In case you are wondering, I.M. Hammered Brewing is:
Mark -- Head brewer and drinker (brewer of over 65 batches of extract and all grain brews, drinker of many thousands of bottles and pints of beer), CEO and President of the finest Nano-brewery I know of, head bottle washer, and sanitation engineer
Liz -- Vice President in charge of bar decorating, keeping me from becoming too fanatical in my brewing habits, and is also known as "she who must be obeyed"
Michael -- Brewhouse assistant, equipment consultant, Chief IT Geek and self-appointed Official Beer Taster (great work if you can get it)
Schpankie -- Newest convert from fizzy yellow water to finely crafted beers and ales, adds little value to the brewhouse, but we like him anyway
Scooter -- The gas man (and I mean that in the kindest of ways) bringing propane and co2 when needed, also has keen interest in the brewing process
Knuckle Jefe -- Newest convert to brewing (has four batches under his belt), has began a start up nano-brewery in Kentucky known as "Double-Wide Brewing" with the catchy slogan of "double wide beers at single wide prices". Boy has a brilliant future in marketing. IMH is helping with equipment in the start up. We all work for beer, then again, why wouldn't we.
Parrot Pete, aka, Pappa Draft -- Bar designer, humidor raider, label celebrity, and Just because he should have been on the list the whole time.
We hope to make this site fun and informative and look for outside input, or inside output, whatever works.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
 
Specialty Vs. Base Grains............Really Slow Week............ ..See Ya Friday..............

Grains:

What in the world are we talking about??? Why are base grains different
from specialty grains??? This is a good questions. Base grains are not
extensively kilned grains. By not kilning these grains, the conversion
enzymes, alpha amylase and beta amylase, remain undisturbed within the
kernals of the barley. It is these enzymes that convert the starch in the
grains to simple or complex sugars that set the profile for your beers
alcohol content and body depending upon your yeast selections and mashing
temperature. Some base grains are lightly toasted however. Vienna and
Munich malts are very lightly kilned to give a different type of malt
character and color to beers. These grains have enzymes, but at a lower
level than a typical base grain. That is why they are often mashed with
some percentage of regular base grain to give the brewer an "insurance
policy" that the mash will completely convert. Is it possible to use 100%
Vienna or Munich?? Yes, but you must mash longer and pay very strict
attention to temperature. I prefer using them with some percentage of base
grain.

Specialty grains are much more highly kilned, or heated. The kilning is
generally done in very large drum roasters. These roasters resemble a
cement truck that spins to mix cement for your driveway. This applies heat
evenly throughout the batch of grain being roasted to insure uniform
roasting. The longer grain is roasted the darker it becomes. The color of
roasted grain is measured in degrees lovibond. The higher the degrees
lovibond, the darker the grain will be. These grains also have different
flavor and color characteristics that they add to your beer. A "medium"
crystal malt would be in the 40 to 60 degrees lovibond range and are often
found in bitters, brown ales, porters, and other types of beer, adding a
reddish hue if used alone. A dark crystal might be 180 degrees lovibond and
add a toffee sweetness resembling carmelized sugar to the beer as well as a
deep brown color. A chocolate malt would be about 300 degrees lovibond,
gives the beer a chocolate like sweetness along with some roasted character
and deep brown to mahogany color. Black patent malt or roasted unmalted
barley are both well over 500 degrees lovibond, add a distinct roasted
character or charred character to the beer (as in a stout) and a deep garnet
to black color. As you can see, there are multiple permutations and sizes
of additions that you can think up, depending upon what type of flavor
profile and color you want the beer to be. There are roasted grains in
between the ones listed here as well. Please experiment as much as you
like. Remember, recipe formulation can be fun and there are a dizzying
array of things you can do. A couple of good rules of thumb to remember are
that the more crystal malts you add, the sweeter your finished beer will be,
keep dark roasted grains to less than 10% of the total grist to avoid a
charred astringent character in the beer that is very unpleasant, and that
specialty grains should rarely if ever make up more than 20% of your total
grist. Specialty grains add little if any fermentable sugar, so you are
better off using a base grain up to 85% or 90% of the total. Have fun and
conjure up a beer that is unique!!!!!!

Slow Week:

This week is yielding very little in the way of beer news. Sorry, it goes
that way sometimes. We are in the peak of wheat beer season, and though I
like wheat beers very much, there isn't much about them that is exciting.
It is a down time in the brewing season for homebrewers because of
fermentation temperature limitations (say that three times fast) and I
haven't brewed in about 6 weeks, and probably won't brew again for at least
2 more. Don't worry, very soon the fall fest beers will be released and
then there will be plenty to talk about as we move into the fest and bock
seasons. It's just that right now, a light lager can be as satisfying as
anything else on a hot 90 degree day. And we all know that there is no joy
in that........Oh well, lets start thinking about this years Christmas Eve
beer shall we............

Friday:

I will not be posting tomorrow. Sorry, but that's the way it goes during
the vacation season. I will be back on Friday hopefully to lend you some
wit, wisdom, and beer news to take you into the weekend. Hey, you gotta
keep enjoying these summer weekends because there are only about 7 or so of
them left to enjoy!!!

Now, go to the beer store, pick something that excites you, drink it and
write down your thoughts. Think of appearance first as you pour it into a
glass. Look at the color, clarity, and foam formation. Then get a full
nose of the aroma. Test it several times. Then get the taste of the beer
on your taste buds. Give it a couple of trys. Let the beer warm for
several minutes (10 to 15 or so). Retest the aroma and flavor. Finish the
beer. As you drink it write down what it tastes like, smells like, finishes
like. Relate it to other flavors that you have experienced. Relate it to
other like beers that you have tasted. You might find a beer is totally
different after warming, and in some cases tastes better (stout for instance
is always better closer to room temperature). Always drink at least 3
examples of the brew before making a determination of whether you like it or
not. Have fun and invite some friends to taste with you. Now get to it
will ya!!!!!

Mark, The Brewer, and looking forward to a busy fall brewing
schedule.........

Tuesday, July 27, 2004
 
Think I'm Slacking Don't You...........What A Dark Lager I Tried. ............Brew Day At Least Two Weeks From Now

Slacking:

I know, no post on Monday, Maybe be one come Tuesday........Well, here it
is......I'm sorry, I was unavoidably detained yesterday from completing my
assigned rounds, and didn't get to this duty. Forgive me again, because you
can't stand it, you have to see what's up every day. It must be that
subliminal message that I am placing into the web site every day when I
post. It tells you to keep coming back. It's working. I'm working on one
that tells you all to send me $20 at an unspecified address each time you
view the site. I should have that up on the site soon. I'm kidding of
course......Well, I had a great weekend, but now I am fighting the dreaded
summer cold because of it. It isn't much fun either. You want to have a
cold when it is miserable outside because you are miserable inside. Not
when it is warm and nice out and you are miserable inside. Let's keep the
misery in synch from now on is what I say.......

