Beer and Pavement

Session #71: Brewers and Drinkers

Posted in Beer, The Session by SM on January 6, 2013

Better late than never, eh?

This month’s session is brought to you by The Homebrew Manual and focuses on the relationship with beer between brewers and drinkers. I consider myself both, but I know of many who are more one or the other. It does taint one’s appreciation of beer, but I don’t think one is necessarily better than the other.

Let’s start with me. I used to be a drinker only. My thinking was that I could never brew something as good as a commercial brewer. And many of the homebrewers I knew proved this to be true. Their beers were mediocre at best and didn’t offer the same wow factor that many commercial breweries offered. I just didn’t see the point of brewing 40-50 bottles of something that wasn’t nearly as good the various different beers I could find at the store or in bars. That and many of these homebrewers seemed ignorant to the tide of craft beer developing under their noses. High IBU’s and ABV’s seemed impossible. “Throw more spice and have another malty beverage!”

So, I threw myself into the craft beer movement. I bought every new release. I built a cellar that might not be the largest you’ve ever seen, it’s still solid in its variety and quality. I lost track of how many beers I had before Untappd (BU), but I have since achieved Legendary status (500 unique beers recorded) with a solid progression toward Extraordinary (1000 different beers). I steeped myself in the culture and blogging community so as to further my enjoyment of craft beer.

Then – I don’t remember whose beer it was – it hit me. It is possible to brew beer at home that’s as good or even better than what the pros produce. It was like a second epiphany. So, I tried some homebrewing. At first, it was a kit that seemed pretty pedestrian, but I didn’t care. It was mine. From there, I completely changed the hop additions and developed an incredible single-hopped Simcoe IPA and the rest was history.

Now, granted, I’ve never moved beyond extract brewing. Some would argue that I don’t really brew. However, I haven’t moved on to all-grain for two simple reasons. First, extract brewing requires less time and is generally simpler. I can steep some specialty grains before I boil for added complexity. Extract brewing is just so easy. Second, my beers have generally been considered “better than extract.” Few have been able to sense the extract and all have loved my beers. I’ve done some insanely hoppy IPA’s/DIPA’s, potent imperial stouts, a ridiculously popular saison, and there’s a boozy Belgian Quad bottle conditioning right now that is loaded with that raisin flavor/aroma brewers strive for.

So, I’m a brewer and a drinker. I don’t think one understands beer better than the other. Brewers can break down a beer into its components, altering the enjoyment from aesthetic-based to one of utility. Each beer is judged like a puzzle, stirring inspiration for the next batch while developing metacognition along the way. Drinkers, however, are not lost in the details and enjoy beer in the moment. Where the brewer tries to experiment with technique and ingredients, the drinker collects and hoards his own variety. Both can be generous with knowledge and refreshment. Both know their stuff. But, most importantly, both appreciate and love beer.

As is usual for this blog, I can find an applicable comparison to musicians and music fans. I am of the latter and not the former. I wish I could play music. I tried teaching myself guitar and bass at one point, but there just wasn’t time in my schedule. Despite my love of the DIY movement, I’ve never really felt that playing music was in the cards for me. However, I don’t appreciate music any less than musicians. I have several musician friends who – for whatever reason – like to read this blog, talk music with me, or come hear me spin. I’m more than a fan. I curate.

But I digress.

Does one need to brew (or play music) to properly appreciate beer (or music)? No. The appreciation is just different. I know a lot more about beer and appreciate a well-made pale ale or Pilsner because of what I know about brewing. However, there are some times when I want to suspend that knowledge and just enjoy the beer for what it is at that moment. Who cares what causes the head retention or that tartness. I just want to appreciate the beer for being a beer.

I don’t ever want to be the brewer that analyzes every beer, sucking out the enjoyment. I don’t want to swayed by technique over the ephemeral. Conversely, I don’t want to drink a beer blindly, ignorant to the efforts that went into making it so great. It’s all about balance.

We need balance in the beer community as well. Drinking beers with only brewers or drinkers makes for a dull, monotonous experience. Beer, as complex as it is, can become a rather boring thing if only seen tasted smelled experienced through one perspective. Beer needs a diversity of thought to be fully appreciated. So, there’s plenty of room for both brewers and drinkers. Also, those of us who float somewhere in between.

