New Breweries Entering Our Markets and a Unique Beer Gadget
Water is the most predominant ingredient in beer, yet we hardly ever consider the type of H2O found in our brews. Iceland is known for its glacial water, considered the purest water in the world, with highly desirable pH and alkaline qualities that make it ideal for brewing beer. Now available in California and Nevada are the beers from Einstök, a fairly new brewery founded in 2011, which hails from Northern Iceland about 60 miles from the Arctic Circle, which uses pure glacial water tapped straight from a local mountain. Einstök’s brews have recently won some impressive accolades including earning Double Gold status in the 8th Annual New York International Beer Competition for its White Ale in the Belgian-style Witbier category. The brewery also entered five other beers, all of which also received awards. I sampled the Arctic Berry Ale—5% ABV summer ale with wheat malt, pilsner malt, oats, Bavarian hops and hand-picked Icelandic bilberries that is flavorful without being overly sweet; White Ale—5.2% ABV made with wheat malt, pilsner malt, oats, Bavarian noble hops, coriander and orange peel for a subtle spiciness; Arctic Pale Ale—5.6% ABV brewed with pale ale malt, crystal malt and chocolate malt and three kinds of hops: American Cascade and Northern Brewer and Bavarian Hallertau to give it a hoppy start and malty finish; and Toasted Porter—6% ABV, brewed with chocolate malt and authentic Icelandic roasted coffee, smooth and roasty with a subtle coffee undertone.
Also a new entrant to our markets is the Kansas City-based Boulevard Brewing Company, the largest specialty brewer in the Midwest now in 40 states and Washington D.C. I sampled the Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale—8.5% ABV saison/farmhouse ale with grapefruit hoppy notes and dry, peppery, lingering finish; Tropical Pale Ale—5.9% ABV with grapefruit and passionfruit juices blended with hops bringing citrus, papaya, pine and spice notes; The Calling IPA—8.5% ABV double IPA with minimal malt to let the eight hop varieties shine; Unfiltered Wheat Beer—4.4% ABV easy drinking, lightly hopped American wheat with natural citrus flavor and sweet bready flavor; and Bourbon Barrel Quad—11.2% ABV abbey-style quadruple aged up to three years in oak bourbon barrels, with cherries adding a tart cherry with caramel notes.
Just when you thought there weren’t any more innovations or gadgets to help you optimize enjoyment of your beer, along comes a new product to play with your suds. The 1571 Fahrenheit Beer Caramelizer is inspired by the centuries-old tradition of heating cocktails with a hot poker. The idea is to plunge the stainless steel tool into a hot fire until the tip glows red and then dip into your beer for 2-3 seconds, long enough for the heat to react with the sugars in the beer to create a richer, smoother taste. It comes with an extension rod to maintain a comfortable distance from the heat of the fire. Although it’s suggest you use a campfire, for my ex-beer-iment I used a gas burner on my stove and after taking several sips of untreated beer and heat-dipped beer, I can attest that using this device definitely results in an altered taste, which to my palate was smoother and creamier. Its use is not limited to beer and the makers suggest trying it with any adult beverage.