Tuesday, April 28, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Point of Brew: Save water; Drink cider from cans

MichaelLewisW

By
From page A11 | March 27, 2014 |

Three main topics dominate the beer press this week: the drought, of course, especially for western breweries, large and small; beer cans; and the astonishing success of cider.

Of course cider is only related to beer in the sense that it is sold very much as beer is, in 12-ounce bottles and cans; it has a similar, quite low, alcohol content somewhere in the region of 5 to 6 percent ABV, and it’s highly carbonated. Increasingly it is being made by brewing companies in this country: Miller/Coors recently bought Crispin Cider (a California maker) and is coming out in April with Smith & Forge Hard Cider; Anheuser-Busch Inbev has Cidre (tres French) under the Stella Artois label as well as a Michelob cider; the biggest of the American-owned breweries, Boston Brewing Company has a very sharp and tasty Angry Orchard range of ciders that are hugely successful; in fact, it is the number one selling cider in the USA. There is a Davis connection here: Dave Sipes, a UC Davis brewing grad (1993) and the head brewer at Sudwerk for some years, is now the Angry Orchard cider-master.

Despite its important beer-like qualities, cider, being made from fruit juice (apples mainly) not cereals, is a wine; it offers a refreshing change from beers. For example, ciders tend to be sweet and sharp in contrast to the bitter and dry character of beers, especially craft beers, and have ample aroma and flavor to satisfy the most demanding palate. I happen to be rather fond of cider and drink it often at home because I like it and it’s guaranteed gluten-free; I’m delighted to find it becoming increasingly available in restaurants and bars. In DeVere’s pub I find it hard to choose between a Magners cider and a Guinness stout (both products made in Ireland); I generally resolve that excruciating dilemma by having one of each.

Boston Brewing Company is also in the news for a new beer can they have designed and are making available throughout the craft industry. This new can probably helps to justify putting their Sam Adams products into cans. Some of their most loyal consumers might find this objectionable because there has been a long-standing resistance to cans in the craft beer segment that arises from the possibility that cans could affect beer flavor. That is true if the can liner is compromised and the beer contacts the metal directly. However, that problem was licked many years ago and cans have been reliable containers for beverages for decades.

Many craft brewers these days are turning to cans; this includes, for example, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (among the more fastidious brewers on the planet), that now makes its iconic pale ale available in cans. In fact cans have many advantages: they are light in weight and so cheaper and easier to transport; a can weighs just half an ounce compared to a bottle that weighs nearly half a pound (7.5 ounces). Cans protect beverage products perfectly from light and cans may be taken to places where bottles are unwelcome or even banned.

So Boston Brewing needs to keep up with the trend; with its usual marketing flair (to say nothing of financial oomph) it has developed a better beer can. The design draws inspiration from the approved Sam Adams drinking glass with a more shapely top rim and a repositioned opening. The idea is to deliver the product more exactly to the consumer’s nose and palate with an enhanced supply of air for superior flavor enjoyment. You might think this is baloney but I could not possibly comment.

A recent article in The Sacramento Bee made the point that, although brewers have achieved very high water-efficiencies in their brewery operations, it requires an enormous amount of water to grow the necessary beer-making raw materials such as barley and hops. Thus it may take three barrels of water to make beer in the brewery but 300 barrels of water to grow enough materials (roughly 35 pounds) for that single barrel of beer. Yikes! But that does support the general idea that agriculture is the really heavy user of water (say 75 percent) and so our food supply is likely to suffer most when we are in drought.

Some breweries in the Western states, Miller-Coors in Colorado, for example, and their breweries in Texas and Southern California are at risk although, apparently, the Fairfield brewery of AB-I is OK with its supply of Berryessa water. Lagunitas and a few other craft breweries however, are making contingency plans should the water they draw from the Russian River dry up and an alternative mineral-loaded ground water have to be used. Lagunitas may be able to switch its production to its new Chicago plant, temporarily, or install a reverse osmosis unit to remove unwanted minerals from ground water.

Although, no doubt, the supply of water to breweries may pose a huge problem in a few cases, the raw materials to make beer are not all grown in drought-challenged western locations. Hops, for example, are a product of the Pacific Northwest that has rain up the ying-yang, and malting barley comes from Canada and our northern tier of states that enjoyed the polar vortex and have not suffered the dry weather that has plagued us. It’s true that the traditional barley-growing region for Miller-Coors in Colorado is in drought; they may have to learn to work with barley from other regions.

This is literally the bottom line: Save water; drink cider from cans.

— Reach Michael Lewis at [email protected] Comment on this column at www.davisenterprise.com

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Yolo Basin Foundation celebrates 25 years

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Teens embrace public art through Pence Gallery program

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Robotics team members reflect on their big win

    By Kellen Browning | From Page: A1

     
    City’s eco-classes will explore water, wildlife, pests, composting

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

    Many hands make light work

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Baltimore smolders after violent night

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Pets of the week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Davis police make vehicle theft arrest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Corinthian Colleges closes all 28 remaining campuses

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Capay Organic hosts Cinco de Mayo party

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Yolo County Bar Association honors Magna Carta, probation chief

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Sierra Club leaders will meet April 30

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Master Gardeners teach workshops throughout county

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Faithful Partner Fund established for K-9 officers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Pedro party, lunch benefit Yolo Hospice

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Author — injured arm in sling — will sign her new book

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Chicken manure compost class planned

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Party celebrates release of Lescroart’s new novel

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Curious about calculus? Try Barcellos’ new book

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Holmes’ Green Team wins state award

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Vacaville contractor convicted of fraud

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    New UCD art lecture series named for Thiebauds

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Pinball show features lots of free play

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Blueberries, apricots arrive at Sutter market

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Asian garden open for tours this weekend

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    .

    Forum

    She knows their business

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Waking up to the awful truth

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Vaccine bill is vital for our health

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Thanks for camera’s return

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    David Brooks: Love and merit

    By David Brooks | From Page: A6

    Davis’ active transportation plan is right on target

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Dog’s freedom isn’t worth it

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    Another big inning does in Devil softballers

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1

     
    Huge first frame lifts DHS to big baseball win

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Blue Devil girls run it up on Grant

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD golfers move into first at Big West Championship

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    AAA roundup: Cardinals break out big bats in Davis Little League win

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Get a positive vibe Wednesday from Tha Dirt Feelin’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Momentum Dance Company plans spring concert

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Sacramento Youth Symphony holding open auditions

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9Comments are off for this post

     
    Winters Theatre Company performs on the Big Day of Giving

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    ‘Contempt of Court’ next up at Winters Theatre Company

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    There’s no place like home in DMTC’s ‘Wizard of Oz’

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Have breakfast in Oz on May 16

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Black Sea Hotel to perform in Village Homes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    DMTC’s young performers present a steam-punk ‘Snow White’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7