Sunday, October 27, 2013

Beer: Schlafly American Brown Ale

SCHLAFLY AMERICAN BROWN ALE (St.  Louis, MO) - 3.75 (good)

St. Louis is a known as one of America's brewing centers (historically speaking, at least). Sure, the big player resides there, but there's also a pretty substantial craft beer scene in St. Louis. Spearheading that scene, and indeed pioneering it, is Schlafly Brewing. We here at Goatsden have enjoyed plenty of Schlafly's fine ales through the years, so we know to trust them.

Recently, the company added a canning line, and we're seeing some solid session ales come out of that. This American Brown Ale pours a caramel-amber, with a huge, oversized head of foam, and some thick, ornate, and detailed lace.

Nose is caramel and nuts. Very malty, and pretty well spot-on for a brown ale.

Taste is toasty and malty, with a hint of roasted nuts. I get a snappy hops presence at the finish. Overall, solid, but not world class. 

"The Audacity Of Hops" by Tom Acitelli

"The Audacity Of Hops: The History Of America's Craft Beer Revolution" by Tom Acitelli (2013 Chicago Review Press, softcover, 6" x 9", 400 pages)

This is the (so far) definitive book detailing the burgeoning craft beer movement in the United States. Tracing roots back to England and Germany, but more specifically San Francisco, and Fritz Maytag's venerable Anchor Brewing, writer Acitelli covers every major element in the craft brewing industry up to today. Along the way, he succeeds in presenting interviews and viewpoints from all of brewing's major players -- Jim Koch, Sam Calagione, Charlie Papazian, Greg Koch, Kim Jordan, Ken Grossman, and plenty of others. If these names mean nothing to you, you simply aren't tuned into the craft beer scene, period.

Acitelli's writing is succinct, yet descriptive, and this story follows so many branches that any craft beer fan will find plenty of fascinating information on the formation of their favorite brewery. Not only touching on the "big guys", there are historical looks at New Albion, Boulder, F.X. Matt/Saranac, Buffalo Bill's, Pete's Wicked Ales, Alaskan, Weeping Radish, Brooklyn, New Glarus, Redhook, Odell, Magic Hat, Flying Dog, Lagunitas, Catamount, Harpoon, Mendocino, and tons more.

In short, "The Audacity Of Hops" is a top-shelf book that should be in every beer lover's library. As comprehensive as it gets, this is a truly enlightening read, and a joy to behold. Bravo!