Monday, September 26, 2011

French Holiday Beer


The style name is Bière de Garde, but when a stronger version of this style is brewed in the winter, it is often called Bière de Noël .

I'm calling this one Bière de Vacances, which is mangled French for "Holiday Beer" -- a regular strength BdG that should be ready to drink in December.

The wort is currently bubbling away in the fermeter. With the help of my co-brewer, ChuckleCharles and a little luck, we will wrangle this beast into about 600 ounces of tasty goodness.

The second of a two step starter (Wyeast 3725-PC Biere De Garde):


It is in the carboy and sitting on a Disney movie beach towel (Hunchback of Notre Dame, très approprié, non?):


The recipe is on BeerTools.com. All of the malts came from the Franco-Belges Maltser and the second hop addition is French Strisselspalt, which has a very unusual aroma that we couldn't put our finger on until ChuckleCharles nailed it: Cantaloupe.
Tale of the tape:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stark & Teutonic



Clever Brit take on a German style:
Our DoppelHop is a pale Bock Bier brewed, of course, in full accordance with the Bavarian purity law (the Reinheitsgebot - actually pretty much all our beer is brewed in accordance with this anyway) whereby the only ingredients allowed are water, yeast, malt & hops. As with many Oktoberfest Biers it is slightly on the strong side. But unlike most it is dryish, and very hoppy. We've used proper imported Bavarian Pilsner, Vienna & Munich malts to give the beer a full body, allowing us to hop on the 'refreshing' side.


Serving Suggestion:




Sunday, August 14, 2011

Barley, Rosemary, Sage and Yeast




I didn't get to try all the beers I had hoped to at yesterday's UNICO Microbrew Festival. I missed out on the Boulevard Dubbel Nommo, the New Belgium Super Cru and the Green Flash Summer Saison. But I also didn't walk away with double vision and a splitting headache the next day, so there's that.


Ms. Mo and I met up with DJ Beer and Dubbel Blonde. We were later joined by Just Belgian. Here, Dubbel Blonde demonstrates how to properly shoot from the hip:



I did get to try the Deschutes Conflux No. 2 side by side with the Boulevard Collaboration No. 2. I prefer the Conflux over the Boulevard version by a wide margin, which makes me sad for my hometown brewer.


One of the other stars of the show was a beer I might have passed up if Ms. Mo and Dubbel Blonde had not raved about it so much: Tallgrass Buffalo Sweat. It is important to note that Ms. Mo's go to beer is MGD 64. So, when you make a stout that Ms. Mo raves about, you have really accomplished something.


We did spent some time scoping out the style preferred by Just Belgian:



Since Doodle Brewing was there, we headed that way and tried the Dubbel Doodle which we really enjoyed.



I was excited to meet the founder of Doodle Brewing, Nick Vaughn. I asked him if he is still self-distributing, and he reported that he now has a Missouri distributor for Jackson, Clay and Platte counties, which is excellent news.


The highlight of the day was when I asked Nick if he had any other beers in the pipeline and he said, "Funny you should ask" as he reached down and produced a 22 oz. bottle and proceeded to pour samples for me, DJ Beer and Just Belgian. It was a dark beer and poured with a fairly thin tan head. It had a malty aroma. The big surprise was in the taste. First, I guessed oregano and Nick waived me off. Then I guessed rosemary, and Nick confirmed it had rosemary and sage. Nick explained this beer, "fits perfectly with the style of a Belgian Spiced Porter". Nick's tongue was sitting squarely in his cheek as he said this.





I have never had a beer with this level of herbs, so at first I was a bit taken aback, but I quickly warmed to the flavor and went back for a second sample. This is audacious brewing at its best and something I would really like to try again.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cleaning House




I've decided to move most all of my non-beer, non-kc blog links to my previously dormant site, Bentway Meltality

KC HopFest 2011 - Part II: "Tap Control"



Update 6/24/11: This post has been modified from the original after I became uncomfortable with the caustic nature of some of my criticisms. - MM


I left off my previous post heading out to try another special KC HopFest offering: Left Hand Brewing TNT

The line is short. I can see the TNT tap. I am looking forward to this. I've enjoyed many Left Hand brews: Milk Stout, Sawtooth and 400 Lb Monkey come to mind. I try to make eye-contact with the fellow behind the table and say, "Gimme shum uh dat TNT shit man!" "I'd like the TNT, please." Without looking up, the guy says, "Do you know what it is?"




