Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sixpoint Craft Ales

I was in Brooklyn yesterday and found myself in front of the Sixpoint Craft Ales brewery. Our goal was to get a tour and be able to chat with the brewers and taste some of there fantastic ales. Sixpoint doesn't have a phone number, so we just had to show up and hope they were open. To our dismay, they weren't. We decided to grab a seat at the bar just next door and have a few . Hey, it's as close as we could get. If you would like a tour, you need to email them in advance (which we soon found out)

I had two of Sixpoints beers. Sweet Action I think is their version of an American Pale Ale. The sweetness from the carmel malt is amazing and balanced perfectly with the hop bitterness and flavor. Very delicious beer. The second I tried was their Righteous Ale, a rye ale that had great hop flavor and malty taste. Also a good beer.

I had first heard of Sixpoint when a friend of mine bought me two growlers from their brewery, Hop Obama and a Belgian triple. The Hop Obama was a great beer with a MASSIVE hop presence. Not too overpowering and it had great balance with malty sweetness. The Belgian Triple was amazing as well. I think it was actually their Grand Crue, (Belgian barely-wine) but there was no label on the growler, so I'm not entirely sure. The alcohol was definitely present and after finishing the growler, i was feeling a little saucy...which isn't a bad thing.

As we were leaving the bar, we noticed a small building across the street and through the windows we saw new oak barrels stacked 3 high, potentially filled with delicous Sixpoint Craft Ales. I'm going to keep my eyes open for some barrel aged beers coming out in the near future. I suggest you give them a try if you can.



The Pike Brewing Company kicks off their 20th Anniversary Year with the release of Old Bawdy Barley Wine 08 and aVertical Tasting of Archived Vintages

Seattle, Washington, January 14, 2009. Old Bawdy Barley Wine is Pike's most extreme beer. With a high, starting gravity of 1.096 Old Bawdy has 10% alcohol by volume. The color, like a shiny new penny has amber highlights and a nose that is floral and sensual, like a bouquet of freshly picked flowers. Old Bawdy was brewed by Head Brewer Drew Cluley, second Brewer Dean Mochizuki and the Pike team of brewers and brewsters. The grist blend is made with enormous quantities of the finest biscuity malts. Pike Old Bawdy 2008 is sweet and earthy with the flavor of pale, crystal and wheat malts playing off of one another like sunshine on a field of barley. Balancing this liquid bread are incredible quantities of an herbal blend of Columbus, Magnum, Chinook and Centennial hops, all from the Yakima Valley. On the palate Old Bawdy is powerful, rich and complex with a smooth, full round mouth-feel and a fine balance of sweet and bitter, drinking as if it were much lighter in alcohol. The finish is long and satisfying with a slight essence of grapefruit.

Pike Old Bawdy, brewed only once a year, was first introduced in 1991. As the beer has been brewed through the years an evolution in taste has occurred as we strive to create a classic, particularly one that is a great accompaniment to food. Since The Pike Brewery was founded in the LaSalle Hotel one of Seattle's most infamous bawdy houses (brothels), the Old Bawdy label features a red light bulb in reference to "Naughty Nellie," the beautiful madam who converted an old seaman's hotel into a luxurious home away from home for gentlemen visiting Seattle's historic Pike Place Public Market, America's oldest. Though strong beers called barley wines had been brewed in Great Britain for centuries, by the late 1970s most were no longer being produced. At the time that Old Bawdy was introduced under Head Brewer Fal Allen, it was among the first of a new breed of hand crafted American barley wines and was an immediate success. Pike Old Bawdy was brewed from 1991 through 1997 at which time Pike founders, Charles and Rose Ann Finkel, sold the brewery and the beer was discontinued. The Finkels re-acquired The Pike Brewing Company in 2006 and in restoring and re-organizing the brewery, unearthed a treasure trove of the elixir from earlier vintages in both kegs and bottles. Earlier vintages, like 1996 and 1997 had matured beautifully. The 2006 vintage was lovingly brewed and released in early 2007. By contrasting this vintage with significantly older ones, the potential for aging was evident and the decision was made to establish a library of each year's beer. Customers look forward to experiencing each vintage.

2009 marks Pike's 20th Anniversary. To celebrate, special events will be held throughout the year culminating in a week-long celebration leading up to our actual birthday, October 17, 2009. On Sunday, February 8, 2009 Pike's Microbrewery Museum will be the venue for A Vertical Tasting of 1994, 1996, 1997, 2006, 2007 and 2008 Old Bawdy Barley Wines. This event will be limited to 100 people; we recommend reservations.

