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Archive for February, 2008

Rogue Dead Guy

Today I asked myself, “Self. Where in Columbus can I access wireless internet for research as well as sample beer [for research]?”

Hmmm. Well there is always home … or even work. But, neither can provide me a great draft. And then it dawned on me –Cafe Apropos!

While they provide an excellent selection of bottled beers, I opted for the happy hour special — which is $2 pints. The five beers on tap were Stella Artois, Sam Adam’s Winter Lager, Blue Moon, Guinness, and Rogue Dead Guy. I will give you one guess on which one I chose. (Come one now, anyone who passes up a pint of Rogue Dead Guy for $2 is on drugs).

Dead Guy Ale

The beer was served a little colder than my preference, so I let it sit for a bit before drinking. I actually ended up sipping on it for an hour — and by the end of the glass, the temperature was perfect for allowing its true flavor to come out.

Let us begin by raving about how much I love this beer, and how much more I love it at $2. It poured a very cloudy, deep copper color with a rather hefty white head. The aroma was more malt than hops, with a subtle nutty sweetness. The taste was definitely heavy on the hops, leaving a very long bitter finish. My cheeks were still puckering from the bitterness for at least 20 minutes after the last sip. Tonight, I noticed for the first time how carbonated this particular beer is. After swirling it around – through the teeth and over the tongue, my mouth became full of foam. It was an interesting sensation, further increasing the bitter intensity of the hops. I also detected a high level of alcohol in the finish (9.9% ABV).

Overall, Rogue Dead Guy Ale is a bold, heavy, bitter ale with a long finish and high ABV. In my book, it’s a keeper. Next time I promise I will try something new, since I’m obviously biased towards this beer.

My suggestion? Hit up Cafe Apropos on a weekday night between 4 and 8 for a $2 draft of Dead Guy. You will not be disappointed!

About Dead Guy Ale:

Gratefully dedicated to the Rogue in each of us. In the early 1990s Dead Guy Ale was created as a private tap sticker to celebrate the Mayan Day of the Dead (November 1st, All Souls Day) for Casa U Betcha in Portland, Oregon. The Dead Guy design proved popular and was incorporated into a bottled product a few years later with Maierbock as the elixir. Strangely, the association with the Grateful Dead is pure coincidence.

Dead Guy is a German-style Maibock made with Rogues proprietary “PacMan” ale yeast. It is deep honey in color with a malty aroma, rich hearty flavor and a well balanced finish. Dead Guy is created from Northwest Harrington, Klages, Maier Munich and Carastan malts, along with Perle and Saaz Hops. Dead Guy Ale is available in 22-ounce bottles, 12-ounce 6-pack, and on draft.

Measurements: 16 degrees Plato, IBU 40, Apparent Attenuation 78, Lovibond 16
No Chemicals, Additives, or Preservatives

 
Rogue Brewery


PhotoRogue Ales was founded in 1988 by Jack Joyce, Rob Strasser and Bob Woodell, three corporate types who wanted to go into the food/beverage industry. Rogue’s first brewpub was located in Ashland, Oregon and was a 10bbl brewsystem. Rogue opened a second brewpub, 15bbl brewsystem, in May 1989 located in Newport, Oregon. Rogue closed its Ashland operation in 1997, after the great flood destroyed the place. In 1991, the 15bbl system, named Howard after John Maier’s former boss, from the Newport brewpub was transferred across the bay to the current brewery and upgraded to a 30bbl system. In 1998 Rogue bought a 50bbl brewsystem, named Kobe. Kobe is the only brewsystem in use

 
 
 
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The Recipe For Beer

For me, the most efficient method of learning is through teaching. The proof is in the pudding, if you will. If I really know my material, essentially I should be able to break it down and convey in a way that the general population will understand easily.

Many of you may know more about beer than I do, therefor making this blog redundant and rather boring. For this, I apologize. For those of you who are, like me, still on the voyage to beer connoisseurship — hopefully, I will be a good teacher. And so let us learn, shall we?

What is the recipe for beer?

witch90.gif

The core foundation of every beer consists of four key ingredients: water, malt, hops, and yeast. Obviously, the variations of beer are a result in different variations of all the key ingredients. Although each is an equally important factor in the end result, the major variation in beer is a result of the type of yeast used in fermentation.

About 90% of beer is water. Traditionally, the mineral content in water greatly influenced the final taste of beer and was specific to the region in which it originated. With today’s ever expanding technologies, almost any water can be chemically adjusted to create any particular style of beer desired.

Many of you may be thinking — “Ok, I knew that beer is made of water, malt, hops, and yeast. What about barley?” This brings us to the malt. “Malt” is short for malted barley. Barley is a basic cereal grain — similar to oats, wheat, or rice — but, unlike aforementioned grains, it is not particularly good for milling into flour and making baked goods with. Beer has been made of many grains, yet none come close to the quality of beer made from barley.

