Sunday, August 12, 2018

Samuel Adams 2018 Fall Variety Pack

With Fall just around the corner, the Boston Beer Company has released their new seasonal variety pack. The 2018 version is called Beers of Fall, and has the classic mainstays along with two new beers.



Photo Credit Origlio.com



There are actually three repeats from last year, while the other three are different, with two being brand new and the last one making a reappearance. 
Before we get to the beers, a little heads up about the Kashrus info. 
As was the case for the Summer Variety Pack, the Star-K has updated their LOC to include current beers. Therefore all the information on this season's pack is on the current LOC.



  • Boston Lager (Star-K certified)
  • Octoberfest (Star-K certified)
  • Black Lager (Star-K certified)
  • Pumpkin Ale  (Star-K certified)
  • Spruce Lager (Star-K certified)
  • Coffee Pale Ale (Star-K certified)



In conclusion, this makes the entire pack kosher certified. 

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Friday, August 10, 2018

What Makes Beer Kosher? Part II

In part I we discussed the basics of how beer is made, and why in didn't pose a problem kashrus-wise.
However starting in the mid 1980's there came a new phenomenon known as microbreweries. These microbreweries wanted to bring full flavored beer back to America, and that they did. What started as a small movement has become a multi-billion dollar industry, and increasing competition to big beer.
Along with full flavored beer, came along experimentation. Breweries started experimenting with fruit purees and extracts, spices, and all sort of other ingredients. This practice alone, is enough to warrant Kosher Certification on beer, as almost all breweries have some sort of flavored brew in their rotation. However, what the Kashrus Agencies did was say that all unflavored beers are recommended, but flavored beers shouldn't be consumef without reliable certification. 
Then came the likes of Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewing (Click here to see my full post on why Dogfish Head is not recommended.), based in Delaware. Sam and other brewers weren't content with putting in some fruit or spices in the brew kettle. They started throwing in oysters, lobsters, clams, and of course pork. Obviously, this created a big problem.
To be continued....

Coming in next installment. How the Kashrus Agencies responded, once this became known.


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Thursday, August 9, 2018

What Makes Beer Kosher? Part I

One of the questions I most commonly get is, what makes beer kosher?
First a short introduction on kosher food in general. There is a common misconception that to become kosher, food needs to be blessed by a Rabbi. This can't be farther than the truth. Rather, a kosher certified product tells the consumer that a Rabbi (known as a Mashgiach) oversaw the production of said product, and is in compliance with the complex laws of kosher. Which basically entails making sure no non-kosher ingredients are used in production of the product. Or, and maybe more important to our question of beer, no non-kosher ingredients are used on the production line.
With that introduction we can move on to beer. Beer in it's most basic form is made from four main ingredients. They are water, malted barley, hops, and yeast. The leading Kashrus Agencies in America have come out and said that these four ingredients in and of themselves are kosher even without supervision. Therefore, for a long time most assumed all beer to be considered kosher even without certification. What many people do not know, is that the large breweries also known as macro breweries, substitute other ingredients in place of malted barley. Commonly known as adjuncts, they usually use rice or corn, to lighten the beer and therefore it also make it less flavorful. These ingredients as well, were considered reccomended by the Kashrus Agencies.
At this point all large breweries' (non-flavored) beer are considered recommended.
Then came the microbreweries.
To be continued....

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Beer Review: Uinta Piggy Back Peach IPA

Back when I first started the blog, I had no idea in which direction it would go. I figured it'll be a learning process. Guess what? It still is. I especially appreciate all the feedback that you wonderful readers give me! So back in the beginning, I wrote a couple of posts called New Beer Watch, thinking it would become a regular feature on the blog. While I did post a few of those, it has basically gone by the way side. Well, one of the first was, Uinta Brewing Piggy Back Peach IPA, and last week I came across that beer for the first time! Please see my review below.
The beer pours an ever so slightly hazy gold with two finger thick cream colored head, that has amazing retention and stays until the bottom of the glass. The first sniff is pine, but after that it's peach all the way through. The taste begins with lightly toasted malt, followed by peach, that leads into a nice piney finish. The feel is light but not watery,with a touch of creaminess as well. Overall this is a pleasant surprise, while obviously this beer is very peachy. Uinta managed to make this a balanced brew, with the pine standing out in a nice way.

*Piggy Back Peach IPA is under the supervision of the OU*

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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Beer Review: Bira 91 IPA

Way back in March I wrote a post about a new Kosher-certified brewery, ( you can view it here ). The brewery is called Bira 91, and is based out of New Delhi, India. Well, recently I came across some of their beers, and bought one. The one I chose is their take on the classic English IPA.
When I looked at the bottle, I was surprised to see on the label "Imagined in India", but brewed in Utica, NY (presumably at the FX Matt facility). So it is an Indian brand, but in theory only. Below is my review:
Photo Credit TA

It pours clear dark gold into the glass, with super thin white head that quickly dissipates. The aroma that follows is caramel, pine, and tangerine citrus. The taste is a mellow fruitiness that follows into a bitter dry finish. The feel is a
Light-to-Medium-bodied, with average carbonation. Overall this was interesting as it had this mellow flavor that I couldn't place, it wasn't overly malty or 'stale', but different.

*BIRA 91 IPA is under the supervision of the OU*

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