Archive for July, 2009

Poster Pictures

Friday, July 31st, 2009

from theweeklybrew

Here are pictures of the posters for the giveaway thingy. Each image is a link to a larger version.

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Community

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

from theweeklybrew

I was planning on doing a post on fermenting at acceptable temperatures in a hot room, but seeing as how the triple digits are gone for now it won’t do me much good. Might do others some good, but not me 🙂

Today instead I wanted to talk about community. Community is a word I absolutely hate. Maybe hate is a strong word. Nope, it works in this case. Community has become corrupted into a trendy buzz word that has lost any good solid meaning. I guess a better word would be  a group of people with similar interests who bounce ideas off each other, support each other, and collaborate. Ok, that’s a phrase, and one of the definitions of community, but it’s still more pleasant to my ears then community.

Anywho, I know for a fact that there are knowledgeable people who read this blog and have interesting stuff to say. And, to be honest I sometimes get tired of hearing myself talk. That combined with my need to unload these Deschutes posters has led to the development of an idea. I have posters to give away, you guys have valuable input. Later today I will put pictures of the posters up and the number of each I have. Then I will give them away in exchange for input.

If you would like a poster, then all I ask is you write some content for this blog. You can rant against BMC, IPA’s. You can write what you want. Just send it to theweeklybrew@live.com. If I like it I’ll let you know what posters are still available and send one to you. Sound good to you guys?

Who Really Cares?

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

from theweeklybrew

15Today has been a big day for beer blogs because of what has become known as the beer summit. Honestly this thing is about as stupid as the presidents comment about Crowley. I’ll be upfront and admit I’ve been negative about this issue from the get go. I work for a former police officer and have several family members who are police officers. Like all other people they make bad judgement calls sometimes and loose their cool when someone ticks them off. After all they’re human. But after all the flack Crowely took Obama invited him and Gates over for a beer on the White House lawn. People seem to overlook the fact that this saves face for the president and makes him look like an average Joe, which therefor makes it a brilliant political move. Instead everyone is obsessing over what beer should be served. Really people?

For the last several days we have been inundated with polls, articles, and twitter updates discussing which beer Obama should bust out for this bury the hatchet party and honestly I’m tired of it. He’s not the first president to serve beer at a meeting and he won’t be the last. So why does it seem that all the US can focus on now is what beer will be served? The only thing interesting in all of this is that despite the best attempts to show that Gate’s has the best beer preference with his fondness of Beck’s and Red Stripe people seem to miss the fact that the only guy involved who prefers a non lager is Crowley. Come on Crowley, Blue moon? You can do better. Conform more to the other two and pick a nice crappy pilsner. I recomend St Pauli Girl. Or if you want to convey the fact that your a hip dude you could go with PBR. A crappy American beer, put considered by anyone cool to be better then Bud. Why must you try to be different and make the closest to craft beer pick?

Although I’m somewhat appalled at the hype created by this beer thing I did get one laugh though. Gibbs’ comment that “we’ll have the gamut covered tomorrow afternoon” is funny. Really Gibbs? Two lagers and a witbeir equals the gamut? I thought the gamut would include more styles of beer.

Ok, I’m done beating a dead horse in the name of traffic. Let’s move on with the more important things in life.

Beat The Heat

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

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from theweeklybrew

Well it’s still triple digits here, and I really wanted to do a post on styles of beer for beating the heat. Turns out though I’m not the only one who thought of it. Alworth over at Beervana has a good post on summer styles with some links to other posts on summer beers.

Beating the heat with beer though can be difficult. When your sitting outside in 100° weather it can be hard to find a beer that hits the spot. In fact over the last few days I’ve been experimenting with the beers in my fridge in order to figure out the most quaffable summer ale. One of the big problems is that alcohol decreases your bodies ability to thermoregulate itself. So the more beer you drink the less it helps. Not only that, but it’s common knowledge that alcohol dehydrates you. This is because alcohol is a diuretic. This means that while those imperials still sound tasty they probably won’t be the beer of choice for most people. In fact as this years Fourth of July sales showed lite beers can be favored more in warmer weather. How many of us want to quaff Busch Lite though? Well my grandparents, but not to many other people I know. So after some experimentation I’ve decided on my two favorite hot weather beers.

Small Beers –I love low alcohol summer beers. They get some flack for lack of strong malt flavors, and for being a little watered down, but to me this is their saving grace. When I’m out doing yard work, or taking a break on a bike ride I generally don’t want something over 3% abv. One of my favorite beers of summer is Anchor Small Beer. Small beers aren’t difficult to brew either. With modern brewing it’s just a matter of cutting the wort with boiled water until you get the proper OG. Although it may not be wise I’d group O’Douls in this category. I know many people don’t like the near beers, but I really don’t think they taste that bad.

