Thursday, November 30, 2006

Beer Dates in History: December Anniversaries

Anniversary cheers go out in December to the following who are still doing what they love...and giving us what we love. 20 Years Geary Pete's Wicked Alaskan Brewing 15 Years Spanish Peaks 10 Years Titletown Brewing General Lafayette Selin's Grove

Beer Tasting: Rock Art Whitetail Golden Ale

Adam and I split a variety case of Rock Art, which has become more commonly available in the southeastern region of Pennsylvania. 'So far, so good' we say to the crew from Vermont. Bryan's Notes:
  • Light grain aroma
  • Pale straw color, slight cloudiness
  • Nice head that sticks around for a bit and leaves traces on the glass
  • A bit on the lighter-bodied side; some carbonation
  • Not a whole lot to the flavor other than hints of honey and apricot
  • Very slight bitterness in the finish
  • Quite the easy drink

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Union Barrel Works in Reamstown, PA - Opening Update 11/29/06

Things are moving along in Reamstown, PA at the soon-to-be-unveiled Union Barrel Works. Tom Rupp, his wife Amy, and the crew are busy getting things ready. While opening by the end of the year appears unlikely, brewing is due to begin in the next couple of weeks. Given this information, it looks like there'll be something new and something brew in the post-holiday weeks to look forward to.

Beer Tasting: Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

The larger-than-life Dogfish Head hailing from Milton, DE has many imaginative brews. One of the most "basic" is their 60 Minute IPA. While not crazy over the top with hops, many agree that it's a downright drinkable and flavorful IPA. This 12 ounce bottle was bought in a case from Beer Yard in Wayne, PA. Best served a bit closer to refrigerated temperature. Bryan's Notes:
  • Light golden color
  • Creamy head; quickly fades to islands
  • Seems to be fairly filtered and clean
  • Fresh, grassy hops dominate the aroma and flavor; but not crazy
  • Pick up hints of citrus and apricot as well
  • Medium malt body with hints of alcohol
  • Easy drinking if you like solid IPAs (but don't mistake it for a west coast IPA)
  • My hoppy session beer; good 'ol standby!.....especially for fall lawn and garden work

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Beer Ads: Rolling Rock offensive?

Rolling Rock is creating waves now that it's under the wings of marketing behemoth, Anheuser-Busch. Uh, funny I suppose...whatever.... Opinions? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXAGM4z6ASA

Beer Tasting: Iron Hill Pig Iron Porter

This gem from Iron Hill is typically on their lineup of usual suspects. As I note below, it's one of the better (or at least my favorite) of their standard drafts. I went to Iron Hill on this particular evening looking for the bourbon-aged Baltic and brought this home when I realized the former was on nitrogen and not suitable for growler travel. So, who wouldn't want some Pig Iron Porter at home to relax the night away with?! Bryan's Notes:
  • Roasted nutty aroma
  • Very dark brew with a lumpy, off-white head that sticks around on top and the sides of the glass
  • A fuller mouthfeel, but not overwhelmingly so
  • Bitter chocolate flavor in the middle and noticeable hops in the finish
  • Why am I so short on words for such a fine beer? Perhaps I'm too busy enjoying it!
  • One of Iron Hill's finest, IMHO
p.s. I only included this picture here because of the cabinet nobs and the humorous picture they provided (by accident...really)

Monday, November 27, 2006

My favorite beers of the past 3 months

As we begin our journey into the winter of months of bigger, bolder, and heartier brews, here's a quick listing of what has tantalized my taste buds and fascination over the past three months. Now bring on the big stouts, barleywines, and the like. Stoudt's Weizen Sly Fox Black Raspberry Reserve Heavyweight Biere d'Art Iron Hill Russian Imperial Stout Iron Hill Oktoberfest Founders Red's Rye Left Hand Double Sawtooth Chainsaw Ale McKenzie Brew House Empress of the C Imperial Stout Speakeasy Double Daddy Imperial IPA

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Beer Tasting: Iron Hill Bourbon Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter (nitro)

Bryan's Notes:
  • A dark pouring medium-bodied beer with a creamy tan head
  • A big, big (did I say big?) bourbon nose...to tell the truth, so big as to almost be offputting to some
  • Reportedly at 6.2% ABV, this beer starts out seemingly harmless as it hits the lips and front of the mouth rather timidly
  • Then, the body and the bourbon flavors build in the middle to the back of the mouth
  • Licorice, oak, vanilla, and birch flavors are also present
  • An alcohol warming which isn't over the top (or maybe it's just the fooling of the bourbon)
  • This beer is such a treat to sip and explore....slowly
  • Being on nitrogen, it was best served at the pub and not in a take-home growler.