Dark Bavarian Lager:

This is a style that isn't real prevalent in the USA but if you find a good
one, all you can say is wow!!!! Well, I found a Bavarian Dark Lager made in
Milwaukee, WI that I would put up against in the world. I'm not kidding.
Bring on Kulmbacher or whomever else you can dream up. The beer was made by
Sprecher, a micro in Milwaukee that makes specialty ales and lagers. Let me
tell you, this beer pours deep mahogany in the glass and is clear and clean.
The flavors of toffee, honey malt, and chocolate drives this brew with a
clean bitterness that balances. This beer is all about the malt and it is
nothing short of fantastic. I have read a lot about this brewer, but have
never had a chance to drink the beer until now. Wow!!! You don't know what
you have been missing. I'm not kidding. The thing that makes this beer so
incredible to me is that it was a lost couple of pallets in a warehouse.
The beer is freshness dated for 10/1/2001. That's right, it's nearly three
years out of date. That explains the $5.99 per case of 16oz bottles price
tag at Save On Beer (shameless plug number 371). Well, you know me, I took
a shot, it could be great and we'll drink it, or it could be awful and we
pour it out and I'm out a whole $5.99. Well, it turned out to be great. I
can only imagine how good this beer is fresh in my mind now. If you get the
chance, drink something from this brewer. If the whole line is this good, I
want more!!!!!!!!!

Brew Day:

Well, delays have become the norm. With vacation coming soon and other
items that must be finished (according to She Who Must Be Obeyed), I have
some work to do before I can blow most of a whole day on brewing beer. It
looks like it will be at least two weeks. That's OK, It will give me time
to brush up on process and I might even go over that here on the web site.
That will give all of you an overview of my brew week. That's right, it is
almost a weeks worth of work. There is grain selection and procurement.
There is making of the yeast starters. There is prep night of equipment
inspection and cleaning if necessary, and the crushing of the grains. Then
there is the all important brew day!!! But it doesn't stop there. You have
to get your fermentation start and then be ready to rack to secondary on or
about days 5 to 7 or so. So you can see, it isn't all a bowl of cherries
this brewing thing......it is the greatest single hobby anyone can pick up
though. And I love it!!!!!!!!!

Get some good beers and have some taste tests or something. It's fun, helps
you to make friends, and the world is always a much nicer looking place
through beer goggles. Now get out there and Just Do It!!!!!!!!

Mark, the Brewer, and really getting the urge to brew some IPA.......

Friday, July 23, 2004
 
IM HBC........Who Drinks The Most.........The Weekend Is Upon Us............ .


IMHBC:

Well, this week saw some changes in the lineup at the pub. In what is
really an unusual accurance, both the Hefe's Wheezin', and the Deceased Dude
Ale crashed on the same day on the same pour!! It's a first for me, what
can I say. Not only that, the Guest Tap which was running Penn Gold also
went dry. It looks like we have ourselves a national disaster!!!! Not to
worry. A quick trip to the Penn Brewery (shameless plug number 390) and I
had a newly filled keg of Penn Pilsner on it's way to the house. Now for
the IMH taps. Well, I put on my old favorite, The Angry Dog Amber Extra
Special Bitter, and the Anchor's Away California Common Lager. Now that's a
one two punch of brews!!!! I'm a happy happy guy right now with that tandem
on line. So the pub is well equipped with beer, but that also means that
there are some empty kegs and only 4 left in reserve. It sounds like it is
time to start making some beer again. That IPA recipe is looking better all
the time. This weekend is completely booked solid and the next two don't
look too promising either. It might be around the 14th or so before I can
brew some beer, it might even be later than that. Wow!!! I'll be brewing
some beer in September and October for sure!!!!!! It will be a very busy
fall brewing season for me. I hope to make a Duvel Clone for Christmas.
Now, wouldn't that be cool!!!!! Well, anyway, beer is good at the pub, but
not as plentyful as I would like. We'll take care of that!!!

Drinks:

Who drinks the most beer? No, not my neighbor George, I mean what country?
Well, it depends on weather it's per capita on average or total volume. The
United States drinks the most total volume, but that's a numbers game, we
have more people. The country that wins the per capita race thought is
clearly Belgium. The US is actually way down the per capita list. Germany,
Ireland, and England have large consumption, and the Russians won't say, but
given the amount of people in Russia, and the fact that they have two
breweries about the size of A.B. in this country, they gotta be drinkin'
some beer. But it's those crazy Begians that drink the most. And they
drink much higher gravity brews than most of the other countries in the
world too!!! The average Belgian drinks about 165 litres of beer a year.
That's the average. You know that means that there are those who don't
drink at all, and those who exceed this level. That's about 44 gallons of
brew per year, or 3.7 gallons per month, or roughly 40, 12 oz brews.
Really, that's less than the rate that the new health guru's are saying you
should drink per day. You go you nutty Belgians. Cheers!!

Weekend:

The weekend is again upon us. I am hoping to conduct another Regional Beer
Challenge over the weekend if possible. I am also hoping to play a little
golf, go to a picnic and take in a ballgame. That's a pretty full weekend I
guess. There could be the obligatory grilling on my grill at home as well.
Yep, I love summer even though it isn't prime brewing season. That said, go
out there and have some fun, and have a couple of brews too. Remember to be
responsible and to always support your local craft, regional, and pub
brewers (when your not drinking your own world class brew that is....)....

Get some good beer and drink it!!!! I can't keep giving you all of this
free advice........Cheers!!!

Mark, the brewer, and thinking I might relax with a homebrew tonight!!!!!!!


Thursday, July 22, 2004
 
I Thin k It's Fixed..... Phil's Pholly Report......Difference Between Hobby and Job......

Fixed:

Well, we think we have the web site fixed. Yesterday's Technical
Difficulties post worked and now we think we have the beer glass back
operational. I can't get into much detail as to what happened, but I
believe it is fixed now and we will be able to post daily once again (until
the next time the site goes down anyway). It's great to be back after about
a 5 day hiatus (unscheduled) and to be writing again. Wow, I didn't know
how much I missed musing about beer, sports, and brewing with a bunch of
people I probably don't know outside of the regular relative readers. That
said, It's great to be back "on line". Yea, I think we have it fixed, for
now.......

Pholly:

Well, it was a coming out party of sorts, in a beer kind of way of course.
Now I've taken kegs to parties before, but these parties were usually
attended by people who have tried my beers at the pub before. This was the
first time that a lot of people who have never tasted my beer were going to
get initiated. Of course as a homebrewer who takes a lot of pride in the
product, I was as nervous as a cat. Well, I shouldn't have been. The
reviews for Phil's Pholly Ale were glowing (both figuratively and in some
cases, actual) by the end of the night. The entire keg was kicked by the
time I left and everyone liked it. It was pretty much as advertised. I
think to improve this ale I would mash at a little higher temperature, say
154 or 155 to build a little more body and malt character into the beer. I
liked the hop profile though very much and I wouldn't change that piece of
the recipe at all. IT was a hit and this will become another beer in the
rotation. Geezz, I'm going to have to expand the pub so I can rotate 4 to 5
taps instead of two just to get the full rotation of about 15 recipes
running through there. Yea, like She Who Must Be Obeyed is going to allow
that. Well anyway, it was a good test of the brewing skill. Those out
there who have had this type of scrutiny with your beer know exactly what
I'm talking about. It's more nerve wracking than a competition. The judges
at a competition probably don't know you from Adam. But in this scenario,
everybody knows who your are. The last impression you want to leave with
them is that your "horse must have diabetes". (yea, I stole that
line)..........So here's to Phil's Pholly and to another successful batch at
IMHBC.........

