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Beer Research Guide: Styles/Recipes

COMING SOON TO THIS PAGE

Throughout summer 2020 we'll be adding research resources to this page on Colonial beer cocktails. 

HISTORY AND STYLE

Beer might be simple to make, it's just fermented grain after all, but making good beer is a bit more difficult.

According to the Brewing article on Wikipedia, brewing is 

"the production of beer by steeping a starch source (commonly cereal grains, the most popular of which is barley) in water and fermenting the resulting sweet liquid with yeast. It may be done in a brewery by a commercial brewer, at home by a homebrewer, or by a variety of traditional methods such as communally by the indigenous peoples in Brazil when making cauim ...

The basic ingredients of beer are water and a fermentable starch source such as malted barley. Most beer is fermented with a brewer's yeast and flavoured with hops. Less widely used starch sources include millet, sorghum and cassava. Secondary sources (adjuncts), such as maize (corn), rice, or sugar, may also be used, sometimes to reduce cost, or to add a feature, such as adding wheat to aid in retaining the foamy head of the beer. The most common starch source is ground cereal or "grist" - the proportion of the starch or cereal ingredients in a beer recipe may be called grist, grain bill, or simply mash ingredients.

Steps in the brewing process include malting, milling, mashing, lautering, boiling, fermenting, conditioning, filtering, and packaging. There are three main fermentation methods, warm, cool and spontaneous. Fermentation may take place in an open or closed fermenting vessel; a secondary fermentation may also occur in the cask or bottle." 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brewing

RECIPES AND RECREATIONS

The accessibility and availability of historic recipes varies. As the U.S. industry consolidated in the 1950s through 1980s, many records were lost, destroyed, or transferred to corporate archives. Advertisements in local papers often include descriptions of styles or characteristics of the beer, which can be helpful in thinking about what that beer was like. 

There is an abundance of books and websites with historic recipe recreations for commercial and home brewers. Here are a couple of posts by Boak and Bailey about styles. 

But you can get lost in internet searching and reviewing discussion boards, so here's a list of some well-known books to get you started. 

  • Alexander, John. 1986. Brewing lager. London: Argus Books.
  • Buhner, Stephen Harrod. Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers : The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation. Boulder, Colo.: Siris Books, 1998.
  • Hieronymus, Stan. 2005. Brew like a monk: Trappist, abbey, and strong Belgian ales and how to brew them. Boulder, Colo: Brewers Publications.
  • Krennmair, Andreas. 2018. Historic German And Austrian Beers For The Home Brewer. 1st ed. Independently published.
  • McGovern, Patrick E. 2018. Ancient brews: rediscovered and re-created. New York: W. W. Norton.
  • Mosher, Randy, and Michael Jackson. 2004. Radical Brewing: recipes, tales, and world altering meditations in a glass.
  • Noonan, Gregory J. 2003. New brewing lager beer: the most comprehensive book for home- and microbrewers. Boulder, Colo: Brewers Publications.
  • Turczyn, Amahl. 1997. A year of beer: 260 seasonal homebrew recipes. Boulder, Colo: Brewers Publications.
  • Wahl, Robert. American Handy-book of the Brewing, Malting and Auxiliary Trades. 1902.
  • Find all the Style books published by Brewers Publications. 

There are also projects to recreate recipes in academic or cultural heritage settings. 

HOME MANAGEMENT BOOKS

"Home management manuals" are wonderful sources for recipes. 

STYLES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

The term “beer style” is used to categorize beers by various factors such as appearance, flavor, ingredients, method of production, history, and origin. There are Classic Styles such as Altbier or Saison, Hybrid and Specialty Styles like Wild or Honey beer, and types like Lager or Cask. Another approach is to categorize beers by their original country or region, such as Belgian Ale, Czech Lager, or German Wheat Beer.

Here are some fast facts!

  • Pilsner lager from Pilsen, Bohemia (now Czech Republic) was first marketed in 1852 and is now the most common type of beer
  • Chicha from Central and South America is made from fermented maize
  • Opaque beer from Africa is made with sorghum and is cloudy and is still undergoing the fermentation process when consumed
  • Cauim and masato from Central and South America is made from cassava root (called manioc)
  • Sake from Japan is made from mold cultures grown on steamed rice

Ready to research? The Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives has materials related to styles in these archival collections:

​Find more on your own!

BEER STYLE: JACKSON AND ECKHARDT

Although different styles of beer certainly predate the late 20th century, the term “beer style” and the organizing of beers into defined categories is largely based on work done by writer Michael James Jackson in his 1977 book The World Guide To Beer. Fred Eckhardt furthered Jackson's work, publishing The Essentials of Beer Style in 1989. 

Michael Jackson's Beer Hunter website is archived online and his collection of personal papers are held in the Special Collections at Oxford Brookes University. 

Fred Eckhardt's personal papers are housed in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center at OSU. They cover a broad range of topics related to beer brewing, sake and wine making. Included are historical and contemporary brewing practices; research files and personal notes about Northwest, regional, national, and international breweries; and photographs of brewing operations, brewers, and industry events. Eckhardt’s collection also includes his own publications, as well as files of his original research, correspondence, artwork and photographs, drafts, issue design templates, and final versions of his published work. 

COCKTAILS

undefinedRecommended guides:

Recommended popular and scholarly publications: