Sunday, April 15, 2018

WEEK 128---MORE than just a "BEER FESTIVAL"

Less than a month to go---by 5th May, the city of Copenhagen will see thousands of geeks descending from different corners of the world--all for one common reason--the Mikkeller Beer Week, which is kinda like the extended version of the 2 days beer festival--Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen or MBCC2018. 
下个月5号开始,哥本哈根将引来一批又一批从世界各地飞来积聚的啤迷们。
无他,大家都只冲着一件事情,毋庸置疑的Craft Beer界年度盛事,哥本哈根啤酒庆典(Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen简称MBCC2018)而去,除了11-12号两天四个场次的啤酒节,从5号开始到13号,这城市好多跟啤酒庆典关联的不同酒吧餐厅将出现各种占领啤酒泵品酒会美食啤酒配搭瓶子首卖会等或限量或小型活动等着啤迷参与。
到底是什么样的啤酒庆典每年能吸引那么多不同国家城市啤迷不远千里也要去?不如来看看除了11-12号两天啤酒庆典之外(已知大约一百家不同酿坊参与),今年啤酒周有什么活动阵容等着:-
For the uninitiated, while #MBCC2018 is happening on 11&12 May, the beer celebration is more than just a 2 days fest, in fact it has become a week long(or slightly longer) celebration, this year, from 5th to 13th of May--this city will become the best place to be around for awesome beers/mead/hard cider(plus some food too).
The beer week activities has been announced by the organizer, you can check details of what's coming here:-

Looking at the activities--there's tap takeover--there's smaller tasting session--there's food related pairing dinner--and new releases....there's so much going on--sometimes it could kinda felt like work/or trying to catch on certain schedules :)
Personally speaking, some of these activities would be high on the list of "things to do" during the week:-
 
Tap Takeover
After what Hill farmstead did in 2016 with 29 beers on tap + no less than 14 different bottles on site at Warpigs brewpub---the bar has certainly been raised for a tap takeover during MBW.
This year there will be 2 different tap takeover--both highly anticipated breweries famous/infamous for their black magics on black color brews---on the 9th and 10th, BOTTLE LOGIC and then CYCLE will be showcasing what they've got during tap takeover of their own at Warpigs.
These two will draw in the geeks--so expects to Q-UP early.
占领啤酒泵活动(Tap Takeover)
字面上意思就是把一家酒吧占为己用,啤酒泵上的都是同一酿坊同一品牌的不同类别风格啤酒,可以是一次过上十多款,也可以把所有二三十个啤酒泵都占用。
可以在哥本哈根啤酒周做这样“霸道”活动的酿坊当然不会是等闲之辈,继近年一直被评酒网站票选为世界最佳酿坊的Hillfarmstead前年在Warpigs酿吧做了一次让啤迷疯狂的占领啤酒泵活动後(29款“鲜啤”+14款瓶子),今年会有CycleBottle Logic 这两家以不同风味黑啤为人关注的美国酿坊将在910号两天举办各自的占领活动。
Cycle酿坊,在2015年当啤酒庆典还在旧体育馆举行并还是简称为CBC时就已出现在芸芸众多参与酿坊中,当时的“单车”酿坊还没有近年那么备受追捧,也还没登上所谓的世界十强酿坊榜单,不过,过去两三年来,这家酿坊的一些黑啤作品是很多啤迷追逐的瓶子,同样的,另一家近年也受热捧的美国酿坊Bottle Logic算是新贵,因为一款黑啤Fundamental Observation (FO) 而大热,这两家的首次海外占领啤酒泵活动可以预见将引来大批啤迷排队捧场。
Tasting Session
If you love sweet & sours---then these two sessions on different days will be perfect.
First up on the 9th is Superstition meadery having a session at Baghaven--**if you are not familiar with mead--the most important thing to remember is that mead is NOT ONLY ABOUT SWEETNESS--it's a lot more complex and tasty than one can imagine it to be.
If you are a sucker for sour beer--particularly Lambic then you won't want to miss out on the session by Bokkereyder at Koelschip on the 10th.
品酒会(Tasting Event)
这是比较小型活动,可以是因为当天可供品尝细味的酒比较小量有限,也可以是酿酒师想在比较小活动空间中跟啤迷有近距离互动/导饮。
今年啤酒周活动中就有一酸一甜(当然不是单一调调那种)品酒会等着,说的是比利时天然发酵果酸啤酒新贵Bokkereyder作坊和顶级美国蜜酒作坊Superstition,这两家也会在910号两天不同时间段举办各自活动,可以一次过品味多款或限量或庆典特酿完全不同风味表现顶级佳酿是啤迷非常乐见之事。
*if you're a fan---Jester King is also doing their rounds at both Baghaven and Koelschip on the 9th & 10th.
Food & Pairing activities
As shown in the link above, there will be many restaurants related to the Mikkeller brand doing their rounds of various food related activities--but the most interesting one has got to be Chef Dan Bark of Upstairs@Mikkeller Bangkok popping up at Hyggestund doing a 2 evenings dinner--fresh from winning a 1 star Michelin in Bangkok--it will be interesting to see if Chef Dan serve his entire Bangkok menu or would do a twist on certain dishes/create MBW new dishes...
**for the uninitiated---the Bangkok menu is a 10 course dinner( with 2 desserts)--pairing is only with craft beer/mead or hard cider--NO WINE is served.
美食啤酒搭配(Food & Pairing)
哥本哈根啤酒庆典一直以来都跟食物搭上关系,两天啤酒节场内一直有精挑细选合作摊位提供食物,这些年来米记品牌也伸向餐饮业拓展,除了原有丹麦开边三文治餐厅,跟美国酿坊Three Floyds合作的酿吧其实也是美式烤肉店,然后还有拉面店,墨西哥玉米饼店,美式早餐店等等。
这次啤酒周,米记旗下所有餐厅都有不同活动,其中最让人瞩目的是将近期得到米其林一星的曼谷米吧楼上餐厅主厨Dan Bark特地请过来做只有89号两天的美食啤酒配搭晚餐,不免让人好奇这次身在客场厨房的Chef Dan是会将曼谷菜单照搬过去还是说就地取材做些更改或提供新菜色?


