let’s cook with beer: porter-braised pot roast edition

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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

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afternoon at a taproom

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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?

nothing new under the sun

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.

Also:

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.

thoughts on porter, a recipe, and the yearly tradition of missing the GABF

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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