Hobby:

I had a great email last week concerning taking homebrewing to the
professional level. What does it take to do this? Well obviously it takes
raw talent and imagination on the brewing side of the business. If you
don't brew great beer, you won't survive. But that is only the production
part of it. There is also the sales side of the equation including
distribution and delivery. Not an easy concept to take to a start up given
legal blocks, tax issues (it is alcohol), licensing issues, and brewer
training issues. Let's just say that it is hard to do. And for me, that
brings up a much different issue. Do you really want to make your hobby
your job???? I've thought about it. I don't think any advanced homebrewer
hasn't thought about it. How great it would be to be able to brew on a big
system virtually everyday!!! Well, it would be a lot of work actually, but
that's OK, homebrewers generally are not averse to working hard. The
biggest thing that hits me is this. If this is your job now, then you have
to worry about making money on your beer. Everything rides on your ability
to consistently produce the product that sells the best. That's a lot of
pressure!!! It also leads to concessions in recipe formulation, ingredient
quality, and a host of other items that jump out at you. There is also
brewery downtime issues that lose production time, etc, etc, etc. You have
to maintain "margin". Not an easy task......Now, when I brew today, it is a
relaxing 5 to 6 hours that I spend either with myself, my kids, or a
neighbor that might drop by to see what that wonderful smell is. It is a
time to reflect on the recent days past, a time to exhibit creativity in
recipe design, it is a time to flex those mathematical skills, and enjoy
chemistry wonderment. It is that great feeling you get when the wort is
perfect, in the fermenters, and you pour a perfectly timed starter into the
wort to start the process. There are no worries!! There are no ingredient
or recipe concessions!! There is no productivity quotient to make!!! There
are no margins to maintain!!!! There is only the fun of making your own
wonderful tasting full bodied beer. If you like it, who cares what others
think!!!! Not so if your a pro. You need everybody to like your
beer......For me this is the biggest detriment to becoming a pro and resting
your livelihood on your beer. You have no room for errors, you have no room
for infected batches, you have no room for any beer that won't
sell......Hobby or Pro.......Right now, I like it as a hobby. I basically
run a brewpub in my basement on a part time basis now, and let me tell you
that it is work. But as a hobby, it is a very satisfying one. There is
nothing like pouring a pint for a visitor and have them look at you with
astonishment and say, "you really made this?". When you answer yes with
that little sideways smile on your face, you feel real good inside. In
fact, you feel like having a beer............

Get some good brew and, well, drink it!!!!!!!

Mark, The Brewer, and keeping my hobby in tact......for now...........


Wednesday, July 21, 2004
 
Technical Difficulties.......
Difficulties:

Wow!! I've been trying to get this thing up and running for over two days
now. I even had to go back to my favorite IT Geek to get this thing going.
This is a huge test to see if I actually have this thing fixed or not. I'm
not going to go into any detail as to why I haven't been here for a couple
of days, other than to say we at the IMHBC Web Site have been experiencing
"technical difficulties".

I know you all have missed me greatly, what with my wit, charm, wisdom, and
general demeaner, so for that I am sorry. I will be posting some
interesting stuff here hopefully starting tomorrow. There is the tale of
Phil's Pholly last weekend, and the complete lineup at IMHBC Pub has
completely changed over, all taps. There is some homebrewing stuff to run
down with everyone as well. There have been some e-mails and other items
worth talking about. And of course there has been some beer.

Tune back in tomorrow for more brew news and information on beer, both
commercial, and homebrewing. There should soon be another Regional Beer
Challenge as well. Who can topple the new king of the hill, Yuengling
Premium. You'll just have to come back and read it.

So, now, if this works, we will all be rocking and rolling and in some level
of beer nirvana again.

Go out to the store and get some fine craft brewed ales (or go to the
basement stash of homebrew) and open, tilt, pour, smell, taste, and of
course, smile broadly!!!

Mark, The Brewer, and definately IT challenged.......

Thursday, July 15, 2004
 
Things Always Change......Phil's Pholly Makes Debut Tomorrow........Back To The Islands......

Change:

After careful review of time constraints, I fear that there will be a change in my brewing schedule. I found out that I have some conflicting items in front of me and that brewing this weekend is not going to happen. I simply have too many other things going on to squeeze in a little 6 hour brewing session in the middle of all of it. The IPA is going to have to wait a couple of weeks to get done. I don't think I'm going to run out of beer any time soon, but this is a slight set back. Jim, I probably won't be by later today to pick up stuff. I'm really heart broken about it, but there's nothing I can do. Oh well, there will be many brewing sessions this fall to look forward to so I shouldn't be too awful upset about it. That said, it will still be a nice weekend, just me and the littlest Draft hanging out together. I'm looking forward to it.

Tomorrow, I won't be posting. See the next section to find out why.....

Phil's Pholly:

Phil's Pholly Ale will be making it's world wide, er ah, national, ummm, neighborhood debut tomorrow evening. That is why I won't be posting tomorrow. I will be on the road rationing out a keg of "Phil's" to the various party goers who will be in attendance for that going away party that I talked about earlier. I might also have to take in a round of golf earlier in the day, hey it's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. I expect good reviews, but as always happens, as the brewer, I'm also a little nervous that something could have gone hopelessly wrong. Man I hope that isn't the case. No, it tasted real good at kegging and I practiced flawless (the old boss loved this word) sanitation procedures, and the keg is holding pressure nicely, No, it will be perfectly carbonated and taste great (though it won't be less filling). This will be an important tasting session of one of my original beers, so wish me luck. It will involve many of my co-workers who have never tasted my beer before. Now you know why I'm a little nervous. It will be fine though. I have a good feeling.......

Islands:

"I want to go back....to the Islands"
"Where the shrimp boats, are tied up to the pilings"
Musical interlude
"Give Me oysters and beer, for dinner everyday of the year, and I'll feel fine"

--Jimmy Buffett from Tin Cup Chalice

There is no particular reason why this was included in today's post other than I just felt like it. Do you ever wander and daydream about floating on a blow up raft in a very large freeform pool, and that you occasionally bump into a swim up bar and that's how you know you need another cocktail, all the while you can hear the ocean pounding the beach which is only about 25 yards from where you are floating???? It's really hot but the beer is really cold so you don't care and you have to wear SPF 35+++ just to survive???? I guess it's getting to be time for me to think about going to that one particular harbor, even if it's a new one that I've never been to.......

Uno cervesa fria, por favor.....

Mark, The Brewer, and thinking about that One Particular Harbor........
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
 
TV Drivel......No Changes......Brew Review.....

