I was out all day and away from the computer. I sat down and clicked onto Facebook and scrolled down a half page or so and caught a whiff: “Stunned by the news about 10 Barrel sold to AB…“
More scrolling and confirmation: “Haters gonna hate, Tonya Cornett. Congrats on getting the chance to take that berliner global (not to mention the others).” It got worse just that fast. One of my all-time favorite brewers, Tonya Cornett, is now one of the pawns in this sordid tale. If AB had come to me and asked, they couldn’t have found a person about whom I would be more grief-stricken to see absorbed by the Beer-Borg Collective. Jimmy Seifrit, former brewmaster under Larry Sidor at my beloved Deschutes was also involved. It was exactly like a death; like someone I knew and loved was in excellent health one day and stone dead the next.
No, really we won and then ate a chicken dinner! But before we discuss such excitable matters, let’s talk about some other eventful happenings.
Though the club had to struggle through many challenges this year, they managed to make the pre-competition super special. If you are a hardcore home-brewer, you are probably familiar with Denny Conn. He is a big deal in the home-brew scene, as husband explain to me. Apparently, he was a pretty big “get” and a mad scientist in his own right.
Denny Conn gave the guest lecture Friday night extolling his various brewing experiences in his quest to make the most delicious beer. In his most recent venture, he compared decoction against single infusion mash steps to see if it made a differences in flavor. According, to his findings, no, it did not matter. This is a revolutionary finding for the brewing world.
There is no denying the popularity of the new wave of “wild” brews. These cutting-edge, contemporary versions are variously inspired by the aged sour, earthy and musty brews of Belgium and Germany and old stock ales of Britain. European brewers use both anachronistic and more modern techniques today to get that natural, primitive personality, but all are firmly grounded in historical, regional brews, those made well before the true understanding of microbiology.
North American brewers, ever intrigued by experimentation and new frontiers, are increasingly integrating the methods and catalysts of yore into avant-garde wild brews. Insatiable consumers, exploring their own boundaries and dimensions, drive this movement just as fervently. Extensive cellaring, elaborate barreling and maturation schedules and the introduction of “wild” organisms all figure into this unconventional and fashionable approach.
If wild brews are in your wheelhouse, then take a shot at brewing one. Start with a simple strategy and low-risk method that leaves nothing to chance. And, if you love the earthy, musty notes mentioned above, then a beer accented with a Brettanomyces yeast strain should more than scratch your itch. It will unveil a novel, intriguing realm of brewing and offer a solid foundation for more complicated adventures.
In anticipation of having to switch into BJCP mode tomorrow, I’ve been mowing down broad swaths of time brushing up on the causes of, and remedies for,IMG_1833 various technical and stylistic flaws. I’ve been getting together with friends to do blind tastings of beers dosed with extracts of this and that, and to figure out which beer is the different one in triangulated tastings––much harder than it sounds! I have also been tasting plenty of beer.
Note: for those who get The Music City Brew-Score at the end of the year there will be even more pictures and stories regarding the 2014 MCBO. Oh, and after the column, stay tuned for the winner list.
We missed the main event at Music City Brew Off last year. Judging in Albany, NY, at Knickerbocker, we only ended up doing prejudging in 2013. Flash forward (zoom!) to the 2014 Music City Brew Off: this year we fermented our way through all the activities, and since we’re old fogies that “fermentation” was probably just a wee bit funky.
To be honest, I think we both forgot just how intense it all can be. Almost every third day we were prejudging beer at Czanns: owned by long term Music City Brewers member Ken Rebman. Ken is one of the few old time members left: and when we joined in 98 (99?) I think he was already a member.
Music City Brewers has more members who have become professional brewers than any club I have visited, or we are members of. And I have been to many homebrew club meetings from NY to Mississippi. We’re members of three. So what makes Nashville so different? I think it may have to do with the serious, educational, path the club has taken over the years. And, to be honest, having been in Nashville since 1978, on the air, hawking songs on Music Row and working in the music industry, the fact Nashville seems to attract a lot of type-A personalities might have a little to do with it.
