Michael Scherer reports that White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough met Paul Ryan for a Secret Beer at a Belgian brewery. Ryan’s quote in the story is what stands out here, though. Ryan hastens to explain that he is but a simple Midwestern yokel lured to a fancy European-style establishment unwittingly and against his will:
The Belgian restaurant lists 115 beers on its menu, but not Miller Lite, Ryan’s beer of choice. “I ended up getting some lager I’d never heard of,” said Ryan, who mistook the place for a French joint.
Boulder, CO • May 8, 2013—The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) is pleased to announce the Alabama legislature has passed a bill that, once signed by Governor Robert J. Bentley, will effectively legalize homebrewing throughout the state. Alabama will be the last state in the nation to legalize homebrewing.
“Homebrewing has been an integral part of the history of America, so it’s thrilling to know that soon all 50 states will support this growing hobby and long-standing tradition,” said Gary Glass, director, American Homebrewers Association. “We appreciate the backing of all of the homebrewers, the dedicated grassroots efforts of Right to Brew and the legislators who have worked so diligently to make homebrewing a reality in Alabama. We are especially grateful to Representative Mac McCutcheon who introduced this bill and has fought long and hard for its passage, along with Senator Bill Holtzclaw.”
While the upper U.S. West coast has a beer style to call its own (Cascadian Dark Ale), it appears that the craft beer movement in Florida has spawned a new style of beer: the Florida Weisse.
The second annual Berliner Bash on the Bay in Gulfport, Florida, was recently held on April 20 and several Florida brewers took the opportunity to showcase what exactly the Florida Weisse is all about.
A regional sour wheat beer that originated in Northern Germany, the Berliner Weisse is not superpotent –ranging anywhere from two to five percent alcohol-by-volume. Like the Berliner Weisse, the Florida Weisse is low-alcohol too. A low-ABV beer may not sound attractive compared to 13 percent-plus imperial stouts, but remember that alcohol is only a small part of its character.
Whereas a heavy emphasis is placed on hops in West coast-style ales, the Florida Weisse is different. Based on the traditional German Berliner Weisse beer, the Florida Weisse is brewed with lots of fruit–particularly tropical fruit–rather than just simply having fruited syrup added to the glass when the beer is poured. The sweetness of the syrup is supposed to balance the acidity of the beer.
“That’s the traditional way of doing it,” said Johnathan Wakefield, Miami home-brewer and owner/founder of J. Wakefield Brewing Company. “But we’re not doing anything traditional.”
Pillow head: lots of. SRM low 30s, no visual through except some slight shimmering garnet highlights.
Nose: slight sour, as can be expected in some stouts, though less so in oatmeal. Slight coffee, hint of roasted barley.
Full mouthfeel as expected with oatmeal, with some almost espresso cling to the roof of the mouth. A hint of slick.
Taste: there’s a lot of coffee in this, dominant. As of late I’ve had a lot of coffee beers where the brewer went nuts with adding coffee. This isn’t one of those, just a bit too much. The roasted barley expected in a stout kind of gets lost with the espresso sense, but nice malt background and hint of oatmeal, but that gets lost for the most part… except in the mouthfeel. Some sour sense. Carbonation light in the body.
Overall a very good coffee stout, but could use just a little more malt and roasted barley sense. And just a slight back off on the coffee. I’d sell this as a slightly soured (not common in oatmeal stouts: more so in dry) coffee Porter. The stout part seems to be missing, as in roasted barley.
I do recommend it. If I could give it a 3.5 or more I would, but I can’t quite give it a 4…
Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “prefecto.”
The R&D lab where Long Trail brewers perform their experiments is inside a drafty old farmhouse about a five-minute walk from the main brewery in Bridgewater.
It is an unpretentious little facility and the brewers like it that way.
“This is about as free form as it can get,” said Brandon Mayes, a Long Trail brewer. “Any ideas that the guys have, they should be free to pursue.”
