Hood River beer aficionados have a chance to meet up with Jeff Alworth, author of “The Beer Bible,” on Sunday, Aug. 23. He’ll be at Double Mountain Brewery as part of the Great Bottle Roundup, which starts at noon. If you’re ready for a 644-page reference guide that represents over two years of world-wide travel to major beer-producing regions, Sunday would be a good time to head down and check it out.
As you probably guessed, I got to talk to Jeff last week and we talked about beer. Lo and behold, I learned many things. My funny story is that I finally got straightened out on what the mysterious IBU number is. I thought it was the number of ibuprofen one needed to take the next day after drinking certain kinds of beer. But it turns out that the International Bittering Unit is a number representing the amount of hop acid extracted from hops. Some companies, like Widmer, actually use a mass spectrometer to determine this, and some use computer algorithms to estimate it. Depending on the recipe, the hops can be added early or later in the process, which effects hop acid content. Jeff said that it’s possible to have a beer with a relatively high IBU without a whole lot of bitterness taste.
You know those touristy-kinds of maps that you find in, oh, tour guides, or maybe the kind you find at a theme park, that shows you where all the rides are? Well, the Beer Bible has one of those, and guess what? Hood River is one of the “main attractions!” Jeff’s “American Breweries to See” map (page 588-89) highlights Hood River for good reason, he said. “If you vote for me, I guarantee a beer in every fridge.” Oh, wait, I’m confusing my interview with the current political campaign extravaganza. He actually said that pound for pound, Hood River has the highest density of breweries per person. Or something very close to that. Let me take some IBUs and sleep on that. I’m sure it will come to me in the morning.
Read Jim’s interview with Jeff Alworth online at www.hoodrivernews. com.