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Pikesville Straight Rye

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It can't be a coincidence that the place where rye was most popular before is the place where it has become popular again.

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  • 8 months later...

I have a vague and unprovable opinion that more emphatic tastes are preferred near the ocean. I believe that the (bluntly) maritime odors encourage strong flavors and tastes as contrast and concealment.

I think as well, to some degree, industrial pollution tends to favor extreme (strength) tastes and flavors in a particular city or region.

I think in areas where you've got the wood pulp and turpentine smells (areas of georgia) you'ld have HECK selling any gin, they'd be comparitively flavorless in that ambiance.. that is btw where i discovered SLOE gin..

I just notice that rye and seaports, overproof rum and pirates, monongahela and riverboats, the islay scotches..

it do seem that high intensity liquors are most appreciated and most prevalent near water of some sort.. and i can't help but think ambient stink is part of the reason why..

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Interesting theory. German pils beers from the far north bear out what you say, Jever is the classic type, very well-hopped and firm, whereas the "interior" beers of Bavaria are more malty and soft.

In England, Adnams bitter on the southeast coast is quite bitter and has been said to have a "seaweed" taste: beers in central England tend perhaps to be sweeter and softer again (Holts and Hyde in Manchester being an exception, but I am thinking e.g., of the great beers of the centre and west of Yorkshire, or London beers, or the Scotch ales).

In northern Holland near the water, very flavorful, sharp, herbal genevers are traditional.

This could be true as a general rule although there will always be exceptions.


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Just continuing to think on this, Beck's is a Bremen or Hamburg beer (made near the North Sea I know) but is notably mild and round. However Beck's is I think an early example of a beer made with an eye to the international market.

Anchor Steam beer and its derivatives on the west coast was famously flavorful especially in the pre-microbrewery era (which it helped inspire), so more proof of the theory.

Yet in L.A., beers such as Acme ruled, blandish and mild. Yet I am not sure I would style L.A., then or now, a coastal city...

The Milwaukee and other interior U.S. beers would have followed Bavarian lines until blandified to appeal to a mass market.

New England as you say had rum, as do the Canadian Maritimes, and a rum (ot least today) of no great distinction, but as you say too in the old days the taste must have been weaned on strong earthy overproofs.

Here's more proof of the theory: pastis and its variants are legion all around the Mediteranian rim. That drink has a strong smack of anise, ouzo on the Greek Islands is an example.

Strong dill and caraway liquors ruled and still do in Scandinavia with its endless rocky coasts.

Strong Baltic stouts appealed along the Baltic sea and inland to a point, yes.

I think you have something there.


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