Tuesday, September 27, 2005

UPDATED: 4th Lupulin Land Harvest Hop Fest begins Friday, October 7.

We’ll be exceeding OSHA’s legal limits on IBU’s per square foot of floor space when Lupulin Land 2005 begins on Friday, October 7. It is our fourth harvest hop celebration, and a good occasion for Kentuckiana’s hopheads to unite over a pint or two of America’s most bitter beer and to banish thoughts of abominations like Keystone to the nether regions formerly reserved for silver-bulleted sinners, Miller Lite miscreants, and Auggie Busch’s backyard brunch chardonnay sippers.

Lupulus Eroticus.

The American Heritage dictionary defines lupulin as the “minute yellowish-brown hairs obtained from the strobili of the hop plant, formerly used in medicine as a sedative.” The word lupulin is derived from the new Latin lupulus (hop species, a diminutive of the Latin lupus, hop plant, from lupus, wolf).

Or, more simply: Bitterness beats watery flaccidity any old day.

Contrary to persistent rumors - probably spread by the same people who still insist that Bock beer is the result of brewing vats being cleaned once a year in springtime - beer is not “made” from hops. Beer is “made” from barley, and sometimes wheat and oats and rye. In short, beer is brewed from grain. The body and color of beer derives from these grains, and the alcohol is but a calling card left by yeast happily snacking on sugars in the malt.

Hops act as the spice of beer. Hops balance the inherent, malty sweetness. Hops provide the seasoning. Hops cleanse the palate and leave you begging for more. Hops make it interesting, and perhaps healthy as well: According to researchers for Japan’s Kirin Brewery, isohumulones, agents of bittering in hops, may help curb the development of fat in the human body.

Misconceptions about hops are annoying, persistent and entirely understandable. If one is to judge by the non-flavor profile of America’s best-selling mainstream lagers, it is certain that the majority of beer drinkers in our purportedly great nation are suffering from severe lupulin deprivation.

Trellis succulence: There is no exit strategy.

It’s always too early to predict what beers will pour and when, as typically the juggling of late arrivals and temperamental firkins requires last-minute improvisation.

However, here’s the list of what we believe will be featured during Lupulin Land 2005, updated as of September 27.

I. LOUISVILLE AREA BREWERIES.

As always, Louisville’s microbreweries will be featured at Lupulin Land 2005. This year’s theme is cask conditioning, and accordingly, BBC Beer Company (Main and Clay), Bluegrass Brewing Company (Shelbyville Road), Browning’s Brewery, Cumberland Brews and New Albanian Brewing Company each have been asked to make available a firkin of something hoppy.

We’ll try to deploy the firkins (along with the anticipated Bell’s Two Hearted cask-conditioned entry) for pouring during the first two weeks of the festival. Owing to the nature of cask conditioning, the order of appearance may well be a last-minute decision on our part.

BBC Brewing Company American Pale Ale (APA)
Willamette and Centennial accent a rich, tasty grain bill in original BBC Brewmaster David Pierce’s classic Louisville-style APA - 50 IBU’s, dry-hopped and cask-conditioned especially for Lupulin Land.

Bluegrass Brewing Company (St. Matthews) Professor Gesser’s Mind Numbing Ale
Extreme cask offering (circa 9% abv), dry hopped with Simcoe and Cascade, from the otherwise mild-mannered Kansan and self-described social experiment, Jerry Gnagy.

Browning’s Brewery (single varietal) ESB
The single varietal hops are East Kent Goldings, and the ale is brought to you by Brian and Elliott, perched high atop the brewing tower in the only brewery attached to the downtown Louisville Slugger Field baseball park.

NABC Elector
Making democracy pointless since 2002. 7.2% abv.

II. AMERICAN MICROBREWS THAT WE DISPENSE YEAR-ROUND.

On tap throughout the hop festival, and almost all the time otherwise.

Alpha King
Everyday workhorse pale ale from Three Floyds, with plenty of the “Four C’s” (Centennial, Columbus, Chinook, and Cascade) to please. In microbrewing circles, arguably the most renowned Indiana ale, and a keg-a-week staple on the draft menu.

Arrogant Bastard Ale
According to Stone Brewing Company, Arrogant Bastard’s IBU (international bittering units) count and hop content is classified (the arrogant and secretive bastards).

Bell’s Two Hearted Ale (cask-conditioned and keg)
Worth noting: Much beloved IPA (Centennial hops?), now falling on the milder side of the style, delicious, and tied by its creator to Ernest Hemingway’s Nick Adams short stories set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Hops: Magnum, Perle, Cascades. Here’s the thing: More than a decade since it arrived in the state of Indiana, and Sierra’s flagship ale remains the classic, it’s still very good, and in spite of all the changes we’ve made during that time, we sell a keg each and every week.

III. GUEST AMERICAN MICROBREWS FOR LUPULIN LAND 2005.

Some of these are available periodically throughout the year, while others are coming via special order.

Avery IPA
Avery specializes in huge, excessive creations, and this isn’t one of them. It’s a standard, session IPA with loads of Columbus, Styrian Golding, and Centennial hops, and a reminder that we need not be knocked off our stools onto the floor with every pint.

