Green Brewing

The University of Michigan’s “Out of the Blue” (perhaps best known for boring the daylights out of viewers hoping they’d see sports late at night on the Big Ten Network) recently tackled a topic near and dear to our hearts: beer.

Michigan Grad Student Jarett Diamond

Michigan Grad Student Jarett Diamond

The show produced an 8-minute feature about Michigan student Jarret Diamond, whose Masters thesis revolved around how to make the brewing process more environmentally-friendly. Though inspiration struck at Arbor Brewing, the project centered around Arbor’s sister brewery down the road in Ypsilanti, Corner Brewery. Diamond and his team first learned about the commercial brewing process, before figuring out how to improve it.

Other members of Diamond’s team focused on improving the sustainability and infrastructure of the brewery. If you’re interested in not only beer, but also the environment (as so many beer lovers are), check it out.

Peppercorn Bacon Beer

Bacon Pepper Beer

Bacon Pepper Beer

We don’t want to get into a habit of reviewing homebrews (other than our own of course), because there are so many out there, and they’re often consumed in small portions and large varieties at once.

However, Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti has a very cool feature called the “Rat Pad,” wherein homebrewers can use the Corner system to brew large-scale editions of their home brews. When I got word of a Peppercorn Bacon Beer, I couldn’t help but head down the road to check it out. This offering was conceived and created by by Mike O’brien and Brent Fisher.

Firs things first, it was light in color. I usually expect things to have a darker body to balance out a ridiculous flavor (and bacon can only be described as “ridiculous”). I’m quickly learning that’s not always the case. The beer had an off-white head that was pretty small by the time I received it, but it left a decent lattice. I suspect the beer may have been slightly undercarbonated, as well.

The aroma had the savory (and actually very sweet?) flavor of bacon. Peppercorn scent was definitely there, but more as a complement to the bacon than a standalone aroma.

The taste, on the other hand, had much more pepper. There was a bit of bacon, but it was not salty unlike other meat beers I’ve tried. It was actually very well balanced. Only a bit of bitterness – bittering flavors came from pepper, and I couldn’t taste much hop character at all.

It went down very smooth. The beer was light in body and “tasted wet.” Again, there was little salt character in the mouthfeel. In all, this was a very good beer, and despite the audacious selection of ingredients, was subtle and well-balanced.

* On a related note, they’re having a Rat Fest tomorrow, with several homebrews available. Tickets are $20, look on their site for more info.