Historic IPA

Recipe: Historic IPA

This beer is my attempt to recreate a historic IPA. It is based on an article from Craft Beer & Brewing. The excessive level of hops and long aging should help to define the character of this beer as well as give it an extra level of complexity. Brett should give interesting aromatics and change the perception of the hops slowly over time. It is a bit of a risk bottling this beer considering the highly unpredictable nature of brettanomyces but it will allow the beer to age and go through flavor and aroma changes that should be fun to observe.

OG: 1.066 —- FG: 1.0?? —- ABV: ?.?%

  Recipe (5 gallons):

  • 14 lb Marris Otter
  • 3 oz East Kent Goldings – 60 min
  • 1 oz East Kent Goldings – 10 Min
  • 2 oz East Kent Goldings – Secondary for 14 Days
  • 2 oz East Kent Goldings – Tertiary for 7 Days

Yeast: Wyeast 1203 (Burton IPA Blend) & WLP645 (Brettanomyces Claussenii)

Mashed at 150 for 75 minutes. Boiled for 65 minutes. Fermented at 68 F for 2 weeks. Brewed 1/29/16 with 68% efficiency. Racked to Secondary 2/13/16 and added a vial of WLP645. Dry hopped 3/6/16 with 2 oz EKG. Racked to Tertiary 3/20/16. Dry hopped 4/4/16 with 2 oz EKG and 2 oz American Oak soaked in Vodka. Bottled 4/14/16.

Brew Tour – Raleigh, NC

Trophy Brewing

This place is an excellent brewery combining the best of both food and beer leading to an excellent drinking experience. I came in on a Friday afternoon as my car was getting repaired. At a balmy 91 degrees, the day was shaping up to be a scorcher. The sun followed me into the brewery, its hot rays inspiring me move quickly into its cold embrace.

IMG_3367Shane Fisher, the General Manager, greeted me and welcomed me into the back. As I walked in, their head brewer was juicing fresh oranges and the air was redolent with the smell of citrus. It was a small room, no bigger than 30 by 30 feet, and filled to the gills with fermenters and brewing equipment.

IMG_3368“It’s amazingly cool in here” were some of the first words out of my mouth “how do you do you’re heating?”

“Were all electric” Replied Shane with a smile as he showed me the master control panel of the brewery, an impressive piece of technology which controls the brewing opperation.

IMG_3362It’s safe to say that while their operation may be small, they are making the most of the space that they have and producing excellent product. When it comes to the beer, their lineup is as diverse as it is excellent; with sours, to saisons, and even a few lagers gracing the taps. My tasting started with a Gose with both ginger and rosemary. To me, sour beers can be an indication of a brewer’s quality and potential. From the minute the gose hit my lips, I knew they were on to something special.

“Do you sour in the fermenter or the kettle?” I asked, taking another sip.

IMG_3363“We do most of our souring in the kettle, but we are starting to work on devoting a whole tank to brett.”

One trend that I have seen recently is the use of fruit, herbs, and spices in Gose and Berliner Weisse. When I asked about this trend he nodded, “ We have been using a lot of teas recently, and we find that they work well and give us the flavor we are looking for.”

IMG_3365Whatever it is that they are doing, it is working. The ‘Your my boy blue’, a wee heavy with blueberry and pomegranate tea was an extraordinary blend of the malty richness of wee heavy with the sweet richness of blueberries and pomegranate.

Trophy Brewing’s food is also something to wright home about. Their house specialty is pizza, a dish that often blends well with beer. During my visit, I enjoyed the “local Celebrity” which combined brussels sprouts, pork belly and a mélange of flavors that came together and complemented the beer.

