Saturday, 18 August 2018

Geography as flavour

When some friends from New Zealand visited they were bemused find a New Zealand IPA in Dartmoor. Particularly as it was made in Dartmoor.

I had to explain that in the world of beer the name of a country is often used as a flavour descriptor, not a statement about where the beer is made. "American" means made with citrussy hops, "Belgian" with phenolic yeast, and in the case of "New Zealand" it's the hop flavour again. It hadn't occurred to me until I saw their confusion that this might be considered slightly odd. Really the word "style" should be included to remove any ambiguity.

It also got me thinking to how many others there are. "English" means traditional English hops, but "New England" means hazy and fruity, and "Russian" is a term applied to stouts to say they're strong. Different American coasts are used to denote different types of "American" IPAs. Does German/Czech get used to describe different styles of pale lager? Can't say I've really  noticed it. That "farmhouse" is now used to indicate the type of flavour you'll find in a beer that's highly unlikely to have ever been anywhere near a farmhouse is also a bit strange. As is "wild" used to describe beers made with non-standard yeasts (and possibly bacteria) that may well have been cultured in a laboratory. I'm sure there are more out there.

Anyway, the beer was nice. Cheers Aub and Ruth!


  1. I had a "farmhouse" beer a few years ago that was brewed underneath a motorway bridge. It was very good though.

    1. I can see that confusing the non-geek.