Friday, October 31, 2008

The Session # 21 Reminder - Favorite Beer and Why

Date - Nov 7th 2008

Topic - What is your favorite Beer and Why?

Extra Requirement - Review your favorite beer!

Original Post

I am already looking forward to reading all your post and maybe even tasting your favorite beer. As usual to partake in the event you can email me at gisbrewmaster(at)gmail(.)com or post a comment. See you next month!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fermentation Friday - Homebrewing Horror Stories

Hi All,

Welcome to the this months scary Fermentation Friday homebrewing horror stories. Thanks to Rob @ Pfiff! for hosting this months blogging day. I wish I could say I had a really scary story but I don't. Its rather lame this story wouldn't scare a 21 year old. So hear it goes. On my first try at homebrewing for the second time I was trying to be perfect on everything. I wanted everything clean, sanitized, and all my ingredients layed out and ready to go. I had read the instructions on the kit a hundred times. I was going to be a successful brewer. So I started the boil and added the the malt extract and watched it boil for about 40 minutes. Here is where it get semi-scary!! I go to the counter to grab the spoon to stir and guess what I see. A little bag of green pellates. You homebrewers call them hop pellates I think. I had forgot to add the hops at the beginning of the boil. I was cursing all over the house. I had planned everything perfectly. I was so ready and I do this. Well I added the hops and boiled them for about 45 minutes. The instructions said boil the whole batch for 45 minutes total and I went for an hour and a half. I had no idea what was going to happen. I finished the rest of the steps and just did the normal 3 week waiting thing(1 week fermentation/2 weeks bottle conditioning).

Do you know how scary and hard it is to wait 3 weeks to try something when you may have messed up a very important step. Well I can tell you!! It is terrifying. Just like the scary night of Halloween comes and goes so does the wait to try the first brew. I put one in the fridge 3 weeks later and wait the excruciating few hours for it to chill. I grab the bottle opener and hear the all important pfiff (Rob don't get me for copyright infringement please). Then I pour it into a glass and it looks like beer. Then I take a good sniff and it smells like beer. Then I taste it. It tastes like beer I am sucessful. I had gotten through my scariest moment in my non existence homebrewing career. Think of it as a girl in a really scary costume and when she takes it off she is beautiful. That is what it felt like. I hope I never have to relive a moment like that again.

Thanks again Rob for hosting this months event. I am looking forward to reading all the scary stories and hopefully using them as a learning experience. See you all next month!

Matt C.

GABF Days 3 & 4

Hi All,

Welcome back to part 2 of the 2 part GABF series. Lets go out running. Day 3 started a little later then the first 2. I got to sleep until 10am. It felt really good. So I get up and I have a few hours before the 12:30 members only session and the night before one of the guys I was with mentioned cheese steak sandwiches at Pats (Market & 16th) and I thought that sounded awesome. So I walked over to pats for lunch. I ended up getting a mini cheese steak and a mini sausage, pepper and onion sandwich also. They were both very good I can never turn down the sausage sandwich. After lunch I walked over to the convention center and got into the 10 or so mile (slightly being dramatic) line and waited for the doors to open.

I got it and started sampling beers agains but alot more slowly. Most of the session I just went back and forth to the award ceremony trying to find the winners so that I could try the winning beers. I also played alot of rockband. Somehow I ended up joining a band as the basist called "flaming vagina". Luckily there was a brewery table right next to us that kept refilling our samples while we rocked out. I also spent alot of time at the Brewers Guilds. It was really cool to be able to talk to the brewers and try some of the special regional brews that the guilds brougn. I had a blast at this session. The final session of the fest the Saturday Evening session I volunteered as a pourer. I was assigned to section P and did most of my pouring at Saint Arnolds and the Rock Bottoms of Arizona. Let me tell you I was impressed with both of these breweries. I would like to hight recommend that you volunteer to work at the GABF as a pourer. You get to sample some beers and get to talk with alot of patrons. I would estimate you will be in your section for about 3 hours of the 4 hour session pouring then you get about an hour of free time to try the other beers of the fest. It is a good free way to get to experience the GABF and support a great organization like the ABA/AHA. They couldn't put on the event without the voluneers. After a second full day in a row I was spent again. I walked home picked up some taco bell on the way home and crashed. I was so tired I didn't even finish my tacos. I was out like a light.

