Sunday, May 20, 2018

Beer School

J. Wilson prepares the off flavor beer samples under Cory O'Neel's watchful eye

 Have you ever had a beer that tasted "off" but you didn't know why?  There are a lot of factors that can cause those off flavors in your beer.  Maybe the brewer needed to boil the wort a bit longer?  Maybe there was too much oxygen in the beer when they packaged it?  Maybe the beer was bottled in clear/green glass and was exposed to sunlight?  There are so many things that can make a good beer go bad, and the brewery doesn't always have control of them all.

The Iowa Brewers Guild held an Off Flavor Beer Class for both professional brewers and beer enthusiasts alike.  I was lucky enough to sit in on the brewers class (although I was told they are basically the same class.)  The class was taught by Brewing QA/QA Microbiologist Cory O'Neel.  Cory has worked in the brewing industry for many years for both small and extremely large breweries.  After a quick hello with him before class, it was obvious why J. chose him to teach the class, he know his stuff.

We all tried 12 different samples that were spiked with off flavors.  Some off flavors I didn't taste at all, some were very subtle to me, and were very obvious.  As it turns out, I'm more sensitive to the off flavors that come during and after packaging, but I'm also pretty sensitive to different acids.  The final sample of the afternoon was butyric acid, and Cory described it as "baby puke" to the class.  I heard one brewer ask, "how would anyone even know what that tastes like?"  Obviously he's not a dad yet!  Of course, that probably was the strongest flavor of the day too.  All in all, it was a good class that I would recommend to anyone who's into craft beer, and to everyone that home brews.

This class was hosted at the Quarter Barrel Arcade and Brewery in Cedar Rapids.
This was my first time here, but hopefully not my last.  It's in an older industrial brick building with classic brewery signs on the wall, and classic arcade games everywhere.  Not only did they host the off flavor class, but they made a few pizzas for everyone to enjoy after the class was over.  They were top notch.  Not to put anyone down, but I ate at a very popular Cedar Rapids pizzeria earlier in the day, and this was better.  When you visit, I would plan on taking a taxi or an Uber as parking seems to be an issue around the brewery, but that just means you get to enjoy a few more of their beers responsibly!

While the beer class was very educational and a great experience, it was just a bonus for me.  The main reason I drove nearly two hours was to record a podcast with J. Wilson.  J. is the Minister of Iowa Beers for the Iowa Brewers Guild.
In the podcast we discussed what the Iowa Brewers Guild does for both Iowa breweries and craft beer fans alike.  We talked about the Iowa Beer Army, you can sign up on the Guild's site, and a special event just for the Iowa Beer Army later this summer.  He even talks about being named "Beer Drinker of the Year."  We also discussed the Iowa Craft Beer Festival, happening in Des Moines on June 16th.  I urge everyone that can go to do so, you will be amazed at how much great beer we have in Iowa.  Click on the link to get your tickets while you can.  The VIP tickets have already sold out (that's OK, there will still be more beer than you can possibly try in a day.)

You can find my podcast with J. Wilson on iTunes, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, and Patreon.  Just search "Crinkltalk"  Once you find it, you can click to subscribe so you never have to search for it again.

Don't forget to check out Uncle Medard Outdoors at  Dan will have up new inventory soon!!

No comments:

Post a Comment