Of course there are many other activities not mentioned here--you can check the link above and take your pick. As for those who are familiar with Copenhagen craft beer scene--then perhaps it's even more "challenging" for the week as there's also other non-MBW related bars to visit.
对住在亚洲啤迷朋友来说,当然不是每个人都认同或有时间精力为了一个啤酒周飞那么远去哥本哈根,也或许会有人问说即将在今年九月首次在亚洲亮相的啤酒庆典会不会有哥本哈根版本的啤酒“天堂”周,虽说目前主办单位还没公布东京版本详情,看起来东京版本很可能只有两天啤酒节重点活动。无论如何,要是没去哥本哈根体验原版,九月东京版仍将是亚洲前所未见高水平啤酒庆典,是了解什么叫Craft Beer文化的好时机,值得去。
To say that week in particular is the best time to visit Copenhagen for varieties of awesome brew is no exaggeration whatsoever--though the city itself is not lacking in selections of awesome craft beer/mead/hard cider on any other days--this time of the year--the MBW in May will be like beer heaven on earth--if you are willing to fly in from far and wide.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

WEEK 127--Let's go TOKYO this SEPTEMBER


And so it's here, the one beer fest i been wishing to one day somehow making it to ASIA is coming to Tokyo this September.

To have a beer fest of level this high coming to ASIA is something i been wishing for and spoken with some closest geeks friends ever since coming back from CBC few years ago, partly due to the fact that craft beer festivals in ASIA are either mostly commercial interest first, or drink all you can so you can fall flat on your face or simply monotonous(yes, there are a few guys in different parts of ASIA working on more crafty festivals aiming at spreading craft culture but nothing come close to MBCC/CBC level), so to have the organizers of one of the world's best craft fest taking it all the way to ASIA is really a big tick off the craft wish list.
终于来了。
备受啤迷推崇关注的哥本哈根啤酒庆典---Mikeller Beer Celebratiin Copenhagen  (简称MBCC)主办方上周正式宣布将会破天荒第一次出现亚洲版本。 
这个全亚洲第一次选择了东京,英文简称MBCT,最后一个字母指的就是Tokyo ,和今年511-12哥本哈根版本不同的是,东京选在户外举行,地点是新宿区明治神宫外苑一个棒球场,日期是923-24两天。
如果你没去过也没听说过MBCC或比较早期简称CBC的哥本哈根啤酒庆典,以下是一些基本概念:-

