30 August 2009

H2DC Tasting Notes

Got all my H2DC issues resolved, and sampled the beer. It pours up a dark brown with a thin tan head. The aroma has some piney hop notes, with some dark, sweet and moist tobacco notes. It reminds me of my dad's pipe tobacco. Despite all the hops, this is a pretty smooth beer. The hops are definitely in the finish, but are kind of subtle at the start.

Yep. This is in the rotation with Dirktastic and Belgian Bombshell.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 06:51 0 comments links to this post

28 August 2009

Sam Adams Glass


posted by Jeff Holt at 08:03 4 comments links to this post

27 August 2009

Fan Cans become Tempest in a Teapot

Jay Brooks at Brookston Beer Bulletin posted a nice editorial about Budweiser's Fan Cans and the all too predictable outcry it has created. School administrators argue that the cans will cause underage drinking and binge drinking and do not want the cans distributed near the schools. If the argument was simply about the copyright, I could understand it. But I don't see how an orange and white can without the school name on it will cause retailers to sell beer to minors.

I suspect it is simply all about the copyright, and has nothing to do with alcohol consumption. Otherwise, the schools would prohibit the selling of officially licensed can koozies with the school logo on it. The University of Texas apparently doesn't have a problem with underage drinkers using their koozie.

As far as I know, the University of Texas has not commented on this, though I expect them too shortly. I am a UT grad, and this was the first Google search I did. You could as easily Google "Michigan can koozie" and find one to buy and slip over your silver Bud Light can.

Lord save us from Idiots and Neo-Prohibitionists!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:39 0 comments links to this post

26 August 2009

Economy Creates a Perfect Storm for Craft Brewers

And I mean that headline in a good way.

According to a Reuters article, folks are spending their shrinking drinking dollar on craft beer rather than cocktails or wine.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 06:15 5 comments links to this post

24 August 2009

CRISIS! My Beer Won't Pour.

I had to replace the distributor on my CO2 tank. So when I got it hooked up I tried to pour a glass of H2DC. For quality control purposes, of course. A bit of trub got stuck halfway up the beer line, but nothing else came out. I cleaned the line, and tried again. Nothin'. Changed the beer out quick connect and got bupkiss. All I can figure is that the dip tube, or the out post is clogged. As I see it, here are my options:

Vent the gas from the plugged up keg, disassemble the out side. Clean the post and dip tube, sanitize and reassemble. Try again. Repeat as necessary. Upside: Less moving beer around. Downside: huge contamination potential.

I have three empty kegs (Sad, really.). I would sanitize one of the kegs and put a drain connection on the “in” line turn it on it’s side and transfer into the newly cleaned one. And then surgery time on the busted one. But I foresee a big mess on the floor with this method. Downside: Moving the beer around, possible resuspending the trub in the beer.

Siphon? I would purge the second corny with CO2 first, naturlich. That would minimize oxidation, but again it's moving the beer around.

The lazy part of me hopes that I just have a diptube full of gunk and one cleaning can fix it. The pragmatic part of me thinks it will take several cleanings. I want maximm beer and minimum work.

Unfortunately for me, siphoning will be the best option, I think.


posted by Jeff Holt at 03:32 3 comments links to this post

22 August 2009

Saison Ete Tasting Notes

I am reevaluating my earlier impression of this beer. Originally, I thought it too sweet. I reluctantly bottled 18 bottles and a growler that I gave to Satan to enter in the Basin Brewers Belgian Brew Off. (In the interest of honesty, I designed and maintain their website in lieu of annual dues.) I also sent this in to Alamo City Cerveza Fest. I didn't hold out much hope, because I originally thought this was too sweet. The other day, after finishing off the smoked wheat and Old Archaic kegs, I tapped this keg.

It is not sweet. It is dry, but the orange peel adds a sweetness that disguises it. The spices are subtle to nonexistent. The carbonation is low, but I really like this beer. Thanks to Drew Beechum for publishing the recipe in Zymurgy last year.

