Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
One week from tomorrow will likely be your only chance to taste this year’s Zwanze beer from Cantillon. As craft brewing becomes more popular, rare beers are being exploited for financial gain by people not involved with the production and lacking any meaningful relationship with the brewery. People pick up the beer from the brewery for the usual cheap prices and then sell them on eBay and other similar places at grossly inflated margins. Some breweries, like Westvleteren, take down your information and limit purchasing to prevent against this. This year Cantillon is simply refusing to sell bottles of Zwanze 2011. Two-thirds of the production has been put into barrels and sent to pubs around the world. These bars will all tap the barrels on the same day, September 17th. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the cities listed below, next Saturday may be your only chance to enjoy this year’s rendition.
“The story behind Zwanze 2011 is one of friendship between a brewer of organic lambic and an organic winegrower, Olivier Lemasson. In 2010 we tried something new by blending lambic with Pineau d’Aunis. The result was quite surprising and wine-like with specific accents of fruit, pepper and other spices, both as regards smell and taste. With Olivier’s approval, and despite a substandard harvest due to poor weather conditions, we recreated the same beer for Zwanze 2011. I subjected it to some very limited cold hopping using Bramling Cross hops, which yields a slightly bitter fruitiness. My friend Rob Todd of the Allagash Brewing Company calls it the «kiss of the hops», and I’ve decided to use this fantastic expression. The balance struck between the lambic, the grapes and the delicate bitter fruitiness is surprising yet very pleasant.”
You can find Zwanze in one of these bars next weekend:
I was chatting with a Brewer buddy of mine about his dog and mentioned that hops can kill dogs if they ingest them. He wasn’t aware of this, so I was inspired to spread the word. Hopefully we can protect hungry canines from some pain or worse.
When dogs eat hops the symptoms will likely be hyperthermia, increased and heavy breathing, and rapid heart rates. I have read that dogs generally ignore hops that are growing, but you might want to fence them so your dog can’t get at them. Dogs like to eat hops when they’ve been coated in sweet delicious wort. If you see your dog eat hops, spent hops or spent grains mixed with hops then don’t wait for signs, just take your pet to the vet. The vet will induce vomiting, so if you are unable to get to a vet try to make your dog spit up the hops somehow. A Louis CK joke leads me to believe that making them drink hydrogen peroxide does the trick. It seems that some breeds are more susceptible to this, notably greyhounds, but I wouldn’t rely on a dog as being immune. There is more to the treatment than just getting your dog to heave, as discussed in the first link below, so a professional vet is always your best bet.
While I’m all for composting, if you have a dog or if dogs might gain access to your compost pile then I think it is best that you only put spent grains in and dispose of your kettle waste elsewhere.
Ray Deter was tragically struck by a car while riding his bike in Manhattan earlier this week. The owner of the d.b.a. bars in the East Village, Brooklyn and New Orleans was also a host of Beer Sessions Radio and a great friend to those who knew him. If you’re in the city, hit up one of the d.b.a. bars and share a drink with his spirit. This is the best way I know to celebrate his memory.
Rest in Peace Ray. I’ll always remember your stories, the laughs you bring out in people, your passion for good drink and that diacetyl isn’t always a bad thing in beer.
Jimmy Carbone and Ray Deter in 2009, with the Mayor’s Proclamation of July as Good Beer Month
Westbrook Brewing might be South Carolina’s newest brewery but it’s certainly not its smallest. With the first batch brewed on Thanksgiving, Founder Edward Westbrook and Head Brewer Smith Mathews are now crafting some tasty beers in Mount Pleasant across the bridge from Charleston. I assisted Smith on Edward’s favorite Belgian Pale Ale recipe. Other beers in their lineup currently include White Thai a Belgian Wit with some novel spices, a smooth Belgian Tripel with a nice hop character and an IPA that is sometimes American and sometimes pleasantly twisted with their Belgian yeast. Barrels just arrived at the brewery and they have exciting plans for aging all sorts of beers in them. The experimentation doesn’t stop there, currently a Lichtenhainer is in the works, a little known German beer that combines elements of wheat, smoke and sour.
Westbrook’s brewhouse is a 30-barrel system with a steam jacketed kettle. Energy efficiency is always a concern in brewing. Westbrook reclaims thermal energy by directing the outlet of the wort chiller to the hot liquor tank. The water heaters pump water through solar panels on the roof.
Multitasking is key to getting everything done on brewday. This bucket of creamy sludge is some healthy yeast from the slurry to be tested for viability and counted to determine the pitch size.
Point of Safety: During the boil don’t lean against the kettle doors. When opening the kettle doors stand back, certainly don’t have your face near them. Boilovers will happen.
