Thursday, June 30, 2011
Here is my mom, drinking one of my brother's home brews, from a straw. Her opinion on the beer? "It's not one of my Coors Lights"
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
It’s been one of those weeks where I just can’t drink enough until I get to the point where it perhaps might have been a good idea to stop with the beer prior to the last, but still I power on with another popped top. Now drinking for escape is never an excuse, but like a good country and western song, I am mending the heartbreak of being separated from my two dogs, which are currently in the residence of my mother’s house in Dallas, Texas. Missing the affection of the sad equivalent of my children, I decide to pull a few more tops off, this time from a couple bottles of of Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo Extra IPA.
A true copper color defines the beverage as its poured out. The head that develops is a strong two fingers, but after a few moments deflates to about a dimes thickness. Despite the unimpressive head, it is a nice clean white foam, with decent lacing to boot.
The opposite of the recently reviewed Sam Adams Irish Red, the nose is hop forward with hints of breadiness under the cloud of bitter.
Calling this beer “extra IPA” is suitable due to the incredibly sharp, hop bitterness on the front end. The bitterness is so overwhelming that it initially overpowers the nice, warm grapefruit body of the beer.
Thankfully, after the initial abuse of hops, that flavor develops more as the palate becomes desensitized to the uber bitterness, allowing the malts show their face to make the beverage a well balanced IPA.
Overall it’s a fine IPA, really good actually, but not my favorite example of the style.
As my time with my current employer comes to a close, I am looking forward to a time when drinking a healthy amount of beer will be more the cause of celebration than the medication for the toil of the day. Tonight the doctor has ordered a list of blood pressure meds, blood sugar meds, and some Zoloft, all to be washed down with a bottle or two of Sam Adams’ Irish Red.
Exhibiting a dark, red tinted, copper hue as its poured, a two and half finger head with a light brown tint forms. An aroma of yeast and bread with a light hoppiness to it welcomes the first sip.
The beverage itself is defined with malt forward flavors of syrup and caramel, rounded by a mild bitterness on the back end. While the flavor is just okay, the overall drinking experience is on the high end for a Samuel Adams beer, beers that tend to be mediocre at best on the craft beer spectrum, thanks to a wonderfully full, creamy texture.
If available at bar without many craft options, this would be a fine stand in for something with more complexity.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
So this morning when running to a gas station on an orange juice run, it also became a beer run when I saw a six pack of Real Ale’s Fireman #4 Blonde Ale, brewed in Blanco, TX, near Austin.
Being is that I’m bored out of my mind, waiting for people to come and wok on my mom’s pool, and thinking about a job interview that my wife is going through right now at the Dallas Museum of Art, I figure to pop the top off of one of the newly acquired beers to help divert my attention, one top which quickly becomes three.
To say the least, initially I enjoyed this beer immensely. Pouring a clear straw yellow with oodles of active carbonation. While the head forms majestically, it does but dissipate rather quickly.
The nose is light and malty, very similar to traditional Czech style pilsners popular by American macro breweries.
With a flavor very similar to white wine, the beer’s flavor profile opens with a slightly sweet, fruity zest, but is nicely balanced with a thin hop bitterness on the backend. For a lighter beer the flavor is robust, but, as with American pilsners and lagers that make great poolside beer, there is a quick, crisp, dry finish that makes the beer very refreshing in the summer heat.
Perhaps its because I went on a road trip without my own pipe (but I doubt it), but fellow Youtuber, blogger, ect Joffre The Giant recently used his blog to post on the subject of Pipe smoking being on the decline or not, the "new pipe smoker", the advantageous use of social media for perusing the hobby, and even throws in a few references to craft brewing.
The post itself is a combination of both text and video. You might be tempted to peruse one, but not the other, but I suggest enjoying both, for they are both a little different, and both add something to his argument.
Posted by Pope Crisco at 7:43 AM
Monday, June 20, 2011
It’s the last brewday here at the 1840 Brewing Company, the next time I put malt to water I will be a Texan again. Today we are brewing a Choco-Java-Oatmeal Stout with a project ABV of about 8-9%. Hopefully this will blow a few socks off with both flavor and high gravity.
Today’s grain bill is a healthy 1 lb of chocolate malts, and half pound of both black and caramel malts.
For those not familiar with the brewing process I will start by boiling about 3 gallons of water to the point of about 160 degrees. Once the target temp is met, I will place the grains in a nylon bag, place the bag just above the bottom of the pot and let the grains seep flavor and color for about 30-40 minutes.
Sitting in the freezer is another 3 gallons of water, chilling obviously.
After sufficient steeping has occurred, I will get the temp back up to 160 and then add my sugars and malt extract. For this recipe, put together by the wonderful staff at Hop City in Atlanta, I have 9lbs of dark malt extract and another pound of local honey.
As well, at the 0 minute mark of the boiling I will add a half ounce of the Fuggle hops.
Now I will sit back with a beer, and listen to some Western Swing, and kill the next 30 minutes, barring an occasional stirring to avoid malt from sticking to the bottom of the pot, till it’s time to add another half ounce of hops to the mix.
