Today is national home brewer day and G and I are brewing a hoppy red ale we are going to call Witty Red Heads.
What is everyone else brewing today?
Sam Adams founder Jim Koch had a recent interview with Esquire Magazine in which he gave his tip for how to drink more beer and not get obliterated. He eats dry yeast. One teaspoon per beer. Mix it up in some yogurt and you are good to go. The writer of the article Aaron Goldfarb tried it out himself and seemed to think it worked.
Well I think I might need to try this out. I was wondering how I was going to make it though the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp in August without having my stomach pumped (I want to try all the amazing nectar of the gods I can) and this might be my ticket. Of course I will have to try it out before hand. :) Have any of you tried it? Do you think it really works?
To read the entire article with Jim Koch follow this link: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/food-for-men/how-not-to-get-drunk
On Tuesday of vacation Jake, my husband and I headed southbound to West Virginia to spend some time visiting my sister, Terri (blog followers: you may remember her from my previous Virginia trip). Our main purpose was to check out some breweries. G knew we were going through New Jersey and asked us to pick up some Flying Fish Hopfish, which she had fallen in love with at a friends wedding, so that was our excuse to hit up Flying Fish on the way down.
Flying Fish is in Somerdale, NJ. We got there right as they were opening. In New Jersey the law is to serve at a brewery you have to let people know what you do there, so we had to watch a video before we could taste.
On Thursday we headed East to check off a brewery from my bucket list and check out another I had read about that had some really interesting flavors. We were going to Dogfish head. On the way though we stopped for lunch at Duclaw brewpub in Bowie, MD. The food was amazing and the beer was very different.
The most interesting was the Dirty Little Freak which was a Carmel Coconut Porter. Now I’m not a coconut fan due to an unfortunate Parrot Bay Coconut Rum incident in college, but I though this was really different. My favorite though, was the Sweet Baby Jesus, A Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout. The key to making a peanut butter beer is to use PB2 not Peanut Butter. After Lunch we headed to Milton Delaware to the one and only Dogfish Head. Now this has to be the MOST impressive facility I have ever been to. They just did an expansion and it is massive.
We started out in the tasting room. We were allowed to try 4 samples. I got the Namaste, Aprihops, The And then there was Dark IBA, and the 120 IPA. I enjoyed them all! The 120 was much smoother fresh then I have had it in the bottle.
The tour was over an hour but I will tell you the best points. Dogfish head has ties to Maine. The name comes from Dogfish head down near Boothbay. The owner has vacationed there since he was a kid. The second was how well their employees are treated. They don’t accept tips and all tips received go to charity. That tells me they are paid well. They also shut down the brewery early every Friday to have an employee team building time, and they work for habitat for humanity together. They have 3 female brewers too!!! It seemed like an AMAZING place to work. (wish it was closer). At the end of our tour they pulled out the aged beer to purchase so you could have a 2011 and 2012 120. It was a long day but very very worth it.
On Friday we went to Flying Dog in Fredricks, MD. Flying Dog used to be a Colorado brewery, but when they expanded they moved to the East Coast because that is where most of their sales where. I really was excited about FlyingDog because besides Maine beers, Flying Dog was the first non-Maine craft beer I ever tried. Our tour guide Justin was awesome and funny, and while on the tour the Maryland Comptroller showed up to present the Head Brewer with an award. (watch it here http://www.your4state.com/story/d/story/news-brewery-flying-dog-comptroller/13737/SGB6akpDfUWjAiElogQ-tw) This was the first tour I have been on where they let you taste the beer in each stage. We had the Gonzo wort, after it came out of primary, and after carbonation. After the tour we got to try 5 beers and we got glasses to take home. (the tour is $5 and you have to make your reservations weeks in advance). My favorite was the Bloodline, Blood Orange IPA, but the Horn Dog Barleywine was really smooth too, and the Mint Chocolate Stout was like drinking a thin mint. The bar area was like a lounge. I have a Growler of Bloodline I will be drinking this week.
Ok it has been a very long time since I have blogged. Main Reason was because I did not like my former blog site so now here I am over to wordpress and hopefully this will keep me more up to date with my blogging.
So let me tell you about my spring break.
Spring break began April 18th with a G and B booze cruise day. G and I have been brewing together lately and we needed to get ingredients for our next beer, the Anti-Scurvy English Pale Ale (which we brewed on Saturday).