Pike Brewing Vertical Old Bawdy Barley Wine Tasting
1994, 1996, 1997, 2006, 2007 and 2008 Vintages
Sunday, February 8, 2009
2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
$18.00 per person - $15.00 with WABL (Washington Beer Lover's) passport

Pike Microbrewery Museum
1415 1st Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
R.S.V.P. to Michael St. Clair (206) 812-6613
The Pike Brewing Company, founded in 1989, is a family-owned gravity flow craft steam brewery and pub in the heart of Seattle next door to the entrance to historic Pike Place Public Market. It was one of the earliest American craft breweries to offer styles like Imperial Stout, IPA, and Barley Wine.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pike Brewing Company honors Scottish poet Robert Burns with Pike's Robbie Burns' Evening

Seattle, Washington January 18, 2009.

Robert Burns loved ale as well as whisky and it seems only natural that as the brewers of Pike Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale and the purveyor, at the Pike Pub, of some of the finest malts of Scotland, that Pike should honor the bard on his 250th Birthday.

4:00 p.m. - 5:30 pm

Whisky Master Ari Shapiro will conduct a tutored tasting of Lowland, Highland, Speyside and Islay single malts from such classic distilleries as Lagaluvin, Oban, Singleton, Glenkinchie and Talisker. Ari will discuss the history, culture and taste of each whisky providing an opportunity for guests to increase their understanding of single malt whisky, one of the world's sensory gems. Tasting Seminar: $25.00 per person

5:30 p.m.

Pike owner, Charles Finkel, will tap a firkin of Pike Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale, seasoned with oak that was sterilized in Lagavulin single malt Islay Whisky. $6.50 per pint

6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

The Elliot Bay Pipe Band will "Pipe in the Haggis," a traditional ceremony that includes a reading of Burns' Ode to a Haggis. Haggis, is a traditional Scottish dish of intestines stuffed with a mixture of meat, oatmeal, onions, cayenne, pepper and salt. In addition to authentic haggis, a vegetarian version will also be served. Scottish specialties to accompany the haggis will included Cockie Leekie soup, smoked salmon from Solly Amon at Pure Food Fish in the Pike Place Public Market, organic vegetables, tatties (mashed potatoes) and neeps (mashed yellow turnips,) and bread pudding with Kilt Lifter Hard Sauce.

Traditional Burns' Night entertainment will include a poetry reading by Scottish speakers, an extraordinary pipe and drum concert, songs and lots of old fashioned fun. Buffet and entertainment: $25.00 per person plus tax and gratuity.

Burns was born in 1759, a time of revolution in Scotland, France and America. He remained a man of the people throughout his short life and preferred to write in the Scottish dialect rather than English. January 25 is Robbie Burns' Day, a national holiday in Scotland. He was raised on a lowland farm and had six siblings. Whisky was kept on the sideboard and a dram or two was enjoyed afore breakfast and spending the day toiling to grow plump summer barley, the lifeblood of both beer and whisky. In later years "The Bard," as he became known, wrote "John Barleycorn, Thou king o'grain!"

Called the "Scotch Casanova," "Rabbie," as he was known to his wives and girlfriends, sired almost as many sons as sonnets.He wrote: "One night as I lay on my bed, I dreamed about a pretty maid. I was so distressed, I could take no rest; Love did torment me so. So away to my true love I did go. To the green bed I and my love did go. What we did there I'll not declare"
A folk philosopher, he authored: "When neibors anger at a plea, An' just as wud as wud can be, How easy can the barley brie cement the quarrel! It's aye the cheapest lawyer's fee, To taste the barrel."

Burns' began writing poetry, about his first love, Handsome Nell, at 15: 'Tis this in Nelly pleases me,'Tis this enchants my soul; For absolutely in my breast, She reigns without control." Tam O' Shanter, Coming Through the Rye, My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose, and Auld Lang Syne crown a mosaic of over 500 works as sensual and pertinent today as when they were penned in the 18th century. The Elliott Bay Pipe Band will perform traditional Burns' songs, and at the end of the evening, a stirring rendition of Burns' classic, "For auld lang syne my dear, for auld lang syne, We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, For auld lang syne."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

American Pale Ale II

This beer is a re-brew of the recipe I brewed for Teach a Friend to Home brew day. This recipe was the third IPA/APA I've brewed and the first two had to be dumped because the first one (American Patriot IPA) was just flat out horrible, and the second (Fresh Hop Harvest Ale) was spoiled by bacteria that was on my home grown hops that I dry hopped with.

