For months, Venture Café searched high and low to find and procure the Spice of Life. After much networking, negotiating, and yes, begging, it now lies in wait, in our very own tiny kegerator.
The Spice of Life comes to us from Sixpoint Brewery in Brooklyn, New York. It was founded in 2004 but traces its true origins to the beginning of history, as the “Sixpoint Brewers’ star” (also called Bierstern, Brauerstern, or Zoigel Star, depending on where said history was taking place) has served as a code of brewing for centuries. While the origins of the association between the Sixpoint and beer are unclear, many agree that the brewer’s star was intended to symbolize purity, advertising that a particular brew was free of additives, adjuncts, and other beer “contaminants.” Thus, the six points of the star may represent the six aspects of brewing most critical to beer purity – the water, the hops, the grain, the malt, the yeast, and the brewer – but other accounts associate it with the three “elements” involved in brewing (fire, water and air) and the three ingredients known to early brewers (malt, hops and water). Today, the Sixpoint Brewery maintains these traditions with a “mash-up of professional brewing experiences, global brewery influences, and unbridled homebrew proliferation.”
The Spice of Life Series at Sixpoint is a controlled experiment focusing on one agreed point of the star: the hop. Hops are the dried ripe cones from the female flowers of the twining plant of genus Humulus. These cones contain signature oils and acids that impart particular aromas and tastes on different beers. More oil typically results in a stronger aroma, whereas more acid increases the bitterness of a beer. To demonstrate how the hop may influence a beer, Sixpoint has been producing a different single-hop IPA each month: except for the featured hop, the other ingredients and processes remain the same. The brew is fermented dry to accentuate the hop flavor and aroma. The Spice of Life in our kegerator features the Nelson Sauvin hop from New Zealand, said to offer notes of tangy fruit and white wine, along with moderate bittering. In this second year of the Spice of Life series, the Nelson Sauvin hop is part of an effort to showcase lesser-known hop varieties to American craft beer drinkers.
The long-awaited Sixpoint Spice of Life featuring the Nelson Sauvin hop will be on tap this Thursday at the Café. I advise you to carry on a centuries-old tradition of brewers and imbibers everywhere: spice it up.