CVIndependent

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Beer

11 Sep 2020
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Let me tell you about a drink—a wine, technically—that is older than our species. It’s not made from grapes, and the bulk of the work to make it isn’t even done by humans, but by honey bees. Yes, I am talking about mead. The honey bee separated from its parent species around a million years ago. Worker honey bees collect pollen and, more importantly, nectar. Nectar is a sugary substance that fuels the bees, with the surplus being converted into honey via osmosis, to store and feed the entire colony. While yeast is omnipresent in the environment and is as hungry for that sugar as the bees are, the osmotic pressure of honey makes fermentation by yeasts and bacteria almost impossible: Think of honey as a desert for yeast cells. This, combined with smaller contributing factors, makes sealed honey immortal—it can be safely consumed thousands of years after it was…
13 Aug 2020
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Ours is the only language you can drink! —translated German saying about Kölsch One of the beautiful things about the American craft-beer movement over the last four decades is the reviving and re-imagining of what we refer to here as “Old World styles.” This has led to things like the now-ubiquitous American IPA, inspired by the English version that had been almost entirely ignored in its homeland, and the gose—a light, kettle-soured ale with salt and coriander added—from a town in Germany near Leipzig. The former underwent a major transformation; the latter seems to have hewed more closely to the original style (though often seeing fruit additions, among other things; for a treat, check out Modern Times’ latest version called Laser Rain, with guava, cucumber and lime). The style I want to discuss has seen fewer alterations than most, but is often difficult to re-create due to its subtleties: Kölsch.…
09 Jul 2020
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Last year, I dedicated an entire column to information and etiquette for people visiting taprooms. Part of my motivation was selfish—I work at a taproom myself, specifically the Coachella Valley Brewing taproom in Thousand Palms—but I also wanted to help people who have little to no experience in the taproom world, and might feel intimidated by it. I was not intending to follow it up at the time—but things have changed dramatically since those, dare I say, innocent times of late 2019. I want to give you the perspective of someone who is back behind the bar and happy to see his regulars back—while fully understanding that this pandemic is far from over. This brings some new things to consider when visiting your favorite brewery taproom—if it’s one of the few that remains open—and I hope this perspective can help you should you decide you absolutely have to go out…
11 Jun 2020
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All right, that’s it. I’ve had enough. I have to break free. No, you’ll still find me wearing a mask when I’m out; I am merely talking about finding things to write about related to the lockdown. I need to talk about something else—while simultaneously looking forward to the future. What better way to do that than talk about where I would love to travel when everything has settled down? Of course, beer is going to play an important part in deciding which places I choose—and I am accepting no limit to our imaginations. So grab your travel-size toiletries and your most-easily removable shoes, and come with me. I’ll begin with the country whose beers changed my perception of what beer could be: Belgium. If you haven’t experienced Belgian beer outside of the parody of it called Stella Artois, I almost envy you in a strange way. For centuries, Trappist…
15 May 2020
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In these strange times, the last thing you might be pondering is: "How do I get my craft beer, though?" However, there are options for California craft-beer aficionados. In fact, the pandemic has made it easier than ever to get one’s hands on the best beer across the state—without having to go to a single brewery. A group of friends and I have been enjoying some of these benefits, and my fridge has seen some amazing beers that I didn't get to previously enjoy very often. Let's begin locally. As far as I know, every brewery in the Coachella Valley is doing to-go orders, and some are offering rotating deals. The best way to find out about these details is social media—as much as I despise Facebook and its ilk, as I think it has made the world a demonstrably worse place. Anyway, the brewery where I work has been…
06 Apr 2020
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As this Horseman of the Apocalypse continues his world tour, some of us are handling isolation poorly. Well, I'm here with a helpful suggestion if you have some time on your hands and have a little extra money lying around: Make your own beer. If your first reaction to this suggestion is to scoff, please read on—and see that the prospect of brewing beer at home is not as difficult as you might think. I’ve been interested in beer for decades and learned how it was made early on in my readings about the subject (Beer for Dummies was really a great introduction), but I didn't feel the urge to brew my own until a little more than a decade ago. At the time, I was doing a podcast on beer with my cousin Josh, and it just seemed silly to not try our hand at brewing. We ordered the…

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