Beer & wine quiz
1) In winespeak, aroma and bouquet mean the same thing.
2) When brewing beer, the addition of yeast creates alcohol and carbonation as well as chemical byproducts called phenols that give beer its complexity. Phenols can create which aromas in beer:
c) Burning Hair
d) All of the above
3) Which of the options below is true about tannins?
a) Tannins are present in the wood, bark, leaves, and fruit of various plants
b) Tannins are a form of self-protection for plants
c) Tannins create a drying feeling in your mouth when drinking certain wines
d) All of the above
4) A beer or wine that is lacking acidity could be called:
5) Tannins can be present in beer
6) Choose the wine/beer that would make the best contrasting pairing with French fries:
b) A buttery chardonnay/Irish red ale
c) Pinot Noir/Porter
7) Hops are a perennial climbing plant which imparts citrusy and bitter notes to beer (among other flavors), and there are dozens and dozens of different types. Which of these groups are not types of hops?
a) Junga, California Cluster, Pacifica
b) Spiro, Stuttgart, Yellow Oros
c) Hallertau, Willamette, Falconer’s Flight
d) Early Green, Idaho 7, Polaris
8) If a wine is referred to as hot, what does that mean?
a) It is very young
b) It has matured in oak barrels
c) It has a high alcohol content
d) It was produced from a blend of grapes near the equator
9) In 2021, what is the number of recognized beer styles in the United States according to The Brewers Association?
a) Over 200
10) About how many different grape varieties can be found worldwide?
a) Over 10,000
1. False – aroma alludes to the nose of a young wine, while bouquet refers to the smells associated with a wine that has been aged for a considerable period of time.
2. D; phenolic beers such as hefeweizen and Belgian ales can have pleasant aromas, but if the brewer is not careful, odors such as medicine cabinet and burning hair can ruin a brew’s flavor profile.
3. D; tannins can be found in red wine, beer, coffee, and tea. The astringent taste is a mechanism to deter animals from consuming the plant.
4. A; flabby is the negative term used to describe an unbalanced wine or beer with no acidity.
5. True – tannins can be found in the husks of barley as well as from hops.
6. A; the brightness and effervescence of the champagne and the pilsner refreshes the palate when enjoying fatty and salty food like French fries.
7. B; Learn about different hop varieties here: https://www.morebeer.com/articles/homebrew_beer_hops
8. C; calling a wine hot refers to the burning sensation made by the alcohol. Bonus points is you know that’s why Michael prefers fortified wines such as Port.
9. B; check out these links for more information: https://www.brewersassociation.org/edu/brewers-association-beer-style-guidelines/
10. A; while we are most familiar with Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc, there are over 10,000 grape varieties worldwide. According to Forbes, some wine producers are starting to search for lesser known grape varietals on the edge of extinction to create new and exciting wines.
See, swirl, sniff, sip, savor
Believe it or not, there are many similarities between wine and beer tasting processes. In fact, both start with your eyes. It may sound odd, but closely observing the libations can give you your first hints about them. Notice the color, is the beer a light straw or a dark amber? Is the merlot a deep, vibrant ruby or a muddy purplish-brown? Also take this time to observe the opacity of the liquid. Is it crystal clear or cloudy? What do these things say to you about what you’re about to taste?
Next, we’re using our noses, as smell is an integral part of the tasting process. And while seasoned professional tasters will be able to make more inferences and connections in this step, it is still of the utmost importance for even the layman. Sticking your nose in the glass may make you feel silly, but it is imperative. Just some of the common beer aromas are sweet, roasted, piney, yeast, earth, and floral. Wines can be all of the above and then some, fruity, peppery, leather, smokey, herbal, etc.
After employing our eyes and nose, it’s time to taste. When tasting still wine (no carbonation), there is technically no need to swallow. Moving the wine around your tongue and palate can suffice. Though the tongue is NOT divided up into “regions” of taste (as we touched on in a previous article), taste receptors are pretty evenly divided across the tongue, the roof of the mouth, and even into the throat. On the other hand, carbonated beverages such as beer and sparkling wine must be swallowed to enjoy the full experience. As you swallow, the carbon dioxide is released as gas and travels up through your nasal passages, providing you with a better overall taste profile. As you taste, try to identify as many unique flavors as you can. Compare and contrast those with the aromas you initially smelled. Are the flavors as expected? Are there any surprises?
