Showing posts with label Herb/Spice Beer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Herb/Spice Beer. Show all posts

September 11, 2013

Recap: High Country Craft Beer and Food Festival

It's been a busy past couple weeks in the craft beer world! It's the end of the summer, and it seems that everyone wants to squeeze out as many beer festivals as possible before the cold weather sets in.

This past Friday was the New Belgium "Clips" Beer and Film Tour in Asheville, while the weekend before was the High Country Beer Festival at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.

August 13, 2013

A Rare Beer Club Tasting: Best Served Chilled with Cheese and Good People

Rare Beer Club Tasting
The Rare Beer Club offers some
hard-to-find libations.
The Rare Beer Club puts hard to find and limited release beers in the hands of craft beer fans. They were kind enough to send me a few bottles, so I invited some Asheville beer folks over to try the club's summer releases. Included in the lineup were collaborations from some of the United States' favorite brewers, as well as a saison from one of the world's most highly regarded producers of the style.

First, a little more about the club...

May 24, 2013

Nashville, TN: Tennessee Brew Works Prepares to Bring Down the House

TN Brew Works Nashville
Last weekend in Nashville, I had the pleasure of meeting Garr Schwartz and Christian Spears, founders of the soon-to-open Tennessee Brew Works. This is a true craft brewery that will elevate the quality of the beer coming out of Nashville, the state of Tennessee, and the southeast United States.

When we pulled up to the former print shop at 809 Ewing Avenue, we weren't quite sure if we were in the right place. Located in a part of town that has probably seen better days, the brewery was still very much under construction.

March 1, 2013

Dandelion, Rye, Salt, and Coriander: Magic Hat's Spring Fever Mix

Magic Hat Variety Pack
It's March 1st and spring is so close, you can nearly taste it. It's time for the imperial stouts and other high-gravity beers to make way for something lighter, something that can be enjoyed out on the porch as we welcome the warmer weather.

Arriving on my doorstep last week were three such beers from Magic Hat's Spring Fever Mix variety pack: Pistil Dandelion Ale, Ticket to Rye IPA, and Saint Saltan Gose.

Using my Rate That Beer tasting sheet as a guide, I lined up all three for a tasting:

January 30, 2013

Top Beers and Beards from the Asheville Winter Warmer

Both the beers and the beards were on full display at the Asheville Winter Warmer this weekend. Thirty-one breweries, a cidery, and some moonshiners each brought their finest to the show, while every bit of facial hair in the house was perfectly groomed -- for the most part.

These were some of the exceptional specimens from the event, in both the beer and the beard categories:

December 8, 2012

Burlington, VT: Magic Hat's Winterland Variety Pack


"A performance in every bottle."
Christmas came early for this beer writer. Arrived on my doorstep a week or so ago was a sampler of three beers from Magic Hat Brewing Company's Winterland Variety Pack. It may not be "local" for many readers (unless you live in Vermont), but the company widely known for their #9 "Not Quite Pale Ale" has some new seasonals out that might be worth a try. Plus, readers from Costa Rica may be interested in what the new Florida Ice and Farm/CervecerĂ­a Costa Rica subsidiary has to offer.

November 20, 2012

Chapel Hill, NC: Homebrew for Hunger 2012

At the second annual Homebrew for Hunger festival, nearly 50 homebrewers and nine craft breweries teamed up to raise money and canned food for those in need.

The event, 
held at the West End Public in downtown Chapel Hill, raised over $8,500 through ticket sales and raffles to support PORCH, a volunteer organization providing hunger relief to families in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area. 

The event was expanded from one session last year to two this year in order to accomodate more tasters and to raise more money. Still, the event completely sold out in advance. 

August 14, 2012

Craft Beer in Cans: 9 to Try Today

Photo: CraftCans.com
You may have noticed an increase in the number of canned craft beers on the market lately. The benefits of canning are numerous:
  • Cans reduce the amount of light that can hit the beer, potentially "skunking" those delicious hop compounds
  • Cans weigh less than glass, reducing cost transportation costs
  • Cans are more recycled than glass and plastic
  • Cans go where glass can't, poolside, on a hike, or to a music festival for example
Some may question whether canned beer tastes the same as it's bottled counterpart, but I know for a fact that there are some very good canned beers out there.

Here are nine craft beers in the can to look out for:

November 15, 2011

Homebrew for Hunger Festival Recap

First of all, welcome to all new subscribers!  Glad to have you on board!

This past Saturday was the 1st Annual Homebrew for Hunger Festival and it was a blast! I really enjoyed sharing my beer, getting feedback, and talking to people about homebrewing in general. Best of all, the event raised close to $6,000 and collected about 200 pounds of food for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. That's enough for over 25,000 individual meals, or three meals a day for over 8,500 people dealing with hunger!

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)

September 27, 2011

Walker's Chocolate Stout

My Oregano Hoptoberfest is still chugging away, but with a new carboy in the mix I thought I'd go ahead and get started on another batch. To stay on the experimental streak, I'm making a chocolate stout and will divide the batch into two parts. Half of it will stay as is and to the other I will add a type of mint I have in my garden called Walker's Low. Adding mint was partially inspired by the "dry-minted" Black & Red from Dogfish Head, but I've found Eric Steen's work out in Colorado encouraging as well.

Here's the recipe I came up with:

1 lb. Briess 2-Row Caramel 60L Barley Malt
0.5 lb Roasted Barley
0.5 lb Crisp Black Malt
0.5 lb Crisp Chocolate Malt
6 lbs. Briess Golden LME
1 lb. Lactose Powder (non-fermentable sugar for sweetness)
4 oz. Cocoa Powder
1 oz. Northern Brewer hops (at start of boil)
1 oz. Fuggles hops (at 15 mins to go)
White Labs Irish Ale Yeast
1 oz. Walker's Low (leaves added to secondary fermentation for half the batch)
Estimated ABV: 5.9%

Just blowing off some krausen.
I mashed the grains for 1 hour and tried something new: I did a vorlauf, brew-speak for running the wort back through your spent grains to improve clarity. I mixed up the cocoa powder in about a cup of water before adding it to the boil so as to avoid clumping. I had some technical issues with my new carboy, so I had a hard time getting precise reading of volume and temperature. As a result, I think the wort was a little warm for when I added the yeast -- the next day I had krausen (foam) coming up through the airlock. To prevent some kind of disaster, I rigged up a blow-off tube to give all that foam a place to go.

Check out my Brewing 101 post for a more detailed description of the homebrewing process.

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!

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...