This Brewery Is Attaining Beer From Recycled Waste Water

Amid California’s drought, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company is reducing its environmental footprint by making brew from recycled wastewater. The water, taken from sinks, rains and cleaning machines, hasn’t impacted the savour of the brew either. Mavericks Tunnel Vision IPA passed a taste test at a Bay Area sustainability seminar with flying colors last year.

Check out the video above to see exactly how the brewing company induces the liquor.

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How the Soviets helped America’s craft beer revolution

A Russian gentile republic championed hops before microbreweries ran mainstream now it wants to be back on the global brew map, The Calvert Journal reports

Cheboksary is merely a night develop ride away from Russias capital but it could be on another planet. By 10 am the temperature is already approaching the high twenties, its trees are decorated with ribbons and animal bones, and store windows are painted with intricate geometric designs.

The city is the capital of the Chuvashia Republic, a place that has for centuries eluded Russian Christian hegemony and where locals still conduct colorful pagan rituals and follow a pantheon of gods.

The republic is also one of the worlds oldest beer-producing regions, with a tradition of harvesting hops and drinking beer as part of their religious worship.

Now, in a bid to return to its former glory as a Soviet-era hop superpower, local scientists and brewers are hoping that the fad for microbreweries springing up from Moscow and St Petersburg could once again bring investment to Chuvashs farms.

Celebrations
Celebrations in Cheboksary, Russias pagan heartland. Illustration: Ivan Mikhailov

Beer revolution

While American brewers experimenting with hops in the 1970 s have been credited with kickstarting the global craft brew revolution, few people know that the movement might not have been possible without scientists working in Chuvash during Soviet times.

Thanks to its historic love of brew and its own unique microclimate steep terrains and hot summers Chuvashia was the obvious location to produce brew to quench the thirst of the industrial workers across the USSR, promptly transforming the Republic into a hop-growing superpower.

By the late 1980 s, local sovkhozes ( state farms) were making 95% of all hops for the Soviet Unions beer. Known locally as Chuvashias green gold, hops were so ubiquitous they appeared in everything from ice-cream to shampoo.

Hop-farming quickly became a prestigious scientific discipline which demanded its own bureaucratic hierarchy. The first Soviet hop research institute was established just outside Cheboksary.

One of the regions signature products the flavoursome Serebryanka later inspired scientists at the University of Oregon to breed Cascade, a citrus-flavoured hop which has now become popular with craft brewers.

Sampling
Sampling todays local brews. Photo: Ivan Mikhailov/ Calvert Journal

Post Soviet deterioration

But the glory days werent to last. When the USSR collapsed in the early 1990 s, Chuvashias hop empire followed suit, unable to compete with the international brew giants inundating the Russian market and sweeping away local factories.

In the 1980 s there were 35,000 acres of hop fields in Chuvashia, today that number is down to merely 200. Much of the remaining crop is looked after by the Chuvash Hop Institute, which insures the resurgence of artisanal breweries as an opportunity to promote the region as a quality supplier of hops.

The institutes director, Andrey Fadeev, is optimistic. The whole world is going crazy about aromatic hops. We cant lose this opportunity, he says.

Hed like some of “the worlds biggest” brew mills inthe Urals and Siberia to consider Chuvashia as a viable national alternative to European suppliers.

Andrey
Andrey Fadeev in his hop fields. Photo: Ivan Mikhailov/ Calvert Journal

The hop institute has recently restored some of the machines in its brewery and is constructing an alliance with a brand-new mill in Tsvilisk to process delicate raw hops into long-lasting pellets which are more compact and easier to transport.

But it doesnt have a running brewery, and Fadeev concedes that there is a lot more work to be done to restore the area to its former superpower status. We need hundreds of tractors, modern equipment, young folks, he tells.

The hop vault

Even if it is not currently building beer, hops are still being cultivated and Fadeev offers a tour around one of the institutes fields outside of Tsivilsk, a town 20 miles( 32 km) away from Cheboksary.

The harvests are tended to manually by a small group of scientists-cum-farmers, who are mostly girls. They analyze and take care of the plants as the temperatures made the mid-thirties.

Zoya Nikonova is one of the academics who has expended the majority of members of their own lives preserving the legacy of Chuvash hops. We grow hundreds of hops which we bring to Chuvashia from all over the world from New Zealand to Germany, she explains.

