Brewing texts, unsurprisingly, emphasise the technical aspects of making beer, Just occasionally, they stray into the world of subjectivity, when they talk about character: the character of a brewery's beer; the character of a type of beer. It always grabs my attention, a glimpse into the soul of the technician; all good brewers have a spark: a passion, a passion for beer. You see it immediately, when you talk to a real brewer; their passion for what they do; it's much more than just a job, brewing. A calling: that's how I'd describe it. Those long-dead technical writers, however hard they try to maintain their rational, scientific persona, every now and then, let their guard slip; their true feelings leak through the pages; flickers of emotion, flaring against a grey background of fact.
I've never hidden my emotions in my writing; facts may impress us, but feelings draw us in.
I started this post with a different destination in mind; a rather dull one, I now realise. One about beer character. But that isn't what matters: the character of the brewer is what really counts; he determines how the beer in your glass tastes, unless the accountants have taken control: then you're buggered.
Not one to release a theme into the wild without a revolver in my ribs, here's what I meant to say. (Apologies if it's an anticlimax; I warned you it had already drifted from my affections, like a favourite pub, badly run.)
Water, yeast strain, mashing scheme, fermenting system, cleansing method. And brown malt. All important for character, according to the old writers.
I told you it was dull.
Out for the count - Derry's Northbound Brewery names most of its beers after their International Bittering Unit levels. I've never been a fan of IBUs as a useful measure of a...
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