Thursday, July 23, 2009

What I Brew, and Why I Brew It

This topic has come up several times recently, and I felt that after some contemplation I should express my views.

The reasons I brew are many: I enjoy the actual process. Frequently, brew days are socializing times with friends. The "puzzle" of what style would be good, and what ingredients should go into making it, is enjoyable. And, of course, there's the end product. I brew beer at least as good as, and often better than, what I can buy. The beer I brew is also less expensive than store-bought, something I've put some time into achieving. And, finally, it's enjoyable to gather a group of my friends together, throw some meat on the grill, and have a good time--lubricated by some of my brew.

Something I don't care for, however, are those who drink solely to get drunk. Add to that group those who insist on only brewing highly alcoholic beers--constantly striving for over-10% batches. I'll admit, I've made a number of strong batches; I certainly don't think strong beers are inherently "bad." But I think that to truly call oneself a brewer, while limiting oneself to a single "style" (if "big" can be called a style), is to define "brewers" somewhat narrowly. There is great variety in smaller beers, and much complexity. They can require significant finesse. And they can be sublime.

All that being said, there is, of course, a place for everything. I'll be hosting a "Winter Warmer" competition at an event in January; I hope to have a good turn-out, and to see lots of really tasty brews. I may have some of my own to sample, but I won't be entering anything myself, of course (since I'll be running the comp). I should think about doing one for lighter, "lawn-mower" beers in the summer...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What's on Tap, 9 July 2009

After a few fits and starts, here's what I've got going currently:

Tapped, I'm trying to finish off (finally!) the Dunkelweizen and the Sweet Stout. These two have been on-again off-again at the taps for several months now. The stout is good, but just a bit much for prolonged drinking; the dunkelweizen is likewise tasty, but it sneaks up on you with a kick. Recently finished were my Kolsch (Mk3) and the Hellesbock. The kolsch was in the last of my 'mystery' kegs, and remained over-carbed and foamy until the last 2 pints. The helles was lovely and malty, and I was actually surprised when it finished--I had expected another week or two out of it.

On deck, I've got a Pils, a Pale Ale, the two SMaSH ales, and my holiday lineup (two spiced beers--one Pumpkin Pie for Halloween/Thanksgiving, and another big one for Christmas). Now that I have a couple of kegs emptied, I can finally start getting my Lady Wife's requests carbed up. Her Cherry Brown will be first; it should be quite nice. The Blackberry Stout will be next--very stout, not so much blackberry, surprisingly purple. And the Peach Wit is awaiting the next free keg...

This weekend (Saturday!) I'm brewing again. I think I'll keep it to a simple Amber Ale; something with a good malt backbone and some nice hoppy spiciness. I've also got plans; as mentioned, Their Atlantian Highnesses have 'challenged' me to do a few brews, and things are in the works for them. Mainly, I've commissioned a stoneware aging crock for a half-batch of wine (going to split one, and do the other half in glass). While I was talking with the potter, I also requested a number of wine-bottle-size 'torpedo' bottles, for use at events and such. I should have all of that stuff in a couple of months (I hope).

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