A Conversation for Real Ale

Appetite for Ale

Post 1

Prez HS (All seems relatively quiet here)

Gawd, this makes a man thirsty...
Is the stuff also sold outside the UK?


Appetite for Ale

Post 2

Phil

You can get ales outside the UK, but it depends where you are. You might even be able to get a locally brewed ale as well.


Appetite for Ale

Post 3

Prez HS (All seems relatively quiet here)

In the netherlands?

Hey, maybe I'm getting this ide all to specific. if you can put anything in ale, then maybe many of the wonderfully weird local beers I've had were actually ales. Can belgian beers be considered ales?


Appetite for Ale

Post 4

Phil

Yes most Belgian beers are ales (and very good they are too).

*warning warning technical stuff alert*
Ales are brewed using a top fermenting yeast, this means the yeast floats on top of the fermenting wort. They are traditionally brewed and stored at room or slightly lower temperature.
Lagers are brewed using bottom fermenting yeast, this means the yeast sinks to the bottom during frementation. These are brewed and stored at much cooler temeratures. It's the process of cold storage to condition the beer that where the term lager comes from.
*technical stuff alert over, we're sorry for any inconvienience caused*

I'm sure if you look you'll be able to get real ales and lagers in the Netherlands. Something to look out for might be bottle conditioned ales. These are real ale in a bottle (including the yeast, pour carefully). The ales of the belgian trappist (abbey) varieties are usually sold this way. If I remember correctly one of the trappist abbeys which brews ale is actually in the Netherlands smiley - smiley


Appetite for Ale

Post 5

Phil

Try a look at http://www.pint.nl the Dutch version of camra. It does have a list of Dutch beers and breweries, but I don't understand as those pages aren't in English smiley - sadface


Appetite for Ale

Post 6

Munchkin

Once, while at a CAMRA beer festival, I had something from The Mad Brewers of Essen (I think). I believe it came from Holland and was very nice. A bit too nice actually, as I remember very little. But you definately get nice stuff from Belgium/Holland that does not come under the lager heading.


Appetite for Ale

Post 7

Prez HS (All seems relatively quiet here)

As a matter of fact, though i thank you for all your information and encouraging words, i have had quite a share of RA in my drinking life,
only I didn't know it could be called RA. It is what I drink when I really want to enjoy the taste of beer instead of just sending down the Nth one to see where the Mth one went...


Appetite for Ale

Post 8

Chess Player

smiley - smiley That's one of the things about what we Brits call Real Ale, over here we have to give it a title so that we know the difference. Elsewhere they know it due to the flavour and that's that comes as standard with it.

Pastey
smiley - fish


Beer in the U.S.A.

Post 9

Radagast

Here in the states, we have three types of beer.

1) Megabrews, such as Budweiser & Coors, which are brewed all over the place in huge factories using all manner of low quality ingredients (corn is usually the main ingredient, not barley). The brews made by these guys are usually called pilseners. I say "called", because they bear about as much similarity to the original pilseners, which were lagers brewed in by the Czecks in the 1800s, as Wonder bread does to the stuff Gramma used to bake. Until recently, megabrews were the only domestic beer available in the States. See, up till the 1920s, the US was dotted with all manner of small local breweries who turned out some pretty good brews in small quantities. Many were started by German brewers who immigrated, and picked up where they'd left off in the old country. Beer was as much a part of American life as apple pie- factory workers would even send a kid with a bucket down to the local brewery at lunch time. However, in the 1920s, we had this thing called Prohibition, which has had a lasting effect on the brewing industry. Beer became illegal, and most of the skilled brewers were forced to give up the profession. By the time this dark cloud finally lifted, and beer was legalized, another cloud had descended, called the Depression. Now beer was legal, but nobody had any money to invest in small breweries. Then there was this war, and by the time it was over, and everything calmed down, most of the first generation Germans were too old to think about starting up again, and no one else really knew how to brew. However, there was still a market for beer, so the corporations moved in, and there you have it: megabrewers. No one remembered how good the good stuff was, and so they got away with marketing crap, and calling it the King of Beers. King, perhaps, but then King John was a King too, and look what he did to the poor folks who hung out round Sherwood Forest!

2) Imports. For years, imported beer was the only alternative to megabrews for American beer lovers. German beer was shipped in large quantity, and to a lesser extent, other European brands. European beer was generally higher quality than American beer because Europe was less corporatized, and the beer was made by people who had been making beer for a very long time. However, by the time it got to the US, it was often past its prime. Beer is best when served fresh (unless it's a barleywine, or the like, but that's a whole other story). European beer was also very expensive. Nowadays, it is becoming better known that many of the major European breweries, such as Heineken and Becks are little better than Budweiser in their techniques. While Germany has strict beer purity laws, prohibiting cheap filler grains and preservatives, it is not so well known that these laws only apply to beer that is to be consumed in Germany. Many German brewers brew two very different products, one, for domestic use, complies with the law, while the other, for export to the US, does not. Thus Imported beer ranges in quality from the very good, expensive stuff, brewed by Trappist monks, to German Budweiser such as Becks. In between lie many Irish and English brews such as Guiness and Bass. These are brewed in large factories, but they differ greatly from the large factories of the states in that they are more focussed on quality and purity.

3) Microbrews. In the last fifteen or twenty years, a Robin Hood has come to the US to rob some business from the tyrannical King John of Beers. Microbrews have been springing up in this country like teenagers at a kegger. The microbrew movement has its origins in the state of Oregon, which is still one of the greatest places in the world to be if you love good beer. Basically, a microbrewery is a brewery that brews under a certain amount of barrels a year. The exact definition changes from place to place, and besides, I don't have the numbers on the top of my head. What I can tell you is that it's a fraction of what yer average Bud factory makes. Now keeping the quantity down doesn't garuntee good quality, but for some reason, it's tended to work that way. Most microbreweries are highly comitted to using only the finest ingredients, (many conform to Germany's law, and contain only water, barley, yeast, and hops). Also, most are overseen by a single "brewmaster", who has usually devoted his (yes, they are usually men) life to good beer, and often has studied under European brewmasters. Though you will find the occasional brewery that's just in it for the money, trying to cash in on the good image of microbrewing, for the most part, micros have great integrity. Also worth noting is that outside of imports form the British Isles, about the only ale you'll find in the states is microbrewed. This is mainly because the megas are based on the German lager tradition.

As for "Real Ale", it is rare to find beer shipped still fermenting, but it does happen. If you're ever in Boston, MA, head over to Doyle's Cafe, and ask for a pint of Tremont Cask Conditioned Ale. When in Portland, Oregon, check out Bridge Street Brewing Co.'s brewpub- they usually have more than one cask conditioned ale on tap. A growing number of micros are now bottling their brews unpasturized and unfiltered for real taste. Hopefully, this trend, like the microbrew trend itself, will continue until the Good King Richard of Small Batches of Unadulterated Beer Everywere returns and takes his rightful place on the throne.


Beer in the U.S.A.

Post 10

flashman

Thanks for putting my mind at rest Radagast.
I'm visiting Kentucky/Tennessee later this year and had resigned myself to not getting a decent pint.
But now hope springs eternal. All I need to know now is can I get a decent curry in the US?


Curry in the U.S.A.

Post 11

Radagast

Good curry in the USA? Certainly. In Kentucky/Tennessey? Not sure. They do have good bourbon though! smiley - winkeye


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Appetite for Ale

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