The plan now is to submit this to the More Beer Forum contest, the BN Army Forum Contest and to Dixie Cup.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:17 0 comments links to this post

20 August 2009

Abbey Wiezen 3

Abbey Wiezen 3
6 gal batch - 60% eff. - Est OG 1.071
9# white wheat malt
8# pale malt
1.5# flaked rice
1# Crystal 20L
4 oz rice hulls
2.5 oz Hallertauer 3.7%/60 min
.5 oz Hallertauer 3.7%/10 minutes
.5 oz coriander/5 minutes
.5 oz Mighty Leaf Tropical green tea/0 minutes
WLP530 Abbey Ale Yeast
Mash at 154°F/69°C for 60 minutes.

Still a mite warm here in Paradise. The room I ferment in doesn't get below 75°F so I am making Belgians for a while. This time, a rebrew of the classic Abbey Wiezen.

Last time, Ninkasi frowned on me while I brewed this, and I had a brew day from Hell. This time, I was successful.

Listen, to all you "I Am a Homebrewer" fans out there: I don't have a problem with using rice or corn in my beer if I know why I am using it. In this case, I want to bump up the alcohol a bit without adding sugar. Don't ask me why, I just don't like adding sugar to beer. Anyway, before you flame me for the rice, just chill out. You don't have to drink it.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 04:12 0 comments links to this post

18 August 2009

Simcoe Dry Hopped Saison at Freetail Brewing Co.

After dropping off my entries into the Alamo City Cerveza Fest (wish me luck), I stopped for lunch at Freetail Brewing Company. The Simcoe dry hopped saison was a great beer. It was cloudy with a smallish head. There was a grapefruit flavor, which I assume is grapefruit peel instead of orange peel. It's a nice compliment to the Simcoe dry hopping. Try this while it's on tap. It's darned good.


posted by Jeff Holt at 08:25 0 comments links to this post

16 August 2009

Saison D'Hiver Part Trois

I transfered Saison D'Hiver to secondary with a cinnamon stick and a split vanilla bean. It will sit there until the end of October, when I will keg it for the office Christmas party sometime around the end of November or the first part of December.

The original gravity was 1.072, and the final was 1.006. I had questioned the refractometer reading last time, and, after pitching a vial of Abbey Ale yeast, I found the beer had dried out nicely, even though the reading was the same. Go figure.


posted by Jeff Holt at 09:54 0 comments links to this post

14 August 2009

Leave Early for GABF

More proof for Texas Legislators that beer generates revenue for the state.

If you are heading for GABF Septeber 24-26, you might want to head up on the 18th. The First Annual Denver Beer Festival kicks off then, and runs through the 27th.

“The Denver-Boulder-Fort Collins urban area brews more beer than any other metropolitan area in the United States, giving the Mile High City claim to another moniker – ‘the Napa Valley of Beer,’” said Richard Scharf, president & CEO, VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The 10-day celebration of beer-centric experiences will include beer tastings at restaurants and taverns, beer-paired dinners, “meet the brewer” nights, beer tappings, brewery tours, and a variety of entertaining beer events.

I've been looking for a reason to go to Colorado. . .


posted by Jeff Holt at 01:38 0 comments links to this post

12 August 2009

Five of Six Mega Brand Sales in Free Fall

BeerNet.com is reporting that Bud Light, Miller Light, Budweiser, Corona Light and Heineken (which, along with Coors Light, make up the six most profitable brands for distributors) are finding their sales in "free fall." You can read the article at the link above at your leisure. I want to comment on one portions of the story: falling C-Store sales.

I have worked in retail most of my life, the majority of it in grocery and convenience stores (or C-stores). Over the last few years, I have noticed even smaller grocery stores expanding their lineup of beers to include more craft beers. Most grocery store remodels I have seen have actually added space to the beer sections.

