Tuesday night I met with Rich aka GreenCard, aka Project: Expatriated for a couple beers at my local. He’s been living in England for the last few months, and in Belgium for the year before that.
Beerwise and otherwise, it sounds like he enjoyed Belgium quite a bit more. Considering his stories of visiting farmhouse style breweries in the countryside, its hard not to. The beucolic scene of this old country brewing is really enchanting, not to mention the unique contribution it makes to the beer world.
We swapped some homebrew, including a barleywine that he brewed before moving to Belgium that has been aging all the while. I cracked one and it was delicious. Flavors of port, raisin and even orange peel mixed with the slightly spicey and generous body for a really excellent effect. I doubt the IPA I gave him will be nearly as good.
Not content with blissful ignorance about beer’s origins, Geraint Bevan has started a list of beers he knows to be vegetarian, or in some cases, vegan friendly.
What? Aren’t all beers vegetarian? Well, no. Some animal byproducts such as isinglass are used for clarity. Isinglass is a derivative of gelatin, a protein most often collected from pig or cattle hide or bone. In beer, most isinglass comes from fish swim bladders. As such, they aren’t fit for vegetarians.
An alternative to isinglass is Irish moss, which is dried seaweed. It seems a no-brainer, but there are probably reasons people prefer to use isinglass, including custom.
When I brew, I use Irish moss, so my veggie friends need not worry. Even that beer that ended up tasting like over-salted pork contained no animal products. It was just an overdose of sanitizing solution.
thanks to Al for the link.
New evidence has surfaced that the Chinese may have been fermenting drinks up to 9,000 years ago. This is even earlier than was originally known about fermentation in Babylon. Many view the control of fermentation as the sign of civilization.
Judging from the bottle pictured in the article, they must have instituted a bottle return policy.
-thanks to Troy for link.