There are three major types of barley. Each is differentiated by the number of seeds at the top of the stalk. Barley seeds grow in rows of two, four, and six along the central stem. Traditionally, Europeans prefer the two-row barley, while Americans prefer the six-row barley.

There are three steps in the malting process: steeping, germination, and kilning.

To make malt from raw barely, the grain is first soaked in water until it begins germinating — or sprouting. During the germination process, enzymes begin breaking down the starches in the grain into sugar. The grain must be closely monitored at this point. Germination is done on floors, in boxes, or in drums. At the desired stage of germination, the grain is then heated in a kiln, or large oven, which stops the germination and growth process.

The temperature in the kiln determines the color of the malt and the amount of enzymes which survive for use in the mashing process. most often malts are classified as base malts, specialty malts (light or dark), caramelized/crystal malts, roasted malts, unmalted barley (roasted barley and green malt), and other malted grains (wheat and rye). More on malts at another time.

This bring us to hops. Since I’ve already discussed hops in length, we will pass over it for now.

Last but not least, we have the yeast. There are literally hundreds of varieties and strains of yeast. They are biologically classified as fungi and are responsible for converting sugars into alcohol and other byproducts. (We will discuss the alcohol ratio another time).

Traditionally, it was thought that two different species of yeast were used in beer fermentation – ale yeast ale yeast (the “top-fermenting” type, Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and lager yeast (the “bottom-fermenting” type, Saccharomyces uvarum). Today, as a result of recent reclassification, both ale and lager yeast strains are considered to be members of S. cerevisiae species.

What are the differences between these two types of yeast? Top-fermenting yeasts float to the top of the beer and are fermented at higher temperatures over shorter periods of time. They typically produce ale-type beers of higher alcohol concentrations that are fruitier and sweeter. Bottom-fermenting yeasts tend to settle out to the bottom of the fermenter as fermentation nears completion. Typically producing lager-type beers, bottom-fermenting yeasts produce fewer of the esters that cause the fruity taste in ale, leaving a crisper taste. They ferment best at lower temperatures over a longer period of time.

So there you have it — the ingredients to beer in a nut shell.

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Drink With the Wench

In the name of research, I’ve decided to try at least one new beer every week.

My ultimate goal is to start up a gathering for fellow beer lovers and hopheads in the Columbus area. The invite is open to anyone and everyone interested in learning about and drinking beer. Ideally, I’d love to meet up with people who are more knowledgeable about beer than I am — and are willing to assist me in my voyage to beer connoisseur land.

Beer Cartoon

I’m also interested in traveling to different bars to see all the beer that the city has to offer. Hopefully some bars will be willing to host our group for beer tastings.

Also, I am looking for people interested in contributing to the beer blog. This is a Columbus themed blog — and I want fellow beer loving residents to partake in its development.

The first real initiative I’m taking is going to be an informal “Drink With the Wench” night, once a week. I want it to be a great social forum and conversation starter for beer lovers. It will be geared more towards educating and tasting, as opposed to sheer partying. Hopefully, people will come out of the woodworks and join me!

How does Friday sound? I think Bodega would be the ideal place to kick something like this off. Happy hour anyone? Meet around 7pm? Don’t be shy!

See you soon!

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Bell’s HopSlam

I’m a very lucky girl. After reading my last review, my friend was kind enough to purchase the beer on my must try list – Bell’s HopSlam Ale.

Bell’s HopSlam

This beer is no joke. And at $15 for a six pack, it better deliver.

“A biting, bitter, tongue bruiser of an ale. With a name like Hopslam, what did you expect?” – Bell’s website.

I have to be honest regarding the hype surrounding this ale. Although it did not disappoint me in the least, it did not meet my expectations. I really enjoyed the ale and would never turn it down if it was offered to me, but it is hard to justify purchasing it at such a high cost. If I ever found it on tap, however, I would definitely order it.

Now onto the beer review.

The Hopslam is considered a Double IPA (DIPA), also known as an Imperial IPA. DIPAs are IPA’s with higher levels of hops and malts, typically having an ABV of 7% or higher. The style of beer is very new, circa mi-90’s, mostly being associated with the West Coast. It is the most popular style with hopheads and my personal favorite.

Bell’s Hopslam Ale poured a beautiful golden copper. The ale was cloudy, having fairly low clarity. The head was thin, dissolving very quickly. The aroma was definitely dominated by the hops, which were complimented with hints of grapefruit. The bold flavor of the ale was impressive. The hops “slammed” my taste-buds with bitter goodness and the grapefruit added a nice crisp edge. There was a distinctive “tree” flavor, that I later identified as pine. The beer was not as bitter as I was expecting it to be, which is my only complaint. The substantially high level of alcohol, 10% ABV, took away a portion of the bitterness. The sweetness of the malt and honey also balanced out the bitterness.

