Beer science

Beer science – The French Press Experiments


If you’re like me you’ve probably got some pretty average stock-standard beers at home. Maybe you’re a blogger and someone sent you some ordinary lager to review. Or maybe a friend turned up to a dinner invitation with a six pack of light beer because they were driving home. Maybe someone tried to buy you some beer for a present and ended up giving you some James Boag lager because, to them, it seems like a fancy beer.

Again, if you’re like me, those beers sit in the garage until you can foist them upon some guest who doesn’t really care about beer (you may say I should educate them. To which I say no. Firstly they don’t care about beer – which is quite okay. No-one says they have to. Secondly, I’m not keen to waste a few bottles of good beer on someone who can’t appreciate it).

But what if there was a way to turn those mainstream beers into something interesting? Something that would encourage you to drink them? Which is the reason for the French Press Experiments. I’d been reading online about people using a French press to add flavours to beer so I thought I’d give it a go. It’s exactly the same procedure as making coffee in a French press – put the herbs, spice or whatever in the press, pour the beer on top and let it steep for a while before pouring into the glass.

In order to have some sort of control, I went and bought a six-pack of the cheapest lager I could find. That way all this week’s flavour experiments are built on the same base beer. And that beer is Arc Valley premium lager, brewed and bottled in The Netherlands for Pinnacle Liquour (ie Woolworths). Also of interest is the label’s claim that it is made using “a unique brewing process”. Really? Some brewery has invented a new way of brewing beer that no-one in history has ever used before and they choose to use that on a standard supermarket beer? Yeah, it’s most likely total bullshit.

Anyway, so this week is devoted to using a French press to see if I can make a standard beer like Arc Valley more interesting. For the most part I plan to use flavourings I already have at home – such as herbs from the backyard garden or tea from the cupboard. If I think of something that seems like it’ll taste awesome then I’ll go and buy some and try it out. But the idea will be to use ingredients I already have lying around at home.

And I’ll also pour a small glass of straight Arc Valley so I have something to which I can compare the French-pressed version.



4 replies »

      • Hmm, I now realise I was logged in as ammo when I left that comment. Confusing.

        Anywho, I think I’ll have a play around with it with some Coors Light and Great Northern we have sitting in the garage. Thinking hops or berries. Like you say, I’ll be setting my expectations low. If that doesn’t pan out, I might try S&W Pacific on actual passionfruit or a local porter on coffee beans.

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