45 minutes in we add the oat flakes, and at 50 minutes the last addition of another half ounce of hops goes into the pot.
With the 60 minute mark coming up on us, we need to start an ice bath that we will transfer the pot into once the hour is finally up. Once sitting in the ice bath I’ll need to let it cool to about 90 degrees.
When at the right temp we will dump the contents of the pot into our sterilized fermentor, over our sterilized colander to sift out oatmeal. Once we have emptied our pot, we then need to top off the tub to the 5 gallon mark with our chilled water. Once the wort gets to about 70-75 degrees we will pitch the yeast, and let things sit for about 14 days before putting it in a secondary fermentor where we will then add an 8 ounces of cold, French pressed coffee and let it sit for another a week or so before bottling.
Once bottled it will take another 10 or so days of bottle conditioning before ready to consume.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
When men look back at their habits, it is common that those habits be influenced by their parents and their fathers in particular. From our father’s example we learn what underwear to sport, what games to watch, what skills to learn, and what to drink.
While I opted to be a weird Texan, and followed hockey as opposed football, studied art instead of cars and handicrafts, my preference of beer was definitely influenced by father’s own progression of beer appreciation.
In my youth, my father was really just a Coors drinker. Multiple summers we visited the Coors’ brewery, and the fridge in our house was always stocked with a 12 pack of Coors and the same of Coors Light (for my mother) and this, at the time, influenced my world in regards to beer drinking while a child. Moms and Dads should drink the same beer, but mothers would drink the light version, as is their way.
And this mindset was supported for the first thirteen or so years of my life, until the cans from Golden, Colorado where replaced with the brown bottles and yellow labels from the Spoetzl brewery containing Shiner Bock.
I couldn’t tell you what had changed for my father, but all of a sudden it was Coors one day, and Shiner Bock the next.
Now, Shiner was not my first beer thanks to an older brother who indulged my curiosity of intoxicants while our parents went out of town, as I feel older siblings should. On more than one occasion my brother acquired me European beers that seemed to be the antithesis of the light beers my peers where drinking in high school that I was rebelling against. Where most people cut their beer drinking teeth on bud or miller, I was enjoying Chimay, Guinness, and the other odds and ends that my brother suggested.
As I matured into a beer drinker, and went through the rigors of study at the University of North Texas, the selection of beer was limited in Denton to a few imports at a greatly increased price, Miller products that where cheap as dirt, and Shiner Bock, that was a cheap as store bought dirt (sorry, reference to the Simpsons if you didn’t get it.) Being above Miller products at the time, I almost always opted for a Shiner that could be had at 4.50 for a 24 ounce cup.
To cut what is already a long story short, I began to find a common ground with my father. We would often share a beer or two in the afternoon or on the patio by the pool. Eventually, while in grad school and having a bit more money, my father would always ask to indulge in the microbrews that I was bringing home, and we would discuss beer like men do with one another, creating the strongest connection that I have ever had with him before his passing in 2005 due to cancer.
From this day, while I have more doubt in the quality of Shiner to other available beers, I still enjoy this beer more than its flavor itself can impart.
More than a tasty, refreshing beer, every Shiner I drink, I am in some way drinking with my father again.
Happy Father’s Day, Edward (Dadward) Coplen, and to all dads.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
It’s Saturday, and with my wife working a wine tasting at a small boutique deli this afternoon, I have some free time to work on a few projects, do some dishes, and light up a few cigars that I picked up yesterday to enjoy before my cash flow runs out prior to my move to Texas.
After a bad morning in the doctor’s office after waiting 4 hours to see a doctor when I had previously taken the time to schedule an appointment, I needed something turn in my favor, so I picked up a Nick’s Stick Robusto rolled by Perdomo, and a Rocky Patel Edge maduro belicoso.
The Nick Stick Robusto, 5 by 52, Natural
There is Nutty prelight draw, and being carless with my lighting technique start off with an uneven burn that eventually corrected itself near the end of the five inch cigar.
The Initial flavor is a mild, generic spice that carries throughout the smoking experience, which lasted me about an hour. The construction of the cigar is nice, it’s flavor is well balanced, and priced at 4.75 for the robusto, a good value.
It likely won’t wow your taste buds, but it will leave you satisfied with mild, inoffensive flavor, and with its reasonable price, would garnish a moderate recommendation to the curious smoker.
Edge by Rocky Patel Belicoso, 5 by 48, Maduro
The burn on the initial light is nice and even, and along with the nice visual, there is a nice earthiness followed by a slight pepper note, and some sourness. The cigar feels hefty in my fingers, that rub against a velvety maduro wrapper.
By the first inch the earthiness has subsided, the spice has become more pronounced, perhaps in the medium full range of flavor, with coffee notes and the same initial sourness coming and going on the back end. There is a lovely amount of smoke to this cigar.
Close to the halfway point the coffee flavors previously have become more pronounced, become earthier in nature, and has subdued the spice of the smoke. From this point through the end of the cigar it becomes predominately more earthy while retaining a nice balanced spiciness.