IF YOU VISIT A TRADITIONAL lambic brewery in Belgium, you’ll see spiders spinning webs among the casks. They are not a nuisance, and brewers don’t swat them away. The spiders are there by design to protect the fruity beer from fruit flies. The webs do, however, create a fitting environment for lambic, which can seem a little like magic. Using the oldest of all modern brewing styles, brewers summon wild yeast, resulting in funky, sour beers.
“The taste of whisky is primarily linked to so-called amphipathic molecules, which are made up of hydrophobic and hydrophilic parts. One such molecule is guaiacol, a substance that develops when the grain is dried over peat smoke when making malt whisky, providing the smoky flavour to the whisky”, Karlsson explains.
Karlsson and Friedman carried out computer simulations of water/ethanol mixtures in the presence of guaiacol to study its interactions. They found that guaiacol was preferentially associated with ethanol molecules and that in mixtures with concentrations of ethanol up to 45% guaiacol was more likely to be present at the liquid-air interface than in the bulk of the liquid.
“This suggests that, in a glass of whisky, guaiacol will therefore be found near the surface of the liquid, where it contributes to both the smell and taste of the spirit. Interestingly, a continued dilution down to 27% resulted in an increase of guaiacol at the liquid-air interface. An increased percentage, over 59%, had the opposite effect, that is to say, the ethanol interacted more strongly with the guaiacol, driving the molecule into the solution away from the surface”, Friedman continues.
Researchers have discovered traces of what could be the world’s oldest wine at the bottom of terracotta jars in a cave in Sicily, showing that the fermented drink was being made and consumed in Italy more than 6,000 years ago.Previously scientists had believed winemaking developed in Italy around 1200 BC, but the find by a team from the University of South Florida pushes that date back by at least three millennia.
Travel back in time to 1662, when Catherine of Braganza (daughter of Portugal’s King John IV) won the hand of England’s newly restored monarch, King Charles II, with the help of a very large dowry that included money, spices, treasures and the lucrative ports of Tangiers and Bombay. This hookup made her one very important lady: the Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland.
When she relocated up north to join King Charles, she is said to have packed loose-leaf tea as part of her personal belongings; it would also have likely been part of her dowry. A fun legend has it that the crates were marked Transporte de Ervas Aromaticas (Transport of Aromatic Herbs) – later abbreviated to T.E.A.
That last bit probably isn’t true (etymologists believe the word ‘tea’ came from a transliteration of a Chinese character), but what is for sure is that tea was already popular among the aristocracy of Portugal due to the country’s direct trade line to China via its colony in Macau, first settled in the mid-1500s (visit today to sample the other end of this culinary exchange, the Portuguese pastéis de nata, aka egg custard tarts).
Researchers at the University of Manchester have discovered a new species of yeast that could help brewers create better lager.
Working in collaboration with the National Collection of Yeast Cultures (NCYC), the team say it is a new of member of the Saccharomyces family and is closely related to the familiar brewers’ and bakers’ yeast.
However, this new species was found at altitude, growing more than 1000 metres above sea level on an oak tree in Saint Auban, in the foothills of the French Alps. To survive
NOFX can easily considered one of the most successful independent bands of all time. Formed in 1983 by bassist Fat Mike and guitarist Eric Melvin, the band has never signed with a major label. That kind of independence is very familiar to California’s Stone Brewing. Perhaps that’s where Stone Punk in Drublic, a collaboration with NOFX rises from.
First, the name. Stone Punk in Drublic is named for NOFX’s 1994 release by the same name, considered the band’s most popular release.