In our next article, we’ll compare and contrast wine and beer tasting jargon and go a bit beyond just flavors and smells. In the meantime, swing by Stockholm’s and do some beer or wine tasting of your own! May I suggest our current seasonal, Saison, a refreshing and light farmhouse ale. Or if you prefer wine, try the Peirano Estates Old Vine Zinfandel for a delicious and complex tasting experience. Skoal!
Back to the topic at hand, calculating ABV is actually just a simple math problem: (Original Gravity – Final Gravity) x 131.25. Gravity is a measurement of a liquid’s density, the total amount of dissolved solids in the beer. These solids are of course sugars that can be converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This measurement can be taken with a number of tools including a refractometer, saccharometer, or hydrometer.
The Original Gravity (O.G.) reading is taken of the liquid before the addition of yeast. This measurement can give the brewer some valuable insight, such as the potential alcohol content. The more sugar solids present for the yeast to feast on = higher alcohol content. This Original Gravity reading also establishes a baseline to which the brewer can compare future measurements throughout the fermentation process for quality assurance purposes.
The Final Gravity (F.G.) measurement is taken obviously when the fermentation process is complete and the brew is ready for consumption. A low Final Gravity means a dry, crisp flavor while a higher Final Gravity means a sweeter, malty brew. Now that you have your O.G. and F.G. values, just do the math! Your ABV is the end result.
Did you learn something new? If so, here’s your homework. Next time you visit Stockholm’s, order a Voyage – five 4 ounce samples of our craft beer. Choose brews with varying ABVs, like Loki’s Pils 3.2%, Third Street Ale 5.5%, and G.P.A. 6.8%. Do you pick up on the nuances of flavors from one to another? How does a higher or lower alcohol content contribute to your tasting experience? We’d love to hear from you!
A sour note
Yet before the food or drink even makes it that far, the tasting process has already begun. The olfactory sensory neurons in your nose have already started firing off signals to your brain to identify the smell. Pleasant? Not-so-pleasant? Does it inspire feelings or specific memories?
The second the food or drink is consumed, it’s time for the 8,000 or so taste buds to get to work. Simultaneously, two cranial nerves, one at the front of the tongue and one at the back, begin sending messages of their own to the brain. This precisely orchestrated conversation between your nose, mouth, and brain is called Neurogastronomy, the science of taste perception. A lot is happening behind the scenes while we’re enjoying our meals!
There is also an evolutionary component to our taste perception. While salt and sugar are necessary for biological function and energy production, tastes like bitter and sour inherently meant underripe, spoiled, or even DANGER!
But as we evolved, so did our palates. People have been increasingly adventurous in the flavor profiles they want in their food and drink. Take craft beer for example. Once considered “beer spoilage microorganisms”, strains such as Pediococcus and Lactobacillus are now sought after to create the traits that make a good, sour beer. There are several ways brewmasters go about crafting a sour, most requiring the injection of these Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) at some point in the beer making process.
Our latest Barrel Aged Brew, Honey Barrel Brown, was aged for 518 days in a Bourbon barrel from now defunct Fox River Distilling out of Geneva. This barrel, as many do, inherently had LAB present. Therefore, the honey added to the brew promoted the production of lactic acid within the beer, resulting in a stark tartness or sour taste, which is then offset by the sweetness of the honey. It is a very complex beer with many layers of flavors. So give a snifter a try and practice a little Neurogastronomy.
Unfiltered & naturally conditioned
Invariably in these modern times, patience is not so much a virtue as it is a relic of the past. Time is just another obstacle to overcome using technology and creativity. This is definitely true in the beer world, where getting from wort to mug quickly and efficiently is paramount. Filtration is sometimes utilized by breweries in order to “cut corners” as it were.
At Stockholm’s, we’re fast approaching 19 years of craft brewing in the Old World Tradition. Our beers are made in small batches right in our front window; naturally conditioned and unfiltered in order to produce the kind of beer you’d find in a German hofbrau around 1900. Choosing not to filter our beers helps us achieve a broader flavor profile, as filtering by its very nature removes subtle flavors and nuances. After all, the Old World process + time + gravity = Stockholm’s Handcrafted Beer.
