Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Week in Review

A week in review of sorts: I enjoyed a growler of Powerhouse Pale Ale from Rock Bottom Yorktown this evening. I don't recall the Powerhouse coming across so dry. It's quite tasty, with a toasted malt accent and piney hops. It's really a good pale ale for summer. Picked it up Friday night after a dinner of Ahi tuna salad which was quite tasty and paired with a Nitwit wheat ale.

Visited Hackney's on Dearborn (in Chicago) for the first time earlier today and enjoyed a pint of Boont Amber from Anderson Valley Brewing of Boonville, California. The Anderson Valley brews have been available in Chicago for a long time -- I'm thinking about 15 years or so -- but they've never been fresher. I've had bad experiences in the past several years with some of the Boonville beers, but in the last couple years the quality is much more consistent. I'm not sure if it has to do with logistics or distribution or what -- but I'm happy about it because they are good beers. By the way, I can highly recommend the guacamole and chips appetizer at Hackney's. The guac has a nice kick to it and the chips are toasty warm.

Picked up a six-pack of Three Floyds Gumballhead with the groceries this week. Gumballhead has much more body than I remember and almost zero perceived bitterness. I picked it up thinking it was a good summer beer, but I think I really prefer something drier like a saison-style ale, or as it turns out, the Powerhouse Pale Ale from my local Rock Bottom.

I still have two pounds of Munich malt that I need to brew with sometime soon. It's been sitting in my cupboard, already cracked, for about a month now. I might try and wedge in a brewing session one day this week after work. The beer would be a saison or farmhouse-style brew as I have some Wyeast 3724 in the fridge along with some Safbrew T-58. I have two batches of saison-style ale already in bottles and it's going fast. The first batch I'm really quite pleased with so far. It has a pleasant bitterness and just a touch of heat in the dry finish from some crushed black pepper. I used Wyeast 3711 for both batches and they fermented super dry, around 85-89 percent attenuated. (Love that yeast!) The hops are all Strisselspalt and add a touch of anise-like spice. The seocnd batch is a little bit different. I added the black pepper, but also some chamomile, which at first showed up with Juicy Fruit bubblegum flavors, but has since faded and is coming across a little bland. I will give this second batch plenty of warm conditioning and maybe it'll develop a little more complexity. The batch I intend to brew will probably have some lemon and orange peel added to it, along with a bit more of black or green peppercorns than the previous batches. I had some Nicie Spicie from Short's on a recent Michigan trip and I'm sort of seeking to emulate it.

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