Overall 9/10

Web Page: http://trophybrewing.com/

Address: 827 W. Morgan Street, Raleigh, NC 27603

Sour, Berliner Weisse, and Lambic Festival – Tampa Bay, FL

IMG_4452It’s no wonder with the growing popularity of sour beers, that there should be events dedicated to this mouth puckering beer style. When a brewery cracks a sour, freshly kegged from a barrel, it’s often celebrated by a release party. Many bars will celebrate sours with a special tap night, putting 10 to 15 of these superb brews on draft for a single evening only. Although all of these events do homage to wild beers, it’s my belief that the Sour Beer Fest at the Cajun Cafe on the Bayou is one of the greatest expressions of admiration for the sour and wild beer style. With over twenty-five breweries and one hundred beers represented, it can hardly be argued that this festival ranks as one of the top sour celebrations of the year. Brewery’s from Anderson Valley in California to local heroes like Cigar City, and near by celebrities like NOLA Brewing gathered to put their beers on display for the public and celebrate the renaissance of sour beer.

FullSizeRender_4As I walked into the event, I had no idea what to expect. I had first heard of the festival while visiting NOLA brewery a few weeks ago. As I looked at the web page, it seemed to be a fun event, with sour and wild beers from across the US converging to create a totally unique celebration. Waiting in line with several other eager drinkers to receive my tasting glass and token for free meal, I couldnt help but feel a sense of both anticipation and a little doubt. I was no stranger to beer festivals, but all the previous experiences I had were general gatherings with styles represented across the BJCP spectrum. ‘100 sours’ I thought, ‘Im going to be sick of them by the 20th taste’… Oh how wrong I was!

FullSizeRender_1Upon my entrance to the festival, I found a veritable wonderland of sour beers, with famous brands from across the country united to celebrate the style. My samplings ranged from classic interpretations of sours, such as traditional Flanders Reds, Lambics, and  Berliner Weisse (served with the classic woodruff and raspberry syrups) to the bizarre and unusual like the cucumber gose and the bourbon barrel aged imperial sour. The festival was the usual collection of people, spanning all across the age gap; from the barley old enough to drink to seasoned veterans of the brewing world. In short is was a classic beer festival, with all walks of life represented and united in their love of beer. The line up proved to be as diverse as the drinkers assembled at this festival. Some notable examples have been highlighted below.

  • Lemon Grass Gose (Rapp Brewing): Beautiful expression of lemon grass. This beer has a nose of lemon and suntan lotion (sounds weird but it was very pleasant) and a beautiful hazy pale straw color. Its flavor reminded me of lemon candy, like sucking on a citrus warhead. Herbal aftertaste with a hint of Lemon Drops. Reminds me of the beach on a summer day.
  • Whiskey Barrel Aged King Calus Imperial Sour (Point Ybel): Weighing in at a lofty 10% abv, this beer deserves its royal status. With distinctive Bourbon notes in the nose, and a chocolate aroma worthy of an Aztec god, it’s hard to believe this is a sour. One sip however, and you are transported into a world subtle sour flavor. Amazing rich notes of cocoa complement a delicate sour flavor of funk and malt. As I drink it I can’t believe the amazing velvety overtones of the bourbon oak. This is a game changer of a sour!
  • Blended Lambic 2016 (Dam Raynes): This beer was brewed by a local home brewer, and it is positively amazing.  The beer has a very classic lambic taste, highlighting sour notes with a restrained oak presence in the background. This is the more sour of the two blends Dam brought, highlighting acid over funk. It is an amazingly clean example of style with only ha hint of funk among a distinctive sour tone. It represents the best of Belgium… in America.
  • Cheeky Otter IPA (Hourglass): This is a very fun interpretation of the sour style, accentuating guava and leeches notes. As their head brewer described, it has a strong sour note which can be very refreshing; acting as a pallet cleanser even among its sour compatriots. Even the nose has an element of tart salad dressing; giving you the impression that you already for your main course.
  • Tropical Thunder (Hidden Springs): In a lineup of powerful sours, this beer may not be as overstated as some but it delivers on quality; which at the end of the day is what you’re looking for. As a kettle brewed sour, it has all the clean flavors you’re looking for, without any garbage or trash can flavors which can come about with this temperamental technique. It has a very subtle fruit overtone coming from strawberry, mango and pineapple, which lends a very refreshing note to the otherwise clean sour profile. While it wasn’t the most sour, nor the most powerful, nor the highest in abv; this beer is a classic example of what sour beer is all about.

