Archive for January, 2010

Half Acre Tour

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

A visit to Half Acre Beer Company was one of my easiest brewery hops to put together. Chicago, just about anywhere in the city, is a mere one hour from home. A tour set for 1:00pm puts us in the range of the kids falling asleep and/or playing DS the entire time that I will be on the tour. free run 4.0 v2 Of course the wife is along for the ride, I wouldn’t leave them in the car by themselves. 😉

half acre brewing company

I am not going to go crazy here as you can read the entire story over in brewery hops, but Gabriel Magliaro, the owner, gave the tour so it was thorough. The brewery is actually two stories with their grain and barrel aging being done on the second floor. The tour started about 15 minutes late as people continued to pour (no pun intended) into the brewery past the 25 person limit, quickly passing 70. No worries beer was served and continually served throughout the entire time of the tour (about an hour). Gabriel even radioed for more beer to keep the crowd pleased. Now that is service for a free tour.

I talked home brewing with several others visitors and didn’t hear a ton on the tour. I plan on going again so I can hear about the history and capacity of Half Acre. Enjoy!

Three New Beers Reviewed

Friday, January 29th, 2010

new glarus brewing company raspberry tart

Last night was Thursday, so Rich and I got together for our weekly (at least we try) beer tasting and reviews of American craft beer. We had a total of four beers but one of them, Raspberry Tart by New Glarus, I had already had. So this will be a discussion of the other three. 🙂

Iron Horse IPA by Mt. Pleasant Brewing was the first beer of the night. free run 4.0 v2 femmes We split a 12 ounce bottle with my pour being very cloudy due to the yeast trub from the bottom of the bottle. Foam was nothing great. Citrus and pine hops are there but not pronounced in either aroma or taste. There is a caramel sweetness to balance. Bitterness and spice are parts of the late mout both lingering into the aftertaste. Medium body and light carbonation seem to fit. A slightly above average IPA that is easily sessionable. 6/10

The Round Barn has been making wine for a long time in the South-West corner of Michigan but their entry into the American craft beer scene is relatively new. I had heard that the old brewer from Founders is helping them get their sea legs. Cocoa Stout was the flavor I choose from several others. Sweet lactose, chocolate, coffee, roasted, oat, and bitterness all play varying rolls to the senses. This is a quality stout that can feel mildly watery in the mouth at times, giving me only major concern in this otherwise well rounded brew. 7/10

Last beer of the evening: Arrogant Bastard Ale by Stone. The price point on this beer is outstanding: $4.99 for a bomber (22 ounces). The hop profile that I was expecting and heard about just wasn’t there. free run 4.0 v3 I think I purchased this bottle this past summer and who knows how old it was before that. With that off my chest, I still liked the beer but I don’t think to the complete extent I would a fresh bottle as the bitterness seemed so unbalanced. Until I get a fresh one, my current rating will have to suffice. 7/10

It looks like I will be at Half Acre tomorrow for their weekly tour and then Stockholm’s on Sunday with Rich. Enjoy!

The Co$t of American Craft Beer

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

the cost of american craft beer

From time to time I bring up the cost of pickling the liver with American craft beer. Compared to the macros, the cost of craft beer is much higher and, in some limited releases, ludicrously high. I recently remembered seeing an add for a macro at about $15.00 for a case and thinking that was high from when I was in college (20 years ago already, age is catching up quickly). Yesterday I purchased a case of Hopslam for $68 after tax. I have paid more than $10 for a bomber which is less than two beers. So how could $15 for a macro case sound expensive?

Yes, better ingredients cost more money as there isn’t the high amount of adjuncts. free run 4.0 v3 femmes Also, the craft brewers don’t have the buying power for their ingredients as they are using no where near the same amount; no bulk discounts. Bottling and distribution of beer is a very labor intensive and monetarily expensive part of brewing. These and other factors force craft brewers to pass these costs onto the consumer. The price of quality over quantity.

I guess you could say it is a hobby of sorts. Anyone that has ever had a hobby can attest to the fact that they do not come cheaply. There are ways to keep costs down within a “normal” hobby: diy, go smaller, buy smaller, buy second hand, etc. Most of these cost reducing methods don’t work in the craft beer world. DIY would be brewing your own and doing away with craft beer completely (I home brew but still enjoy the craft beers, a lot). Go smaller, a beer is a beer, I can’t buy a smaller version of it. Second hand beer sounds like urine to me. Just as my list above could continue, so could I here.

