30 June 2010

Shiner 96 Comes out of Retirement

I have wondered, what with the popularity of Oktoberfest beers, why Spoetzl Brewing didn't make their first Anniversary beer, a Märzen-style beer, a seasonal. Apparently the folks in Shiner can read my mind.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 15:40 0 comments links to this post

Beer of the Month Club

Many years ago, sometime in the early-to-mid-90s, I got one of those unsolicited phone calls from a Beer of the Month Club who wanted me to subscribe to their services. I told them that I lived in Texas, and that I thought they would have a problem delivering their product. They assured me there would be no problem, so I gave them my credit card. I never heard from them again. No charge on the card, no phone call, no nothing. So I assumed that Beer of the Month Clubs were illegal in Texas.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from Dan Sullivan of Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club, who asked if I would be interested in a sample of their service. Let's see. . . Free Beer? Sure! Why not! I do not know if this is the same company that contacted me all those years ago, although they have been around since 1994.

In the interests of fairness, let me assure you that I have never been paid for a post. I took the sample, and told Dan I would review the service honestly. Dan replied that was what he was looking for. At this moment I do not subscribe to the Beer of the Month Club, and I am telling you about my experiences. Except for the free beer, I have not been paid for this review.

Ok, first off, we had some communication issues. My web hosting software labeled Dan's email as spam, and my replies got caught in their spam filter. So my package arrived while I was at NHC in Minneapolis. Fortunately I had my mail covered so the package was taken inside to await my return. The package I received was The International & Domestic Variety Beer Club that costs $29 a month.

I opened the box to find a four page pamphlet describing this month's beers: Cottrell Brewing Old Yankee Ale; Atlanta Brewing Company Red Brick Blonde Ale; Carlow Brewing Company Curim Gold Celtic Wheat Beer; and Oxfordshire Ales Pride of Oxford Ale. The newsletter gave a brief history of each brewery a description of the beers including all the stats that us homebrewers love: IBUs, malts and hops. It even suggested the best glassware. The only thing missing was a short list of foods that the beer could be paired with. For example, the blonde ale could be paired with chicken, salmon, bratwurst; Monterey Jack cheese, brick or similar light nutty cheese;light apricot or mandarin cake;lemon custard tart. A small thing, but since there were two sessions about food pairings at NHC this year, it would have been a nice addition.

Under the pamphlet was a nice packaging system that kept the bottles separated and safe. Look, I know that UPS requires all packaging to be able to survive a 4 foot drop. This packaging system looks like it could do that, even though the box was in perfect shape. A rare first for UPS in my experience. I have had computers arrive in more mishandled boxes than this. I honestly think UPS asks us if things are fragile just so they can see if they can break them.

So I inspected the beers. Turns out, I didn't get the Old Yankee Ale, but instead got Mystic Bridge IPA. But there at the bottom of the box was a note that told me they got the wrong beer in the newsletter. No worries.

I'll be honest here: I probably won't subscribe to Beer of the Month Club anytime soon. I don't even have a NetFlix account that costs $9 a month, for crying out loud! I have other, more frivolous bills to pay. But, I can't complain about any of the service. The box arrived in great condition, and the selection was amazing.

If you have the quatloos to spend on this, I think it would be worth it. As for me. . .

Well, let's just say that blogging doesn't pay as well as it used to.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 05:57 0 comments links to this post

28 June 2010

Tripel 'Round the World Tasting Notes

I have been reluctant to post the recipe for this beer, since Sam Caligione makes money from it. I have now decided that this recipe from Extreme Brewing: An Enthusiast's Guide to Brewing Craft Beer at Home needs some anotation.

Tripel 'Round the World
1# Cara-Pils
10# Light liquid malt extract
1 oz Saaz/30 min
14 oz Chinese rock sugar/30 min
1 tsp Irish moss/20 min
1 oz East Kent Golding/20 min
1/2 oz Saaz/10 min
14 oz Chinese rock sugar/ 5 min
1.5 oz chamomile
1# brown sugar dissolved in 2 cups of water/day four
WLP 530 Abbey Ale Yeast

I brewed the beer according to directions, and was disappointed. The final beer, which feermented around 80°F for three weeks, wound up under attenuated, and far too sweet. There is lots of promise in the flavor of the beer: the Chinese rock sugar adds a subtle flavor, and the late brown sugar adds another layer. I should have added another vial of yeast when I added the brown sugar.

I will brew this again, thought the base will be all grain, and I will have at least a 1.5 liter starter ready to go.