Scheduled for 23rd & 24th(a Monday but it's a public holiday in Japan) September, the first ever Asia version of the Copenhagen originated MBCC(Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen) or CBC(Copenhagen Beer Celebration) when it first started will be held at the rubber ball base ball ground at Meiji Jingu Gaien in Shinjuku area, and since Tokyo is the venue, the ASIA version is naturally being called MBCT.
You can watch the official announcement video here:-
If yo have not been to a CBC/MBCC or don't really know what it's all about, here's some basic ideas:-
1) Limited Supply--First come first serve
TWO days fest---FOUR sessions--no less than few hundreds varieties of beers/mead/hard ciders to choose from--but for any single session it's highly likely that a particular brew has only 1 keg--you want that brew you better go first in line or line up for it--but if that keg is finished--then sorry--there's no more---better luck next time. 
1)有限供应,先到先得,完了就没了
两天,四个不同时段,有好几百款不同品牌类别风格啤酒选择但是每个时段每款很可能只有一桶,要喝只能排队领酒,先到先得,一旦那桶啤酒分完就没了。
2) Your Taster Glass is your pass to get serve
There's NO cash/card transaction needed when it comes to drinking beers/mead/hard cider(except if you are buying food or other things)---to save everyone's time during the fest, tickets are sold ONLINE way in advance.(will come to that in the later part of this post)---your ticket is entitle for a taster glass at the door which is effectively your pass to get serve any and every beers/mead/hard cider out there that you fancy during the fest( provided you follow scenario 1 mentioned above)
2)凭票换杯,杯子就是领酒通行证
啤酒庆典以预购门票方式进行,场内喝酒只需排队伸手递杯子就可,喝酒不需另外给钱找钱浪费大家时间,你唯一需要做的只是每次喝新酒前自己找洗杯机冲冲杯子,再去领酒。
3) Small Pour/Drink Less Taste More
Yes, many would think beer festivals is the perfect setting to get slam/gulping down as many beers one can handle( or in fact cannot handle)---Well, that mentality does not suit a fest like MBCC/MBCT where firstly the taster glass will be a lot more smaller in size than your usual bar pint glasses, secondly the serving size is mostly only half filled or even lesser---this is a fest which encourages drinkers to savour the different flavours of varieties of brew, not gulping. So if you are new to the fest--do not complaint if your glass is only half filled or lesser--this is the norm--most geeks would understand--and you should too.
With few hundreds varieties of brew available, unless you are prepared/wanted to drink til you fall flat face down( really?)--the best way to enjoy and taste so many different styles/types of brew is to drink a lot lesser in volume while trying out as much varieties your alcohol tolerance level/stamina can take in.
3)小杯子小量喝
啤酒节等同大杯畅饮的旧思维在这里不适用,这是个鼓励小量啜饮细味品尝的啤酒节,如果手上小杯子每次只分到一半或更少,不要惊讶不要质问,这是这个啤酒庆典的文化,啤迷们都知道,你也应该知道。
庆典每天两个不同时段会有至少过百种不同品牌不同类别风格啤酒选择,除非是要拼命喝到趴下(需要吗?有意思?),短短几小时内如何好好品味不同啤酒是关键,少量多尝是自然动作,也因为很多款啤酒只有一桶,参与酿坊每次只给少量是正道。
虽然主办方还没公布太多详情,包括参与酿坊阵容(只说不少过40家美国欧洲亚洲酿坊),购票详情等,不过既然东京版本以哥本哈根庆典为依据,来看看哥本哈根版本什么玩法:-
Though there's not much details as yet pertaining to the line up for  participating breweries( though it's announced that there will be no less than 40), as well ticket pricing and so on, but since MBCT is the ASIA version of MBCC, let's take a look at what the Copenhagen version is all about:-
The Ticket
Into the 7th edition, the Copenhagen fest is still a 2 days event with 4 different sessions--morning 10am to around 2pm and then 3pm to about 7pm another session.
You can choose to go for only 1 single session of RED/BLUE/GREEN/YELLOW ticket(indicating different session) or you could buy the PINK ticket for all 4 sessions.(there's also a VIP ticket option if you so fancy)
All participating breweries/meadery/cider house will be there during the 4 sessions serving mostly different brew for different sessions. As mentioned earlier--beer money is already paid for with that ticket of yours, all you have to do is hold on to your taster glass, go in front of a serving booth, pick up your brew and enjoy, rinse it and go to the next booth---NO cash/card needed UNLESS you are buying coffee/food/t-shirt and/or any other items/services available.
As of now it is understood that TICKET WILL OPEN FOR SALE ONLINE by mid or later part of MAY 2018.(do check their FB/Insta for latest news)
Do take note that there's NO ticket at the door during event day for Copenhagen version.
门票概念
今年哥本哈根啤酒庆典已进入第七个年头,一样是分两天四个不同时段,早上到下午一场,下午到傍晚另一场,所有参与酿坊在每个不同时段都会提供不同款啤酒/蜜酒,啤迷可选择只买单一时段的红////单场票或全部四个时段都能参与的粉红通行票,票价已包含所去时段全场所有啤酒任喝,在场内除非是喝咖啡买食物或纪念品或瓶子或现场纹身,不然都不需要另外给钱。
据了解,东京版本入门票预计会在五月中/下旬开始接受网上预购。以哥本哈根经验来说,庆典当天不设现场购票,想去的啤迷记得留意MBCT官网最新消息。
What's the FUSS?
There will be no less than 60 breweries/meadery/cider house joining MBCC 2018 in Copenhagen this coming 11-12May, it's true number is not the most important but quality of those coming--and that's exactly the main reason why year after year this fest keep attracting beer geeks from far and wide to travels/fly in just for that particular week/few days---with breweries ranging from the grand masters to the hot and in-trend to the unassuming solid ones--these are the reasons why the fest keep people flying in year after year--in a way, it's also some sort of get-together/reunion date for old and new geeks friends from different places around the globe. 
有什么那么厉害
今年哥本哈根版本至今已宣布参与酿坊不少过60家,数量不是最重要,有什么级别酿坊前来才是重点,这才是每年能吸引世界各地啤迷飞往参与主因,无论是Craft世界里的大师级酿坊或火红新贵或低调高手,应邀的都会出席,这年度盛事也是散布世界不同角落新旧啤迷朋友见面共聚分享交流的机会,那么多同好同处一个空间不是每天都能有的事。
Why Go Tokyo?
Of course if you would choose to go Copenhagen for the whole beer week with 2 days fest in the mix that would be awesome, but if you are not then the first ASIA version in Tokyo should help.
Basing on what Copenhagen has demonstrated over the past 6 years, this fest in Tokyo will certainly be something ASIA has never before seen or experienced---yes, it's true that what happen in Copenhagen might not be 100% applicable here in Asia with differences in culture and so on--but what MBCC represent in terms of breweries line up/the way geeks are participating/the serve small drink less taste more culture would certainly help ASIA craft community/drinkers to move forward hopefully with better understanding and appreciation of craft culture.
and, If you happen to have friends who think beer festivals is just an excuse to get slam/face down--try ask him/her to come along, let them see for themselves first hand how different one of the best craft festivals can be.
为什么要去
以哥本哈根经验来说,这绝对会是亚洲前所未见啤酒庆典,无论是酿坊阵容,啤迷参与方式,鼓励浅尝细味啤酒节文化等对新朋友来说会是新体验,如果觉得啤酒节只是个让无聊人拼酒喝死的借口,那就更应该来看看这个当今世上数一数二,备受各地啤迷推崇啤酒庆典会是怎么一回事。

