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  1. #11
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    Re: new bourbon cask ale...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillman View Post
    ...The micros simply restored and built on that tradition...
    Gary
    Well, that's mostly accurate, but is a bit dismissive and misses the point. What you are really describing is Britain's Camra movement more than West Coast brewing in the '80s.

    What marks the microbreweries of the West Coast in the '80s is that they were self-consciously inventive and experimental - especially with their heavy-handedness with hops the further North one went. The generation of microbrewers that came in after the tough old survivor Anchor Steam and the young upstart New Albion of Sonoma showed it was legal and possible to run a microbrewery again started with traditional recipes and took them in bold, sometimes awful, directions for the joy of making something new - rarely a historical recreation like the focus of the British Camra movement.

    Here's an article you may find of interest that describes how those darned liberals in Berkeley made brewpubs legal in the US:
    http://www.edibleeastbay.com/pages/a...fs/brewPub.pdf

    Here's another article that tells the story of West Coast brewers as I remember it unfolding. It's not the best article, and many of us probably know more to this story than the article recounts, but it was handy:
    http://www.allaboutbeer.com/features/244westcoast.html

    What I can't find documentation of is that I distinctly remember Michael Lovett of New Albion/Mendocino Brewing telling me that New Albion needed to get some legislation enacted in order to make microbreweries feasible. Maybe it's the Bates/Sebastiani legislation in the first citation, but my foggy memory of 20 years ago wants to say it was more than that.

    I'd be interested to read Jeff's thoughts on this.

    Roger

  2. #12
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    Re: new bourbon cask ale...

    Somehow my message got duplicated, see my next one please for my reply.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 12-26-2007 at 14:42.

  3. #13
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    Re: new bourbon cask ale...

    Actually we are in agreement, I recall well the ground broken by micros both to set the stage legally for microbrew resurgence and their use e.g., of Cascade hops to develop essentially new beer styles (notably American Pale Ale). In more recent years, we have seen also the development of so-called extreme beer styles which in some cases lay a claim to doing something genuinely new. All I am saying is, most of the beers being made by micros existed before Prohibition (including stouts, pale ales, bocks, wheat beers). I take away nothing from those who broke ground legally to create microbrewing in the U.S. and to the stylistic innovations they have shown, but the earliest beers were and many still are e.g., conventional top-fermented ale styles. CAMRA started by trying to preserve what existed before in real ale. Therefore, I'd have thought that these recipes and processes were in the annals of the oldest U.S. big brewers, but perhaps they have forgotten about them or what the beers made with all-malt and a decent amount of hops actually tasted like, so committed have they been to making industrially sound but very light-tasting lager beers. So this is a point that I think is relevant in addition to the market objectives of the big brewers of not making anything too assertive.

    When I said "this may be", it was a turn of phrase, I was trying really to make an additional point.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 12-26-2007 at 14:38.

  4. #14
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    Re: new bourbon cask ale...

    I had a new all-malt Michelob a couple of days ago, and it appears that AB's focus groups aren't yet ready for the level of robust flavors that any number of brewpubs serve their thirsty clientele daily.

    Roger
    Last edited by Rughi; 12-26-2007 at 14:48.

  5. #15
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    Re: new bourbon cask ale...

    In my view, Michelob, invented in 1896 as a draft-only, all-malt beer - the spec was changed in the late 50's or early 60's when the beer was first bottled - had to taste close to the way, say, the Czech Budvar still does or the other best European lager beers. As in the case of Budweiser, inspiration was drawn by A-B from Czech models and the original beers therefore would have been surely rich, well-hopped and well-lagered. My friends in commercial brewing tell me that hop rates and the percentage of barley malt in mass market beers have fallen off in the last 50 years. So A-B had a chance to make a great beer again with Michelob when it returned it to all malt. However, I think A-B missed the mark. Maybe because of the focus groups, maybe too because the true taste of a Bohemian-style lager was felt by A-B itself just not to be beer (as it has viewed it for generations), the beer ended up falling short to a lot of craft beer fans. It isn't bad but is rather dryish and a little bland for a traditional all-malt lager. Most of the beers in the Michelob specialty range have been just so-so again in my opinion. The Porter is not bad. I like the Amber Bock the best I think, but it doesn't taste like a craft beer. I find it ironic that the new all-malt Michelob seems less characterful than the 1970's one I recall which (according to one of Jackson's early books) had an 80% malt spec.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 12-26-2007 at 15:26.

  6. #16
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    Re: new bourbon cask ale...

    Holy Cow, Gary
    You've been thinking a lot about the Michelob line. AB indeed did draw inspiration from a great tradition of malts, even down to ...honoring... the name Budweiser by their use of it.

    Roger

  7. #17
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    Re: new bourbon cask ale...

    Well, I've had an interest in the company from way back (also its business history and the ability of the Busch line to grow dramatically but also keep control of the business). And it was based on the excellence of the products, even by the 1970's these were good characterful products and pretty much (with Coors and one or two others) at the top of the game for U.S. brewing. I believe that today, due to a misguided focus on what the market wants and also perhaps on the desire to control costs, the beers have rather less character than 30 years ago let alone 60 and 100 years ago. It's too bad because the actual flavor of these drinks (Bud and Michelob) is very good, they actually still have a characteristic, pleasant taste but it is subtle. If you could build up again that flavor (just add more of what is already in there) these would be great products again. Anyway I am not complaining because we have a plethora of choice from our craft brewers, but it is a pity - from the standpoint of this committed beer fan - to see the products as lean in flavor as they are today. Ditto Coors.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 12-27-2007 at 00:27.

  8. #18

    Re: new bourbon cask ale...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillman View Post
    In my view, Michelob, invented in 1896 as a draft-only, all-malt beer - the spec was changed in the late 50's or early 60's when the beer was first bottled - had to taste close to the way, say, the Czech Budvar still does or the other best European lager beers.
    Here's A-B's story of Michelob, circa 1953 (i.e., before it was available as a bottled/pasteurized heer). I've always found it amusing, especially it's availability only in "taverns of the better sort" and having to be "dispensed by connoisseurs", etc.


    http://jesskidden.googlepages.com/michelob%2C1953

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillman View Post
    I find it ironic that the new all-malt Michelob seems less characterful than the 1970's one I recall which (according to one of Jackson's early books) had an 80% malt spec.
    In the late 70's, I once had fresh draught Michelob at the Columbus OH A-B brewery. It was a very nice beer, with a great hop nose and flavor. I never experienced that in a Michelob before or since (not that I spent that much time looking for it - even then, I didn't buy A-B, Miller or Coors products, so my experience tended to be from "free" beer at parties or breweries). I always assumed that the "common beer geek wisdom" of the time, that "Bottled and canned Michelob, while successful financially, was a failure as far as the beer went" was true.
    Last edited by jesskidden; 12-27-2007 at 06:55.

  9. #19
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    Re: new bourbon cask ale...

    Thanks, Jess, I never saw that blurb, most informative. I always felt pasteurisation never did much good for hop character and this seems to support this.

    Gary

  10. #20
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    Re: new bourbon cask ale...

    no, i won't buy this again...

    but it wasn't awful. it was better than most A-Busch products!

    i should've looked at the label better. man, they are good at minimal disclosure...

    anyways, it was a bit too sweet. i don't really like too sweet or too bitter beers.

    there are MANY great ales and beers out there.

    but i admit, i am never disappointed with basic Sam Adams, Yuengling and some Saranac beers (esp. the Kolsch!) as everyday glugs...
    HUP!

 

 

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