I suppose the MO Bev guy was just trying to warn off an unsuspecting HopFest participant from an unpleasant craft beer experience, but I don't think his approach could be more douchey. Sadly, the guy upped the "D" quotient by only serving me about one ounce, even after I assured him I knew what I was asking for.

When I went back and said, "gimme sum fukin moar!", "Its good, can you top it up this time?" He still only gave me half a glass. All this without ever looking up. Way to show off that St. Louis charm, MO Bev!

Happily, I can say this was the only truly negative experience I had, and I can't put any blame on the hosts of the event. It was really a small incident in the grand scheme of things.

Left-Hand describes TNT as a Weizen Doppelbock. Originally, I thought I was getting a Dunkelweizen, but I did recall that Molly said it was smokey. The great revelation for me was that I REALLY liked it! The Lapsang Souchong Black Tea is the source of the smoke flavor; From Wikipedia: "lapsang leaves are traditionally smoke-dried over pinewood fires". The smoke is not overwhelming, it complements the roasty malts and helps to mask the 7.2% ABV.

Next up, Part III: "Many Beers Had I"

Sunday, June 19, 2011

KC HopFest 2011: The Beginning





Tickets to KC HopFest was my Father's Day present from Ms. Muddy. Thanks honey!

Arrival: I didn't have the VIP tickets, but when I arrived the crowd is still sparse. There is a big tent with chairs and tables. I like this set-up. I stake my claim to a corner chair by laying out my program and placing my Swisher Sweets and lighter on top. I meet Tom and his wife Cindy. Tom is a homebrewer from New York who likes IPA style beers. Great conversation ensues.

My first sample is Boulevard Hoppy Wheat -
It is hard to find the specs for this brew. When Beer Kitchen had the Boulevard Beer Dinner back in April, the beer was described as, "high-gravity Falconer's Flight dry-hopped Unfiltered Wheat - 5.2%; a new test brew for Boulevard, sessionable wheat beer with an herbal & citrus hop character"

Falconer's Flight is a new hop released in March 2011. It is a dual use hop with a flavor profile of Tropical Fruit, Citrus, floral, lemon and Grapefruit character. The additional hops take the Boulevard Wheat into a completely different realm. The typical American wheat tartness is melded with the citrus of the hops for a very refreshing taste. Boulevard should bottle this brew. I submit my label suggestion for Boulevard Hoppy Wheat:






I finish my first sample and see that Tom and Cindy have left, but there are still plenty of chairs available so I feel confident I will not lose my place as I head out for a new sample. I look for a short line and find one on the North side at Tallgrass. This gives me a chance to get my question answered about their Halcyon wheat beer, "Is it brewed with Halcyon malt?" (no, it is not).





I go for a sample of the Tallgrass Oasis, described as an ESB/IPA hybrid or a Double ESB, which is not an existing classification. It takes some cajones to claim your beer is in a category all by itself. This 7.2% ABV, 93 IBU concoction has a strong hop and caramel aroma. The flavor of pine and citrus hops up front is subdued by bready English maltiness. While BeerAdvocate has this in the same class as Dogfish 90 and Pliny, is not anywhere near Barleywine territory. So very drinkable. Maybe it is in a class of its own?

Just as I finish the Oasis, a new group sits down at the table. A pretty redhead is raving about the Left Hand TNT.





I ask her about it and she describes a DunkelWeisen brewed with Black Tea. Will Molly and her friend protect my spot? YES! I double time it to the Left-Hand booth. This is where I run into my first unpleasant experience.

More on that in Part II, "The Douche and the Dirtwater Distributor"

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fork in the Road







Lyrics to Neil Young's "Fork in the Road" Performed in January 2009:

Got a pot belly. 
It's not too big. 
Gets in my way 
when I'm driving my rig.
 Driving this country
 in a big old rig, 
things I see
 mean a lot.



