30 September 2010

The Aesthetics of Beer

The other day I was reading Beer and Philosophy: The Unexamined Beer Isn't Worth Drinking (Philosophy for Everyone) on my iPhone (because, one, I am too cheap to buy a Kindle (Please, feel free to buy one for me! See the right column.); and two, nothing goes better with a pint at the pub than a collection of essays on philosophy) and I found myself lost in a discussion of how a beer should be served, written by Dale Jacquette.
Beer must be drunk from a glass designed specifically for beer. . . We are intended by God and nature to drink beer from a relatively small, thin-walled glass, ideally with the brewery's coat of arms embossed on the side and a rim of silver or gold. Mugs are not appropriate because they interpose to thick a barrier between the liquid and the lips.
He suggests an experiment. Try drinking a beer from a glass and a mug and see which you prefer. While I am doing that for myself, please continue with the rest of the post. I shall return to give you my evaluation.
Jacquette says the the Brobdingnagian liter mugs, called Maß, at Oktoberfest in Munich resemble something from the Flintstones.
The Maß is good for places with large crowds and small wait staffs, smashing together or on the table in time while singing German drinking songs with your table mates. Personally, I've always been afraid that, while I am capable of drinking a liter of beer, doing it from a single Maß would be unappetizing: By the time you reached the last quarter of the glass, sunlight and oxygen might have damaged the beer, leaving it a tepid mess. At least in Texas, anyway. The temperatures in Deutschland might be more conducive to keeping beer cold.
I have a Maß, but in general I prefer a glass with a bit of a bulb to it, and a slight flare at the rim. For casually savoring a beer, I use a Sam Adams glass or a tulip glass from Williams Brewing. If I am drinking a stout or porter, or am interested in drinking a lot of beer at one sitting, I will use an Imperial pint glass. And during the week, when I am trying to control my baser urges, I use 10 ounce shaker style glasses that I got at BNA4, in Oakland. I never use a mug for anything except display.
What about you?

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:47 0 comments links to this post

29 September 2010

Jester King Now Brewing

Austin, TexasJester King Craft Brewery is now brewing! Located on 200 acres of farmland in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, Jester King is an authentic farmhouse brewery started by brothers Michael and Jeffrey Stuffings and their friend Ron Extract. On Thursday, September 23rd, five months after breaking ground at the site, the brewery began production of its first batch. Appropriate to the farmhouse setting, the inaugural brew is farmhouse ale called “Boxer’s Revenge”, in honor of the stalwart, hard-working farm horse in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Boxer’s Revenge is an oak barrel aged wild beer that is golden in color and brewed with Belgian pilsner malt, American hops and French Saison yeast. Following the initial fermentation, it will be dry-hopped with a blend of Cascade and Centennial hops and transferred to neutral, French Oak wine barrels for additional fermentation and aging with a blend of wild yeasts. The finished beer will be quite dry and effervescent, with an anticipated ABV of 7.5%.

Boxer’s Revenge is the strongest of three Franco-Belgian inspired farmhouse ales that will be part of Jester King’s year-round lineup. Along with Boxer’s Revenge will be Das Wunderkind! – a “session-strength”, unspiced, farmhouse saison at roughly 4% ABV and Cocksure – a slightly darker, stronger, heavily-hopped farmhouse pale ale brewed with all European noble hops. All three beers will be aged in French oak barrels with the addition of wild yeast. The starting lineup will also include two Anglo-American inspired beers brewed with English ale yeast – Commercial Suicide, a 3% ABV British-style dark mild, partially fermented in new, American oak barrels and Wytchmaker, a 7% ABV Rye India Pale Ale.

Along with our commitment to making artisan beer, Jester King uses sustainable brewing practices. The brewery is equipped with two large rain water collection barrels, which will soon be connected to gutters surrounding both the brewery and a nearby 8,000 square foot rustic beer hall. The collected water will then be passed through a reverse osmosis filtration system, which is already in use. We are also striving to make use of organic ingredients whenever possible and will be using organic two-row malt as the base for several of our beers.