Zoya
Zoya Nikonova, a guardian of Chuvash hop gems. Photo: Ivan Mikhailov/ Calvert Journal

Nikonova compares their work to Svalbards global seed vault in its mission to sustain a wide variety of plants for future generations including the legendary Serebyanka.

The semi-wild breed with hints of blackcurrant hasnt been efficient to grow, Nikonov says, pointing a a row of indiscreet pale-looking stems of a plant that kicked off the craft brew revolution.

As the team at the institute works to preserve the history of the glory days, there are signs around the region that the locals have never forgotten their green gold.

Many are skilled home-brewers and brew is often presented as a gift at weddings and important occasions including Seren, a pagan vacation on which evil spirits are expelled with barrels of alcohol and wild dancing.

A version of such articles first is available on The Calvert Journal, a guide to the new east

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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How the Soviets helped America’s craft beer revolution

A Russian gentile republic championed hops before microbreweries ran mainstream now it wants to be back on the global brew map, The Calvert Journal reports

Cheboksary is only a night train ride away from Russias capital but it could be on another planet. By 10 am the temperature is already approaching the high twenties, its trees are decorated with ribbons and animal bones, and store windows are painted with intricate geometric designs.

The city is the capital of the Chuvashia Republic, a place that has for centuries eluded Russian Christian hegemony and where locals still conduct colorful pagan rituals and follow a pantheon of gods.

The republic is also one of the worlds oldest beer-producing regions, with a tradition of harvesting hops and drinking beer as part of their religious worship.

Now, in a bid to return to its former glory as a Soviet-era hop superpower, local scientists and brewers expect that the fad for microbreweries springing up from Moscow and St Petersburg could once again bring investment to Chuvashs farms.

Celebrations
Celebrations in Cheboksary, Russias pagan heartland. Illustration: Ivan Mikhailov

Beer revolution

While American brewers experimenting with hops in the 1970 s have been credited with kickstarting the global craft beer revolution, few people know that the movement might not have been possible without scientists working in Chuvash during Soviet times.

Thanks to its historic love of beer and its unique microclimate steep terrains and hot summers Chuvashia was the obvious location to produce beer to quench the thirst of the industrial workers across the USSR, promptly transforming the Republic into a hop-growing superpower.

By the late 1980 s, local sovkhozes ( nation farms) were rendering 95% of all hops for the Soviet Unions beer. Known locally as Chuvashias green gold, hops were so ubiquitous they appeared in everything from ice-cream to shampoo.

Hop-farming promptly became a prestigious scientific discipline which demanded its own bureaucratic hierarchy. The first Soviet hop research institute was established just outside Cheboksary.

One of the regions signature products the flavoursome Serebryanka afterward inspired scientists at the University of Oregon to breed Cascade, a citrus-flavoured hop which has now become popular with craft brewers.

Sampling
Sampling todays local beers. Photograph: Ivan Mikhailov/ Calvert Journal

Post Soviet deterioration

But the glory days werent to last. When the USSR collapsed in the early 1990 s, Chuvashias hop empire followed suit, unable to compete with the international brew giants flooding the Russian marketplace and sweeping away local factories.

In the 1980 s there were 35,000 acres of hop fields in Chuvashia, today that number is down to only 200. Much of the remaining harvest is seemed after by the Chuvash Hop Institute, which assures the resurgence of artisanal breweries as an opportunity to promote the region as a quality supplier of hops.

The institutes director, Andrey Fadeev, is optimistic. The whole world is going crazy about aromatic hops. We cant lose this opportunity, he says.

Hed like some of the bigger brew factories inthe Urals and Siberia to consider Chuvashia as a viable national alternative to European suppliers.

Andrey
Andrey Fadeev in his hop fields. Photograph: Ivan Mikhailov/ Calvert Journal

The hop institute has recently restored some of the machines in its brewery and is building an alliance with a brand-new mill in Tsvilisk to process delicate raw hops into long-lasting pellets which are more compact and easier to transport.

But it doesnt have a working brewery, and Fadeev concedes that there is a lot more work to be done to restore the area to its former superpower status. We require hundreds of tractors, modern equipment, young folks, he tells.

