Modern Farmer’s Best of 2016: All About Alcohol

Honey-based spirits

Monica Buck

All week, we'll be posting round-ups of some of our favorite stories from 2016. Check back daily for a new collection.

Booze, hooch, tipple, wobbly pops. There are as many nicknames for alcohol as there are different kinds and ways to prepare it. In 2016 Modern Farmer covered a lot of alcohol-related stories, from the discovery of a 5,000 year-old Chinese beer to the rise of American craft gin to a how-to on growing your own hops. It’s enough to make your head spin (and not from overindulging).

5,000-Year-Old Barley Beer Found in ChinaTraces of a 5,000-year-old Chinese beer brewed with barley discovered by archeologists in Shaanxi province, in northwest China forced the scientific community to rethink China’s agricultural history since it was previously believed barley hadn’t reached the country until several thousand years later.

Growing Hops in Abandoned Lots? Pittsburgh Will Drink To ThatIn Pittsburgh, a new initiative has sprung up to turn abandoned lots into mini-hops farms to supply local breweries thanks to a beer-and-growing enthusiast named Pete Bell.

Cropped: Tips For Growing HopsSure, you brew your own beer, but have you considered growing your own hops to up your game to the ultimate level? Here’s what you’ll need to know if you are ready to take the plunge.

What We’re Drinking this Fall: Honey-Based SpiritsInnovative distillers like Todd Hardie, the beekeeper behind Caledonia Spirits, are using honey to create distinctive liquors like gin and vodka that are anything but ordinary.

How Honeybees Make Our Beer Even More DeliciousYou can’t spell beer without bee and like distillers, brewers are using honey to create delicious products. Beyond merely using honey, some brewers are raising their own bees to help put the buzz in their brews.

Maple Old Fashioned RecipeWith all this talk of drinks, we figured we should throw in a recipe for a delicious cocktail you can quickly whip up while reading the rest of these stories. This riff on a classic Old Fashioned from chef Chris Lanier includes a touch of maple flavor for your après-ski fire-side entertaining or just an evening in front of the television.

Cheers to Eco-Friendly Wines: They Taste Better, Says StudyEarlier this year, researchers found that earth-friendly wines score higher on flavor than non-certified eco varieties, according to a UCLA study. Better yet, eco-certified wines tend to be less expensive as well. That’s a win-win.

What We’re Drinking: Toast Summer With American Craft GinsWhile gin is most often associated with the Brits, small American distillers are stepping up their gin-making game with spirits that would make any English chap tip his hat in acknowledgment of their former colony’s prowess.

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Modern Farmer’s Best of 2016: All About Alcohol