Saturday, July 28, 2007

Tooting my own horn

It seems my reaches into the beer community grows every day. I responded to a request from to be a contributor and help with the upkeep of the site, and they agreed! It's a wonderful opportunity to help out one of the best local blogs around--so good that they won Best Specialty Blog from the City Pages last year.

Also, Twin Cities Imbiber magazine has accepted an article I submitted about recent changes to the state's liquor laws. The issue should be on news stands at your local pub, cafe or liquor store in the next month or so.

And here I thought I was just brewing and drinking for the enjoyment of it.

Speaking of brewing, Tony and I have been busy stocking up for the winter. We have five gallons of barley wine, double IPA, extra pale ale, Belgian dubbel and Belgian amber in different stages of fermentation. Yes, you did your math correct and that's 25 gallons of beer. That should get us through Christmas.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Club housing

When I was growing up, I had a club house in my backyard. It was a one-room one-story 10' x 10' building, with some tables and chairs, a few shelves and an intercom to my home's kitchen. Neighborhood kids gathered at the house, played games, read Mad magazine, and made it our own. My neighbor had a similar structure, but his was two stories with a balcony, and much easier to get away and hide things. Things like cigarettes and girlie magazines, maybe be a couple cans of crappy beer, a bottle of vodka with a swallow or two left in the bottle. I didn't care about the alcohol, and it was easy enough to sneak away anytime for a cigarette. The 'zines were a little exciting, but what made both places so enticing was the fact that they were an escape, forbidden to our parents and my sister, and place for the boys to hang out.

Last night I was introduced to another such club house, nestled in the alley of a posh urban neighborhood, complete with a three-tap bar, high-end liquor selection, card table, cable TV and all the decor and feel of a British pub. In fact, one might believe they had stepped into the room, across the Atlantic and into Tippler's End.

The neighborhood takes care of the Recumbent Wombat, as it's affectionately known, and weekly gatherings bring movies, cards, soup, and of course, drinking. No money trades hands, so it's completely legal. It's hours are random, yet Friday nights and Gophers football games generally promise a crowd. It is indeed what every neighborhood needs.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Someone else for U.S. Senate

Are you underwhelmed by the current candidates for U.S. Senate? Hoping that Tim Walz or Mee Moua or someone other than Franken, Ciresi, Cohen or Franson would jump in on the DFL side? I guess it wouldn't be hard for me to support Franken, but if I had to decide right now, I don't think I could.

Any suggestions?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Homebrew club

You may remember some time ago I had thrown out the idea of starting a homebrew "club," with "members" coming from the halls of government. Of course, what I really wanted to do was gather some fellow homebrewers--many who work in government--together to drink and be merry. Well, last night was the inaugural meeting of the Capitol Brewers. And we drank and were merry.

Let's see, we had an ESB, Mild Ale, Saison, Pale Ale, Chinook IPA, Dubble, a couple Hefeweizens, and Stouts, a hopless Lager, some mystery ales and some Vine Park left overs.
Thanks to Peter, Ben, Sara, Tony, John and Nate for their contributions. We finished almost every bottle before heading to Sweeney's for a birthday party. Thanks also to the non-brewers for (hopefully) enjoying the beers.

My personal fave (not counting my Saison) was Peter's Lazy Summer Pale, forgotten in the secondary for a few weeks too long which turned out to be just right. Yummy. The worst in show were the Vine Park brews, which should have been consumed months ago. Sorry Nate.
Before we go, I realized this post is my 100th. Exciting. Cheers.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Brew News

So you've noticed the change. I've come to realize that Mozilla users recently began to encounter problems viewing CBH, so I've upgraded to the new Blogger version. My apologies for the pain it causes your eyes. Hopefully I can muster up the energy to spend some time with the template in the next couple weeks.

The big brew news is that there's a new distributor in town. 99 Bottles specializes in small breweries, some of which are veterans of the Minnesota beer scene, and some which are new arrivals. I picked up a couple different beers from 1st Grand Avenue Liquors. The Big Eye IPA from Ballast Point Brewing out of San Diego was incredibly well-balanced and smooth. The IPA from Fish Brewing was a bit of a let down compared to the Big Eye, but the fact that it was organic helped me get past some of the inadequacies. Their pale and amber--also organic--were solid, but nothing to write home about.

I look forward to the other beers 99 Bottles will be bringing into the state, including the return of Anderson Valley, one of my personal faves from the days of All Saints distributing.

I'm brewing a double IPA and a barley wine with a friend this week, which should both be ready around Christmas (although a fellow brewer aged his barley wine made from the kit we're using for seven years, and said it only got better.)