This APA came out awesome and I was very pleased. The hop presence was very well balanced by the malt flavour and the sweetness from the crystal malts. Because it was originally brewed for TAFTHBD, I gave almost all of it away. So, this one is just for me!! I was little upset because I missed my OG by .005. This is the second beer in a row where I've missed by OG. I suspect it's because I'm not adjusting my efficiency % when I calculate the recipe on Tastybrew, so I will have to test it out. I want to do an efficiency test on my system soon also so I can know my actual % instead of estimating. Thankfully, no boil-over like last time. I'm finally able to adjust the temp on the burner to prevent the boil-overs. They have been a big headache for me since my swtch to all grain.

I had a different issue with this brew. When I was transferring it to the carboy from the kettle, it seems the trub screen I have inside my boil kettle got clogged with hops. Unfortunately, I had to use a wooden spoon to clear it which didn't work all that well, so I switched to my auto-syphon and racked it with that. I ended up with a lot more trub in the carboy than I wanted, but oh well. After I used the spoon, I realized it wasn't the one I had sanitized, so hopefully it won't ruin this beer but I wanted to make note in case it goes sour. Recipe is below.

Brewed - 1/10/09
H20/Grain ratio - 1.2
Mash Temp/Time - 155/60min
Pre-Boil Volume - 8.5 g
Post-Boil Volume - 6
OG - 1.050
IBU - 41
SRM - 7

11 lbs Two Row
.5 lbs Crystal 40l
.5 lbs Crystal 20l
.75 lbs Munich Light
.25 lbs Victory

.5 oz Magnum (13.5% AA - FWH)
1 oz Chinook (12% AA - 15 min)
.5 oz Cascade (6.6% AA - 10 min)
.5 oz Cascade (6.6% AA - DH)

Wyeast - 1056 American Ale


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Organic Belgian Witbier

Ah first stab at an all organic beer! This year, I had the awesome pleasure of being asked to be a groomsman in one of my friends weddings which is this June. We attended Hartwick College together and both swam and played water polo. Since college, we've also both gotten into triathlons, him a little more successful than I (injuries suck, but I'm back this out chap). So when he asked me to be in his wedding I was psyched and truly honored.

Knowing that I'm a home brewer and having sampled my beers in the past with much delight, he came up with an idea that to this day still makes me smile! I've been asked by the engaged couple to brew some beer to serve at there wedding. Of course I said yes, and since then I've been trying to improve my brewing. I should also mention that the bride to be is also a good friend of mine and one of my wife's best friends. She has also asked my wife to be in the wedding, which adds to the awesomeness of this event!!!

This Belgian Witbier will be the first tasting. We're all meeting back up at our alma matta on Jan 31st and will be sampling the witbier. I took the organic idea from the Bearded Brewer since his Inky's White Ale was such a hit and I also used his trick with orange marmalade instead of the orange peel. The other reason I chose all organic is because my friend, the groom to be, works for a company called Vote Solar. Vote Solar is a company that's committed to bringing solar energy into the mainstream through legislative ways like tax incentives and the such. With that in mind, I thought it might be a good idea, and fun, if I were to brew this as an organic beer. Now id I could only get a boil kettle that can operate on solar power. Anyway, below is the recipe. Sorry for the long diatribe!!!

Date brewed - 12/30/08
OG - 1.046
Batch Size - 6g
Water/Grain ratio - 1.3 qts/lb
Mash temp/time - 152/60 min
IBU - 18
SRM - 3

5 lbs. Organic Belgian Pils
6 lbs. Organic White Wheat Malt
.5 lbs Organic Flaked Wheat

1 oz. Organic Belgian Saaz (3.5% AA, 60 min)
1 oz. Organic Belgian Saaz (3.5% AA, 10 min)

1 oz. Organic crushed Coriander (5 min)
1 tbls. Organic Orange Marmalade (5 min)

Wyeast 3944 Belgian Witbier

The yeast took a day to actually get started, but then started with a bang and i had some blow off, but neglected to use the blow-off tube initially. This brew is also a big milestone for me. I've purchased a Co2 tank and regulator and I'm going to force carb this in a keg, then bottle using my blichman beer gun. the bottling will definitely take longer, but I'm just psyched to be able to force carb my beers now. The brew day went very well. It was freezing cold, so my brother and I (he came by to learn how to brew and drink some beers) spent a lot of time inside, only going outside to quickly add hops. One small boil over at the end occured because I left the lid on the kettle after the 10 min hop addition.

If anyone has an experience with either the Blichman beer gun or a counter pressure bottle filler, let me know. I'm still debating on which one I should buy.