Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Roguishly Busy

Well I've been busy working on an article to submit to the Twin Cities Imbiber about recent legislative changes to the State's liquor laws. Whether they publish it or not, it's been a great experience working on my first journalistic piece. First, that is, if you don't consider all the words printed here. Anyway, I learned a ton about said liquor laws, and that our franchise laws, tax and fee system, and commerce laws play as much as of role in preventing more good beer from reaching the masses as do the laws which directly govern beer. Thanks a ton to the folks at Town Hall Brewery for filling me in, and if TCI decides to run my piece it will be in the August/September issue.

I believe I had the most overrated beer ever--besides Fat Tire that is, which just made its return to Minnesota last week. Ok, it wasn't really overrated, just over-priced. (Besides, I couldn't resist getting a shot in at the FT.) Rogue's 10,000 Brew Ale is just that--their 10,000th batch of beer. It's a double IPA, clocking in at about 10% abv and 83 IBUs (bittering units). Sure, the 750ml re-sealable ceramic bottle is a keeper, and the contents were pretty amazing, but at $22 a bottle, I want to be completely blown away. I guess it's a good thing I don't drink high end wine.

At the Happy Gnome a couple weeks ago, I paid a similar price for a beer, but this experience was far different. As some background, every Thursday, the Gnome taps a couple casks of beer. Surly Furious is a regular, but usually they supplement that with something else. Bells makes consistent appearances, recently offering an Expedition Stout. When I went by for a drink it was the Tuesday after tapping it, and they surprisingly had some left. See, the oxygen in the cask begins altering the beer's characteristics, so I was intrigued. The $7 for 10 ounces was meager compared to the Rogue. Bitter chocolate and smooth espresso, brought out by the roughly 10% abv, was numbing. It lasted me a nice long 60 minutes, and was worth every one of 'em.

Homebrew Update
So after two-and-a-half weeks without a post I better have some good homebrew news, right? Actually Jane has the scoop over at her blog. I will add though that I tried the mild today, and it's a lot better than I anticipated. The tastings during each transfer were a bit bland and a little funky, but I think the carbonation really livens it up. Another week and it will be perfect.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

New Resources

The Twin Cities has a new beer rag on newsstands--mmmm, rag of beer--but who ever buys a magazine from a news stand in Minnesota? Maybe Chicago or New York, but Minnesota?! So its great that Twin Cities Imbiber is free!

Dedicated to the beer and coffee industry in the Twin Cities, TC Imbiber will be available soon around town. The first issue features a nice write-up of Flat Earth Brewing, and a comprehenize summary of Maibocks on the TC market. Future issues may include pieces by me. Pick it up at your local pub, liquor or cafe.

For my loving wife, I brewed a mild ale last week. It will be a nutty, mellow brew at about 3.5% abv. I also helped TonyVav bottle his first homebrew, a hefewiezen with nice undertones of banana and cloves. TV is investigating all-grain brewing, and generally reducing the cost of homebrewing by growing his own ingrediants and buying bulk. This has long been my goal in homebrewing, and I'm looking forward to learning more about the science and specificity behind this ancient art.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Some Updates

Couple updates here for ya on a Saturday night as I'm waiting to get tired enough to go to bed.

***I received a nice email from the "Director of Quality" at Boulder Brewing about the culprit behind the recent bad batch of Hazed and Infused:

The number one problem with the Hazed and Infused you ran into was the actual age of the product. For whatever reason, we had beer on the shelves in MN well past the pull date, and old beer isn't usually a good thing. The pull date on the beer you came across was October 2, 2006, almost 6 months past it's pull-date at the time of purchase. Also, due to the fact that Hazed and Infused is an unfiltered beer, even the slightest contamination can cause serious flavor issues over a 9 month period. The age of this beer made finding the culprit very difficult, as we don't even store archive bottle samples for that long. The samples of the beer I got back from MN showed very little signs, other than the sour taste of course, of a wide spread contamination.

He also had this to share with me:

On another front, keep your eyes open for our latest release Cold Hop. Maris Otter malt gives this beer a unique maltiness and the Saaz and Nelson Sauvin hops finish it off perfectly.

Thanks, man.

***I learned at a visit to Big Top tonight that Bridgeport Brewing will no longer be distributing to Minnesota. Fortunately this meant that I got four six-packs at $4 a piece. Unfortunately you won't be able to drink beer from this solid brewery in Minnesota anymore, unless you come to my house in the next couple weeks.

***My home brew is aging well. The Sasion, still clocking in at about 5% abv., is sweet with a nice bitter undertone. A couple weeks will round it out and give it some more body. The ESB is near perfect, but lacks consistent carbonation, nothing a week or two more in the bottle won't solve.

***Finally, I tried this years' CynicAle from Surly, this time in a can. An amazing Saison, worth every penny. God, I love those cans.