Drivel:

So I'm watching the All-Star game last night and it became apparent to me that it's a good thing that there is sports on TV. The other programming on television today is so out there and bad, I can't stand to watch. But I didn't realize, and being a reasonably intelligent person I should have, is that TV commercials have to be made to reach the target audience. Duh!! That explains why beer commercials are the way they are. Take Coors latest Coors Light ad (if it gets any lighter they can call it Coors Nothing) taking off on the old standard seventh inning stretch song, Take Me Out To The Ballgame. "For it's one, two, three nights a week with my bro's and beers" is hardly promoting responible enjoyment of beer (or their facsimile there of). Then the newest Miller ad depicting taste test results against Bud where the person running for beer president is asked to behave "presidential" because he is giggling and gloating like a school girl after Miller's "Big Win". This is clearly a tongue in cheek Bill Clinton impersonation. How come Miller never has taste tests against say, Victory Hop Devil....Oh, yea, never mind. It does set up some additional "beer wars" type ads in the future. It's the first time I've seen a real hard core negative ad campain that wasn't political in nature in a long time (not why our product is best, but why it's better than our biggest competitor). The point of all of this is that these mindless commercials are geared towards mindless people who habitually buy these products. It's amazing too at how there is brand loyalty to these tasteless suds. Bud drinkers refuse to drink anything else. They have my condolences. At the end of the day, I'm just glad that there is the craft beer oasis to take me away from all of this mindless behavior. Maybe these companies will grow up and behave like adults, but then again maybe not......

No Change:

There is absolutely nothing to report from the IMHBC. We are in the mid-summer slow down. When it's hot, brewing can be arduous work because of cooling difficulties and multiple flames going at once boiling liquid on 90 degree days. That said, this weekend is shaping up to be "brewable" with highs in the 70's and chances for rain on both days. That makes brewing in summer much more pleasant. I will be off to get grain and hops tomorrow afternoon at Country Wines (shameless plug #369) so that I can be ready to brew on Saturday or Sunday. I haven't decided which one it will be just yet. On the bright side, I have 9 kegs with beer in them, so I don't have much worry about running out of finely crafted homebrew anytime soon.

This Weekend will bring the IPA recipe that I posted earlier. I haven't made any changes to the recipe and I believe it will run pretty much as I have it laid out. A good hoppy brew for summer is nice, and the level of alcohol and hops in this beer will help fortify it against nasties during the fermentation process of this warm time of the year. Stay tuned for this one, I'll let you all know how it goes.....

Brew Review:

You may have noticed that yesterday I talked about drinking Smithwick's Irish Red Ale, one of the newest imports available in this country. You are probably wondering that geez, the guy teases us by telling us that he tried this ale, then he doesn't give us a review of it. Sorry. Here you go:

Smithwick's has only been available in the states for about 60 days now. It is an authentic Irish Red Ale. The first thing that happened to me was that the F&H bartender served me this fine ale in a frosted glass. I could have killed her for that one. Is that a capital offense in this country?? It should be. That meant that I had to wait about 20 minutes for the beer to warm to the point that is was only just too cold. Well, it was worth the wait. The beer has a very pretty reddish tint to it in the glass topped with a snow white head of foam. The beer is very lightly hopped with little hop in the nose if any. The beer is malty from the start and filled with caramel and mild toffee flavor. There is just enough hop bitterness to balance in the background. The beer finishes clean and slightly sweet. This is a very good ale and it is different than what you are used to. It isn't heavy like a scottish ale can be, and it is less sweet than that having more of a caramel type of flavor. It is all about the nuances of malt flavor so if you are a lover of the lupulin, this one might disappoint you. But if you love a good malty beer that is a little bit more on the sweet side, you'll love this one. The locals in Ireland call it "Smiticks", I just call it good!!!

Now get out there and drink some fine craft or home brew will ya!!!!

Mark, The Brewer, and liking this Irish Red.........
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
 
A Good Beer Bar Goes Bad......Brew Review......Check Your Seals.......

Bar:

It's not often that a corporate chain type pub consistently sells better beer. For a while the chain called the Fox And Hound Pub did just that. There would be about 40 taps with about 35 of them dedicated to craft and import brews. This was an oasis in the sea of Chili's, Damon's, and other joints of corporate owned profit center genre. You could go into these F & H pubs and get fresh Boddington's, Beamish, or Guiness on nitro, or get the best of the best craft brews from Stone, Victory, Sam Adams, Red Hook, and the list just seemed to go on and on. The bartenders were both pretty and beer educated and could tell you a lot about the individual beers. They also knew how to serve all of them correctly, in the proper glassware, and did it with a smile. Well, somewhere, somehow, something went terribly awry at the F & H. I went in there last night to check out the selection and to have a pint or two, and maybe something to eat. What I found made me very sad. The majority of the craft and import taps had been replaced with domestic beers. What was once Brooklyn Brown Ale is now Miller Genuine Draft. Where there was once Beamish is now Rolling Rock Green Light. Where there was once Goose Island is now Bud Light. What happened??? I'm guessing some accountant in corporate said that if we cut the craft taps down to 8 or 9 and replace them with domestic beer, we can make more margin and get a younger crowd in the bar that will buy more product. The fine craft taps are down to about 8 beers. The nitro's went from 5 selections to two. Domestic beers went from 3 or 4 to 10. Some craft beers have been replaced by beers like Labatt and Molson. It was sad. They did have the new Smithwicks on tap, but when I ordered it, the bartender tried to switch me to a $2 large Coors Light on special. When I declined, she served the Smithwicks to me in a FROSTED MUG. Now my head really hurt. I looked at the food menu and though it was never that great, the food has become the poster for a cholesteral clogatorium, everything is deep fried and batter dipped. Ouch. So, raise a glass in memorium to what was once a great beer bar. It has now slipped into the Chili's, Damon's, Friday's abyss of corporate owned profit center driven restaurants. Oh, I'll bet that it will survive as a restaurant by selling greasy food and domestic beer to the 25 year old crowd. But I won't go back any time soon.......

Brew Review:

I had the opportunity to try a new brew recently called Thunderhead Stout. It is an export style stout from a small family owned mini-micro brewery in Colorado. Here it is:

The beer poured deep garnet to black in the glass. It had a very heavy body coming out of the bottle into the glass. The head was snow white and very nice with good retention. The aroma was very roasty with no hop character (appropriate for style). The first sip was very malty followed by a snap to attention hop bitterness. The bitterness was almost overdone. What followed was a heavy mouth feel exhibiting flavors of toffee and roasted grain with a hint of chocolate. The finish was long and malty, but very clean tasting as the subtle malt flavors shone through. This was an export stout all the way and other than the big hop bite up front was a very smooth tasting brew. I liked it and paired it with a Flor De Oliva cigar from Nicaragua. The two married very nicely and brought out the best in both indulgences. This is a very good beer and if you are a stronger stout lover, you'll like this. If you are expecting Guiness Draft, you are confused about the style. This beer is much bigger, maltier, and heavier than Guiness Draft. You would need to drink Guiness Export to properly evaluate a comparison. If you get to Colorado, look for this one.....