Brewing Beer: NRK Homebrew...almost gone!

My Not Really Kolsch, NRK, was almost gone by Thanksgiving night! And that was before it reached its prime. Well there's nothing like making some beer for your family and friends and having them drink it because they like it. So 4 gallons down and 1.25 to go :-) When hunting season is over I'll have to bottle the Fresh Hopped Imp. IPA. Hmmm...what am I going to brew next? Any ideas for me?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

There is absolutely nothing happening at Iron Hill in West Chester, PA

There's the bourbon barrel-aged version of the Baltic Porter...(all hail the wood!) Oh, and the West Coast Wheat...(soft cask-conditioned wheat diabolically hopped) A Wee Heavy has been spotted on tap...(it ain't heavy, it's my beer) Berliner Weisse...(yes, no, maybe?) In the next couple of weeks, an Imperial IPA and Quadrupel will be flowing from the taps...(how "big" will they be?) A growing collection of 25 ounce bottles of their Russian Imperial Stout, Tripel, Saison, Dubbel, and others are available for take-out...(if you haven't yet tried the R.I.S., are you waiting for an excuse?!) Other than that, there's nothing happening at the West Chester, PA location of Iron Hill.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Big River Grille & Brewing Works in Lake Buena Vista, FL

I'd like to buy the world a beer and.... Ok, not really, but for some reason that's the tune in my head right now. Thinking about Big River Grille & Brewing Works at Disney's Boardwalk attraction in Lake Buena Vista, Florida also brings this song to mind. I don't why, please don't ask. But, perhaps it goes something like this...Corny jingle...Coca-Cola...big company marketing...Disney...brewpub...obviously must be some sort of cheap manufactured gimmick, right? Well, not exactly. As it turns out, for being associated with Disney's ultra-touristy Boardwalk, Big River turns out some respectable brews. If you're not familiar with it, the Boardwalk attraction is closest in location on Disney's property to Epcot. With an ESPNZone on one end and a piano bar on the other end, the brewpub sits nicely in the middle...so, you're likely to pass it along your walk at some point. We attended a dinner for out-of-town guests of our friend's wedding at the far end of the Boardwalk. We then made our way over to the piano bar at the other end. Along the way, Patty and I stopped off at Big River for a quick taste of their offerings. As I said earlier, I was not expecting much in the way of variety or quality. While the variety certainly was limited (pilsner, light lager, pale ale, wheat, stout, brown ale, red ale), the quality was the surprise. Then, even more surprising were the GABF medals that were hanging on display. They have previously been awarded for the Rocket Red Ale and the Iron Horse Stout. In 2003, the Red topped Boont Amber from Anderson Valley in the amber/red ale category. On this night three years later, the Rocket Red still did not fail to impress. This is one very enjoyable beer full of solid malt flavors and moderate hoppiness. Coming in around 5% ABV, it could be considered quite a tasty session beer. Making things a bit more interesting still is their attempt at introducing the tourists to cask conditioned ale. In the corner was a carefully perched cask of the brown ale that had been tapped the prior day. Not sure how quickly it was drank, but even on the first day it was not all too interesting from my point-of-view. It had some simple flavors to it, but otherwise was rather lifeless and one-dimensional. Still, impressive nonetheless to be making an effort given the demographic. So, speaking of the demographic. This partly plays into my preconceived notions of this place. The bartender says this is a conversation that they have countless times every day. What we overheard goes something like this: Customer-"Give me an Amstel Light please" Bartender-"We only serve our own beers here" Customer-"How about a Michelob Ultra" Bartender-"Sir, we only make and sell our own beer here" Customer-"Well, what do you have that's like Amstel Light" Bartender-"Well, we have a....nevermind, I'll get you something and you won't know the difference." Oh, and a bit of digging around on their website actually reveals that Big River is a product of the Gordon Biersch Restaurant Group. With a couple of locations in Tennessee also, I'm interested to know if these recipes are developed in-house by Gordon Biersch then brewed individually in each location. Or, perhaps even brewed by GB and shipped. In any case, I would definitely recommend making a stop if you're in Disney World Florida and hankering for decent beer. Because with the way the macros have firmly entrenched themselves, you are not likely to find decent beer elsewhere around Disney World in Florida. Though after enjoying a couple of Big River's better beers, the tight space and uncomfortable bar seats will probably have you moving on to the singalongs at the piano bar.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Tap List at Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern, PA - 11/22/06

