Monthly Archives: July 2011

The Belgian Wit

A few blogs ago, I wrote about how my homebrew Belgian Wit went from catastrophically explosive, to flat as a pancake, to re-carbonated (A Temperamental Wit in 3 Acts) . I was so distressed when the bottles started to explode that I nearly repented of homebrewing. I thought about putting the brewing equipment on eBay and forgetting the whole enterprise. I concluded that all that work for a farce.

And since my solution of re-bottling only served to flatten the brew,  it became twice the work. Double trouble, twice the failure. I got a lot of mileage of suffering off of one batch. The only future I envisioned was drinking down the flat beers (the carbonation had fled like a bandit when I had emptied the too carbonated beers into the priming tank and then re-bottled).

I had mentioned in the previous blog that because there was still some yeast and sugar in the flat beer, when I capped the bottles and put them away, over a couple of weeks when I was out in California and Vancouver BC, the carbonation came back. I am so stinking delighted I almost feeling like squealing  like a pre-teen girl who has just saw Justin Bieber in the flesh and hair. One thing that I had not done was post a picture of the Redeemed Belgian Wit in an anatomically correct Belgian brewing glass.

Ta Da. I feel like I have to show two pictures to revel in the triumph. Double the failure, twice the success.

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Civilization and Fermentation – The Rise of Culture

Interesting article on how fermentation of alcoholic beverages goes back as far as human civilization and perhaps even back to the beginning of the whole universe.  Instead of the Big Bang, how about the Big Belch? Dogfish is the premiere research facility in the world for such investigation and recreation of recipes.  Cosmology and astrophysics down to the glass in front of me. Wow.

If you have not made a pilgrimage down to Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth, Delaware, you must do so. It is the Mecca of Microbreweries. I know that “Mecca and Microbrews” is mixing metaphors and might tick off the Allah-ites extremist. Yet, I believe Muslims would be a lot more chill if they imbibed in the spirits in moderation. All that coffee without completing the circle with a beverage to take it down a notch just ain’t healthy. All wind-up and no wind-down. But, I suppose, they can’t be Muslims if they imbibe. Just a theological and practical observation.   I don’t advocate intoxication and inebriation for anyone. The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Cor 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. ” Enjoy ye the beer but not too much.

Myself and three buddies spent a holy day and night at the Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats on a late winter day over a year ago. Our pilgrimage was in three parts in order for us to complete the drinking of the sacred chalkboard writ of brews. At least I finished the chalkboard. It was my mission.

1) We had lunch…went to the hotel room and rested. 2) We went back mid-afternoon and completed another section of the writ and then went out and had sushi. 3) We returned and finished up the board. It was late. We walked back to the hotel room. A Rehoboth cop greeted us as we passed by.  A cordial cop…lovely.

A divine experience.


Philly Beer Brawl

 

Kind of uncanny. What goes well with a Philly Cheesesteak? A Beer. A Philly Hoagie? A Beer. A Philly pretzel? A Beer. Downright improbable and can’t be happening just by accident. So, it is only fitting that WIP 610 down in Philly is hosting a Beer Brawl among local breweries mid-day. Check out this article.


The Temperamental Wit: A Belgian Play in 3 Acts

It all started with a boiling pot (see above). From here, the writing is going to have to take over because I was so pissed that I deleted all of the rest of the pictures from my lap top. I still have them on my iPhone but I just don’t want to do all of the monkeying around to post them here. Take my word for it (literally), this is the way that it went down. I have pictures…even though I am too lazy to post them. You will understand why if you read on. Picture of boiling pot remained because I did not see it on my desktop.

All great stories have the three acts below:

1) Introduction: All of the characters introduced and the task at hand is to brew a Belgian Wit at 1/4 of the price of a Microbrewery: Me, the homebrew kit for Belgian Wit, the equipment. Me, the Protagonist, have already brewed without incident a Dubbel, a Trippel, and a Quad. This brewing is seasonal and quarterly . Simply, the colder it gets, the higher the ABV (Alcohol By Volume). Hence, the hotter, the lighter the brew.

2) The Complication: I bottle the brews after using the Hydrometer. Directions from supply house indicate that once the Hydrometer reads this level, I am good to bottle. Bottles promptly start to explode like fireworks. 9 soldiers lost. I take compensatory action after the first wave of explosions conclude and deeply chill the rest of the Belgian Beer Battalion in my Beer Fridge Bunker. Rep states that if I get them cool enough, the bottles should not explode. No admission by Rep for faulty directions on Homebrewing instructions. I have it in writing.   Once beers are cold, no further explosions of shard and glass. Yet, when I pop a brew, all contents rapidly evacuate bottle like a Bat out of Hell. I make the mistake of opening one inside and spray 1/3 of kitchen surfaces (ceiling, walls, counters, & floors with beer). Fortunately, wife is on business trip. Damage is only superficial. Phew.