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
Warrior, Amarillo and “Mystery Hop X” are added constantly during a sixty-minute boil; 60 IBUs, 6% abv. Considered the session ale of the eccentrically accelerating 60/90/120 “minute” Dogfish family.

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
The gravity is turned up, and Cascade, Columbus and Chinook hops are added constantly during a ninety-minute boil; 90 IBUs, 9% abv. Much notoriety and acclaim for Dogfish have followed in its wake.

Dogfish Head ApriHop
Innovative and tasty Dogfish ale brewed with apricots and hops (Warrior, Amarillo), and I procured it just so I can say that we’re having both an hoppy Scottish ale and an hoppy fruit ale at the same time – and still keep a straight face. 7% abv.

Founders Devil Dancer 2004
According to the brewery, “more IBU’s (200) than any brewery has documented, more than you would believe and dry-hopped for twenty-six days straight with a combination of 10 hop varieties.” Not to mention 13% abv. Here goes ..

Great Divide Hercules Double IPA
85 aggressive IBUs, with all the grapefruit and pine needles that a hop aficionado ever would desire. Brewed in Denver, CO; 9.1% abv, and a 99 score at Rate Beer: http://www.ratebeer.com/.

NABC Hoptimus
Hoptimus is brewed by our own Jesse Williams, with loving assistance from Jared Wiliamson, using Simpson's Golden Promise malt; Northern Brewer, Fuggles and Cascades hops; and the house London yeast. Dry hopping with Fuggles and Cascades lends a West Coast feel to a powerful 8.5% double IPA.

Oaken Barrel Super Fly IPA
Complex, intelligently hopped IPA from brewer Ken Price in Greenwood, Indiana. Super Fly might not make it here until the fest’s second week, but we’re looking forward to it.

Rogue (John’s Locker Stock) Glen
Strong amber ale brewed with Simpson’s Golden Promise and Weyermann malts, and Glacier hops, and exhibiting the usual Rogue house character. 8.5% abv.

Rogue Dry-Hopped St. Rogue Red
Stellar exemplar of the Rogue house character, brewed with six malts, bountifully hopped with Chinook, Centennial, and Amarillo (dry-hopping), and pleasing worlds away from Killianswill.

Rogue I2PA 2003
“Imperial” (double) India Pale Ale, precursor of a national microbrewing trend, another longtime favorite of local hopheads, packed with Saaz, Cascade, and Northwest Golding hops, and we hope prime after two years’ aging.

Sierra Nevada IPA
Says the brewery, “SN IPA is brewed using a blend of English malts. Magnum hops are used for the early hop addition, with Goldings for finishing and dry hopping. A very flavorful and hoppy ale.”

Two Brothers Hop Juice Double IPA
Major league baseball players do not have exclusive rights to the “juice,” as in the case of this “enhanced” beer from a suburban Chicago brewery owned and operated by – duh – two brothers. 9.9% abv; 100.1 IBUs.

IV. IMPORTED BEERS.

Our fourth assemblage of hop-laden draft beers once again is dominated by American microbrews, although many “Old World” beer styles showcase the hop. For instance, we serve Pilsner Urquell throughout the year.

Pilsner Urquell
Czech Republic
The same hops are called Zatec or Saaz, in the Czech and German languages, respectively, and they provide inspiration for this original Bohemian interpretation of a pilsner, which after all takes its very name from Plzen, Urquell’s venerable birthplace.

We’ve managed to locate three diverse examples of hoppy European ales and one classic hoppy lager:

Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA
Scotland
Yes, I know. Scottish-brewed ales aren’t supposed to be overtly hoppy, but maybe one really will, and if not, then my friend Bill will have something to drink during Lupulin Land. Otherwise, it’s entirely unpreviewed by the Publican, and fingers are duly crossed.

De Dolle Ara Bier
Belgium
Fine Belgian pale ale, circa 7.5% abv, brewed with Nugget hops from nearby Poperinge along with a good dose of the typical Dolle panache.

Jever Pilsener
Germany
The Beer Judge Certification Program summarizes German pilseners in general, and Jever in particular, like this: “Crisp, clean, refreshing beer that prominently features noble German hop bitterness accentuated by sulfates in the water.” A longtime favorite of the Publican.

Poperings Hommel Bier
Belgium
Like Ara Bier, brewed with Poperinge-grown hops, but different varieties than De Dolle’s pale ale -- and brewed in Watou. I can taste the triennial parade in every glass.

V. INTRODUCING A VERY SPECIAL GUEST: RANDALL THE ENAMEL ANIMAL.

“Randall, a Dogfish head invention, is an organoleptic hop transducer module –- a three-foot-long, cylinder-filter packed with a half a pound of whole leaf hops that we affix to the beer line leaving a keg.”

We have purchased a Randall from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, and will equip him for action beginning on October 7.


Currently Jesse and Jared are conducting experiments in the brewery, which might explain the long line of people I’ve seen trailing out the back door.

3 comments:

excelsior said...
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