We already know we are in a beer renaissance. All over the country drakonian laws are being challenged so that we as a nation can enjoy the beers we have finally realized we crave and love.
It is time to take up the next stage of our freedom for the beverages of our choice. In most states there are so many restrictions on home distillation that the average person faces a David and Goliath battle with no hope. In my home state of Michigan, sure you can get the rights to distill. But you face not only the liscensing paperwork that you would face if you want to do it commercially. But you also face the same taxes, on something you intend solely for personal use.
The interesting thing about the craft beer movement is the changing of the laws is what made the whole thing possible. In some states it was pioneers that fought and won their rights to make the beverages they not only loved but sought to share with the rest of the world.
Many of us live in a country where we have freedom to choose. The time is right for us to throw off the shackles of tyranny (okies so I am being a little melodramatic, but you get the point).
Its time for a pint. Excuse me while I dream of the still I may one day be able to legally build…
I remember a time in my life (although I was too young to drink… perish the thought) when there weren’t as many breweries as there are now. Actually, this thought comes out a bit prematurely. I should have started by saying I was reminded of some beer commercials from when I was younger. Of course, at the time there were really only a few breweries that most people even know about. I almost wanna say that at this time Coors wasn’t even coming to Michigan. But we did have Hamms, that came from the land of sky blue waters (the bear in those commercials was great).
But I digress. Where was I going with all this? Oh ya, I was watching one of the early seasons of Saturday Night Live. Robin Williams was the host. The first skit was a commercial for Buddweiser Light (yes it is spelled incorrectly). I wanna say I am surprised they didn’t get hit with copyright infringement (considering the massive amount of such trivial things we encounter now). The scene was a hockey face off and they even used the song that went with the real commercials. I remember the song from the commercial being one that went with others as well. Most memorable was around Christmas time with the clydesdales.
The interesting thing to think about is that as we become a craft beer nation it is easy to forget where we came from. We may rail against the big breweries for being evil and pushing their product upon us with their multimillion dollar advertising campaigns, but they are still a part of our history. We can’t take were we are now for granted. Although for most of our history we have not had a varied beer culture, we still have had a strong beer culture. And even at one time those evil big breweries were just as much craft beer as the small companies that are springing up today.
We stand upon a precipice. Do we forget ourselves and step over they edge where others before us have gone? Or do we learn from such examples and find our own identities and maintain the integrity we formed when we first began? This is true no matter the size of your brewery (or any industry for that matter). I guess in the end you must find what it is you stand for and be prepared to continuously give yourself gut checks to insure you maintain your integrity.
Thats way too much thought now… Its time for a pint…
For the most part the beers I brew are my own. What I mean by this is I do not try to make clone brews (for the most part). I create my own recipes following classic style guidelines. In the end there is pretty much only one beer I brew that I have found only one example of and it does not fall into an easily adaptable style.
My heather ale is brewed to emulate this beer. When I first made it, it was formulated completely from taste memory. And now today, I found out that they have thrown me for a new loop. They have it on cask… I so can see a trip to Scotland…
Tonight I undertake the Dunkleweizen. I made some minor recipe changes based on ingredients on hand. But nothing too drastic. I find more and more that there are beers that I really enjoy at certain times of the year. Of course, historically, brewers long before me figured that out already. When this beer is ready, deep into winter, it will be the perfect time for a nice dark beer. Considering the base of this one is wheat, it is a nice easy drinking beer as well. This is probably another reason why I am thouroughly enjoying the brown right now. Its cold and snowy out, something warming and rich really hits the spot. I am still leaning toward the wheat bock next week. It should be another good beer to fight off the winter blahs.
I did a side by side comparison of the Irish rye to the Northern brown. I was feeling that they could be too close in similarities and could be mistaken for the same beer. It helps that I have them both on tap right now. What I found was, although they are fairly similar in appearance (I still want to work on the color of the rye), flavor wise they are definately different beers. Just the simple fact of the rye is a major component to keep them seperate. Currently, they are fermented with different yeasts. But when I brew the rye again it will be with the correct yeast (the same as the brown) and even then I am pretty sure there are enough differences to really keep them seperated. I really don’t want to brew beers that are interchangeable for each other.
Its time for another pint…
I find I really could use another kegerator right now. Even with taking a small break from brewing (which became longer than intended), I find myself with quite a bit of beer on hand. Its been a serious effort of bottling to clear out kegs so I can move beers around. As it is right now, I still have three beers kegged and a beer that needs to get kegged. Sadly, I only have room for three kegs in the kegerator. The nice part about all this, I now have a good amount of cases of bottled beer to choose from.