Westbrook definitely has room for growth. Plenty of space for more fermentors, the lab they are building gives a brewer some nice quality control toys and the tasting room is just a few weeks away from completion.
Fermentation Vessel 2 is being cleaned. Once it’s been sanitized the yeast pitch will be pumped from another FV into it prior to pumping the chilled wort.
One business’s waste becomes supplies for another. Like many small brewers the spent grains are passed along to farmers to be used as animal feed.
People think brewing is a glamorous, rock star profession. Really it’s mostly janitorial work. Most of our time is spent cleaning, but at least frequent beer tasting is a job requirement.
If you’re in the Charleston area, look for Westbrook beers wherever they serve good beer around town. Hit up the tasting room which is opening soon and has 20 taps. For food after Foster’s Pub is down the street, good food, great staff and the owner Greg loves giving people samples to promote great beer. Their jalapeños stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in bacon are off the hook.
More photos in the gallery: Click Here!
The Good Beer Seal just posted an article I wrote about how my Liberty Bell Brown Ale recipe has evolved. Here’s a preview, but click the link to read the whole thing.
Rock & Roll, Comedy, Brown Ale. The Brits often get there first, but America makes things taste better. For me brewing is about people, bringing people together and getting to know others. I like to brew beer that the drinker is going to enjoy, not just what I want to have, and doing that spurs a dialog with my friends and I come to understand their tastes better. There is a beer for everyone, even those that don’t drink alcohol. This story is about how one recipe reacted to life’s ever-changing demands and morphed 3 times to be the beer the drinker wanted.
This weekend was a great kickoff to Craft Beer Week in the city. I hope you made it to some events, I spent all day Sunday at Get Real and enjoyed every minute of serving beers to people who knew their beer, and perhaps enjoyed even more helping those who didn’t know what they wanted find a beer that suited their tastes. But we’re just getting started.
Tonight at Amity Hall they will be pouring Lagunitas beers, these guys make great IPAs, several different ways. Look for Hop Stoopid if you can get it. Dive 75 will be pouring local Blue Point beers, but maybe the winning ticket tonight is Two Brothers at Mudville9 in Tribeca. It seems difficult to find their beers in the city, but this Midwest brewery puts out some nice beers.
Tuesday the thing that catches my eye first is The Bruery at Blind Tiger. These guys are chill brewers and they pulled a gold medal for Oude Tart at GABF. That begins at 6pm, and an hour earlier Rattle N Hum is having their Victory Brewing Night. Tonight is the night for Victory it seems, as Colicchio & Sons Tap Room is hosting a Victory Brewing dinner at 7:30, reservations required. Late night, at 9:30 you can get Sixpoint’s beers paired with pizza and pasta at L’asso in Nolita.
Wednesday’s lunch should probably be paired with Stone’s beers if you are in Astoria. Sunswick 35/35 will have 7 Stone beers on tap from 11:30am to 4pm and the brewer will be there. Reservation required but it is a free event. Also on Wednesday, if you make a reservation at Jimmy’s No. 43, you can swing by anytime after 5:30 for a pre-fix 4 course meal paired with The Bruery’s beers. Firestone Walker will be featured at two bars, first a free tasting at Mudville9 at 6pm, and then at Amity Hall they’ll be featuring FW beers at least by 8pm. Firestone Walker knows hops, they took a bunch of medals at GABF, including a near sweep of the American Pale Ale category taking gold & silver in that.
Thursday is a big day. The big event that I like most is the Brewer’s Choice dinner. 15 brewers the likes of Garrett Oliver and Greg Hall will be pairing their beers with local food. Check out the link below for details. Rattle N Hum has a double event going at 5pm, Ommegang’s brewer will be there and Left Hand Brewery’s owner will be there. A rare double treat. Jimmy’s No. 43 will have Brewmaster Phil Markowski of Southampton Publik House pairing his beers with oysters. Richard Norgrove and the rest of the brewing team at Bear Republic will be at Pacific Standard in BK pairing their Cali brews with Cali cheeses, reservation required. If you’re out on Staten Island, head to the Wild Goose for a lot of rare Harpoon beers, free event and no reservation needed. At 7pm at Dive Bar on 96th, there will be 4 brewers from NY State, another great free event where you can sample beers not regularly available in the city.
That should get you going through week, a final update will be coming later to prepare for the weekend. Prost!
Game on! I just got back from GABF and now it’s time for Craft Beer Week, heaven. I just plowed through the list of events and highlighted a few of the things that I think are truly worth going out of your way for this week. Time to take advantage of access to beer we don’t normally have.
Of course the official kickoff event is Freaktoberfest at 7pm tonight at the Rock Shop in Park Slope. Open bar and 35 breweries pouring, and the release of Coney Island’s Freaktoberfest giving the event its name.