What does it all really mean? Hopslam, as mentioned above, at its case cost, is still less than $3 per 12 ounce serving. Not bad for an outstanding beer that has 10% alcohol and is a limited release. I would pay at least that in a bar for a bottle of macro. An easy decision when looked at in this manner. As for the expensive bombers: limit the number that I buy. Overall, be selective with the beer that I purchase, do my homework online to see the thoughts of others on a particular beer, and, most importantly, stop going to the damn liquor store two or more times a week. Simply put: create a budget as you would on any other facet of your spending self. Enjoy!

Half Acre Magnus Worth A Full Acre

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

half acre beer company magnus

There are some beers that I purchase out of pure curiosity. Magnus by Half Acre Beer Company fits perfectly into to that motif. free run 5.0 In this case I was curious about the brewery and what they had to offer, since they are the new kid on the block while being readily available, somewhat, in the Chicagoland area. The curiosity also extended to the fact that Magnus is a Schwarzbier, a style that I haven’t found much of in the American craft beer industry (to this point, maybe I have also subconsciously avoided).

I opened Magnus with blind faith that I would enjoy this beer as I had Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, possibly placing Half Acre as a quick up and comer on the craft beer scene. Off with the cap, let’ try this sucker out.

Pours a perfect shade of brown with a single finger of tan foam. Frothiness develops as the foam dissipates leaving some sticky blotchy lacing. Roasted, toasted, caramel, and nutty malt stimulates the senses. Coffee comes in the finish of the beer; both on the nose and palate. A nice creamy mouth feel with a medium carbonation and slight alcoholic twang. Very drinkable and completely enjoyable beer. It is a shame it is a one shot. 8/10

Half Acre is quickly building its’ reputation with me. I have a bomber of Big Hugs Imperial Stout that I cannot wait to taste and rate. Enjoy!

AleSmith Anvil ESB Ale Reviewed

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

alesmith brewing company anvil esb ale

In my quest to have enough bombers to bottle my latest two batches of beer, I tasted and reviewed Anvil ESB Ale by AleSmith Brewing Company. Anvil is an extra strong bitter and is my fourth beer from the California based brewery.

Anvil pours with more foam than just about any other beer I have had. Huge. free run 5.0 +3 femmes I believe my first pour, which was vigorous, was about an ounce and filled the glass. The nose is hit with lots of nice toasted malt and some nice, pleasant dark fruits. A touch of floral, maybe from hops, is present too. The toasted malt is the center of the taste with dark and light fruits both intermingling along with a sense of wine and a musty flavor that seems to have its place. A medium body and light carbonation accent the beer well. A great balance of these complexities making this often avoided, by me, style really stand out. I now need to dig further into this style. I could see this beer going higher than my rating but I don’t know about lower by more than a point. 8/10

I hope to have several tastings tonight as the weather shouldn’t keep me from getting home in a timely fashion. Enjoy!

Stockholm’s Visit Slated for Sunday

Monday, January 25th, 2010

stockholm's restaurant and brewery geneva, il

Stockholm’s restaurant and brewery, located in Geneva, IL, is the next brewery hop that Two Beer Dudes will be on. We will be hanging out with Michael Olesen, the owner, talking about Stockholm’s and having a few beers. We are going to try and do our first video. It will be short, a few pertinent questions long, and then the rest will be the old fashioned way: paper and pencil. I am just not too sure our video camera will have high enough quality, which worries me some.

I plan on bringing a bomber of Pot Licker Chocolate Stout to share and get a professionals opinion. I am excited about Sunday and look forward to a good time. Enjoy!

Grass Cutter Brewing Day

Sunday, January 24th, 2010
Steeping grains for grass cutter.

Steeping grains for grass cutter.

My fourth batch of home brew is already fermenting. free run 5.0 femmes The wife is a huge fan of Oberon by Bell’s Brewing, Inc. and has been asking, since I started home brewing, if I would be able to make her something similar. As long as this beer comes close, I will save myself the $40/case she spends on them during the warmer months.

The recipe is pretty much a dead on clone with a slight (very, very, slight) variation to hop and grain amounts. Recipe:

5 gallon batch, 60 minute boil

1.50# Light DME
4.00# Wheat DME
0.70# Munich (Belgium)
0.70# Carapils

1.00oz Hallertau, 3.00AA, 45min
1.00oz Hallertau, 3.00AA, 15min
1.00oz Saaz, 4.20AA, 0min
0.50oz Hallertau, 3.00AA, 0min

Wyeast 1056

Used the Wyeast 1056 for this batch.  Easy.  First time not using Nottingham.

Used the Wyeast 1056 for this batch. Easy. First time not using Nottingham.

Not that I am anywhere near being a good brewer but the brew day went off without much of a hitch. I hit my steeping temperature, boil came the typical 40 minutes after turning up the heat. Even the cooling went well. Maybe I am getting a good feel for the process and it is coming more common knowledge than short term memory.