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When Life Gets in the Way

Posted in Life by SM on August 27, 2012

As you may have noticed, life gets in the way of my blogging. Of course, it gets in the way of many things.

There was supposed to be a beer tasting to attend Saturday, but I promised to DJ the Hairhole benefit. That didn’t happen either as my kitchen sink decided to quit working. Saturday was spent trying every DIY method for unclogging a drain only to have to call Roto-Rooter on a Saturday night.

Then there was the birthday party for a five-year-old and friends came for dinner…

The heavens parted as we sampled some beer, including my two latest homebrews. The first was the New Slan Saison which after only one week in the bottle is fully carbonated. The same can’t be said for the scotch ale, but I’m hopeful it will turn out fine by this coming weekend. (Then again, I’m not 100% sure I added priming sugar. Never homebrew when you’ve had a few beers already, kids.)

And when these friends took off, I hit the Blue Note for a Built to Spill show. I’m not sure why I still go to BtS shows. It’s pretty much the same thing every time. Even the band seems to mail it in a bit, but at least it was something. A rock ‘n roll escape from life. They played all or at least most of the “hits.” It’s old hat for them, but they didn’t disappoint.

Maybe life will quit getting in the way and I’ll find some inspiration sooner or later.

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On the Homebrew Front

Posted in Beer by SM on August 20, 2012

I have been brewing a lot lately and have plans for more in the near future. So, look at this as an update of sorts.

The oldest homemade beer I have right now the Belgian-style Quad I’m aging at the moment. Better known as “Guided By Voices“, this sucker measures in at about 10.7% ABV thanks in large part to the maple syrup and candied sugar I added to the boil. I’ve had trouble with Belgian yeast strains in the past, but this beer was fermented in my Ale Pail with a heating belt wrapped around to maintain optimal temperature. The beer nearly exploded it was so active. It’s still sitting in secondary at the moment, aging and developing in complexity. Later this fall, I’ll bottle it and ration them out slowly.

The other two batches I have on hand are the second edition of New Slang Saison and a new scotch ale I’m calling “Tenured Dingo.” Both beers were brewed for my partner’s tenure celebration on the first. So, there will be tasting notes to share for those two beers soon.

New Slang Saison was the Saison I developed last year that included lemon zest, Rosemary, and the lemony Sorachi Ace hop. This year’s version features several changes. First, I was able to secure leaf hops, hopefully allowing for a more fragrant beer, especially thanks to the dry-hop. I also added extra Rosemary to the  the dry-hop, possibly making this a roasted chicken in a glass flavor profile. Finally, the biggest change occurred in the pitching of yeast. Last year, I used a smack pack of a Saison yeast that never really took off. I had to scramble and luckily friends gave me some slurry from their cider that finished off the beer nicely. This year, I just mixed a packet of dry yeast into the wort. It took off despite no starter. The beer has smelled nice throughout and should be ready in a couple of weeks.

Tenured Dingo Scotch Ale is named for my wife. She doesn’t care for much beer but prefers a scotch ale and – more importantly – scotch. So, I soaked some oak chips in cheap scotch and added them to the secondary. The recipe features an odd hop schedule and an American yeast strain, mostly because I can do what I want. I can’t wait to try it once it’s carbonated.

Maybe most exciting of all is the plan to brew a coffee IPA. I’ve had good luck with IPAs, but coffee is a new frontier for me. A new friend roasts his own coffee and can manipulate several variables for us to get the exact flavor profile we want from the coffee. I’m looking at the moment to take a medium-roast coffee with tons of fruitiness. It will cold-brewed so as to lower the acidity. Then, we’ll dump it into the secondary. One idea is to add the coffee to a split batch so that we can experiment with several varieties. We’ll have to see, I guess.

Either way, there will be something to brew after the tenure party. So, there should be more on the homebrew front soon…

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Posted in Beer, Life by SM on July 11, 2012

Half the time, I write about how old I’m getting. This is not one of those posts.