On an attempted regular basis, we'll post the tap list here to the Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern, PA. We have no affiliation with the establishment other than living within 2 miles of it and appreciating the usually quality tap and bottle list. If you like this idea, please drop us a note and let us know. On Draft as of 11/22/06 Smuttynose IPA Middle Ages 11th Anniversary Double Wheat Victory Golden Monkey Brasserie Des Géants Goliath Belgium Tripel Stoudt's Double IPA Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA Bell's Hell Hath No Fury Ale Sly Fox Christmas Ale Rock Art Extra Hoppy ESB Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, let's get our priorities straight

It's been a while since I've come across this poignant story. I thought in the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S., it was worth passing along. Here's hoping you all have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving, as well as good beer! ================================================ Life and a Can of Beer When things in your life seem almost to much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar... and the beer. A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous "yes." The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed. "Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things--your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions--things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. "The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else--the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house, and fix the disposal." "Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand." One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers."

Beer Travel: Carnival Cruise Ship - The Inspiration

Recently I had the good fortune to take a cruise to the Western Carribbean on Carnival Cruise Lines. Thanks to my in-laws :-) We had a great time. Unlike these unlucky people who fell sick during their cruise. Don't know when I'll be able to post another beer list from a cruise ship so I better get it in now. Beer List from The Inspiration
  • Miller Lite
  • MGD
  • Icehouse
  • Budweiser
  • Budlite
  • Michelob Ultra
  • Corona
  • Heineken
  • Amstel Light
  • Pilsner Urquell
  • Labatt Blue
  • Red Stripe
  • Beck's
  • Stella Artois
  • Bass Ale
  • Boddingtons
  • Grolsch
  • Guinness Pub Draught
  • Fosters Lager
So, what did I drink? Pilsner Urquell, Boddingtons, Grolsch and Guiness. Mostly Pilsner Urquell. So it wasn't beer hell, but, there wasn't anything really exciting. All beer was from a can or bottle. Nothing on tap. I was happy to come back and taste my homebrew. Oh yeah, I almost fogot...the Tampa Bay Brewing Company was a pleasure to visit. Nice to taste hops and malt not from a bottle. More about that later.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Beer Mugs: Pizza Port & Becks

I couldn't resist. Ever since I brought that huge mug home from Pizza Port I have wanted to fill it. Well Saturday night I did it. Two Stoudt's Pils fit in there nicely. Mmmm...perfect. The walls of this mug are thick so your beer stays nice and cold. I put the Beck's mug next to it to show just how big this thing is. I don't think I'll be breaking it out much, but, its nice to have something on the large end of my collection.

Brewing Beer: Secondary Fermentation - Fresh Hopping

To make a long story short the IPA and NRK primary fermentation is finished. I kegged the NRK. Well sorta. I'm using the soda keg as a secondary fermenter. I racked it into the keg and shot some CO2 in to clean the air our of the headspace in the keg. Then I used the pressure relief valve to expel the excess until there was no pressure in the keg. The NRK (Not Really Kolsch: German ale with some wheat added) tasted pretty good. We'll see once the secondary is finished. That brings up another point. I planned on taking this with me to Thanksgiving dinner at my aunt's. I think it will be ready. I guess I could always bill it as a German cask conditioned ale ;-) At around 4.0% it should be very drinkable. I hope they like it as much as they did last year. What about the IPA? Its hoppier than Sierra Nevada pale ale already! We tasted it and it has sooo much potential. It isn't done fermenting yet and I just added 5 oz. fresh (frozen since I harvested them) Cascade hops to the secondary. I'm hoping it all turns out. It is great right now, but, I can't wait to see what the fresh hops added to the mix.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Beer Calendar: What to do in December 2006