Also today Oskar Blues is featured at a couple bars, Palo Santo in Park Slope is pairing South American food with the beers from Colorado from 5pm to 7, but the beer pours till 9. Mudville9 in Tribeca has a free tasting from 6-8 of Dale’s, Gordan’s and Mama’s Little Yellow.
Otter Creek’s Brewmaster will be at Amity Hall at 8:30. Perhaps my favorite sports bar in the city. Good food, great beer. Mike’s responsible for their new line of bigger and bolder beers after moving to this brewery from DFH.
For this weekend I have already mentioned the Cask Fest, but if you can’t make that, there are other great events happening.
On Saturday Mudville9 has a free tasting of The Bruery’s Trade Winds and Autumn Maple. 3:30-5:30pm. These guys are chill and make some great brews, and if you see Oude Tart anywhere drink this gold medal winner. I’d look for their beer anywhere, but I might have to chase down some free tastes too. When that’s over, roll to The Half Pint where they will be pouring Autumn Maple and Orchard White from 6-8pm.
You have to get reservations at DBGB for either of their 6pm & 9pm Ommegang events. Three Philosophers pulled a bronze medal, and I’m sure that beer will be featured.
At Kelso in Brooklyn they’re pouring $4 pints of their beer from 9pm until you leave, the brewers are hanging out too.
Sunday I’ll be at Get Real, even so I’ll be missing The Bruery pouring at Amity Hall. I would really enjoy some football, food and alternating Trade Winds and Autumn Maple pints starting at 2pm.
Also starting at 2 and running for 6 hours is a pig roast at Sycamore Flower Shop in BK. $25 bucks a plate and 5 different Laguintas beers. A reservation is required for that, and also the dinner at Jimmy’s No. 43 which starts at 5. There you will find some very rare beers.
That’s it for this post. I’ll have another update over the weekend to get you (and myself) set for the rest of the week. Visit the link below for the complete list of events and more details.
As part of the Siebel course we went on a tour of Goose Island’s production facility, which operates 24/7/365. It’s an awesome operation, it looked like a lot of fun to work there, all the people were really cool. They let us take pictures, so check out the gallery linked below.
In addition to the video above, you can Click Here to visit the Goose Island Photo Gallery.
They were great hosts. Their barrel-aging program produces some amazing beers. We were fortunate to get a taste of a very rare, never released beer that took a Silver at GABF that year: Red Woody. If you’re ever in Chicago I recommend checking out their original brewpub location. It’s across the street from Siebel Institute near the Clybourn & North stop on the red line.
The have enormous fermenters:
A bad ass looking centrifuge:
And of course a room that probably resembles heaven:
My boy Tim, in addition to some ridiculous red eye in this photo, has a sick 5-gallon system on which he conducts various brewing experiments. Check out more of the photos in the gallery.
The World Beer Cup released the list of winning this weekend, you can click on the link at the bottom of the post for the full list.
There are some awesome things here. SweetWater in ATL got gold for Creeper in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sours. I need to talk to Smith to make sure I get to try some of that! Black Diamond in Concord, CA got gold for their ESB, Steep Trail Amber Ale. Congrats Hoodie, get that stuff distributed to me now! Baird from Japan is the only brewery to pull 3 gold medals in this year’s WBC. Congrats to Baird and CJinJ. Schlafly has the best Kölsch in the world, big ups Drew! I need to get my hands on that as it is one of my favorite styles. Goose Island had a strong showing, 4 medals, 2 gold including their IPA. They took 1st & 3rd in the American Brown Ale category! Sierra Nevada apparently makes a better German Pils than the Germans do, taking gold in that. Trumer was one of the stops on our European Study Tour, and their fine Pils took silver. I loved that beer! My old haunt in San Diego, Pizza Port/Port Brewing, took home 7 medals! SEVEN! I haven’t done a count, but that is likely to be the largest medal haul of any brewery.
Here in NY, Ommegang got a rainbow set of 3 medals, and for some reason got a silver in a category which had no gold medal winner. Brooklyn’s fine Local 2 scored bronze in Belgian Dark Strong. Scrolling through the list of winners it is amazing how well the American Craft Brew community did. American brewing is where it’s at these days. Nobody is more creative, I love the passion in this industry for creating fantastic beers, to style or out of it. Congrats to all the winners!
Tomorrow I’ll be back on the radio with Jimmy Carbone; his show Beer Sessions is at 5pm on HRN. You can listen in live, or shortly after the program, at the link below. I believe iTunes will be picking the show up soon. Of course you can catch the first shows if you haven’t had a chance to listen in yet.
Now I need to figure out what beer to bring along…