Monday, October 31, 2011

Thr3e Wisemen Brewing Co.

This past weekend my wife and I went to the Notre Dame vs Navy game in South Bend, IN. We stayed in Indianapolis for the weekend and visited Thr3e Wisemen Brewing Company located in the Broad Ripple community.

The interior is all hardwood and the tables are picnic tables and each have a growler in the center. The tables are setup as two four tops but can easily accommodate a group of ten to twelve people by removing the table decoration/separator. Instead of napkins the patrons have a dish towel. I believe this is an excellent idea; not only is it reusable, it is also easy to stock and replace when the time has come. There were multiple flat panel televisions hung from the ceiling, each with a different football game on. I would liken this to an upscale sports bar atmosphere. Instead of bread, patrons are greeted with a small bucket of popcorn and a wide-mouth Balltm jar filled with water.

Thr3e Wisemen only carries a total of seven beers; four beers and two seasonal beers that are produced on premise, and a "guest" tap. The beers are:  Two Lucy's Blackberry Wheat, Golden Zoe IPA, Centennial Martyr Double IPA, and Snow Bunny Blonde. The seasonal beers while we were there were a cask aged Martyr Double IPA and a Belgian Trippel called the Abbey. The guest tap was a locally brewed Imperial Red Ale. 

My wife ordered the Two Lucy's Blackberry Wheat and I ordered the beer sampler, which comes with any three beers. I ordered the Golden Zoe IPA, Centennial Martyr Double IPA, and the Abbey. The Abbey an the double IPA were both well balanced beers, however they tasted the same with the exception that the double IPA had a centennial hop finish. I had a few of the Imperial Red and I was my favorite of the evening.

All I can say is it was incredible. We started with two appetizers, the first was Goat Cheese Marinara.

The bread on the side was made from the same dough as the pizzas. I cannot describe the taste other that a sweet marinara paired with a tart goat cheese that was a perfect match.

The second appetizer was a loaded chips. The chips were homemade and covered with bacon and your choice of Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing. The last thing we ordered was the pizza special of the month, the Octoberfest. The pizza was covered with Dijon mustard, beer braised bratwurst and sauerkraut. It was a really good pizza, not too much Dijon and just the right amount of sauerkraut. 

If you ever find yourself near the Broad Ripple area of Indianapolis, please stop in as I promise you will not be disappointed. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Review - Abita Pecan Harvest

This is another single I picked up from World Market. Abita Beer was founded in 1986 and is located 30 miles north of New Orleans, Louisiana. In its first year, the brewery produced 1,500 barrels of beer and now produces 109,000 barrels of beer and 6,000 barrels of root beer. According to the bottle:
Pecan Harvest is and ale brewed with  pale, Munich, biscuit, and caramel malts and Willamette hops. Real Louisiana roasted pecans are added in the brewhouse and give the ale a subtle nutty flavor and aroma.
This beer has no discernible hop profile or flavor. It is slightly malty biscuit flavor with a light hint of pecans. I cannot detect a pecan aroma. While I do not like heavily malted beers, the Abita Pecan Harvest does not fall into that category, but just barely. If you want a beer that has a nice pecan aroma and flavor you should try the Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale from Lazy Magnolia. 

Tonight for dinner I am having a ribeye, cooked medium, and a baked potato with butter and sour cream. The steak is seasoned with Montreal steak seasoning. In my opinion, the flavor of the beer was not affected, good or bad, by the meal.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Review - Marble Brewery Red Ale

I picked up a single Red Ale from World Market. Marble Brewery is a relatively new brewery located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The bottle reads:
Our red ale is rich with caramel malts and balanced with a bold, bright blend of Crystal, Cascade, and Simcoe hops.
On first taste the malt comes through but is well balanced with a slight bitter from the hops with a medium Simcoe hop finish. There is a lot of character in this beer and if you like the Simcoe finish you will like this beer.

First, I have no experience pairing beer and food. I like beer and I like food. Tonight for dinner we are having Cajun Style lentils with Cheesy Mettwurst. The cajun spices really hide the malt in this beer but the Simcoe hops are still there and noticeable. Since the meal I am eating takes away the malt flavor from the beer I will say you probably should not pair this beer with any dish that has pronounced spices.