The next morning I got up and started to pack for my flight back home. Lets just say that didn't go so well the zipper on my suitcase broke. I was only 9:30am so i had some time before the stores would open. I wanted a good breakfast so I headed over to a local fixture called Sams #3. I highly recommend this place the food is awesome, the quanties large, and the price reasonable. I happened to get the kitchen sink scramble. I can eat and I couldn't finish it. While I was there I ended up sitting next to Brandon the head brewer from Silver Peak in Reno, NV. We talked a little homebrewing and commercial brewing. The more I learn about commercial brewing the more like work it sounds. I think it would take the fun out of brewing if you did it for a living. I'll stick with the homebrewing. I like the hours. If i do ever go pro in the beer industry I think a place like Falling Rock would be the way to go. After breakfast I found a Ross bought a new suitcase, packed and went to the airport. It was a pretty uneventful end of the trip. Which I was very glad for. It was a long, tiring, but amazingly fun trip. I hope to do it again next year.

Top 5 from each session.

Saturday Afternoon:
1. Black Chocolate Stout - Brooklyn Brewery
2. Watermellon Wheat - 21st Amendment
3. Brother David's Double - Anderson Valley
4. Organic IPA - Hopworks Urban Brewery
5. Redemption - Russian River Brewing Co

Saturday Evening:
1. Saint Arnold Summer Pils - Saint Arnold Brewing Co
2. Wee Heavy - Alesmith
3. Big Eye IPA - Ballast Point
4. Ruination - Stone
5. Dream Catcher - Rock Bottom, AZ locations

Friday, October 17, 2008

GABF Days 1 & 2

Hi all,

I am sure you all have read some GABF reviews so I am going to keep it short and sweet and give you some suggestions based on my first time experience. Let's start out by saying I had a blast. I can't wait to get back and I am already trying to get the family to meet up there for our weekly vacation. I got there on Thursday about 2 hours before the opening session. I was so psyched so I go there about 45 minutes early thinking the line would be starting but it was already real long. I just walked to the end and with in minutes I was talking with fellow beer drinks. Well we finally got in a then the "WOW!!!" it was beautiful a whole convention centerfull of beer. I didn't know where to start. So I just went to the closest station and grabbed a sample and started walking around to get the lay of the land. I didn't plan too much cause I was going for 3 out of the 4 sessions so i figured I would get what I missed the next day. I basically wandered around for 4 hours sampling with no plan in the world. The only place I made sure I hit was New Glarus becasue all the blogs said to go there quickly becasue they run out fast. There stuff was amazing. I highly recommend if you are ever in Wisconsin that you try to get to there brewery you won't be disappointed. While at one of the brewery's (I don't rembember which one) towards the end of the night I started talking to some people and the invited me to Falling Rock. So I went even though I had to get up early to volunteer with set up. It was a great decisions as I got to check out one of the coolest beer bars I had ever been to and sence it was GABF week they busted out some very unique beers. It was a blast. Next time you are in Denver hit the Falling Rock.