All in all, it was a pretty damn tasty brew. Neither the alcohol, hops, nor malt out-dominated the others, allowing the ale to have a great balance. I’m a huge fan of Bell’s, and the Hopslam Ale definitely increased my confidence in the brewery. I’m planning on making a visit to Bell’s sometime this year.

I would almost go as far as saying I liked it more than the Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA. Although, would probably have to enjoy both side by side to verify this claim. Usually, I prefer the 60 minute IPA to the 90 minute IPA. I’d probably pick Bell’s Two-Hearted, one of my staples, over the Hopslam. Both the 60 minute IPA and Two-Hearted are lower in alcohol, which in my opinion allows the hops flavor to come through stronger. As far as Double IPAs go, Stone Ruination IPA is still my favorite tasted thus far.

Double IPAs on my must-have list:

and many many many many others …

Moral of the story? I love my hops and Double IPAs. Bell’s does a great job with Hopslam. If you are willing to shell out the dough, I definitely suggest trying it out.

About Bell’s Brewery

Bell’s Brewery, Inc. formerly Kalamazoo Brewing Company, founded by Larry Bell as a home-brewing supply shop in 1983, sold its first beer in 1985. Originally brewing in a 15-gallon soup kettle, the company has grown remarkably from its production of 135 barrels (1 bbl = 31 gal.) in 1986 to over 90,000 barrels in 2007. Bell’s Brewery has grown from a tiny operation renting part of a former plumbing supply warehouse to a bustling, regional craft brewery. Over twenty years of brewing, Bell’s Brewery has built a nationwide reputation as a creative and talented brewery, playing a significant role in changing the beerscape of the nation.

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Victory HopDevil Ale

In celebration of my inaugural blog, I decided to go out an try a new beer.

For those of you who are interested in sampling a different beer, but are hesitant to invest in a whole six pack, World Market has an excellent selection of “buy by the bottle” beers.

After scanning through the various rows, my eyes stopped on Victory’s “HopDevil Ale.”

The description on the bottle reads: “The mythical HopDevil resides in the lore of farmers. Our HopDevil is the real deal. Bold, spicy and menacingly delicious. He’s the product of distinctive American hops and meticulous craftsmanship. Arising from the heady wilds of our Hopback and gently tamed with time, this Devil makes a great companion.”

The six pack ran for $8.99 and the bottle by itself was just under two dollars.

I prefer to drink the more hop heavy beers and IPAs at just below room temperature. As with wine, coldness kills the flavor. Since I bought the beer off a shelf and not out of a cooler, it was ready to drink when I got home.

Everyone has their own preference on drinking styles. If I’m drinking beer from a bottle, I prefer to pour it into a glass. Since I do not have any specialty beer glasses, I tend to pour the more aromatic beers into my larger wine glasses. Don’t laugh. It really does make a difference.

Upon pouring the HopDevil Ale into my giant wine glass (and I do mean giant), a pleasantly familiar aroma of hops invaded my nose.

Victory HopDevil Ale

As you can see in the picture I’ve posted, the color is a beautifully rich amber with a nice soft caramel foam.

The flavor of the beer held up to its promise. The bitterness of the hops, although very present, was not too overwhelming, allowing the richness of the German malts to really come through. The beer was excellent to sip on, and made a great pairing with some roasted and lightly salted almonds. Really hit the spot after a long day at work.

Victory’s HopDevil COMPOSITION
Malts: Imported, German 2 row
Hops: American whole flowers
Alcohol by volume: 6.7%

After checking out Victory’s website, it is apparent that I must try their seasonal beer entitled “Hop Wallop”. The problem will be finding it. I will keep you posted on my search.

Victory’s Hop Wallop

ABOUT
We celebrate the pioneering spirit of old Horace ‘Hop’ Wallop and those who dare mighty adventurous things in this vivid, robust ale. As our annual homage to the hop harvest, expect loads of aromatic splendor and bitter beauty.

COMPOSITION
Malts: Imported German malts
Hops: American whole flowers
Alcohol by volume: 8.5%

AVAILABILITY
Limited bottles and draft -beginning November 1, for a limited time

About Victory Brewing Company

“Having trained in Germany, we appreciate the artistic freedom we have here in the US. Here creativity is embraced by a fervent core of consumers and we are happy to serve that audience with our experience in traditional methods, selection of choice, often imported ingredients, and the best processing that technology can offer us. We relish the opportunity to please both ourselves and our audience with our flavorful creations. We’ve invested more than our lives in this. Take a look.”