C-stores don't have the luxury of remodeling. At best, they might be able to open up another door in the reach in. And, since the arrangement of the shelves and the layout of the brands, called "sets" in the biz, are done by one of the big two (Bud or Miller), guess what gets the emphasis on the layouts.

The loss in c-store traffic is likely tied to the economy, but one distributor notes that their sets may partially at fault. He writes: "Same old sets, same old results!... C-stores hammered is hitting the nail on the head! While national c-store chains (most cooler sets controlled by one of the big 2) lost sales ; c-store independents whom have embraced the craft/ FMB sector especially in "Bopper" bottles showed identical trends to supermarkets here." He goes on to call c-store sets "category mismanagement."

C-Stores used to depend on beer, candy, soda and cigarettes for most of their profits. Cigarette profitability is in the crapper, thanks to the last tax increase. If the Feds decide to tax candy and sodas for health care (I think they should.) soda profits will fall, and C-stores could be forced to rethink their marketing strategy.

If the national chains decide to layout their beer cases themselves (as they do their candy racks) the Big Six Mega Brands could face further erosion.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 03:35 0 comments links to this post

10 August 2009

I am a HomebrewTa2

Apparently, BrewTa2 forgot his kilt. A parody of the "I am a Homebrewer" video.


posted by Jeff Holt at 07:17 0 comments links to this post

09 August 2009

Jimmy Bedford 1940-2009

Jimmy Bedford was the sixth Master Distiller at Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, from 1988 until 2008, when he retired. He was found dead of a heart attack outside his barn in Lynchburg on Friday.

I met Jimmy in late July of 1997, when we stopped by the distillery for a tour and lunch at Miss Mary Bobo's. Jimmy joined us for the meal, and told us stories about the place. He seemed like a nice man, and I am sorry to hear of his passing.


posted by Jeff Holt at 06:43 0 comments links to this post

08 August 2009

Pints for Prostates at GABF

All About Beer Magazine, in cooperation with BeerAdvocate.com, will present a premier tasting of rare and exotic beers on Sept. 25th from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Wynkoop Brewery in Denver to benefit the Pints for Prostates campaign.

The inaugural Denver Rare Beer Tasting is taking place in Mile High City during the annual Great American Beer Festival when thousands of beer fans will be in the city. The event will feature a select group of more than 20 of America’s top craft brewers each pouring a legendary beer. These very special, rare and exotic beers will be presented by the brewers who created them to an extremely limited audience.

“We wanted to create a unique event that would give beer fans a one-of-a-kind experience where they can sample some of America’s best beers in a relaxed environment and get the chance to meet some biggest names in the beer industry,” said Daniel Bradford, publisher of All About Beer Magazine, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary. “The Denver Rare Beer Tasting is a chance to enjoy great beer and support a great cause: prostate cancer awareness.”

Money raised by the event goes to support the Pints for Prostates campaign, created in 2008 by Rick Lyke, a drinks journalist and prostate cancer survivor. The campaign uses the universal language of beer to reach men with an important message about the need for regular prostate health screenings. All funds generated by Pints for Prostates benefit the Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network, a 501(c)3 charity that works to support, educate and advocate for men with prostate cancer and their families. Us TOO was founded in 1990 and has a network of more than 300 local chapter support groups that help men dealing with the disease.

“This event will be the talk of Denver during this year’s Great American Beer Festival. We have a collection of America’s best brewers serving some of their most sought after beers, all to raise awareness and help fight prostate cancer. It’s great to have All About Beer Magazine and BeerAdvocate.com back the cause,” said Lyke. “Each week 4,000 men in this country hear the words ‘you have prostate cancer.’ The goal of Pints for Prostates is to get men to take charge of their health. This disease, if detected early and treated, is nearly 100 percent survivable.”