The “pilot facility” was a small white room where four stainless steel kettles sat on burners, and bags of grain were stored nearby in the barn. Head brewer Dave Hartmann was standing inside with his colleague, Sam Clemens, who was hand-cranking a mill filled with malted barley.
On this particular Tuesday, Clemens and Hartmann were making two different batches of beer. One was a wheat IPA. The other was a black walnut dunkelweizen.
We can’t help the fact that we’re sometimes attracted to bright, shiny objects. It’s why we do occasionally judge a book by its cover, and it’s also why we may order a beer we don’t know based on the really awesome tap handle associated with it. This doesn’t happen all the time, but we’re pretty sure it would be hard to pass up the suds coming from these guys.
I was sitting in the shade enjoying the lovely Belgian ale on tap when someone asked me what I thought about two-row barley. I am lucky enough to live in a region where I can get either six-row or two-row most of the time, so I adjust my grain bill to the recipe at hand, rather than the other way around. Many brewers prefer two-row barley for its greater extract value; on examination that’s interesting, since the difference is 1 to 2 percent, hardly noticeable at the homebrewer level. I generally prefer two-row, but I’m not sure I could quantify why, since both types appear in many of my favorite beers. Maybe we all think two-row is just more chic.
Two-row or six-row? It’s a very American question. Most of the rest of the world uses six-row barley only for livestock feed, not for beer. I thought six-row barley had been bred especially to increase output, but it turns out to be a naturally-occurring result of a pair of mutations, one dominant and one recessive. Both two-row and six-row barley have been around for a long, long time.
Breeding efforts of the last half-century have reduced and perhaps functionally eliminated most of the differences between the two types of barley. Economies of scale at big breweries make many of their differences moot. There are still distinctions between kernel size, extract, protein and enzymes—all this information can be found online, depending on your tolerance for technical detail.
According to their website: “Thirsty Orange Brew Extravaganza is a beer lover’s festival, where you get a chance to sample over 100+ unique and obscure beers from craft breweries around the region. Try delicious beers ranging from Apple Pie Ales, Double IPA’s to Peanut Butter & Jelly Brew. We have fun beers to try and we have some serious beers for your sampling pleasure. Over a hundred to be exact. The Thirsty Orange Brew Extravaganza brings you beers you’ll never find anywhere else. You get to sample them all, and then repeat with unlimited samples.”
Julieanna Kapelan and Dave Brown: homebrewers and members of Music City Brewers, traveled to Kingsport, Tennessee, to this event with their Electric Avenue Brewing Company gear. This is the story of that adventure.-PGA
Our journey to the 2013 Thirsty Orange in Johnson City actually started last September in Kingsport. We were packing up the tent that Electric Avenue Brewing Company (that’s us) shared with Telford Hand Crafted Ales (that’s Gene and Stephanie Daniels), when the event organizer, Aaron stopped by to talk to us.
After congratulating us on our medals, 2 silver for Telford and 2 bronze for Electric Ave, he told us about the Thirsty Orange and encouraged us to participate. We’d had so much fun in Kingsport that we immediately agreed. Gene and Stephanie are a blast to hang out with, so we were excited that they were going to do it too.
Our prep for Thirsty Orange began a couple months ago. They were going to have an “Iron Brewer” challenge, so we got a kit and planned out our entry. It was a pretty basic recipe and we could either change out a grain or a hop and then add one special ingredient. We opted to do an American Brown ale and added some honey. (Judging by the comments on our scoresheets, the honey is what did us in…) We wanted to take 4 beers total, so we also did a Sweet Stout, a Strong Scotch Ale, and an American Rye with lemon.
We had also decided to take our basic two tap jocky box and make it into a four tap system. We turned an old steamer trunk we got off Craigslist into a slightly bulky, but very functional 4 tap system and even made some custom tap handles to go with it. The tap handles were as big a hit as the beer!