EXTENDED READ:-
mbcc 2016 beer week

small-matters-of-cbc-2015.

Monday, March 19, 2018

WEEK 126---Drink Craft Chat Beer

Someone asked recently "what's so interesting about craft beer?"--while the answer could be different for everyone, mine was faily simple --" choices--it's about the varieties of beer styles choices".

The vast varieties/choices available also meaning some geeks( if not all geeks) would somehow have a tasting group/buddies of their own since that's the best way to share the load/drink lesser quantity but taste more. No exception here in KL for myself and the tasting group guys---though unlike some geeks who prefer/like to do vertical tasting of the same breweries same style but of different bottling dates/years/variants--we are very much the group preferring to do different styles/varieties in a single sharing session for the pure pleasure of varying taste profile/twist and turn different brewing ideas could bring.
有新朋友问,Craft Beer的吸引力是什么?或许不同人会有不同答案,个人的答案很简单,选择,很多不同风格类别啤酒选择
对啤迷来说,这些不同选择可以是相同风格酒款但不同酿坊作品,更可以是完全不同类别风格不同酿坊作品,因为喝Craft乐趣在于尝试在不同啤酒中寻找细味不同风味呈现,在这过程中,有时候只喝本身所在城市酒吧或瓶子店买得到啤酒已不能满足味蕾尝鲜探索需求,所以不少啤迷都会有自己的品酒会伙伴或乐于参与一些其他啤迷邀请的品酒会。
品酒会其实就像美食分享会那样,方式很简单,啤迷朋友各自拿对等数量/风评的瓶子大家每一款少量分着喝,以品尝啤酒味道为主,有的啤迷喜欢同一风格同一酿坊啤酒不同年份瓶子排列喝,也有喜欢不同风格跳着喝的,比如说<顽啤主张>和几位本地啤迷朋友就喜欢每次品酒会上一定要有不同类别风格选择,喝起来有很显著味蕾起伏转折感觉。
以下是随意挑选的近几个月在本地品酒会分享过的一些不同类别风格瓶子:-
Here's some randomly selected bottles of different styles beer/hard cider shared during the past few months here in KL:-
Baladin Xyauyu Barley Wine
For the uninitiated--though there's that "wine" word--this is 100% a beer--generally a higher alcohol content/more intense/sweeter beer.
This one is quite nice after the beer warm up--the dark fruits/caramel coming out is obvious/delicious--in a small way it felt like sipping a beer that's a little similar to something in between a very light pot wine/red wine.
虽然酒款名称英文字眼中有Wine ,这绝对是不折不扣的啤酒,一般来说是酒体比较浓郁,口感比较倾向甜味的高酒精度啤酒类别。
这支来自意大利酿坊的作品喝起来有明显的黑色果实,焦糖味道,有点像是喝着介于餐后甜酒/葡萄酒之间的醇香啤酒,,层次相当丰富,完全不像一般酿坊同类型作品那样喝起来只有甜味和麦芽味那样单调,适合慢慢小口喝体验从开瓶时比较冷到回温过程中酒体口感变化。

B.Nektar Zombie Killer
Most people know what a BEER is--some would know what a cider is--but not that many would know what's a hard cider (much more than just fermented apple juice)--or say a session or heavier mead( fermented with honey but much much more than just honey sweet).
This hard cider is a really nice one suitable either as opening/mid way through or end of session drink during a tasting/sharing session--it's refreshing/layered/never dull--very drinkable--the honey and cherries added certainly turned this apple cider into something whole lot more interesting/tasty.
一般来说,大家知道什么是BEER,也有些人知道什么是Cider(苹果酒),不过说到Hard Cider(不止苹果那么简单) Mead(蜜糖发酵多变化多口味蜜酒) 就不是那么多人知道是什么。
这是款高水准的Hard Cider,,加入蜜糖和樱桃果汁将苹果酒华丽转变为层次分明的清爽易喝轻度水果蜜酒,在品酒会中,这支可以是开场,中场或终场都适合喝的一支。