I do have to drink 5 gallons of a beer that is too sweet, but at least the flavor is complicated enough that it won't suck.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:07 0 comments links to this post

26 June 2010

Sapporo - Legendary Biiru


posted by Jeff Holt at 06:14 0 comments links to this post

24 June 2010

A Joke

Two Tennessee hillbillies, Jed and Bubba, were on a lake fishing.

While rummaging through the boat's provisions, Jed stumbled across an old lamp.

He rubbed the lamp vigorously and a genie came forth.

This genie, however, stated that he could only deliver one wish, not standard three.

Bubba immediately blurted out, 'Turn the entire lake into Budweiser beer.'

The genie clapped his hands with a deafening crash, and immediately the lake turned into beer and the genie vanished.

Only the gentle lapping of beer on the hull broke the stillness as the two men considered their circumstances.

Jed looked disgustedly at Bubba whose wish had been granted. After a long, tension-filled moment Jed said, 'Nice going Bubba! ........Now we're going to have to piss in the boat.'

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:17 0 comments links to this post

22 June 2010

Beer Belly Linked to Alzheimers Disease

A terrifying prospect, to be sure. Here's the story.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:12 0 comments links to this post

21 June 2010

Mission From God - Day Eight

Omaha to Home

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Another early start. Our goal today? Dinner at The Covery Restaurant in Fort Worth, and arrival at Satan's dad's house. I'll be heading home in the morning, so this is the last day of the 2010 Mission From God.

Am I sad?

A little. Now I have to go back to work.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:59 0 comments links to this post

20 June 2010

Mission From God 2010 - Day Seven - Texas Bound and Flyin'

Minneapolis to Fargo to Omaha

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What a way to celebrate a birthday! Another early start and four states to cross off my list.

My late Aunt Sue had a goal of visiting all 50 states. She got close, but never made the last ten or so. I have been keeping track of my own progress, but have, by and large, limited myself to the Southern tier of states. So as of this morning, my Visited States Map looks like this:

Tonight it will look like this:

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posted by Jeff Holt at 06:00 1 comments links to this post

19 June 2010

Mission From God 2010 - Day Six

Conference Day Three - aka No Medal For Me Day

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We managed to hit a couple of sessions yesterday, and stopped by Historic Fort Snelling and a nearby Granite City brewpub. And Club Night rocked!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 05:58 0 comments links to this post

18 June 2010

Mission From God 2010 - Day Five

Conference Day Two

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Once again I skipped all the Thursday sessions to haunt the hospitality room all day. By 6, when Aaron and Johnna treated us to dinner at Herkimer's, the beer riding a bit low and I could only spend about an hour at Pro-Night. But tonight is Club Night, and that's always more fun.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 05:56 0 comments links to this post

17 June 2010

Mission From God 2010 - Day Four

Conference Day One

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We have the morning to ourselves. At least until we discover the Hospitality Room is open. Last year we skipped all the sessions that day and stood around drinking with all the friends from previous conferences.

We also want to visit some of the restaurants featured on TV. Satan and I are both fans of "Man V. Food" and "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives". We definitely want to have a Juicy Lucy, or Jucy Lucy, whichever is correct. We had good luck last year following Guy Fieri's advice.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 05:43 0 comments links to this post

16 June 2010

Mission From God 2010 - Day Three

New Glarus to Minneapolis

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The plan: New Glarus to the Conference Hotel to BNA5.

Today, we have time for a leisurely drive through Wisconsin, hitting a few liquor stores along the way to stock up on some beers we can't get in Texas. Deale and his wife are flying in from Australia, and will arrive in Minneapolis around noon. Then we will meet them at Great Waters Brewing Company, our first real brew pub stop of the trip. We'll be having a belated birthday pint for Deale and an early birthday pint for me. Check-in time at the hotel is 3 pm. Then we have to catch the "Short Bus" at 5 pm, that will take us to BNA5 at the Northern Brewer warehouse. If you see a short, fat guy in a kilt with a Brewing Network DOTW medal, that'll likely be me.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:22 0 comments links to this post

15 June 2010

Mission From God 2010 - Day Two

Topeka to New Glarus

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The plan: Topeka to Dubuque to New Glarus. The New Glarus Brewing Company is open from 10 am to 4 pm. I knew this would be a stop on the way to the conference, but it was always a question of timing. Since we had agreed to meet Deale and Angelo, whom we had met in Oakland last year, for lunch before the conference, a morning tour was out of the question. So our goal is to arrive in New Glarus by 2 pm. That means no bee-essing or dragging our feet. We gotta haul ass today.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:15 0 comments links to this post

14 June 2010

Mission From God 2010 - Day One

Texas to Topeka

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The plan: Coleman to Dallas to Topeka. Being low on both time and funds, we could only afford two days up to Minneapolis. We would, again, be too early for any brewpubs in Dallas, so I thought we are hightailing it to Topeka, where we will spend the night.

