Saint Arnold Lawnmower

July 12, 2010

So I picked up my first six pack of independent brew and dedicated the bottom drawer of my fridge to housing the beer. Some quick net-search revealed that the ideal temperature for beer was between 34 – 43 degrees. I left the beer till the next day and in the evening I popped one open and started to drink. While I drank, I thought about the name lawnmower and I looked at the artwork on the bottle. I’m one of the few people on my street that still mows their own lawn, even though I probably don’t mow it often enough to please my neighbors. But when I do mow the lawn, and when I’m finished and when it is one of Houston’s typical summer days with a temperature of 96°F, 88% humidity and a heat index of 107°F the first thing I do is drink a big glass of ice water. If I was going to drink a beer after mowing the lawn it would have to be an easy drinker. Nothing bitter or harsh on the tongue. The bear should be light and refreshing and enjoyable and it shouldn’t take much effort to find your way to the bottom of one. So, did the Saint Arnold Lawnmower live up to my expectations? Yes it did. It was all of those things, an easy drinker, refreshing, and easy to enjoy. And it had a sweeter taste that was enjoyable as well.

So you have read my description of Saint Arnold Lawnmower above, but description for a novice can be difficult. Did I do a good job in describing the beer? To find out, I went to the Saint Arnold website and read their description of Lawnmower. I quickly learned that beer tasting, is much like wine tasting, in that beer tasting has its own language. A language of relevant taste adjectives and I know none of them. Below is the description of Saint Arnold Lawnmower from the Saint Arnold website.

A true German-style Kölsch. Originally brewed in Cologne, this beer is crisp & refreshing, yet has a sweet malty body that is balanced by a complex, citrus hop character. Multiple additions of German Hallertauer hops are used to achieve this delicate flavor. We use a special Kölsch yeast, an ale yeast that ferments at lager temperatures, to yield the slightly fruity, clean flavor of this beer. Fancy Lawnmower Beer is a world class brew yet light enough to be enjoyed by Texans after strenuous activities, like mowing the lawn.

As far as the description, I think I had done OK for a novice. But my visit to the website uncovered a litany of beer lingo I knew nothing about. Lingo such as hops, hopping, hop, hopped, malt, malted, wheat, barley, yeast, ale yeast, Kölsch, and additional tasting adjectives such as fruity, clean and crisp… So, in conclusion, I had got the description right but clearly there was a lot to learn about how beer is brewed.

Some additional net-search revealed that Saint Arnold’s Lawnmower is a Kölsch style beer that originated in Cologne Germany. Saint Arnold’s Lawnmower is hoped with Hallertau Hops, which was the original German lager hop. Apparently Hallertau Hops fell to some sort of blithe and disappeared from popular use. In addition, Kölsch beers use Kölsch yeasts which ferment at the top of the brew. The final piece of brew-ology I made note of was, Saint Arnold uses both a lightly malted barley and malted wheat in their Lawnmower. Of course I didn’t have a clue what “malted” meant so I had to do even more net-search. Malted grains are grains that are sprouted and then heated to a point where the germination process is halted. Simply put, malted grains are sprouted grains. Why do brew masters malt grains? This is where things get very complicated, but here it an extremely simple explanation. Malted grains release maltose when they are mashed at the brewery. Maltose sugars are processed by yeasts who generously produce alcohol and carbonation for the beer.

Now I don’t profess to know the difference between top fermenting beers and bottom fermenting beers and I don’t think this blog will turn into a home-brew blog, but I’m sure as I journey through the different styles of beer we will discover the difference and relevance of top and bottom fermenting. Regardless, this completes my first beer review. I enjoyed Saint Arnold Lawnmower and am looking forward to the six Saint Arnold Summer Pils waiting in the bottom of my fridge.

Cheers!

ATW

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Like most people I enjoy a drink every now and again and like most people, my experience with beer has been spent drinking a brew crafted by one of the big three American brew giants, Budweiser, Anheuser Busch or Coors. Unfortunately, consuming the brews offered by the large companies left me wanting for a better beer.

Luckily, a couple of months ago I had an epiphany of sorts via Netflix. Let me explain. When time permits, I enjoy watching an instantly available movie on my computer. Based on my recent selection history, the Netflix super computer suggested I watch Beer Wars, a documentary film about the growing independent craft brewing industry in the United States and also the realities independent brewers face being in competition with the three Mega-Brewers. After watching the documentary film, I had an interest in the products offered by small independent brewers around the country and thus began my journey of rediscovering beer.

Living in Houston Texas, I had two fairly large independent brewers close to home. The Saint Arnold Brewery located in downtown Houston Texas and the  Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner Texas. But my journey began by going to a liquor store and grabbing a six pack of St. Arnolds Lawnmower brew.

So whats the point of this blog? Simply stated, I am going to document my consumption and experiences with the independent brewing industry’s craft. Even more simply stated, I’m going to drink beer from an independent brewer and I’m going to write about it in terms anyone can understand. I’m a beer novice and this blog will document my journey to something new. Join me.

Cheers,

ATW