What To Toast American Craft Beer Week With, Virginia Style.

Now that we find ourselves in the midst of American Craft Beer Week (ACBW), I thought it was high time I pick a few beers in recognition of the week.  These are beers that regardless of your familiarity with craft beer, you might hopefully agree are good choices to celebrate the efforts of all the talented craft brewers out there with.  Perhaps you’ve had them before.  But in line with one of the aims of this blog, these are also beers that have an eye towards those folks who might not be completely “into” craft beer yet, and are unsure what to try.  However, these are also ones that might test a few of the “uncertainties” out there that people hold in regards to craft beer.  In other words, I may just try to dispel a myth or two with a couple picks.  Yes, you may be a tried and true lager person and find yourself actually enjoying an ale or two.

With every beer related article you could hope to find this week also covering some angle of ACBW, and since another goal of my little corner of the internet is to cover Virginia based breweries, these picks will be decidedly from the state as well.  I’m proud to mention we are home to many excellent breweries, and are certainly worthy of plenty of attention during this week.  So whether you enjoy one of these, or another great beer from one of the hundreds of wonderful American craft breweries across our country, get out and try one.  Taste something new.  Taste something different this week.  And don’t forget to take a second to toast the hard working brewers behind those breweries who are true artists, and who are passionate for their craft of brewing quality, flavorful beer.

FIRST PICK.

Blue Mountain “Kolsch 151”

There are still lots of myths out there about how to recognize an ale versus a lager.  Today I’m picking a beer that I personally think is an example of having the best of both worlds.  Ales usually are ready to bottle within a few days of fermentation, and are fermented at warmer temperatures than lagers.  Lagers, well, are “lagered”, meaning to store, in much cooler temperatures, for much longer periods of time.  True lagers reflect the flavor characteristics that such storing causes, when at those colder temperatures, different strains of yeast go to work than the ones that cause typical the “typical” flavors of ales.  But what happens when you produce an ale, and then….”lager” it?  Or store for a while at those cooler temperatures?

The result is a true myth busting beer, and one example is the German Kolsch ale.  Because “paler” colored malted grain is used to produce the style, the color is not dark, yet blonde like to golden.  And what about those flavors?  Some of those otherwise out-in-front ale characteristics are subdued somewhat, and you get, when done well, a refreshing, medium bodied, crisp beer with hop flavors and aromas that are often floral in nature.  Expect a mild, light bread like malt flavor, which is commonly referred to as “biscuity” or even slightly “grassy”.  It would seem as if this would be an easy beer to make, but some are just, like most other styles, not as flavorful as others.  Today’s pick is a personal favorite, and just might make the lager drinker rethinking their next beer selection!

Blue Mountain Brewery, Afton, VA

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~ by thebeerroad on May 18, 2011.

 
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