Archive for October, 2017

October 24, 2017

A Beer by Any Other Name: Porters

Let’s talk porters now; it’s starting to get cold out, and I feel we could all get into a nice dark beer by a fire right about now. The name comes from the porters who carried goods throughout London (who no doubt would love a pint and a fire after work).

Before the 1700s most beers were unaged, publicans blended different casks for the customers (generally an old ale, a new ale, and a weaker one). Porters were the first to be aged at the brewery, and one brewer, Ralph Harwood, produced a beer that embodied all the aspects of the blended ale. Well- hopped and made from brown malt, it was the first beer made on a large scale. The invention of the malt roaster in 1817 introduced black malts, and through the century English Porters (having already arrived in Ireland) made their way to Russia, the Baltic countries and the Americas.

I don’t want to start any arguments by talking about the difference between stouts and porters, but in the 19th century stout was simply used to describe a strong porter, and the theme is history, so I’ll recommend trying Fuller’s Black Cab Stout.

Brewed using 5 malts, this stout -though it drinks quite lightly for a stout- has the roasted coffee, burnt cocoa-toasty goodness you want in the winter. Hints of dark fruits offset the bitterness nicely, and a great beer to start the next few weeks; porter/stout thread!

October 16, 2017

A Beer by Any Other Name: IPAs

No one is a stranger to IPAs anymore. With the huge boom of the style in the microbrewery scene in North America, they’re as common and easy to find as any ol’ domestic. Most of us have heard the tale of the birth of India Pale Ales; highly hopped to help preserve the beer on its journey from England to India.

In the 80s (1780s, that is) a London brewer sent an aggressively hopped beer out, which improved over the journey! Voila! The beer grew in favour, other brewers imitated the style for home, and eventually the style became weaker, turning back into more of a pale ale.

Come round the 70s (1970s) many American brewers set out to recreate nearly-lost British beers – like the almost-extinct IPA. Thank god for them, am I right? They eventually gained popularity back in England too, however we don’t carry and IPAs brewed by British breweries…. But who needs ‘em anyway.

We have quite a selection of IPAs here at BSB, as we should, since they’ve been making a crazy comeback in the last 10 years. And where do I start?! I love me an IPA, so it’s hard for me to write about just ONE!

So let’s talk happy hour IPAS: the 3 that we have on tap, on special, for our happiest of hours are Last Best IPA#3, Banded Peak’s Summit Seeker (a dark red IPA), and (for now, she’s a rotational) Zero Issue’s Nemesis white IPA. You really can’t go wrong with any of them; phenomenal beers, the lot!
ipYAYs, ipHaaays, ipForDayys


October 5, 2017

A Beer by Any Other Name : Bitters

The history of British beers is a bloody complicated endeavor, reaching back to Celtic times, and so much of the history is centered around alehouses and the old school cask ales, which I touched on briefly last week… So I’ll go ahead and start with Bitter beers, I suppose. Seems like as good a place as any to start.

Bitter styles are complicated in and of themselves, with there being several styles within the bitter category: ordinary bitter (least alcohol), premium bitter, and extra special bitter (most alcohol). The name referred to hoppy beers that were gaining popularity in the 19th c. as opposed to the mild beers of the time.

So let’s bitter about it for now. An extra special bitter, if you will. A Fuller’s ESB, for that matter. Two time winner of the title of World Champion Beer, Fuller’s ESB sits at a warming 5.9%. Chestnut in colour, she’s malt-forward, with an orangey-bitter thing going on. With the winter months fast approaching, this is a perfect beer for a chilly fall night in an Old English Pub…say, Bottlescrew Bill’s, for example.

See you soon!

October 2, 2017

A Beer by Any Other Name: An Intro to English Ales

So let’s stop our German historical beer tour, switch ‘er up, and head on an alcohol fuelled journey to England! Brewing in England was well established by the time the Romans invaded, there is evidence that a Celtic brew was often enjoyed by Roman soldiers. Saxons, Angles, and Jutes also celebrated victory in battle in the mead hall with mead or ale.

Beer was a staple in the English diet, and not just for celebration. A preferred choice to water in the middle ages– since the brewing process made it a cleaner option – it also provided nutrients and calories for the everyday man.

Before we get too into the whole history and timeline of English beer styles, let’s focus on our old-school cask ale that we carry here at BSB. For those unfamiliar, a cask beer is unfiltered and unpasteurized, conditioned and served from a cask without additional nitrogen or carbon dioxide. The brewing process is the same until the beer is poured into the cask, where sugar (to help in secondary fermentation) or hops are sometimes added.

We carry our Buzzard Breath Ale, an SOB, in a cask always here at BSB, and once a week a local brewery has a feature cask here, tapped on Thursdays! It changes weekly, and we often run out just a few hours after tapping the cask, so be sure to come down early and try one!