Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What's going down...

I've had my "Mk1" Scottish 80/- on tap for a couple of days now, and I've finally sat down to snap a photo or two.  Part of my reasoning for waiting was to let it sit a bit & settle (for clarity) and to let the CO2 bleed off somewhat (it started by pouring 1" of beer with 8" of head).  Here it is, though:
That is, of course, with a lamp directly behind it.  Still, the color is nice; it's a bit hazy, but I'm not *that* picky (so long as it's for my own consumption).  Flavor-wise, it's just about right on--not the same as I had in Glasgow last year, but well within the style guidelines.

Additionally, I've got hops again this year!  The one Cascade rhizome which survived the winter of '08-'09, and managed not to get ripped to shreds by the dog, has put up shoots...  Over 30 of them, to date...
This is early on, shortly after it started putting up shoots.  I've got it trimmed back right now to the "most vigorous" 12--and once Spring is in full swing (in a couple of weeks), I'll trim back further to the best four.  I've gotta give it to her, this rhizome is a tough girl.

In other news, I'll be teaching a class at Lochmere's Night On The Town this Saturday.  The topic:  Extract vs. All-Grain--Holy War, or Hype?  I'll be doing side-by-side half-batches of a simple Munich-based beer, one extract, one AG, and discussing the various differences/pros/cons of each method.  I hope to have the beer available for sampling at our Investiture in September.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

No Green Beer, Please

Whew!  It's been too long since my last post, but it's been a whirlwind in Real Life (tm).  Here's the latest:

Please stay away from the "green beer" tomorrow.  It's completely a gimmick--food coloring in cheap beer.  I object to the practice for a number of reasons.  First, to a brewer who cares about his craft, "green" beer isn't done fermenting yet--it's not ready to serve, and likely doesn't taste good; not something he wants to foist off on an unsuspecting public.  Second, to an Irishman who would be celebrating a Saint's Day, this would be a "holy" day, and they'd likely not be drinking to begin with.  At least, not as much...

I've been able to sample Sam Adams' Noble Pilsner twice in recent weeks.  As with a fair number of their offerings, my opinion is: well-crafted, but "meh."  Would I order another?  Probably, but I could be easily dissuaded by something else interesting.  Again, I detect the presence of a gimmick; in this case, the "Brewed with All Five Noble Hop Varieties" bit.  That's well and good, but by most counts, five is stretching it a bit.  Most brewers only recognize four Noble varieties: Hallertauer Mittelfreuh, Spalt Spalter, Tettnang Tettnanger, and Saaz.  The inestimable Mr. Koch is including Hersbrucker, which I understand as a variety of Hallertau (although I could be mistaken).  None of this detracts from the aroma, which is where the majority of these hops show through--and "show through" they do.  In that respect, this is a lovely brew.  Flavor-wise, it's pretty much a Pilsner, and nothing I'd really call stellar.

One point of interest:  The first taste I had of the brew was in a standard restaurant "tall" pint-glass... The second was from one of the "special" Sam Adams neo-tulip glasses.  I was expecting a revolution in the tasting experience, and approached it as such.  I'm afraid I was disappointed.  The glass really didn't do anything for me.  Still, if you get the chance, try it for yourself; your mileage may vary.  If I was doing something wrong, or if the glass really floats your boat, I'd love to hear about it.

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