Firkin Around....
The Blog of King of Prussia Beer Outlet

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I Pair Some Beers with Scary Movies

by Joseph Elia

If I had a complaint about pumpkin beers, it would simply be that they have come to define Halloween beer drinking.  The craft beer world is a wonderful, macabre industry filled with an eclectic cast of hippies, hipsters, geeks, scientists, artists, and business men and together they produce an array of beers with characteristics that make them perfect for the one holiday that mirrors this assortment of characters.

Halloween is only a day a way, but there still is some time left to grab a great case of beer.  I have chosen a handful of recommendations and paired them with an appropriate scary movie, but feel free to include them in your other Halloween activities as well.

Friday, October 24, 2014

2nd Anniversary Sale

Just Added!!  All Saranac products including Pumpkin and Legacy IPA...only $27.99..that's $5.00 off!!! (while supplies last)

Leinenkugels Fall Shandy Variety Packs (comes in cans only)...marked down to $30.99...that's more than $3.00 off!

Bass, Beck's, Beck's Sapphire,
Presidente and Presidente Light
only $22.99....that's more than $12 off!!!

Coors's Light 30 packs...only $22.49

Michelob Ultra 16 oz cans....while supplies last...only $19.99
Still on sale...Strong Bow Golden Apple and Honey Apple
only $34.69...that's m

ore than $6 off!!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

All about IBU's

Perhaps understanding IBU's would have helped you sir.

by Matt DeMarco
We have all seen the number on the back of the bottle or the side of the can. For example, the Sly Fox 360 IPA that I have sitting next to me has 70 IBUs. Most people don’t even notice the number or know what it means. The short answer is that IBU stands for International Bitterness Units and is a scale that measures the amount of hops in beer. The long answer is that  IBUs is a complicated number that gives you a rough idea of how hoppy a beer is. I say a rough idea because 2 beers with the same amount of IBUs can taste different from one another.

How can beers with the same IBUs have different hop tastes from one another? I’m glad you asked. The obvious answer is that they use different hops but that answer is just one reason. Another reason is that the more malted barley added to the beer, the more the hops can hide. If you were to look at a West Coast IPA and compare it to an English IPA, they could use the same hops and have the same IBUs but the West Coast would taste like it was miles apart from the English. English and Belgian IPAs tend to be maltier so the IBUs can be less pronounced. American IPAs, especially West Coast IPAs, showcase the hops so typically they have a lighter malt base.

Getting back to the hops, there are many different varieties of hops grown all over the world. Hops are similar to grapes that they develop a terroir based on where they grow. There are the “Noble” hops of Europe, the dank and citrusy hops of the Pacific Northwest, and the hard to get New Zealand hops. They are developing new hops every year. Hops grown on the East coast may vary significantly from the West coast even though they are the same variety. 

Not every beer has a pronounced hop flavor. Most lagers, pilsners, and wheat beers have low IBUs. Many beers actually fall within the range of 20 to 50 IBUs. I always use the IBU number as one factor when looking at a beer. I look at the location of the brewery, the style, the ABV, the IBUs. Just by looking at those things, you can build a rough profile of what the beer might taste like but it is always good to do your homework too. There are so many factors that make up the hop profile of a beer. I could go on for days just about flavoring versus bittering hops and alpha acids but I will save that for another post.

So how do brewers decide how hoppy to make a beer? Every beer style has guidelines that provide framework for each style. That framework really only matters for competitions but most brewers try to make sure their beers fall within the guidelines. I mean who doesn't like to win an award? There is a link at the bottom of the post to the BJCP style guide if you want to know more about your favorite style. We keep a copy of it printed out on the counter at the store if you ever want to take a peak.

Like I always say, the only way to find out if you like a beer is to try it. If you are new to really hoppy beers, you can ease yourself into it by starting with a lower IBU beer and working your way up. Just keep in mind that your mouth can on taste up to 120 IBUs so anything over that number is just a waste of hops. That being said I would still like to try Canada's Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery Alpha-fornication, an Imperial/Double IPA that clocks in at 2500 IBUs and 13.3% ABV. If anyone is going to Ontario any time soon, grab a bottle for me if you see it!

Remember, if you want to know more about anything related beer, just ask us.

Some links to check out:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Who is “Brett”?

by Matt DeMarco

“Brett” is a nickname for Brettanomyces (bret an ō mī sēz) which is wild yeast. Typically beer is made with brewers’ yeast which is a cousin to Brettanomyces. In the wild it grows on the skins of fruit and in wine making, its presence is a bad thing. In the craft beer world, “brett” beers are some of the most highly sought after brews. Some brewers fear it and some brewers embrace it. If not properly executed in a brewery setting, wild yeast can contaminate traditional beers and ruin them. 

“Brett” is used mainly to produce Lambics and sour ales. Traditionally wild yeast was used for Belgian style ales but brewers have been experimenting with many different styles. The increased usage of ‘’brett” has led to many ales that are not that sour but adds a dimension to the beer that you cannot get without the wild yeast.

“Brett” is very temperamental and can be very unpredictable. The flavors produced by the yeast changes over time often intensifying depending on the amount of sugars it has to feed on. Many wine drinkers flock to “brett” beers because of their earthiness, fruitiness, and acidity. Because everyone has a different palate, some of the reasons that people like the wild ales are the same reasons that people dislike them.

If you want to get your feet wet with “brett” beers, we have a couple we can point you to. Just remember that every wild yeast beer is different and even the same beer from different batches can taste different. That’s what makes “brett” beers so fun.

More breweries are starting to employ “brett” so expect to see more and more wild ales on shelves. They are definitely out of the comfort zone for most beer drinkers but that should not stop anyone from trying them. The only way to find out if you like sours is to try one, a six pack, or maybe a case. Sours can be aged and only get better over time. The newer beers that have been coming out are a lot more subdued than the traditional “brett” beers making them perfect for your first wild ale beer. Wild ales should be on you beer bucket list and maybe even a trip to Russian River Brewery in Santa Rosa, CA for some world class “brett” beers.