Archive for March, 2010

2010 Craft Brewers Conference

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

The 2010 Craft Brewers Conference which is presented by the Brewers Association will be held from April 05 – 10, 2010 in Chicago, IL. Not that this should be news to many if any of you, but I just came across where nightly events, read tappings, will occur throughout the city of Chicago during the conference.

Today will be part one: just a day-by-day listing of the places that will hold these special events. Tomorrow a run down of what will American craft beers you will be able to get your beady little lips on.

Brewery Dinners
Brewery Specific Events
Rare Beer Tappings

  • Sunday: Hopleaf Bar
  • Monday: Erwin, Hopleaf Bar, The Publican, The Long Room
  • Tuesday: Avec, Blackbird, Hopleaf Bar, Clark Street Ale House, Goose Island Brewpub, The Map Room, Baron Buena, The Beer Bistro, The Bluebird, Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap, Local Option, Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro, Paddy Long’s Pub, Smoke Daddy, Quencher’s Saloon, Sheffield’s Beer Garden & BBQ Restaurant, Whole Foods Market
  • Wednesday: Hopleaf Bar, Brasserie Jo, Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap, Jerry’s, The Map Room, Small Bar Fullerton, Twisted Spoke, Big Star, The Bluebird, Hackney’s Printer’s Row, Local Option, The Publican, Rodan
  • Thursday: Hopleaf Bar, Blackbird, Bar on Buena, Big Star, Binny’s Beverage Depot, Clark Street Ale House, Cobra Lounge, Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap, Local Option, The Long Room, Small Bar Division, The Publican, Quencher’s Saloon, Reggie’s Music Joint, Rodan
  • Friday: Hopleaf Bar, Brasserie Jo, Clark Street Ale House, Jerry’s, Goose Island Brewpub, Twisted Spoke, Small Bar Fullerton, Small Bar Division, Big Star, Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap, Local Option, The Long Room, Quencher’s Saloon, Rodan
  • Whew. Sorry if I misspelled something or have an event in the wrong category. More to come tomorrow. Enjoy!

Idlewild Creek Robust Porter Tasted

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

idlewild creek robust porter

Not being a patient person, I have a hard time giving my beer enough time to carbonate after bottling. Two weeks or more, usually since the basement is only 57 degrees this time of year, is tough to deal with after waiting at least four weeks after brew day to bottle.

Sunday marked the fourteen days of bottling and conditioning for Idlewild Creek, a robust porter recipe I made up. I had take one gallon ageing it on oak bourbon chips, another gallon ageing it with a vanilla bean, and the rest was just left alone. Being fourteen days conditioned and my bourbon loving neighbor was over, I thought there would be no more of perfect scenario to try the beer than that moment.

After a bottle each, I can say the beer needs another two weeks conditioning but the oak and bourbon are nice an subtle. Miles, my neighbor, said that he would and could have gone for a much bigger bourbon presence.

After a little bit of talking about bourbons, we went over to Miles house to smell his collection. He is donating bourbon for my Russian Imperial Stout, yahoo. I will be putting one gallon with five ounces of Crown Royal (nice oak aroma and is actually Canadian Whiskey), another gallon with five ounces of Corner Creek, and one more gallon with six ounces of Corner Creek. That will be called the Miles edition. 🙂

Personally, I am really happy with this beer and wished that I would have added just a touch more bourbon (maybe two ounces per gallon more, which would put me in the five ounces per gallon neighborhood). I will have to try the normal and vanilla versions in the next week or so but, based on the bourbon version, I may have brewed the first batch of beer that I have liked. Enjoy!

Brewing Day #7: Ladies Day IPA

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Let me start off by saying that I find myself very fortunate to have a wife that puts up with my home brewing and allows me to play brewer about every three weeks. So brew day #7 was back to the beer I brewed as my third beer. IPAs are probably my favorite recipe but I am not brewing because my first go around was so outstanding. I am brewing because of how terrible it turned out.