Here's just a sampling of upcoming events over the next several weeks, mostly in the Philadelphia area, that look interesting to check out. Let us know if you think you might be heading to one of these events or have been to one of them in the past. This is one heckuva calendar, don't you think? And, this is without adding my company holiday beer exchange. No wonder it's the "most wonderful time of the year." Wed. 11/22 - Dogfish Head Punkin Ale Tapping @The Grey Lodge, Philadelphia, PA ('til it kicks; pay as you go) Mon. 11/27 - The Best Beer City @Tria, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:00; $35) Tue. 11/28 - Victory Beer Dinner @Dilworthtown Inn, West Chester, PA (7:00pm-9:00pm; $65) Fri. 12/1 - Troegs Mad Elf 2006 Philadelphia Draft Debut @The Grey Lodge, Philadelphia, PA ('til it kicks; pay as you go) Fri. 12/1 - Incubus Friday @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA (all day 'til it kicks; pay as you go) Sat. 12/2 - Annual Open House @Yards Brewing, Philadelphia, PA (2pm-6pm; free) Sat. 12/2-Sun. 12/3 - Belgian Beer Fest @Mugs Ale House, Brooklyn, NY (all day; pay as you go) Tue. 12/5 - 'Extreme Brewing' Book Release Beer Dinner @Dogfish Head Alehouse, Gaithersburgh, MD (7:00pm; $70) Wed. 12/6 - 'Extreme Brewing' Book Release Party @Max's on Broadway, Baltimore, MD (7:00pm; $25) Thu. 12/7 - ''Extreme Brewing' Book Tour Beer Dinner @Washington Street Ale House, Wilmington, DE (6:30pm; $50) Fri. 12/8 - IPA Project: 11 Beers For 11 Years @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, PA (all day 'til they kick; pay as you go) Sat. 12/9 - 5th Annual Mid-Atlantic Holiday Beer Tasting @The Brewer's Art, Baltimore, MD (12:00pm-4:00pm; pay as you go) Sat. 12/9 - Sixtel Saturday @General Lafayette Inn & Brewery, Lafayette Hill, PA (12:00pm 'til they kick; pay as you go) Tue. 12/12 - Dogfish Head Dinner @Monk's, Philadelphia, PA (7pm-10pm; $60) Tue. 12/12 - Respecting Lager w/Lew Bryson @Tria, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:00pm; $35) Wed. 12/13-Thu. 12/14 - Black Jack Stout Release @all Duclaw locations except Bel Air (closed), Maryland (all day; pay as you go) Thu. 12/14 - 2005 Samiclaus Tasting @The Drafting Room, Spring House, PA (6:00pm; pay as you go) Thu. 12/14 - Winter Beer Fest @Barcade, Brooklyn, NY (all day; pay as you go)

Beer Tasting: McKenzie Brew House Empress of the C Imperial Stout

This brawny brew was enjoyed on tap at the Malvern, PA location of McKenzie Brew House. Sorry, no pictures tonight....just picture black liquid, tan foam served excellently by the 12 ounce and 16 ounce glass. And, in case you don't catch my drift below in my notes, there's a good chance that Adam and I will be returning for a growler full of Empress this weekend. Edit by Adam: I finally got around to tasting this one. Thanks Bryan I'm glad I did. Bryan's Notes:
  • Black is the new Black
  • Silky and smooth tan head that hangs around for a while
  • Rich chocolate, with a nice hop bitterness
  • Hints of solid roasty notes, too
  • Just solid enough to be a stout, but not overwhelmingly heavy
  • Such a nice drinking beer; nice enough for a few (even at 7.0% ABV)
  • A great prelude to the coming cooler months
Adam's Notes:
  • at the end of its growler life :-(
  • not much nose
  • mild roastiness at first taste
  • deep malty flavor
  • almost buttery like a scotch ale
  • bitter finish
  • fairly well balanced malt to bitterness
  • let it warm a bit to really enjoy it
  • something to enjoy on a night when the snow falls

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Blind Tiger in New York, NY : Closing until liquor license arrives

Copied from their e-mail distribution that unfortunately showed up in my inbox this weekend. ====================================== Dear Tigerites, When life gives you lemons...you wait for your beer and wine license... And that is exactly what we have decided to do... The Blind Tiger will be closing at 9:00PM Sunday Nov. 19th until we get the license. All I have to say is thank you all...seriously... The good new is that after the past few months, we feel more positive about our situation than we have ever before. We now have a blossoming relationship with the community and a bunch of great input - which I will put to use to make the new BT even better. What will come out of all of this is an amazing beer menu, great wines, and with the help of Louise, a fantastic food menu... Thank you all for your patience and support, I know it has been a bumpy road. As an owner, I could never dream of better patrons...no, better friends. I promise to live up to the hype. In the meantime, I will be putting some great pre-Thanksgiving brews on at the Collins Bar (735 8th Ave). Wednesday Nov. 22nd at 4:00PM - I think we all need some get-ready-for-the-holiday beers. I'm thinking a little... Capt. Lawrence Pure Gold, Olde Gueuze, Goose Island Pere Jacques, Sixpoint Brownstone (gravity cask) and a few hoppy treats... Does that sound good? Oh, how about a few cheeses before your turkey? Yeah, that sounds just about right... NOTE... Great Divide is going to make us wait a little longer until we sample their great beers... They will hopefully be making their way to NYC sometime in January... When they come, the event will be amazing... The man with the dirty baseball cap, Alan

