German IPA, Polaris, 1217, process, self-righteousness – must be an October brew day

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There I was, citizens: I was enjoying the last gasps of Minnesota summer while brewing outside, I was drinking something from Maine Brewing Co., I was trying out some new hops and new yeast, I was smelling the roast happening at the coffee shop downwind, I was gristing some malt and heating some water and ruminating on a recent conversation with friends. Continue reading

bubbles in my beer, part 2

Citizens, in the last several months your author has seen a number of stories about new, contract-brewed brands built almost purely around a marketing concept or narrow demographic target that seem to be, to put it as objectively as possible, all hat and no cattle. What a lot of folks in the fall of 2012 might have considered “getting into brewing for the wrong reasons.”

My knee jerk reaction was uncharitable and unfavorable. Deep, internet forum-grade butthurt, scandalized like a Victorian lady. My second, more considered line of inquiry was to dig a little deeper. Join me in examining my feelings.

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prep day: Quotidian Pale Ale

Back in my day, when we had a gold-to-amber colored hoppy ale that was about 4.5% abv, we didn’t call it Session IPA. We called it “pale ale.” It was bitter but balanced, reasonable about its alcohol content, and it smelled like grapefruit and pine trees and cat piss … and we liked it that way.  Continue reading

Svetlé 12°

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Decoction is a meandering path to take to arrive at a beer; you can get a fermentable wort (not the same wort, though) into the boiler with less time and effort, but I think it’s safe to say that for most homebrewers, this whole thing we do is about the journey at least as much as it is the destination. Continue reading

feels like the first time

self portrait with Secession

The recent opportunity to try Westvleteren 12 (thanks, David!) got me thinking: what makes a beer memorable? There are objectively great, world-class, special occasion beers – like the Westy – and then there are your personal favorites, and the overlap (or lack thereof) is interesting. Continue reading

on Minnesota hops

A reader posted this question to the “About” page of this blog:

I’m curious about your thoughts of the hops industry, or lack thereof in MN. It seems that there are breweries opening every month, but virtually no one in MN is growing hops at even a semi-commercial scale. Do you think this is a needed industry in MN, and do you think that the local brewers would prefer to brew with locally sourced hops?

… and as I’ve written and rewritten my thoughts on this, the response turned into something that needed more than a one-paragraph reply to a thread on a different topic.  Continue reading