Thursday, April 28, 2011

Homebrew Part 2 - Reading a Big Book

Radical Brewing: Recipes, Tales and World-Altering Meditations in a GlassI am getting ready to brew my second batch of homebrew.  I've been reading Randy Mosher's book, "Radical Brewing".  I'm only on page 34 out of over 300 pages, but I have been learning a lot.

I just got to the part of the book where he coaches you through brewing your first beer (this is actually my second).  What I like about it is that even though it is designed for beginners he gives you choices.  For example, you get to choose whether you want Kent Goldings, Saaz, Hallertau or Cascade hops.  You could make the recipe four different times with four different types of hops and get four different beers.

He also gives you a range of amounts that you should buy, so that if you want your first beer to be more or less hoppy, then you have control over that.  If you want it more or less malty, then you have control over that also.  I'm aiming for a big malty, hoppy beer with an amber color.  I'd like to use English yeasts and strive for some fruity esters in the aroma.  This is going to be fun.

The first time I made beer I used a kit from Brewer's Best.  It did a good job of walking you through the process, but it didn't really give you much of the backstory for why you were doing all the different steps.  It was good for someone who just wants to make beer, but doesn't really want to take the time to learn why you are doing everything.  Although, I have to say the Smoked Porter we made did not turn out that great and spoiled after 2 months or so.

New Brewers Complete Homebrew Beer Making Kit by Monster Brew
There are tons of great homebrew
kits available on Amazon.com
Hoping to brew the beer this weekend.  When I brew it I'll give you an update with photos here.

Let me know what kind of beers you've been brewing and where you learned how to brew in the comment section.

Talk to you later,

James

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Urge, Not Overkill: Beer Taps, Burgers and More


On a recent trip to San Diego, my brother took me to Urge American Gastropub. I was told they had the most taps, 51, in San Diego County, but their website claims most taps in North County. They also have an exceptional bottle list. They do a lot of guest taps.

On another visit, my brother was there for a Stone Brewery event, and the guys from Stone were hanging out at the pub.

As great as the beers are at this place, and their list is great, the highlight for me was the food. I had perhaps the best burger of my life, or at the very least, top three.  It has been seven weeks since my visit, and my palate still can not comprehend where this burger lands on my "best of" list.

It was called "Burger of the Gods." It had two of my favorite things, bacon and pesto!

The Best of American Beer and Food: Pairing & Cooking with Craft Beer
Learn more about beer and food
pairings with this book.
Complete description: All Beef Patty on an Artisan Bun with Balsamic Cured Onions, Applewood-Smoked Bacon, Green Goddess Aioli, and Dandelion-Feta Pesto"

Their other burgers look great. In fact, of the four other people I went with, three of them are very picky eaters; all ate their entire meals.

This place is perfect for beer hounds and foodies alike. It is out of the way from touristy San Diego, but oh so worth a visit.

The address can be found here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bell's Oberon Ale - Beer Review




BeerTender VB2158001 T-fal Home Beer-Tap System
Can anyone tell me
whether the 5 Liter
Mini-keg of Oberon works
with this Beertender?
If you see the bright blue six pack with the bright orange sun logo, then summer is approaching. Put the bottles in your shopping cart and prepare to mow the lawn. This is lawnmower beer to the nth degree. Oberon is a citrusy wheat beer that is respected by craft beer enthusiasts around the world. You should definitely taste it and see if it makes your short list of fun summer beers.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What Is BJCP? - Beer Judge Certification Program




Beer Judging School - Judging
A book about
judging beer
Do you have strong opinions about beer? Maybe you should be a beer judge! Homebrew contests across the nation need judges and you could be one test away from living the dream. Youtuber beer reviewer Kyle Klaiber, AKA hophedbrewhaus, tells us how he got involved and describes what a homebrew contest is like.

Check out his channel...

http://www.youtube.com/user/hophedbrewhaus

Friday, April 15, 2011

Latest Beer in the Fridge

Just stocked the fridge with beer.  Which beer would you go for first?  What would you avoid?  I've been really enjoying imperial stouts and barleywines lately so I thought it was a good time to revisit Old Rasputin.  The Oberon is to get me in the mood for Spring!  The Great Lakes beers are solid and pay tribute to the fact that the BBA is based in Ohio.  Support the hometown.  Should I be worried that the VooDoo Vator had dust on the bottles?
Brewing in Cleveland (OH) (Images of America)
Speaking of Great Lakes...
Here's a book about the
history of brewing in
Cleveland, Ohio.