Sour Beers –I’m not the biggest fruit fan, and for the most part not a lambic fan either, but not all sour beers are lambics, and not all lambics are bad. The truth is though sour beers are some of the most refreshing beers out there. Part of the reason for this is that sour beers cause you to salivate. I cracked open a bottle of my Witches Brew Sour Ale which is an Irish Red flavored with herbs instead of hops, and soured. Honestly this beer takes first for most refreshing beer in my fridge.

Thank You Billy Mays JR

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

from theweeklybrew

oxycleanFor awhile now I’ve heard the miraculous properties of OxiClean touted on brewing forums and sites. Now just to get this out there, I am not a believer in infomercial products. For the most part products sold via these things that could only be thought up by Satan himself are underpowered, have shoddy construction, and make crappy gifts that relatives love to give out for Christmas. According to the people on the forums though the only thing OxiClean doesn’t do is cure cancer. I’m sure that it is not OxiCleans fault it can’t do that though.

So as I said, I’m not an OxiClean fanboy. It has failed to remove stains from my white Tshirt, whiten my socks, or….. Ok, those were the only to things I’d tried it on. Last night though I became a convert.

I have a system here. You drink my beer, you rinse out the bottle. It’s just a courtesy thing that keeps that thick moldy funk out of the bottoms of my bottles. For all I knew everyone was following this system. In fact I hung up my bottle brush and started just sanitizing my bottles without checking for gunk (I use a long soak with bleach, and a high pressure sanitizing rinse so clean bottles were safe to just sanitize). While bottling my last batch though I ran across a six pack with a few empty moldy bottles. luckily they were the last bottles I filled, so no cross contamination. The bad part is I noticed it when a disk of mold floated to the top of the bottle as I filled it. I checked the bottoms of all the bottles, pulled out the moldy ones and filled them with hot water in an attempt to loosen the crap.

One month later the bottles were still on the counter, and my bottle brush could still not remove all the gunk. Several times I was tempted to dump straight bleach into the bottles, but I’m trying to end my reliance on that product. Instead I’d settled into a rutine of occasionally busting out the bottled brush and attempting to remove the residue. Even the ones where 90% of the filth was removed there was always a little spot dead center that refused to budge. Last night though I recalled a forum that suggested OxiClean for any stuck on residue in bottles and kegs in order to loosen it. Having some Oxiclean I figured I had nothing to loose and added some to the bottles and left it to sit overnight. Around midnight though I had a Horchata craving and while in the kitchen decided to check the bottles. The bottles were spotless! Needless to say I am now a fan, and have found a use for the crap.

Starbucks Beer?

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

from theweeklybrew

starbucks-logo2Starbucks has launched a new experimental store called 15th Ave. Coffee and Tea. Before I explain the Starbucks beer thing it’ll help  to understand what 15th Ave. Coffee and Tea is. First, think of this new Starbucks as a kind of Skunk Works. This new location is a way for Starbucks to experiment with ways of capturing more of the market. Because, and let’s all be honest, Starbucks has really over expanded themselves. They’ve become one of the ultimate examples of a faceless corporation just out to make money. That combined with the trend towards smaller local coffee shops means Starbucks must redesign itself.

15th Ave. Coffee and Tea sounds like it’ll be a throwback to the days when coffee shops were the haunts of poets and artists. It’ll have a new look, a new name, performances, different menu, and most importantly for our purposes, wine and beer. Despite looking around for a mock up list of potential wines and beers I can’t find one. It will be interesting to see how this pans out though. Will it increase Starbucks sales? Will they open one in every city on every block? The questions buzzing round the internets are just to much fun to read.

So what’s your take?

You Meet All Kinds

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

I’m putting this up today because Monday it’s hitting 104, and I’m going to the beach. You guys can hang around if you want, but I’m an Oregonian, and anything over 90 is hotter then hell.

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from theweeklybrew

Saturday night I hit Venti’s for a few pints and some pomme frites (French for fries). By the way, if you do get into Venti’s try the Raven Eye Imperial Stout. Anyway, one pint in and a guy came and sat next to me. Turns out it was Andy Barber, a guy I went to highschool with that abandoned Salem for P-Town. We caught up a bit and then ended up chatting with the girl on my right. Turns out she is a server at Thompson’s Brewery and has served me both there and at Boon’s. Then apparently another guy that graduated the same year as Andy and I was there. This was becoming a very interesting evening. I mean seriously, I’m not very social at bars, and I don’t often talk to people I who I’m not there with. Oh, and did I mention Bobby Hooper was bartending? Bobby is an awesome guy, as well as an awesome bartender.

Of course as always happens I ended up discussing beer with people. I blame Bobby for asking about the difference between a stout and a porter. Turns out Andy likes good beer too and got in on the convo, and of course the lady from Thompsons (sorry, I don’t remember your name) gave a little input as well. Later we were joined by a guy that had recently moved here from New York and was involved with their reservoir system there. Of course, I asked him about Widmer and their complaints about the Bull Run filter plan. By this point I was on pint 3, a nice blonde bock. Oh, forgot to say what number 2 was. Number 2 was a Belgian dark. We talked about treatment plans and effects on water chemistry. I really am a geek.

