Freitag, 26. August 2016



Parkheuvels Bier van de Overkant
Style: Pale Ale
Hops: Sladek, Amarillo, Columbus, Citra, Mosaic

This beer was made extra for a restaurant Parkheuvels using a combination of Czech (Sladek) and American (Amarillo, Columbus, Citra, Mosaic) hops. Two things that are interesting about all beers from Kaapse Brouwers is that they brew using Sladek – which in the age of using American hops is unusual. Second is that they really say what is in the beer (dear Belgian brewers – please learn!).

One more rather confusing thing – Ratebeer claims that this brew was barrel aged. I haven’t found any info on that on the bottle. Maybe Kaapse could add something? It could be important, because all people all beating the shit out of “Parkheuvels…” because they cannot sense barrel aging…

Still, it is very decent pale ale, amber red in color, big thick head that stays long. Combination of herbal fruity-Sladek and citrus from American hops is clearly there in aroma and taste. As a freak, I would prefer to have more than 46 EBU (European Bitterness Unit), but this small detain does not change the fact that it is very good beer, very drinkable one. Worth tying.

Style: Saison
Hops: Sladek

Ok, very hard to write long story about that one. Harrie is a mono-hop beer, very surprising in our times and it works. I was rather skeptically how would the fruity-spicy-herbal Sladek go along with the saison beer, but no worries here. Harrie is orange colored beer with small head and medium carbonation. Aroma is a mixture of spicy and herby nots and so is the taste. It is different from any saison I have tried before and a very pleasant surprise. Nice!

Style: Saison with the white wine
Hops: Apollo, Saaz, Sladek and Hallertau Blanc

What makes Tess potentially interesting is the combination of Czech-American yeasts (for me especially Saaz is surprising, it’s a canonical Czech hop) and Hallertau Blanc (aroma compared to the white wine). Sadly, the combination does not really work.

Tess is red/amber in color, has a thick red head (stays really very long). Beer smells and tastes mostly like a combination of some malts, bit citrus and some cheesy notes. Overall feeling is that using the broad palette of hops have killed the beer, I cannot smell American hopes, also herbal notes from Sladek are mostly gone and the white wine is only on the label. Below average. I was expecting it much better.

Donnerstag, 25. August 2016

Kawa Na Ławe, coffee lager

Kawa na Ławe

Style: lager
Brewed: Hopster
Tested: Bottle, August 2016

According to Wikipedia, Coffea Arabica is believed to be the first species ever cultivated. First domesticated in Ethiopia, this coffee accounts to 70-80% of world production.
Even if I am no expert, I drink more than enough coffee to recognize one. And “Kawa na Ławe” certainly has a lot of coffee in it. The light lager was brewed with Polish hops and addition of Arabica grains.
Poor lager (paraphrasing South Park “You killed lager you …)

Since the name “Kawa na Ławe” (literal translation is to put a coffee on the table) means to go directly to the problem without fiddling around, lets do it.

This beer has a deep gold-brown color with small head. Roasted grains aroma, mixed with some coffee notes.
So far, so good.
But the taste is pretty pure coffee, even in the aftertaste. In fact, the overall effects are like you would dilute an extremely strong coffee with some weak beer. If tested blindly, one could easily forget there is a beer part in it.

The overall effect is rather drinkable and interesting but I am not sure if I would try it again. Btw. Does somebody knows whether a brew made like that would have lot caffeine as well? If yes it is a plus for “Kawa na Ławe” – one could imagine its use as party drink (for beer geeks).

Mittwoch, 24. August 2016

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Dienstag, 23. August 2016

Science meets Lager beer - a report from the European Beer Bloggers & Writers conference in Amsterdam

EBBC2016 Report #1

H41 Lager

For me as scientist, congresses are very essential. It’s the way you can get a concentrated amount of information during the small amount of time. You can meet your idol and you can hear the background stories, you would never learn before.

Being on my first beer-related congress, I have realized one more thing – you can also try beer that you would never try in your life.

Some background story – at the time I was starting my adventure with beer, Poland was a beer desert. Major production was lagers (and there were some more lagers available). Then I have moved to Germany, sadly, Germans would also prefer lagers and pils – type beers (and whatever they claim, their commercial its almost the same – boring). All this years lead to the situation, that even if I would stumble upon the bottle of the new lager from Heineken  - I wouldn’t bother to open it.

But during the EBWC2016, we have heard the story from Willem van Waesberghe - the master brewer of Heineken (I think that the official title is: Global Craft and Brew Master, Global Commerce Innovation. He definitely has got my attention the moment he have started describing the yeast strain that is used to brew Heineken lagers. As I said before – I wouldn’t care about lagers, but the yeast strain is really exciting. So the strain – called the A-strain (I think that the taxonomical name is Saccharomyces pastorianus) is a hybrid of the most common yeast  - Saccharomyces cerevisae and the unknown strain. Willem described the story of the identification of the second parental strain by Diego Libkind in Patagonia (for freaks like me - see the original publication in PNAS S. eubayanus was found on Cyttaria fungi that are know parasites of the tree bark in Patagonia (for me exciting, sorry).
At some point Heineken decided to start to experiment with Saccharomyces eubayanus (btw. I think that the strain is accessible at the yeast repository in Utrecht and as long as you are not going commercial, you could obtain it).
The way from yeast to beer was painful, but at the end Heineken has managed to optimize the process so that the lager could be made. On top, after signing the commercial agreement – Heineken is the only company worldwide (with the exception of Argentina) that can use S. eubayanus for brewing.
At this part, the science was over and so was my interest – very interesting story, but just another lager.

But we got some bottles per table and were asked to try.

Holly wack! I admit, I knew that yeast can do a lot to the beer, but given that Heineken is not using any of modern aroma hops this beer is a blast!
No, no sarcasm. This may be the most innovative lager I have tried since years. You know, it is not hard (relative) to put some Cascade hops in the lager process and be happy that your lager has now interesting fruity aromas.
But to exchange yeast stain and get a beer that is full of fruity aromas is really something.

For now I have two questions – where I can get a box to keep it in my beer basement. Second  - XX, I never thought I will be asking – do you mind sharing some bottles?

Samstag, 20. August 2016

Kawko i Mlekosz, Oatmeal Stout


Style: Oatmeal Stout
Brewed: PiwoWarownia
Tested: Bottle, August 2016

I usually do not give up easily. This was the reason why I have given PiwoWarownia another try. Two first were a fail in my eyes (or rather taste buds). Can Kawko i Mlekosz turn the tide?
Short explanation to non-Polish readers – the name of the beer is a double charade and refers to the two facts:
1.     Kajko i Kokosz – two famous Polish comic characters – something like Slavic Asterix and Obelix (you can even see the shapes of their heads in the letters on the beer cover)
2.     It refers to the type of the beer – Kawko is coming from Coffee and Mlekosz directly from Milk. So it’s a Coffee Stout

Sadly, the name is the best invention PiwoWarownia had in this beer. This is supposed to be coffee milk stout with vanilla addition. Unfortunately, the whole thing is so watery that all the aromas are very, very hard to detect. Since it’s coffee milk stout I will give try to give it a note by a comparison many of you will understand.

Imagine yourself hot, aromatic vanilla macchiato prepared from freshly grinded beans by a barista in the cafeteria somewhere in Italy (or at least at McCafee or Starbucks)? Lovely, isn’t it?

Well, Kawko i Mlekosz is cold all-in-the-bag Nescafe + conditioner prepared on the scout camp. It is drinkable, but certainly no pleasure.