We started the day making an appointment for me to get my first tattoo. (sorry mom) and then made our way to Central Street Farmhouse to get our ingredients. Then we were on our way to check out breweries.
Our first stop was Penobscot Bay in Winterport. We were the only ones there and Mike ( the owner/ brewmaster) took us for a tour of the brewery. They were brewing the Building Rye IPA and it smelled wonderful. The brewery itself was a lot smaller than I had imagined.
Our next stop was Marshall Wharf in Belfast where we tasted 8 different brews. Then we hit up Delvino’s for lunch and a Belfast Bay Lobster Red Ale before we headed to Oak Pond in Skowhegan and then Tree Spirits in Oakland (they have Absinth). We ended the day at the 3rd Anniversary Party of Nocturnum with their Scarlett Leather Red IPA from Marshall Wharf (Leather is for 3rd anniversaries). They also had aged Mountain Man on tap from lasts years anniversary collaboration with Penobscot bay that was a bit on the boozy side. It is much smoother fresh at the brewery.
This past weekend we took a road trip to Vermont to check out some breweries and go skiing.
We started at Alchemist Brewery in Waterbury. Waterbury is an awesome town that contains three of my favorite things, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, Green Mountain Coffee, and Amazing IPA! Alchemist is a small brewery that only produces 1 beer. That beer is the Heady Topper, a double IPA. It is not overly strong and not bitter. Its smooth and delicious with its Fuggles hops, and is probably one of the best IPAs I have every had. The Brewery is a small operation that mainly tries to produce for the local demand, which is high. They sell out quickly.
I appreciate that they mainly concentrate on one beer, because many times you go for a tasting and by the time you get to the last beer you don’t really know what you are tasting, all the flavors mix together, or you’ve got a buzz and really have no clue. Having only one beer allowed you to really enjoy it and all its aroma and flavor.
From Alchemist we headed to Burlington to Magic Hat. My favorite beer ever comes from Magic Hat and is their Wacko, (brewed with beets to make it PINK) but they don’t make it anymore. (Please, please, please bring it back!) Okay so I must say Magic Hat is the coolest brewery I have been to thus far. You walk into a large gift shop and then take the self guided tour through the brewery. They have fun pictures and signs throughout the tour. They were bottling when we were there so we could see that process which was neat and fast. When we came out of the tour they have a large bar set up and you can get 4 2oz pours. We tried the Humdinger Series Belgo Sutra which was very full flavored dark beer that had a figgy taste. After we tried my favorite which I am kicking myself for not buying the Feast of Fools which is a Raspberry Stout. Strong Raspberry flavor in a dark beer. The last two were the Maple Chocolate Stout and the Ticket to Rye. Both were really good. I loved this place and their beers, which really surprised me because I’m not a huge #9 fan (I’ll drink it if its all there is) and I really don’t like the Pistil which is made with Dandelion (I want to drink beer not flowers)… but I did love the Wacko, so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. (Again here is my plee to bring it back). I want to go back here yesterday, and today, and tomorrow it was so great.
On Saturday, after a full day of skiing, we went to Long Trail Brewery, in Bridgewater Corners, for dinner. They serve pub fare until 6 and are open until 7. Named after the hiking trail, Long Trail brewery is a nice little place to grab a bite to eat. I have seen their beer in the store but for some reason I have never tried it before. We got a sampler to go with our meal and some were pretty good. The Blackberry Wheat has a mild flavoring and would be a good summer sipper. The Pollinator, was also a nice crisp refreshing beer. Ok here comes my criticism. They do not know what an IPA is. Their regular IPA was 5.9ABV and 42 IBUs tasted a bit floral not at all the hoppy taste I like with an IPA. Soooo I decided to try their double IPA 8.6 ABV and 86 IBUs. I must be getting hop immunity or something because it was approaching an IPA but wasn’t quite there. You could smell the cascade hops but I guess I’m just too much of a hop head. The facility itself was really nice and the food was great but I didn’t love the beers.
On the way home I was checking out the map and made a pleasant discovery that Harpoon Brewery was on our way. I always thought that Harpoon was a Boston brewery, but they also brew in Windsor, VT. It was St. Patricks day so the place was hopping. Like Long Trail they have a restaurant, but we sat at the bar and tried some samples. My favorites were the Caramount Maple Wheat and the Leviathan Imperial IPA. Now they know how to make an IPA :) One thing I loved about the brewery was their wall of beers. They hadbottles from everywhere! I even found an Oak Pond Brewery Bottle hanging out up there.