Tap List at Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern, PA - 11/18/06

On an attempted regular basis, we'll post the tap list here to the Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern, PA. We have no affiliation with the establishment other than living within 2 miles of it and appreciating the usually quality tap and bottle list. If you like this idea, please drop us a note and let us know. Thanks to Patty for getting the list current as of Friday evening. It created the impetus for the group of us going back last night (Saturday). Two kegs changed since Friday, so here's the current list as of 10pm on 11/18. Sounds like a good place to catch a football game today, eh?! On Draft as of 11/18/06 Smuttynose IPA Middle Ages 11th Anniversary Double Wheat Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale Beck's Dark Victory Golden Monkey Brasserie Des Géants Goliath Belgium Tripel Troegs Dreamweaver Wheat Ale Stoudt's Double IPA Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA Bell's Hell Hath No Fury Ale

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Beer Tasting: Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale

This highly-anticipated beer from Weyerbacher found its way home with me courtesy of Gene from the brewery when he paid a visit to The Beer Yard in Wayne, PA for a Friday evening tasting. This 22oz. bomber was capped and stored at refrigerated temperature until serving. Bryan's Notes:
  • Lumpy, billowing head
  • Deep bronze color; bit of orange
  • Clovey aroma dominates
  • Big-time spicy flavors, but a bit smoother and more rounded than the DFH Punkin
  • Not quite as carbonated as DFH Punkin
  • Medium-bodied
  • Hops barely noticable

Friday, November 17, 2006

Beer Tasting: Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

This beer has generated a lot of favorable buzz amongst those who love this seasonal style of beer. The t-shirt has its own market as well...but, that's another story! I traded with "those neighbors" a 4-pack of 60 Minute for a 4-pack of Punkin. It was stored in cold refrigeration until serving. Bryan's Notes:
  • Nice, copper color
  • Soft, pillowy head
  • Gentle, spicy nose
  • Very slight notice of hops in the finish
  • Medium body with mild carbonation
  • Just enough pumpkin spice (esp. nutmeg) flavor without being overly/sickly spicy sweet
  • A pretty decent beer without overdoing it like some might suspect from DFH
  • Two is enough for one sitting
  • Somewhere in the middle ice cold temperature and room temperature is just right

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Need a good reason to visit McKenzie Brew House in Malvern, PA?

Black is back. No, not that Blak. The wondrously flavorful and black Empress of the C Imperial Stout. Scott Morrison has hit gold, er black, uh paydirt with this tasty stout to welcome the cooler weather. I've been meaning to check it out for weeks now, but this little thing of marathon training got in the way. Then, this morning, Matt tells me he tried it and loved it. That was all the encouragement I needed to stop by after work tonight. A sandwich, a stout, and oh yeah this other tasty brew called Purple Haze Blackberry Biere de Garde. Turns out they took the much-excellent Biere de Garde recipe and added blackberries. Not usually a fan of the fruit beers, as Scott was describing to me at the bar tonight, he gave it a shot after some urging from his legions of fans. Funny how sometimes a quick 60 minutes can yield such enjoyment. A chat with Scott, pleasant service from the ladies behind the bar, a well-made chicken sandwich, and two way-above-average beers. I suggest you check them out soon. Because, why? They won't be around forever. What's next up will only get better, I presume. The Abbey 11, Belgian Pale Ale, and Vuuve are all slated for release within the next couple of months. It's gonna be a sweet winter at McKenzie! Read further down the page here for my quick notes on the Empress and the Blackberry.