New Glarus Serendipity
This is one fruit beer not commonly available in Asia--if you are curious about how fruits would taste in a beer form--go find some of their fruits based beers--they are really good at this game.
Had this not too long ago and still remember the first thing that came striking the nose was this very obvious raw apricot kernel like smell--and that's a smell/taste i'm not fond of personally speaking--took a while to get used to but apart from that the beer is tasting fine--NOTE---the beer did not use any apricot kernel/almond--only apples/cranberries & cherries were added--to call it a lovely light sweet sour/tart fruits punch in a beer is quite an understatement.
用蔬菜水果酿造美味啤酒是好些酿坊的拿手好戏,这家来自美国中西部威斯康辛州的酿坊就是佼佼者,基本所有来自这家的受关注不同风味啤酒都是以水果为主要味道表现题材。与之前喝过另一支让大家惊艳不已强调类似浓郁草莓酱水果啤酒不同,这支加入了苹果小红莓和樱桃酿造,好玩的是,开瓶倒入杯中传来的是类似杏仁的青涩味,如果你并不喜欢杏仁特有的味道这可能需要一点时间让味觉适应,这之外,酒本身喝起来是带果酸的但不是过度那种,是舒适的,属于可饮性高的水果啤酒。

Three Floyd's Dark Lord
for those who know--this is one beer needing no introduction--for the uninitiated--it's one of the few Big stouts around with a dedicated annual event day where people would need to buy tickets in advance to go in --much like going to a rock concert.
OK--this maybe deemed a "has been" beer by some--some even jokingly calling it a "diabetic" beer--whatever it is--this has been our group's Xmas beer for the past 3 years--be it drinking it as it is--or last year's Triple Vanilla Ice-Cream Float or the year before last's french press with roasted coconut version--this is still a stout worth it's salt no matter how many other big stout/bigger stouts has since emerged.  
美国黑啤中指标性的一款,是每年各方啤迷前去芝加哥出席类似摇滚演唱会那样售票入场首卖会的盛名黑啤。
虽然随着时间流逝和其他酿坊名作出现让一些啤迷觉得黑魔王不再那么炙手可热,也有些啤迷觉得味偏甜而戏称这是糖尿病黑啤,这依然是我们每年圣诞节聚餐时会喝的黑啤,无论是从一开始的老老实实原味喝,或者说前年的倒一半加入现烤椰子压榨增添香味,又或是去年底的加入香草冰淇淋黑啤版本,个人觉得这是喜欢浓郁黑啤喝酒人需要试一试的一款。

Upright Flora Rustica
Saison can be something a little confusing at times--it would seems everyone has got their own interpretation of what a saison might taste like--including brewers who would have own vision/version of how a certain saison might become.
Personally--i prefer a saison to be:-
1/ low abv--likely  3-6%
2/ not just easy drinking but with some layering/body
3/ balance/nothing decidedly sour or bitter or too fizzy( just saying)
This one from Upright is quite nice--the intention was clear to see--the use of flower&yarrow gave it a certain plants influenced aroma blending nicely with the malt/yeast/hops used.
SAISON最基本认知是,这是以前农场工作人员在过冬时候用农场蔬果酿造准备夏天季节解渴喝的低酒精轻松易喝啤酒。
到了Craft世界中,虽然不同酿坊对什么是农场风格啤酒有各自的诠释,也有一些喝起来四不像的版本出现,不过,酿得好的农场风格啤酒基本少不了三大要数,其一低酒精度,基本不超过4-5% 其二清爽易喝中带一定程度层次感,其三酒体味道体现高均衡度,不会有过酸或过苦现象。
这支美国酿坊作品单从酒名可看出酿酒师想强调花草影响本意,加入金盏花和西洋蓍草酿造,是喝起来清爽又能感受到花草结合啤酒花麦芽的均衡酿品。

Saturday, March 10, 2018

WEEK 125---CNY Craft Drinking

CNY or Chinese New Year comes and go every lunar calendar--it;s the time of the year where people who celebrate CNY gets home--wherever they might be at--to see family members/home town friends.--from China to Taiwan to Malaysia, people travels in all directions just to get home for the annual get together--during this time of the year--being home could also meaning being at a place where there's no supply of craft beer/mead--unless you bring your own supply back home.

新年是回家乡团聚的日子,对一些在外地生活的啤迷朋友来说,有时候春节回家等同于要跟Craft暂时说拜拜。
绝大多数新春聚会,有啤酒的话都只会是超市买得到的一般大厂啤酒,很多时候因为主人家不懂啤酒有选择或什么是Craft Beer,有时候因为所在地除了大厂啤酒完全没其他选择。这意味着,新春期间啤迷想喝好的,只能自己带酒。
<顽啤主张>也属于回家过年没Craft喝的类型,以下是回吉隆坡後喝到的一些很不错啤酒/蜜酒,虽然绝大多数都是啤迷朋友私藏分享,不过只要新朋友有心寻找,还是能通过啤迷渠道找到的。

