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Posts Tagged ‘barley’

Recently, I made the bold decision to completely uproot my life and embark on an entirely new adventure.

I quit my job without the prospect of another one.

I forfeited my lease with my old landlord (which unfortunately cost me a PRETTY penny).

I gave away everything I owned that would not fit into my super small Dodge Neon.

And then I whole “life” packed into my ity bity little car and moved from Columbus, OH to Orlando, FL.

Instead of just driving straight down, though, I decided to turn my road trip into a mini beer adventure. Along the way I stopped at and toured 2 of my favorite breweries as well as took a side trip to a microbrewery brewpub. All of my little detours were well worth it and I look forward to blogging about them all.

I left Columbus mid-morning Monday, September 15th. My first stop was right outside of Philadelphia in a town called Downingtown.

For those of you who are not quite aware, I am addicted to the social network slash microblogging tool known as TWITTER. I am going to refrain from talking about Twitter at this time since it would completely take over this blog.

Thanks to Twitter, I have met some really amazing and impressively intelligent people across the world. Many of the people I follow and interact with on Twitter also happen to be huge food & beverage geeks and aficionados as well. I have spent hours on Twitter with other foodies, winos & hopheads – discussing and posting pics of food & booze.

One of my buds from Twitter -the brilliant brains behind 1WineDude blog- invited me to come stay with him and his wife in Downington, PA. They are good friends with the event coordinator at Victory Brewing Co. and were able to set me up with a private tour. This was not an offer The Beer Wench could refuse.

And of course, I accepted @1WineDude‘s invitation and went on a special VIP tour of Victory Brewing Company – followed by a delicious dinner with some delicious Victory beers in the Victory brewpub!

And without further ado, here is my tour (via photos)!

VICTORY MALT MILL. The object of milling is to split the husk, preferably lengthwise, in order to expose the starchy endosperm for milling and allow for efficient extraction and subsequent filtration of the wort. Malt milling is usually done by either dry or wet milling. In a wet milling operation, the whole uncrushed malt is presteeped in hot water to the point where the husks reach a water content of approximately 20% and the endosperm remains nearly dry, which results in a semi-plastic, almost pasty consistency. Source: The Brewer’s Handbook.

Victory is the ONLY craft brewery that wet mills.

BARLEY

CONTROL PANEL. WARNING – DO NOT LET BEER WENCH TOUCH, EVER!

DRIED WHOLE LEAF HOPS

FERMENTATION TANKS

YEAST FILTRATION MACHINE THINGY

Mmmm HOPDEVIL KEG!

KEGGING LINE

BOTTLING LINE

PACKAGING AND SHIPPING AREA

JACKPOT!

HALF OF THE BAR

132 CENTS IPA ON CASK!

GOLD RUSH ALE & CREOLE SHRIMP AND SPANISH RICE SPECIAL ENTREE

HOPDEVIL IPA ON CASK

After finishing all the great food and beer, our lovely and very knowledgable tour guide gave us a few bottles of Victory Baltic Thunder as a parting gift. Then we all trucked back to my friend’s place where we sipped on some Victory 10 Years Alt Altbier while looking at some amazing photos in scrap books that his wife put together! Perfect ending to a perfect evening!

SPECIAL THANKS TO Wine Dude, Mrs. Dudette and Baby Dudette. You dudes are the cat’s meow!

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Whether or not you believe that the economy has entered a recession, inflation is undeniable. An enormous increase in transport expenses due to the rise in fuel prices has resulted in an increase in the price of products and services across all categories. On top of that, the American dollar has become severely devalued. These two factors alone spell disaster for any company.

Disaster is brewing in the world of beer making.

Inflation is not the only issue affecting brewers. Since early fall 2007, brewers have been faced with an unprecedented worldwide shortage of hops and an unusually short supply of malted barley. And it is only getting worse.

American brewers are dealing with a 10- to 15-percent shortfall in the worldwide supply of hops, largely caused by farmers cutting back on the crop. Recently, rain and drought added to the shortage by significantly diminishing yields. Organic hops are almost impossible to find.

In early October 2007, fire destroyed a 40,000-square-foot warehouse operated by hop company S.S. Steiner. An estimated four percent of the U.S. hop crop was lost at a cost of between $3.5 million and $4 million.

The craft-beer industry is at the edge of turmoil, as high expenses cut into profits and threaten the closure of several microbreweries and brew pubs. Craft brewers across the country are scrambling to adjust recipes.

A hops shortage is not the only problem facing brewers. A reduction in the production of malted barley has more than doubled the of the average price for barley in the past two years.

Climate change may be one factor in the shortage of both hops and malted barley. Both barley and hops have turned into global commodities, driving up prices and further reducing the supply.

How long will this shortage last? Well the good news is that, accompanying the high cost, hops has become an enticing crop for farmers. Unfortunately, it takes three years for hop crops to fully mature, so the shortage will continue for a bit longer.

It is important to note that the rising costs of both beer and food also impact restaurants, especially the smaller, local establishments. Do not be surprised to see a spike in menu prices over the year.

As much as it may hurt the wallet, we need to make sure we keep spending money on craft beers. It will help insure that some of our favorite small craft breweries will still be around a year from now!

HERE is an excellent article about the Hops shortage in Home Brew Beer Magazine.

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