Thursday, February 28, 2013

Daniel's Wedding Beers

So it's 9 days out, and time for a bit of an update...

Dan's wedding beer are in their final stage of glory before the wedding!

The Tripel is sitting on blackberries for a few more days before carbonation.  Yesterday, Dave and I spiked the Red and the Breakfast Stout with whiskey.

For the record, the Red is pretty damn amazing.  We tasted it (uncarbonated) with Bulleit Rye (Hot, forward on the whiskey), straight (smokey almost, interesting flavor), and with Bourbon (smooth as silk).

The Breakfast Stout has nice chocolate notes as well as coffee forward.  We also added some cacao nibs to make things just a little more interesting...

Things are looking pretty good!

Can't wait to drink a toast to our friend on his big day!

Saturday, July 7, 2012


The other day I was chatting with one of my favorite drinking buddies and the subject of IPAs came up.  Jon is a true West coast hophead who I played a small part in educating about craft beer back in the day.  In his prime, Jon probably knew more about higher end beer than I did.  He's the guy who got me into brewing my own beer.  I still send him recipes and ask for his input (and 9 times out of 10, I follow his advice).

So, imagine my surprise when Mr. Hops tells me he doesn't think he likes IPA any more.  Hearing this is kinda like hearing Michael Jordan suddenly give a speech about how much he never enjoyed basketball.

The conversation got me thinking though.  I know a lot of folks (myself included) who used to enjoy IPAs.  Hell, if your listen to The Brewing Network these days, even the old schoolers on there have taken a turn away from the style they used to champion just a few years ago.

So why are people choosing different styles over what is undoubtedly the largest style in the craft beer segment of the industry?

Well, my theory is age.

Bear with me for a minute...  Hear me out, this will make sense...

When you first start drinking craft beer, your average person is either in college or just out of it.  Like a lot of other things, the inclination at that point in your life is to try something different. What's the most different from the Bud/Miller/Coors you've been drinking up till then?  Well, something with flavor.  LOTS of flavor.  Yep, IPA.  Next time you're out at your favorite beer bar, check out who is ordering the IPAs and asking about them.  I bet you dollars to donuts you notice a lot of younger folks ordering the IPAs.  Huge hop bombs are about as far as you can get from BMC beers.

Now, what happens as you get older?  Your palate changes a bit.  You seek out different things.  Personally, I think you look for a little more balance.  A bit more depth and nuance.  Porters and stouts become more interesting.  New styles suddenly become nifty explorations of flavor.  Depth and complexity start to be more important.

So there ya go, my take on why people get tired of IPAs.  Like I said, take a look around the next time you're at your favorite watering hole.  Do some people watching.  Let me know what you think!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Saison Brew Day (6-28-12)

A bit of a late start to our brewing day, but one hell of a good day.  It started out with a trip to Sam's for a brand spanking new 150qt Igloo cooler.  This wonderful beauty became our new mash tun with a few minutes worth of work.

I have to say that Rebel Brewer did an awesome job with the crush on our ingredients.  Our grain mill has seen a good bit of abuse, and at this point its damn near unusable without some design modifications.  In any event, we got things rolling and soon had one heckuva nice mash going in the new cooler.  One downside with the new tun was that grain absorption and loss looks to be a bit higher than expected.  In any event, a nice sparge left us with the wort we needed.  A 90 minute boil, hop additions of Styrian Goldings, Citra, and an experimental hop, and then on to chilling.  This beer smells insanely good.

We can't wait to see how this one turns out after fermentation!  Pics below!  As you can tell, we did a fair amount of grilling and enjoying during the evening!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rebel Brewer

Sometimes you're just impressed with a product or company.  Sometimes, you're not.

Rebel Brewer out of Nashville?  SUPER impressed with their service.  They will be getting more of our business in the future.

Order placed at 10am on Friday for ingredients to make Pinkasaurus Rex, our Watermelon Saison.  My request for the order: Crush the grain till you get nervous, and please don't ship the order till after the weekend so the yeast doesn't sit in a truck all weekend.

At 11:15 I get a call on my way to work from Rebel Brewer letting me know that the order can go out that morning and would be delivered the next day (Saturday!).

Color me impressed.

Color me even more impressed when it's delivered on time and everything is in great condition (along with my nifty experimental hops).

Much appreciated Rebel Brewer!

