Showing posts with label Fruit Beer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fruit Beer. Show all posts

August 27, 2013

Craft Beer is for Lovers: Top Picks from the VA Craft Brewers Festival

2013 VA Craft Brewers Fest 
Capping off Virginia Craft Beer Month and a successful "Love on Tap" campaign by the state of Virginia, brewers and craft beer fans gathered this past weekend for the Virginia Craft Brewers Festival and Virginia Craft Brewers Cup. The event was held at Devils Backbone Brewing Company's Nelson County brewpub and concert grounds.

The weather was incredible, surpassed only by the setting, with mountain views for 360 degrees. Devils Backbone Brewpub sits on a huge plot of land in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, with almost no other buildings in sight. There were a fair number of people in attendance, about 2,200, but there was plenty of space so it didn't seem crowded. A huge stage was set up on the property for music, but the main attraction was most definitely the beer.

January 5, 2013

There's a Revolution Brewing in El Salvador

craft beer in El Salvador
Looks like a nice spot for a brewery...
Andy Newbom and his wife Nanelle sold everything, left San Francisco, and founded the first craft brewery in El Salvador. The brewery is located in Playa El Tunco, a black sand surfing spot on the Pacific coast of El Salvador, popular with backpackers, Salvadorans, and surfers. What's really cool about Andy's work is that he's creating more than just great craft beer -- he's bringing opportunity to a country where a significant portion of the population lives in extreme poverty. Can you help Brew Revolution by contributing to their Kickstarter campaign?

November 16, 2012

Asheville, NC: New Belgium Tasting and Cold Mountain Release Party

It was a special night in Asheville, with a New Belgium tasting event and the release of Highland Brewing Company's highly anticipated Cold Mountain Winter Ale.

New Belgium Tasting at Bruisin’ Ales

New Belgium Asheville - Bruisin' Ales
Bruisin' Ales ("A High-Gravity World of Brews") is a bottle shop on 66 Broadway St., right in downtown Asheville. It's not a huge shop, but nonetheless they are very well stocked. They have great selection of imports (Schneiderwiesse etc.), plus the likes of Dogfish Head, Evil Twin, and a respectable number of regional beers as well. It was a busy night, with a good turnout of beer drinkers looking forward to New Belgium's forthcoming Asheville brewery.

November 5, 2011

Homebrewing for the Holidays

It's that time of year. The leaves are changing and it's getting nice and cold. With this weather comes stronger beers to keep us warm, and with the holiday season approaching it's a good time to add some celebratory spices to our brews.

All cliches aside, I'm getting to work on a Winter Spiced Ale. It's from the Winter Wassail recipe found in the Homebrewer's Garden, scaled down to 3 gallons and with few minor tweaks:

8 oz. 2 Row Carahelles
8 oz. American 6 Row
4 oz. Crystal 120 malt
4 oz. Crystal 60 malt
3 lbs. Golden Light LME

.5 oz. Cascade :40
.25 oz Cascade :20
.5 oz. Saaz :2
(Here's where it gets a little crazy)

August 31, 2011

Beer Book: The Homebrewer's Garden

The Homebrewer's Garden: How to Easily Grow, Prepare, and Use Your Own Hops, Malts, Brewing HerbsThis book was written for the true Do-It-Yourself-er. The Homebrewer's Garden is all about growing and using with your own ingredients for making beer. The authors explain clearly and in depth what it takes to grow hops, grains, and herbs for your homebrew. Included are diagrams and complete instructions for:
  • building a hop trellis
  • planting hops rhizomes and caring for the bines
  • building an oast (for drying your hops)
  • growing over 40 different herbs to use in your beer (including basil, coriander, mint, and rosemary)
  • growing, harvesting, and malting your own barley and other brewing grains
The authors also include over 25 recipes to get you started brewing with your homegrown ingredients: Mixed Berry Porter, Oregano Pale Ale, Ginger Ale, Quinoa Bitter, Chicha de Jora, Pumpkin Ale, and Dandelion Stout, just to name a few.

Whatever your skill in brewing, this book will open up countless new possibilities! Check it out!

August 24, 2011

Brewing 101: Amarillo Pale/Amarillo Peach

Since my previous post on homebrewing, I've been mighty busy visiting breweries in North Carolina and Virginia - and working on my next batch of beer.  Several of you offered some good tips, so I made a few modifications to the recipe.  If you're interested in making your own beer, this post will give you a taste of what's involved.