Personally this is the time of the year where i would be in a place with no craft supply whatsoever since i don't bring any bottles back, and it's also perhaps the only time in a year where occasionally i'm "forced" to drink commercial piss lager during old friends dine and drink session.
Hence it's natural to want to make it up with some really nice craft beer/mead after coming out of the real craft desert, back to KL to share some brew with geeks, here's a few nice ones shared recently:-
Cantillon Fou Foune
To drink a bottle of Lambic here in KL is always a thankful pleasure since there's very little supply in Asia, let alone South East Asia. This is a bottle shared by guy from the KL tasting group, a relatively fresher bottle than previously had bottles of the same variant. The apricot taste/aroma/smell is evidently fresher, livelier than the recent bottle shared at Upstairs Bangkok, this is one beer that's so nicely done it makes you happier as you sip, but then the truth is i have yet to find a bottle of Lambic which would make me feel bad about, it's probably a bit silly to say this--but i would go as far to say if anyone says they like sour beer or don't like sour beer but NEVER properly tasted any Lambic( or variants of lambic for that matter)--then they don't really know what they are saying.
不少第一次喝的新朋友会觉得Lambic特有风味是让人难以一喝就接受的啤酒类别,不过,对已经跨越初期抗拒感,并逐步明白其独特性,喜欢上比利时天然发酵果酸啤酒的啤迷来说,Cantillon酿品水准是大师级别,属于指标性的,众多不同风格酿品中,这是款用了大量新鲜杏子浸泡桶陈版本酸啤,水果指定来自酿坊主人的法国朋友农场(啤酒名称其实就是农场朋友花名),浸泡比例是每一公升酸啤用300公克杏子提味,酿品喝起来除了Lambic特有野生菌发酵怪味和木桶味,更多的是果香鲜酸,有点像是介于发酵果汁/啤酒/白葡萄酒之间,层次复杂口感优雅美味喝着喝着心情就很好的顶级酿品。
Struise Black Damnation Ivan The Terrible
There's no doubt that Black Albert from the same Belgium brewery is one hell of a benchmark beer for stouts---Black Damnation is the "playful"/"upgraded"/"imaginary"/"adjunct" version of Black Albert--using it as the base beer and play around with added food items/fruits/barrels/whatever the brewers fancy---it was supposed to be just an experimental brew but it's been going on since the first addition.
Black Damnation series is all about playing it BIG in terms of playfulness/intention and such--this one we shared was a Whisky barrel-aged version--Glenlivet 15yrs old french oak barrel---there's obvious taste/aroma/smell of dark fruits/cherry/oak influences--with hints of alcohol burn but gets a lot smoother as it gets warmer.
Only thing about this bottle to say is--while Black Albert is pleasantly doable--you would not want to drink this alone.
这是比利时黑啤高手酿坊的玩味之作,开始时把自家的基本版黑啤Black Albert拿来实验性玩不同处理方式,比如加入咖啡摩卡水果之类食材看看可以有什么不同变化,然后也玩不同酒类木桶浸泡陈放,就那样,从一开始的只是想玩一下,变成一玩不可收拾的推出好多不同变奏版,这瓶是啤迷朋友从荷兰搜购回来分享的GLENLIVET 15年份威士忌桶陈版,虽然开始比较冷喝起来酒精感明显,过了十多二十分钟酒体暖和後则变得比较圆润饱满,更多黑巧克力咖啡黑色果实等元素,让酒体能比较完整呈现,也是喝啤酒或蜜酒乐趣之一,看看酿品能在不同温度变化中带来什么样的变化。

Superstition Banana PBJC & Chocolate Strawberry Sunrise
Both are adjunct added variants of the base version, and unlike the original version which were bottled in 750ml, came in a smaller size of 375ml.
the Banana PBJC is quite interesting that it gives off unripe banana smell but the sweetness is there when first encountered--followed with peanut butter afterwards.
Sipping on Chocolate Strawberry Sunrise--the first thing that struck on was the tartness rather than sweetness as anyone would expect sweet sensation from a mead--it's obvious tartness for a mead--- the added cocoa nips/vanilla beans makes it "darker"/"thicker"--it felt like drinking a sour/light sweet strawberry mead swimming in a pool of dark chocolate/coffee beans.
这家美国蜜酒酿坊有不少高水准作品,这两款都是在原有基本款中加入不同食材的变奏版,前者原版是水果蜜香中带着浓郁花生酱,这次加了香蕉,多了一股比较青涩香蕉气息和甜味,喜欢香蕉的朋友会觉得有趣。另一支加了香草豆和可可粒变奏版草莓蜜酒则喝起来像是在黑巧克力和咖啡豆中漫游的带酸草莓酒,虽是蜜酒,但不感觉甜,反而果酸味更觉突出。

Cloudwater Collaboration IPAs
undoubtedly one of the darlings of the in-trend NEIPA, the two cans shared here obviously did not come in via any distribution channels in Asia but hand carried in from London by a geek friend.
Both IPAs but with different twist, look and taste different too.
Exit Right(green color can) is a collab with Barcelona brewery--Garage Beer Co--playing with 2 variants of hops and added white grape juice for some added juicy touch.
Biscuit Town(red color can) is collab with Modern Times--emphasizing on  use of malts and single hop.
Both tasting pleasant with one more fruity/juicy than another--the fact that the cans were air flown/hand carried in obviously help in a big way--it's not easy wanting to get fresher ipas this part of the world.
英国酿坊Cloudwater是近两年来备受关注的新贵,拿手好戏是酿造IPA,特别是近期大热的类果汁风格印度淡陴,这两罐是跟两家不同酿坊合作的,青色罐Exit Right是跟巴塞罗那酿坊Garage Beer Co合酿,除了两种主要不同啤酒花使用,也特意加了白葡萄果汁提味。至于红色罐Biscuit Town则是和美国Modern Times 酿坊合酿,强调大量使用的麦芽和单一啤酒花功能,两罐IPA喝起来都平易近人,除了因为是英国朋友手提带进来本地分享还新鲜之外,作品风格其实也朝向易喝舒适方向去,没有一些IPA死命丢啤酒花只求苦味弊病。