My honest guess is that this would pair well with steak or pork a with basic seasoning or marinade. I would definitely have a few of these at my local pub.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Lager Yeast Ancestor Found

The Discovery Channel discusses how the ancestor of the lager yeast used in beers—such as pilsners, foreign and domestic—has been identified. 

From the article's summary: (link addition mine)
  • People have been searching for the wild ancestor of lager yeast for decades.
  • Scientists finally located the yeast in the forest of the Patagonia region.
  • The find reveals how the first batches of European lager were brewed in cool caves of Bavaria.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Atlantic: Oktoberfest 2011 Photo Set

As background for the great photo set from The Atlantic, I'll borrow liberally from Wikipedia's description of Oktoberfest: 

Oktoberfest is a 16–18 day beer festival held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, running from late September to the first weekend in October. It is one of the most famous events in Germany and is the world's largest fair, with more than 5 million people attending every year. The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture, having been held since 1810. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations, modeled after the Munich event.

The Munich Oktoberfest originally took place during the sixteen days up to and including the first Sunday in October. In 1994, the schedule was modified in response to German reunification so that if the first Sunday in October falls on the 1st or 2nd, then the festival would go on until October 3 (German Unity Day). Thus, the festival is now 17 days when the first Sunday is October 2 and 18 days when it is October 1. In 2010, the festival lasted until the first Monday in October, to mark the 200-year anniversary of the event. The festival is held in an area named the Theresienwiese (field, or meadow, of Therese), often called Wiesn for short, located near Munich's center.

Only beer which is brewed within the city limits of Munich is allowed to be served in this festival. Upon passing this criteria, a beer is designated Oktoberfest Beer. Oktoberfest Beer is a registered Trademark by the Club of Munich Brewers. Large quantities of German beer are consumed, with almost 7 million liters served during the 16 day festival in 2007. Visitors may also enjoy a wide variety of traditional fare such as Hendl (chicken), Schweinebraten (roast pork), Schweinshaxe (grilled ham hock), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Würstl (sausages) along with Brezn (Pretzel), Knödel (potato or bread dumplings), Kasspatzn (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), Sauerkraut or Blaukraut (red cabbage) along with such Bavarian delicacies as Obatzda (a spiced cheese-butter spread) and Weisswurst (a white sausage).

Monday, September 5, 2011

Homebrewing: the Social Event

Two recent articles on the family aspects of homebrewing came up recently:
For the brewing scientists here at RSB, brew day has always been a social event.  We plan a day around getting together with friends (some who don't homebrew . . . yet,) bringing ingredients, equipment, snacks and (usually) potluck lunch or dinner.  It becomes an excuse to get together and visit, while cleaning, arguing about yeast, cleaning, measuring, cleaning, waiting for the wort to boil, and cleaning.

Its all about good times.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Beer City USA

The Rocket Science Team spent the weekend in Asheville, NC which is a short hop across the Smoky Mountains from our labratories. Asheville, NC was recently named the winner of the 2011 Beer City USA Poll run by Charlie Papazian. They have 10 breweries, which is the most breweries per capita in the United States. We learned that this is mostly due to the liquor laws which allow self distribution. We went to attend the Asheville Brews Cruise; which was a great learning experience. Before continuing I must declare that I love the IPA style of beer and anything with a lot of hops. Also there are very few Stouts and Porters that I like.

The night before the cruise we had dinner at the Jack of the Wood Public House which dispenses Green Man Brewery beers on tap. They did carry bottles from other breweries but not a single BMC (Budweiser, Miller, Coors) beer in the place. I had a couple of pints of the IPA, while the spouses sampled the Original Sin Cider.

We then headed across the street to the Thirsty Monk, where the upstairs had all kinds of Pilsners, Lagers, Stouts and Ales. However the downstairs is where the action is. All taps all Belgian all the time! The spouses took a liking to the Früli Strawberry Beer while we tried the NCB Le Merle (a Saizon), To Øl First Frontier IPA, and Pauwel Kwak. I would have more pictures but after four different Belgian brews at approximately 10% ABV each, we were not thinking clearly.

