Monday, April 9, 2007

Happy Brew Year!

Cascade buds Originally uploaded by petemorris.
Spring has been very much in the air for the last week at the Bicycle Brewery, and Southern California's famous sun has even made a welcome appearance today after several days of "May Gray" and "June Gloom". As if on cue, breaking through for the first time yesterday were a trio of buds from my newly planted cutting of Cascade hops. It was the largest of the four rhizomes I put in the ground a week ago, so it is no surprise to see it show up first. I've got fingers crossed that its smaller cousins--one rhizome each of Challenger, Hallertauer, and Sterling--will be making an appearance soon as well. I've continued to enjoy my IPA on tap, while also brewing, fermenting, and kegging, my latest: the "ordinary" Bicycle Bitter. True to style, it promises to be an easy-drinking pub-style ale, with a balanced mix of all-English flavors contributed by the Maris Otter barley malt (plus a little Crystal and CaraAmber), the Goldings hops, and a classic ale yeast from London. Here are the vital statistics: starting gravity = 1040 finishing gravity = 1011 ABV = 3.7% IBUs = 30-35 (approx.) calories = 219 per a proper 20oz. British pint It's an especially appropriate beer to make over the Brew Year's holiday, because it checks in just a few ticks below the old 3.2%-by-weight alcohol limit, which is about 4% in the new money (i.e., by volume). What is the Brew Year's holiday? On April 7, 1933, the end of national Prohibition was initiated when FDR signed a modification of the Volstead Act that redefined 3.2% beer as not an "intoxicating liquor" and thus not subject to federal enforcement of the 18th Amendment. By the end of the year, national Prohibition came to a full end with the repealing 21st Amendment, although still to this day there are many parts of the United States --this means you Alabama--where Prohibition of some sort remains in place.