Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fermentation Friday - Best Beer and Why?

Hi all,

Welcome to this months fermentation friday. As usual I would like to thank The Redneck Brewer for hosting this months event. Now on to the post. When I saw this months topic “What, in the opinion of others, is the best beer you have ever made and why?" I wasn't sure what to write about. I don't really know the answer. Everyone who has ever tried my beer has liked them. At least that is what they tell me and I am inclined to believe them because I also feel it is my best beer to date. I must admit I am only on my 8th batch and I haven't been very creative so everything has gone pretty smoothly and turned out well. If I had to make a guess my Double IPA would probably go down as my best beer to date. Almost everyone that comes by asks me if I have any of that IPA stuff left. I am down to a bottle or 2 so I have to fib and say no. I would like to make it again someday but as a new brewer I am really enjoying making different recipes and different styles. It will be a while before I brew the same recipe again.

It was a really nice brownish orange in color. It had a really nice long lasting head. The nose was very floral with a hint of citrus, and the flavor was nice and hoppy but still smooth. It was tasty if I (and others) do say so ourselves.) I can't take all the credit though Midwest Supplies came up with a great recipe.

I am not sure how many of you home brewers out there brew alot of repeats but I don't feel I am ready for that. My goal is to make every beer the best beer so I don't have to answer this question. Thanks again to the redneck brewer for hosting and I will see you all next month!!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Sacramento Trip 8-14 to 8-17

Hi all,

I am sitting here on the train ride home from Sacramento so I thought I would write a little about my trip this weekend. A few months ago I wrote about my trip to Sacramento a conference and that I was able to hit 3 brewpubs in the area well this time I was able to hit 4 more Breweries/Brewpub. The 4 I hit were Beermann’s Beerwerks, Gold Hill Brewery and Winery, Auburn Alehouse Brewery and Restaurant, and River City Brewing and Restaurant. I will admit there wasn’t a beer that felt was out of this world but there were a few really nice beers and/or really interesting.

1. Beermann’s Beerworks Ginger Beer - This one was really interesting. It had a nice head when poored (even in a plastic cup). The nose as you would expect had a nice ginger and hoppy scent. The color was a golden yellow. Now on to what everyone cares about the taste. The beer had a very pronounced ginger flavor which kind of over powered the beer yet it was good. The best description I can give is it was like a mix of a light lager and a ginger ale. This might be a good hangover remedy.

2. Gold Hill Stout – I don’t have many notes on this one. The stout poured a dark brown and had a nose of coffee and chocolate. The reason why I liked it is it went down smooth and didn’t have as much of a burnt coffee taste that in my opinion most stouts have. The stout is my least favorite style of beer so when I like one I am guessing other who like stouts will too. Another really cool thing about this brewery is that they are also a winery. I have never been to a brewery and winery before. This place had a really nice tasting room for both beer and wine and the staff and owner were really nice and social able. So if you are in the Pacerville area swing by grab a beer or glass of wine and have a picnic overlooking the rolling hills of the area.

3. River City Vienna Lager – I really enjoyed this beer and I always find it a plus when a brewpub is in the middle of a mall/shopping center. Most breweries and brewpubs that I have visited are slightly off the main areas of town by having it in a highly accessed area more people will be able to see and try good flavorful craft/micro brews. I must admit I don’t know much about Vienna lagers but I was expecting it to be a light yellow color and it came out a light red color. It was more an amber lager then I was expecting. There was a nice head on the beer and it had a great aroma. There was a good hop note and a slight scent of darker roasted malt. The taste was really crisp and refreshing and whatever malt was used gave it a more complex flavor then the lagers I am used to. I say try this one of you are in downtown Sacramento.

4. Auburn Alehouse Cologne Kolsch – This was probably my favorite of the weekend. I am always on the lookout for light flavorful ale. The beer poured with a nice mid lasting head. It had a nice nose with a hint of citrus and flowery/grassiness. The color was a very light yellow. The taste was nice and light and crisp. It was a very refreshing brew and I actually would love to have had more but it was off to more brewpubs. I would say this would be a perfect session beer.

This was a good trip. I got to try some good beers and see some friends I only get to see a few times a year. Then for the most important part of the trip I made my wife happy by not making her come home for 2 days and have to travel back.

Since I am still learning and reading about how to describe and rate beers please feel free to give me some suggestions or good place to get info on rating beer.



Matt C.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

San Diego for a Conference

Hi All,

I was in San Diego, CA for the ESRI user conference. It was a great conference as usual my only complaint is I took a city car and wasn't able to get to any of the local breweries other then Rock Bottom. The always have some good beers but I prefer to hit the small guys rather then the chains. I did find a really cool bar called The Local (corner of 4th and C). Like the name states most of its beers come from local brewers like Aleworks, Stone and Karl Straus. I highly recommend that you hit this bar if you want good beer and are in the Gaslamp district. Other then I failed in my quest to find Stone Vertical Epic. I had read in a blog somewhere that it would start showing up on the 4th but all the plases I went to that are to have it hadn't recieved it yet. Hopefully i'll get to the actual Stone brewery before its all gone or find it online somewhere.

Talk to you all later!!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Session 18 - Happy Anniversary

Hi All,

First off I would like to say thanks to the Barley Blog for hosting this month session. This month the topic is Happy Anniversary. I had a tough time with this because I don't have any special beers that I can open right now. I need them for certain occasions. So I am going to tell my Grand Cru (sorry I don't remember the name. My harddrive crashed and I lost some of my tasting notes) story instead. This was a special beer that I accidentally drank about a month ago.

It all started with a long day at work. I came home and I wanted a beer but I wanted something different then my normal every day beer but i didn't want to drink a bomber. So I see this nice 12oz bottle with a nice red foil wrapping (that should have gave it away that this wasn't a normal beer) and I grab it. I usually like to try my beers before I read the label so that I can taste the beer with out knowing the style. I feel this helps me learn about the beer and I try to guess what I am drinking. Well I opened the foil, popped the cap, and poored it into a pint glass. First I looked at the beer and it was a golden orange with a nice head. Then I took a sniff and a strong alcohol scent hit my nostrils. I just figured the beer was fermented at to high a temperature and that there were going to be alot of fussil alcohol. So I went into the living room sat on the couch and took a drink. It tasted nothing like it smelled and it went down smooth with a slight taste of hot alcohol. It was really good. It had a perfect balance of malt, hops, and warmth. So i sit there for about 15 minutes drinking and trying to decide what it was cause it wasn't a style I was familiar with. Durring this time I also start feeling a little warm inside and was starting to get a slight buzz from a half bottle of beer. So I get up and go get the bottle. It was a grand cru with 18+% ABV. I started to smile and thought about the foil wrapper. That was a good bottle of beer and I wouldn't have had it as an afterwork beer. That was a sipping beer that I probably would have split with someone. Who knows maybe at an anniversary somewhere!!

I hope you all enjoyed my slightly off topic story and thanks again to the Barley Blog for hosting. See you all next month for the session!!

Matt C.