Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Notes: Fashioning My Brewery

Got a great book for Christmas that will help in the creation of my all-grain home brewery. The book is Brew Ware, by Storey Publishers. I've linked to the Amazon site for the book, too, because Amazon has excerpts.

Interesting things I've read thus far:
• Instructions for creating a tiered brewing structure.

• Instructions for making a carboy drying rack.

• Instructions for making a wooden crate for holding beer bottles.

• I've been having trouble keeping my carboys at a constant temp. The house is too warm, but the basement is too cold. The book suggests immersing the carboy in a tub of water and using an aquarium thermometer to steady the temp.

I'll keep you posted on any projects I make.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

News: Craft Brew in a Can

More press for the folks at Oskar Blues Restaurant and Brewery, who put their Dale's Pale Ale in a can.

Still waiting to try it. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it should be headed to Ohio by March.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Update: Poor Richard's Ale

According to the Brewers Association, Rock Bottom Brewing in Cincinnati has committed to brewing Poor Richard's Ale. They'll be tapping on January 17, 2006. Kudos to Head Brewer Guy Bartmess for stepping up!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

News: Bubbly on a Budget

Okay, so this item isn't entirely about beer, but it is about alcohol—Champagne to be exact. The NY Times wine critic wrote an interesting piece on cheap Champagne. No, Korbell didn't make the list, but it was encouraging to see that you could get some decent bubbly for $30 or less. Just in time for the holidays.

If Champagne doesn't flip your lid, but you still want to pop a cork on New Year's, you might consider a Belgian ale. The Chimay ales, Duvel, and any of the Brewery Van Steenberge ales (Piraat, Gulden Draak, etc., ) are all excellent. The Ommegang brewery, located in Cooperstown, NY, crafts excellent North American versions of the style, too.

News: Poor Richard's Ale

An interesting historical note. This January 17th marks the 300th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth, who was not only a founding father, but also a noted beer enthusiast (America's first beer geek?). Tony Simmons, head brewer of Brick Oven Brewing Company in Pagosa Springs, Colorado has researched and created a credible recipe for a beer that should resemble what old Ben would have quaffed.

Brewers 'round the country are offering this special brew, called Poor Richard's Ale, on January 17, 2006. Unfortunately, Ohio is one of the last 7 states without a commitment to brew, although the Brewer's Association is REALLY pushing to get volunteers in these hold-out states. I'll keep ya' posted if and when it becomes available in this area.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

News: Tidbits

A couple of interesting beer reads.

The first is an article about session beers (thanks to Kyle M. for pointing me to this one). For the uninitiated, session beers are flavorful beers that have a low ABV. Thus, in theory at least, you can enjoy many of them in one session.

Also a link to Oskar's Blues Restaurant, a brew pub that has moved to packaging their beers in cans. Before you scoff, note that a New York Times article rated Dale's Pale Ale as the best pale ale in the country. Still waiting to try it myself, although I contacted the brewer and he maintains that their beers will be available in our market around March of ’06.

Note: If you aren't already a member of NY Times or Beer Advocate, you may have to register to read the articles. I'd encourage registration, since both sites are free and have great content.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Recap: Beers Sampled at 12/9/05 Beer Appreciation Night

Thanks to Kyle M. for hosting this month's event. Below is a list of the beers we sampled, listed in alphabetical order. Please post omissions as comments and I will update the list. Brewery links, as well as spelling corrections and omission corrections to come later.

First Timer's Porter (Kyle M.'s homebrew)
Hitherto Unnamed Porter (my homebrew)

Commercial Beers
Allagash Four Quadruple Ale
Aventinus Weizen Eisbock
Bluegrass Brewing Co. Dark Star Porter
Firestone Walker's Reserve Porter
Flying Dog Wild Dog Imperial IPA
Fraoch Heather Ale
Hacker-Pschorr Weiss Beer
Jever Pils
Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss
Lindemans Cassis
Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale
Ommegang Hennepin
Ommegang Rare Vos
Steel Reserve Malt Liquor
Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale
Traquair Jacobite Ale
Unibroue Don de Dieu
Whim Ales Old Izaak English Ale

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Notes: Beer List for the Developing Palate

List created to help a friend explore better beers. Names link to brewery websites. Links open in new window.

Beers To Start With

Great Lakes Dortmunder
Negra Modelo
Allagash White
Great Lakes Eliot Ness (Vienna Lager)
Anchor Steam Ale
Victory Prima Pils
Bitburger Premium Pils
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
Bell's Porter
Ommegang Abbey Ale
Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot

Beers Kyle M. Recommends
Dogfish Head Midas Touch Golden Elixir
North Coast Brewing Co. PranQster
Ommegang Three Philosophers
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale
Goose Island IPA

Beers Kevin Recommends
Harpoon IPA
Brewery Van Steenberge Gulden Draak (Golden Dragon)
Victory HopDevil
Rogue Dead Guy Ale
Unibroue Fin du Monde

Notes: Homebrew Pics

Below are some pics from the summer, when Kyle, Nathan, and I tried to make a very ill-fated Bell's Oberon clone.

brew set-up
I use a converted 8 gal keg and a King Cooker as my brew kettle and heat source.

Nathan and Kyle
Kyle and Nathan, consulting about the brew.