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Dogfish Head / New Belgium

6 Seasonal Beers to Try This Spring

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Dogfish Head / New Belgium

As the snow begins to melt, beer drinkers can finally put down their stouts and come out into the sunlight to enjoy some lighter, fruitier beers. Here are some new springtime brews to enjoy in the warmer weather. 


With warm weather comes music festivals, and the craft beer fanatics at Delaware's Dogfish Head brewery spend time each year concocting the perfect beer to drink while enjoying some outdoor tunes. This year's version is a juicy and refreshing beer that comes with noticeable, yet restrained, notes of hibiscus and kiwi, which bring the whole summery flavor together. You can find the beer in six-packs in most northeast beer stores until May. As an official beer of Record Store Day, the pink-tinted ale is the perfect beer to enjoy while listening to your favorite vinyl.


Widmer Brothers Brewing found so much success with its original take on Hefeweizen, that this year they're releasing a whole Hefe lineup. The Hefe Hopfruit is out now, with Hefe Berry Lime and Blood Orange soon to follow. So what's a hopfruit? In this case, it's a lot of grapefruit, which pairs quite nicely with the hazy, light beer. With a 4.6 percent ABV, the shandy is perfect for throwing back on a perfect spring day.


There used to be a time when watermelon-flavored beer would raise many eyebrows. Today, the summer fruit can be found in beloved beers like 21st Amendment Brewery's Hell or High Watermelon and Anderson Valley's Briney Melon Gose. Now New Belgium is joining the mix with their own Juicy Watermelon addition. The light, fruit flavor is sure to make for an addictive spring favorite. 


Texas' oldest craft brewery is showing its age with a little bit of outdated teen slang in the name of its latest release. Its new tart Berliner weisse, which will be sold in cans, packs a huge raspberry punch. Apparently, the brewers filled eight red wine barrels in their brewery with different fruit. A taste test of the finished barrels determined raspberry to be the best tasting, so now we have Raspberry AF. Each batch contains 405,000 raspberries and 3000 pounds of raspberry puree to really get that fruity taste. With an ABV of only 3.7 percent, the beer is light enough to be enjoyed with every meal.


Boulevard Brewing Company's new Show Me Sour beer is part of their new sour series (a Berliner weisse will join the series in August). The super tart beer is the result of a collaboration between Boulevard's brewmaster Steven Pauwels and Side Project Brewing owner/brewer Cory King. The brand's sour beers are available in six packs in the greater Kansas region.


This aromatic red ale from Colorado's Left Hand Brewing Company pours into the glass with a nice amber color. Despite being an IPA, the 6.8 percent ABV beer is more malty than hoppy in taste, and its smooth texture makes it work well as a satisfying drink at the end of a warm spring day. 


If you're trying to cut some calories in time for the beach this summer, then you might want to try one of the many spiked seltzers that have been hitting the shelves recently. The Truly Spiked & Sparkling line of seltzers offers five percent ABV drinks with just 100 calories and one gram of sugar per bottle. Their new flavor, lemon and yuzu, is a refreshing way to welcome the warmer weather. Unlike other spiked seltzers, the drink hides its alcohol content well and delivers a truly un-boozy taste.

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Big Questions
If Beer and Bread Use Almost the Exact Same Ingredients, Why Isn't Bread Alcoholic?
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If beer and bread use almost the exact same ingredients (minus hops) why isn't bread alcoholic?

Josh Velson:

All yeast breads contain some amount of alcohol. Have you ever smelled a rising loaf of bread or, better yet, smelled the air underneath dough that has been covered while rising? It smells really boozy. And that sweet smell that fresh-baked bread has under the yeast and nutty Maillard reaction notes? Alcohol.

However, during the baking process, most of the alcohol in the dough evaporates into the atmosphere. This is basically the same thing that happens to much of the water in the dough as well. And it’s long been known that bread contains residual alcohol—up to 1.9 percent of it. In the 1920s, the American Chemical Society even had a set of experimenters report on it.

Anecdotally, I’ve also accidentally made really boozy bread by letting a white bread dough rise for too long. The end result was that not enough of the alcohol boiled off, and the darned thing tasted like alcohol. You can also taste alcohol in the doughy bits of underbaked white bread, which I categorically do not recommend you try making.

Putting on my industrial biochemistry hat here, many [people] claim that alcohol is only the product of a “starvation process” on yeast once they run out of oxygen. That’s wrong.

The most common brewers and bread yeasts, of the Saccharomyces genus (and some of the Brettanomyces genus, also used to produce beer), will produce alcohol in both a beer wort
and in bread dough immediately, regardless of aeration. This is actually a surprising result, as it runs counter to what is most efficient for the cell (and, incidentally, the simplistic version of yeast biology that is often taught to home brewers). The expectation would be that the cell would perform aerobic respiration (full conversion of sugar and oxygen to carbon dioxide and water) until oxygen runs out, and only then revert to alcoholic fermentation, which runs without oxygen but produces less energy.

Instead, if a Saccharomyces yeast finds itself in a high-sugar environment, regardless of the presence of air it will start producing ethanol, shunting sugar into the anaerobic respiration pathway while still running the aerobic process in parallel. This phenomenon is known as the Crabtree effect, and is speculated to be an adaptation to suppress competing organisms
in the high-sugar environment because ethanol has antiseptic properties that yeasts are tolerant to but competitors are not. It’s a quirk of Saccharomyces biology that you basically only learn about if you spent a long time doing way too much yeast cell culture … like me.

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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Attention Moscow Mule Fans: Those Copper Mugs May Pose a Serious Health Threat
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Even if you can’t list the ingredients in a Moscow Mule, you may be able to recognize one from across a bar: The simple combination of vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer is traditionally served in a copper mug. But that trendy vessel could pose a serious health threat, according to public health officials. As CBS News reports, the potential for food poisoning from those iconic cups is severe enough that the state of Iowa is taking a stand against them.

Copper is commonly used to make kitchenware like pots and pans, but when it comes into contact with certain foods, it can be unsafe. Foods and liquids that have a pH lower than 6.0, and are therefore acidic, can erode the copper and copper alloys and cause them to mix with whatever’s being consumed. The pH of lime juice falls between 2.0 and 2.35 [PDF], so the chances of copper contamination from a Moscow Mule sloshing inside a copper mug all night are high.

Symptoms of copper poisoning include vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and yellow skin or jaundice. Even if you feel fine after a night of Moscow Mule imbibing, long-term effects like liver damage can occur over time. In response to these hazards, Iowa’s Alcoholic Beverages Division released a statement [PDF] advising against the use of Moscow Mule mugs. “The recent popularity of Moscow Mules, an alcoholic cocktail typically served in a copper mug, has led to inquiries regarding the safe use of copper mugs and this beverage,” it reads. “The use of copper and copper alloys as a food contact surface is limited in Iowa.”

If you’re hesitant to put your Moscow Mule obsession to bed, there are ways to enjoy the drink safely without sacrificing the classic look. When stocking your bar at home, make sure to include copper mugs lined with food-safe metal like nickel or stainless steel. And when you’re ordering the drink elsewhere, you can check with the bartender to see if they have similar containers. If not, asking for the drink in a boring old glass is your safest bet.

[h/t CBS News]


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