In with the new
Carry out is king. Dining inside is once again an option, but many people are still choosing carry out. Perhaps this is because they’re worried about the virus; or maybe a quiet night at home wearing sweatpants just trumps a table at a restaurant. And it doesn’t look like the spike in carry out dining will be going away anytime soon. According to Upserve, 60% of consumers are choosing carry out at least once per week. At Stockholm’s, we’ve continued to offer our full menu along with new monthly specials for both dine in and carry out.
Drinks to go. Dovetailing right along with carry out meals are carry out adult beverages. Many states, like Illinois, relaxed statutes regarding mixed drinks to go at the start of the pandemic. While the change in statute may be temporary, a Zagat survey found that 59% of consumers will continue to order non-traditional items like alcoholic beverages for carry out even after the pandemic ends. Unfortunately, since Stockholm’s is categorized as a brewpub, thanks to special interest lobbying we are unable to package mixed drinks for carry out. But, as always, all of our handcrafted beers, as well as our seasonal selections and even barrel aged brews, are available in liter growlers to go.
Outdoor dining. We Midwest folk are pretty hardy. We’re used to the relentless snow and the brutal cold of the Illinois winter. But over the past year, outdoor patios have been in use during months when they’d usually be shuttered. Restaurants in every climate are creatively using outdoor space like alley ways, parking lots, and sidewalks to offer safe and comfortable dining choices for their Guests. Our open-air heated patio is a great option for those not ready to dine indoors or for those who just want some fresh air while they enjoy their Stockholm’s favorites.
While we’ve never been the restaurant to go along with what’s “trendy”, we’re always willing to do whatever it takes for our Guests and to serve great food and drinks in a safe and comfortable environment. At this, the one-year anniversary of a rollercoaster ride of a year, we’d like to once again say Thank You for your unwavering support! We’re grateful we’re still here doing what we love. Cheers!
Escape to Stockholm’s
Have it your way
If you’re participating in Dry January, we’ve come up with a few fun Mocktails crafted with our specialty syrups. All the taste and zero alcohol! And for those of you still imbibing yet wanting to watch your calorie consumption, we have Loki’s Pils on draft, a light yet fully balanced Pilsner.
Whatever your 2021 is shaping up to be, we hope to be a part of it. Cheers to an amazing year!
Different ways to holiday
A new spin on old traditions: While many of our favorite holiday extravaganzas are cancelled this year, communities are getting inventive in how they reimagine them. For example, Christkindlmarket is virtual this year and Morton Arboretum’s famous Illumination light show will be a drive through spectacle. Our favorite holiday event, the Geneva Christmas Walk, is now Christmas Walk Weekends; each weekend packed with festivities for the entire family. Check out the complete schedule here.
Got crafty kids? Get into the holiday spirit while raising someone’s spirits! Use that artistic talent to make holiday cards and decorations for nursing homes in your area. (Call first to ensure they can accept them.) Many of these care facilities have had to drastically limit visitors this year, so the residents (and health care workers) could use a festive holiday boost!
Give if you can: More folks than ever will need help this year putting a holiday meal on the table or gifts under the tree. Partner with The Salvation Army or Batavia United Way to help local families. Or donate to The Northern Illinois Food Bank or to the food pantry in your community. These days, every little bit helps.
Support local: Local businesses need your support now more than ever. Many offer online shopping and curbside pickup options. Gift cards always make a great gift as well. And you just might introduce a family member or friend to a new boutique or restaurant they’ve never tried before!
Small but mighty
According to the Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, small businesses make up a whopping 99.7% of U.S. businesses and 64% of the new jobs created annually. In fact, 74% of small business employees report job satisfaction. While smaller companies may not have the HR resources of their mega-counterparts, flexibility, individually tailored benefits, and more human connection sets a solid foundation for these high marks.
When money is spent on locally owned business, a much larger percentage of that amount is spent locally as well. As much as 64% stays right in that community, versus only about 32% spent at a chain, and 0% spent online.
Local businesses sponsor kid’s sports teams, events we love so much (and missed this year), as well as the nonprofit groups working hard to give back to the community. Without the support of small business, many would not have the revenue stream to survive.
And finally, unique small businesses drive traffic to small town Main Street from all over, creating tourism and tax revenue that is used to enhance local infrastructure and services.
While the passage of time has reduced our alert level when it comes to all things COVID, small business and small town Main Street still need your help to make it through. We are thankful to live in a community which supports its local business. Together, we will not only survive, we will thrive!