Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Texas Carboys club brew-in

This past saturday Mr. Joe White hosted the Texas Carboys club Brew-in at his home in Leander, TX. Three 7 gallon all-grain batches in 6 hours. Everything was brewed in preparation for the club picnic on May 21st. The brews were a Pale Ale, Porter, and a Weiss beer.

I arrived a bit late and ended up having more to do with the clean up than the brewing but I enjoyed myself all the same. I don't have the recipies to share but I will try to get them in time for my post about the club picnic.

 - Jay

Friday, March 18, 2011

New toys.

44 quart stainless steel kettle with spigot and 55,000 btu propane burner with 16" frame. Both from Bayouclassiccooking.com shipped to me for under $170 in only three days.

If you're interested the kettles with spigots are available in two sizes 36qt and 44qt. There are also many sizes available with out spigots and a wide variety of propane burners to choose from. I did alot of shopping and this kettle is definately the best value that I could find. Its a nice thick gauge steel and feel much nicer than others I have seen and cost less than half of what Blichman or Polarware kettles go for. Use discount code bcc10 for 10% off of your entire order.

 - Jay

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New Belgium: 1554 Enlightend Black Ale

New Belgium is quickly becoming my favorite brewery. They consistently produce exceptional beers. Although I may not be the biggest fan of everything they create that is more of a matter of style preference than a reflection on the beer itself. Every New Belgium beer I have consumed had one thing in common; balance (something that seems to be lacking in many contemporary pints).

As the American market for interesting beer continues to move away from imports and towards American craft brewed beer the consumer is bombarded with variety. This has lead me to sample a few pints that just didn't get it quite right. There seems to be an endless selection now a days. Don't get me wrong this is a great thing. Variety and experimentation are what keep me passionate about home brewing. The issue is more a matter of refinement than variety, and with so many choices on tap one or two are bound to be a bit less refined than the rest.

I love American craft beer, I want to work in the American craft beer industry. This resurgence of passionate, talented brewing in America is amazing. Yet sometimes I'll try something new and wonder why the hell something so out of balance is on the market. I'm a bit of a hop head but that doesn't mean that I want my tongue to be assaulted by every Pale Ale and IPA I drink. There are those exceptional few that balance bitter and sweet better than the rest. This is kind of refinement is something that a larger proportion of imported beers have over American craft beer. With New Belgium Brewing however, there is both variety and refinement.

Before transplanting my life to central Texas my exposure to New Belgium had been limited to the occasional 12oz bottle of Fat Tire (which may not be the most exciting brew in the world but is damn good all the same). For this session I'll be reviewing 1554 Enlightened Black Ale.

Style: Belgian dark ale

ABV: 5.6%

IBU: 21

Vessel: Tulip glass (poured from a 12oz bottle)

Appearance: Deep brown almost black with a slight reddish tint. Proudly pours with a half inch head which holds throughout most of the session. Great lacing. A beautiful beer. (5/5)

Aroma: Roasted malt, Coffee, Tobacco and earthy undertones. (3.5/5)

Flavor: Big time Chocolate malt going on here. There are also some toffee and roasted malt flavors present. Moderately sweet and mildly hoppy. Yet despite the malt level and sweetness the flavor is clean and light. No alcohol flavor present. (4.5/5)

Mouth Feel: Light bodied with a clean carbonation feel. Mildly warming alcohol feel. No astringency present. (4.5/5)

Overall: In one word, smooth. When you pour a pint of 1554 and notice its deep brown almost black color and its soft creamy head you expect a full bodied malt explosion. This is not the case here. This is a dark Belgian Ale that manages to be light, and dare I say refreshing? Everything about this brew was pleasantly surprising. Completely delicious and well balanced. 1554 may just become one of my staples. (17.5/20) 88%

 - Jay

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Texas Carboys meet up at the Thirsty Planet Brewery

Back on February 26th Rachel joined me to my first meeting with the Texas Carboys home brewing club. We were fortunate because this one just happened to take place at the Thirsty Planet Brewery in south west Austin (the same neighborhood that Jester King Brewing is located in). Normally club meetings take place at The Dig Pub a great little beer & wine bar located in Cedar Park.

The Carboys were inviting and down to earth. I felt comfortable from the start. I think I met about half of the group (some members did not attend and others I did not have the opportunity to introduce myself to). I'm really looking forward to future meetings. This was a great opportunity to see new parts of Austin and get to know people that share my love of beer and brewing. Beer geeks are my kind of people.  

Brian Smittle owner / brewmaster of Thirsty Planet gave the group a tour of the brewery after we sampled home brews and libations provided by the brewery.

 - Jay