Today for lunch I made myself a salad of Spinach, Fresh Mozzarella, Peaches, Prosciutto, Mint, and EVOO. I paired this with a light sour beer that I made--"Funky Little Brother" from a previous post. The salad is simple: A handful of spinach, 1 peach peeled and tore up (peeling is optional), 1 piece of prosciutto, tear up enough mint just to give it that refreshing flavor, drizzle EVOO to taste. A light addition of pepper would be nice but I didn't use any. Watercrest would be a great substitute for the spinach and in which case pepper would probably not be needed. This paired really well with my "Funky Little Brother" which is very comparable to a Berliner Weiss. This would be awesome with a Saison. This salad is refreshing in the same manner a Saison is. Perfect lunch for the warm summer weather. Give it a try and report back.
Tomorrow is the first day of the NHC and I am super bummed out that I had to cancel my trip down there. I originally was planning on going down there but being I have so many other obligations this year I am unable to attend. Oh well, there is always 2009. I hope all of you that are going to be attending remember to drink a lot of water along side of your tasty bev's so you don't burn out before the 21st. It sounds like there will be a lot to be learned from the seminars this year as per usual I'm sure. I heard Ron Jeffries from Jolly Pumpkin is going to be speaking on blending with bugs. Have fun all you lucky buggers who are going.
I'm sipping on this beer from Flossmoor Station Brewery that Matt Van Wyk gave me to try. He calls it "Sarge". It is a Bourbon barrel aged Imperial Stout brewed with chocolate and espresso. At first sip it was like the "Sarge" hazed me for not being ready.
This beer pours jet black with a head so dark it almost has a purple tint to it. Definitely intriguing. The head doesn't last too long as it settled to a ring around my glass. The nose is big with bourbon but the espresso and chocolate notes make themselves present as well.
The flavor is amazing. Upfront is the huge bourbon and deep roastiness. I get a great chocolate flavor on the sides of my palate and that leads right into the espresso. Everything about this beer is intense but not overwhelming. There is some alcohol heat that is nice--enhances all of the other flavor like salt would to food.
The mouthfeel is full bodied--coats the mouth nicely leaving a long and enjoyable finish but not cloying at all. Medium carbonation.
I don't think you would want to sit and try to drink more than one of these nor do I think that was the intention for this beer. This is clearly a beer to drink on a frigid snowy day or a cold and rainy day like today is in the U.P. I'd say go and pick this up and try it but I don't think there is any more in existence unless you can shake some out of Matt Van Wyk--head brewer at Flossmoor Station Brewery.
I just saw the results from the ABC Brews Crews competition and my Belgian Dark Strong Ale got a 2nd place in its category and my De Struise/Paxton Archaic beer got a 1st place in the Belgian Specialty category. The Best of show beer was a Northern English Brown Ale brewed by David Curtis
ABC Brews Crews Competition First Round Winners 2008 First Place Styles Name Beer Name 1, 6 Maxwell Roberts All American Honey Wheat 2-5 Make Casedy & Scott Szymusiak Playa-hator 7, 15 Lee Cruppenink German Hefeweizen 8, 11 David Curtis Northern English Brown 9, 19 Christopher & Jason Pruette Big Brain Barleywine 10 David Curtis American Pale Ale 12 Stephen Glover Robust Porter 13 Barry Pyle & Chad Lee Good Samaritan Stout 14 Thomas Wilk Pontious Is My Co-Pilot 16, 17 Brian Richards The Chef & The Master Ale 18 Jeff & Susan Rankert 2008 Tripel 20-23 Jeff & Susan Rankert 2007 Alder Smoked Porter
