Beer Haiku Friday and Mayhem Achieved, Boredom Relieved

From Beer Haiku Daily, a wonderful poem about a wonderful beer. It is called “Duvel“:

Billowy white cloud
Looms over splendid sunshine
The Devil smiles

From the Malthouse Blog, this week’s post covers dictionaries, imps, hops, mayhem, more hops, brewing philosophies, an inability to do subtle, more hops again, Saint Andrews Day and… free whisky? It is all in “Mayhem Achieved, Boredom Relieved“:

In a revelation that ranks right up there with ‘sun rises in the morning’ and ‘Jacob Oram is injured’, Luke Nicholas confesses “I love flavours, especially hops. Subtlety isn’t something I am good at. I like to turn up the flavours.” Various entrepreneurs should consider manufacturing a range of “subtlety isn’t something I am good at” t-shirts. I would certainly buy one.

Glass Tips – Those excellent dudes at Beer Haiku Daily and the fine fellows at Malthouse dot com

Kirin Sparkling Hop

Alerting New Zealand! You have wasted your hop on a terrible beer-like beverage that is currently on sale in Japan. (The beer advertising says “New Zealand Hop Included” on the can.)

Ah, another season and another new seasonal Japanese beer. Guess what? Yes, it’s a lager. Actually, “Sparkling Hop” isn’t even beer. It’s happoshu, a beer-like beverage with low malt content. It’s popularity is primarily driven by the fact it falls under a different taxation law than beer and is thus about 30% cheaper than the usual mediocre real beer lagers.

Is Beer a Recession Proof Industry?

Since the summer of 2007, the shortage has pushed the cost of hops from around $3-$5 a pound to $20-$40 a pound. It has forced almost all craft brewers — small, independent and traditional breweries — to raise retail prices. Smaller brewers, who don’t typically have contracts on hops, have had to pay the higher costs, alter recipes or turn to less hoppy brews such as wheat beers, stouts and Pilsners.

Despite rising prices and a shortage in hops, craft beer — beer made by small, independent and traditional breweries — has grown 6.5% in volume and 11% in sales in the first half of 2008, roughly the same amount as the same period last year, Mr. Gatza says. According to the Brewers Association, in 2006 and 2007, 47 of the top 50 craft brewing companies grew in production to keep up with demand. So far this year about 42 of the top 50 are growing to keep up with demand, Mr. Gatza said.

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Craft Brewers Reformulate Beer to Cope With Hop Shortage

At Pacific Coast Brewing here, brewer Donald Gortemiller is reworking his recipes and altering his brewing styles like never before.

Gortemiller isn’t acting on a spurt of creativity. He’s coping with a worldwide shortage of hops — the spice of beer. The dry cones of a particular flowering vine, hops are what give your favorite brew its flavor and aroma. Prices of the commodity are skyrocketing as hop supplies have plummeted, forcing smaller brewmasters around the United States to begin quietly tweaking their recipes, in ways that are easily discerned by serious imbibers.

The shortage — caused by a dwindling number of hop growers worldwide, and exacerbated by a Yakima, Washington, warehouse fire — has forced Gortemiller to use fewer and different hops than before, changing the flavor of his beer. He’s also resorted to beer hacks, like “dry hopping,” in which the hops are added late to the mix, consuming fewer hops and yielding a more consistent flavor.

“When hops were $2 a pound, compared to $20 or $30 a pound now, it didn’t matter. We’d throw them into the boil at various times,” Gortemiller says. “That was an inaccurate way of doing things. We’re modifying recipes and using about 20 percent less hops.”

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Fire destroys hop kiln

A fire, described as the worst in the town in three years, destroyed a hop kiln shed in Motueka on Sunday morning.

No one was inside the shed at the time and firefighters took about 40 minutes to get the blaze under control, Chief Fire Officer Mike Riddell said.

The building, owned by Northwood Hop Company, contained five kilns and associated processing equipment, as well as part of the season’s harvest, all of which was lost, the Nelson Mail reported.

The fire was not being treated as suspicious, Mr Riddell said.

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Green gamble pays off

The region’s hop harvest is in full swing with the aromatic flowers being stripped from the vines to add flavour to beers around the world. Anne Hardie talks with a Tadmor family who took a punt nearly 20 years ago to grow organic hops and are now reaping the rewards.

“People said, `No one wants organic beer’.”

Now their organic hops are fetching three times the price of those grown conventionally, and while their costs are higher, it’s giving them more market choice.

Full Story