When brewing beer – particularly at home – aging beer to that perfect moment is as inexact a science as one can find. That’s usually why I go with IPA’s and the like that need to be consumed ASAP for fear of them losing their hoppy bite. Even this truism with brewing IPA’s doesn’t always work. I brewed an IPA last year and it needed the extra month in the bottle before it really tasted good.

Aging for pro brewers can be just as hard, but they have a lot more beer to work with, staff, meticulous notes, etc. My aging process is a crap-shoot. Luckily, it’s worked out well for me so far.

I have three(!) such experiments in aging going on right now. This is strange for me as I rarely have more than one beer in secondary at a time. And even when I have, It’s been one beer is going in while the other is going out. However, for various reasons, I am sitting on three beers aging in secondary.

The first is the one that’s been in for two months and may stay in for another 2-4. It’s my Belgian-syle Quad, better known as Guided By Voices. This beer, like all my beers lately has nailed both OG and FG. It was supposed to host some dried fruit, but I opted to let it age without so that the natural flavors would come out on its own. This beast is sitting at just under 11% ABV, easily my booziest effort yet. I don’t want to try it yet, preferring to be surprised, but it smells so good.

Why am I waiting four or more months to try this beer? A friend suggested six and most of the bigger Belgian beers sit around for a long time. It will age as long as I feel like aging it. I don’t think it will hurt the flavor whenever I decide to open it. I can always age it some more in the bottle. Either way, I have boxes of 750-mL bottles just waiting to be filled with this thick, rich concoction.

The other two beers – one a Saison and the other a scotch ale – are for a special occasion. My wife officially becomes an associate professor with tenure on September 1st. To celebrate, we’re throwing a party and I brewed these beers for the event. The Saison is a crowd-pleaser and the scotch ale is for her as it is one of the few styles she enjoys. I’m hoping that I timed both beers to be ready by the 1st. Right now, they both sit in secondary vessels, awaiting their bottled homes.

The Saison is a repeat with a few minor tweaks. First of all, I forgot to include honey. It was nowhere on the recipe for some odd reason. Also, I used the wrong caramel malt (80L opposed to 20L). It’s a long story as to why the mix-up happened, but the beer actually didn’t start out as dark as the last time. Finally, I actually got the yeast to cooperate this time around. The first time, I used a smack-pack that just didn’t really take off. It was in dire need of a starter. Since I’ve had so much luck with dry yeast packets. I just threw in an entire pack and mixed it with my aeration wand. FG was achieved in small part due to my patience but in large part due to the extra warmth I added with a warming belt.

In the secondary, the Saison is sharing space with some additional Sorachi Ace hops and Rosemary. I’m hoping that this will make the beer a bit more fragrant. It should at least make it good for beer can chicken.

The scotch ale was a complete experiment. I’m not even sure if it truly matched the recipe I wrote. Still, it fermented just fine. I’m a bit worried that an American yeast in a Scottish beer will not show the character a scotch ale should  demonstrate. So, I added some oak chips soaked in cheap scotch whiskey for a little depth. Ideally, this beer would sit for two months on the chips, but I don’t have that long. Six weeks will have to do.

The second beer is called “Tenured Dingo”, a tribute to my wife whose last name is the same as the baby-eating, Australian dog. At best, the beer will be rich with flavor and really wow our guests. At worst, the beer’s namesake will tell that it would be good with a burger, something she says about every beer, regardless of style.

Aging happens in other ways. As my hair grays, my record and beer collections age along with these homebrews. As change happens in my life (wife’s mentioned tenure, a new job for me), change will occur in those carboys. I’ll do my best to keep you all updated on developments as they happen, but as you probably can tell, keeping a blog up-to-date is not always an easy thing to do.

Designing a Beer

Posted in Beer by SM on November 22, 2011

I brew.

As my last two batches of home brew disappear and a commercially-made beer disappoints, I begin to look to brewing another batch. Obviously, I don’t brew one batch after another like some. No, I get around to it when I get around to it. I’m starting to get that itch and thought I’d share my thought process.

