Monday, September 28, 2009

Fermentation Friday Round Up

Sorry for the delay in getting the wrap-up posted. Thanks to everyone who participated this month. I have to apologize because I kind of picked this topic at the last minute without realizing it had been covered in the Session previously. But, I tried to relate it to homebrewing, and thankfully I think it worked out. On the the wrap up.

For GISBREWMASTER, it all started in Germany. Spaten Octoberfest was the magic potion. He's been trying as many new beers as he can since. And, as I suspected, this love of good beer brought him to Homebrewing!

Over at Brew Dudes, John and Mike came to craft beer very similiarly. For Mike it was his first Guinness. While John started with locally made Sam Adams, but his first real epiphony was also with a Guinness. The "magic of the nitrogen push" mystified him and kept him thinking about Craft Beer ever since.

Thomas over at Geistbear Brewing got hooked in Germany. At his fathers suggestion, he tried a authentic dunkelweizen and was hooked (You must have a smart father). After returning to the states, he found a bar/home brew shop and started brewing. Luckily for him, homebrewing has given him a job of late!

Jimmy, over at HopWild started out with a Pete's Strawberry Blonde but mostly developed his love of craft beer from experimenting and going through a "I'd like to be German" phase. But his real love and appreciation started when he started homebrewing and visiting breweries and festivals.

Thanks to everyone who participated this month. I promise next time I host, I'll get a better topic out there.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Fermentation Friday - Where It All Began

For many people, craft beer is a luxury. For others, it's a necessity!! For me, it's both! It's a reward for long day at work, or a great workout or race one weekend. It's also the only option for me because when I want to reward myself, I want something special. Something that makes me feel like it was made specifically for me. Not some mass marketed product that is made to please the majority. A good craft beer is the only thing that will do.

It wasn't always that way though. I can remember back to my youth when I'd be sitting with my dad watching the Patriots, Bruins or Red Sox and seeing my dad crack open a few Michelob's or Coors. I remember that first sip he gave me. I remember thinking, "really, I can have a sip?" and cherishing that sip like it was the blood of Christ. I didn't like it, but it wasn't the quality I was looking for, it was the feeling that I had started to grow up and be "a man" because I had some of my dads beer.

As I got older my drinking habits, and reason's, changed. I no longer had a few sips so I could feel more mature and like a man, I drank because I wasn't allowed to! I drank to be a rebel! And, coincidentally, I drank whatever I could get my hands on which was always cheap macro lager.

This continued into and through college (yes I drank in high school once or twice) as the normal keger was flowing with Milwaukee's best, "The Beast" as we called it. It was no where near tasty, but it was cheap and it did the job. Most of all though, I didn't know any better. I didn't know that I could drink beer and actually enjoy it for the taste too, not just for how much fun I had while drinking it.

It was my sophomore year in college when I had my first taste of craft beer. We were having a small get together and he brought some Saranac Adirondack Lager. I couldn't believe how good it was. I mean, beer wasn't supposed to taste good, it was supposed to get you drunk. I remember staring at the bottle reading every word trying to figure out why it was so different. I must have asked him 100 times where he got it. The next day, I was at the beer store buying more, and was baffled to see they had even more varieties than just Saranac Adirondack Lager.

Throughout the remainder of my tenure at Hartwick College, I did continue to drink macro lagers and craft beers. Mainly because the macro's were cheap and I didn't have a lot of money as a college kid, and because that's what was being served at party's.

So how does this tie into home brewing? Well, my senior year I was in the beer store staring at the craft section trying to figure out what I wanted. A man came in and went right to the craft section and grabbed some Saranac Black Forest. As he was paying, the cashier asked him how the brewing was going. Was he a brewer? I needed to know. I quickly paid and followed him out and asked where he brewed. He told me he wasn't a professional brewer, he brewed at home. We chatted, and then he told me to come down to his store to chat some more and he would explain all he could about home brewing.

I went to his store, we chatted for about an hour, and I left with my first home brewing kit and ingredients for an Amber Ale. From that day on, I never looked at beer the same. I drank each beer and always though, "Can I make this?". I tried a few batches, and each one failed miserably. Poor sanitation was usually the cause, but mostly it was my lack of ability to follow instructions. I just threw some stuff in the pot, cooked it, added yeast and thought I'd get some beer. Not the case!

After college, I took about a 7 year hiatus from brewing and focused on drinking! It was fun, and I tried every craft beer I could, started reading about how they were made and finally decided to give it a go again....this time with much better success. I've been brewing now frequently for the past two and a half years and have tried to learn with each session. What can I do better? What other styles can I try? What would happen if I used this ingredient? There is a ton more brewing I need to do in order to considered advanced, but I think I'm getting pretty close. Just think, I might have never gotten here if it were not for that Adirondack Lager I had back in college!!

Cheers and happy Fermentation Friday!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fermentation Friday - Where it all began

This is just a reminder that tomorrow is Fermentation Friday.  I will be doing my post tomorrow at some point.  Please either post a link to your blog or email me your post tomorrow.  I'll try and get a wrap up posted by the end of the weekend.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Food Magazine Promotes Beer

Brilliant Brews
A colleague of mine is a little bit of a foodie and she subscribes to a few different food magazines.  One of these is called Saveur.  It's very similar to Beer Advocate, but it's about food.  It's a really nice magazine.  One of the really cool things I saw was that in the current issue that she brought in for us to check out, there were a few articles talking about craft beer!!!
So, after seeing the magazine, I thought I should check out their website, and to my delight, they have a "Wine & Drink" section with a whole subsection for beer.  There are beer articles from previous issues, reviews, and other general writing about brewery's and brewers!!  So, because I was so impressed, I thought I'd pass it on.  For those interested in pairing beers and food and have a general interest in both beer and food, here is the link! 
Cheers, and Bon Appétit!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

September Fermentation Friday - Topic Announced

I'm excited to announce that this months Fermentation Friday will be hosted by me. After much deliberating, I've finally chosen a topic. "What turned you on to Craft Beer"

As homebrewers, we all enjoy quality brewed Craft beer. But, if you grew up like I did, there wasn't any craft beer around the house. My father, uncle's and cousins all drank Coors, Bud, Michelob and so naturally that's what I started drinking when I first drank beer. But something made me stray from the swill. So, this month tell me a story. How did you find your way to craft beer? Were you one of the lucky one's who parents drank good beer early one, or did you need to find it on your own??

I'll post a reminder when the date gets closer, but hopefully this will give you some time to reminisce some.


Monday, September 7, 2009

2009 Hop Harvest

Happy Labor day!! I harvested my hops today. I got 2.45 oz. (wet) from the cascade and about 6 cones from the centennial. They are now drying. I'm hoping to get at least and oz. to use, which I'm sure I will.



Friday, September 4, 2009

Label Help!

I'm bottling my Belgian Tripel tonight (Allagash Clone) and I need your help. I have two labels I made but I can't decide which label to use so I turn to you, my readers! Which do you like better? The bottle caps, or the Roman numerals? Leave a comment and make a choice on the poll to your left!!!


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Almost Harvest Time!!!!

Hops are almost ready to harvest for this year. I'm estimating that I'll get between 1.5-2 oz from the cascade and only 5 hop cones from the centennial. Hey, it's 5 more than last year. I'll be harvesting on Monday most likely. I'll be bottling my Allagash Tripel clone tomorrow night. Can't wait to see how it turned out!!