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File this under A for Awesome

The American craft beer industry is well known to be one of the most progressive beverage industries out there. Many brewers are constantly pushing the envelope with their beers. Take for example, Rogue who a number of years ago introduced their Voodoo Bacon Maple Ale (formulated to taste like a popular doughnut from a bakery in Portland Oregon), or Delaware based Dogfish Head who is well known for really pushing the boundaries of beer.

The one thing every brewer has in common is that the beer they sell to customers is always full strength, in a can or bottle and ready for consumption. This is great for people who have access to a store or a fridge to keep their beer cool. For people who are out in the woods, say camping, keeping beer is a bit of a problem, especially craft beer which will usually go stale quickly if not stored correctly.

One company in the US thinks they have an answer to that, and recently introduced their take on beer. This beer is like no other however, it doesn’t come in a can or a bottle instead in a foil pouch. A foil pouch? How does that work? Who would be so crazy to do such a thing.

The company is called Pat’s Backcountry Beverages and they have created beer in concentrate form for people who are away from traditional stores. For your information: The backcountry is a term used in much of North America to mean away from civilization and modern amenities, it is also called the bush in many countries.

What exactly is beer concentrate?

As you likely know, the main ingredient in beer isn’t barley, hops or yeast, it’s water. Water makes up as much as 95% of the total volume in beer and is also the reason beer is so heavy. Try lifting a box of 12 Leo bottles, or any liquid for that matter, and it will feel deceptively heavy.

Well, in order to make things more portable many producers started to concentrate their product. This is the act of reducing the liquid in a product leaving a liquid that is concentrated, or thick. When you want to drink the liquid, you usually just have to add the same amount of water that was taken out in order to get a consumable product. This is most common with soda fountains at restaurants. The syrup is sent in a bag to the restaurant with water and carbonation added when a lever is pressed resulting in a drink e.g., coke.

While the idea is the same, the concentrate is made a bit different. The beer is started as any other beer, by boiling a wort, adding hops and fermenting the beer. After fermentation the beer is distilled in a vacuum to remove the alcohol and concentrate the leftover beer into a syrup. The brew is then started again with the syrup instead of water in order to create an increasingly concentrated beer.

Finally, after four times through the fermentation and concentration process hops are added to the removed alcohol and then the alcohol/hops mixture is added into the concentrate. This leads to a syrupy liquid with about 10 times the amount of alcohol. When water is added back to the mixture, you should get around 470 ml of beer from each package.

How does this work?

You may be wondering how exactly concentrated beer would work, especially since most syrups don’t have any bubbles – a key component in beer. Well, there are two ways you can reconstitute this beer and add bubbles.

The first is to add already carbonated water like soda water to the mixture, stir and drink. The second method is to use a carbonator also developed by the company. This is essentially a modified water bottle that comes with a capsule that allows you to carbonate water. To do this, you add citric acid and sodium bicarbonate to a capsule, prime it, then essentially shake it to carbonate the water and dilute the beer concentrate.

After about two minutes of shaking, you have a beer, that according to people who have tried it, isn’t bad. Of course, it won’t be as great as most typical craft beers but it is still beer.

Can I get some?

At the time, this appears to only be available in the US, at some camping supply stores. It may be a while until we see this over here in Asia, if ever, considering the market for it here in Thailand is pretty non-existent.

This kind of sucks, but hey, at least we have some great craft beer making its way into the kingdom! If we come across some, we’ll let everyone knows how it tastes!

Wish of the week

Bush Discovery Set
Seeing as we are talking about the backcountry, or bush to many readers, why not get some Bush beer! This beer is actually a wonderful Belgian beer brewed by Dubuisson and would be a great one to enjoy after a day out in the wilderness. Our discovery set is the perfect place to start your own adventure with one Amber style Belgian Ale, one Blonde Belgian Ale and one Peach flavored fruit beer. Try all three today.

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