Today I’m excited to have Ed Canty on my blog. He’s a partner at Orlando Brewing and Founder of the Florida Brewers Guild. Ed was the second brewer I worked with to learn about microbrewing. Although we have met in person only once, we established a relationship through email. I asked questions and Ed provided the answers. He has remained one of my best resources for beer, and brews innovative, tasty microbrews. He’s always involved in something new, as we’ll see.
Lesley. My book should help readers learn a little about microbrews, but most of us are unfamiliar with hand craft beers. Terms are confusing. What’s the difference between a lager and an ale?
Ed. Lagers are brewed with lager yeast at temps ranging around 45F to 55F, ales are brewed with ale yeast at ranges around 60F to 70F. Lagers tend to be very mellow in taste whereas ales tend to have a lot of fruity esthers in their taste profile.
Lesley. Are they both beers?
Ed. Yes, they are both beers.
Lesley. And we also hear the term pilsner. What’s that?
Ed. A pilsner is a type of lager originally brewed in the Czech Republic.
Lesley. We know hops go into beer, but what are they there for?
Ed. Hops are added to the boil at the beginning for bitterness to offset the sweet wort, in the middle of the boil for the flavor of that type of hop, and at the end of the boil for the aromatics of that type of hop.
Lesley. What does it mean when a beer advertizes it is “double hopped, triple hopped.”
Ed. Marketing terms meant to entice the consumer. Most beers have two to three hop additions as noted earlier.
Lesley. Hops come from all over the world including the Pacific Northwest. Now we hear on television about “Noble Hops.” What’s the difference among the types of hops?
Ed. Noble hops are these specific types: Hallertau, Tettnanger, Spalt, Polish Lublin and Saaz, grown in central Europe. Pacific Northwest hop varieties tend to be higher in bitterness with very fruity aromas.
Lesley. Many drinkers of microbrews are used to quaffing brews where malt is the grain used. What is malt?
Ed. Brewers Malt is actually malted barley. Barley that has been forced to begin germination and abruptly stopped so that the starch in the malt can be converted to sugar during the brewing process.
Lesley. Are grains other than barley used in microbrews?
Ed. Yes. Corn, rice, rye, wheat to name a few of the more widely used grains.
Lesley. I’ll sometimes read about IBUs. What are these?
Ed. IBU stands for International Bittering Units. This is a scale to describe the level of bitterness in a beer. The higher the number, the more bitter the beer.
Lesley. You recently spent some time at the Seibel Institute in Chicago. Tell us about the institute and what you did there.
Ed. The Seibel Institute of Technology is the oldest brewery training school in the United States. I was there for a two week intensive course on brewing methodology.
Lesley. You’ve been in this business for a number of years.
Ed. 21 years to be exact.
Lesley. What changes have you noticed in that time?
Ed. Everything has changed. For example, when I got into brewing professionally, there were about 400 craft brewers, today there are over 1500.
Lesley. Can you tell us what you’ve been involved in recently?
Ed. I am currently consulting on a start up Microbrewery in St. Augustine set to open this fall. Before that, I was working with Orlando Brewing (the only certified organic brewery in Florida) where I was the Director of Brewing Operations. I left there in June of 2008, but I am still a 10% owner on a silent basis.
Lesley. The brewer in my book is a woman and we don’t see many of them in the business. Is there a reason for this?
Ed. Only because women are just recently getting back into brewing. It used to be that most all the beer was brewed primarily by women (waaaaaay back in the day).
Note: When I was writing A Deadly Draught and visited Ed in Orlando, he was training a brewer, a woman by the name of Alysha Heck. I already had my picture of Hera and was shocked to find that Alysha looked exactly like her. We now refer to Alysha as “the real life Hera.”
Lesley. Speculate about your dream brew. Have you ever made it?
Ed. Still working on it.
Lesley. If so, can you tell us what it was like?
Ed. It will be a medium bodied, very hoppy India Pale Ale.
Lesley. My favorite. And Hera’s, too. We can hardly wait to taste it