After Saturday’s disappointing experience with Odell’s Woodcut No. 5, I decided that I wanted to brew a Belgian Quad. First, I had to figure out what goes into a Quad to give it that rich, raisin-y flavor and aroma. That’s easier said than done. I looked around the internet and it doesn’t seem all that clear how the flavors of a Quad are created, especially in a batch using extract. I could read this guy’s book, but I’m feeling a bit lazy and just want to figure something out. Of course, that also means that I want to play with the ingredients to make it my own. For example, I don’t think your traditional Quad contains maple syrup. So, I think I’m really just trying to make a big, dark beer with Belgian yeast.

I’ll play with some specialty grains to obtain that dark color, but the raisin flavors and aromas will be harder to achieve. I am considering a little cheating or even going the Dogfish Head route by adding raisins and figs, but it seems more complex than I might be willing to try. From what I can tell, these beers use very little in the way of hops and what they use tend to be German. Additionally, I’ll add some candied sugar. The Belgian yeast should help to create the flavor I’m after.

The above portion was for my beer/homebrew nerd readers. Comment freely and steer me in the right direction. The conversation below has to do with naming the beer.

I’ve made a point to name my beers after musicians, albums, or song titles. This beer should be dark, sweet, slight funk, and relatively boozy. So, what should I name it?

I really have no clue where to go with this one. Often, it’s where I start. For example, Wowee Zowee Double IPA was intended to pay homage to the Pavement album by the same name. It actually lived up to its namesake. Now, that I’ve identified a style and flavor profile, I have to figure out which album, song, or musician to name my new brew after. Here’s what I’m thinking…

Slint (band) – Spiderland (album by Slint) – “Good Morning, Captain” (song off Spiderland)
The darkness this album paints is best exemplified in the final track. However, I’m not sure if any of these names would make for a good beer name. Slint Quad? Who wants to drink a Spiderland? Can’ Good Morning, Captain make a good beer name?

Will Oldham’s “band” felt like the perfect inspiration for this beer. Dark and oddly sweet underneath… Of course, as I said before, I wasn’t inspired by a band for this particular beer. So, who knows whether this would work.

Blues Xplosion
I dunno. I’m stretching it a bit here. Jon Spencer would drink this brew, right? Probably not. Besides, this name should probably be saved for something more extreme.

The California Raisins

And, that’s as far as I’ve made it. I have a long way to go. So, if you have suggestions for the recipe or the beer’s name, leave them in the comments. We’ll discuss.

Top 5 Beers in My Cellar

Posted in Beer, Top 5 by SM on November 14, 2011

The following list is based on my anticipation for cracking open the following beers. I may have some beers that are rated better or that I may actually like more, but this is more of a list that highlights some oddball beers and beers I just can’t wait to open. Some I’ve had already, but some will be new to me once I open them in the coming months or years.

5. Allagash 2010 Odyssey and 2009 Interlude – The Odyssey was scored in a Yankee Swap last Xmas. I have no idea what’s inside. The Interlude was found while on a business trip in Richmond, VA. Again, I have no idea what’s inside. Anything barrel aged and produced on a small scale by one of the more respected American craft breweries has me intrigued. Now, if they’re terrible, the brewery’s mystique will fade. However, I suspect these beers will be pretty awesome.

4. 2009 Alaskan Barley Wine – Someone told me that they had this beer and vintage at a beer festival recently. It was the hit of the fest according to this one guy, but I trust his opinion. That’s why this beer’s days are numbered and I’ll be cracking it open at some point this winter.

3. Never Forget Barley Wine – This was the barley wine I had planned for my daughter’s first birthday. I didn’t get around to brewing and bottling until a few months after her birthday, but quite a bit of it has been consumed, leaving me with only two bottles. At some point, I’ll open one to see what happens. The other may have to wait until a significant birthday. 18? 21? We’ll see.

2. Cantillon Lou Pepe – This one I just bought this past week. At $22, several factors are at play. First, I could only justify buying one as I had already purchased three bottles of something else that day. So, I will have no idea what it tastes like. This may mean that this one has a short stay in the cellar/closet. Second, the high price point makes me hesitant to just open it for any old reason. Regardless, it will be saved for a special occasion, of which there will be plenty with the oncoming holiday season.

