Archive for May, 2010

Craft Beer In Cans: Big Hit

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

American craft beer in cans? Not the way your father or grandfather knew them!

It is no surprise that American craft beer is leading the movement to beer in cans. It is definitely a better way to store beer and keep it fresh in spite of what many people think. Instead of boring you, the guy over at has compiled a list of 100 breweries making the switch or going to be making the switch to offering their wares in cans:

The article goes to show you that you don’t have to look hard to find high quality beer in metal. Many of these breweries have been making the switch lately (last year or so) as it seems to be the fad. But nonetheless: better for the beer is better for the consumer. Aren’t kegs made of metal? Enjoy!

Reviewed: New England Gandhi-Bot

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Reviews have been few and far between lately as I have been busy at work (sob story), Rich has been out of town off an on, and we can’t coordinate a day to “work on the website.” So most the last few weeks has been solo beers: mostly home brews and duplicates as I haven’t been in the reviewing mood. Oh, one last reason: the weather is finally nice and I want to be outside!

What to drink when it is warm and humid in Chicagoland isn’t much of a debate: something lighter than used motor and a little hoppy (I don’t like to limit my beers any time). But, since the day was seasonally hot and humid, I wanted something equally big: a DIPA. Gandhi-Bot to the rescue.

Ghandi-Bot is an east coast beer that really has a lot of qualities of the west coast big DIPAs: pine and citrus with the grapefruit hops leaving a big hole in my tongue as they rot with their bitterness. The pour was nothing fantastic but the rest of the beer was. Enough malt to balance the hops and make for a big, yet refreshing late spring beer. Enjoy! Aroma: 9, Taste: 9, Look: 7, Drinkability: 9, Overall: 8.7

Another New Glarus Hop

Monday, May 24th, 2010

The last time I made a trip up to New Glarus Brewing Company was the day before the official release of Cherry Stout. Fortunately, the staff at New Glarus was kind enough to head down to the old brewery and bring me back a case. So, I like to proudly believe I might have been one of the first to have Cherry Stout. 🙂

This trip was solo and it also saw the end of the life of the air conditioning in my car. A 90 degree humid day with all four windows open, chugging down the highway at 75 miles per hour isn’t the families idea of a fun road trip.

In spite of the air, I was able to score a large load of New Glarus that survived the hot back seat. Of source I set up a couple of trades, so not all the beer was for me. Also, my wife wanted a case of Spotted Cow to pay off a neighbor who takes our five year old back and forth to school. The beer I was really excited about this time around was the new Unplugged that was released: Enigma. From what I understand it is a sour brown. One is in the fridge right now and I look forward to tasting/reviewing this evening. Enjoy!

Bottling Home Brews

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Two handed bottle capper.

There for about two months I was brewing every other weekend. I brewed an IPA, RIS, a wheat beer with orange and coriander, and the same wheat beer without the additives. It made for a fun time having four beers at some point or another fermenting, dry hopped, brite tank, etc. Especially since it was only batch six through nine for me. Seemed like I was checking stuff with the beer almost everyday. Only if brewing everyday could become a reality.

After this past weekend, I am one batch of beer away (the wheat without additives) from having all these beers bottled. The RIS was actually split into a four gallon batch, that was bottled right away, and a one gallon batch that was aged on oak and bourbon for a week. I can’t wait for all of these beers to be carbonated.

I will be picking up the ingredients this Friday for brewing on Saturday or Sunday. I am making a Hefe that will have the name of Club Pro. From what I understand the beer is simple, just fermenting at the correct temperature is the trick. We shall see since this is one of my favorite styles.

One more thing: Ladies Day IPA is now drinkable and is just about exactly what I was desiring from this beer. Enjoy!

Reviewed: Geary London Porter

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Being back in the American craft beer reviewing saddle again, makes me one happy beer dude. The other night I tasted and reviewed London Porter by D.L. Geary Brewing Company.

An English porter, London Porter, has a nice scent: roasted, toasted, chocolate, and coffee which are delicately balanced with some spiced hops. The taste follows and, for such a robust aroma, comes across a little thin in the body. This doesn’t take away from the beer but makes it easier to drink and gives a sensation of crispness. 9 Aroma 8 Taste 9 Look 9 Drinkability 8.8 Overall.

My first beer from Geary and if the rest are like this, hopefully not my last. Enjoy!

Flossmoor to Release New IPA: Diesel Rellik

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

I know I have written about this before but Flossmoor Brewery continues to crank out IPAs every six to eight weeks. Why is that so special? Each one is different, released once, and never to be seen again. Each has it’s own personality and idiosyncrasies, making them fun to get and something I look forward every other month. This month is the release of Diesel Rellik. From the site:

We will be tapping our Diesel Rellik on Tuesday, May 25th at 8pm (7pm for Mug Club). This beer is coming along nicely and will be dry hopped today with more than 20# of hops! Designed to be a piney, resinous, IPA with a decent malt backing. This IPA will probably be around 7.5% abv as it is still bubbling just a little today

Now I have to work on old Mom to go get me a bottle of it after release. Enjoy!

