Archive for the ‘Ask The Audiance’ Category

25 Best Beers in America??

Monday, January 25th, 2010

I was just given a copy of the February issue of Maxim magazine yesterday. The person who handed it to me told me there was an article I needed to see. The Article? The 25 Best Beers In America. The verdict? Fail.

In order to understand the fail you need to know the 25 best. Here they are, in no particular order.

1. Porkslap Pale Ale
2. Drifter Pale Ale
3. Hass Rye Lager
4. Hoptober Golden Ale
5. Haywire Hefeweisen
6. Helios Ale Saison
7. Ten Fiddy Imperial Stout
8. Samual Adams Nobel Pils
9. Sierra Nevada Torpedo
10. März Hon Märzen
11. Brew Free Or Die IPA
12. Indian Brown Brown Ale
13. Old Stock Ale
14. Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout
15. Green Lakes Organic Ale
16. Upslope Pale Ale
17. Blue Ball Porter
18. Calico Amber Ale
19.Fat Squirrel Brown Ale
20. Local 1 Pale Ale
21. Tumble Off Pale Ale
22. UFO White Wheat
23. Union Jack IPA
24. Phoenix Pale Ale
25. Bud Light Wheat

First off, Haywire and  Bud Light wheat as 2 of the best 25??  And if you needed more proof that the writer has no clue about beer 8/25 are pale ales. Also of the 25 beers only three are from Oregon, where as five are from CA and we CO has four. So much for Oregon being lightyears ahead in the beer scene. Looks like if we go bye numbers alone CA is Beervana…. Hmmm Maybe the Doc was right. Wait, scratch that. According to Maxim Philidalphia has stolen the best beer city crown. Oh look, only two beers on the list come from the city of brotherly love, and one of them is called intercourse. Wonder if it made it in the mag because of the name.

Anyways, who buys into these beer lists that mens magazines are constantly putting out? Let’s see if we can do better?? It shouldn’t be hard after all. So together let’s come up with 25 regularly available beers that one could find distributed at least regionaly. Up for the challenge?

What is a Seasonal

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

It seems more and more that the seasonal lineup is no longer consisting of a fixed set of beers. For example spring used to be dominated by Mai Bocks and beers generally of a lighter nature. Not as thick and alcoholic as winter beers, but not as thin as a good lawnmower beer. Something slightly hoppy but loaded with some bright floral and herbal/pine notes. Now though you get IPA’s, stouts, imperials beers, and hefeweizens year around. With brewers releasing non typical seasonals seasonally how does one begin to define what a seasonal beer is?

Take winter seasonals. over the past 40ish years you’ve had a fairly standard roll out from brewers. Barlywines, spiced beers, winter warmers, milk stouts, and some herbals were the standard into the 90’s. An occasional brewers would release Russian stouts (Imperial stouts) nutty beers or chocolate porters. These last 10 years though the traditional winter beers are becoming rarer. More and more in the Northwest overhopped imperial reds and IPA’s are becoming a common winter release. These winter beers have a sweeter heavier malt base and loads of hops. Especially the more piney flavored hops. Much more in your face then their other seasonal cousins.

So the question becomes how do we determine the difference between a seasonal and a limited release now? Is the idea of seasonals outdated? If seasonals are an outdated idea then how do we define what makes a good winter/spring/summer/fall beer? Are we no longer looking for a gullet warming thick malty brew for those cold January evenings? What about a nice hoppy low alcohol beer for those hot August nights?

Need More Input

Friday, November 6th, 2009

capitol_kh_725061

Ya, second Friday without a Things Beer Geeks Like Post. May just have to file that under ideas that didn’t work.

So it has been two weeks since I decided I was going to compile a list of Salem’s best beer places. I knew I’d have to do footwork on this, but didn’t want to risk missing some hole in the wall bar that actually had good taps. So I did what any good lazy blogger would, I tossed out feelers. I asked people in Capitol Brewers, The Salem Beer and Wine Group, twitted it to eatsalem, and tossed the question out to my friends and family. Here’s the problem, almost all the answers I received back were Venti’s and Boon’s. I know we don’t have the tap houses and bottle shops that Portland has, but we sure as heck have more then Venti’s, Boon’s, and Capitol Market. I know this for a fact. So do beer drinkers in Salem only got to the same two bars and buy all their beer at Capitol Market?