The hop vault

Even if it is not currently making brew, hops are still being cultivated and Fadeev offers a tour around one of the institutes fields outside of Tsivilsk, a town 20 miles( 32 km) away from Cheboksary.

The harvests are tended to manually by a small group of scientists-cum-farmers, who are mostly women. They study and take care of the plants as the temperatures made the mid-thirties.

Zoya Nikonova is one of the academics who has spent most of their own lives preserving the legacy of Chuvash hops. We grow hundreds of hops which we bring to Chuvashia from all over the world from New Zealand to Germany, she explains.

Zoya
Zoya Nikonova, a guardian of Chuvash hop treasures. Photograph: Ivan Mikhailov/ Calvert Journal

Nikonova compares their work to Svalbards global seed vault in its mission to sustain a wide variety of plants for future generations including the legendary Serebyanka.

The semi-wild breed with clues of blackcurrant hasnt been efficient to grow, Nikonov says, pointing a a row of indiscreet pale-looking stems of a plant that kicked off the craft brew revolution.

As the team at the institute works to preserve the history of the glory days, there are signs around the region that the locals have never forgotten their green gold.

Many are skilled home-brewers and beer is often presented as a gift at bridals and important occasions including Seren, a pagan holiday on which evil spirits are expelled with barrels of alcohol and wild dancing.

A version of such articles first appeared on The Calvert Journal, a guide to the new east

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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Impress Your Friends By Making Beer Cheese Fondue For The Game This Weekend

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Beer for dogs exists so that man’s best friend can turn up, too

It seems like something out of One Sentence Startup Pitches, a 16,000+ strong Facebook group committed to taunting every half-baked elevator pitch out there. Hell, the group’s encompas photo is a Photoshopped image of Mark Zuckerberg in front of a video wall emblazoned with the phrase “Facebook for dogs.”

Beer for puppies is real as fuck, though. And it should help you turn up with your favorite non-human companion.

These non-alcoholic, surprisingly mild refreshments come in meaty flavors and may not have the boozy effects of a normal brew, but dogs love them merely the same. Puppies also have their pick of the litter, so to speak.

There’s Flat 12, which annually trots out its 12 Paws dog brew as part of a Jeffersonville, Indiana fundraiser and pet adoption celebration known as Dogapalooza. But recently, another canine-inspired brew has hit the digital shelves, dogs around the world with the opportunity to chill out with a cold brew after a long day of licking their own asses.

Bottom Sniffer dog beer comes from Woof& Brew, a hippy-dippy U.K. tea and tonic company whose clientele are strictly man’s best friend. With such an auspicious name, you’d believe Woof& Brew would’ve concocted this non-alcoholic doggie treat when it formally launched in 2013.

Nah, it didn’t need to. What with its “feel good” and “anxiety” blends of tonics, Woof& Brew had already contributed to the burgeoning legal doggie drug market out there, chilling pets out like an illicit tea house in the back of a bodega.

The Daily Dot has reached out to the folks behind Bottom Sniffer. Woof& Brew managing director Steve Bennett states that a veterinary surgeon was consulted prior to bringing Bottom Sniffer to life. Though get your Schnauzer shitfaced voices awesome in theory, it may be potentially hazardous for your dog.

“We take a great deal of care when developing a brew, ensuring that it is safe to drink, ” Bennett explains. “It is brewed and bottled in a sterile environment to ensure that the brew remains in good condition for at the least 18 months. I would not recommend this is something that could be done at home.”

Bennett and co. have tried Bottom Sniffer. He describes the beer as “not at all unpleasant” and similar to a “malt drink, ” which is pretty much a ringing endorsement if you’d like to swap your Colt 45 s for something a little less liver-wrecking.

Making beer can be a difficult science, a time-consuming endeavor that’s as many components patience as it is rotting grains and potent yeast. Woof& Brew may have high standards but luck for brewers catering to dogs, their clients truly don’t give a shit. Hell, they feed excrement right up.

Prepare yourselves for an onslaught of doggie home brewers DIY’ing their style into turning their canine companions into drinking buddies.

Update 6:29 pm CT, June 3 : This piece was updated to include a quotation from Woof& Brew.