Lets just say the next morning came very quickly. I got to bed around 1am and got up at 7. It sounds like a good amout but when you have been brinking for the last 6 hours it comes quickly. I say you need 2 hours of sleep for every one of drinking. Well I got to the convention center thinking I had a 4 hour shift of setting up for the Friday night session. Well that 4 hours turned into 8.5. I didn't have anything to do and they need more help in the afternoon. I was thinking that set up would be easy but this was work. We did everything from cleaning to moving kegs and ice. I was exausted and I still had the session to attend. Don't get me wrong I would do it again in a heart beat it was actually kind of fun to see how everything runs. I met up with my friend who lives in Denver and we basically did the same thing as I did the day before wander around and sample. This was the day I got to try the famous Sam Adams "Utopias" I was really glad I got to try it and not buy it. I was pretty good but not worth $150 a bottle. I'll stick with the samples. By the end of the night I could barely standup I was so tired but my stomach always takes precident over sleep. I went with my friend, his wife, and friend to a bar/resteraunt called McCormicks. If you ever want a decent cheeseburger and fries for $2 bucks go here during happy hour. There is nothing like cheap greasy food after some good beers. After dinner about 1 again I got back to the hotel and just crashed. I couldn't wait to get my shoes off after 13 hours walking around the convention center. I hit the pillow and I was off to dream land.

I really have no clue all the beers I tried so i will just list my top 5 from each day.

1. Raspberry Tart - New Glarus
2. Vertical Epic 08-08-08 - Stone
3. Smoked Porter - Alaskan
4. Midas Touch - Dogfish Head
5. Hazelnut Brown Ale - Rogue

1. Utopias - Sam Adams
2. Belgian Red - New Glarus
3. 15th Aniversary Ale - Avery
4. Rare Vos - Brewery Ommegang
5. I can't remember the beer name but it was an IPA from Empire Brewing in Buffalo NY.

Stay tuned for days 3-4 of the trip,

Matt C.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Announcing Session #21: Favorite Beer and Beer Judge Wanna Be!

Hi all,

I will be hosting next months blogging event "The Session #21" on Friday, November 7, 2008. The Session is a monthly blogging event where beer fans from all over the world blog about a specific topic on the first Friday of the month. The Session was started by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer. For a great overview of past topics please see the Brookston Beer Bulletin or Beer Haiku Daily.

When looking at the past topics I felt that they were all a little to easy. They weren't loaded enough for me. No one has asked the the one question that I am guessing all of you have heard. This question has probably come from friends, family, stangers from the bar, etc everytime you bring up you are really into beer.

That question is: What is your favorite Beer and Why?

Before you say I don't have a favorite beer or how do I pick just one. I say BS everyone has a favorite. There will always be a beer that you would grab above all others, your go to beer per say. The one beer you will almost always choose over the others. When I get asked that question I almost always say I don't have one but then when I came up with this topic I realized I did and I know you do too.

I would like to take this topic one step farther for purely selfish reasons. I am trying to do better reviews on beers that I drink and I would like to see how other rate and review their beers. So put on your BJCP hat and Review and Rate your Favorite Beer.

In Review:

Date - Nov 7th 2008

Topic - What is your favorite Beer and Why?

Extra Requirement - Review your favorite beer!

I am already looking forward to reading all your post and maybe even tasting your favorite beer. As usual to partake in the event you can email me at gisbrewmaster(at)gmail(.)com or post a comment. See you next month!!

Fermentation Friday - Complete Topic List

Hi All,

I really like what Captain Hops did over at Beer Haiku Daily for the The Session. So I am going to do my best to maintain a list of all the topics and final posts for Fermentation Friday.

2008 Fermentation Friday Post:

May 30 - Adam @ Beer Bits 2 (I Remember When I Started HomeBrewing!), Topic Announcement, Round Up

June 27 - Travis @ CNY Brew (What is the craziest concoction you ever came up with?), Topic Announcement, Round Up

July 25 - Brew Dudes (What one tip would you give a beginner homebrewer?), Topic Announcement, Round Up

August 29 - Bunz @ The Panhandle Beer Snob and Redneck Brewery (What is the best beer you ever made?), Topic Announcement, Round Up

September 26 - Marcus @ Final Gravity (What indigenous brewing ingredient have you used or would you like to brew with?), Topic Announcement, Round Up

October 31 - Rob @ Pfiff! (Homebrewing Horror Stories), Topic Announcement, Round Up

November 28 -Adam @ Beer Bits 2 (Brewing Photos), Topic Announcement, Round Up (Not sure if this is the right round up but it works. Let me know if it needs a change.)

