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 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.
 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.