Summer is prime beer drinking season: The patios are chock-a -block with happy Canadians pleased that they have been able to put away their down jackets and space heaters. Outdoor drinking has its issues. For one thing, if you get too comfortable you might end up with terrible sunburn. Beer, like people, can also feel the effects of direct sunlight.
You may have tasted beer at some point in your life that had the distinct character of skunk to it. The brew master certainly doesn’t intend for his beer to have the distinctive tang of a woodland critter’s stank gland. It’s an off-flavour or flaw that people refer to as light-struck. It happens when a certain frequency of ultra violet light is exposed to beer and the compounds from the hops react. Most of the time it happens to beer that’s packaged in clear or green glass bottles.
In some cases, really big brewers have switched to using hop extracts that prevent it from happening. In craft brewing that doesn’t use hop extract, light-struck beer can be a problem because the products tend to be hoppier across the board. Most craft brewers package in brown glass or use cans which takes care of the problem, but once the beer is in your glass and in direct sunlight, it can degenerate within minutes.
That’s where a new product called Bru-V comes into play. Alan Wood from Oakville, Ontario came up with the idea for the product, which is basically a brown pint glass, while apprenticing at Trafalgar Brewery. (If brown glass is good enough to protect your beer on the way from the brewery to your house, then why not make a pint glass out of it? )Like the catflap and sliced bread, it’s an idea so simple that reading this, you probably wish you had thought of it. The pint glass protects your beer from the harmful rays of the sun and prevents the chemical reaction that makes it pong like a threatened polecat.
My only quibble is that it feels a little like a solution in search of a problem. If you were on your own patio at home, couldn’t you just use one of those red plastic beer cups that are so popular at frat parties? Rather than sitting in direct sunlight, couldn’t you drink your beer in a shady spot? Better yet, couldn’t you avoid the problem entirely by sitting inside where it’s air conditioned and there’s baseball on TV? Most importantly, how do you prevent the sun from getting at the top of your beer that’s not protected by brown glass?
For the last question, Bru-V has an answer. They are currently developing a lid. Genius! Check out Bru-V's kickstarter page for more.
Jordan St.John writes about beer at saintjohnswort.ca; he actually updated his blog this week!