Tag Archives: beer

Coming Soon to Philadelphia’s Science on Tap

Science on Tap - Culturing Food

I am pleased to announce that — thanks to the generous patronage of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and Mütter Museum, and thanks to my thoughtful friend Anna — I will be the featured speaker on April 14 at Philadelphia’s Science on Tap.

If you don’t know, Science on Tap is a monthly gathering at Philly’s National Mechanics bar and restaurant in which folks wander in to drink good beer, eat good food, and listen to an informal presentation by a scientist or other expert followed by lively conversation. The goal, say the Science on Tap folks, is to promote enthusiasm for science in a fun, spirited, and accessible way, in the sort of venue where people are at their most relaxed.

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Posted in Administrative, Cooking & Eating, Technique | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Response

Beer Braised Pork Shoulder

Beer Braised Pork for the Super Bowl

I had thought, this year, that I might post a recipe that would be appropriate for the big game, the pigskin classic, the Super Bowl. It is, after all, one of the great calendar customs of the United States, in which folks come together to mark the passing of the winter with symbolically complex entertainment, the company of friends and family, and the life-affirming (if somewhat unhealthy) consumption of many of our native foods. It’s one of the great folk festivals, like the Palio in Siena, where the community as a whole bands temporarily into factions that compete against one another, but where that competition is ultimately about reaffirming our unity.

I explained all this to Sarah, and this is what she said: Clearly — you know nothing about football, or the Super Bowl. Not at all. So if you’re going to do this, you had better ask the advice of the Internet.

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Posted in Baking, Cooking, Holidays, Savory | Also tagged , , , , , | 7 Responses

A Gem from the History of Fermentation at Sea

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term inspissated is an adjective meaning: brought to a thick consistence; thickened.

I mention it because in the 1777 volume, A Voyage Toward the South Pole, Captain James Cook speaks of having been given several barrels of inspissated wort — syrup of unfermented beer — to carry aboard the H. M. Bark Endeavour as it sailed to the South Pacific and around the world. It was thought, he writes, that the syrup would require to be fermented with yeast, in the usual way of making beer.

But things do not, apparently, always go as planned at sea. So active was this inspissated wort — because of the heat of the weather, and the agitation of the ship — that it reached the highest state of fermentation all on its own, and evaded all our endeavours to stop it.

If this juice could be kept from fermenting, Cook writes, it certainly would be a most valuable article at sea. But alas. It was not to be.

Those same shipboard conditions that proved so beneficial to the aging of Madeira wine made this particular fermentation experiment a spectacular, perhaps explosive, failure.

And the sailors — poor sailors — were left with a sticky, beery mess to clean.

Spent Grain Bread

Spent Grain Bread

I love spent grain bread. It’s one of my very favorite things about brewing. You see: brewing is sort of a wasteful process. You take eight or ten or twelve pounds of grain, soak it in water, and convert the runnings from that little bath into five gallons of sweet wort, and then eventually into […]

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Posted in Baking, Brewing, Cooking & Eating, Savory | Also tagged , , , | 3 Responses

Special Bitter, and Floor Malted Barley

Malted Barley

So I’m making a new beer, probably next weekend.  It’ll be a Special Bitter — largely minimalist in hops and grain, and as true to the style as it exists in Britain as I can manage.  That means British hops, which I prefer anyway.  And it means Maris Otter malt, which has, for the past […]

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Posted in Brewing, Cooking & Eating, Ingredients, Technique | Also tagged , | Leave a comment

Brown Porter Pictorial

Brown Porter 4

I have been absent.  But I have not exactly been remiss.  Real life — academic obligations, travel to parts Midwestern, the lack of a working kitchen — has kept me from posting here for the past two weeks.  But this blog, and you, dear readers, have never been far from my thoughts.  Regular posting will […]

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Posted in Brewing, Cooking & Eating, Photography | Also tagged | Leave a comment

October is the Cruelest Month; or, Beer and Crazies

So where have I been, you might ask, friends of the blog that you all are. I haven’t seen you ’round much, you might say. Have you been avoiding us? Have you stopped writing? Have you cooked at all this week? The answer, dear friends, is that no, I have not abandoned you. But life, […]

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Posted in Brewing, Cooking & Eating, Folklore | Also tagged , | 1 Response

Star Trek and Brown Ale

Boiling Wort

** Update: The answer, dear friends, to the question of whether my yeast problems would kill this beer, is a big, resounding yes.  I bought some additional yeast this morning, thinking that I would re-pitch.  And when I opened my fermentation vessel, what I found was kind of horrifying: colorful, clearly bacterial colonies floating on […]

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Posted in Brewing, Cooking & Eating, Technique | Also tagged , | 1 Response

Northern Brown Ale

It’s brewing time again — or at least planning-to-brew time.  Now that I have an appropriate temperature control mechanism, brewing during the summer is a piece of cake.  So I figure that when I get home from a short trip at the beginning of August, I’m going to start beer number five for the year.  […]

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Posted in Brewing | Also tagged | 1 Response

Black Dot Bitter

So I’ve bottled my latest foray into beer brewing. It shall be called “Black Dot Bitter,” because I marked the caps with a black dot to distinguish them from (the unmarked) bottles of my previous beer attempt. I did some tasting as I was bottling, and it was very yummy. A little bit on the […]

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Posted in Brewing | Also tagged , | 6 Responses