Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sour Beer & Salad

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.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

NHC in Cincinatti

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.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

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.

Now playing: DJ Shadow - Strike 1
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Arbor Brewing Company Brews Crews Homebrew Competition

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

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Belgian Dark Strong Ale

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.

Funky Little Brotha

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.

Saison-a-thon This Summer!

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.