I got to see a coolship in action. What's that, you ask? It's a large shallow pan used to cool wort overnight using outside air temperature. During the cooling process, naturally occurring yeast in the air inoculates the wort. Once the wort is cooled, it moves onto the next stage of production--often barrel aging!
We also got to sample a year-old beer straight from the barrel.
Beercycling trip, Mr. Blog Named Brew mused about the terroir of beer. Terroir is a French wine concept incorporating everything that contributes to the distinctive character of a particular vineyard site. This includes its soil and subsoil, drainage, slope and elevation, microclimate, which in turn includes temperature and precipitation, exposure to the sun, wind and fog, and the like. It can also include strains of wild yeasts that come in on the grape skins and live in the wine cellars.
But what does that mean for beer? Water, strains of yeast, varieties of hops and malts all give beer its characteristics. But what about equipment? Does equipment that is hundreds of years old change the beer? Maybe. Does a brewery's history have an impact? Absolutely.
What about as a beer drinker? Is there terroir of beer drinking? Does time and place impact how good we think a beer is? We asked ourselves this question many times during the trip. Did the beers taste better because of where we were and who we were drinking with? I don't know. The halcyon glow of vacation likely had a positive impact on our perceptions but did it make an average beer seem that much better? Or was it possible that we didn't have a bad beer the entire time we were on vacation?
One beer that I'm pretty confident was just a darn good beer is De Dolle's Oerbier.
What you can't really see in this photo is the phrase "Nat en Straf", which means wet and strong. I can attest that perfectly describes this beer. I could also claim it as my personal motto on the Beercycling trip as I ended most days soaking wet with sweat but feeling unstoppable. That's me...nat en straf.
Style: Strong dark ale
Previously reviewed from De Dolle
My review of Dulle Teve, which includes me and a lot of spandex!
His and hers reviews of Arabier