Bill Covaleski
Brewmaster & President

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Let’s Go To The Hop

The Humulus lupulus plant

So what exactly are these hops that I know and love so much?

Hops Biology 101

Basically, hops are the female flowers of the hop plant, also known as Humulus lupulus. Hops are dioecious, which means they have separate male and female plants. Only the female produces the flowers that are used for brewing. The hop plant is a perennial spiraling vine which will grow in almost any climate given enough water and sunlight. Hops are native to the temperate zones of the northern hemisphere. They are found wild in Western Europe, Asia and certain parts of North America.

Hops are typically green in color with yellow lupulin glands down between the petals. What exactly are lupulin glands? The fine yellow resinous powder found upon fruit of hops, responsible for the bitterness of hops. There are several varieties of hops, which are usually broken down into two categories: bitter hops and aroma hops.

Traditionally, the term “Noble hops” refers to four varieties of hops low in bitterness and high in aroma, which often are the distinguishing characteristics of European-style lager beer. They are grown in four areas within Bavaria or Bohemia and include Hallertau Mittelfrüh, Tettnanger, Spalter, and Saaz.

Hops and Beer

Why add hops to beer? The major contribution hops give to beer is a characteristic bitterness that provides a counterpoint to the rich sweetness provided by the malt.

Hops have to be dried before they can be used in the brewing process. Traditionally, the hops drying process takes place in an oast. The bitter flavor is extracted from the hops during the boil, through the release of hop resin, which is a plant secretion containing essential oils.

Hop resins are composed of two main acids: isomerized alpha acids and beta acids, both contributing to the bitterness of beer.

Bitterness is not the only gift hops brings to the beer making party. The volatile oils are also an important flavor component of many types of beer. The essential oils are what give hops their unique aroma, which each variety having its own distinct profile.

The amount of bitterness and oils in a beer differs based on the hops variety and concentration used as well as the time and frequency in which they are added. By adding different varieties of hops at different times during the boil, a more complex hop profile can be established, giving the beer a balance of hop bitterness, taste and aroma. The five main types of hop additions are: first wort hopping, bittering, flavoring, finishing, and dry hopping.

The International Bitterness Units scale, or simply IBU scale, is the most typical, and probably the most accurate, measure for the bitterness of beer. An IBU is defined as 1 mg/l of iso-alpha-acid in a solution.

One formula craft brewers use to calculate IBU is:

Wh × AA% × Uaa ⁄ ( Vw × 1.34 )

History

Hops were not originally use to add bitterness and aromas. Hops are a natural preservative and part of its early use of hops in beer for preservation. Hops were added directly to the cask after fermentation to keep it fresh while it was transported. This is how my particular favorite style of beer, India Pale Ale, was developed. At the turn of the 18th century, British brewers began shipping strong ale with lots of hops added to the barrels to preserve it over the several months voyage to India.

A great source of information on hops is Norm Pyle’s Hop FAQ.

My current favorite IPA’s include:

Dogfish Head 60 mintue & 90 minute IPA
Stone Ruination IPA
(which is on tap at Bodega in the Short North, and in a bottle at Brazenhead in Grandview)
Bells Two-Hearted Ale

The beer I’m dying to try is:

Bells Hopslam
(which I’ve seen at Wild Oats on Lane Ave, $15 for a six pack)

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Welcome to the Brauhaus

I have been talking a good game about writing a Columbus based beer blog for quite some time. Talk is cheap and I’m putting my money where my “beer” is – whatever that is supposed to mean.

Who am I and why do I think I can write a blog about beer?

First off, let’s get this over with: I’m a girl. I know there is a popular misconception that estrogen = hops intolerance. Well either I’m an anomaly or the cosmopolitan drinking chicks have given us brewsky loving girls a bad rep. Regardless, I’m a self-declared “hophead” with an unnatural love for the female parts of the humulus lupus plant.

I make absolutely no claims at being a beer expert but, in my defense, I am no beer novice either. Instead, I prefer to think of myself as a student of the art of crafting beers.

What are goals and focus of this blog?

My personal goal is to become more educated on the world of beer. The goal of the blog is to take my readers along on my adventure and train ride through beerland. I intend on learning through a plethora of experiences including beer tasting, home-brewing, traveling to breweries, taking courses, and so on and so forth.

My focus is mostly on Columbus. Who is doing what, hidden treasures, where to find great beer, interesting facts, local breweries, etc.

I’m really looking forward to the quest ahead. I’m completely open to suggestions and guest writers as well as any other forms of collaboration that people wish to contribute. This blog is not so much about me as it is about Columbus and beer. If you love both as much as me, well then this is the place for you!

Cheers!

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