Seals:

Kegging is much simpler and easier than bottling. Once you get hooked on kegging and drinking homebrew on tap, you really won't ever want to bottle again. I haven't bottled in almost two years since I put in my homebrew draft system. That said, the most important thing after sanitation of your kegs, is making sure they seal and hold pressure. There are several "O" rings in the keg that must be evaluated. They are found on the "in" and "out" posts and on the racetrack lid. But these are not the only places where gas can escape. There are little valves inside the posts and the release valve called poppets. These valves have tighly coiled springs that the pressure moves to dispense in the case of the "out" post, let gas in ("in" post), or to let gas out at certain pressures from the release valve. One of the places that is the most likely to leak is the pressure release valve. This is specifically true if you have one of the old style trigger valves. The newer kegs all have the ring type valve. The poppets inside must "seat" in the opening to create the seal. The trigger type valve will tend to cause the poppet to move off center after bleeding off pressure. This must be recentered in order to hold pressure. If possible, replace these valves with the more efficient ring type valves. This will greatly diminish the possibility that the valve will not re-seat in the opening. There is nothing worse than having to pour out a 5 gallon keg of great homebrew because of a keg malfunction causing spoilage!!!! If you have questions, there is a lot of literature on line, or consult your homebrew shop personnel. They will generally have all of the replacement parts you need. Good luck, check your rings and valves, and good kegging.....

Get a beer!! It's hot outside and you probably deserve one anyway!!!

Mark, The Brewer, and a kegging fool......
Monday, July 12, 2004
 
Back And Better Than Ever......Phil's Pholly Update.......Regional Beer Challenge Results.....

Back:

Miss me?? I bet you did. I have been on an adventure in the woodlands of Pennsylvania on a family outing of sorts. The Drafts like to get together once a year to torment each other and to see whose kids can get the tiredest and the cranky-est. Really it is a nice weekend in the mountains with no phones, agendas, or calendars to keep. And of course there is always beer there for the masses. There is generally good beer too. This year it ranged from Aspen Edge (okay, its not all good beer) to Guiness in a bottle (Brilliant!!). There was Yuengling Premium and Yuengling Black and Tan and also there was Penn Pilsner. The kick about Penn is that I wasn't the one who brought it. I have brainwashed and converted nearly all of them I think. Anyway, I'm back, rested and better than ever. This could be a great beer week, you never know until you get out there and try it!!! I hope to dazzle as always once I get my feet back on the ground and get caught up on, well, everything happening in civilization. Where we were, there could have been a nuclear attack, and we wouldn't have known it until we ran out of beer. I hope to get to some homebrewing stuff, beer reviews, and other various insundry items this week, so be sure to tune in every day!!!!!!

Phil's:

I have been remiss in my duties as a homebrewer when it comes to new beers. I have created Phil's Pholly and it was recently kegged. I unfortunately have not reported the tasting of the gravity samples to you. My humblest apologies and here is what we have. If you remember, I tried to fashion Phil's to make it a well balanced and rich tasting ale. I was shooting for a nice copper color in the glass, ala Bass, and for the beer to have enough hop bite to get your attention, but to then let the malt backbone take over with a floral hop flavor in the finish. The head should be a shimmering white on top and the aroma nice and floral from a heavy handed late addition of East Kent Goldings hops. Well, I have achieved some level of success I think. First of all, the beer fermented out nice and dry to a finishing gravity of 1.008. With the starting gravity of 1.050, that leaves an approximate Alcohol By Volume (ABV) of 5.35%. That was the plan with a mash temp of 150 degrees F. The gravity sample in a glass is a clean and clear tawny copper color. I suggest that if you placed Bass next to it, you might have trouble telling them apart. The beer has that signature floral aroma that I was shooting for. Since it is not carbonated, there was no head to assess yet. The beer had a nice clean bitterness up front and then an array of malt flavors appear. There is a honeyed malt taste followed by a rich toffee malt flavor topped off with a hint of chocolate. The finish is nice and clean, dry with a hint of hop character. This beer was made with extra fresh East Kent Goldings hops exclusively, and they look like they will shine through on this beer. I am excited about getting gas on this beer and getting the final taste profile. This beer will excite true beer lovers I think with all of the flavors it is presenting in the samples. It might truely be a recipe that I will want to make on a rotating basis. At the very least, I think it will be a nice send off for old Phil. Here's to ya!!!

Challenge:

Even though I was out of town, I was still able to conduct the Regional Beer Challenge. Old Style has been virtually unbeatable. Well, this week the challenger is Yuengling Premium. If you aren't familiar with Yuengling, they are a small regional in Pottstown, Pa that makes a family of pretty darn decent beers producing about 1.1 million barrels per year. Their best known beer is Yuengling Tradition Lager which is a traditional pre-prohibition style lager. It is very good!! Yuengling Premium is their entry into the American Standard category. Though the beer is made with rice, it really attempts to be like a Munich Helles. Here is how the challenge went....

Appearance: Old Style was it's usual self with a light golden color and a nice head that is tight, white and lasts. The beer has a hint of DMS as usual in the aroma along with a hint of malt. YP poured a much deeper golden color than the OS. YP had a white head that vanished pretty quickly, again indicating forced carbonation. The aroma was more of a honeyed malt aroma. Neither beer expressed any hop character in the aroma. Winner: Push, Old Style had the better looking head of foam with better retention (they carbonate by kreusening methodology), but YP had a much nicer color. Both had appropriate aromas and neither aroma exhibited a hop character.

Taste: OS is very consistent in it's flavor profile. I still like the bitterness quality that indicates there actually are some hops in this beer. Again, there is a malt flavor in the middle and the beer finished clean and dry. The YP does not have that bitterness up front that makes OS appealing, but it does have a much bigger malt backbone in it. The beer is extremely smooth with a malt character (not a characteristic likely to be found in many American Standard beers, yea they have a hint of malt flavor, but YP has malt CHARACTER) that shines through in the middle of this beer. The finish is long and clean and accented on malt. This beer truely attempts to capture characteristics of a Munich Helles in my opinion. The fact of the matter is, it does actually have some resemblance. I wish this beer had more hop character up front on the bitterness end. Winner: Yuengling Premium. Though it lacks the hop bite that would make it clearly better, I love the malt character that this beer actually exhibits. This was a close call because OS has a nice hop bite, but it was noticeably thinner in body than the YP, and I liked YP's longer finish accented on honeyed malt flavor. Nice job Yuengling.

Overall: OS has been a consistent performer and is like an old shoe, making you quite comfortable. You know when you buy it, it will be as you always remember it from the last time you drank it. It has exhibited a nice flavor profile for the style and cleary they actually do put some hops in the beer. It still has the best looking foam properties of any of the beers we have tasted against it so far, and that holds true even this week. But what YP brought to the table is hard to beat. There is a malt character that cannot be ignored. This beer is trying hard to be like a German Helles, and even though it is light in the hop department, the malt character is very pleasing to the mouth. Adjunct brewed with an addition of rice, it is not as thin as most of the examples of the style I have tried. The beer also exhibits a pleasant maltyness on the finish, clean, long, and crisp without astringency. Winner: Yuengling Premium!!!