1. Stone Vertical Epic Series – With 11/11/11 happening, another in the series of beers not meant to be consumed until after 12/12/12 hits stores this week. My sister’s birthday happens to be December 12th and the goal is to consume as many of these as possible – in a commemorative glass – on or more likely after her birthday next year. We’re now one year and beer closer. I currently have ’08-’10. My sister grabbed a bottle of ’11, but I may grab another when it arrives here next week just to be sure. It will be a surprise no matter what the beers taste like. Hopefully they all do stand the test of time.

A Few Beers I’ve Enjoyed Over the Last Week+

Posted in Beer by SM on November 13, 2011

For whatever reason, I’ve backed off of straight beer review posts. Still, I do drink a fair amount of beer and thought I’d share a few from the past week.

Founders Backwoods Bastard – I might as well have skipped the beer and gone with something stronger. The beer is super boozy, malty sweet, oaked to hell, and flat. At 10%, I could get more bang for my buck with something stronger like whiskey, bourbon, or scotch. Either way, it just made me sleepy. I’ll have to save the other three bottles to see how this beer mellows.

Jolly Pumpkin Weizen Bam – I swear that Jolly Pumpkin just brews variations of its popular Bam Bier and there’s nothing wrong with that. I opened this beer and stepped away to retrieve a glass only to find that the bottle had exploded all over the counter. I often don’t get a chance to enjoy the full 750 mL of a Jolly Pumpkin as this happens a lot. Still, the activity doesn’t take away from the beer, if anything, it only adds to it. Present is that Jolly Pumpkin funk and what turns out to be a rather cloudy beer. Surprisingly, the beer is rather flat after the initial onslaught of beer on my countertop. The sourness in this version of the Bam series is not as sharp as the original, but plenty enjoyable.

Boulevard Saison-Brett (2011) – Apparently, there’s more of this beer lying around as a fellow beer enthusiast showed up at a gathering with a bottle. The sharpness missing in the beer above comes tenfold in this beer – as expected. This is a bucket list beer and I’m thankful it graces our shelves once a year.

Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project Hedgerow Bitter – I’ve had a couple of Pretty Things beers in the past. This brewery gets a lot of attention, mostly due to their lack available, queer brewery name, and unique artwork. However, my experience with the brewery has been somewhat disappointing. This beer came through, however. As an English Pale Ale, my expectations were already lowered, but this is a pretty solid beer. The bitterness is most dominant and welcomed. I don’t know whether the lowered expectations or just the fact that this is a really good beer. Either way, Hedgerow Bitter was thoroughly enjoyed Friday night.

Barley Legal Collaboration #1 – I hang out with these guys who brew every Sunday. Often, the recipes and ingredients are their own, but they like to help folks brew their beers (my Simcoe-Dependency was brewed there) as well as collaborate with whoever is interested. Recently, we gathered to brew this beer. I wanted it to have a molasses feel without getting too heavy. So, I contributed brown sugar and molasses. The results are a pretty amazing old ale-like beer. It’s super boozy and sweet with a surprising hop bitterness. It’s one of the more complex homebrews I’ve had and really worth the efforts of the entire group.

Schlafly No. 20 Volume 3 – Citrus Witbier – I had this beer a couple of times this weekend. The first was in the midst of a tasting that involved many of the other beers on this list. So, this little witbier didn’t stand up. The nose was citrusy and included the proper amount of funk. However, the results on the tongue were lost among all the other beers sampled. I gave the beer a second chance as I watched my Buckeyes stick a fork in this miserable season with a loss at Purdue. Alone, the beer is a solid witbier. The missing flavors from the night before were there when the beer was enjoyed alone. This beer would be perfect for a fish recipe I tried a while back.

Ska Euphoria Pale Ale – I had a moment to kill at a favorite water hole. This seasonal was on tap. I had purchased a full sixer last year and sort of struggled to get through it. It wasn’t that the beer was bad, I just grow tired of the same beer over and over. Anyway, I thought I’d have a glass on tap now for my annual indulgence. This beer is the dry, bitter APA I’ve been craving as of late. So, I may have to reconsider my aversion to the six-pack.