Second Place Styles Name Beer Name 1, 6 Bob & Kim Barrett Natural Blonde 2-5 Tom Wilberding Slam Dunkel 7, 15 Nick Larson Common Steamer 8, 11 Derek Reed & Brian Molde Southern English Brown 9, 19 Peter Covill Lowney Scottish 80 10 Tom Wilberding & Gary Kozerski Sweetie Amber Ale 12 Mike Kalette Wet Dog Porter 13 Spencer Weeks & Adam Lauver Vanilla Imperial Stout 14 Stanley Harrison SpringTime IPA 16, 17 Gary Pawlak Saison Especiale 18 Brian Richards Brian's Belgian Dark Strong 20-23 Barry Pyle & Chad Lee Bold Sinner's Brown Ale
Third Place Styles Name Beer Name 1, 6 David Curtis Amarillo Wheat 2-5 Phil Wilcox JaXon Lager 7, 15 Alex Pettit & Wheatley Frankenstiener 8, 11 Don Ratell Southern Brown Ale 9, 19 Mike Casedy & Scott Szymusiak Drunken Monkey Barley Wine 10 Bob & Kim Barrett Amarillo Pale Ale 12 Joseph Spitaleri Porter 13 Mark Brooks & Terri Ward Flying Fortress Stout 14 Kevin Meves Hop Heads Delight 16, 17 Jeff & Susan Rankert 2005 Flanders Red Ale 18 Barry Pyle & Chad Lee Too Drunk Monks 20-23 Kevin Devoy Chocolate Raspberry Porter
My Belgian Dark Strong is all bottled up and I don't plan on touching it for quite some time. I admit I have popped a few bottles open and even sent two out to competitions just for the hell of it but this beer definitely needs to sit for a while and mature. The original gravity on this bad boy was 1.123 I believe but it finished a little sweeter than i would have liked-1.023. The last time I tasted it though it did taste like it might have dried out a touch more and it was very nice. Hopefully this one turns out like I dreamt it would.
I just kegged up my beer that I'm calling "Funky Little Brotha" and it is on tap in my living room. Life is good. FUNKY-because it went through a primary fermentation of all Brett Claussenii and then I pitched a starter of Al's Bugfarm at 1.020. Al's Bugfarm consists of the following. Al's Bugfarm Inoculated Oak Cubes (batch # 01) brettanomyces lambicus (Wyeast) brettanomyces lambicus (White Labs) brettanomyces bruxellensis (White Labs) brettanomyces claussenii (White Labs) brettanomyces sp. (Fantome) brettanomyces sp. (Jolly Pumpkin) brettanomyces sp. (Russian River Wood Chips) lactobacillus sp. (Russian River Wood Chips) pediococcus sp. (White Labs) oenococcus oennii (Wyeast) saccharomyces fermentati (Sherry yeast) kombucha yeast (oxidative yeast)
LITTLE BROTHA-because it is a partigyle brew off of a Belgian Dark Strong Ale that I did. Funky Little Brotha seemed like the perfect name to refer to this brew as. It is very easy drinking because its original gravity was only 1.042 but it did finish at 1.001. It doesn't have that acetic acid twang to it like a Flanders Red does; it is more of a lactic sourness. It reminds of me a Berliner Weisse more than anything. I think I am going to try and bottle some of this from my keg and see what the judges think of this one...just for fun.
Thanks a bunch to Al Buck from the Burgundian Babble Belt website for, once again, coming through with a sweet blend of yeast that he put together for us homebrewers to play with. This one that he sent me is a blend of five different Saison strains. Showed up just in time for my Saison-a-thon of a summer. Due to my ambient temp in my house being just above where I like it to be to brew a lot of the beer styles that I like I am going to take advantage of the heat and brew Saisons all summer since they tend to thrive in warmer temps during fermentation. The Saison I did about a month ago was fermented at 80F+ and it turned out great. I plan on playing around with the style being that it is very versatile and hopefully I get a few recipes dialed in over this summer so i have one that i can do every year for the warmer seasons.
I am 33 years old I have been brewing for about 12 years now. I love all styles of beer but I have a serious obsession with Belgian Ales and sour beer. For all of you gmail users, I am always online and love chatting beer. Feel free to hit me up with any questions or ideas concerning brewing or my blog.