Congratulations to Yuengling Premium Beer for finally toppling Old Style off of the top of the rock. YP is about as close to a craft beer as a large Regional production brewery can get and still maintain margins. The only thing I can give that might make a difference in this beer is simple....MORE HOPS!!!! Otherwise, this is a great drinkable example of the American Standard Style. Old Style, you have nothing to be ashamed of and this was a very difficult decision. In the end, the malt character of YP carried the day, along with the clean crisp malty finish. I advocate that this beer is worth a try....

Now get out there and drink some craft beer, will ya!!!

Mark, The Brewer, and thinking that Yuengling makes some pretty good production beer......
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
 
IPA Suggestions......Action At IMHBC.......I Got A Shiner Last Night......

Suggestions:

Keep those cards and letters coming folks!! I got some great emails with suggestions for the IPA. Thanks!! The concensus is that the grain bill is spot on!! There were calls for Victory malt or biscuit malt either in addition to or instead of the caravienne and caramunich. A crystal malt suggestion was also there, though the aforementioned "cara's" really take care of that. There was a loud call for dry hopping this beer to enhance the aroma properties. I even had one suggestion to lift the no cascade ban. The only thing that got no commentary was the yeast choice. Yeast is really a brewers preference thing and any standard ale stain can make a nice IPA.

At the end of the day, all of the suggestions were good ones!! There must be some really good and knowledgable brewers out there in cyber land!! I will revisit and see if I should make any major changes to the make up of the grain bill, and dry hopping may just be a must do!! Thanks to everyone who posted suggestions. I will be sure to re-post the final recipe before brew day......

IMHBC:

Well, I have been talking about how there hasn't been much action in the pub lately. Last night changed that deal real quickly!! I was pouring just a taste of the Steel City Cream when that puppy starting blowing co2 at me!! Done, finished, out, dead soldier, vaminose, see ya wouldn't want to be ya, all gone, no mas, empty!!!! And this is the beer that is supposed to be a little off. Didn't last very long for a beer that was not quite my "best effort". Interesting how everybody kept drinking it don't you think??? Anyway, I have to admit that I was a little sneaky. I actually took Deceased Dude Ale off line in order to put the wheat and cream on line for the warmer weather. Now that the cream in gone, the "Dude" is back in the saddle again, and I have to tell you that it is better than ever. A little cold aging in the keg made what was already very good, just plain outstanding. I will say that this beer is going to become a regular rotation brew for me. IT's too good!!! That means that I now have the "Dude" on line along with Jefe's Wheezin' Bavarian Wheat. The next beer that will be up will of course be the Angry Dog Amber, and I venture to say that he is back and better than ever. The other beer that will hit the line next is of course Anchor's Away Cali Common. That's right, I squirreled a keg of that away, and now is the time to bring it back!!! This next duo is going to be great. Is this the best hobby in the world or what?????

Shiner:

No, I didn't get into an "altercation" with anyone. I actually got to taste a beer that I have heard a lot about, but never actually got to taste before. Shiner Bock!! It's an American style bock beer made in Austin, Tx at the Spoetzle Brewery (sorry if that's spelled wrong, working without a net as usual). This beer is really light bodied, but has a nice roasted grain and caramel character about it. It is a darker brew that you can session and it was quite a pleasant quaff. I expected a little more OOOMMPH than I got, but it was pretty good. I can see why it is popular in a hot weather state like Texas, and I can see why it is a fantastic cross over beer. It is a beer that megaswillers might try and like because it is so subtle in its flavor profile. I know that I would probably drink it on occasion if it was available here. Thanks to my man Scooter for the opportunity to drink this beer and get that Texas flavor.

Now get out there and drink some craft or home brewed beer , will ya!!!

Mark, The Brewer, and feeling like some IPA.....
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
 
A Little Late Today......A Recipe To Look At......Long Day, I'm Thirsty......

Late:

There are days that go like this one. I am running really late today. My real job got in the way of my writing. Can you believe it?? I was right in the middle of my 12 seconds or so of preparation to write my daily blabs on the sight, when the meetings started. Well, to make a long story short, I ended up spending about 6 hours in meetings today. Don't get me started on meetings. Go to the June archives to see my thoughts on meetings. I like meetings about as much as I like "domestic happy hours". Lest I digress any more, let's just say that I had to really work for a living today. Actually, I really work for a living every day, it's just that some of them seem a little more taxing than others. What does all of this have to do with beer and brewing you ask. Well, it does make one thirsty........

Recipe:

I did put my thinking cap on the last couple of days on an IPA recipe. I did some research and thought through malt flavors and hop flavors and I have come up with a basic IPA recipe that I think I just might brew. This is not written in stone and I am open to any suggestions/thoughts that anyone may have on this subject. Just remember that I am currently under a no cascade policy. That doesn't mean that this wouldn't be lifted under the right circumstances. It just means that for at least the next few months, no cascades. Anyway, here's the recipe:

10 US gallons, All Grain
18lbs 2-row pale malt
4 lbs Vienna Malt
1/2 lb Special Roast
1/4 lb Caravienne
1/4 lb Caramunich
2.5 oz Columbus Hops 60 min +
2 oz East Kent Goldings 30 minutes
1 oz East Kent Goldings 15 minutes
2 oz East Kent Goldings Knockout
White Labs California Ale Yeast (2, 1qt Starters)
OG = (approx) 1.061
FG = (approx) 1.014
ABV = (approx) 5.99%

Well, that looks good on paper, but how will it be in the glass. Only brewing will tell. Hey, if there's anything else needed or that should be omitted, I'm game, just let me know. I could change my mind before brewing this too. It's going to be a week or two before we get to actually brew this beer anyway, so there's time to weigh in. Don't be shy, just push that email the brewer sign above......

Thirsty:

All of this work activity does one thing to me. It makes me thirsty. I think I'm about to call it a day and head for the house and the pub below it. Got some work to do in the garage and I am thinking a cold brew or two is in my future. Baseball is on the TV, It's all good. I suggest you all go home and have a cold one too.....

Now get out that bottle of the good stuff, open, pour into your favorite tasting glass, smell, sip, smile broadly, and repeat....

Mark, The Brewer, and getting outta dodge and to the pub!!
Monday, July 05, 2004
 
Great Weekend.......Fear No Beer.......It's Quiet at IMHBC........

Weekend:

Wow!!! The 4th of July is now astern!!! Time flies when your having fun and in the summer it seems. I love this time of the year though. It's so relaxing and nice to be able to spend time outdoors engaging in some physical labor and just enjoying the sunshine.

Well, we charred some animal flesh, ate outdoors, watched baseball, both live and on the TV, and basically had a couple of nice days. Oh, yea, we also had a couple of beers too. Penn Pils at the game, a Troegs and a Victory Golden Monkey last night. I enjoyed some Jefe's Wheezin' on Friday while watching the Pirates spank the Brewers on the tube. Saturday afternoon, after working hard around the house all day and sweating like a pig, I enjoyed some Steel City Cream Ale. It was a nice light treat on a hot day. So all in all, it was a great weekend. I hope yours was too.....

