Archive for August, 2009

Things Beer Geeks Like

Friday, August 28th, 2009

from theweeklybrew

Barrel Aged Beers

the-bruery-beer-barrels

From the time beer was first brewed, till the modern era, beer has been fermented, aged, and served from vessels made of wood, or clay. Thanks to modern methods and lighter weight metals beer in the US for a long time never even knew what wood looked like. Lately thought that’s been changing. It seems any brewer worth their salt is barrel aging. Some brewers have even gone so far as to offer barrel aged versions of their main lines to the more discerning geek. And the discerning geeks do line up in droves.

The ironic part is many of these geeks don’t understand the nature of wood, nor it’s relationship to the beer. They just know barrel aging is supposed to make it better. They will gladly pay for a barrel aged version of their favorite brew, and generally assert it is infinitely better then the original version. It could taste like a Louisville Slugger and they still would praise it. After all, if you age it in wood it should taste like wood right? So if it doesn’t taste like tree something must be wrong.

Barrel aging is no longer the pitch lined containers of yore that were more of a necessity then a luxury. Today’s top brewers must compete for the attention of the ADD masses that consume their brews. To do this they like to use used barrels for their aging… And not just any used barrels either. They want wine barrels, whiskey barrels. rum barrels…. the list goes on. If you’ve used it, they’ll age beer in it.

Brewers also seem to have realized that beer geeks are the ultimate examples of adult ADD. When people question whether or not barrel aging brings anything unique to the table they just announce a special barrel aged version of a popular beer and the geeks follow like cattle from event to event, all hoping they are worthy enough that a brewer will tap a special barrel aged batch for them. For beer geeks a beer soaked with wood is the ultimate wet dream. Hey, it sounds kinky talking about wet dreams and wood in the same sentence.

I once heard someone say when everyone tries to be unique we all end up the same. I think that about sums up barrel aged beers. 🙂

Of ZZ Hop and Chili Stout

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

from theweeklybrew

Last night I managed to make it to both Venti’s where I had the Chocolate Chili Stout, and the Ram where I had a couple pints of ZZ Hop. While I recommend both beers I definitely prefered the Chili Stout.

Chili Stout

This beer was the best of both worlds for me. I love a nice warming chili beer, and I ♥ stouts. Definitely was my favorite beer of the evening. I wanted to shoot some vid of Venti’s basement, but Bobby wasn’t bartending so I didn’t know the person behind the beers. Filming in a small beer, without permission, and with a strange bartender is daunting.

ZZ Hop

A really great fresh hop ale. Tastes floral and green with noticeable, but mild hops, and some yeast flavors that I noticed more on my second pint. Definitely enjoyable, but not life altering good. but

The one thing I learned from last night was I need a new drinking buddy now that Kaylie has a boyfriend…. Call me strange, but it just feels weird to ask a girl if she wants to go to the pub when she has a boyfriend, so I don’t. Haven’t gone drinking with Kaylie since before her like 2 month hiatus. Time to start lookin for a new one.

If you want I have a time lapse video of me drinking the fresh hop and an choppy video from Summer In The City I never posted that I thought I’d toss up. Also you may notice these aren’t true beer reviews. That’s because I personally believe beer drinkers need to try a beer for themselves rather then read a review. If you want to know what the beers were like then try get out there and have a pint.

ZZ Hop Time Lapse from 72mm Blogs on Vimeo.

Untitled from 72mm Blogs on Vimeo.

Bold and Beautiful

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

from theweeklybrew

Jeff posted a pseudo review of Lip Stinger today, and it got me thinking.

I’ve tried alot of good beers over the last few years, but what does it take for one of those good beers to become a beer I drink regularly? This question is doubly difficult since there are few beers that I turn to as regular beers. For example, when I first started drinking my mainstay was Blackwatch. It was my first stout, and at the time I found it amazingly unique and flavorful. Not that much later though I stopped drinking Blackwatch altogether. It found itself replaced with Several other stouts and porters, primarily the Black Butte and Obsidian from Deschutes. Next came Rogue. Rogue offered a diversity I hadn’t experienced, and their bottles are darn cool. Then came 1554, followed by Anchor Steam. By this time I was making enough homebrew that I’d gone almost totally to unique bombers and only bought six packs to replenish beer I gave away. This meant no regulars in the fridge as there was no room with all the homebrew in it.