3)  The Resolution –  I opt to open the bottles outside and empty what remains after the explosive foam sprays into Columbia (a borough four miles away) the remaining Belgian Wit into the Priming Container. Then I rebottle. Soon, I discover that the brew is flat as Kansas. I go into a deep funk and a diet and a two week vacation to the West Coast wondering what I am going to do with a case of Kansas Flats Microbrewery. I return tonight to find, because of the remaining sugars and yeast in the surviving bottles, that the Belgian Wit has recarbonated itself to my great joy.

Let us not forget the 9 soldiers who were causalities of this affair. And drink to them. They would consider that an appropriate memorial.  Rest In Peace.


Five Things I Am A Snob About

I am outsourcing my beer blog to other bloggers.  40/40 brought to you by Pavel in the Punjab province of Pakistan.

No seriously, here is one I just read.  Funny stuff.

I am going to note the five things I am a snob about:

1) Beer – Well duh, I am a blogger about beer, 3/4’s German, and 1/4 Irish. Nuff said. Yuengling Lager is as low as I will go.  Although I did have a Labbats tonight that was decent.  It is a Canadian Bud. I had a kind neighbor who cut and watered the lawn while we were on the West Coast. He likes Labbats so I bought him a case and we had a couple in his den and shot the breeze. I asked him what he liked previously and he told me the blue neighbor from up North. (Me) visiting up in Canada recently, I noticed that they have quite a complex about being subsumed by the U.S. It seemed like every TV commercial had to mention Canada in it to bolster their national identity. The Canadians are kind and nice people. Not sure what happened in Vancouver with the riot. It was pretty chill when we got there. That is supposed to be how stupid Americans act when their teams lose. Although, Canada does take hockey seriously. It is even  on their currency last time I checked.

2) Coffee – Maxwell Louse, not thanks. Shitty diner coffee, I would rather abstain. Convenience store Joe (except for Wawa), I’ll hold off until I get home. Green Mountain  is my favorite.  Starbucks used to be elite but when you see everyone drinking a cup of Starbucks, its star power dims significantly. It is more common than a bag of Doritos. Although I like Starbucks coffee, it is also pretty expensive. Make it at home. I have even thought about growing my own Arabica coffee downstairs in my basement. I will probably get raided by the local cops who think I am growing marijuana.  I don’t inhale. Clean as a whistle. Test me anytime.

3) Disposable Bic Pens – I bought some crappy pens under the Staples label that did not work, but did come in an interesting array of colors. I tossed ’em. Seriously, how can Staples in good conscience sell pens that don’t write? That’s like a cow that gives no milk, a hen that hatches no eggs, politicians who don’t bring home the bacon. It was not like there were some miscreants in the batch. None worked without going dry then writing then dry again. If they had been fireworks, the kiddies would have been crying on the 4th because all were duds. I finally ordered the Bic black Soft Feel online that Staples no longer carries because these pens actually work. I paid like two dollars a pen after shipping  and all. Screw Staples. I can’t be the only one who had that issue. A statistical impossibility. I know stats. I have a Ph. D. in Ed. Psych. A curse upon ye Staples.

4) Running Shoes – Buy a good pair and save the feet. I was having bad problems with my feet a couple of years ago so I upgraded my running shoes. No problems, plus they last longer.  A corollary:  white sneaker socks. Buy a better brand than budget rather get in situations like I did with my last round of socks that they would tear as I pulled them onto my feet. Seriously, I am not that strong. I go all in with socks, one brand–all the same. I grew up when socks used to have colored rings around them and would have to play a version of 52 card pickup daily. I am not even sure they make those type of socks anymore. I you wear them, you should get a wedgie.

5) Cigars – Some cheapo cigars must be made from this horse tobacco the Amish around  here grow. That stuff isn’t even fit for swine. You can get a hangover off a bad cigar. Plus, your wife will make you sleep elsewhere.


Best Beer I Ever Had?

Just read this post.  Awesome photo of the lighthouse, but Corona? Not so awesome. It must have been more the location than anything else. I suppose that beauty is in the eyes of the beerholder.


America’s Best Beer Cities

Just saw this article about America’s Best Beer Cities. My Foodie wife speaks a lot of wanting to move to Portland for the lifestyle and the fresh foodie scene. I am now starting to warm more up to the prospect.  Seriously, 39 operating breweries?  That much great beer makes up for the sun not shining.  Heck, with great coffee too and a tanning bed, I think I could survive and even thrive.

We only have minor details like selling real estate and getting jobs to resolve.