no such thing as so-called “extreme” beer.

Go read more from Ron here.