Now that my viral thing is gone it looks like my Wednesday and Thursday nights for the next several weeks may be spent bar crawling in an attempt to educate Salemites on what’s out there. Tonight though is reserved for Monty Python night at  ƒ/stop.

Best Beer Places In Salem

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

capitol_kh_725061

I was thinking of compiling a list of the places in Salem with the best taps and bottle selections. The amount of good beer in Salem has been on the increase and I’m discovering that many bars I had once written off are now carrying craft beers (other then Widmer or Deschutes), and good craft beers at that. So, I’m asking you guys to help me out and let me know what your favorite bars and bottle shops are and why.

Here are the things I want to know

Good Beer

A Deschutes, Widmer, or Pyramid tap doesn’t count unless it’s either rotating, or unusual beers from those breweries Does the bar have dedicated taps to a specific brewery? What about for a specific style? Do all taps rotate or just a few? How many taps are there?

Atmosphere

To me atmosphere is a consideration that comes last. For most people however atmosphere is important.

Food

Does the bar serve Bar Grub (fries and the like)? Pub Grub perhaps (burgers, fish and chips, etc.)?

Prices

Any bar that serves shaker pints for much more then $4 is hard for me to go out of my way to visit, but it may not be for some

Bottle Selection

For a store to have a good beer selection it should meet 2 or more requirements from the list

Selection – a decent cross section  of different beers and brewers
Style Diversity– a bottle shop stocking 90% IPA’s and light lagers doesn’t have much diversity does it?
Imports– A great selection of Oregon and American beers is commendable, but there are other beers outside the US that are good
Uncommon Beers – A store that carries hard to find bottles of beer is already ahead of the game
Prices – Does a $10 bottle at one store cost $13 at another (looking at you World Market)?

Just For Fun

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

from theweeklybrew

I know I haven’t been consistent lately, or even posting great posts, but there are reasons. I’ll give you those reasons later though. For now I’m curious. If you could build a brewery from the ground up, without cost being an issue, what would you brew?

Would you go with the 80’s/90’s brewpub model with a basic lineup of IPA/brown/stout?

Would you build an eco friendly brewery that was concerned about production impacts (hey it seems to be a trend), or would you go all out (best equipment, methods, and ingredients)?

Would you release consistent seasonals? Or change things up every year?

Would you have a special brewers reserve line of great unique beers? Or would you only produce great unique beers?

Go hog wild and dream up your favorite brewery, then let me know what it would look like.

Building a Beerscape

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Salem is ripe for another attempt at building it’s beer culture, and many people have noticed as much. The interesting part is listening to the people who are shaping, or planning to shape, that landscape, and hearing where they’d like to see it go.

In recent years Salem has seen a reshaping of it’s downtown culture. It’s no longer being aimed primarily at teens and young 20 somethings. Salems food culture is a good example of this. We’ve always had a decent selection of restaurants downtown,  but the variety and style is changing. More and more Salems downtown culture seems to be shifting in a Portland direction. The question I have is should Salem follow the Portland model in terms of beer?

Portland has earned the nickname Beervana and has consistently been ranked in the top beer cities of the US. More and more though Oregon’s best beers are coming from outside of Portland. This is because Portland seems to be built on the brewpub/brewery model that came out of the 80’s and 90’s. Every brewery seems to have a selection of the same beers. No matter where you go in Portland you can get an IPA, or a stout. Because of this pubs spend more time trying to steal more market share from each other then on being unique. More and more it’s limited release beers, and a diversity of styles that are defining Oregon’s beerscape. But what does each new brewery bring to table? Just their versions of the same beers?

Should Salem build it’s beer culture on this pub platform? Do we really need more places like Boons or the RAM? Places where you can get pub food and their versions of the same beers. Salem has a chance to set off in a different direction. Salem has a chance to be different then Portland. I love diversity in beer, but the Portland model doesn’t have that, it just has lot’s of beer. Is there a way to preserve what makes Salem unique and at the same time build a unique beer culture?

Sudsy Beer Is Good??

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

from theweeklybrew

starsan

So I’ve already gone through something like 4 or 5 imperial pints of my Gooseberry and Yarrow Farmhouse Ale (name needs work) in the last two days, and boy is it good. The interesting thing is each one has a soap bubble character when poored from the bottle, yet in the glass looks, and tastes, fine.