A preliminary partial list of participating brewers includes Alaskan, Allagash, Avery, Boston Beer, Bison, Dogfish Head, Foothills, Harpoon, Jolly Pumpkin, Matt, New Belgium, New Glarus, Pizza Port, Rogue, Stone, Stoudt, Victory and Wynkoop. Each will bring a special beer to the tasting.

The event will be held at the Wynkoop Brewery at 1634 18th St. in Lower Denver. Only 450 tickets will be available for the event. Admission, which includes unlimited beer samples, hors d’oeuvres, a commemorative tasting glass and the chance to meet some of America's top brewers, is $55 in advance and $65 at the door. Tickets can be purchased through Etix at www.allaboutbeer.com/pints and at the Wynkoop Brewery. For information call 800-977-BEER or visit www.ustoo.org/pints.

So far in 2009, Pints for Prostates has already held events each in California, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina and Washington. In the coming months the group has confirmed participation in the following events:

July 23rd-26th: Oregon Brewers Festival, Tom McCall Park, Portland, Ore.
July 24th: Rogue Distillery & Public House, 1339 NW Flanders, Portland, Ore.
Sept. 17th: The Pub at Polaris Fashion Place, Columbus, Ohio
Sept. 24th-26th: Great American Beer Festival, Colorado Convention Center, Denver, Colo.
Sept. 25th: Denver Rare Beer Tasting, Wynkoop Brewery, Denver, Colo.
Oct 2nd: World Beer Festival, Durham Bulls Athletic Park, Durham, N.C.

Additional events are being booked and information will be listed shortly at www.ustoo.org/pints. Pints for Prostates also has a presence on Facebook and Twitter.

“The growth of Pints for Prostates has been encouraging to watch,” said Thomas Kirk, President and CEO of Us TOO International, which is based in Downers Grove, Ill. “Our mission and program goal is to educate and empower men and their family members so men and their loved ones can take an active role in their health care. With Pints for Prostates we are able to reach a whole new group of men with a critical health message. The more men we reach, the more lives will be saved.”

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:21 0 comments links to this post

06 August 2009

Mexican Lager at Eola Brewpub

Eola School Brewery may not be the fanciest place, nor use the best glassware, but the beer sure is good!


posted by Jeff Holt at 10:25 0 comments links to this post

04 August 2009

Saison D'Hiver Part Duex

This morning, I checked the gravity on the Christmas Saison, Saison D'Hiver and found it was 8.2 Brix. Now, if ProMash and BeerSmith are right, my beer is at 1.036, waaaay short of 1.018. But if BrewMath on my iPhone is right, it is at 1.006. According to the refractometer spreadsheet from MoreBeer.com, it is 1.005. Who to believe?

This matters because I also bought a vial of Belgian Abbey yeast in case I needed to dry things out.

I tasted it, and it was slightly sweet. But I did use a pound and a half of sugar in it.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:42 1 comments links to this post

02 August 2009

Dodging Duck Starts it's 7th Year

Just in time for the 7th Anniversary of Dodging Duck Brewhaus in Boerne, head brewer Keith Moore has released Summer Fest Altbier. Brewed with Idaho Pilsner malt and Czech Saaz and Kent Goldings hops, fermented cold with an ale yeast, Keith promises a very easy drinking, thirts quenching beer!


posted by Jeff Holt at 18:27 0 comments links to this post

International Beer Day is August 5

A group of friends decided that there needed to be a holiday to celebrate beer. So in 2007, on August 5, they celebrated the first International Beer Day, and vowed to observe the new holiday every August 5.

Here's how you can celebrate:
1) Drinking Beer
2) Gather with Friends
3) Give The Gift of Beer
4) If You're Single, Show It! Wear a white ornament to advertise your availability.
5) Try New Beers
6) Double Fisting, or Two Handed Drinking
7) Pitcher for Yourself
8) Root Beer and Ginger Beer for Kids
9) Beer Related Foods
10) Use of the word "Beertastic"

Now that's a holiday!

If they would only update the site. . .

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:09 0 comments links to this post