We stopped at Belle Island Brewery for our first beer of the trip.

Tomorrow: NEW GLARUS!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 15:52 0 comments links to this post

12 June 2010

Off to Minneapolis - Northbound and Down

This year, NHC sorta snuck up on me so there's no cute logo for the Fourth Mission From God. I'm not taking my laptop this year, so all the following entries (until June 22, anyway) are pre-written and sanitized for your convenience.

I am leaving Paradise in the morning and travelling to my Uncle's house near Coleman, where Satan and I will depart eeaarly Monday morning.

If you would like to live vicariously through me, you can follow me on Twitter and Facebook (username jeff.holt-why can't i figure out how to post the URL?). I hope to update here as we go, but Satan and I make stops at several breweries, and we get busy drinking and I forget.

Stay tuned!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:18 0 comments links to this post

10 June 2010

Beer-Brined Grilled Pork Chops

I found this recipe here. I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds good.

Beer-Brined Grilled Pork Chops

Serves: 6 / Preparation time: 10 minutes (plus brining time) / Total time: 45 minutes

BRINE
2 cups water
2 cups dark lager beer
1/4 cup kosher salt
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
1 cup ice cubes

6 1- to 1 1/4-inch-thick center-cut bone-in pork chops

RUB
7 large garlic cloves, minced
3 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried sage leaves

Oil for the grill grate

In a large bowl, combine the water, beer, kosher salt, sugar and molasses. Stir until the salt and sugar dissolve. Stir in the ice. Place the pork chops in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour the beer brine over the pork chops; seal the bag. Refrigerate 4 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

Prepare the grill for medium-high heat. Remove the pork chops from the beer brine, discard the brine and pat the chops dry. For the rub, in a small bowl, mix the garlic, pepper, salt and sage. Rub the garlic mixture over both sides of the pork chops.

Oil the grill by dipping a wad of paper towels in oil and brushing across the grate using long tongs to prevent burns.

Grill the pork chops over direct heat until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the chops registers 145 to 150 degrees, 8-10 minutes a side depending on thickness. Occasionally move the chops to a cooler part of the grill if flare-ups occur or if the meat is burning. Transfer chops to a platter; cover with foil, and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Adapted from Bon Appetit, July 2001 issue. From and tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. 241 calories (38% from fat), 10 grams fat (4 grams sat. fat), 1 gram carbohydrates, 34 grams protein, 541 mg sodium, 96 mg cholesterol, 0 grams fiber.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:20 0 comments links to this post

08 June 2010

Beer is More Sophisticated Than Wine

Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Ballard has climbed on the Band Wagon built by Michael Jacksonand driven by Garrett Oliver, and ridden by me!


posted by Jeff Holt at 08:36 0 comments links to this post

06 June 2010

Beer Quotes

"Bad people drink bad beer. You almost never see an empty bottle of Rochefort tossed onto the side of the road." -Dave Cooks

"Beer is like porn: you can buy it, but it is more fun to make your own" -Anonymous> (Thanks, Aaron)

"Why is American beer served cold? So you can tell it from urine." -David Moulton

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posted by Jeff Holt at 13:20 0 comments links to this post

04 June 2010

Tripel 'Round the World

Still without a mash tun, I made Tripel 'Round the World from Extreme Brewing: An Enthusiast's Guide to Brewing Craft Beer at Homeby Sam Caligione. If you want the recipe, click on the link to buy the book, or head over to Xtreme Brewing, who sells kits of the recipes in the book.


posted by Jeff Holt at 08:35 0 comments links to this post

02 June 2010

The Victim and the Culprit

Well, 'Old Sparky,' my trusty propane burner has started allowing too much air into the combustion process, producing a bright yellow flame, coating my kettle with a thick layer of soot. So until I get a new burner, I am on a brewing hiatus. Perfect timing, too. In ten days I begin the 2010 Mission From God, my annual trip to the National Homebrewers Conference in Minneapolis. When I get back, I will purchase a new burner and resume making crappy beer.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 06:28 3 comments links to this post