Beer Tasting: McKenzie Brew House Purple Haze Blackberry Biere de Garde

This fruit beer was enjoyed on tap at the Malvern, PA location of McKenzie Brew House. Sorry, no pictures tonight. Bryan's Notes:
  • Purplish-brown
  • Nice pour with a small head that disappears quickly
  • Not much aroma (though, the bar was a bit smoky)
  • But very nice malty and berry flavors
  • Lively on the palate; though still smooth, medium-bodied mouthfeel
  • Refreshing, yet a bit filling
  • Finishes with surprisingly more tartness than expected

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Beer Tasting: Capital Blonde Doppelbock

This doppelbock is from the Capital Brewery in Middleton, WI. Respected for their lagers, I first sampled their beverage at The Old Fashioned in Madison, WI. This 12oz. bottle was purchased at Brennan's in Madison, transported home, and stored at the low 40's since then. This was the beginning of the "great refrigerator cleanout" now that I have put the marathon behind me :) Adam's Notes:
  • orange sunrise color
  • lager smell
  • not great cold
  • letting it warm up a bit
  • eh..a little better as it warms
  • this beer makes me want to have an Ale
  • hmmm...bit of dry apricot
Bryan's Notes:
  • cloudy, golden color
  • minimal head even with an aggressive pour
  • barely any noticeable aroma
  • slight aftertaste of average lager
  • bit of a flavor like honey-orange tea
  • otherwise, not much aroma or taste to speak of
  • medium body, but not overwhelmingly so
  • unfortunately on a whole, not very memorable

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Beer Tasting: Left Hand Double Sawtooth Chainsaw Ale

This beer's name is a mouthful and the product itself is big and wonderful too. Hailing from Colorado, this is one of Left Hand's "Big Mo" series, a bigger version of its Sawtooth Ale. It was purchased at Ron's School House Grille in Exton, PA. It comes in a 22oz. bomber and is corked and caged. Adam's Notes:
  • hazy ruby
  • sweet malty nose
  • stick sweet and slightly tangy
  • ESB with sweet overtones
  • taste doesn't match the nose
  • nose big and malty, taste is not as full
  • kinda like Rogue's Brutal Bitter with a big malty nose
  • good 1/2 inch head faded to 1/4 inch
  • I'd like to give it another shot and explore it a bit
Bryan's Notes:
  • reddish-orangish-brown; a nice variety of fall colors
  • solid head holds up for quite a while
  • sweet, toffee-like upfront flavor
  • a lingering bitter finish
  • strong malty presence in the middle
  • a bit smoky, too
  • a very interesting and tempting beer that kept pulling me back for more
  • but, yet, when the bottle was finished I didn't need anymore

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Brewing Beer: Timelapse Video of Fermentation

Watch the first 15 hours of the fermentation of my NRK and the IPA. A frame was taken every 5 minutes for 15 hours. You can see the lag time of about 7 hours while the yeast is getting ready to do its thing. Then it begins :-)
Sorry the aspect ratio is messed up. Click on video and go to YouTube to see a better view.

Brewing Beer: Video of NRK German Ale Yeast During Fermentation

17 hours into the fermentation. The yeast is a easier to see in this one than in the IPA. Some yeast clumps or flocculates more than others. The more flocculation the bigger the clumps and the faster it settles out, improving clarity.

Brewing Beer: Video of IPA Yeast During Fermentation

- What happens next? Watch hours of fermentation in a short timelapse video! - This was taken around 17 hours into the fermentation.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Brewing Beer: Brewlounge NRK (Not Really Kolsch)

This recipe is the beer I brought with me last Thanksgiving. I was hoping to make a Kolsch last year, but, I've learned since that this really isn't within the AHA style guidelines. That doesn't really bother me, because it turned out great. In fact I was surprised that so many people enjoyed it. I think I have just enought time to brew it again this year.

Something else to consider here is that I was making two batches at the same time. I don't know about you, but, that was tough for me to coordinate. Especially when some things went wrong. I'll let you know how the yeast starter worked. It seemed like it was in good shape when I pitched it.

Brewing Beer: Brewlounge NRK (Not Really Kolsch)Extract

6.9 lbs of light DME Yeast German Ale Yeast from White Labs WLP029 Grains 1 lb 10L Crystal Malt 1 lb White Wheat Hops 1 oz Tettnang 1 oz Hallertau

Boil 2.5 gal in stainless steel pot on stove to 155-160 F put grains in grain bag and steep for 30-35 min heat 1 quart of water to 170 deg for rinsing the grains rinse grains into after 35 minutes bring to 170 deg and turn off dissolve all malt bring to a boil started boil 10:05

add Tettnang at start (60 min) tried continual hopping for last 15 min

also add wort chiller during the last 15 min total boil was 60 min

chill with wort chiller pour into fermenter

add enough tap water to bring to 5 gal

ensure temp was around 75 F and pitch yeast starting gravity of 1.042

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Brewing Beer: Creating a Yeast Starter