Later this fall, Jester King will begin hosting festivals and special events at the brewery and beer hall with plenty of live music, good food and, of course, hand-crafted artisan beer. For more information, please visit www.jesterkingbrewery.com.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:01 0 comments links to this post

28 September 2010

Abbey Wiezen

This year, I have been asked to brew something "beer like" for the company Christmas party.  So I dusted off the original Abbey Wiezen recipe and tweaked it slightly.  I wanted to bump the alcohol percentage up a bit.

Abbey Wiezen 2010
6 gal | 60% eff. | 6.4% | 20 IBUs

9# Wheat Malt
9# Belgian Pale Malt
1/2 oz Magnum 14%/90 minutes
1 tsp Irish Moss/ 15 Minutes
WLP 530 Abbey Ale Yeast

See?  Simple, straightforward, beer like.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 04:52 0 comments links to this post

26 September 2010

DFW Beercation - Stop 4: Rahr & Sons Brewery Tour

I live across the street from a small Catholic church. Everytime there's a service the parishioners park everywhere in the neighborhood, which really POs our neighbor. Me, not so much. They're only there for a couple of hours three days a week. But my neighbor thinks the street in front of his house is his, and no one should be allowed to park there without his permission. (When they have their semi-annual enchilada dinners, we get free food for the inconvenience. Our neighbor always refuses.)

I'm sure Rahr & Son's neighbors feel the same way when, twice a week, they open the brewery for tours. They were probably quite happy when the brewery closed for seven months as they replaced the roof. Fortunately for Satan and me, our visit to the Metroplex coincided with the first Saturday brewery tour since February.

We arrived a few minutes before 11 am and found a line snaking from the brewery entrance to the gate. By the time we parked and joined the line, we were three car lengths from the gate on the sidewalk. As we waited the last ten minutes before they let us in, Satan and I noticed it was getting warm. It was already ninety degrees, and very humid.

Once inside, it got warmer.

The live music this weekend was Fritz Rahr and one of his brewers. They were pretty good, even if they hadn't played in a while. Satan and I drank the first and second of our three pints and sweated ourselves away. We explored the gift shop and came back with a commemorative mug, celebrating the repaired roof.

We bumped into Paul Hightower. Paul is a frequent commenter here, so it was nice to put a face to the comments. We passed along Molly's message, "Stop by and say hello."

By this time, we'd finished our third free beer, and were miserably hot. We decided to head for lunch at Gordon Biersch.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:04 2 comments links to this post

24 September 2010

Bugeater's Oatmeal Cookie Amber Update

The night before I added the turbinado sugar to the fermenter, I went over the procedure in my mind. "Invert the sugar by mixing the sugar in ratio of 3:1 by weight with water. Bring to a boil until sugar completely disolved. Add 1 tsp lemon juice and simmer until sugar solution turns clear."

As I reread the instructions, I realized I had it backwards. I had planned to add the sugar to 3 pints of water. Instead, the ration was the other way, and so I added 6 ounces of water to the sugar. I expected a huge mess, and a lot of swearing, but it went pretty well. I followed the recipe because, well, it was the recipe. Turns out, the acid in the lemon juice splits the sucrose molecules into glucose and fructose, which yeast can eat easier. (Who said chemistry wasn't fun? It is when it applies to beer!)

It only took a few minutes for the sugar to dissolve, and only a few minutes of simmering for the syrup to turn a clear, deep red. I pulled it off the heat, and let it cool to around 100°F and added it to my 74° fermenter. That raised the temperature of the beer to 76°. I pitched the yeast and relaxed.

Before adding the sugar, I took a gravity reading. The OG was 1.071, and the current gravity is 1.015, which gives me 7.5% abv. I wish I knew how to calculate the final gravity once I add the sugar. . .

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:48 0 comments links to this post

22 September 2010

Aud's No Scufflin' Ale 2010 - Tasting Notes

I felt like a barleywine Thursday night. So after work, I watched the last of the The Big Bang Theory marathon with a bomber of Aud's No Scufflin' Ale 2010. This time, I followed the recipe in Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brewa bit more closely.

It's got a nice malt profile, but is still a bit sweet. And the hop bitterness is in the finish. I was hoping for a hoppier beer, but I am certainly not disappointed with it.