Now though I’m temporarily out of homebrew (my saison still has a few months min for aging, and my roggenbier isn’t even done fermenting) and I’m finding that some of my old mainstays just aren’t cutting it. Instead I’m finding myself drawn to a few specific beers only available in bombers. Looking at these beers I’m buying now though I’ve noticed one thing. They are all beers that have something that makes them stand out, makes them memorable. Many are off style, but their flavor has something that causes me to buy it repeatedly. Take Bison’s ’07 Saison. The almost fruity tartness keeps drawing back to this beer, while Dupont (the standard for saisons it seems) remains a $10 a bottle oddity that performs average in my opinion. The other thing I’ve noticed is that the beer has to connect emotionally on some level. I know it sounds strange, but what I mean is there has to be something about the beer that appeals to whatever mood I’m in. I may like a beer one night while I’m at the bar having fun with friends on a Friday night, but all of the sudden it just doesn’t perform when I’m enjoying it over a nice quiet lunch on my own. Make sense?

Venti’s Update, Chili Stout Edition

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

vtweetWhen I first started this blog I planned on dedicating a post a week to tap updates at the Ram, Boones, and Venti’s. I realized after 2 random updates that I don’t enjoy typing out what’s on tap. I think I’ve come to a solution though. Instead of doing a couple posts a week to keep up with what’s going on at Venti’s I just wait for an email and then use copy/paste.

Fort George-Spank’s Chili Stout is on in the Venti’s basement.
Further, Thane, interrupted the Caldera Pilsener to reload the Captured by Porches Amber Ale that was left over from SITC.
Caldera Pilsener is be back shortly.

Jack

I’m gonna need to swing by Venti’s tonight or tomorrow night if that chili stout is still on tap. Here’s a bit on it from Jacks mini book on Chili beers over at the Venti’s blog. (BTW, thanks for the correction JR)

The Spank Stout used 30 pounds of Pasilla Habanero, Jalapeno and Anaheim peppers and starts as a mellow full bodied slightly chocolaty stout and slowly grows to a spicy finish that leaves the palate warm and wanting more.

ZZ Hop Tapping At The Ram

Monday, August 24th, 2009

from theweeklybrew

My opinion of the Ram has changed dramatically over the course of this year. For a long time it had a reputation of shelling out mediocre beers. When I finally was old enough to belly up to the bar all I knew about the place was what I’d been told. Turns out I liked their beers, but just  haven’t been back much. Mike is definitely shelling out some quality beers though. ThursdayI got the chance to chat with Mike while sampling their lineup of the 10 beers that were on tap. I enjoyed the beers, and the conversation. Mike even sent me some pics for todays post.

1246982883Tis the season for fresh hop ales, and Mike at the Ram is tapping his on Wednesday at 3:00 pm. ZZ Hop was brewed in honor of Jim Quilter who passed away in June. He was the Seattle locations head brewer. Jim was known for his ZZTop style beard, hence the name ZZ Hop. Wednesday would have been Jim’s 53rd birthday.

ZZ Hop is a fresh hop ale meaning the hops are taken straight from the vine and added to the beer. No kilning involved. Mike uses 150 pounds of Perle hops that he helped harvest himself in Brooks right before brewing. Sorry for the small picture sizes, but they came like that in the email and resizing distorts them.

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Things Beer Geeks Like

Friday, August 21st, 2009

from theweeklybrew

There’s just so much in beer culture to make fun of, so, inspired by another blog, I decided to set aside one day a week to mock our craft.