This brings on the one difficulty I have with home brewing: the waiting process. I am not by nature a patient person but somehow, someway, I have found the intestinal fortitude to keep my beers in primary for four weeks and, if need be, throw them in a brite tank for a while longer. After that, the beer needs to go to bottling: at least another two weeks. Waiting almost two months or more (based on the beer) is not an impatient mans cup of tea.

When I brewed this beer the first time, I pitched my yeast, by the end of the second day nothing was happening. So by the end of the first day, I was on the forums, contacting friends, and researching why yeast doesn’t start. I impatiently came to the conclusion it was my yeast, so on my way home from work the second day I picked up a new package of yeast. Since it was only my third brew I made sure I followed directions precisely. Much to my shagrin, the yeast failed a second time and on the evening of the third night day, I was a mess. I thought the beer was doomed.

I called a brewing friend, who had some yeast. He did let me know the yeast was used on a different beer and wasn’t sure if the profile would come throuhg in my beer. Well, to cut this story short, it did. I didn’t like it and I have had a hard time choking it down.

Fast foward to yesterday: I made the same recipe but this time the yeast is working fine and I will not be injecting some crazy yeast this time around. I can’t wait for it. Eight weeks is a long time to wait.

I still have one dilema: I orginally dry hopped with one ounce of Amarillo hops. I found some cheap hops so I have an ounce of Amarill, Centennial, Cascade, and Chinook laying around. Would this cause hop aroma overload in a regular IPA or just the right amount? Enjoy!

Pliny The Elder Continues To Impress

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

russian river brewing company logo

Back on February 22nd, 2010 here on the sips blog I mentioned that I had had the fortune of having my first Pliny the Elder. I rambled on for quite some time about the build up to the first sip and, finally, the actual tasting and review. Both Rich and I thought it was outstanding but I was the only one to review.

Since then I have had the fortune of sampling the beer at least three more times. I know you are happy for me. Each time I have one it is an “occasion” for me. My feelings towards the beer hasn’t changed yet and I will be having a few more over the next week or so. I am impressed with how well balanced and how little bitterness there is in the finish or after taste for such a big IPA.

I have had other Russian River beers, having been impressed by each, but none comes close to comparing to sweet, sweet nectar known as Pliny the Elder. Enjoy!

Two Beer Dudes More Site Updates

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

In our continued quest to get all the functionality we believe the Two Beer Dudes site needs before taking off the “beta” moniker, some updates were made to the site. The changes:

  • The contact us page is no longer a dead link. You can now contact the Two Beer Dudes. Just be patient while waiting for a reply.
  • If you have an account and you are logged in, there will a an “update” icon next to the name of a beer on a beer review page. The update link allows a user to submit information about a potential change to a beer. Requests need to be specific and do your research first
  • A beer now marked as retired will show up on the site as so and be grouped with other retired beers on an establishments page.

Until I have time to make some more, which it is need of, these will have to suffice. Hopefully it makes the experience more enriching. Enjoy!

Flat Earth Brewing Company Expands Growler Availability

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

flat earth brewing company logo

Flat Earth Brewing Company recently expanded their hours with the direct note that they will make it easier for the locals to pick up growlers. This week the following beers are on tap:

  • Black Helicopter Coffee Stout
  • Cygnus X-1 Porter
  • Double Dry Hopped Angry Planet
  • Element 115 Lager
  • Ovni Biere de Garde
  • Pookha’s Porter – Irish Cream infused Cygnus
  • Unfiltered Angry Planet
  • Unfiltered Northwest Passage IPA

Of course the availability is based on demand. Nonetheless it is quite the lineup of beer from Flat Earth up in Saint Paul, MN. Enjoy!

Flossmoor Hi-Fi Rye Released

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery released their Hi-Fi Rye beer this past Saturday with a noon kick off release. The beer is made with 60% rye malt that induces a nice 11% alcohol and is considered an American Barleywine.

Unfortunately I was out of town for the release so I had to ask my Mom to take the drive over and pick me up some. She picks up their IPA releases for me when I can’t get out there, so I thought what the heck 🙂 Well, she picked me up three bombers. She gained some major browny points with me over it 😉

The beer is packaged in a psychedelic retro 60s style label that has a meter that goes to 11. If I have to explain that one to you, shame on you. Enjoy!