The next day we started the tour at Asheville Brewing Company, which started out as a pizza shop until the owner paired up with a brewer. We sampled the following brews: The Houdini Extra Special Pale (aka Great Escape), The Shiva IPA, The Fire Escape (a jalapeno chili brew), and the Ninja Porter. The Houdini was an exceptional pale ale and the Shiva had the same flavor with some added hop bitterness. The Fire Escape was a different, it had the smell and taste of peppers but it really was not hot. The Porter defiantly sneaks up on you hence the ninja name and if we had more time I would have had another. I recommend any of these beers if you can find them in your local store.

Next up on our bussed tour was the French Broad Brewery where Zane Lamprey's Drinking Made Easy was finishing up a show taping about Beer City USA. There we tried the Gateway Kolsch, 13 Rebels ESB, the new IPA, the Wee-Heavy-er Scotch Ale, and a Belgian Milk Stout. We also had a lively discussion with the brewmaster. Now I have had other Kolsch varieties before but this one was smooth and very drinkable. The 13 Rebels ESB was good but not very bitter and again the IPA tasted like the ESB but with more hop character. The Wee-Heavy-er Scotch Ale was what I would consider a brown ale and very drinkable. The Belgian Milk Stout did not agree with me, however you should at least try a bottle or two to see if you like it.

The final brewery on the tour was the Craggie Brewing Company. Which was located about 2 blocks from the Asheville Brewing Company. What sets Craggie apart from the rest is that they are 100% organic and only use local ingredients. At this brewery we sampled: Toubab Brewe, Antebellum Ale, Dubbelicious, and the Burning Barrel Chipotle Porter. The Toubab Brewe is a Zwickel Beer and could easily be a session beer. The Antebellum Ale is 1840′s American recipe using molasses, ginger and spruce tips. It has an upfront spruce flavor, with the molasses and ginger finishing up. We were also treated to a taste of the Antebellum Ale ice cream. Craggie used some extra wort and made ice cream with it. This is where I asked the bartender for a sample of the Dubbelicious which was an excellent Belgian dubbel. We finished up with the Burning Barrel Chipotle Porter which I think is a standard bourbon barrel porter with a nice hit of chipotle heat just before the bourbon finish.

The thing I noticed about French Broad and Craggie Brewing was that while they both brew beer, both had live music while we were there. In the case of French Broad they had sandwiches and Craggie had slices of pizza for sale. All the breweries on the tour welcomed the public and had vast supplies of liquid refreshment.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

RocketScience Brewing T-Shirts

Many folks have asked me for the link for the T-Shirts. See below.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Berry Cider Recipe - BerryCide

Most of the cider we've made to this point has been strong enough that would be satisfactory for use as rocket fuel (it's RocketScience, after all), if it didn't spontaneously combust on its own. Finding creative ways to cut this potent potable has been a pursuit on its own. Our most recent, and most popular recipe is included below. We're thinking its going to be a great cider recipe for the summer months.

Berry Hard Cider
  • Four gallons of apple cider (No preservatives, No Additives, Unpasteurized)
  • 4lb bag of mixed berries (Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, and Blackberries)
  • Two 64oz bottles of Blueberry Pomegranate juice
  • 1.0 lb Dark Brown Sugar
  • ½ lb Powdered Sugar
  • 1 pack of Lalvin EC-1118 Champagne Yeast
  • 1 pack Safeale-05 Ale Yeast
Hydrate yeast in 1 cup warm water and add to cider. Wait 1 week then liquefy mixed berries and strain into cider yeast mixture.

Once fermentation has completed, approximately 1 week, add potassium sorbate or cold crash to extract yeast. Boil Blueberry Pomegranate juice to half of original volume and combine dark brown sugar and powered sugar.

If Kegging:
Rack cider to keg and add blueberry pomegranate mixture. Carbonate and serve.

If Bottling:
Rack cider to secondary and add blueberry pomegranate/sugar mixture. Mix well then bottle.

