Tonight’s session was titled Imbibing History, and it was led by Chris LaPierre—a brewer at one of Iron Hill Brewery‘s local outlets. LaPierre talked about the history of beer and, well, how beer may have altered the course of history. There’s a theory, for instance, that some hunting-and-gathering populations settled down so they could grow grains and make beer. (There may be a chicken-and-egg problem there. Did early people settle down to make beer, or did they make beer because settling down made it easier?)
Anyway, of the beers LaPierre presented, I was most fond of the Thomas Hooker Octoberfest, a malty beer that offered pleasant caramel notes. The Octoberfest is brewed in the German Marzen style, which originally meant that a beer was prepared in March (at the end of the brewing season) in a manner ensuring it would last (over the yeast-unfriendly summer) until the end-of-the-harvest festival.
I also enjoyed Iron Hill’s own Baltic Porter, particularly the pronounced chocolate flavors it boasted. Baltic porters, I guess, were originally made strong, to withstand the long journeys from western Europe. Zywiec Porter, which I blogged about a couple of months ago, is a notable Baltic porter. I need to figure out how Baltic porters are different from Russian Imperial stouts….
I also liked (if a bit less so) Traquair House’s Scotch Ale. Historically, Scottish brews haven’t featured hops, which didn’t grow well in Scotland. So this was yet another malty treat for me to enjoy. In fact, I’d say that was tonight’s theme for me: I was in a malty frame of mind.