My friend has a pickup.
 Drives his kid to school.
 Then he takes his wife
to beauty school.

 Now she's doin' nails.
 Gonna get a job.
 Got a good teacher.


There's a fork in the road ahead.
 I don't know which way I'm gonna turn.
 There's a fork in the road ahead.

Forgot this year, 
to salute the troops. 
They're all still there
 in a fucking war. It's no good.
 Whose idea was that?



I've got hope,
 but you can't eat hope. 
I'm not done. 
Not giving up. 
Not cashing in.
 Too late.

There's a bailout coming but it's not for me. 
It's for all those creeps watching tickers on TV. 
There's a bailout coming but it's not for me.

I'm a big rock star.
 My sales have tanked,
 but I still got you.
 Thanks!
 Download this.
 Sounds like shit.



Keep on bloggin' 'til the power goes out,
 and your battery's dead.

Twist and Shout. 
On the radio.
 Those were the days.
 Bring 'em back.

There's a bailout coming but it's not for you.
 It's for all those creeps hiding what they do.
 There's a bailout coming but it's not for you.
 Bailout coming but it's not for you.

Got my new flat-screen.
 Got it repo'd now. 
They picked it up.
 Left a hole in the wall.
 Last Saturday.
 Missed the Raiders game.

There's a bailout coming but it's not for you.
 There's a bailout coming but it's not for you.
 It's for all those creeps hiding what they do.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Goose Island's New Big Stout





Goose Island's newest release reminds me of the popular country song about "Big John". It was originally performed by Jimmy Dean, but I remember Johnny Cash's version. I hate song's performed by Johnny Cash. Not to worry, there's an a cappella version:

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Anchor Bock: Better Than an Oyster Shell Hat





When it comes to giant oyster shells worn as a fashion accoutrement, I have to say I hate the way it looks. When it comes to Anchor Bock Beer, I have to say I don't hate the way it tastes, but it is not a pretty picture.





Very dark with a nice tan head and a bready, smokey aroma. But the flavor is just a jumbled mess. The initial taste of the dark breads and smoke hints that this is going to be a rich experience, but that all gets lost in a thinnish, slick mouthfeel followed by a hop finish with a pronounced orange flavor. I did not really enjoy this beer at all.

The tale of the tape from Anchor Brewing doesn't shed much light: 2 Row Malts, Wheat Malt, Whole Hops.

Traditional Bock beers are brewed with German Munich and Vienna 2-row malts, the wheat malt seems a little out of place here. There are some hops that people report have a strong orange flavor, such as the New Zealand Pacifica hops used in the SN Southern Hemisphere fresh hop seasonal.


And I just remembered Anchor also has a hay bale beer I didn't enjoy.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dream Team Sixer



Billy Brew asks,

"What if you could buy a six pack of the best beers your state had to offer?"


I've limited the choices to packaged beers available in 12oz containers. I am not limiting the choices to only those styles I enjoy or to year round offerings.


In no particular order:

________________________________


Schlafly Export IPA
- This seasonal offering is an excellent English Style IPA, which can be difficult to find.

Drunk Monkey sez,

"Smell has a malty sweet base with added citrus fruits. The citrus is prominent, but not overpowering. Maybe more of the blossom than the actual fruit. Taste is equally fruity like tangerines. This is very interesting because it is different. Usually citrus flavors are lemon or orange which can easily get unbalanced. This tangerine flavor is bold but not over powering. Nice! It does finish up in the back with some hops bitterness. Mouthfeel is light/medium body and very clean. Very refreshing and quaff-able, even though the higher ABV puts it out of the "session" category."

________________________________



Boulevard Tank 7
- World-Class.

Even our cross-state rival, STL Hops is amazed,

"...you may remember my drunken tweet of, “Tank 7 from Boulevard was well worth the price of Microfest VIP ticket.” While the message may have been sullied by a drunken blogger, it was absolutely accurate. Tank 7 was my favorite beer of the festival and I went back three or four times to keep getting samples.

