Monday, August 14, 2006

News: Czech Beers

The NY Times ran a very in-depth article about beer traveling in Czech Republic last week. Beers covered include Budvar, Pilsner Urquell, and many other smaller, local breweries. Good to see good beer getting such good coverage. And Garrett Oliver, who seems to be popping up all over, is even quoted.

Thanks to Allison for forwarding the article to me.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Event: Garrett Oliver To Speak at Jungle Jim's

Jungle Jim's, the foodie's paradise near Cincinnati, hosts a series of beer and wine tastings. On November 10th, Garrett Oliver, brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery, will be the guest speaker. Garrett recently published a book on food and beer pairings entitled The Brewmaster's Table, so the session will likely follow this topic. Brew Your Own magazine recently ran an article about Oliver and his book. You can see a summary here (the full version of the article isn't online). In the article, Garrett made the case that beer has a larger spectrum of flavors than wine and that, as a result, can be more successfully paired with food than wine. Tickets are $30 and the session starts at 7. Directions can be found at the Jungle Jim's website.

(Also, be sure to check out the full list of other Jungle Jim's sessions, including a session on September 22 with Dave Engbers from Founders Brewing Company.)

Friday, August 04, 2006

Review: Karl Strauss Brewing Company

I was in San Diego a few weeks ago for the NECC conference. I make it a habit to search out brew pubs or beer bars when on business trips, so I checked BeerFly for places within a few miles of my hotel. The flagship Karl Strauss brewery turned out to be within a couple of blocks. I was really impressed with the beers here. Their Windansea Wheat was a great representation of a hefe. My inner hophead has been rearing its head lately, and it was not disappointed with either of their two pale ales: the Stargazer IPA or the seasonal Pin Tail Pale Ale (sorry, no link available).

While I was there, my waitress told me that the next day they would be tapping a firkin of a special dry-hopped edition of the Stargazer IPA. I headed back the next day and was really impressed! I'm a huge fan of cask-conditioned ales and this Stargazer topped the standard offering. And I was able to meet and talk with Adam Ball, one of the brewers at that site. Adam took time out to tell me more about KS brewing and the West Coast scene. I only regret that Karl Strauss beers aren't available in the Midwest!

Notes: Beer and Jazz

Recently uncovered two intersections between beer and jazz. The first is a new brew by North Coast Brewing Company called Brother Thelonious. As the name implies, the beer honors avant garde pianist Thelonious Monk. The beer was produced in conjunction with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, and a portion of the procedes goes to the institute. I've yet to try it, but will have a full report when I do. There are a lot of mixed reviews on BeerAdvocate, so we'll just have to wait and see. Perhaps it will be available at AleFest.

Another jazz-inspired brew worth noting is Allagash's Interlude. This brewery continues to push the boundaries of brewing the way Coltrane, Bird, and others pushed jazz. As part of their Serie d'Origine, Interlude is a farmhouse ale aged in French Merlot and Sirah oak casks. I picked up a bottle at Jungle Jim's and have it cellaring in the basement. I only wish that I would have grabbed a second bottle to try one now! (Here's what the folks at BA say about Interlude.)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Recap: Beer Appreciation Picnic

The first (annual?) Beer Appreciation Summer Picnic was a success! More than thirty of our friends convened at our house to brew beer, drink great beer, eat smoked pork and chix, swelter in the heat, and nearly set ourselves on fire (okay, that last part applies to me only).

We brewed three batches of beer: Scott brewed a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Clone; Kyle brewed a modified version of a Celis White Beer Clone; and I brewed what I've dubbed KevBrew's Half-Assed Entire Butt Porter, named because brewing a beer and hosting a party simultaneously only allows you to do either half-assed.

Great beer, too! A pony keg of Dogfish Head 60 Min IPA (thanks to Alex @ Belmont Party Supply for the special order). Folks also brought lots of great beers--I recall seeing some Great Lakes Commodore Perry IPA, some Avery White Rascal, a bottle of McChouffe, a bottle of Hebrew Genesis 10:10, and a mixed sixer of New Belgium beers.

Lots of kids there! They seemed to have a great time, too. Here are some pics:

A herd of children stampedes across the yard.

Alex explains how he found Jesus.

Elias mauls Kelly.

Elias mauls Liz.

Watch out, Elias is coming to maul you!