Founders Breakfast Stout – I don’t actually like coffee stouts. However, this one is different. The trouble with most coffee stouts is that the base stout is thin and relatively unremarkable so as to showcase the coffee flavors. Founders takes another route and brews a solid imperial stout with loads of coffee. The flavorful beer balances flavors of coffee, roasted malt, molasses, and a touch of bourbon. I will, however, need to be sure to drink these beers quickly as coffee fades much in the same way hops do in IPA’s.

He’Brew Genesis 15:15 – Lord have mercy! What a conglomeration of flavors and booze. This is a whole lotta beer at 15% ABV and including multiple fruits aged in barrels…You can only imagine all that comes with this beer. I had a snifter of the stuff at a bar and will hang on to a bomber to see how well it ages.

Straffe Hendrik Quadrupel – Someone had one of these when I was done drinking for the evening. The discussion surrounding it had me intrigued. I looked to buy the beer in a store a few days later, but couldn’t justify $18 for a four-pack I wasn’t even sure what I would be getting. Luckily, I found a bottle at a bar and took the plunge. This is the quad of all quads. Deep, dark, rich, complex, reeking of raisins and fig. And it’s huge at 11% ABV, but you don’t notice the booze which can be dangerous.

There have been other beers, but this is what I’ve had lately. You can follow me on Untappd. I don’t leave much insight there, mostly just keeping a list. What have you been drinking? Have you had any of the above beers? Tell me what you’d like in the comments.


Posted in Beer by SM on November 3, 2011

I’ve hinted and shared bits of information concerning two homebrews I currently have around to consume. Well, I’ve had a chance to enjoy and share these brews with others. That’s given me some insight into what I have inside all those bottles taking up space in my cellar. The numbers denote the how many batches I’ve done. There has been a cider and a couple of collaborative projects, but these put me at 9 and 10 batches of my own doing.

Batch #9 – Black Francis Imperial Stout (recipe)
This was to be part of a Christmas gift for people, particularly family, but that idea went out the window once we counted up the souvenirs we purchased in Spain. So, I’ve been drinking and sharing this beer, especially now that the weather has turned a bit.

Black Francis is a relatively big imperial stout (9% ABV) aged with oak chips, cocoa nibs, and vanilla beans all soaked in bourbon. Soaking the chips creates an effect similar to a bourbon barrel, but it actually allows for mor surface to touch the beer than a barrel. I wish I had aged it longer, but I worried about a potential exposure issue and I’m impatient with beer.

The beer itself contains an overwhelming amount of bourbon in the nose, but one can catch a bit of the chocolate if he’s paying attention. The vanilla doesn’t come through on its own. It seems the vanilla just augments the other flavors in the beer. The oak comes through a bit under the bourbon, but this may be the vanilla as the two components often bring the same flavors to a beer. I’ve used cocoa nibs before without much success. The vanilla, however, brings the chocolate out a bit. I’m hoping to save a few bottles to see if the bourbon subsides a bit, making room for the vanilla and chocolate to come forward.

Batch #10 – Simcoe-Dependency IPA (recipe)
This is my third go at this brew. The first was an extract beer and a huge success. The second time I tried to brew the beer, my thermometer boke in the wort, causing me to dump the entire batch. This time around, I brewed an all-grain batch with friends. Many remember the first batch and have been looking forward to trying this one.

Simcoe-Dependency is a single-hopped IPA, meaning that I only used one hop for bittering, flavor, and aroma. The Simcoe hop is one of my favorites. It adds a catty, grapefruit-like presence to a beer. For my money, it’s the most potent, identifiable hop out there and is the ideal hop to be solely featured in a beer. All my favorite single-hop commercial brews are Simcoe-specific.

This batch turned out rather different from the first. It’s dryer and features the slight tartness from the hop more so than I’m accustomed. The aroma isn’t as awesome as I remember, causing me to think that doubling the amount of hops in the dry-hop could have made a huge difference. The dryness comes from the dry yeast I used that seemed to eat up all the sugars, dropping my final gravity lower than expected. A sweeter beer might have showcased the hops better, but I have no complaints.

