As the summer temperatures heat up and July 4th looms closer on the calendar, most folks only have one beverage on their mind: beer. With some historians speculating that nomads brewed beer from ancient grain and water during the prehistoric years, the history of beer reveals that we’ve been keeping a cold one close by for centuries. The drink was a critical staple for many ancient civilizations, including Babylonian, Assyrian, Egyptian, Hebrew, Chinese, and Incan cultures, being so valued that it was often used as a form of payment.
A lot has changed since then. Brewmasters and tech companies are coming up with some clever and innovative ways to improve the beer brewing process and perfect the sudsy taste that represents a hallmark of Independence Day BBQ fare.
1. The Hop Gun
The futuristic rocket-shaped brew vessel from Tröegs Brewing Co. in Hershey, Pennsylvania uses a double-helix design to create an inner burst of turbulence, dissolving the hop pellets as the beer catapults through the container. The gizmo doesn’t add anything in terms of flavor, but it does help brewers save on expensive hops. The shape of the vessel and the circulatory system allows the beer to pass through the same group of hops several times in an efficient way. Some beer makers have reported saving up to 30 percent on the amount of hops needed to brew beer using The Hop Gun.
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Fermentation is one of the most critical processes in beer making. Brewpi is a digital fermentation controller and a new play on the Raspberry Pi Computer system, a DIY programmable computer that’s as big as a credit card. An online step-by-step guide provides a complete guide on how to program the Brewpi to meet your fermentation needs. Once in place, the device can regulate beer temperatures within 0.1 degrees, provide a graphed temperature log, and is fully configurable from a web interface.
Every beer drinker’s worst nightmare is realizing that there aren’t any cold brews waiting in the fridge or ice chest. Corksicle set out to solve that problem and developed a unique in-bottle, drink-through beer chiller called The Chillsner. Freeze the wand for 45 minutes and insert it into any standard size beer bottle and enjoy an instantly chilled brew. The proprietary cooling gel inside the wand helps bring down the temperature of the bottle’s contents and keeps it cool using an airtight seal.
Social media has moved out of the limelight and into the spotlight. In order to help Bud drinkers connect with new bar friends and old pals, the American brewer developed a bottle enabled with smartphone technology. The user scans a code printed on the bottom of the bottle, which takes the user to a Facebook profile. When the user clinks bottles with another Bud drinker, the bottle senses the bump and sends a friend request through the Facebook app. Thanks to Budweiser, gone are the days of scrawling phone numbers on paper napkins.
With a multitude of features and a slick design, the brew cave is every enthusiasts dream. Standing seven feet tall, four feet deep, and nearly 7 feet wide, the beer cave features shelving space for up to 30 cases of beer and space for up to four kegs. Each panel includes four inches of insulation sandwiched between inner and outer metal skins, keeping the locker’s contents igloo-cold.
Growlers have become a huge hit with beer lovers who patronize local craft and micro breweries. Much to their dismay, however, growlers go flat before many folks have a chance to finish them. The TapIt Cap fits over the growler’s opening and provides a unparalleled seal. Using a CO2 input slot and a tap handle, the average growler becomes a handheld keg and tap that is easily transported to BBQs, social gatherings, and camping trips.
For the adventurous beer drinker, The Randall Jr. offers a way to play around with some of your favorite brew recipes right in your own refrigerator. Thanks to Dogfish Head Brewery, the Randall Jr. is an organoleptic hop transducer module. In plain english, the device includes a chamber filter that can be connected to a beer tap and stuffed with flavor-enhancing ingredients. The Randall Jr. holds a single pint of beer and features a twist-off top. Fill the chamber with fruit, spices, hops, or other experimental additives, chill, and enjoy. Some other types of Randalls offer two chambers for double the flavor power.
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