H/ T BroBible

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PicoBrew blindsides Kickstarter backers with astound stretching goal

PicoBrew has been around for a while, constructing beer brewing easy, even for people who dont know the difference between hops and hops. The company current Kickstarter campaign is for the Pico C, a small home brewing gadget to construct brewing even easier, employing a Nespresso-style cartridge approach to constructing your own home brew. Today, the company announced a surprise upgrade option to its campaign a whole new appliance. The PicoStill is a small still to construct hard liquor from the brew you made with the Pico C. Im not sure these types of amazes are a great idea.

On the topic of moonshine, I should point out that the company( wisely) doesnt indicate you go and brew your own gin right off the at-bat. PicoStill can be used to distill hop oil, water, and essential oils. Licensed and properly permitted craft distillers can also use the PicoStill to produce a wide range of alcohols, including vodka, whiskey, bourbon, moonshine, gin, brandies, schnapps and more. Can you hear the wink, winking, nudge, nudge in that sentence, right around where it tells licensed and correctly permitted craft distillers? Yeah, me too.

Anyway. As arousing as it is to spring a whole additional piece of kit on your backers, Im not going to lie: I really hope that this isnt the start of a trend. Hardware startups are hard( I should know ), and scaling hardware manufacturing is an art in itself. Weve find many of the more popular hardware crowdfunding campaigns crumble under their own weight( ahem, were looking at you, Coolest Cooler ), not least because they added layers and layers of complexity to a product as so-called stretch goals. Adding a whole new piece of equipment to the mixture is brave , to put it mildly.

Dont get me wrong; PicoBrew is an excellent company, and theyve successfully delivered on promises in the past. Theres nothing that stimulates me think that itwont deliver this time, too. I further admit that a $479 brewing machine/ still early-bird kit is causing my finger to hover over the pledge now button. The thought of having a home brewery and still in my ownhome is so unbearably cool that I barely know what to do myself. Of course, thats exactly what marketing is meant to do( It ran! Congratulation .)

Having used to say: Surprising backers with major changes halfway through a campaign stimulates it much harder to do due diligence. Whenever you back a campaign on any crowdfunding campaign, you should ask yourself, Do the promises a company is making about a product make sense? Do I have faith in their ability to deliver? The provide answers to that topic could change significantly if the campaign changes the goalposts halfway through, and constructs it much harderto be a diligent crowdfunding backer.

PicoStill is available it is now time Kickstarter backers for $170, or packaged with the Pico Model C for $479. It will retail for $349 when it hits stores later this fall.

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Drink Idaho. All-Gem-State-ingredient, mega-fresh beers will highlight epic brewfest – Idaho Statesman (blog)


Idaho Statesman (blog)

Drink Idaho. All-Gem-State-ingredient, mega-fresh beers will highlight epic brewfest
Idaho Statesman (blog)
That can is going to be an empty, then full of beer and in your hand, within a minute.” You'll need to snatch your beer off that moving line. Not only will it be fun, it's a sensory experience. “When you get a can of beer off the canning line, it's all
The Best Colorado IPAs To Drink Right Now303 Magazine

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Solving the Riddle of Old Tom Gin

A minor, but persistent, historical mystery in the annals of alcohol is the precise nature of the great 19 th-century English favorite, Old Tom gin.

If you like Charles Dickens and his teeming world of characters, you will have come across it. If you’re the different types who detects amusement in poking through yellowing old cocktail books and contemplating the drinks your great-grandmother knocked back when she was on a spree, you’ll be more than familiar with it, as the spirit appears in the early recipes for the Martini, the Ramos Gin Fizz, the Tom Collins, and a number of other enduring classics of American mixology.

Even if you’re not so interested in the book-work, if you still care about what you drink you’re likely to have come across it in the places where serious cocktail-sipping is done these days, and on the shelves of the kind of liquor store that stocks 12 orange liqueurs, 21 mezcals, and 32 different gins.

That’s a somewhat new development. A decade ago, you would have searched in vain for an example of Old Tom gin. The last brand standing, Boord’s, was a bottom-shelf lurker with distribution that could best be described as “quixotic” or “semi-fictional.” Old Tom was one of those old-fashioned favourites that only couldn’t keep up with the modern world. That fact imbued it with a good deal of sparkle dust in the eyes of cocktail geeks: Along with absinthe, rye whiskey, Dutch genever, Batavia arrack, and weird old liqueurs such as creme de violette and Creme Yvette, Old Tom was one of those things the modern world had taken away from us; one of the very best old tipples we were forced to trade for Midori, spiced rum, and 138 different flavors of vodka. We wanted it back.

