Tag Archives: Beer

Why I Drink Beer – Part 2

29 Jul

Stone Smoked Porter

Part 2: Hot and Cold

Picture this, It’s late July and you are on your way home from work.  It had been a stressful day at the office, keeping you at the desk a little over an hour late.  Once you’re able to get out, the bus decides not to show.  Knowing that it will be another 30 minutes until the next bus arrives, you decide to walk 5 blocks to another line that should pick you up sooner.  Before you even make it even one block, the sweat starts beading up on your forehead.  It’s 94 degrees and the swampy humidity of DC is ever-so heavy.  By the time you get on the bus, your back is soaked, your face is red with heat, and your feet are screaming for freedom.  You finally make it to your home bus stop and begin the short walk to the house.  Within ten minutes, the shorts are on, the fresh t-shirt feels great, and you are chilling out on the stoop with a Dogfish 60 min in hand.  Everything feels better.

Now picture this, It’s late January and you are on your way home from work.  It had been a stressful day at the office, keeping you behind your desk well past the usual quitting time.  By the time you are finally able to get out, the early sunset is long gone, and the winter chill has settled in.  As you walk through the darkness to your bus stop, an icy breeze starts burning your ears.  You try to plug the holes in your peacoat with the new scarf your sister got you for Christmas, but it just isn’t doing the trick.  Every minute in this bitter cold feels like 10.  The snow from the weekend before is still slowing down traffic, making the wait for the bus that much more dreadful.  Finally you make it to your home bus stop and begin the short walk to your house.  Within ten minutes, the sweats are on and you are curled up with the girlfriend in front of the TV.  You pour a Stone Smoked Porter.  Everything feels better.

Both of those scenarios seem to occur far too often in this fine capitol city.  With short Falls and even shorter Springs, it seems like the entire year is filled with weather extremes.  But even when you can’t count on nice weather, you can always count on a nice Micro Brew.  Beer is one of the only drinks around that can be both crisp and refreshing on a hot summer’s day AND wholesome and warming on those cold winter nights.  No matter how unnerving the weather, beer can always give you that comforting feeling.

That is one reason why I drink beer.

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Why I Drink Beer – Part 1

16 Jul

La Cerveza de Costa Rica

Beer, you’ve gotta love it.  Believed to be one of the oldest prepared beverages, beer trails only to water and tea as the world’s third most popular drink.  It can be found all over the world, in the biggest cities and most remote of locations.  It is everywhere, and enjoyed by so many.  Here is the first in a series of short essays on why I drink beer.

Part 1: Imperial

I don’t remember my first beer, but I remember first learning to enjoy it.  The first beer I would have called my beer of choice was Imperial, a Costa Rican Lager, similar to any typical Latin American lager.  It is gold in color, light in taste, and has a foamy white head.  I remember trying out different Costa Rican beers, and as a beer rookie, I wasn’t really able to tell the difference.  There isn’t much special about Imperial, except the memories.  As a teenager studying abroad in town with no other gringos, it was beer that brought me together with my new friends.  It was beer that loosened up the tongue and brought out the Spanish.  And it was beer and beach that brought out more laughter than anything else.

Since then, beer for me has meant just that:  bringing people together, making new friends, and sharing in laughter.  Whether you are out at a bar with friends, sitting around the house with family, or in the back yard lighting up the grill, beer just seems to set the mood.  Co-workers become friends, heartbreaks are mended, and anniversaries celebrated, all over beers.  I’m not really sure why beer can be credited for so many great things…maybe it’s the alcohol, maybe it’s the taste, or maybe just the history.  No matter what the reason, the mood is set, the people have fun, and we keep drinking the beer.

That is one reason why I drink beer.

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Brewing TV’s First Episode

11 May

Northern Brewer, one of my favorite homebrew supplies stores, has started a new online show airing once a week.  They are calling it Brewing TV.  Here is what they have to say on their website:

“Brewing TV’s mission is to cover the world of homebrewing through the magic of video.  There are so many stories to be told, brews to be brewed, and people to profile … in other words, no shortage of segments and content to be shot.  The homebrewing community has always been a strong one, whether it’s your LHBS, a club in your city, you and some friends brewing in your kitchen on a weekend afternoon, or an online forum with rabid regulars. Brewing TV is a place where those different communities can connect and hear about what homebrewing has been, what it is, and where it is going.  Brewing TV is a voice for homebrewing culture … the “why,” not the “how.” If you want technical, you can always read a book!  Seriously, read more books.

I highly recommend you check out episode 1, as they meet the guys behind Fulton Brewing Company, brew and American Wheat, and explore the Upper Mississippi Mas Out.  Enjoy!

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Home Brew #2 – Not Too Pale Ale

19 Mar

Not Too Pale Ale

After the first batch, Newly Nutted Brown Ale, turned out half decent, I decided it was time to go ahead and start a new batch.  This time I wanted something a little hoppier.  I have been on a pale ale kick recently, so I took off to mLHBS in search for a good IPA kit.  They pointed me towards Brewer’s Best Imperial Pale Ale.

