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Knowledge With Nick Issue 5

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Are you a fan of obtaining new insight into all subject matter surrounding beer, cocktails, and wine? Are you just trying to find out the best way to utilize our self-pour taps to its highest efficiency? Or are you someone who just enjoys a good read? Well if that is you, welcome to our weekly issue of "Knowledge with Nick". Every Wednesday we will be posting answers to customers burning questions. Below are this weeks questions asked to our Beverage Director Nick Baizer.

What are hops?

A perennial climbing vine, also known by the Latin botanical name Humulus lupulus. The female plant yields flowers of soft-leaved pine-like cones (strobile) measuring about an inch in length. Only the female ripened flower is used for flavoring beer. Because hops reproduce through cuttings, the male plants are not cultivated and are even rooted out to prevent them from fertilizing the female plants, as the cones would become weighed-down with seeds. Seedless hops have a much higher bittering power than seeded. There are presently over one hundred varieties of hops cultivated around the world. Some of the best known are Brewer’s Gold, Bullion, Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Cluster, Comet, Eroica, Fuggles, Galena, Goldings, Hallertau, Nugget, Northern Brewer, Perle, Saaz, Syrian Goldings, Tettnang and Willamettes. Apart from contributing bitterness, hops impart aroma and flavor, and inhibit the growth of bacteria in wort and beer. Hops are added at the beginning (bittering hops), middle (flavoring hops), and end (aroma hops) of the boiling stage, or even later in the brewing process (dry hops). The addition of hops to beer dates from 7000-1000 BC; however hops were used to flavor beer in Pharaonic Egypt around 600 BC. They were cultivated in Germany as early as AD 300 and were used extensively in French and German monasteries in medieval times and gradually superseded other herbs and spices around the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Prior to the use of hops, beer was flavored with herbs and spices such as juniper, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, oak leaves, lime blossoms, cloves, rosemary, gentian, gaussia, chamomile, and other herbs or spices.

What is Cask Ale?

Cask Ale, also known as cask-conditioned beer or 'real' ale, is beer that undergoes secondary fermentation in the barrel. Brewers of cask ale don't interfere with it, they don't filter it and they don't pasteurise it. All they do is put fresh live beer straight into the barrel, where, still in unfinished form containing lots of lovely fruity residual yeast, it remains alive and kicking until it lands in your glass. 

Cask conditioning is to beer as the Methode Champenoise is to wine. 

What is homebrewing?

The art of making beer at home. In the U.S., homebrewing was legalized by President Carter on February 1, 1979, through a bill introduced by California Senator Alan Cranston. The Cranston Bill allows a single person to brew up to 100 gallons of beer annually for personal enjoyment and up to 200 gallons in a household of two persons or more of legal drinking age. Learn more from the American Homebrewers Association.

You can learn more by coming in and speaking to Nick at OZ. Tap House.