FYI - these won't be on the BBA soon.  That's a whole different fridge.  Coming up on the BBA... Dale's Pale Ale, Rivertown Oatmeal Stout, Lindeman's Framboise Lambic, Oberon (same beer as above, different six pack), Elevator Dark Horse Lager, and Clipper City Brewing Heavy Seas Beer Loose Cannon IPA Hop Cubed Ale (Say it five times fast and tell them to shorten the stupid name of their tasty beer).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Trois Pistoles - Beer Review



Canadian Province, Quebec - "TROIS-PISTOLES" Mug
Cool coffee mug,
but I would still
recommend a snifter!
Youtube Beer Reviewer Kyle Klaiber, AKA hophedbrewhaus, stopped by the studio with some Trois Pistoles for us to try. He is BJCP certified and was able to share a lot of insight about the beer. Check out his channel...

http://www.youtube.com/user/hophedbrewhaus

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ebel's Weiss Beer - Beer Review*


Spiegelau Beer Classics Wheat Beer Glasses, 2-Piece Gift Set
This is a good
glass for enjoying
Hefeweizens and other
wheat beers.
Have you ever bought a beer and it really let you down? We bought Ebel's Weiss Beer and weren't exactly wowed by it. Then, we looked at the expiration date - it was four months past the expiration date. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't the lively hefeweizen we were looking for. Whose fault is it when bad beer gets sold? The consumer's, the store, the distributor or the brewery? Find out how we discovered the beer was bad and appreciate the insight from our special guest - Chris Alltmont, brewer from Gordon Biersch Columbus.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pliny the Elder - Russian River Brewing Company - Beer Review

I usually don't do too many written reviews, but when I finally got my hands on Pliny the Elder I just couldn't resist.  This beer has a flock of diehard fans that worship at the altar - for example it gets an A+ on beeradvocate.

Pliny the Elder is an imperial IPA and is brewed by Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, CA.  It is 8% ABV and 100 IBUs.

BEWARE!  This beer is for hopheads only!  If you don't like hops, then do not attempt to drink this beer.

A few quick points...  On the pour there was a two finger head.  Very clear, crisp, light amber look to the beer.  Not much lacing on glass.

Tasting Beer: An Insider's Guide to the World's Greatest Drink
This book by Randy
Mosher is a great way
to learn about beer.
I highly recommend it
-James Knott
The aroma was strong.  You don't need to bury your nose in the glass for this one.  You can smell it a mile away.  Strong citrus, orange scent with a bit of pine and sweet malt laying underneath.

When tasting the beer, your tongue takes a lashing from the dry piney bitterness.  There is a slight alcohol bite/dryness to it and occasionally the sweet malt stops in to say "hi".  At the same time this beer electrifies your tongue.  There is a battle between the carbonation, the alcohol and the hop bitterness for the attention of your taste buds.  Who will win?  With this beer?  Always the hops.

It's easy to see how a beer drinker could become accustomed to this and then find every other beer boring.  This is a full-fledged attack of bitterness that hits you in the nose, smacks you in the mouth and lingers like a black-eye.

All hopheads should be required by beer law to drink this beer.  It's definitely worth a taste.

For meer mortals, this beer gets a 7 on the BBA scale.  For the hopgods I give it a 9.  I guess I'm somewhere in the middle at an 8.  It's a good beer.  Try this beer and see what all the fuss is about.

Let me know what you think about Pliny the Elder in the comment section.

Peace,

Jimmy

Gordon Biersch - Interview Brewer Chris Alltmont

Gordon Biersch can sometimes get overlooked with all the new exciting craft breweries that are popping up. They brew mostly traditional German-style lagers and a few ales while following the tenets of Reinheitsgebot - the old German purity law. Brewer Chris Alltmont stopped by the Better Beer Authority set to let us try some fresh Marzen and talk about the virtues of the Gordon Biersch way. So far, every Gordon Beirsch beer I've had has been very fresh and delicious. I think it's worth a visit to appreciate why all those old German recipes have lasted so long.