Archive for the ‘festivals’ Category

Mega Update

Wow, I have fallen behind again…so here is a mega update:

I brewed 2 versions of a smoked porter recipe, one using the malt I smoked over apple wood and one using Briess cherry wood smoked malt.  The recipe was identical except for the smoked malt.  The Briess version ended up a bit too aggressive, and the apple wood version is really good if not a bit light in smoke character.  I will eventually try this again increasing the percentage of apple wood smoked malt just a touch.   Additionally I took a bit of the smoked porter and added some chipotle peppers to it.   I will have to try that one again, but I seem to recall the flavor being between the two with a slight bit of heat from the pepper.

I also brewed a Belgian Quad around the time of the porters.  This one turned out excellent!   Light fruity flavor from the yeast and dark fruit flavors from the D2 candi syrup.   Nice and delicious, though quite potent as well coming in around 10% ABV.

This coming weekend I plan on brewing a belgian strong, the “BL”, the amber/alt we served at Oktoberfest, and a new batch of Drama Queen in honor of Brent Favrah.  I’ll post recipe details and variations for these next week.

The lambic is tasting really good right now.  I think I will pull a couple kegs off & top off with the fresh beer I have lying in wait.   The fruited versions are also pretty interesting.  The apricot version turned quite a bit more sour, while the raspberry is showing a LOT of the fruit flavor and the cranberry is pretty light on color and flavor.

The blackberry flanders red is also tasting good right now.  The fruit flavor is there, but not overbearing, and it added a bit of a musty flavor that isn’t present in the unfruited version….interesting.  I will try to sample some of the unfruited red and the stout this week or next to report their progress.

FOBAB was once again a great event….some really interesting beers, and glad to see some of the new entrants taking home awards.  I was sad to see some of my favorite breweries didn’t send anything though (Surly and Jolly Pumpkin specifically)

Apparently Surly is still short on capacity to service the entire state of MN….so no Surly made it home from hunting last week, though we did score some 21st Ammendment and Deschutes which was a nice consolation prize for sure!  We did get to try some Darkness a few weeks ago when some kegs made their way to various bars in Illinois.   Good stuff as expected.  Now I am looking forward to trying the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout Vanilla and Rare when we have Stoutfest sometime early in 2011….it will be hard to wait.

Good enough for now….will have updates on the next brews after the weekend.

Seattle-Portland-OBF

Well, back  from our vacation to the Pacific Northwest for a family reunion and beer tour.  It all started at Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee with a New Glarus Spotted Cow…In Seattle we visited Pike Brewing, as well as Elysian’s Capital Hill Brewpub.  Pike was pretty good with a decent IPA but the main attraction for me was the Red Barn Firebarrel Bourbon Barrel Aged Cider.  I liked it quite a bit…a nice dry, tart cider with hints of vanilla and oak from the bourbon barrel.  Might be something to experiment with in the future.  Elysian was great.  Their dry-hopped IPA was delicious, the ESB was nice,  and the food was quite good as well.  I wish we had more time to spend there and try a few other beers.  I also need to mention that it was GREAT to attend a baseball game and have quality craft beer available…I wish the White Sox would follow suit with at least some Goose Island beers.   Hard to beat an Alaskan Amber while watching a White Sox win though.

We also got to sample some homebrew at our family reunion as Betsy brought a few for everyone to try.  I really liked the IPA (all centennial hops) and the Rye (pale ale?).  A lot of rye beers I have had are done with too much rye, but this was a nice blend with enough rye to give it a spicy flavor but not so much that it is all you could taste.

**Note to self – send Betsy a package closer to Oktoberfest with some of what will be served.

In Portland, we were able to go to the Rogue brewpub, as well as the Deschutes brewpub.  Rogue was nice, a bit pricey, and not very busy when we were there.   That might have been due to it being opening day of OBF.  I tried the 200 Meter IPA, a 90 IBU IPA with Horizon, Amarillo, Centennial, and Simcoe hops.  It was delicious, very aromatic and flavorful, while not being too harsh/bitter.  We also sampled the Northwestern Ale, Shakespeare Stout, and took home a growler of Mom Hefeweizen.  Additionally, I tried the Dead Guy Whiskey and the Hazelnut Spice Rum.  Normally, I am not a “spirits” guy, but the Hazelnut Rum was really quite good.

Deschutes was great, I liked it better than Rogue, even though it seemed like a more “sanitized” version of a brewpub.  Very clean/modern/new looking as opposed to Rogue looking more like a watering hole that has been there a while.  Here I had their Green IPA, Hop in the Dark Cascadian Dark Ale, and Quadsimoto (barrel aged quad with Brettanomyces) and they were all really good.  I was surprised I liked the Hop in the Dark so much as I have had some “Black IPAs” that I really didn’t like – the clashing of roast and hops was unappealing….this one is great though – far more hoppy than roasty.  The food at both brewpubs was good as we stuck with our pattern of all seafood on this trip.

OBF was everything I expected and more.   Great crowd, great beer, and a lot of fun…the only disappointment was that we didn’t realize what the “Buzz Tent” was until some real treats were already gone.  Regardless, we certainly had our fill and enjoyed every minute of it.  Here’s what we notched our belt with:

Cascade Summer Gose
Maui Coconut Porter
Bayern Brewing Dumptruck Bock
Upright Reggae Junkie Gruit
Rock Bottom Oud Heverlee
Kona Big Island Brown
Moylans Pomegranate Wheat
Alaskan Pale Ale
Rogue 21
Surly Bitter Brewer
Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA
Lompoc Son of C Note
Bridgeport Stumptown Tart
Caldera Hibiscus Ginger Beer
Fearless Scotch Ale
Boulevard Tank 7
Deschutes Quadsimoto
Flying Fish Exit 4
Maui Brewing Heaven and Hell
Bruery 7 Grain Saison

Highlights were Cascade, Maui, and Boulevard.   Disappointments were Fearless, Moylans, and Rock Bottom.

All in all, Portland is a great town.   OBF is a great fest.   We definitely need to go back when we have more time to sight-see (we arrived Wednesday night and left Friday morning and spent most of Thursday at OBF).   On our way out of town, we stopped at Belmont Station to grab some things to bring home.  I was more than happy to pick up Russian River Consecration and Supplication, Cascade Apricot, Cascade The Vine, Boulevard Saison Brett, and a 4 pack of Coconut Porter.