Brew day went much quicker than the first.  Starting out better prepared, I didn’t need to look at the book for instructions every 30 seconds.  The boil time for the wort was 60 minutes, slightly longer than the nut brown.

Roommate Filling the Bottles

I let the beer ferment for two weeks, compared to just 1 on the nut brown.  After taking the gravity of the beer, I was a little disapointed that it only came out to about 6% ABV instead of the predicted 8%.  I’m not really sure what I did wrong, but maybe it will turn out to be a good thing…

Roommate was a kind friend and helped me with the bottling.  Sure, he didn’t have his glasses on, so we lost a little beer on the floor, but it was a huge help and saved a lot of time.

The picture of the beer at the top of the page was after priming in the bottle for one week.  There wasn’t much head after just a week, but the taste was great.  It has tons of bold hoppy flavor, perfect for quenching your thirst.  After letting the bottles sit for 2 weeks, the head was about 1 inch thick.

Stuck inside a cramped white cubical all day, I can’t help but think about the beautiful weather just out the doors, Opening Day just a few weeks away, and a Not Too Pale Ale just right for drinking.

Recipe:

Fermentables

6.6 lb. Light LME

1 lb. Golden DME

1 lb. Corn Sugar

Specialty Grains

1 lb. Crystal 80L

8 oz. Victory Dextrine

4 oz. Carapils Dextrine

Hops

2 oz. Bittering

1 oz. Flavoring

1 oz. Aroma

Yeast

1 Sachet

Boil Time 60 min

OG = 1.060

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Home Brew #1 – Nut Brown Ale

21 Jan

The beer, ready for fermentation.

This fall I decided a needed a new hobby. Picking something that you will want to spend a lot of time perfecting can be tricky, so I took a look what I enjoy.

  • Eating, eh already close to mastering that art.
  • Running, at this point I already consider that one a hobby.
  • Dancing, whoa, I embarrass myself with enough of that as it is.
  • Drinking, bingo.

But I got to thinking, “Hobbies:  Drinking” isn’t really a winning self descriptor. So I decided to combine my creative juices, with something that will produce the ultimate reward. For Christmas I asked for a home brewing kit.

Last Sunday was the first big day of this brand new hobby. For those of you who have never brewed beer before, there are really two big days to each batch. The first is brew day, the second the bottling day. Sunday was my first brew day.  For the first batch, I wanted something easy, tasty, and rich. I went with a Nut Brown Ale.

Grains in the brew pot

Grains in the brew pot

It took me about an hour to get organized. I laid out the ingredients and equipment and did little more than stare at all the malts and tubes for nearly twenty minutes. Once I finally began piecing everything together, I started feeling a little more comfortable.  Before I knew it, I had grains simmering in the pot, and yeast rehydrating on the counter.  I was on a roll.

I boiled in the malt for nearly an hour, adding hops along the way.  When the boil was finished, I carefully added the wort to the water in the carboy and pitched the yeast.  I covered the carboy with an old sweatshirt, and placed it where it now resides in the corner of my closet.

Just 8 hours later, the yeast was really in action with the airlock bubbling violently, indicating that fermentation was taking place.  Yesterday I noticed that things had already slowed down, so I might be bottling as early as this weekend.  I was a little surprised at how rapidly the fermentation slowed, but I have been told it is nothing to worry about.  One ‘plus’ to preparing for bottling day is that you need to supply around 50 empty bottles.  The best way to do that is drink around 50 beers.  I didn’t plan ahead enough to start saving over the past few weeks, so this week I’ve been ‘forced’ to play catchup.

While I will not know for a few more weeks if this first attempt was successful, I feel good about my efforts.  I got a feel for what it takes, and how to think ahead.  I now have no doubt that this will be a hobby enjoyed (by myself and my friends) for many years to come.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Don’t rely on a single Brita pitcher to purify 5 gallons of water.
  2. Make sure you have someone who knows what they are doing in your speed dial.  Thanks Greg.

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Obama a Bud Man?

27 Jul

I thought there was enough commentary about the Gates v Crowley debacle last week, and I didn’t think that anyone really knew enough about it to write about it myself. But today’s report that the two of them were actually going to sit down with Obama seemed too good to pass up.

I could write about how crazy it is that Obama is involved in this incident to begin with, or how twisted it may be that people are taking sides on what seems to just be a huge misunderstanding, but I’ll spare you.  Instead I’m going to address how lame it is that Obama chose Budwiser as his  beer!  It may be the safe bet, ‘America’s Beer’ or the ‘beer of the people,’ but really?  When did the President start drinking like a frat boy?  More importantly, doesn’t he remember that Anheuser-Busch was purchased by the non-American owned InBev?

This seems like the perfect opportunity to relate to those liberal, beer loving supporters, like me and find some micro-brew located in a swing state.   Even better, what about a DC area Flying Dog or Starr Hill?  Local appeal, minimal impact on the environment, supporting a small business, hand crafted, and WAY more delicious.

The bottom line is that if there is one thing that I can count on with Obama, it is that he will be cool.  Obama, Budwiser isn’t cool.  You may wish to rethink.

Heineken Commercial…too funny

30 Mar

I just saw this commercial and thought it was too funny.  Enjoy.

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