Lager is the uncontested champion of the beer world when it comes to sales, but unfortunately it can also be a bit boring (excluding our friends at Jack's Abby) thanks to a limited number of yeast strains available. This week we'll learn that that's about to change, though, as scientists have done some cross breeding and have added depth to the lager yeast gene pool. You'll also read about beer brewed with lobsters, an official Walking Dead beer, and a fascinating story about the ice beer fad from the 90s.
1. The Insane, Improbable, Unbelievable History of Ice Beer
If you're of a certain age (mainly born before the 1990s) you probably remember a brief period in time where it seemed like every major brewery had an "ice" beer. The process was developed by Labatt, and involved partially freezing beer and gently removing ice crystals to produce a very smooth beer with more alcohol. The competition was furious, and the stakes were high, but in the end ice beer is just remembered as a gimmicky flash in the pan.
2. Maine Brewer Makes Beer Out of Live Lobsters, Sea Salt
Not to be outdone by the Florida brewers who made beer with crabs earlier this year, Oxbow Brewing Company in Maine has concocted a crustacean brew of their own using Maine's most famous animal: the lobster. Live lobsters were placed in the kettle while the wort was boiled in order to impart a subtle brininess to the 4.5% ABV saison. Nothing went to waste, either, as the lobsters were later eaten. Actually, lobster cooked in wort sounds like it might be pretty delicious!
3. "The Walking Dead" is Getting Its Own Official Blood-Soaked Beer
Fans of the popular AMC series know that the show mostly takes place in and around Atlanta, so it's fitting that Terrapin Brewing Company (also Atlanta based) was tapped to brew an official beer for the Walking Dead. Billed as a red IPA, the addition of blood orange peel will give the beer a citrus kick, as well as the hue its name suggests. The jury is out on whether this will just be another gimmicky tie-in, but Terrapin has a strong reputation, so hopes are high.
4. Scientists Make the First New Lager Yeasts In Centuries
While there is a wide array of ale yeasts that produce myriad flavor profiles, there's little diversity in lager yeast, which is why it has changed so little in the past few hundred years. That's about to change, though, as scientists have successfully crossed a common strain of lager yeast with a more recently discovered strain that has produced promising results. This opens up the doors to greater diversity in lagers, which still absolutely dominate the beer field from a sales standpoint.
5. Which MLB Stadium's Beer Offers You the Greatest Value?
Summer means baseball in America, and who doesn't enjoy a cold brewski while watching the game? The problem is that stadium pricing is so obscene, that you often end up paying more than the price of admission for a round of beers. This helpful chart ranks every MLB stadium by how cheap their smallest beer is, and the price per ounce. If you're looking for the most bang for your buck, it looks like it's best to skip the Northeastern parks, and head straight to the Southwest!
6. The World's Biggest Beer Garden Opens in Raleigh
Move over, Munich, the world's largest beer garden is now in America. North Carolina has become a destination for beer lovers, so it comes as no surprise that it's in Raleigh. With 144 local beers, and 222 taps devoted to beers from around the country, you could literally drink a different beer every day for a year and a day. The 8500 square foot space is large enough to get lost in, but that sounds like a problem we wouldn't mind having.
July and August are known as the "dog days" of summer, named after the "dog star" Sirius in the constellation Canus Major by ancient Mediterranean people. But mostly we associate the dog days with the hottest, laziest days of the year. In honor of this time, our host Michael has selected some dog-themed beers for you to sample in his latest First Draft. As we approach 4000 breweries in the US, you had better believe that there are no shortage of breweries and beers with dog in the title!
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