Double Daisy Cutter Pale Ale to be Released by Half Acre

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Half Acre Brewing Company will be hosting the closing night of CCBW on Saturday, May 22. Already a big list of American craft breweries are lined up to participate (from the Half Acre blog):

Half Acre
Three Floyds
Rock Bottom
Gordon Biersch
Dogfish Head
Goose Island
Two Brothers
Sierra Nevada
New Belgium

In another batch of news from Half Acre, they will be releasing Double Daisy Cutter Pale Ale as part of the CCBW festivities. It seems they are officially calling it Doble Cortador(?). From their site:

In honor of Chicago Craft Beer week and the fact that we wanted to brew this beer, we’re popping out the Double Daisy Cutter Pale Ale / Doble Cortador. It was an experiment we hope will yield some tasty results. We’re looking at a beefed up ABV and enough hops to recede your gums.

This beer will be available on draft and in 22’s. We will be sending it out to the world in small quantities.

Having all these new breweries in the Chicagoland area is starting to make for a bevy of American craft beer news in my own backyard. Enjoy!

Reviewed: Yards India Pale Ale

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Finally! Back on the saddle of American craft beer reviewing last night. Not a huge night of beer analysis but enough to wet the appetite for the next few days and into the weekend. I ended up having to IPAs: one American and one English.

The American IPA, Hopmouth by Arcadia Brewing Company, seemed to be more English than American. Not a bad beer, just that the aroma had a bit of buttery aroma to it. As we all know aromas sneak in while tasting so it followed mildly into the taste. There was also a bit of lingering bitterness that seamed a little amped up at times. 7 Aroma, 7 Taste, 8 Look, 7 Drinkability – 7.2/10

The nightcap of the evening was Yards India Pale Ale by Yards Brewing Company, an English IPA. I have to admit that I drank this one second assuming that it would be the lesser of the two beers. I was wrong! A nice fruity, juicy, tropical fruit like aroma that carries into the taste. The sweet, juiciness is balanced by a slightly bitter finish that dries. 9 Aroma, 8 Taste, 8 Look, 8 Drinkability – 8.3/10

Yards IPA definitely stole the show but both are worth a try. Enjoy!

Too Little Time for Beer

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Time hasn’t been on my side lately to sit back, enjoy, and review American craft beer.

The days are getting longer (light wise) and the kids want to play outside, besides I have been couped up all winter, I need to stretch my legs. If you happened to see the few pictures of me somewhere on the site, you know I am fat; I have started running to lose the 45# I have gained over the last 30 months. Work has been busy and kept me hopping too: late nights, sometimes mornings, with some crazy sleep schedules. Lastly, I have a cough that seems to only be active at night, usually bed time. So I wake up 4, 5, even more times each night to have a wonderful cough. So nice. No, I do not smoke. Out of everything, that has got to be the most irritating as it is limiting my ability to get a solid nights sleep. When I am sleepy, I don’t have much of mind for the fine craft beers made in the US.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have had some beers, just repeats as I don’t have the energy or desire to record new tastings. That will all stop tonight as will crack open a beer, don’t know what yet, before I go jogging. Yes, the carbohydrates are perfect for preparation. 🙂 Enjoy!

Home Brew Day #9: Grass Cutter (Batch 3)

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

It seems like I have been racking up the frequent flier miles when it comes to home brewing lately. Asking me if I mind is like asking an alcoholic if he needs another drink. Home brewing is quite addicting and I am in deep. I am already contriving my plan to get the wife to allow me to upgrade to all grain. She likes that I will save over $20/batch but not the initial expenditure to get up and running with all grain. Did you hear birthday gift! 🙂

This brew day seemed to go extremely well and was quiet: no wife and kids. There didn’t seem to be any hiccups on the process, hit my gravity, and the beer was fermenting away this morning with a nice krausen. The batch of this I brewed two weeks ago had coriander and orange peel, I will be bottling that in two weeks with this batch to follow two weeks after that. So I will have 10 gallons of this beer ready and prepared for the ravenous neighbors.

After cleaning up the brew day mess, it was time for yard work before continuing with the bottling of a Double Bogey Russian Imperial Stout that I had brewed a good two months ago. My wife helped with the racking of the beer to bottling bucket and one gallon into a one gallon carboy so it can sit on oak bourbon chips for a week before it will be bottled. The kids helped with the caps. I stole a small sip out of the bottle of bottling bucket: it was blessed with a great coffee flavor and some bitterness while there was some heat from the alcohol.

Unbelievably, a hectic day in which I took no photos: I guess I will only have my memories and some tasty brew in a about a month. Enjoy!