Brewery Tours

msb2007_074

Inexplicably beer geeks are gaga for brewery tours. Many of them don’t seem to realize that large or small most breweries function the same and to a degree look the same. Yet beer geeks still line up like cattle for the slaughter to hear about how the brewer only uses quality ingredients, how a mash tun works, and how yeast turn sugars into alcohol. They stand there nodding while sipping beers, and occasionally ask silly questions that the brewer probably hears every tour. They speak to each other in hushed tones when the brewer describes his/her equipment. 

Also, beer geeks seem to enjoy rubbing whole hops between their hands and smelling them while on tours. They know (because the brewer told them) that this is how you release the lupulin in order to get a wiff. Many of them though have no clue what their smelling for. As long as it smells like hops they get giddy. I once watched a beer geek do this with hops that had to have been sitting out awhile. He rubbed them between his hands, and praised the quality. Without even rubbing the hops I could smell that these weren’t stored properly and were therefore useless for the kind of beers this brewery made. 

After the tour many beer geeks obediently step up to the bar and order tasting trays, intent on sampling every beer that brewery makes. often times beer geeks will buy tshirts to show their loyalty to the brewery and a growler of their favorite beer to drink when they get home. Once they get home they usually put the growler with their growing collection and put their tshirt with the ones from the other 20 breweries they have visited, and are therefore loyal too.

Scary Thought

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

from theweeklybrew

we20get20it

I’m posting late today because I spent my whole morning preparing stuff for my summer harvest wine. 18 lbs of squash, 10 oranges, 4 lemons, 1 ginger root, some tid bits, and 15 lbs of sugar later I was finished. I also was using super glue to reatach some skin to my thumb. That was all over an hour ago though. More then enough time to blog right? Well I got distracted catching up on blog reading. In particular here’s what distracted me.

Jared had commented in the last posting, making it clear that he “gets it.” It’s not about good beer vs bad beer. It’s about personal interest in what’s being served and the glut of Beer Fests that are available.

full post

That’s from Dr Worts blog. Apparently I get something, what an interesting feeling.

This is all part of the continuing saga about yet another beer fest in Oregon. It started with Jeff at Beervana getting somewhat excited. Then Dr Wort tried to crash the party. A backlash the ensued. After all this the crew at Dr Wort did a couple posts on it over at their blog, here and here. I left the following comment on the second one, and apparently hit the nail on the head.

There’s good breweries on the list, but even looking at it I can get an idea of some of the beers they’ll be serving up. There will probably be Chili Beer, We know Fred will be there, and I’d put money on Lil’s Pills and that blonde Three Creeks serves up. For people who are knew to craft beer or haven’t tried these breweries before it’ll be enjoyable. For the rest of us…. Meh
Maybe I’m just reading your blog to much. For some reason my urge to attend alot of these festivals dried up after the Oregon Gardens Beer Fest.
Dont get me wrong, I enjoy these beers. I just see no reason to go out of my way to attend more then a couple of these festivals a year.

How To Ask A Question

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

from theweeklybrew

clipart-questionmarkI was crawling the brewing forums tonight and realized many people don’t know how to ask questions. I can’t count how many times someone has asked a question only to get a response asking for more info. Even then they don’t get the needed info right. So I’ve written a guide to asking questions. Hopefully this will help in the future so I won’t ever again need to respond with need more info.

Somethings Wrong With My Beer

This is numero uno in terms of brewing questions. At some time every begining brewer asks this. The problem is even when you provide the right info you don’t always get a great answer. The odds go up when you ask properly though. First things first with this question. Always state your recipe, including what yeast was used, and hoping schedule. The reason for this is different ingredients cause different flavors. Especially in the yeast category. You may have a banana bomb from high temperatures, or because you used a yeast that produces strong fruity flavors.

While we’re talking temp though make sure you include that also. The person answering will need to know pitching temp and fermentation temperature. If you don’t know the fermentation temp because the environment isn’t controlled then say that and state the fluctuation range (ie temp in apartment ranged from 65 -70). A few more things to include is how long it fermented in secondary, if it was dry hopped, was fruit added, gravity readings, and sanitation procedures.

Example

Wrong

Help, My beer tastes gross and smells bad. What did I do wrong?