I contemplated the ways I could increase the hops and decrease the sweetness for a while. I opened another bottle and watched Ace of Cakes. After that, I decided sleep was necessary to give me time to further contemplate the issue.

The next morning I decided that for the next incarnation of this recipe, instead of 16.5 pounds of light malt extract, I'll use 5 pounds, and make up the difference with malt. I would mash at a low temperature, say 148° F to make a nice, fermentable wort.

(Yes, that bottle holds Aud's No Scufflin' Ale. I was too lazy to clean the label off the Old Ruffian bottle.)

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:51 0 comments links to this post

21 September 2010

Spoke too soon - Jester King won't be at Oktoberfest

I spoke to Jeffrey Stuffings at Jester King Brewing Company yesterday. Due to technical difficulties, he will not have any beer ready to sell at Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg.

Well, damn.

Soo, we have asked the folks at Real Ale Brewing Company to bring their Gold Medal winning Rio Blanco Pale Ale to put on in place of Jester King, and we're waiting to hear back.

I'm disappointed, of course, but not too upset. I have been trying to get more Texas craft beer into Okotberfest, but logistically it is hard for smaller breweries without distributors to make it happen. Family issues or technical problems can rear up and FUBAR their plans. We'll have a few Texas beers this year, and hopefully we'll have twice as many next year.


posted by Jeff Holt at 16:40 0 comments links to this post

20 September 2010

DFW Beercation Stop 3 - Lucky Lou's

Satan's friend picked us up at our hotel about 7 pm, and took us to Lucky Lou's in Downtown Denton. Denton, she explained (and from this point on she will be known as Temptress), was trying to promote itself as Austin North, and was trying to encourage the live music scene and the nightlife the way Austin does. Satan's Brother, not to be confused with Satan's Other Brother, also lives in Denton and told us that Denton is the place all the rich and famous go to turn themselves in because they can bail out faster. That explains the huge county jail and the large number of bail bondsmen in the area. So you know it's a party town!

Lucky Lou's isn't far from North Texas University, and is a definite college bar. The place was packed, and I would not be surprised to learn that we were the oldest people in the building. Satan drank Shiner Black, Temptress Shiner Bock, while I spent the rest of the night drinking Lagunitas IPA. The last time I'd seen Lagunitas IPA on tap was in Oakland! I have to admit, I didn't have big expectations, and the selection at Lucky Lou's easily surpassed them. We did have to show our IDs, despite the gray hairs and walkers we were using.

We found a booth and chatted. It was a fun conversation covering all the important topics: ex-spouses, parents, work and politics. We avoided religion. We were in a bar, for God's sake!

About 10 pm, I realized that I am very old. "I hit the wall," I told Satan. He twisted my arm up behind my back, over my shoulder and made me pat my own belly before ordering My Last Beer, Swear To God! We left the place about midnight, hit a Whataburger and went back to the hotel. Temptress graciously came to a complete stop before shoving us out, and roared off into the night.

I knew that I would be in rough shape, so I used the old standby hangover preventative: Alka-Seltzer Plus. And I still had another day to go!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:31 0 comments links to this post

18 September 2010

Texas 2010 GABF Winners

Congratulations to the Texas winners at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival.


posted by Jeff Holt at 15:14 0 comments links to this post

DFW Beercation Stop 2 - Gingerman Fort Worth

Note: Thanks to my super fabulous iPhone which won't sync, I have lost the photos for the rest of the trip, and my phone has reset to my last good backup on July 3.

The secondary goal of our trip to the Metroplex, was to sample some Franconia beer. I had just read an article about the brewery. I had even tried to get them down to the local Oktoberfest, but the logistics were too daunting for them to make the trip. Paul at TexasBeer, and co-author of Beer Across Texas: A Guide to the Brews and Brewmasters of the Lone Star State, suggested I visit the Gingerman on Camp Bowie Road, a couple of miles north of TCU.

We arrived shortly after the place opened and were the fourth and fifth folks to arrive, if you count the beer salesman having a sandwich at the bar. We seated ourselves at the bar, and we drooled over the selection.

(512) Pecan Porter and Wit!? Dammit! I live less than 100 miles from the brewery and can't get it. I have to drive to frikkin' Fort Worth to find it? Geez! It might have been worse, I suppose, had I found Independence and Thirsty Planet there too.