Here's the updated recipe for what I decided to call Amarillo Pale and Amarillo Peach:

1 lb. Flaked Wheat
1 lb. Organic Carapils Malted Barley
3 lbs. Briess Pilsen Extra Light LME (liquid malt extract)
3 lbs. Wheat LME
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 oz. Amarillo hops for 60 mins
1/4 oz. Amarillo hops for the final 15 mins
1/4 oz. Amarillo hops for the final 5 mins
WLP001 California Ale Yeast
The 5 gallon batch is to be divided into three parts, two of which will utilize locally-grown, hand-picked peaches as adjuncts.


1.  The first, least glamorous, but probably most important, step in making beer is to sanitize everything that may come in contact with your beer.  Otherwise you risk getting bacteria or wild yeast in your beer that could ruin the whole batch.

2.  Steep the grains if you have them.  In this case I did a "mini-mash" using a pound of flaked wheat for body and a pound of organic Carapils malted barley for flavor and fermentable sugar.  I put the grains into a gallon of water and did my best to keep the temperature between 150F and 155F to pull the enzymes from the mash without over-cooking them.


3.  Next, strain the grains, reserving the water (now called wort) and wash, or sparge, the grains with hot water to make sure you get all the good stuff out.  You can discard these spent grains now - mine go straight to the compost.


4.  Then mix in the malt extract and turn up the heat.  I used 3 lbs extra light liquid malt extract and 3 lbs wheat liquid malt extract, hoping for a light-colored beer with a decent amount of alcohol content.  Most homebrewers lack the equipment necessary to process 10-20 pounds of grain, so a malt extract, either driy (DME) or liquid (LME), is an easy way to get fermentable sugars into your wort.   Homebrewers might start with all-extract recipes and work their way up to all-grain as they become more proficient.


5.  Now the countdown begins.  I boiled the wort for 1 hour, adding the hops at different points in the boil to achieve bitterness, flavor, and aroma.  I chose Amarillo hops to (hopefully) complement the peaches.

Hops for homebrewing usually come in pellet form.
6.  When the boil is over, cool the wort to less than 90F.  Move to your primary fermenter, add enough water (preferably filtered) to make 5 gallons.  Take a reading of the Original Gravity (to calculate alcohol content later), then pitch the yeast.

7.  Over the next several days, the yeast will feed on the sugars in the beer, thus producing alcohol and CO2.

8.  About halfway through fermentation, move your beer from one container to another, adding any additional ingredients that you may have.  In this case, peaches, which I had already sliced, pitted, and frozen beforehand.  Amarillo Pale got no peaches, Amarillo Peach got two, and Amarillo Double Peach got four.

Amarillo Peach on the left, Amarillo Pale, and Amarillo Double Peach.
In ten days or so, we'll bottle it up!

July 13, 2011

DC Day 3: Dogfish Head Alehouse

OK.  Now I know what all the hype is about -- and why the line for Dogfish Head at the American Craft Beer Fest was out of control the whole time. With a brewery based in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Dogfish Head also has three restaurants in the DC area: two in northern Virginia, one in Gaithersburg, Maryland. I walked in, went straight for the bar, and ordered up a glass of their 90-Minute IPA.  The Dogfish IPAs are pretty well known among IPA fans, aka 'hopheads'. Dogfish does a 60-Minute, a 90-Minute, and a 120-Minute IPA, the 'minutes' referring to how long the beer spends boiling with hops. But rather than listen to me tell you about it, why don't you let the Dogfish Head founder, Sam Calagione, tell you himself?


And it was extremely delicious. I followed the IPA with a tasty Alehouse BBQ Burger - two beef patties cooked over a wood fire, bacon, onion rings, and cheese - and spent the next hour or so deliberating which beer to get next. This is where I was just about knocked off my barstool. The beer selection at Dogfish Head was truly mind-blowing. 'Standard' simply isn't part of their vocabulary. Nearly every single beer was made with ingredients that don't typically find their way into commercial beer. I sampled one called Theobroma, derived from a 3,200-year-old Aztec recipe and made with cocoa powder, honey, chili peppers, and annatto (a seed from a tree found in Latin America). I was shocked how light it was - none of those ingredients was overwhelming at all. I tried another beer called Black & Red, which was a strong, dark, fruity beer made with mint - lots of mint. After several samples, I finally decided on the Raison d'Etre, a Belgian Ale made with raisins and beet sugar.  As you might expect, it smelled and tasted somewhat sweet and somewhat fruity -- definitely a unique combination.  At 8% ABV, it also packed a pretty good punch on the alcohol scale.

I would have loved to hang out and try all the beers on the menu, but I figured I'd save some for when I visit DC again next week.  So -- stay tuned...