Another interesting aspect of the IPA is the patience factor I alluded to in my summary of the stout. For some reason, I have grown impatient with the time it takes to properly bottle condition my IPA’s. I brewed one in the spring as well as this one more recently. Both were not what I expected on the first few tries. However, as they sit around, they become more complex and the hop presence grows to favorable levels, almost completely changing the flavor and aroma of the beer over a matter of days or weeks. If there’s a lesson to be learned from these two brews, it’s that patience can make a world of difference between a good beer and a great one. Also, relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew.

Top 5 for October 10, 2011 in pictures

Posted in Beer, Life, Live, Top 5 by SM on October 10, 2011

Like 15 years ago, my then-girlfriend and I traded some CD’s for new music at Used Kids in Columbus, OH. One of the records I traded for was a vinyl copy of Orange. We broke up later that year. She took my record. Late last week, a reprinted replacement finally arrived. I think I may have to write more about this.


My second (successful) go at Simcoe-dependency, a single-hopped IPA, is now bottled and should be ready for consumption in ten days. This beer is pretty dry in order to showcase the cattiness of the Simcoe. It also weighs in at 7.1% ABV, higher than anticipated.

New Albanian Brewing Company is one brewery I have yet to try, but they make the most bad-ass brewing t-shirt ever! I wore it for a Sunday collaborative brew session. Several folks all added ingredients to one beer, an imperial brown something or other. I contributed molasses and brown sugar just to be redundant.

4. 20111010-012047.jpg
I went to one of those fancy prohibition-style drink places with my wife before a show. Their beer list was lame, so I ordered a gingery Tiki drink. This took me back to a place I used to frequent in college and drink Miserable Bastards until I was the miserable bastard. This story relates to item #1.

5. 20111010-012516.jpg
This is a shitty image of Beirut last night in St. Louis. They were good and all the band nerds in the audience gizzed themselves over the sousaphone solos.

Posted with my iPhone. RIP Steve Jobs.

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Top 5 for October 3, 2011

Posted in Top 5 by SM on October 3, 2011

I’m super-busy at the moment. So, let’s get on with it…

1. Believers – When Believers hit it big, remember that you read about them here first. Or you already knew them and have known about them long before I started posting long rants on their potential greatness. Either way, the boys have released two tracks you can download for free. The first is a newer version of “Forward Forward Back.” The second is the excellent new track “Finder.” Check below for the tracks and/or visit the Believers’ site.

2. The Lost Season – This will go down as the year my Ohio State Buckeyes go missing for 3-4 months. The offense did NOTHING Saturday and things don’t look any better for the coming month of games. I’d rather not go into details. Just know that their offense can be described as offensive vomiting. This is probably the last I’ll post anything football-related as I am choosing to focus on positive things.

3. Wild Flag in KC – I get to see Wild Flag Wednesday night in Kansas City. I’m pretty excited to see this band. Also, it’s at a venue I haven’t been. It will be a late night, but I expect it to be an excellent show, something I’ve needed for a while.

4. Home Brew Updates – Black Francis sits in bottles, doing what it needs to do. I won’t crack one open for another two weeks just to see if it’s ready. Even then, I suspect some more time in the bottle will be required. Conversely, I just brewed an all-grain version of my Simcoe-dependency, an all-Simcoe IPA, a week ago, it fermented about as well as any beer I’ve ever had, and I promptly added another ounce of Simcoe for the dry-hop. The OG for the beer was 1.066 and the FG dropped around 1.012. That puts the beer over 7% ABV. It’s super-bitter and dry, nearly perfect at this point. I’ll wait another week to bottle. Then it might be ready about the same time I try the stout.

5. Redesign – As hinted last week, there are some aesthetic changes coming. Well, sort of. I will most likely do little to the blog. There might be a move to my own URL, but the blog will generally remain untouched. That said, I plan to put together an actual website, linking all my resources and other online shenanigans. I’m not sure what exactly I’ll host on the new site, but it will generally be tied into what’s going on here right now. Stay tuned…