Ahem! Please excuse the outburst.

The bartender was Molly, a short, dark haired, no-nonsense lady who had a pretty smile and twinkling eyes. (I told her Paul sent me, and she told me to give him a message. More on that later.) I spotted the Franconia Spelt tap and asked for a pint. She gave me the once over, and said, "Let me pour you a sample first."

Butterscotch beer. And I hate butterscotch. Sigh. Maybe another day, Franconia!

I started off with a (512) Pecan Porter! Ah! Bliss! I forget what Satan had. Frankly, I forget what I had after that. We stayed at Gingerman for three hours, sampling beers neither of us can get where we live as more and more people began streaming in. At 6 pm, we left and headed for our motel in Denton, where one of Satan's friends live and had promised that we would go drinking with.

I let Satan drive.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:17 3 comments links to this post

16 September 2010

Beer Quotes

‎"The Church is near but the road is icy. The bar is far away but I will walk carefully." Russian Proverb

"Anyone can drink beer, but it takes intelligence to enjoy beer." – Stephen Beaumont

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posted by Jeff Holt at 04:54 0 comments links to this post

14 September 2010

DFW Beercation Stop 1 - The Covey


Satan and I decided that we were in need of a beercation, so we headed to the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. We had heard there were a few brew pubs there.
Our first stop was at The Covey Restaurant and Brewery. I had been there back in 2009, just before my final Jimmy Buffet Concert (and thereby hangs a tale, but that's for another blog, or an open letter to Jimmy Buffet).
We got to The Covey after the lunch rush and there were only a few people in the place. We sat in the bar are and ordered the sampler. They were all great beers, and I was leaning towards the Limey Bastard bitter or the 100 (2) Belgian ale. But after Satan ordered Alligator Stuffed Jalapenos and I ordered the Ta-taka pizza, I decided on on the HopPodge IPA.

Stuffed jalapenos were excellent, just the right amount of heat from the pepper a and spice from the seasoning. Really well balanced. But we should have paced ourselves. No sooner than we finished the appetizer, our food arrived.

The Ta-Taka pizza had sliced buffalo, and was topped with an awesome Asian sauce. A definite winner, in my book. I had two pieces of pizza left on my plate, and was about to push away from the table, when Satan unleashed the full fury of The Satan Push©, and taunted me into forcing the last two slices down. Now you see why I call him Satan.

The evilest man on the face of the planet: SGTSatan! Update: On September 24, a date that will forever live in infamy, The Covey closed forever. Jamie Fulton, the owner and brewer, will be moving to Washington, D.C., where he will become the brewer for Farmers and Brewers.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:57 2 comments links to this post

12 September 2010

Bugeater's Winter Warmerized Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Amber

There are only a couple of rules for BN Army Soldiers: 1. Don't Be a dick, and 2. Always brew Bugeater's recipes.

A few months ago, he posted his recipe for Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Amber, and added his tips for making it a Winter Warmer. So here's what I came up with, to fit my system:

Bugeater's Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Amber
6 gal | 60% eff. | OG 1.073 | 13.6 SRM | 34.8 IBUs

14# Marris Otter Malt
2.5# Munich Malt
1# flaked Oats
1/2# Crystal 120
1/4# Crystal 60L
2.75 oz Kent Goldings 5%/60 min
1# Turbinado sugar
WLP002 English ALe

Toast the rolled oats at 325° F in a convection oven for 1 hours to achieve a light brown toast.

Turbinado sugar addition will go into secondary fermenter. Invert the sugar by mixing the sugar in ratio of 3:1 by weight with water. Bring to a boil until sugar completely disolved. Add 1 tsp lemon juice and simmer until sugar solution turns clear. Add another vial of yeast.