Fear:

Okay megaswillers. What seems to be your problem?? Why haven't you tried a craft brewed beer yet?? Why haven't you tried homebrewing??? What's the deal???? Or are you just afraid?? Afraid that you might like real beer. Afraid that if you made a no boil kit and realized that even that tastes better than the lifeless corn/rice water that you currently swill, that you would be hooked forever. That's it isn't it?? You Fear The Beer!!!! You really do just Fear The Beer!!! Well stop it will ya!! You don't have to fear the beer. Beer is your friend. It wants to hang out with you and be a part of your productive and healthy lifestyle!! Why do you continue to show loyalty to that headache in a can that you currently drink?? I don't get it. How can you drink Bud when for basically the same price you can enjoy Penn Pilsner or Penn Gold. Why do you pay premium prices for Mexican imports when you have better beer like Sam Adams or Troegs or whatever craft brewer's beer that's in your region for the same price or less?? It's your fear that you might like it isn't it. Well, get off of the megaswill merry go round, and get some craft beer and drink it. The next step will be to get a beginner homebrewing kit and learn the basics of brewing. Then on you go to partial mashing techniques. After that you can't stand it and brew all grain from scratch. The next thing you know you officially become a geek like me. HHHMMMMM, maybe you should Fear The Beer after all.........

Quiet:

Nothing new to report from the pub. It's quiet. I'll be brewing one of these days soon, but as far as changes at the pub, there aren't any. Same beers on tap, same beers in the hole, same beers conditioning. I do think the revelation on Friday to brew an IPA is going to happen. I just haven't fashioned a recipe yet. But I will, and I hope it is going to be good, that's for sure. I am open to suggestions though, specifically on the hop side of the equation. Here are my thoughts on an IPA.....The beer has to be sturdy, so the OG has to be at least 1.060 in my mind. I like a good malty backbone and the best way to get that is with a dose of either munich malt or vienna malt. A good two row base malt should provide the rest of the fermentables. I like a good body so I might think about adding some cara-pils or cara-vienne malt in a small dose. Then I will be interested in some other flavors such as a light crystal malt, or some buscuit malt for that signature bready flavor. I also have been known to add some Victory Malt to an IPA. On the hop side, I like smooth bitterness and I will be shooting for a more English IPA flavor. East Kent Goldings hops should comprise heavy handed flavor and aroma additions, but for bittering I might lean toward Columbus or Liberty hops. I wouldn't count out German Hallertau hops for bittering too because they provide such a clean level of bitterness. I will probably go with something low cohumulone anyway. I do have a no Cascade policy right now in my brewery so it will have to be something else. Why do I have a no Cascade Policy???? Well, so many fantastic commercial beers use Cascade now to make pale ales and IPA's that why should I try to make a beer better than they do??? I probably can't so why bother and be dejected that I can't copy some of these fine world class beers. Just buy them and drink them instead. Less hassle for me and better for my brewing confidence. Anyway, as far as yeast goes, I lean toward Irish Ale yeast, though a Burton Ale or English Ale would be just fine. I also like California Ale as it is less fruity in the nose and is a clean fermenter that lets the malt and hop flavors come through very well. Whatever I do, I'll let you know!!!

Now get a beer or somethin', Will ya!!!!!

Mark, The Brewer, and hankering for a hoplicious IPA.......
Friday, July 02, 2004
 
Phil's Pholly......Brewer's Quandry........Happy Birthday's

Pholly:

In brewing patience is such the virtue. It is never more true than during the fementation and aging of your fine handcrafted homebrew. Well, it's that time when I get that real excitement about kegging a beer. It means that the beer is finished, has been aged the minimum amount of time and that I am going to ready that brew for it's final assignment, to condition and carbonate in the keg, and quench the thirst of all who pour it into their glass. It also means that I get to taste the finished beer for the first time. I've already tasted the wort, and I have a pretty good idea that this is going to be a pretty nice ale, but this taste really gives you the flavor profile. Yes, it changes slightly with carbonation, but you "know" after you taste that gravity sample.

Phil's Pholly is right on schedule and the pin earmarked for the party should be conditioned and ready to go. I believe that this is going to be a pretty darn good ale. The original taste indicated that there was a nice sharp hop character so I expect the beer to have a nice hop sharpness followed by a real good malt backbone. If the beer is in the balance I believe it will be in, then it will be a hit. Homebrewing tip: Another plus for kegging over bottling is that if for some reason the beer has trouble carbonating naturally, you can put in on co2 and it will force carbonate. You can't do that with bottles. Anyway, watch these pages and I will let you know how the "Pholly" worked out......

Quandry:

I have been thinking about the beer I plan to brew next. I can't seem to decide what I want to brew. I have California Ale Yeast. This is a very versatile strain and I can make a Stout with it, or the lightest of light ale. I can make everything in between too. I could make a strong ale with it as well. The world should be my oyster (the brewing world anyway). But, I can't make up my mind. I have been brewing lighter stuff. The last three beers have been the cream ale, an ESB, and a wheat beer. The cream ale is just Okay, the wheat beer is a serviceable wheat, and the ESB might be outstanding based upon the gravity samples (in kegs, not yet tapped). Phil's Pholly is a pale ale though a little darker having that copper color ala Bass Ale. But I'm tired of brewing all of this lighter stuff. I don't really want to brew stout right now. I'm not the biggest fan of brown ale and I don't want to waste my time brewing a mild. It's hot and the porter recipe is better with Irish Ale yeast. I guess there's only one thing to do. Yep, an IPA. That's it, I need to brew an IPA. Why didn't I think of it before. Duh!! It's time to brew something so hoplicious, so malt driven, so utterly lip smacking with flavor that the English will start migrating to my door. Since I have adopted a no cascade policy in my brewery, I will have to really think through the hoping schedule. Fuggles, Fuggles, and more Fuggles finished with East Kent Goldings.....or do I want to give it a blast of American hops like Columbus and Amarillo......or do I want to experiment and hit it with Liberty and Centennial....or do I want to be a little goofy and hit it with all of the above. The wheels are turning now. How about the grain bill. It has to have pale malt, vienna malt, a hint of biscuit perhaps, and some nice middle of the road crystal malt. I want to shoot for the golden orange hue with a nice hop nose, a defining bitterness followed by a big malt presence and the obligatory hoppy finish on top of smooth malt character. The opening gravity must approach 1.070 or so and I will have to make a couple nice big strong yeast starters. It should be the Alpha King's revenge.....Yea, now that's what I'm talkin' about............

Birthday's:

There are two major birthday's upon us. The first of course is the birthday of the United States of America. Happy Birthday USA.

The second birthday of significance is that of none other than Pappa Draft. Hey Pappa Draft, don't overdo it now. I think he is turning 39 with a whole bunch of years experience. I know that I owe him a lot and can't ever begin to pay. Thank's Pappa Draft for just being you. Have a great birthday and rest assured that She Who Must Be Obeyed, Daughter Draft, and Bubba Draft, as well as me, Sonny Draft, all love you very much and we are looking forward to seeing you next week!!!! Have a cigar (a Punch Elite double maduro perhaps) and a fine hand crafted beer of some sort on me will ya!!!

I wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July Holiday and again say happy birthday to the greatest place on earth to be, the United States of America. Cheers!!

