New Beer Blog from a Hop Hater.

All around good guy and fellow Indiana Homebrew Club founder Jon has started up a blog called 'Confessions of a Hop Hater'.

He summarizes his thoughts as such:
I'm 22 (for now). I love good beer, but I hate getting drunk. I'm a homebrewer. I cook. I play guitar. I'm very boring. Read my thoughts.

Now despite our opposite views on the wonder that is hops, Jon was kind enough to review two of my homebrews and included the write-up on his new site.



Review: Oskar Blues Gordon

Gordon is a hybrid version of strong ale, somewhere between an Imperial Red and a Double IPA. We make it with six different malts and three types of hops, then dry-hop it with a mutha lode of Amarillo hops. It is 8.7% alcohol by volume, and has 85 International Bittering Units.

It features a gooey, resiny aroma and a luscious mouthfeel. Gordon is brewed with dash of chocolate malt in it, to round out its load of hops and balance the beer. The result is an assertive yet exceptionally smooth version of strong beer.

Mmmm, this is a big bold beer. Dubbed a Double IPA by Beer Advocate, an American Strong Ale by Rate Beer and damn tasty by me.

This beer (12oz can, baby!) pours a bright rusty red with goden highlights and a tall off white head that leaves behind a ton of lacing.

Smell is sweet and hoppy, almost a chocolate-caramel nose along with citrus hops.

Taste is malty, actually rather balanced with sweetness in the front and the lush hop bitterness in the finish,

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and just a tad sticky.

Drinkability is good, this one is big and tasty but not so big as to be overpowering.

Post-Gazette Article on Bear Republic in Western PA

Andy Starnes/Post-Gazette photo

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has an article on the efforts of Fatheads and AM Lutheran Distributors in getting Bear Republic beers in to the Pittsburgh market. There's also talk of a couple other noteworthy California breweries that may be heading this way.


Catching Up.

It's been busy around here lately and while I've enjoyed a number of good brews, I haven't had much chance to reflect on them. I'll get something up here very sonon.

In the meantime, here's a picture of a beer.

Otto's Jolly Rodger Imperial Stout



Indiana Gazette Article on the Homebrew Club.

The Indiana Gazette recently had a reporter out to our last Homebrew Club meeting. A few photos were taken by a staff photographer and the reporter hung out to see what it was exactly that we do.

The article ran today and features my mug front and center, both face and glass. Good write-up, with quotes from all four members of the "executive board".

You can take a look at the article on the Homebrew Club website.

This is the second article on homebrewing published by the Gazette, the first published almost exactly a year ago. More coverage can't be a bad thing.


Belgium Comes to Indiana (PA).

Meeting Provisions

Wednesday night, as Nate has already noted, the jokingly self-dubbed executive board of the Homebrew Club got together to figure out what exactly we were going to talk about at our next meeting. Nate's summary describes the evening well.
...there was some nice spicy sausage, Gruyere and Havarti cheese, then some St. Andre triple cream and a Spanish bleu (forgot the name) wrapped in grape leaf. Some apples and pears provided a sweet touch - and the hot appetizer for the evening was pieces of pheasant (courtesy of Eli) and pepperocini (sp?) peppers wrapped in bacon.

More Provisions

All were full of fine spirits, good humor, quick wit and B.S. On hand were a lovely selection of brews, all of which are rather rare, especially around these parts.

The Big Bottles

1. Lost Abbey Lost & Found, 750mL (Dave)
2. 2004 Westvleteren 12, 330mL (Nate)
3. Russian River Damnation, 750mL (Justin)
4. Russian River Redemption, 750mL (Justin)
5. Russian River Salvation, 750mL (Justin)
6. Oskar Blues TEN FIDY, 2x12oz cans (Eli)

The Russian River beers seemed to be a big hit, but the personal highlight for me was the 04 Westy. Definitely worthy of the hype.

Westy 12 Bottle Cap

As you can see from the picture, I was pretty much at a loss for words.


A Different Sort of Fermentation

Pickling, that is.

Cebollita Recipe

This is a recipe from BBQ Guru Steven Raichlen's book The Barbecue! Bible.

Since seeing Alton Brown's Good Eats show on pickling I've been interested in pickling. So Sunday morning, while I was throwing together the ribs, I made a quick batch of there pickles.

Now hardly being an expert on the technique, let me say that I'm not even sure this recipe involves fermentation or its just more of an infusion. Can anyone clear that up?

Pinted-Up Pickled Onions

All I know is that it was quick and easy, and the onions turned out quite tasty.


Oven Smoking

While this doesn't directly relate to beer, I use beer throughout the processes (processi?!), so I think I'm safe.

I've always wanted to try smoking, meat of course. I'm a huge fan of grilling and outdoor cooking, in general, from the simple hot dog to the more creative, grilled pizza. I have multiple (yes, more than one) gas grills, but have yet to expand beyond that medium into charcoal and wood.

Still, not letting that stop me, I've come up with a pinch-hit method to smoke meats in my oven. Its not a very elaborate process, basically I take a large aluminum pan, add my soaked wood chips and then levitate the meat above it in some fashion.

Pork Ribs Above Wood Chips, Unwrapped.

The first cut I used with this method was a beef brisket, weighing in at a little under 5 pounds. Big enough to feed a crew, small enough to be manageable. I rubbed the brisket with a cocoa-ancho pepper rub that I found in The Best of American Beer & Food book by Lucy Saunders, that link being the online companion. I'd repost the recipe but I don't have the book handy and perhaps it will encourage you to seek it out. More on that handy text later. Into the oven in went, at 250°F for most of the day, all wrapped up and sitting in a Pyrex above the wood chips, hickory soaked in North Country Brewing's Catherine the Great Imperial Stout. The meat turned out very tasty and rather tender, though I think I could have gone lower and longer. The leftovers ate very well thinly sliced and made into sandwiches. Note for next time: make sure I drain all the liquid before starting, so it creates more smoke than steam.

Super Bowl Sunday the meat of choice was two racks of pork ribs. I had made a full recipe of the above spice rub so I went that route again, followed up with bastes of Yuengling Lager Sauce. Again at 250°F, this time for about 6-7 hours, all told. This time I used mesquite as the chip of choice and poured in some Rivertowne Pour House (easily heading toward my favorite western PA brewpub, more on that later, too) Espresso Porter and propped the meat over top using a baking rack, which worked wonderfully to infuse the flavors.

Super Bowl Meal: the Above Ribs, Beans and Oven Fries

Kim, lovely wife, said they were the best ribs she's ever had, so there's an endorsement for you. The Espresso Porter was a nice match for the eating, too.

Rivertowne Espresso Porter

Forgive the above faux pas, that is a Rivertowne beer in a Red Star glass.


Hop King or Storm Wallop?

Victory Black and Tan

Inspired by a recent topic at Beer Advocate and having plenty of time to 'just hang out' this weekend, I got creative and poured myself a Black and Tan that was 50% Victory Storm King and 50% Victory Hop Wallop.

Tasty stuff, almost like a Black IPA but much more body and much more chocolate-coffee flavor.

Pretty cool that it almost looks like a latte art pour on the head.

What Might Have Been...

Sierra Nevada 2008 Bigfoot (unopened)

(Or How I Missed the Session for Barleywine.)

I even had a nice, researched entry planned out. Oh well.