So I still have plenty of work to do. I plan to brew the Dunkleweizen on Sunday. I haven’t had the time I wanted to prep up yeast yet. If I can work it out right, I might be able to get the last of the Irish rye bottled tomorrow so I can get the American wheat kegged and carbing up. At that point I will have Emo IPA and the Northern English brown on tap. Speaking of which I did some sampling on the brown earlier. I like it, but I’m not ready to give a full run down on it yet. I will have to wait till I have a fresh sample in my hand so I can have it fresh in my mind as I write about it.
I haven’t as yet set into print my definate brewing schedule for the next month or so. I am torn in the direction I am thinking I should go. Informally I want to brew some wheat bock, and saison, but I also have a need to brew the Irish rye again the right way. I feel the last brewing of it just didn’t do it enough justice.
In that light, I have found that the Irish ale yeast that I like for the Irish Rye works quite well with my ESB recipe and with the Northern Brown recipe. The ESB is definately not like any English ESB you might find. The Irish ale yeast gives it an interesting complexity that can easily throw you for a loop when you first taste it.
And now after all that I think I may go find myself a pint of the Brown ale anyway…
Here I am, multitasking of course, watching some anime(Moribito (which is a well done one)), playing Emerald Empire on facebook and drinking some Kolsch. I find myself liking it more and more. At first I thought maybe I hopped it a little too much. But I am finding lately that it is more based on snap judgements when I sample a beer I brewed for the first time. This one isn’t the kolsch I have had from other brewers (commercial). But not being the same as those around you does not make something inherently bad.
What I do find though is I am more surprised at how malty the beer is, especially when I look at how pale the color is. Also, at first all I was tasting was the hops (hallertau). They seemed almost too bitter for the beer. But as I delve deeper into exploration of the pint in front of me I find that the bitterness of the hops intermingles with the maltiness of the grain, blending in such a way to complement and enhance the flavors of each other. Granted if you are a person that finds a mass market light lager to be the ultimate in what beer is all about, you will not like this beer. But for those of us who enjoy full flavored beers, the kind that give you enough substance to really think about what is in your pint glass, the kolsch is pretty nice. It is low enough in alcohol that you won’t get your heiny kicked (4.5%), and flavorful enough that you won’t wanna drink just one.
With all that said, I think its time for another. I am not yet done exploring this beer.
First off, I have to say wow, I am so glad the holidays are finally over. It seems like as soon as the holiday season hit this ugly, ultrabright storm of whoosh hit. Gladly, it all went by in a blur. But at the same time, I got so little accomplished. The last beer brewed was the American wheat, the week before Christmas. So now we find ourselves at two weeks without new beers working.
The nice part of this situation is we are now starting again at ground zero. The beery future is before us and we can move on gladly accepting the opportunities to enjoy new brews of our own as well as from others we meet along our journey.
I am finally catching back up on my blog reading. One thing I noticed is it seems that the end of the old year and the start of the new one means that people want to do nothing but reflect on all that happened in the past. I say lets skip all that crap. Lets leave the past behind us and focus on the pints in front of us now (and don’t forget the ones we have coming up).
Recently I sampled the ESB that was fermented with the Irish ale yeast. The one thing I will say about it, its interesting. At first I wasn’t sure what to think about it. The flavor is so not what I was used to in an ESB. Instead of the malt and hop flavors that would normally be expected, you are hit upfront with yeast derived flavors that tend to be more subdued in a darker malty beer (like an Irish stout or even an Irish red). After your taste buds become accustomed to the beer you find it is much more complex than a typical ESB might be. The flavor profile, I think, would definately challenge many who are not quite ready for this style of beer.
The Northern English brown will be set for conditioning soon. I find myself getting ready to play the rotation game with extra kegs that I currently do not have the room for. I can imagine that most people wish they had my problems … too much beer and not enough time to drink it in.
I am getting ready for the first beer of 2011. This weekend will be the birth of Dunkleweizen again. Of course, winter seems the right time for darker beers. I will be following the dunkle with a wheat bock. Again another nice dark malty beer. Some nice beers to keep us warm while the weather plays its normal winter tricks on us.
With that said, I think its time I go find a pint. I think I might have to check out the ESB again. It definately needs some more time to ponder…