Right

My beer has a watery flavor and a vinegar smell to it. I used a dead guy clone kit from Rogue. Not sure exactly what was in it. I pitched my yeast at 75°F. I don’t have AC, but the temp in the house never got above 80°F. I let it ferment for a week like the recipe said and then bottled. For bottling I primed with 3/4 cup sugar. I rinsed the bottles with hot water before filling them. What went wrong?

For Lack Of A Mind

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

from theweeklybrew

sleep-at-laptop

Last night turned into a six hour brew night that ended at 3am, so my brain is dead. That means what I planned to write today is out the window since I can’t even remember. Instead I will explain how it took me 6 hours to brew a beer. That should be entertaining eh? Well, at least it will be somethin.

So how does a brew day turn into a 6 hour affair? Well first off today is one of my brothers birthday, and last night was the party. Secondly I prefer brewing in the evenings finishing up around 11-12 pm. So, I mashed in around 9 pm. Nine is a nice pleasant hour to brew. No one bugs you, and there’s nothing in terms of your daily life to interrupt. At 9:45 I discovered I had made porridge. This was my first beer using flaked rye. Normally I prefer malted rye. Porridge takes alot more time to sparge properly. The kettle didn’t even get the first hop edition till 10:15 pm. Interestingly this is my lowest hop beer…. Well at least in terms of a beer with hops. I used 0.25 oz of Chinook at 1 hour, and 0.75 oz of fuggles at 20 min. My boil finished at 11:15 and I started cooling my wort. Just after I started though I got a phone call.

You see, today is also my friend Rachels birthday, and yesterday was her party also. I’d missed out on it since I’d been at my brothers party, but at 11:20 I got my chance at redemption. Rachel had to drop Andy off just outside Portland and the girls were wondering if I wanted to go. So I got my kettle washed, everything cleaned, and added the still hot wort to the primary. and just capped it with an airlock to let it cool down while I was gone, with the plan of adding yeast when I got home. Problem is we stopped at a restaurant to play cards and didn’t get home till 3am. This meant my yeast was added to the wort six hours after I started. Even now I think the ph may be off from waiting so long. My beer is fermenting, but barely. I’ve never had such a bad lag….. Ok, I take that back. My Steam style beer had a long lag time with the lager yeast.

Lamer Then Lame

Monday, August 17th, 2009

from theweeklybrew

logositc

Uncool in every single way. I think that best sums up Summer in the City this year. Many of the shops weren’t having sidewalk sales, other then the wine pavilion there was little in the way of businesses or people, and lastly they charged admit.

I ended up getting Sunday off so I could head on down. I showed up, payed my $7.50, got my free commermative wine glass and went strait into the beer pavilion. The place was deserted. Granted it was only noon and the festival had just opened, but many of the food booths still hadn’t even gotten going. I looked around and didn’t see Venti’s beer tent so I went to Straight From New York’s booth and got a slice of Pizza and a glass of Ember from Seven Brides. Not a bad way to start a festival. After I’d finished my beer 20 min later I left for the tequila themed tent. The band in the beer tent had been setting up for almost 30 min and I wanted to hear some music. I would have left sooner, but you weren’t allowed to take alcohol from pavilion to pavilion. Lame.

I found the Venti’s tent in the Garden of Agave pavilion and bought myself a Root’s Heather Ale. Maybe I’d built this beer up in my mind, because I was disappointed. Not nearly as floral as I’d wanted, and a not altogether unpleasant straw taste. In the Agave garden the one mic was not working, so none of the bands had vocals. That, and every band seemed to stop mid performance to try and fix that fact. Wandering around I realized that even at 3pm this event was still dead. The wine tent at least had people. I even saw Jeremy and Kory ( I know I spelt those names wrong ) who I’d met at Club 6 the night before. Also I saw Leslie outside Napoleons.

So to sum up the festival, Lame. I spent to much money on average wines and a poor selection of beer. The bands took to long to get going. The best part of the afternoon was grabbing fish tacos from La Perla before heading home.

Anyone have a different reaction?