Czann’s worked well for prejudging, and having been part of MCBO since the very late 90s I can tell you some of our prejudging locations weren’t always the best, not to mention any names. (Spew, sputter, cough up dust, “I’m hot! I’m cold! I’m hot! I’m…” upstairs Boscos.)
Thanks Ken. Great first name you have there, by the way.
This year we had a new location for the actual competition: Ramada Inn Stadium Hotel in downtown Nashville, TN. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Music City Brew Off”
Pours luscious and a bit thick. Perfectly black with a good head of khaki colored foam that lasts and leaves lace. Eventually the head falls to a thick ring and the bubbles seem to want to hug the glass as I swirl the beer around.
Nose is deep and rich and a bit sweet. Roast and chocolate, a sweet caramel and weak coffee. This has a mellow quality to the nose that I really like. It smells soft and like it does not have any rough edges. A bit of earthiness and a faint and elusive nuttiness comes forward as it warms. I am not getting any smoky qualities from the nose.
Taste is smooth and well blended. There is a bit of smoke on the palate and a touch of earthy bitterness form the roast. The coffee stays weak in the drink and the chocolate is also a bit fainter on the palate than on the nose. The sweet underpinnings of caramel carry through smoothly to a dry and bitter finish with a nice drying effect on the tongue from the alcohol. That’s all you see of the alcohol though. You do not taste it and it’s not in the nose. Only a ticklish bit of warmth as you swallow and it’s faint at that. Lovely! It does come across with a bit of a cereal taste in the middle but I think I would say that is richness of roast without a lot of heavy or sugary sweetness. Mouthfeel is full and creamy, but not too thick or too heavy. It is not terribly complex There is no fruit character and the malt says supple and soft throughout the drink as the sweetness of the chocolate creeps shyly onto the palate more and more as you drink.
This one has a charming simplicity and is very easy to drink. Well done.
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 “perfecto.”
Maria Devan lives in Ithaca, NY and is frequent reviewer of beer and a beer lover deluxe.
. Schneider & Sohn is a southern German brewery that knows a thing or three about Bavarian-style wheat beers. Founded in 1872 just after Bavaria had joined a recently-unified Germany under Bismarck and Kaiser Wilhelm I, Schneider Weisse has since produced rivers and lakes of top-fermenting wheat beers. When Georg Schneider I purchased the right to brew Weissbier from the Wittelsbach monarch, King Ludwig II, he was the first since shortly after the enactment of the Reinheitsgebot in 1516 to found a private Weissbier brewery in Bavaria. A century-and-a-half later, a Schneider––Georg Schneider VI––is still at the helm.
Back when Portland, Oregon’s BridgePort Brewing Company first got started, Apple had just introduced its first Macintosh personal computer, and everyone from A Flock of Seagulls to Van Halen was giving rise to big hair on MTV.
As far as beer was concerned, weekends were made for Michelob and Miller Lite not only tasted great, it was less filling too. It was only a few short years since President Jimmy Carter signed the landmark legislation that reopened markets for small, independent brewers, and trailblazers like BridgePort were literally at the forefront of a coming craft brew renaissance.
Here in present time, the brewery is celebrating its 30th anniversary. To honor the occasion, they’ve introduced BridgePort Trilogy, a series of three limited edition beers. Fans are encouraged to check out all of them, and vote for the one they like the best. The beer with the most votes will then go into regular production and join BridgePort’s core lineup of regular releases next year.
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Hub 55/Sterle’s Country House owner Rick Semersky looked nationwide for a brewer for his developing Goldhorn Brewery – but he found who he was looking for right here in Cleveland.
On Monday, Semersky announced that Joel Warger has been named Head Brewer for the 10,000-square-foot brewery with a 100-seat tap room slated to open in 2015 at Hub 55 on East 55th Street. Warger is currently the Pub Brewer at Great Lakes Brewing Co., where he has worked for 14 years.
“I couldn’t have found a better Head Brewer for Goldhorn then Joel,” says Semersky. Warger will also be a minority owner in Goldhorn, with a hand in every aspect of the brewery and restaurant as well as the beermaking.