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The Beer Friends write, review, and discuss Craft Beer as fans instead of experts.  They share their unique voice and affinity for craft beer through multiple platforms and offer a range of media to join their craft beer conversation.

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Filtering by Tag: IBU

Featured Brewery: Cape Cod Beer

Beerfriend Paul

Last summer I took a trip to Cape Cod for the first time since I was a kid.  It was an awesome trip.

I got to rediscover what I loved about Cape Cod and found a bunch of new things to fall in love with, and by "things" I mean "Craft Beer."

It was awesome to try some new brews coming from all over the Cape and the Islands.  Even with the time spent I've spent in Boston there were a few of these breweries I had never tried before.  One brewery that was and early stand out, and has become a quick favorite, was Cape Cod Beer.

Cape Cod Beer is a young brewery getting ready to celebrate their 6th anniversary with a party at the end of this month.  They are based out of Hyannis Mass., and there beers can be found around Cape Cod.  However, with Cape Cod Beer having no major bottling line, the only way to get your hands on these delicious brews is on tap or in a growler. The best place to get growlers is at brewery itself , but you can also find them all around the Cape at some package stores (or a "Liquor store" for those not from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts).

Their Red Ale, IPA, and Beach Blonde Ale are the three year round beers that are the easiest to find on tap if you are out at night.  The Red and the IPA are the most available on tap but this year it looks like the Beach Blonde is going to see some more action at the bars. Of these three beers, I was able to get my hands on the Red and the IPA last summer.  The Red Ale is the “flagship of Cape Cod Beer” and it certainly doesn’t disappoint, and being an unapologetic hop head, I absolutely fell in love with their IPA.  With 85 IBUs, the hops seem to jump out of the glass.  With how much I enjoyed both of these beers last summer, I look forward to getting my hands on a growler of the Beach Blonde Ale when I’m up there this summer.

In addition to the three year round beers, they have three seasonal beers. They brew a hefeweizen for the Summer, a malty German style Harvest ale for Fall, and a nice dark Porter for the Winter.  These three beers are a great compliment to the year round brews.  I had a chance to try the Harvest ale and the Porter this past November and I thought both were spectacular.  Much lighter on the hops that the IPA, and even the Red, they are very smooth and great cool weather seasonal brews.

On top of all this, Cape Cod Beer does two more things that I like a lot.  First, in addition to the Seasonal Beers they also brew three Specialty Beers.  In late summer they brew a Dunkel Wiezen that bridges the gap between the Summer Hefewiezen and the Fall Harvest ale.  For the holidays they brew a “Berry Merry Holiday Ale” which is an amber ale with cranberry, orange, and cloves to spice it up.  I have been told this is absolutely spectacular.  The third Specialty beer is “Old Man Winter” which is brewed in January/February in case the Porter isn’t enough for you during the cold Cape winter months.

The second thing this brewery does that I like a lot is their “One Barrel Series.” This has recently become my favorite things they do at Cape Cod Beer. This is exactly what it sounds like, they brew one batch and sell it in growlers at the brewery.  Then, once it's gone, you are out of luck.  I’m not sure how many of these they have had, but I have only been lucky enough to come across one growler from the “Oak Aged Bourbon Red Ale” series.  It was an absolute treat, and because sometimes we like to show off, The Beer Friends did a "Bonus Brewery Beer Review."

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arTCwSl6qv8&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

Based on the beers that I have tried, I suggest trying anything you find from this brewery.  If  you find yourself anywhere on Cape Cod then do yourself the favor and seek this brewery out.  They have quickly become a favorite and I look forward to every new season to see what they are putting out.

You can find them on line at www.capecodbeer.com or follow them on twitter and facebook.

IBU's: What's an eeebooo? and why does it matter anyway?

Phil Foleen

IBUs, or "International Bittering Units" is the number breweries use to indicate the bitterness of the beer you are drinking.  But what is it?  Why does it matter?  Can you use it?  click through to find out.

So I see IBU 40 on my beer, what does that mean?

Well let's take a step back and talk about hops.  Hops are the reason in the brewing process that gives beer it's bitterness, those wonderful little flowery pieces of nature that give us that great part of the beer flavor.  When beer being brewed hops need to be added as a necessary portion of the brewing process, but how much get added you ask?  that depends on what type of beer you are trying to brew.  The more hops you add the bitterer your beer will be.

Hops add what are know as isomerized alpha acids, that's the bitter taste you get, and according to the  IBU Wikipedia page a Bittering Unit is "1 milligram of isomerized alpha acid per liter"  or for you math whizzes out there it's literally on part per million.  if you want to calculate you own IBU there's a handy formula located on the Wiki, as well as good article on byo.com.

That's some pretty potent stuff, and more more you have the bitterer you get.  IPAs for example will be around 40 to 60 IBUs.  An interesting note from the articles is that the more malt that is used to brew a beer the higher an IBU rating will have to be to get that bitterness across.  Malts apparently are the base to the hops acidity and balance the flavor, so a beer with a higher malt content will tend to have a higher IBU rating.  So you might have a Stout or Porter for example could have a higher IBU rating than an IPA, but you wouldn't know it by tasting it.

So that's an IBU for you in a nut shell.  It ends up being an excellent way to navigate inside of a taste profile that you enjoy.  There are a number of scales around telling you the approximate IBU rating you can expect from each type of beer which should give you a jumping off point to try something new.  A short list I found here, and can give you an idea of what your shooting for if that hops flavor is what you like.

Enjoy!