As many readers of STL Hops know, I’m not a fan of big hop aroma and flavor and Belgian yeast, the combination just doesn’t work for me. But somehow Boulevard found a way to pull it off and make a wonderfully refreshing summertime beer."

________________________________



O'Fallon Smoked Porter
- Not one of my favorite styles, but it took gold at 2004 GABF.

Marty Nachel, Author, Homebrewer and Chicago Craft Beer Examiner reviewed it for Viewpoints,

"This version of smoked porter is among the best in this country, if not the world."


________________________________



Boulevard Bully! Porter
- Can you believe in a hoppy porter?

Andy made a video:



________________________________



Schlafly Pumpkin Ale
- Hey Mom, I learned to like vegetables!

"This show has nothing to do with turkey, but goddamn that Schlafly Pumpkin Ale is good shit."
- DJ for GaragePunk.Com comments on Savage Kick podcast #45

________________________________



Boulevard Sixth Glass
- Ever had a Quaffable Quadruple?

Dallas Craft Beer Examiner, Paul Hightower likes how the name comes from a Hans Christian Andersen parable about the evils of alcohol and he REALLY likes the beer,

"...this is a style known as strong dark Belgian ale, and with one sip you know the difference. Immediately, you can taste an ester-heavy dark roast with a light tartness combined with elements of caramelized sugars, raisins, figs, molasses, chocolate, raspberries… the flavor complexity goes on and on."


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quaffing on Sunshine





This is an excellent value: A 22 oz bomber can be had for about six bucks including tax at Cosentino's Downtown Market.

Demolition has everything you expect from a fine Belgian golden ale for half the price of the imported versions. The commemoration on the bottle explains the name, "...to honor the brave soles who kept our brewery open while wrecking balls tore down the mall around us."

"Demolition" also is a fitting description of the effect this concoction had on me. It is a billowy blonde brew, with aromatics and citrus in the nose, sweet fruit on the tongue and a surprisingly spicy finish.

I'm sure I heard the sounds of harps and strings as I poured the final drops of that second glass. Not long after, the 7.2% wrecking ball of an ABV made short work of my higher brain functions.





Saturday, February 12, 2011

I'm Not Jealous





Dear Boulevard Chocolate Ale Consuming Cocksuckers,

Due to a series of unfortunate events (furnace went out), I lost track of the fact that 2.8.2011 was the release day for the Boulevard Chocolate Ale. By the time I realized my oversight on 2/9, it was really too late. Of course you Cocksuckers are keenly aware of this fact.

I called around anyway and was told a certain Hy-Vee was getting a delivery on 2/11. On Friday I called the Hy-Vee and confirmed they had it and planned to begin selling it at 1:00, but over 100 people lined up at 11:00 AM. They already sold the entire stock to the first 41 Cocksuckers.

Some of you Cocksuckers said that Central States website/Facebook had info about who had it on tap. O'Dowd's in Zona Rosa, some Cocksuckers said. So on the evening of 2/12 I called O'Dowd's and the pleasant little hostess laughed and said I was the fifth call they had received about BCA. Of course, you Cocksuckers had already drained their kegs.

I am a big fan of the long ago discontinued HBO series Deadwood. I had it on my Amazon wishlist. When Amazon sent me an e-mail last week with a one time offer of the complete Deadwood series on DVD for 50% off, I bought it. Did any of you Cocksuckers get the complete Deadwood series for 50% off? I didn't think so.

Minksy's Pizza has a great Italian steak sandwich with fries for $6.29. They also carry a very hard to find Vatted Scotch: Sheep Dip. I went there and ordered the sandwich to go and while I waited, I had a Smithwick's along with a shot of Sheep Dip, something I like to call, I'm not Jealous, you Cocksuckers.

As I write this, I have finished the sandwich, which I washed down with a Sam Adams Noble Pils. After I publish this post, I am going to open a bottle of Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, which will leave my stock at two 12 oz bottles. If any of you Cocksuckers want to trade, send me an e-mail.