FullSizeRenderUnfortunately, there were few beers that fell on the sword of the creativity; such as one blend of barrel beers (from Chardonnay to Bourbon)  which proved to be more muttled than masterful; or the smoked Berliner (cough… sour gratzer… cough). Fortunately though, the majority of beers were beyond any critique or criticism. I happily sipped my way through glass after glass, marveling in how much unique flavor there was even among this seemingly homogenous group of beers. The event was truly eye-opening in that it gave me a new perspective on the depth of sour and wild brewed beer and has given me food (well drink) for thought in my future sour endeavors.

FullSizeRender_3Overall this was a fantastic venue, providing a fun atmosphere, excellent food, and extraordinary beer. I will certainly be back next year if they decide to continue this amazing festival. I encourage anyone who enjoy sour beers to make the Tampa Bay their next vacation destination in order to enjoy this fantastic line up of brews.

Brew Tour – Richmond, VA

The Answer Brewpub

FullSizeRender_2It’s a little brewpub on the side of the highway, but you should not judge their quality by their location. As you walk in, you’re greeted to an eclectic collection of memorabilia on wooden wall paneling. The music is constant in the background, too soft that you have to strain to hear but neither too loud that you can’t enjoy a conversation. They play a selection spanning different eras and genera but nothing that is out of place in the “dive bar” type atmosphere. One look at the beer menu and you can tell that their beverage options are pretty limited; if you don’t like sours, stouts, or IPAs you are shit out of luck. However, the quality of their beer is exceptional and makes up for the lack of diversity.

FullSizeRenderOne beer that stood out most to me was the Pants Optional: an imperial stout with Kona coffee, vanilla beans, Carolina reaper, cacao nibs, and coconut. While it seems like it would be something akin to a homebrew disaster, the flavors meld to create a very pleasing beer with a bit of heat, which is by no means overpowering. It would make an extraordinary desert beer or even just an after dinner drink. I can certainly say that this is a one of a kind brew!

FullSizeRender_1The food options are also diverse, mixing classic American dishes with Vietnamese inspired cuisine. During my visit, I had the Pork Belly Bon Mai, which turned out to be a perfect complement to their Mouth Hug Citra IPA. This place is certainly worth checking out if you’re in the Richmond area and are looking for a very casual dinner with delicious craft beer included. If you’re in any doubt what to order, be sure to ask the very friendly and knowledgeable staff for their recommendation.

Overall 8/10

 

Web Page: http://theanswerbrewpub.com/

Address: 6008 W Broad St, Richmond, Virginia

 

 

Going South – A Brewery Trail

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 9.29.17 AMSome people move simply, taking a truck or their car directly down to their new home. I have never been one of those people. My idea of an ideal move is an adventure, traveling and embracing my new home through an exploration of surrounding states and cities. In short, I am a huge pain in the ass to my friends and family who I usually drag along through this quagmire of chaos. But… I always bring back fun gifts, or if I’m short on cash, great stories to share.

On this trip, I’m traveling from New Jersey down to Florida… by way of New Orleans. For someone who might be sharing this eclectic journey, I want to share my beerie destinations to aid the lonely traveler and give them direction on their path. Hopefully I can save a few people from the horrors of bad beer, or at the very least give some the inspiration to visit some of the extraordinary breweries I have discovered on my trip.

Stop 1) Richmond, VA – The Answer Brewpub

Stop 2) Raleigh, NC – Trophy Brewing

Stop 3) Charlotte, NC – The Unknown Brewing Company, The Wooden Robot

Stop 4) Atlanta, GA – The Torched Hop, Wrecking Bar

Stop 5) Birmingham, AL – Avondale Brewing Company, Cahaba Brewing Company

Stop 6) New Orleans, LA – NOLA Brewing