The only problem: We didn’t really know what it was , not exactly. Even worse , now, after 10 years and at least a couple of dozen different new Old Tom gins on the market, we still don’t. The books–including some by me–will tell you that it was what came before London dry gin; that it was sweetened; that sometimes it spent a little time in the barrel, and that–well, that’s pretty much where they stop. Those things aren’t precisely wrong. For mixing the occasional drinking, they’re probably all you need to know. But they’re not the whole story , not by a long shot.

The real narrative has been elusive for a reason. In proportion, that’s because it involves the complex, ever shifting British excise tax system( and a lot of math ). But it’s also because it’s a story that, back in 19 th-century London, a lot of people didn’t especially want told. Old Tom gin was a” compound spirit ,” and compound spirits were the hot dogs of the drinks world: If you considered what went into it, you probably wouldn’t let it pass your lips.

Before get into Old Tom itself, we’ve got to take a quick look at how the gin industry worked in 19 th-century England. What follows is a little complicated, but I’ll try to keep it as clear as possible.

The Gin Trade

To make gin in 1800 s London, you would have started with a grain spirit. You had to buy this alcohol from a” malted distiller ,” one of a handful of huge-scale operators located in the out-of-the-way, industrial parts of the metropolis or in the surrounding districts.( After the Gin Craze of the early 1700 s, when it seemed like a one-quarter of the houses in London had a gin-still somewhere on the premises turning out what was basically liquid cracking, the British government adjusted the excise statutes so that as few people as is practicable did the actual fermenting of grain and distilling of alcohol. Easier to control, and much easier to tax .) What you got from these firms was basically whiskey, double pot-distilled and unaged, sold at the standard strength of” 1 to 10 overproof” or” 7 degrees overproof ,” depending on whether you used Clarke’s hydrometer or Sikes’s. Or, as we would put it after doing a lot of math( they measured alcohol rather differently than we do ), 61 percent alcohol.

That whiskey, or rather” raw spirit ,” as the government labeled it with admirable honesty, wasn’t like the stuff that goes into barrels to become single-malt Scotch. For one thing, it didn’t have to be made strictly from malted. There could be some wheat in there, although not more than a third of the total grain. There could be rye, unmalted barley and/ or oats, as well as brewer’s draff( the stuff left over from stimulating brew ), spoiled, rat-bitten or saltwater-damaged barley, and all the other rubbish of the grain world. For another thing, the distillers were so heavily taxed that everything was about volume. They fermented as fast as is practicable, simmered off the alcohol in weird-shaped, shallow stills that could be worked rapidly, and didn’t worry much about making a clean cut. Nor could you really shop around for a better spirit: The malt distillers worked as a cartel, and any of them trying to charge more or less or sell a better product was rapidly brought into line.

The next step in the chain was the “rectifier.” Rectifiers took the raw whiskey, redistilled it once to round off some of the rough edges and a second period with a mix of botanicals to flavor it( we’ll get at that ), watered it down, put it in barrels or huge earthenware jugs, and sold it. They had to water it down, because the government mandated that a” compound spirit “– basically, any spirit that had been flavored, be it cherry brandy, orange Curacao, “mint-water,” or, of course, gin–couldn’t be sold above a certain proof: 22 degrees under proof( 44.6 percentage alcohol by volume) until 1819, 17 under proof( 47.4 percentage ABV) after that. I can’t think of any other reason for this law than to keep gin from being too strong; too keep the street corners of London free of heaps of random drunks, passed out and drooling.

After the rectifier went the retailer: the public house on the corner, the wine and spirits merchant up on the high street. What the customer wanted from them was something strong and piney and sweet–gin was invariably sweetened for consumption–and, perhaps most importantly, cheap. Gin was not an elegant spirit; British aristocrats did not sip it in their drawing room. Gin was what marketplace females drank on wet, biting mornings; what coachmen nipped on while waiting by their horses; what you scraped together your farthings and ha’pennies for a shot of. It was the poor man’s solace; the nearest exit, is accessible to all.