So many breweries and so little time so I guess I will have to plan another trip to check out what I’ve missed. I must say I love Vermont and they sure do have some good beer!
Last weekend we took a ride to Newcastle Maine to visit the new Oxbow brewery. Oxbow is a different type of craft beer because it is brewed with a saison yeast. This yeast is more like a red wine yeast so it gives the beer more of a wine like characteristic. Tried 5 different brews, the farmhouse pale ale was light, maybe a bit too light for my taste even though it is 6% abv. The Spacecowboy was a little more to my liking with a stronger taste but only at 4% abv. This would make a great summer beer. The strangest beer they had was the Sasuga which is brewed with 30% rice. I didn’t like this one at all. It reminded me more of a saki then an ale. The Lorreta was also a different one but in a good way. This is brewed with spelt grown locally. Spelt is a species of wheat and gives it a nutty flavor. My favorite brew was the Sasion Noel. This is a dark malty beer with some wine characteristic. It is full of flavor and heavier bodied and have 10% Abv.
I really enjoyed the brewery but their beers were not my favorite. The saison yeast is really different and I think I’d have to drink a lot to get a pallet for it. ( I still don’t have a pallet for most red wines) The brewery is a small operation nestled in the woods and it has a bit of a hipster vibe to it. I definitely recommend you check it out.
Earlier this week I was playing on facebook and came across a new Maine brewery in Sedgwick called Strong brewery AND they were having a beer tasting today. My first question was “Sedgwick wasn’t that Harry Potter’s Owl..oh wait that was Hedgewig…so Where is Sedgwick?” Google maps then gave me my answer: It is about an hour from Bangor near the town of Blue Hill. Okay so it would be a nice Saturday ride, and that it was. We did get lost finding the house.
I got researching this brewery and here is what I found out about it. It is not licensed yet so it can’t not sell it’s beer but it is trying to raise funds for the licensing by being a Community Supported Brewery. What does that mean you ask? Well have you ever heard of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)? You buy shares in the farm and you get so much of the produce the farm produces. Well a CSB is very similar. They sell shares and half shares. When you buy the share you get a growler and so many fill-ups per year, depending on how large a share you purchase. The brewery itself is in the Strong family’s home in Sedgwick and they held the tasting in their living room.
They had three brews to taste and honestly I didn’t really know what to expect from a new brewery in someone home, but I have to say I was blown away. All three beers were so different from each other, and the last two were completely unique.
The first beer was their Localmotive. This is a California Common Style lager, sometimes called steam beer. The name Steam beer was actually trademarked by Anchor Brewing Company in CA so this name can not be used anymore when describing this beer. It’s brewed with lager yeast at higher temperatures (lager yeast is usually used at low temperatures.) This was a very light, crisp beer and at 5% ABV you could sit and drink a lot of them. It was very refreshing and could be nice to drink on a warm summer day, or out ice fishing all day, or even at hunting camp drinking all day. My friend Josh says every beer has a time and a place… here you go!
The next beer was the reason I wanted to go to this tasting. Hot Chocolate Stout… it was better than I could of imagined. It is brewed with chocolate chips and it really is like a (cold) hot chocolate. Before today the most chocolatey beer I have had was Sam Adams’s Chocolate bock. This was better. It was smooth, creamy, and I would LOVE to sit by a fire and drink a few of these. It would also be heaven, ladies, for those days when you just crave chocolate and need a little something to make you not want to kill everyone (If you get my drift).
The last brew was their “big” beer. It was the Maineiac Double IPA. The description online was 10% ABV and well over 100 IBU’s. So all I can think of is something between the 90 IBUs of the Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA and the 120 IBUs of the 120 IPA, something VERY hoppy and a bit harsh. What I got was NOTHING like that. The hop taste was not bitter at all. It was very smooth and even balanced,full bodied, with lots of taste, no harshness at all, and I could drink this all the time.
Okay, so honestly I didn’t have huge expectations going in, but these guys are great. The only thing I’m disappointed in is that they aren’t licensed yet so I couldn’t take any beer home with me. I hope to see wonderful things from them in the future. If I didn’t live an hour away I would have bought a share in their CSB and if they can set up a drop off at somewhere like Central Street Farmhouse I am in.