Weekly Mix Pack: Bohemian Rhapsody, Faux Imports, and Cheap Sour Beer

By Brett Vanderbrook - Six fresh stories for you to crack open and enjoy!

July is here, and the heat is on! One of the best ways to beat the heat is with a thirst quenching, mouth puckering sour beer. It's like lemonade for beer drinkers. And you can thank a process known as kettle souring for helping to make that sour beer you're quaffing affordable and easily obtainable. You can read all about that in this week's Mix Pack, as well as five other stories we found interesting!

1. How Kettle Souring is Making Sour Beer Cheap and Affordable
In the land where sour beer was born (Belgium) spontaneous fermentation was key to producing that souring character. But fermenting beer in an open vat is risky and time consuming, which is why these beers could be very expensive. A relatively new technique called "kettle souring," which means adding sour-causing bacteria (like lactobacillus) during the mashing process, is making the process faster and less expensive.

2. AB InBev Must Refund Customers for Faux Import Beck's
After Beck's was purchased by AB InBev in 2011, production of the ubiquitous German lager destined for the American market was moved from Bremen to St. Louis. While they did remove "Brewed in Bremen" from the label, a class-action lawsuit charges that AB InBev intentionally misled customers to believe they were still drinking an import. The courts agreed, and now anyone who drank Beck's from 2012 on is eligible for up to a $50 refund with receipts or $12 without.

3. Queen Announces Official Beer Named After "Bohemian Rhapsody"
Craft beer and nostalgia are both selling well, so I guess we shouldn't be too surprised that Queen will be releasing an officially licensed beer to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the song Bohemian Rhapsody. It was brewed in the Czech Republic, and will be called "Bohemian Lager," which is about as lazy of a name as they could have come up with, and the AV Club provides a few alternative names.

4. The Zymatic Turns the Art of Microbrewing into Science
If you haven't seen the Zymatic in action yet, think of it as the Keurig coffee maker of beer. About the size of a microwave, it completely automates the brewing process. You add grain, water, and hops, and the machine does the rest. It allows a brewer a level of control he or she cannot attain through traditional methods, and keeps track of every minute detail, providing insight into how to better the process.

5. Chinese Scientists Believe They May Have Found a Way to Make Beer Good For You
If that headline doesn't grab the attention of a beer-lover, I'm not sure what would. In a recent study, Chinese scientists were able to use gene manipulation in lab rats to turn alcohol into glycogen instead of fat. They compared it to the difference between coal and clean energy, in terms of what this means for the human body, which could lead to decrease in diseases such as liver cancer.

6. Does it Matter Where Your Beer Comes From?
With a host of class-action lawsuits against big brewers for being less than forthwith about where their "imported" beer is brewed, it poses this question: which is better, imported beer or fresh beer? Is it that important that your beer be brewed in its country of origin, where it may have had to travel thousands of miles to get to you, or that the beer you're drinking is as fresh as possible?

Speaking of imported, in his latest First Draft, Michael heads south of the border! Well, not literally, but he does talk about beer from Mexico, a country where pale lager isn't just king; it's virtually the only beer available. But craft beer is slowly gaining momentum in Mexico, and he highlights a few that you ought to try, if you can get your hands on them.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.

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