At 47.4 percentage ABV, what the publican and the wine-seller bought from the rectifier was strong enough, but it was unsweetened and still pretty expensive, even after the rectifier held back a good chunk of the alcohol. Their solution was the same as the modern-day corner drug dealer: They stepped on it. “Reduced” it, to use the word of art. That entailed dumping the gin into a vat and adding sugar and water and, in a great many cases, a “doctor.” That was a little proprietary formula that each retailer would mix in to construct the watered-down gin taste like it wasn’t watered down. Some cayenne pepper or grains of paradise for bite, a little sulfuric acid to make it throw off the right sized bubbles( the working-man’s way of testing the strength of a spirit was to shake it and look at the size and perseverance of the bubbles ), maybe a little quicklime to clarify it, a dash of carbonate of potash and a little alum to dry it out. The government didn’t care what you added or how much: There was no Pure Food and Drug Act and no minimum proof at which compound spirits could be sold until 1879.

Comb through London newspapers from the early 19 th century, and you’ll come across countless ads from the merchants hawking the range of gin they carried. But that range wasn’t different brands, like it is today. It was all the same gin, but reduced to different degrees. At the top of the list was ” unsweetened gin ,” unreduced and straight from the rectifier–basically, London dry gin, just like we have today[ SEE BELOW ]. That was always expensive. Maybe not as much as imported French Cognac, but more than a poor person could afford.( This was entail not for people who liked to drink their gin unsweetened, of whom there were very few indeed, but instead for those finicky working-class aristocrats who preferred to reduce their own gin and thus drink it un-doctored and were able to pay for the privilege .)

Then went the various grades of” cordial gin ,” gin that had been reduced, from the most softly stepped-on to–well, in an 1854 analysis of gins sold in London, the Lancet found some tested out to as low as 22 percent ABV. The 39 percent change in ABV between the 61 percent of the raw spirit and that 22 percent entailed a lot of profit for somebody and a fairly nasty, heavily-doctored dram for the poor soul who could afford no better.

Old Tom

London had a lot of rectifiers, but only a few big ones. Many of their names are enshrined in the history of gin: Philip Booth& Sons, Seager and Evans, Nicholson Bros, Tanqueray& Currie, and Gordon, Son& Knight all made it into the 20 th century in one form and another, and a couple of the names have survived into the 21 st. Others fell by the wayside early: David Deady, John Liptrap, and Charles Smith were each leading rectifiers and helped shape the gin we drink today, but their names faded early. Another one that didn’t make it to the 20 th century was perhaps the most famous of all.

Sometime in the 1770 s, Benjamin Hodges, an enterprising young man from Gloucestershire, began rectifying gin in Millbank, a little enclave of Westminster tucked up against the Thames between Westminster Abbey and the fast-disappearing bit of open land known as Tothill Fields. In 1800, give or take a couple of years, he took his kinsman, Thomas Chamberlain, on as a partner. It was a strong partnership: Hodges had a good head for business and Chamberlain knew everything about distilling and rectifying.

When a potential customer–a vintner or a publican–would stop in at the distillery, Chamberlain would treat him to a glass of gin, pre-reduced and ready to drinking. For an ordinary kind of customer, this would be an ordinary sort of gin, something reduced to, perhaps, 37 percentage ABV, sweetened with about an ounce-and-a-half of sugar per quart( the average in the Lancet ‘ s test ). If, however, it was ” a desirable customer, whom it was considered advisable to propitiate ,” as the editor of Notes& Queries wrote in 1868, apparently from working knowledge, Chamberlain would invite him into the little laboratory he kept at the back of the distillery, where he did all his compounding, and treat him to a glass of his “particular.” This was a rather stronger gin: just as sweet, but not reduced beyond 47.4 percentage ABV, the highest legal proof.( There was no statute to prevent rectifiers from doing this, but it was uneconomical, as the customers were going to add their own sugar anyway and had no incentive to pay extra for pre-sweetened gin, which meant that the rectifier would have to throw in the sugar for nothing .)