Mark, The Brewer, and proud to be an American and proud to be a member of the Draft Family......
Thursday, July 01, 2004
 
Topically Challenged.......Brewing Publications (Shameless Free Plug # 366)........Weekend Is Upon Us.......

Challenged:

Wow!! I am topically challenged today. I spent my normal 12 seconds of prep time and I am having a real tough time coming up with anything to really talk about in this first segment. I haven't tasted anything new. I haven't brewed anything new. Let me check my inventory sheet for the bar....nope, nothing has changed. Has there been any earth shattering news in the beer world.....nope. Is there a new beer or brewery having a grand opening or festival in my local area......nope. HHHHMMMMM, I guess I just don't have too much to talk about then. I hope to find some items of interest in the next 24 hours or so. No, really, I promise to work real hard to find something interesting to write about. It is a sacrifice that I must make, but I will do it for all of you out there who read this religiously. Thanks for that by the way......

Pubs:

For anyone interested out there, there are several very well done beer and brewing publications out there. I of course read them all and try to pass as much good information out to the rest of you as I can. But all of these publications are out there for subscription. Here are the one's that I generally read with a brief description of it's content:

Brew Your Own Magazine
This is a great publication geared to the homebrewer. It is full of tips, recipes, problem solving, gadget reviews, style profiles, and other items that would interest the avid and casual brewer alike.

Zymurgy
This is the magazine that accompanies your membership in the American Homebrewers Association which is a division of the Association of Brewers. This organization was started by Charlie Papazian, the godfather of homebrewing, and has flourished now for over 20 years. The magazine is for the homebrewer and dwells on items that are helpful for all levels of brewers. They make sure to address brewing science issues, give very insightful style profiles and recipes, and talk about the latest brewing gadgets and techniques. If you are serious about homebrewing, this is a must have publication.

All About Beer
This magazine is much more casual in it's approach and is slanted more toward commercial beers. There are style profiles, brewer information and profiles, brewer interviews, reviews of beers and breweries, and general information about brewing regions and countries. There is occasional fictional writing and other entertaining items such as brewing news and information. A light read but does give good information on commercial craft beer and imports.

Great Lakes Brewing News
There is actually a series of brewing news trade papers geared toward different regions of the country. This just happens to be the one that covers the area of the country that I live in. These papers contain editorial content about brewing and legal issues in the brewing community, is dedicated to the craft beer industry, gives rundowns on what's available in brewpubs and from micro and regional breweries in the given area. There are also several columns and feature articles in each paper. These are very informative and they are often free at your local brewpub, distributer, or homebrew shop.

Ale Street News
This comes in a newspaper format like the Brewing News papers and contains features from national beer writers like Michael Jackson along with editorial content and news about the brewing industry. This paper is available through subscription or often free at you local brewpub, distributor, or homebrew shop.

All of these are valuable publications that can be used for reference material, editorial content, recipes, information, light reading, news, or various other insundry reasons. I highly recommend them all. I find that they read the easiest with a beer in your hand.....

Weekend:

For many tomorrow will begin the holiday weekend for the 4th of July. For others, they will get Monday off. For me, I'll be at the gristmill both days slaving away for the "Man". But such is life. During the weekend we will be watching baseball, charring much animal flesh (sorry mama draft), and of course sampling as many fine beers as we can. I think I will cue up some Victory Golden Monkey Belgian Style Tripel for the weekend as a special treat. In any event, I hope everyone has a nice relaxing holiday weekend no matter where you are. And if your relaxed, I'm sure your probably having a nice cool brew to help stave off that summer heat. Happy 4th of July to all.....

Mark, The Brewer, and starting to have to fight that Belgian "Monkey"........
 
Topically Challenged.......Brewing Publications (Shameless Free Plug # 366)........Weekend Is Upon Us.......

Challenged:

Wow!! I am topically challenged today. I spent my normal 12 seconds of prep time and I am having a real tough time coming up with anything to really talk about in this first segment. I haven't tasted anything new. I haven't brewed anything new. Let me check my inventory sheet for the bar....nope, nothing has changed. Has there been any earth shattering news in the beer world.....nope. Is there a new beer or brewery having a grand opening or festival in my local area......nope. HHHHMMMMM, I guess I just don't have too much to talk about then. I hope to find some items of interest in the next 24 hours or so. No, really, I promise to work real hard to find something interesting to write about. It is a sacrifice that I must make, but I will do it for all of you out there who read this religiously. Thanks for that by the way......

Pubs:

For anyone interested out there, there are several very well done beer and brewing publications out there. I of course read them all and try to pass as much good information out to the rest of you as I can. But all of these publications are out there for subscription. Here are the one's that I generally read with a brief description of it's content:

Brew Your Own Magazine
This is a great publication geared to the homebrewer. It is full of tips, recipes, problem solving, gadget reviews, style profiles, and other items that would interest the avid and casual brewer alike.

Zymurgy
This is the magazine that accompanies your membership in the American Homebrewers Association which is a division of the Association of Brewers. This organization was started by Charlie Papazian, the godfather of homebrewing, and has flourished now for over 20 years. The magazine is for the homebrewer and dwells on items that are helpful for all levels of brewers. They make sure to address brewing science issues, give very insightful style profiles and recipes, and talk about the latest brewing gadgets and techniques. If you are serious about homebrewing, this is a must have publication.

All About Beer
This magazine is much more casual in it's approach and is slanted more toward commercial beers. There are style profiles, brewer information and profiles, brewer interviews, reviews of beers and breweries, and general information about brewing regions and countries. There is occasional fictional writing and other entertaining items such as brewing news and information. A light read but does give good information on commercial craft beer and imports.

Great Lakes Brewing News
There is actually a series of brewing news trade papers geared toward different regions of the country. This just happens to be the one that covers the area of the country that I live in. These papers contain editorial content about brewing and legal issues in the brewing community, is dedicated to the craft beer industry, gives rundowns on what's available in brewpubs and from micro and regional breweries in the given area. There are also several columns and feature articles in each paper. These are very informative and they are often free at your local brewpub, distributer, or homebrew shop.

Ale Street News
This comes in a newspaper format like the Brewing News papers and contains features from national beer writers like Michael Jackson along with editorial content and news about the brewing industry. This paper is available through subscription or often free at you local brewpub, distributor, or homebrew shop.

All of these are valuable publications that can be used for reference material, editorial content, recipes, information, light reading, news, or various other insundry reasons. I highly recommend them all. I find that they read the easiest with a beer in your hand.....

Weekend:

For many tomorrow will begin the holiday weekend for the 4th of July. For others, they will get Monday off. For me, I'll be at the gristmill both days slaving away for the "Man". But such is life. During the weekend we will be watching baseball, charring much animal flesh (sorry mama draft), and of course sampling as many fine beers as we can. I think I will cue up some Victory Golden Monkey Belgian Style Tripel for the weekend as a special treat. In any event, I hope everyone has a nice relaxing holiday weekend no matter where you are. And if your relaxed, I'm sure your probably having a nice cool brew to help stave off that summer heat. Happy 4th of July to all.....

Mark, The Brewer, and starting to have to fight that Belgian "Monkey"........

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