December 26 - The Guys over at @ Rooftop Brew
(Yeast), Topic Announcement, Round Up (Can't seem to find)

2009 Fermentation Friday Post:

January 30 - Jim @ lootcorp
(Brew Year Resolutions), Topic Announcement, Round Up

February 27 - Matt @ World of Brews (Cleaning and Sanitization), Topic Announcement, Round Up

March 27 - Bryon @ (Embrace Your Spring), Topic Announcement, Round Up

April 24 - Jake @ Northerntable
(All About Liquor), Topic Announcement, Round Up

May 29 - Ted @ TedBrews
(Brewing Joys and Stresses), Topic Announcement, Round Up

June 26 - The Boy's @ Brew Dudes (Topic TBD), Topic Announcement, Round Up

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Session #20 - Beer and Memories

Hi All,

Welcome to my post for this months session. I would like to thank Ray and Melissa over at Bathtub Brewery for hosting this months event. I really like the topic Beer and Memories but I was having trouble deciding what beer memory to write about. So I decided to write a funny story from my younger days.

Picture this 19 years old and a sophomore in college. I know what your thinking this is going to be the typical get drunk and score for the first time story. Well you would be way off. When I first started school I hardly drank at all. I maybe had a little wine or champaign on Christmas I can't even remember if I had tried a beer. I was a good Boy ;-) Well my freshman year I played a lot of intramural sports: Flag Football, Soccer, Roller Hockey, Softball, Basketball, etc. I just did it for fun and to chill with my friends. My sophomore year I decided I wanted a little more competition so I say a signed for Club Rugby. Club sports are somewhere between intramurals and school sports. The biggest difference is you had to pay more to play to cover travel and expenses (mostly beer). So I went sighed up and we started practicing. Well our first few games were at home so we would play the game and most of the team would drink a keg of the fizzy yellow stuff before, during and after the game. I never thought that much about it because I didn't drink. I knew that Rugby players were drinkers, partiers, and all around crazy so it didn't shock me at all. I just played and did my thing.

Well the next game was out of town about 2 hours away and I was so excited. I hadn't been on a sports road trip in a few years. So we get the the game and everything goes smoothly. Everyone is drinking and playing away. After the game we all go to a party at the house of some of the other teams players. Rugby players hate each other during the game but after everyone is buddy buddy. I am just chilling talking to some people and some of our team captain said we need to talk to you. Well they handed me a bud light(I think) and told me to have a beer. I told them I no thanks I don't drink. Thats where it goes down hill. Well then they said you can't go home. That's not a big deal when your at a home game but it is when you are 2 hours away. So I just laughed at them an walked away. They set the beer down and said it would be waiting for me. I thought they were just joking. We all load up into the vans to head home and I go to get in and they block me. They said to me your beer is under that tree. One of the vans drives away and the driver gets into the other one and said drink the beer or have a good walk. Of course I drank the warm, flat nasty bud light and got in the van. That was the end of my rugby career.

Everytime I see or even sometime drink yellow fizzy stuff I think of that day and laugh. It is so ironic that I quit playing a sport that I rather enjoyed because they made me drink a beer. They made me drink a beer I am laughing now as I write. I never became a fan of the yellow fizzy stuff but I probably drank my share over the next few years. I never saw 50 cent pitchers of dogfish head, russian river, or sierra nevada. So you get the point. I know its not top of the line but even in college when I was drinking beer I would choose a Killians or Yuengling.

Thanks again to Bathtub Brewery for hosting this months session. I am looking forward to reading other peoples post. See you all next month.

I quit playing Rugby becasue they made me drink a beer!!!! LOL!!!