This kind of evening is why local pubs need our support. How many places can you have an evening like this at? By the way, Venti’s is switching to true pint’s. Wether these will be actual pint glasses and not just pint sized shakers I know not. Maybe J.R. will have more info since he’s got family ties. So get out and support your local watering hole this week.

The Importance Of Water

Friday, July 24th, 2009

from theweeklybrew

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For those who watched the news last night, or who have been following this story since it broke, you know that Widmer is ticked at the city of Portland. The EPA has ordered that the city puts in place a filtration system for the reservoir. For awhile Bull Run was one of the few reservoirs that managed to dodge the rule requiring the system. A federal court however has ruled that the city must install the system and Widmer is understandably ticked.

Most people don’t understand to what degree that filtering the water can change the flavors of beer. When a brewer wants to brew a specific regional style from another country water is often the most important thing to manipulate. The mineral content is what gives regional beers their distinct quality, and unique flavors. The problem is Widmer doesn’t really produce “regional” beer. So to what degree does this decision effect Widmer? First off filtration would remove all mineral content from the water. This means Widmer, and others, would need to add minerals back into their water in order to maintain a consistent flavor in their beers.

For commercial breweries consistency is one of the most important things for maintaining sales. People want to know that when they pick up a Widmer Heffe that it will taste exactly the same as it did last time. If the filtration system is put in place Widmer would have to use brewing salts in order to maintain a consistent profile. This increases the cost for breweries. But to what degree would breweries have to change? Portland already uses both chlorine and ammonia in the drinking water taken from Bull Run. Undoubtedly these chemicals are all either boiled off or filtered out. My questions is to what degree is the filtration system going to change things? I only wish I had a before and after analysis of the water used in their brewing so I could give a definitive answer.

So what is your opinion on the filtration system? Should Oregon defy federal law as it does on many other things (doctor assisted suicide and medical marijuana come to mind)? If Oregon does defy the EPA during a time when the Environmental Protection Agency has so much power will it be hanging itself in terms of funds?

Beer Nutz!

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

from theweeklybrew

 

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Earlier this month I ran across a series called Beer Nutz: Season 1 and thought I’d watch it. Let’s just say it’s a good thing they only made one season.

Beer Nutz is a show that follows two guys around the US as they explore the beer culture of various towns. They do everything from brewing to bottling, and cover things like food pairings. Perhaps my favorite part is that they visit famous craft beer landmarks in the towns they visit. Sounds good so far eh? Ya I thought so too. In fact I was downright excited for this series to arrive. The reason I was disappointed is that at every landmark they have someone explain some aspect of craft beer to them and then give them a rating to show how much of a beer nut they are. The ratings are done in kegs rather then stars. The premise may have been good, but the execution was cheesy as all get out.

The show has good production values, and lacks the let’s explore local culture aspect that many similar shows have. I enjoy this fact because it keeps it’s focus on beer, and beer alone. Also, the fact that it covers cities all over the US is great. The only cities I enjoyed watching though were San Fran, Portland, and Vancouver BC….. Okay….. Vancouver is in Canada. So maybe this show goes beyond the US. The brewers in each city though are interesting and for the most part knowledgeable. Fritz Maytag of Anchor and Alan Sprints of Hair of the Dog come across as brewing masters. These things make Beer Nutz: Season 1 a nice little watch once kinda series. I guarantee that you wont be popping it in for a movie night though.

So why write a post on it then? Because this is an Oregon blog and their segment on P-Town is worth watching. I loved seeing the guys up at Edgefield working the bottling line, having a tasting session at Hair of the Dog with Alan Sprints, and visiting Horse Brass pub and chatting with Don Younger. In fact Don Younger has the best quote in the series when he says, “Happy hours are for rookies and whores.” The show did an amazing job capturing Portland’s beer culture. I love the lady who says that PBR is the beer of Portland. In fact here’s a highlights clip of the Portland episode, watch it yourself. If you like the video then consider buying Beer Nutz: Season 1 for yourself.

Wax Dipping

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

from theweeklybrew

So yesterday I decided to seal up the beers I have cellaring with a nice coating of wax. Sealing bottles with wax is just an added precaution to help preserve the beer in case the seals on the caps fail (which they do eventually). Also it can be an easy way to keep track of what year the beers were cellared. This time I used brown. With next years batches I’ll use a different color. By doing this I’ll know what year I put the bottles up.

Judging by the curiosity of the family though I guess sealing stuff in wax just isn’t done much nowadays. Sad thing too considering how much fun it can be. I even made a little instructional video for anyone interested.

Wax Dipping Beer from 72mm Blogs on Vimeo.