You can learn a lot from old hombrewers. But sometimes old myths don’t die. We pulled six myths from the homebrewing either and put them to rest.
1. Don’t use aluminum brewing pots. This myth just costs you money. Aluminum brew kettles work just fine — despite what you may read on message boards. They also tend to be cheaper than stainless steel brew kettles, saving you money.
2. You need secondary fermentation. In most cases, you don’t. It can help clarify some beers, but it’s almost never necessary. Plus, you introduce a lot of infection risk by transferring your beer, to say nothing about the additional oxygen you expose your beer to.
3. Homebrewing will save you money. If you’ve brewed, you know this isn’t true. Like all hobbies, brewing is going to cost you money. And unlike professional breweries, you’re not making enough beer to benefit from economies of scale.
4. Don’t squeeze your grain bag. This myth comes because people think squeezing will release the tannins in the grain. But tannins are only released by chemical reaction, not the pressure of your hand. Feel free to sqeeze your grain bag to get as much wort out of it as you can — it will increase your original gravity and won’t add any additional tannins.
5. Plastic fermenters let too much oxygen in. Considering investing in a glass carboy? Don’t worry about it. Unless you’re fermenting beer for a very long time (three or more months, at least), a plastic bucket isn’t going to let in enough oxygen to impact your beer.
6. Don’t prime with table sugar. Table sugar in your wort will impact your beer, probably negatively. But priming with table sugar is just fine — there’s so little of it compared to the sugar that has been fermented in the wort that you’ll be fine. Don’t beleive us? Prime a few bottles with a tablespoon of sugar and compare.
The team at Denver Westworld put together a list of 10 beers you should stop drinking by age 30. It’s hard to argue with any of them, even the ones I’ve never heard of before.
But as I was reading this, I felt like it had to be missing at least a few beers. Busch Light comes to mind, Four Loko would have been another had the government not taken care of that for us. But what others? Surely there’s a list that’s at least a few beers longer.
Beer Advocate has a list of the “Top Beers on Planet Earth.” The list is below, and you can see the whole thing here, but I think some context is important. First, the top ten:
Trappist Westvleteren 12, Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Pliny The Elder, Russian River Brewing Company
Pliny The Younger, Russian River Brewing Company
The Abyss, Deschutes Brewery
Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Founders Brewing Company
Trappistes Rochefort 10, Brasserie de Rochefort (Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy)
Trappist Westvleteren 8, Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Bell’s HopSlam Ale, Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
Stone Imperial Russian Stout, Stone Brewing Co.
St. Bernardus Abt 12, Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
It’s a generally predictable list, but why the asterisk? First of all, it’s just a list on the Internet. If you like beer, there’s no better authority on what the best beers on the planet are than you. You may not know what’s still out there, and you should definitely use lists like this as a good starting point, but don’t buy into it just because other people say you should.
Which leads to the second reason: agree or disagree with the list, the biggest threat to the future of craft beer is snobbery. The last thing the craft beer fans need is to become more like wine drinkers. Beer is the everyman’s drink, and whether you like Miller Lite or $20-per-bottle Belgians, we should enjoy it without being judgmental. Sure, in terms of the art of brewing, some people are more ambitious and innovative than others, but it doesn’t necessarily make their beer any better.
Appreciate the process, love the product, but let’s not judge just because others may not enjoy everything on that list. There are plenty of hard-core homebrewers who love deep, complex beer, but still drink Busch on the weekends. There’s a place for everything, and at any given time, it may mean that Pilny the Younger is the best beer on the planet, or it may mean that a half-warm can of PBR is number one.
Travel blog Gadling recently listed the “24 greatest cities in the world for drinking beer”…
When it comes to the world of beer, with the vast array of choices out there, things become extremely problematic. Luckily, choosing ten of the best cities in which to drink a beer isn’t quite so difficult. While there are no definitive answers to the best places in the world to sip a brew — and beer culture in certain areas changes from year to year — there are certain cities that deserve special attention.
The list mentions American cities like Portland, OR and San Diego, CA, which are hard to argue with. It lists Brussels and Munich, as you’d expect. But as with any list, it’s time to complain.
The Gadling readers have already done most of the thinking for me on this, which is commendable. First of all, Atlanta? Really? Over somewhere like Philadelphia? As one commenter pointed out, Philadelphia has Yards, Triumph, Sly Fox, Stoudts, and Victory. It ranks higher than not just Atlanta, but most of the American cities anywhere on the list.
Internationally, they leave off Prague, which should really be in the top ten, if not the top five.
The list seems to be a strange blend of cities that make good beer and have a good beer culture, and cities where it’s merely nice to drink. Why they stopped at 24, and not 26 to make room for two of the most obvious cities in the world, we’ll never know.