Sunday, November 25, 2007

Beer + Turkey = Good?

I was charged with (or took charge of) preparing our family's turkey this year, my first attempt at the task. You may find this shocking, but in searching for a recipe, I turned to one of my most reliable sources for everything beer, Their turkey recipe was simple and still intriguing. While it called for injecting a Märzen or Octoberfest into the turkey, none could be found and so I used some of my homebrewed alt. I'd like to think it made a huge difference, but even though the bird was quite delicious, I'm not convinced it did. The alt was good with the bird, but maybe not so much in the bird.

My wife has a more complete account of the meal on her blog.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Barley John's visited

I and some of the crew met for drinks last week at Barley John's in New Brighton to discuss upcoming changes to the site, get to know one another better and, well, drink beer. I've been to John's a couple times in the past, so I knew they had good beer, but I never remembered how good. Their double IPA is something to be cherished, especially with the rising prices and shortage of hops and barley looming over the industry. Get it while you can.

Colin Mullen, John's brewer, joined us for some of the evening, and further explained the situation. I was impressed with his positive attitude about it, as he explained that it would challenge brewers to try to new things and out of it would come some creative beer styles. He also felt that the shortage is bringing the Minnesota craft brew scene closer together as they begin to explore joint efforts to help each other. His outlook is emblematic of Barley John's--and certainly his--overall attitude about brewing.

I finished the night with a Dark Knight. If you aren't familiar with it, then head over to John's now. They call it a "bourbon barrel aged double fermented porter," but, whatever. At more than 13%, it's magical and completely heavenly.

As we were paying the tab, Colin offered to take us downstairs to the, um, brewhouse. It was a pretty cramped couple of rooms, with fermenters, heating and cooling systems, bags of hops, empty kegs and bourbon barrels filled with aging Dark Knight taking up every last inch of space. But I hope they don't change a thing, because it works; Colin makes some great creations down there.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Grrrr, Darkness!

With the onset of late fall-early winter comes the many stouts and winter ales of the season. Perhaps the best is Surly Darkness. I had my first one of the season at the Autumn Beer Review, but needless to say it was well into the afternoon, so I must say I don't really remember anything about it except that it was good. So last Friday my wife agreed to dinner at Busters on 28th in South Mpls, which allowed me to have one in style. While I understand that the proper way to enjoy Darkness is in a Surly goblet, I also understand that most places are selling a 12 ounce pour for about $7. Being the cheap-ass that I am, the $5/pint during happy hour at Busters made it an all that much more enjoyable of a stout.

Speaking of amazing stouts, I shared an Avery Mephistopheles with Tony while camping a few weeks ago. Darkness is amazing, but Mephistopheles is beyond amazing. Ok, maybe it was only really really really really good, but at 15% for an $8-12 ounce bottle, it seemed that much better. Especially on a chilly October night around a camp fire next to the Kettle River.

Speaking of the Kettle River, I'm looking forward to the 3rd annual Sandstone Icefest the weekend of December 7th. Ok, I'm skipping the majority of the events and am only attending the final night, for the Frozen Kettle River Homebrew Challenge and Chili Cook-off. I'm not a huge ice climber, or for that matter even a small ice climber, but I do like winter camping. And besides, Surly is a sponsor.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Town Hall Anniversary

It's a solid indicator that the Twin Cities craft brew scene is alive and well when a brew pub survive--and thrive--for 10 years. Me and a couple buddies helped Town Hall Brewery celebrate their 10-year anniversary last weekend. Each day of the week they released a different beer, and on the Friday we attended it was Eye of the Storm, a 10 year aged beer made with 10 different kinds of honey, clocking in at 10% abv. It was a bit sweet for my taste, but Town Hall always put in an amazing effort and hits on the mark the style they were striving for. I preferred their Anniversary Ale, a very drinkable IPA, but it still didn't compare to Masala Mama, their hallmark IPA which I finished the night with.