Before long, of course, word got out, and even the ordinary kind of customers were asking for Chamberlain’s particular, and” Old Tom’s gin” became a kind of watchword for the good stuff. In 1810, it made it into print for the first time, when a correspondent for the London Statesman fell it into a couple of column on the impromptu sporting activities of the kinds of people who drink gin. By 1812, it was being advertised in the paper. Not by Hodges& Chamberlain, of course, but by the retailers they sold their gin to. Before long, other retailers accommodated the term, even if they bought their gin from Philip Booth or Seager& Evans or David Deady. As one vintner explained it in 1830, it was only the” best and strongest cordial gin” that was ” sold under the general name of Old Tom .” If it wasn’t at maximum legal proof, like the stuff Old Tom poured in his lab, it was just under.

Old Tom himself was dead by 1817. By then, Benjamin Hodges and his son, Benjamin George, had moved the distillery immediately across the river to Lambeth, where it would attain enormous amounts of gin until the 1870 s, when Benjamin Goeorge’s son Frederick was forced to sell out. Early on, though, the firm had cemented its reputation by bottling its Old Tom in sealed, labeled–branded, in other words–bottles and shipping them worldwide. Hodges Old Tom was the instance everyone reached for when they needed to name a London gin. It was a premium product, the best on the market. Even if it was too late to trademark the name, Londoners knew.

Finally, we have to ask just what was in those bottles? One of them stimulated it into the Lancet survey, and that dedicates us some basic datum. It was strong, for one thing: 48.2 percent ABV, which was actually above the legal proof. Sugar was five-and-a-half ounces per gallon, which works out to 26 grams–just under an ounce–for a 750 -milliliter bottle. That’s sweet, but not liqueur sweet( some gins tested had more than three times that amount ). By 1854, the base spirit that Hodges was buying from the malt distillers would have been much cleaner and lighter than anything Old Tom himself worked with, since the distillers had be changed to modern continuous stills, much like the ones used today. There would have been a little colouring to the gin: an 1859 description of a visit to the distillery notes, besides the four huge pot-stills,” about 60 immense vats ,” huge wooden tanks where the gin was pumped when it came off the still. These would have worked much like the vats reposado tequila goes into to remainder after distillation.

Then there were the botanicals. Here, we have to guess: as distiller William Augustus Smyth noted in 1781, gin” has as many different flavors, as there are distillers who make it .” That was still true in 1854, and it’s still true now. But Hodges was a quality distiller, which meant that they would have used actual juniper berries in their distillation. Less scrupulous distillers employed oil of juniper, or even turpentine.( Again, there was no FDA to keep them honest .) To round out the juniper, there would be coriander, for its lemony notes, angelica root, which boosts the flavor of the juniper, a little orris root, which helps to tie the other flavors together, and perhaps a couple more botanicals as grace notes–orange peel, grains of paradise, almonds, calamus root.

In 1879, the British government ultimately defined a minimum strength of 37 percentage ABV at which compound spirits could be retailed. This basically put an end to retailers reducing their own gin, as the most profit came when you added the most water. Besides, thanks to pioneers, such as Hodges& Co ., who insisted on bottling their own product, customers knew what the real stuff was supposed to taste like. Strong, more than a little sweet, with a nice ping of juniper. Merely the thing to mix with a little lemon juice and some soda water, or a splashing of sweet vermouth and a couple of dashes of orange bitters.

The real mystery to Old Tom gin, after all this, is that it has been hiding in plain sight. It wasn’t some secret precursor of London dry gin; it had no arcane special ingredients or antiquated formulae. From the 1840 s on, it was just neutral spirit flavored with the same botanicals being implemented in London dry gin to this day. If you want to mix up some of those vintage Old Tom drinkings, you can buy a bottle of one of the new bottlings on the market, of course. Or you can make like those finicky, working-class aristocrats and reduce your own. All it takes is a 750 -milliliter bottle of Beefeater or Tanqueray or other old-school gin–still bottled at 47 percent alcohol( I love tradition !)– a little sugar and a little water. Five teaspoons of sugar, to be precise( or 26 grams, to be preciser ), dissolved over a low flame in half an ounce of water. Let it cool, pour it into the bottle and bam: Old Tom.

It’ll be a little cloudy, but to get rid of that you need egg whites and sulfuric acid and–better let it be cloudy. If you have one of those little barrels people age cocktails in, you can set the gin in there for a week or so if you want.

But whichever you do, purchase or reduce, be sure to lift a glass to old Thomas Chamberlain, who knew everything there was to know about gin, and more than a little about customer relations.

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