Founders KBS Reviewed

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

After 20 phone calls to some local and some not so local beer stores, I got my hands on Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) from Founders. As with some short run, highly touted beers I didn’t know what to expect as I have had a few that just weren’t up to my levels of expectations.

The guy at the beer store I purchased it from said that this beer, this year, was heavenly. That is a tough comparison, especially since he has never been there. Oh well, it is easy to assume it was damn tasty.

After Rich and I spoke on the phone ten times or so trying to Three Floyds Dark Lord Days golden tickets, we decided that we should get together to have a fresh version of KBS. Good call.

KBS poured with a nice thick, brown foam over the top of the opaque and midnight black liquid. Retention was average at best with some disheveled lacing throughout. The aroma is your first indication that the beer is complex and possibly worthy of the high accolades that it has received. Coffee, chocolate (bitter), vanilla, oak, alcohol, and more are all there for the nose to fancy. Seven or more wafts wasn’t enough as I inhaled until the last drop. The taste was just as fantastic. Similar to the nose with a nice bourbon heat on the way down, while being so well balanced. A nice creamy and viscous mouth that made a big appearance while the carbonation is on the slight side. The complexities of the beers can easily keep the senses amused. 10/10

I plan on sharing a few of these with friend while putting one or two aside to taste and compare as the beer ages. Enjoy!

TNBC Was Sour

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Tuesday Night Beer Club (TNBC) is hosted at one of the “members” houses on a rotation each month with the host getting to select the theme of the evening. Shawn’s house, Shawn’s theme: sours. I don’t mind sours but I am not a huge fan of drinking one right after another, similar to IPAs, but I really enjoy IPAs. Each person attending had to bring at least sour. There was six of and plenty of sour and brett to go around.

The rules of the evening are simple: host has dinner for everyone (Shawn’s wife made great pasta and salad), the host gets to choose the first beer, we share each beer, and we choose beers clockwise from there.

The lineup was pretty solid and below is the order we drank them and the order in which rated them in parenthesis comes after:

  • Vieille Provision Saison DuPont (6)
  • Saint Somewhere Lectio Divina (5)
  • Jolly Pumpkin La Roja, Blend 5, 2009 (4)
  • Russian River Beatification, Batch 003 (3)
  • Ithaca Brute, Batch# E!018 (7)
  • Boulevard Smokestack Series Saison-Brett No.05809/11950 (8)
  • Midnight Sun Oak Aged Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter (2)
  • Hoppin’ Frog Barrel Aged B.O.R.I.S. Oatmeal Imperial Stout (1)

Some of the beers I know are sought after but I guess I am not a big enough fan of the style to appreciate them fully. Nevertheless it was a good experience to

Another TNBC in the books. Too bad we couldn’t have them more often. 😉 Enjoy!

Pliny The Elder Bests Blind Pig

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Russian River is sort of that mythical brewery for me. Everything I have heard about them is top notch. I have listened to a couple of pod casts with Vinnie Cilurzo, the owner and brewer, and he seems like a nice enough guy that just loves beer. free run 6 femmes Each and every beer they brew gets rave reviews on the internet and from the American craft beer industry in general. So I made it a personal goal to try their beer.

I currently have had the chance to try only three (Blind Pig IPA, Consecration, Pliny The Elder), all recently, of their offerings but each is appreciative of your senses and titilates them perfectly.

But I didn’t try Blind Pig until last night when a friend of mine, during the day, stated that he thought Blind Pig was better than Pliny The Elder. I didn’t want to hear of it. Pliny seemed the pinnacle of all Imperail IPAs and, quite possibly, the best beer I have ever had!!! How could he speak blasphemy in the name of Pliny? He did. I had to figure out what would make him say something like that, especially after he gave Pliny such a great review on the site.

I am not going to regurgitate my reviews of the two beers here but I will say that Blind Pig is definitely in the league of Pliny, just not better or as good. Now, that is holding it up to what I determine to really be a perfect beer. I thought the difference was in the fact that even though Blind Pig is an IPA, it wasn’t as balanced as Pliny. Still damn tasty. Enjoy!