Beer, Beer, & Better Beer

Woodn't You Like to Know? Barrel Aging & Beer
Kate Van Doren, resident beer maven | October 28, 2016
Beer Science, Barrels, Wood

kateWell into the 1900's beer was still being transported, stored, and served from wooden barrels. Brewers tried to avoid any flavors the wood may lend to the beer by soaking the barrels in boiling water or hydrochloric acid, then they would line the barrels with pitch, which is basically tree sap, to prevent leakage. Today, we turn to barrels for a different reason: flavor. The two most common wooden vessels being used today are bourbon and wine barrels, but any barrel that once held a flavorful liquid (or even new oak barrels) 

will do. 

Brewers must carefully select which barrel will match best with the beer they tuck away inside. Bourbon whisk(e)y barrels provide boozy notes from its previous occupant with notes of vanillin, toast, smoke, and spice from the charring process of the wood. Wine barrels work much the same way, providing another layer of vinous flavor to the finished beer. Certain barrels can also have loads of microflora living in the wood itself, providing funk (brettanomyces) and sour (lactobacillus). 

Which barrels are paired up with a style is really up to the brewer, but often darker beers find their mate in bourbon/whisk(e)y or red wine barrels, while lighter styles lounge away in oaky chardonnay barrels. Keep an eye out for gin, rum, tequila, and vermouth barrel-aged treats too. Barrel aged goodies are the perfect fall and winter warmer. Sorry, pumpkin beers. But, not really.

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HopCat Presents Local Spins Live at River City Studios
Chris Knape | October 19, 2016
Music, HopCat, Grand Rapids

HopCat Presents Local Spins Live at River City Studios is a monthly showcase of up-and-coming bands filmed at River City Studios in Grand Rapids with music site LocalSpins.com. Fueled by Crack Fries and Craft Beers, these intimate appearances are almost as fun to watch online as they are to enjoy live, especially if you've got a craft beer in hand.

Check out the latest episodes!

Watching For Foxes

 

The Muteflutes

 

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HopCat - Chicago opens big
| October 4, 2016
Video, Chicago, Grand Opening

We had so much fun at our opening of HopCat - Chicago in the the Lincoln Park neighborhood. We hope you enjoy this video recap of the celebration. Find out more about HopCat - Chicago at hopcat.com/chicago

Special thanks to Heaters, the band which provides the awesome soundtrack for this video.

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