Early in my homebrewing career somebody said to me: “Do you cook? Most folks who are good brewers are also good cooks.”
I’m not a good brewer, just a persistent one – and I’m certainly no chef, but I do like to eat, so it follows that once I left the nest I’d have to learn how to cook or forage in campground dumpsters like the rest of my family (I was raised by raccoons). Continue reading
Point: when it comes to good beer, freshness counts for a lot.
Counterpoint: most homebrewers (myself included) “release” their beer before its peak. Continue reading
Time spent beer-touring in Portland, Denver, and Cali has me pumped for the flowering of brewery taprooms now happening in the Twin Cities. Freshness counts in a large way, and at times the three-tier system can seem like showering with a raincoat – being able to talk to brewery staff about the beer you ordered while they’re hand-pumping it from a firkin just for you adds to the appreciation and immediacy of the product in a way that ordering the same beer at a civilian bar or restaurant just can’t; the ambience of a well-considered taproom is icing on the cake.
One afternoon this past week found me at one of our newer spots and chatting with a friend over beers before an impromptu walkthrough of the production side, then on with our respective evenings. Always nice to have more cool places to hang out, and who can say no to a food truck after some good beer?
One of the great things about a fiber-rich diet is that it affords daddy some quality reading time in his special office, and this morning some muesli induced me to finally start digging in to Mitch Steele’s IPA (that’s an acronym for something, but I’m not far enough along in the book) and came across this nugget regarding (probable) brewing practices for the nascent style in the 18th century:
Hops were added during the boil and were often only allowed to boil for 30 minutes before being pulled out and replaced with another charge. It is cited in many brewing texts of the period that brewers believed that boiling hops for more than 30 minutes extracted rough and harsh flavors and bitterness.
Kind of a philosophical antecedent to the whole late-addition and hopbursting approach – not directly analogous and probably with not quite the same results in the kettle, but still predating the 21st century craft brewing “hoppy not bitter” mantra by a good 250 years. Nothing new under the sun.
Occasionally hair sieves were used to strain the hops from the wort.
Maybe there’s a market for follicle-based hop-separation technology in modern home- and craft brewing? Somebody try that out, let me know how it goes.
Hey, if it’s GABF weekend that must mean I’m at home, by myself. Screw it, I’m brewing.
Porter’s been on my mind lately, since my buddy Greg and I have been extolling its virtues as the temperature drops and darkness comes a little earlier each night. Given those parameters, one of the beautiful things about living in Minnesota is that porter season lasts about 9 months. Continue reading
Sour postponed – porter needed. Notes to follow. I gotta go clean all this stuff.
From a doubleheader brew session back in August – drinking the batches now. Cheers!
image courtesy mnbeer.com
About the time that the first pictures of fall steelhead get posted to social media sites, the year’s first wet-hopped beers start hitting the shelves. And, just a few days ahead of this natural phenomenon, I had my first pint of 2012 Wet.
While yammering on as part of a Better Beer Society panel on sour beers last week, I got to sit next to Spencer from Surly Brewing. Spencer told me in no uncertain terms that my obligation to the universe was to have some of this year’s Wet – Simcoe had returned, he said, from front to back, and (now I’m going to paraphrase almost 100%) that the hop profile was less “bam!” and more “whoa” than last year’s Columbus-forward version, and (now I’m done paraphrasing) that it was not to be missed.
After getting my arm twisted like that, I had a pint (on tap at the Republic, at least as of last Wednesday, citizens), and its sticky, piney dankness did not disappoint. I am haunted by dankness.
What fresh-hop beers have you had (or brewed) so far this season? Any standouts?