So if you're reading this and looking for a provider with top-notch (fresh) products, and awesome shipping/customer service, drop these guys a line.  The selection is likewise top-of-the-line with names like Weyerman, Castle, and Franco-Belges...

2012 Knoxville Brewfest

Well, it's the morning after Knoxville's second annual Brewfest to benefit Cure Duchenne.

Yesterday started bright and early with a 5k run to benefit the Wounded Warrior project.  Proud to say Dave, Sarah, and I made it out to participate.  Early as hell, and a nice hilly run which myself and the wonder mutt Maxine did in rather decent time (for us).  Dave and Sarah muddled through quite well despite having been out drinking a bit late the evening before.  It was a great cause to get out for, and we got some pint glasses and pretty killer shirts out of it.

Brunch was our next destination, and I can HIGHLY recommend hitting Chez Liberty up for it (10-2 weekends). The kind folks there let us try a new Bloody Mary concoction called the Leroy.  It has BBQ sauce in it.  And it's spicy.  And garnished with either bacon or a pork rib (they were in the process of deciding which).

In any event, we met up with friends about 3, and headed down to the Railway terminal where Brewfest is held.  Tickets are kept to a fairly low number, so beers don't run out very early, and lines are short.  I think the longest any of us waited for any given beer in line might have been one minute.  Considering the large number of brewers, and the decent mix of high gravity offerings, this makes for interesting bit of pacing if you plan to go the distance.  There were a number of breweries that brought out some special releases (a welcome change from last year) and the overall number of participants was up as well.  Near and dear to our hearts, the homebrew section was also very much expanded.  Underground Brewing Company brought a huge selection (love their Black IPA), and BBM's Location X had an absolutely killer Sour Wheat and Rosemary Kolsch on tap.

All in all, a great event!  Chris and the crew from Bearden Beer Market did an excellent job running and organizing everything.  I for one am looking forward to next year's festival!  If we can figure out a way to enjoy the event and participate you might even see us in one of the booths...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

There's Room in My Fridge...

I went over to Dave's for Memorial Day recently and took along some beer for his cookout.  I was in a bit of a hurry, and me being me, I decided to get something good, and something humorous.  So the beverages of choice?  Highland Little Hump and Schlitz.

Now, some of you reading this (and to be honest, many people at the bbq) will be turning up your noses and wondering what the hell I was doing buying Schlitz.  Short answer: I like it.

Yep, I admit it.  I like what is generally considered a lower quality macrobeer.  Fact is, while I have a decided preference for the better microbrews produced around the world, I still have a place in my fridge for the big boys.  

It's not the best thing in the world, but it's cheap and it serves its purpose.  Do I come home and have that first?  Nope.  But after I've had a hi-grav or two and I want another beer but have things to do the next day?  Well yes, then I will have that Schlitz.

As for bringing it to the bbq...  After trading micros around with the other folks, and drinking more than I should...  That Schlitz made for a decent nightcap.  After a lot of good beer and bbq, my palate was shot anyways.  Why waste another good beer?

At the end of the day, there's always room in my fridge for more beer...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

On Competitions and Fun

So yesterday was the 2nd Annual Union Jack's Home Brewing Competition.  We had two beers in the running, a Russian Imperial Stout we brewed back in January, and our Matt bitter.

We got some awesome feedback, and the RIS won the award for people's choice!  The Bitter got lots of compliments as well - both from the public as well as the other brewers (which meant a lot!).  Also fun to hear that the feedback we were getting was pretty much in line with our own feelings about the beers.  Great when you run out of your beer too, personally I take that as a good sign!

It was a fun event, and we got to meet some great local brewers (and drink their beer).  It's nice to meet people who love beer (and drinking each other's beer), as well as drinking it while conversing about brewing.

Congratulations to the other winners, and we hope to see you all again soon! (and hopefully compete again next year)

On a side note, I still think the Mad Goat Imperial Stout should have won the day, that was one helluva good beer!

(Cool gifts too, I got a nice can of Ranger IPA, and some 1 step!)


The RIS is gonna be some awesome beer in about 4 months I think.  I am going to hide some in my fridge in a corner....

The Bitter was tasty, but needs a little more hop aroma, and a bit more hop bite on the tail end and I would be extremely happy with it.  As is, it's already a great beer.  Easy to drink, and not so strong it will knock you off your keester if you have 3 or 4.  I think the next batch will be even better!