Steep 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg, 1/4 tsp whole cloves, and 1 split and scraped vanilla bean in 6 ounces bourbon until time to keg. Strain bourbon and add to keg to taste.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:01 0 comments links to this post

10 September 2010

Garrett Oliver Beer Dinner in Dallas - 9/26

Garrett Oliverfrom Brooklyn Brewery will be hosting a beer dinner early Sunday 4pm September the 26th at The Meddlesome Moth, 1621 Oak Lawn in Dallas. Tickets are on sale now. They are going very fast. It will be a six course meal created by The Moth chef, Chad Kelley, paired with Brooklyn beer by Garrett with a special cask offering and dinner with one of the greastest ambassadors for craft beer there is. Tax and gratuity is included in the ticket price.

via BeerAdvocate.com


posted by Jeff Holt at 11:22 0 comments links to this post

08 September 2010

Announcement

For the last couple of years, I have been maintaining the Basin Brewers website. Last year I put up a food pairing chart, and it has consistently been the most visited page on the site. So I said to myself, "Self, why not do a food and beer blog and see what happens?"

Now, who am I to question what I tell myself to do, right? So I launched Food and Beer to explore the world of pairing beer and food, as well as cooking with beer. I have taken a few posts from this blog and put them over there. I will post once a week (more, if local news warrants it), and I am hoping Satan will join the fun. He's a pretty good cook, too. I won't be doing any beer recipes over there, just recipes that use beer as an ingredient. And we'll also be exploring beer pairings.

Please take a look and let me know what you think. If you have a recipe to share, drop me an email or post a comment.


posted by Jeff Holt at 04:20 0 comments links to this post

06 September 2010

Beer and Hatch Chilies

Eric Braun's "What's On Tap" column in the San Antonio Express-News recently featured a rather lengthy list of beers to match the heat of Hatch Peppers.

A good Belgian-style wit or tripel would do nicely. For the former, Boulevard's Zon is a good one and widely available, and for the latter it's a good excuse to grab a sixer of Real Ale Brewing's Devil's Backbone before it's gone for the year. . .Santa Fe Brewing's Pale Ale. . .Bohemia or Negra Modelo. . .

Easier to find and also from Santa Fe Brewing, is the Chicken Killer Barley Wine. You won't want to try to cool down a burning tongue with this one that tips the scales at 10 percent alcohol.

It's a big beer, but for a Barley Wine it's not completely overpowering and could be sipped along with a nice dessert, like say, a Hatch chile brownie. Or, to really bring out the character of a barley wine and the chiles, stir some roasted peppers into a crème brulee recipe.
Follow Eric on Twitter for more good beer stories.

The next day, I ran across this article in the Dallas Observer by Jesse Hughey, and she suggested Negro Modelo, an Oktoberfest beer, or a Blegian wit.  She also offered her basic chili recipe:

Along with 5 pounds of meat (4 beef, 1 sausage), I think this batch had about a pound of fire-roasted, peeled and seeded peppers, about half a dozen roasted jalapeños, sauteed onion, tomatoes, cumin, coriander seed and garlic, plus the kicker -- an entire Hershey bar, which gives it a bit of sweetness and a sort of mole-sauce complexity. I also added the better part of an Oktoberfest to the pot.

I used to make a chili recipe from Justin Wilson that added baking chocolate.  That was pretty good, too.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 13:46 0 comments links to this post

04 September 2010

Jester King at Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg

It's official. Jester King Craft Brewery will be selling their beer at Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg, October 1-3.

I am on the beer committee for the Pedernales Creative Arts Alliance, the organization that puts on Oktoberfest to raise money for art scholarships. For the last couple of years, I have been pushing to get more Texas Breweries involved. Last year, Real Ale Brewing Company and Independence Brewing Company participated. This year, we also invited Thirsty Planet, (512) Brewing, and Live Oak Brewing as well, but they all said they didn't have the manpower to participate. I was disappointed, but completely understand. And this year, family obligations have kept Rob and Amy from Independence in Austin. They have promised to return next year, though.

Mark your calendar, make your reservations, and come to Fredericksburg for Oktoberfest!

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

02 September 2010

Deep Fried Beer?

My beloved State of Texas is, I can safely say because I live here, sometimes a weird place. This month's imponderable is Deep Fried Beer, actually a beer filled pretzel pocket. "The beer that oozes out when you bite it, apparently, serves as a dipping sauce."

This rather puzzling concoction will be served at this year's Texas State Fair, where the corn dog was invented waaay back in 1938. It's also the home of Deep Fried Twinkies and Oreos.

Yes, we like our food deep fried.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 13:00 0 comments links to this post