Omnipollo Lemon Meringue Ice-Cream Pie
The name says it all--the idea is making a lemon/ice-cream pie into a beer--though beer being liquid don't really gives off the chewy feeling like eating a real pie--you get the idea when you drink this one--especially when the temperature changes from cold to warmer.
If you never had this one and lives in KL--you might  still be able to find one at the craft beer bar.
说瑞典Omnipollo是近年最受啤迷追捧新晋酿坊绝不为过,这家厉害之处是作品风格多样化,而且总是能在不同风格酿品中做出一些让人惊艳之作,这次喝到的作品属于微酸易喝类型,概念是将柠檬蛋白冰淇淋派做成啤酒,听起来就蛮有趣的,虽说啤酒是液体没有冰淇淋或派的实际嘴嚼感,不过,这支作品还是能让人感受到原概念影响,也很适合炎热天气解渴,更重要是,本地专卖吧应该还有机会买到。

Saturday, March 3, 2018

WEEK 124---Talking Bad about Craft Beer

新年刚过,来说些CRAFT的坏话。
It's been said many times over--craft beer is basically a minority game--if you put it in the BEER consumer market context--and while geeks would rave about all the differences drinking craft would make or perhaps one day saving the world--there's also some opinions out there about the act of craft drinking or what craft beer is in the eyes of non-geeks:-
1) craft drinking is just for hipster/wannabe
to many, beer drinking is a no-brainer--just pick up a bottle/glass of ice-cold beer, gulp it down, that's all---the act of sniffing a beer before drinking--taking "serious" beer bottle pictures before drinking--or talking about changes of beer taste/flavours profile with changing temperature from first serving is weird--what's the fuss? why complicate the perfectly simple act of beer drinking?
For majority non-craft drinkers to have those impressions is quite understandable, the need for appreciation of taste/ flavours/ changes/choices when drinking a beer is what majority BEER drinkers don't understand in the first place--and there's not much the craft loving community can do except to try and influence/ introduce /educate the public whenever the right timing arises, making more non-craft drinkers to become one of the craft loving weirdos would be the best answer....
Craft只是扮有品味
这是一些人对喜欢喝Craft的意见,觉得啤酒只是啤酒,有什么那么多不同风格类别选择需要研究品尝的?不就是在装模装样扮有品味而已。
某方面来说,有人会这样觉得是可以理解的,因为喝Craft的确不同于一般大厂啤酒,是有一些讲究的,是比较鼓励尝味而不是牛饮,需要对不同类型风格酒款的认识,加上一些味蕾鉴赏力才能更好的欣赏不同啤酒风味,听起来根本就像是考试,不过是喝啤酒而已,有必要那么多啰嗦的?

的确,啤酒市场最多人知道,会自动买来喝的一定是大厂啤酒,除了财力人力堆砌而成的商业运作因素使然,最直接解释是,喝啤酒一向被认为是简单不过,随手拿起就喝的事情,一来到不同类别风格繁多,讲究细味品尝,进而需要一个味蕾鉴赏力训练过程的全新啤酒世界,很多人会觉得陌生,人对不熟悉事物不是好奇就是先有抗拒感,面对这样的消费者心理因素,加上小量酿造,供应有限,甚至有钱买不到等特色因素,注定了Craft 只能是市场上的小众,也意味着懂得喝Craft为什么需要一些讲究的消费者是绝对少数。
2) craft can make you go nuts
This is true, just like anyone who is deeply fascinated with anything--be it photography, mountain climbing, marathon running, scuba diving or say collecting of coins/stamps or whatever--craft beer loving can be a no end in sight black hole, once in,  there's every chances of going nuts(though geeks would gladly add "in a very nice way").
It's true, many can't understand the act of some geeks who would specifically plan trips with certain beer festivals/happenings or specific beer places overseas, or the act of going through the hassle to fly in/mail in beers/mead from overseas .....
Craft 会让人变傻
喝啤酒可以很随意,但也可以像玩古董字画,摄影,音响,集邮,观鸟,爬山等爱好那样让人深陷其中。