Chuck, a friend from my home brewing club, stopped by just before boil. We chatted about brewing, what we thought should happen with the beer club, his current switch to all grain, cost and time cutting tricks to brewing, had a few beers, and researched bourbon oak aging some home brew.

I am very happy with this brew day and the ease with which it came off. While waiting for the boil, I dry hopped Ladies Day IPA with an ounce of Amarillo. That will be bottled in two weeks, the same time I will rack Grass Cutter to a secondary. Enjoy!

Brewing Oberon Clone Tomorrow

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

bells oberon label

Tomorrow will mark my fourth brew day in my short lived home brewing career. I am brewing an Oberon clone that is very lightly tweaked and is mainly for the wife. I should be getting the day started around 11:00am. We shall see how close I hit that number. A friend from my brew club, Chuck, is stopping by to lend advice, talk home brewing, drink some beers, and hang out. I will be putting up the recipe and notes about the brew day tomorrow night.

I will be dry hopping my Ladies Day American IPA tomorrow also. That should be ready to bottle in two weeks. Enjoy!

Crooked Tree Leads Three Reviews

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

dark horse brewing company crooked tree ipa

I am running low on bombers (which isn’t a good thing since I need more for brewing) so I turned to some beers I picked up while on a recent Grand Rapids, Michigan trip, that are 12 ouncers. In case you missed the excursion, I visited Siciliano’s Market who sells beer by the individual bottle. Yes, I walked away with a case of 24 different beers.

I recently was listening to some podcast on drinking beer and the craft brewery owner, can’t remember which, said that you should not drink from lightest in color to darkest, but from less alcohol and lightest body to biggest beers. air jordan 7 Makes sense and it usually seems that light color = light beer. Not with craft beers. Now I don’t know if my tasting followed that premise, but I tried and I wanted to save the American IPAs for last since I enjoy them liking finding a $100 bill on the side walk.

First up was Scotty Karate Scotch Ale by Dark Horse Brewing Company. A Scottish heavy ale that seemed to be infused with smoke, maybe peat. The beer was overall well balanced but the smoke was the one sticking point in terms making this beer rate higher for me. A little toning down of the smoke might put this beer over the top. Still a good beer with bready and toffee aromas and flavors coming through. 7/10

The middle beer I went into with some apprehension. Arbor Brewing Company seems to put out beers that don’t agree with me for some reason or another. I want to like them, I just can’t. Unfortunately, Sacred Cow IPA, and American IPA, reaffirmed my apprehensions. It started out ominously with the beer shooting out of the bottle as soon as I took off the cap. Cleaning up messes while trying to enjoy some American craft beer doesn’t make me happy. The aroma of the beer with the hops mix is really enticing and even in the mouth it is a good beer until the pepper hits. I didn’t get the pepper in the aroma, so it caught me off guard. Too much and lingering. An average beer, for me, because of the pepper and not something I will pursue again. 6/10

The last beer of the night, Crooked Tree IPA, was the one I most anticipated (Rich has told me wonderful things about this beer) and I wasn’t let down. A good end to the evening. The aroma is huge on hops: pine and citrus that are softened slightly by a floral hop addition. air jordan 9 A great combination that made it hard to resist tasting and wafting even more. There is a sweetness to the aroma and taste that help to balance the beer. The floral hops come out in the taste with mild bitterness at most. A really smooth drinker that is well worth a try from anyone that is a hop head. 9/10

Home brew club meeting tonight. I am bringing my Pot Licker Chocolate Milk Stout to share. I am hoping to get some feedback to make it better as most of my friends have liked it and I haven’t received any negativity. I know there is no way my second beer is flawless. 🙂 Enjoy!

Sea Monster Imperial Stout Reviewed

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

ballast point brewing company sea monster imperial stout

This time of the year I really enjoy having an American imperial stout. The rich malts, complexities, and full body are appreciated in the cold months.

Sea Monster Imperial Stout by Ballast Point Brewing Company fits the bill perfectly and was pleasantly appreciated. air jordan 10 The pour was dark with a small amount of brown foam that didn’t last with very minor splotchy lacing. The aroma and taste are filled with dark fruits (plum and raisins), chocolate, coffee, and sweet molasses. The chocolate is the stronger than the coffee in the flavor and leaves some creaminess and bitterness in the finish. The high alcohol is well masked but I thought I had a hit here in their in the aroma. Overall a real quality imperial that was easy to drink. I will try and get more of this and wonder how well it would cellar. 8/10 (could easily be a 9).

Even though I drank the bomber by myself, there was something missing. Hops. Down went my second Hop Slam that I have yet to review. Maybe tonight. Enjoy!