Usually I don't use a yeast starter, however, I happened to think ahead this time. I did a little research. Decided that in order to get a good fermentation going more quickly and lessen the fermentation time I should try it. Why would you want to get the fermentation going more quickly? I think of it as a race between the your yeast and other nasties that might start eating your wort. The more yeast cells you add, the faster they reproduce and colonize the wort (did I say colonize?). I'm brewing a Kolsch and an Fresh Hopped Imperial IPA whatever that is ;-) (something hoppy and high in alcohol I suppose) About four hours before I created the starter I set the While Labs yeast tube out. I watched some Monday Night Football and tasted two beers at Bryans. When I came home I boiled two pints of water, measured one cup of plain DME (dried malt extract...plain), grabbed two growlers and some airlocks and got started. After the water started to boil I added the 1 cup DME (dried malt extract kind looks like the chalky stuff in a malted milk ball...heheh) and boiled it for 5 minutes. I then put the stainless steel saucepan/pot in the sink and ran some cold water around it. That was enough to cool it after about 10 minutes. (BTW it is Fall here so the tap water is pretty cold). I grabbed the growlers that were cleaned with One-Step and poured one pint of the starter wort into each of them. Then I poured the White Labs Kolsch Yeast into the clear growler and the California Ale yeast into the brown growler. The rubber stopper for the airlock didn't fit in the brown growler so I used it in the clear growler. I used a piece of plastic wrap and a rubber band for the other. It was hard to find a warm place, 80 degrees Fahrenheit, in the house, but, the stereo cabinet was kinda warm so I put the growlers in there. (don't try this at home folks) My plan is to brew two beers tomorrow, the Kolsch and the Imp. IPA. I think the starters should be ready by then and I just have to get the wort ready. Stop by if you're in the area. I'll be brewing sometime after 7:00 PM. BTW the Imperial IPA will be dry hopped with the Cascade hop cones I harvested from my backyard ;-)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Beer Travel: Hamilton's Tavern - San Diego, CA - Pictures Added :-)

Another Update! Somebody left some pictures for us. These are from the grand opening. Thank you! Grand Opening Pictures at Hamiltons (Go to Flickr - Click Me!) Update! OK, I've had a chance to recover from two trips and I'm ready to spill the beans about Hamilton's. Actually it all started at Liars Club. I'll cover that trip in a later post. As luck would have it during that visit I met Tony Jaeggi who works for Stone. Tony mentioned Hamilton's Tavern. He assured me it was worth a visit while I was in San Diego. I didn't think Tony would steer me wrong so I headed to 1521 30th Street,San Diego,CA 92192 in the South Park area of San Diego. It was pretty easy to get to. Even at night. I could hear the music from outside. I opened the door and found a relaxed crowd listening to Led Zeppelin. Inside I could see the bar on the left, some tables around the place, a pool table and a shuffle board table against the far right. I immediately noticed the beer and wine lists on the chalk board. The following is a list of the beer I sampled that night. Somehow I managed to forget to get a picture of the board before I left.
Coopers Vintage Extra Strong Ale Bear Republic Racer 5 Ballast Point Sculpin - North Star Pale Ale Alesmith Indian Pale Ale Speedway Stout Evil Dead Red
Every one of these were very impressive. I would have to say the Speedway Stout, Sculpin and Coopers Extra Strong (bottle) were among my favorites. One of the problems I have when tasting this many beers in one session is overloaded taste buds. The IPAs are so hoppy that they can really leave your taste buds shredded (in a good Southern California way of course). This will prove to be a theme with all of my stops in San Diego. While I was tasting beer and listening to a whole Led Zeppelin CD on the jukebox, I met a few people. Dave was the first to sit down next to me. He told me about the neighborhood and the local bar that was here before Hamilton's Tavern. At one point Dave introduced me to the man the tavern was named after. According to Dave the next door neighbor, Mr. Hamilton, had been the inspiration. A little later a young man, Dennis, sat down on the other side of me. I soon found out he worked at a wineshop in downtown San Diego. I also found out that he used to live near my home in South-Eastern Pennsylvania. Small world! As I was preparing to ask for my check Dave introduced me to the owner, Scot Blair. Scot talked to me about the Tavern, beer, breweries, home brewing and California among other things. He also insisted I taste more of the local beer and retrieved some samples. As we talked I found out one of his favorites was the Cooper's Vintage I listed above. This was the first time I tasted this beer. It is delicious! Thanks Tony for the tip! Thanks Scot for the hospitality! Keep up the good work. :-) Original Post Ok...4 for 4...nice! Without giving too much away it was great. I'll post more later. Meanwhile, you can find the BA entry here.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I'm running a marathon...raise a toast

