Renowned for his traditional lambic production at Brasserie Cantillon in Brussels, Belgium, Jean Van Roy found inspiration during a blind wine tasting a few years ago, prompting him to take his brewing a few thousand years further back in time.

Some of the Italian wines he sampled had been matured in amphorae, ceramic fermentation vessels dating back to the Neolithic period, and Van Roy was intrigued by the complexity and minerality imparted by the ancient technique. Naturally porous like the wooden barrels more commonly used in aging beer, amphorae provide a place for bacteria to reside while allowing micro-oxygenation to occur. Unlike wooden barrels, amphorae do not contribute tannins or resins into the finished product, but instead offer an earthy mineral character and robust mouthfeel, which winemakers have been harnessing for years.

via Amphora-Aged Beers: The Next Small Thing?.

Amphora-Aged Beers: The Next Small Thing?

John Oliver – Bud Light – YouTube.

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti fired up the first espresso machine in space over the weekend. She posted a selfie on Twitter from the International Space Station on Sunday, sipping from a cup designed for use in zero-gravity.

via To boldly brew: Italian astronaut makes first espresso in space | Science | The Guardian.

To boldly brew: Italian astronaut makes first espresso in space | Science | The Guardian

Craft bourbon, like craft beer, is in the midst of a boom: In the past 15 years, the number of distilleries in the U.S. has surged from just a handful to around 600.Why are Americans buying more bourbon?

According to author Reid Mitenbuler, one reason is that we’re being seduced by clever bottles and throwback labels. Along with enticing branding, some of these bottles of “craft bourbon” boast hefty price tags. Take Pappy Van Winkle, a craft bourbon with “family reserve” editions that retail for thousands of dollars.

And yet “the term ‘craft’ is little more than an ambiguous buzzword,” Mitenbuler writes in a new book, Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America’s Whiskey. Behind all the craft buzz, Mitenbuler says, are actually just some “carefully cultivated myths” created by an industry on a roll.

via ‘Bourbon Empire’ reveals the smoke and mirrors of American whiskey | Minnesota Public Radio News.

‘Bourbon Empire’ reveals the smoke and mirrors of American whiskey | Minnesota Public Radio News


Varieties of Coffee – YouTube.

Equity for Punks, the independent brewer’s crowdfunding scheme, raised £4.25million for the brewery in less than six months in 2013, which at the time made it the world’s most successful independent crowdfunding initiative.

Today, the maverick brewery has announced plans to raise five time as much with a second round of crowdfunding set to see 526,316 shares in the brewery made available for anyone to buy for a minimum investment of just £95 for two shares.

via BrewDog launches £25m crowdfunding bid.

BrewDog launches £25m crowdfunding bid

Recently a Puerh article from Vice garnered a few shares in online tea circles, leading to e-mails in my inbox asking about the validity of many of the claims in the article. After a cursory glance at the post, I noticed at least a half-dozen factual errors, along with several misrepresentations of the situation of Puerh in Yunnan. Not that I would expect a first time Yunnan visitor or Vice’s munchies section to be factual authorities on Puerh tea, as it is an admittedly dense topic to gloss over in a short travel log. Unfortunately, the article got a few facts wrong and Vice is a lot more widely read than my piddly little blog. Hence this post, which will try to clear up some of these Puerh misunderstandings from the Vice article quote by quote.

via Correcting Puerh Misunderstandings, A Helping Hand for Vice.

Correcting Puerh Misunderstandings, A Helping Hand for Vice

Minnesotans, like people all around the country, are in the midst of a whiskey craze. Consumption of all whiskeys in the U.S. was 22 percent higher last year than in 2004, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. And Minnesota ranked ninth in per capita consumption of spirits, with whiskey the most consumed spirit in the state.

via For whiskey, new cachet, higher prices.

For whiskey, new cachet, higher prices

There has been much speculation surrounding the elusive idea of whisky and terroir. Raw evidence for an influence of terroir on the flavour of whisky is usually sought from the density and mineral content of water, the locality of barley or the microclimate and location of maturation. Yet these remain at best intangible aspects of terroir’s influence on whisky and, in some cases, easily dismissible ones. Despite this though the sense of location, geographic and geological identity in a glass of single malt remains a powerful one. How often have we fallen in sway to the little organoleptic rhythms of the sea or the forest floor; the farmyard and the industrial?

via Whisky Land: A Perspective On Whisky And Terroir | whiskysponge.

Whisky Land: A Perspective On Whisky And Terroir | whiskysponge

Indeed, in 2013, mate was officially declared a “national infusion” of Argentina, where an estimated 250,000 tons of herb are consumed every year. Paraguay has a National Tereré Day (tereré is a drink made with yerba mate, but it’s drunk cold). The brew is now a common sight in health stores and specialized coffee shops in the U.S.

Technically, mate is not a tea, but rather, an infusion. “Tea” refers to a drink made from the leaves of the evergreen Asian shrub camellia sinensis, whereas the leaves in mate come from Ilex paraguariensis, a shrub with small greenish-white flowers that grew especially abundant in Paraguay.

via Tea Tuesdays: Gift Of The Moon, Bane Of The Spanish: The Story Of Yerba Mate : The Salt : NPR.

Tea Tuesdays: Gift Of The Moon, Bane Of The Spanish: The Story Of Yerba Mate : The Salt : NPR