Craft 的世界,很多不同城市都有超级啤迷,对这些人来说,这意味着无止境的追逐不同类别风格品牌啤酒,会向海外寻求自己所在城市没正式供应的限量难寻啤酒,将旅游计划地点特意跟啤酒庆典或一些心目中渴望到访专卖吧所在地绑在一起,就像所有发烧友一样,超级啤迷对Craft 的热爱不是一般消费者能理解,花钱时间精力就只为了满足味蕾的好奇,这是个一头栽进去就很难回头的无底黑洞,但这些人都傻傻的甘之如饴。
3) that many varieties/different labels is just a gimmick to sell more
Let's get one thing clear first---it is common knowledge MACRO BEER only produce a few core line products--it's very straight forward--it's easy to remember--it's mostly either lager or stouts--no drama no confusion.
But things are very very different in the world of craft beer--there's thousands and thousands of different labeling coming from different breweries--there's all sorts of beer styles to choose from--and yes--it's quite confusing--intimidating even to many non-craft drinkers/newbies.
CHOICES is what makes craft drinking fun--for those who understand beer drinking need choices--and obviously there's 2 side to a coin--the view by some that the seemingly endless varieties/new labels/new brew coming out of some breweries is probably more gimmicky than the others--with the aim of trying to sell more beers or simply trying to grab attentions....
Whatever the intention might be from some breweries--and the fact that more choices don't always equals to more high quality brew--this is still something geeks would not mind--end of the day--breweries can introduce as many varieties of styles OR same style but endless new labels/with new twist as they like--the craft community will response accordingly--basing on quality of the brew---that's what really matters--no amount of gimmick can do more than what it's worth.
搞那么多不同酒款只为让人掏钱
以前唱片专辑很好卖的时候会有同一张专辑推出不久后来个改版,可能换个封面图或包装,歌当然都是一样的,这是市场行销手法,为的是刺激买气。
Craft的世界,小量酿造,不同类别款式众多是特点,不过,这样的特色不是人人认同,有人说,经常出很多不同酒款名称包装啤酒的酿坊只是在搞行销小把戏,目的是为了宣传,刺激买气。
实际上,不同酿坊有各自做法,有只专注于酿造几款主力啤酒的,也有喜欢天女散花式不同酒款多不胜数的,酿出来的啤酒也因为使用不同原料水果食材或不同类型木桶陈放而有着不同味道,至于是不是都高水准那就不一定,只能喝过才知。

Craft 有很多不同酿坊,有很多喜欢玩实验的酿酒师是这个啤酒世界的特色,至于说同一个酿坊出很多不同类别风格/包装啤酒是酿酒师在玩创意还是酿坊有意行之的市场营销手段,说起来还真的有点鸡和鸡蛋,很难断定什么跟什么,不过,可以确定的是,无论是花多眼乱还是只专注酿造几款主力啤酒,啤酒的水准/可饮性,啤迷的认可与否,都跟包装没太大关系,只有啤酒自身的实力展现才是关键。
4) craft beer is just some nasty tasting crappy brew
The most intriguing part of craft drinking is Choices---but looking from the other side of the coin--that would also mean another thing--that NOT all craft beers are of the same standards/quality--meaning the chances of drinkers(regardless newbies or geeks) bumping into a badly brewed/below average beer is always there--it's part and parcel of craft drinking jourmey--bad beer is out there--you just have to find out for yourself what's good and what's bad.

Another scenario where beer can taste awful to some would be a totally different scenario- if we take into consideration that Majority consumers are non-craft drinkers---then its obvious there's a palate/beer styles appreciation level issue--meaning not all drinkers can particularly appreciate a certain style/ a particular beer even though that beer is perfectly brewed/highly regarded--it's true a certain period of time is needed for newbies to venture into the big wide world of craft beer--try out different styles--train up the palate to differentiate awesome brew from awful ones--hence, at times if you think a particular beer is out of the world good or too awful for a second or third sip--that could all be down to individual appreciation level---try revisit the same beer after 18 months or longer(provided you do try out many different styles/breweries beers and most importantly seek out some benchmark beers during this period of time) and see what you think of that same beer.
Craft是些不知所谓的难喝啤酒
就像人会唱歌那样,Craft的世界其实也可以很简单,除了买市场上出现的啤酒,要是你愿意,也可以自己酿自己喝,要是酿得出色,也可以自己出个品牌,打开门做生意。
问题是,就像唱歌那样,不是所有人能唱的不刺耳,也不是所有人都能当职业歌手或能开万人演唱会的歌星。
同样道理,Craft的市场供应中,有一些酿坊酿酒师敢敢拿出来卖的啤酒是低水准不入流的,因为Craft 在啤酒消费市场的认知不高,一般消费者很多时候并不具备分析啤酒水准高低能力,或者说,根本不理或不知道啤酒需要品味这件事,就那样,什么狗屁啤酒也有人拿出来卖,有喝到真正难喝啤酒而觉得原来Craft只是狗屁。不过,话说回来,因为味道层次不同风味选择实在是跟一般人喝惯的大厂啤酒差很多,也有情况是有些新朋友还不能领会一些特定风格啤酒的风味,所以就算喝到真正高水准很好喝的也会觉得难喝得很,这两者之间是有很大差别的,一个是因为啤酒素质很狗屁,另一个则是喝的人本身味蕾鉴赏力还不具备一定水平,因为那样,听人说Craft或某种类型风格啤酒或某一支啤酒只是狗屁的时候,不要照单全收,只有自己喝过/跟啤迷朋友交流过才能知道一二。
听起来点复杂? 其实不会,如果你是有心想继续品尝Craft新朋友,不必在意喝到难喝或不对味啤酒,累积一定程度品饮经验中学习後就会了解什么是好喝,什么是狗屁。