Adam's Note: I thought I would bump this up again. Good luck Bryan! Ok, I know this title is a bit self-centered. I'm ashamed to admit that I'm a bit proud of the fact I made it through all the training to this point. The NYC Marathon is on Sunday and I'll probably raise a short glass to myself on Saturday evening and invite you to as well. Tell me what you're going to enjoy. Sorry, there's that ego thing again :) I wouldn't normally post something non-beer related here, but did I mention that I have some great friends for neighbors? Here's how the end of our street was decorated this morning. You'll notice that one has an indirect relation to beer....and I like it! (I've already got some "finish line beers" in mind) Thanks everyone! You're the best! Hopefully, my performance will be worthy of your efforts! p.s. Now you all know my middle name too!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Beer Travel: Pizza Port - Solana Beach, CA - With Pictures!

Update! Ok, I'm getting my act together now. Here's another update from one of my visits last week. Now with pictures! ;-) After a very long plane ride through two timezones I was ready to check in at the hotel. I dropped my bags in the room, did a little mapping and I was out the door to visit Pizza Port at 135 N. Highway 101, Solana Beach, CA. Pizza Port has expanded to three locations. The Solana Beach location was the first. It is located on the historic Rt 101 Pacific Coast Highway. In the interest of time I decided to take Rt 5 for most of the trip and hopped on 101 for the last 10 miles or so. So I drove out of San Diego, CA heading North through the hills on a 5 lane freeway. Once on 101 I saw people putting their wet suits on and grabbing their surf boards along side the road. You just don't see that in Pennsylvania. Just a little side note here. What a view! I had never been to California. Let me tell you I was blown away by the landscape. I don't think I can even explain it. Between the mountains, architecture and freeways I felt like I was in another world. Ok back to the beer. I accidentally drove past Pizza Port and ended up in Del Mar which wasn't a bad thing. You know its hard to take in the sights when you are trying to drive responsibly down the road. Pizza Port seemed kinda small and unassuming at first glance. With a few tables outside and a buzzing crowd inside the closer I got the cooler this place seemed. Imagine a beach bar with surfboards on the wall, a juke box, a station to order food, a station to order beer and a varied crowd of all ages and appearance. Did I mention there were 25 taps including 15 Pizza Port and 10 guest beers? They also had a cask conditioned beer on tap. It took me a few minutes to decide on some food. I held off on the beer a bit due to my empty stomach. I spent some time in line placing my order for a small veggie pizza. Then after taking some pictures and looking at the tap list I asked the bartender what the craziest beer on the list was. He asked, "Alchohol wise or taste wise." I answered, "Taste wise." He drew a pint of a double IPA called Lou P. Lin. WOW! My palate was officially shredded! Mmmm...fresh hops in the nose and on the palate with just enough malt to back it up. So, I sat down and took in the scene. What a comfortable atmosphere. A few minutes later a young man sat down next to me. He introduced himself as J.T. and proceeded to tell me what he knew about the beer scene in San Diego which was quite a lot considering he was new to the area himself. Soon my pizza was ready. THAT was some good pizza! It isn't New York style, but, it was fresh and loaded with garlic and vegetables...mmm. Then I saw that J.T. ordered a sampler and I thought, "What a great idea!". So I decided to order one as well. Here's a list of the beers I sampled that night: Lou P. Lin - Double IPA Ponto - Pale Ale Rock Reef - Rye Swammis - IPA Dawn Patrol - Dark Mild Ale I would have to say that Lou P. Lin (lupulin reference) lives up to its name. All the rest were good as well. I wasn't as impressed with the rye. It doesn't really remind me of the Founders Rye that we tasted recently and I liked immensely. After a brief conversation with the cashier and purchasing a couple glasses to take home, I was ready...er rather...I had to say goodbye. Jet lag was going to set in and I needed my sleep. If you are in the area, Pizza Port in Solana Beach is a one of the best places to get good beer in Southern California. Don't miss it. BTW the Pizza is awesome! Original Post I'm headed out the door. Driving up to Pizza Port from San Diego. :-) Whoohoo...here I come!