I’ve already diagnosed the problem. In fact this is the easiest problem I’ve had to diagnose to date. When I made up my batch of StarSan to sanitize my bottles and equipment I made it up per the directions on the bottle. I have since learned that the directions are a little heavy handed. I should have realized it sooner though when I was fretting over the coating that was left after draining the sanitizer from the bottles. Instead of doing something though I let them dry, sitting down I might add (don’t have a drying rack). The end result was a slight StarSan film was left in the bottom. This is what caused soap like bubbles to appear in the bottle.

Despite this though my beer is great. The head is thick and fluffy, the flavor is almost spot on (could be slightly drier), even the aroma is good. It’s just the soap bubbles in the bottle preventing me from calling it great. Then again I’m at like 80 oz of this stuff, so I can’t very well call it bad.

Anyone else had this issue with StarSan?

To Early For Winter?

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

from theweeklybrew

jubelale-2009-label

Currently I’m suffering from what I’m thinking is a sinus infection. This means I need meds to clear my head and get through work. Anyway, I was in Albertsons grabbing meds today and noticed Jubelale is already on the shelf. Is it really the time for winter seasonals? Keep in mind I’m looking forward to winter beers. I even did a post on the ones I’m waiting for. My question though is is it to early for Deschutes to release Jubelale?

Jubelale has become the defining winter seasonal in Oregon. When it hits the shelves is when winter beer is “officially” ok to drink. It’s disappearance is also the defining moment of the start of spring beers. So what on earth is it doing on store shelves in September????

The Brew Sitedescribes it as “hot and green” which is to be expected.  After all, this beer needs age to round out it’s flavors. So why isn’t Deschutes holding back the release for a few months to give their product  a more typical winter flavor? Could this actually hurt them as a company? For an iconic beer like Jubelale serving it up early and green could harm it’s reputation with non beer geeks and beer geek wannabe who enjoy it.

Critical Mass?

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Yesterday at a meeting of the minds an idea was struck upon that I’d like some imput with. A local Salem man has been encouraged to open a brewery/public house of sorts and I was asked what I thought, and what cost/process would be involved. Seriously, you’ld be surprised the questions your asked when you write a beer blog. Everything from what beer should I pair this with to well…. How do I go about opening a brewery. 

So, I’ve spent all day researching OLCC statutes and cost of even a small in house operation. Before I even get into the cost though I figure I’d toss it out there and see the reaction to the idea…. You know, for fun. Do you think Salem can handle a fourth brewer? This question is especially pertanent because it would be Salem’s first non chain public house in a long time.

Currently we have the Ram, part of the RAM chain. We also have Thompsons, part of the McMenamins chain. And lastly we have Pale Horse, a non chain brewery that only sells kegs and bottles, no on site consumption at a bar. Not to mention they only have 2 (soon to be 3) beers. This public house would not be affiliated with any chain, meaning that it would need a decent amount of traffic, which it already recieves. Also this location is fairly small. The non chain nature makes this a positive and a negative. Positive because it wont need to brew for multiple sites, negative because another site isnt brewing it’s beer.

So my questions are as follows

1 Is there room in Salem for another brewery?

2 What would you look for in the way of beers from a Salem brewery?

Im still going to research cost, and probably do a post on what it takes to open a brewery here, but in the meantime I’m just tossing out the questions. Also I know I’ve given very sketchy details. Maybe in the future if this idea moves beyond the “hey you might have somethin there phase” I’ll tell more.

A Summer Harvest Wine

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

from theweeklybrew

39838

For a while now I’ve been fascinated with the non grape/non berry wines out there. I have watched multiple videos on making nettle wine, read about pea pod, and even brewed a sparkling tomatoe wine once. But when I decided all this extra squash we have would make good alcohol my first thought wasn’t to make wine, it was to make a vegetable beer. However after some internet searching I have come to the conclusion that wine is the best way to dispose of my zuchini and crooknecks. So far I’ve developed a basic recipe/shopping list and want some input from you guys.

Things I need:

5 gal Plastic Fermenting Bucket
Campden Tablets
Pectic Enzyme
Wine Yeast
10 Oranges
7 lemons

Things I have:

Water (no brainer eh?)
15+ lbs Zuchini (Have alot of it, will get the rest from those desperate people trying to get rid of theirs)
5+ lbs Crookneck Squash
Yeast Energizer
Yeast Nutrient
Peppercorns
Chili’s
Basil
Honey (may need some more though)
Sugar (Will need about 10 lbs I believe)
Ginger (may or may not use some, haven’t decided)