In addition to reducing the chances of spontaneous combustion, it kind of drinks itself.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How much beer per year?

Recently, around the brewpot the Rocket Science homebrewers had a discussion about the legality of homebrewing in TN, where we live.

While we all knew homebrewing was legal in TN, we each remembered different parts of the law. Well none of us are lawyers here, but the AHA has a some online resources covering state and federal statutes.

According to the AHA site, in Tennessee it looks like the major restriction involves the transport of beer.

"Such wine or beer may also be transported by the person, member or guest without being in violation of this part; provided, that the amount being transported at any one (1) time shall not exceed five (5) gallons."

...While the quantity of beer or wine you can brew is defined by the federal law, which says your household can brew 200 gallons per year if there are two adults living there or 100 gallons if there is only one.

"(b) The production of beer per household, without payment of tax, for personal or family use may not exceed:

(1) 200 gallons per calendar year if there are two or more adults residing in the household, or

(2) 100 gallons per calendar year if there is only one adult residing in the household."
(Full text of federal law can be found here.)

Well then, 200 gallons per year per household is a good bit of homebrewing; I think we can all live with that (and our livers probably couldn't live with much more!)

On the other hand, the Tennessee law does put a cramp in the hobby of a homebrewer. Why? Well, 5 gallons is the most common batch size for homebrewers (true, at RSB we tend to think a little bigger). And 5 gallons of beer in bottles is usually around 50 bottles (sometimes minus a little bit for the mess you make filling them), which sounds like a lot of beer. But for those of us who brew regularly, a 5 gallon corny keg is the easiest way to transport our brew. And it's not uncommon to gift a batch to a friend or loved one for a wedding reception or other special event, or trade what you've made to a fellow brewer. If you've got more than a few guests coming to that wedding or more than a batch to share then, in TN you'd better pack it into multiple cars or take more than one trip to stay within the law.

And that boils me over.

Note: the contents of this article are not legal advice and should not be construed as such.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Beer Recipies

I found a new site this week called Hopville that allows you to save your beer recipes. You can also see what other members are brewing.

Being new to brewing I have not had the desire to venture out and make my own custom beer recipe. I am sure I will get over that soon enough but for now I have a hugh number of recipes to try so I can figure our exactly what beer style I like.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Brewery waste becomes Bio-Fuel

As I am reading though my feeds today and I come across an AP posting that says an MIT student (who else would it be?) has created a device that turns used hops, yeast, and barley into natural gas.

This sounds like an excellent use of brewery waste; Here at RocketSceince we have been testing bread, cookies, and dog treats as products for the spent grains from brewing. The bread has gotten rave reviews from testers.

I wonder what other creative ways we can come up with to make brewing as "green" as possible?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Yeast Starters

The strain of yeast used in a beer makes a huge difference in the flavor.  To make sure my strain of yeast is the winner in my wort, I like to use a yeast starter.  The idea is that I add more living cells of the recipe's yeast strain than may incidentally be in my newly sterile wort and I get to "proof" the yeast, ensuring its viable for fermentation.  You're making a tiny little batch of wort with no hops that you pitch into your wort on brew day with a gravity about 1.040-1.060.

AJ's Yeast Starter Recipe v2.1
(add to five gallons of wort)
  • 1 pint drinkable water
  • ½ cup Dried Malt Extract (DME) — I prefer Light DME.
  • ¼ teaspoon yeast nutrient
  1. Combine and boil all ingredients for about 10 minutes.
  2. Cool quickly to optimum temperature for your yeast strain.
  3. If using dry yeast, rehydrate room-temperature yeast for 20 minutes in a small amount of boiled and cooled water. Do not use wort for this step!
  4. Add ingredients and yeast to a sanitized container and shake to aerate.
  5. Install a sanitized airlock/foam stopper (or cover container top with aluminum foil)
  6. Place in a warm, dark place for about three days, swirling the contents every time you think about it.
The educated reader may accuse me of overpitching the yeast (adding so much yeast that it finishes off the sugars before completing fermentation cycles) but I've not had that problem ... so far.

Here's some additional links on yeast starters: