Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Quadrupel Imperial Double Mild

Back to brewing. I started getting anxious to bottle the B. Lambicus beer but it needs at least another month to finish attenuating and aging. And while the Dubbel Chocolate and Stout are tasty, after couple of either I find myself wanting something lighter in flavor and alcohol yet still tasty.

For this ale I aimed at 1.037 OG with the character coming from an interesting the malt and special yeast (De Dolle yeast repitched from a previous batch). I brewed this last Friday, February 6 and plan on bottling early next week. Like all my brew, this hardly fits in any category. Maybe a Belgian single/ankel (if there is such a thing) or mild in terms of gravity but not any other way. I decided to have a little fun with name and poke fun at the need of many brewers to increase hops and alcohol for the sake of hops and alcohol.

This is my official joining of the session beer project. I look forward to enjoying this ale with lunch.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Irish Beer, Part III

I'm eager to get back to covering brewing activities so here is a quick round up of Irish beer with notes on the few stragglers. Occasionally I found an Irish beer available outside a brew pub at a non-beer bar. These were all pleasant surprises to the usual Guinness/lager/cider choices.

Galway Hooker: A pale ale from a craft brewery in the west. They deliberately limit distribution to certain pubs where it would be tasted with open minds. It tasted like a three quarter strength Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA. Nothing amazing but a nice every day beer. Galway Hooker on the web.

O'Hara's Celtic Stout: A stout from the Carlow Brewing Company. I found this one in bottles at an off-license so thankfully I could taste it without flavor obfuscating nitro-kegging. Smooth and roasty; exactly how I wish Guinness would taste. The best Irish stout I've tasted. Carlow also brews a red and a wheat which I did not try.

Kinsale Lager: As far as I can tell this is the only offering from Kinsale Brewing Company in Kinsale. After a 3 km walk each way to Charles Fort in Summercove, a pint of this lager showed its strengths. A refreshing, light body carrying bready malt combined with just enough noble hops.

Overall I was surprised at how awful the beer selection was in Ireland. Finding these craft brews was rare and each of these were only in one location. I only found Franciscan Well to have decent distribution, but only within Cork city. I think that Irish culture can be extremely conservative in certain aspects, especially when it comes to food and drink. So any change in the beer available will come slowly but there is a start with the brews I've mentioned.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Irish Beer, Part II

From Cork I moved on to the big city, Dublin. Beer was a fairly low priority in my travels but I found some time to search out something beyond Guinness. I made the requisite visit to St. James' Gate and found the tour tedious and exhausting. The tour could be whittled down to the advertising section without losing anything. At the end I opted to make my free beer a bottle of Foreign Extra Stout, thankfully served only slightly chilled. Beer in hand, I fully enjoyed the 360 view from the Gravity Bar on that Waterford crystal clear day.

Tired of the throngs of tourists I figured a mid-afternoon trip to the Porterhouse brewpub would provide a sanctuary from directionless drones that plague large tourist attractions. Wrong. But at least there was some decent beer.

Plain Porter: Not quite as dark as Guinness porter. Nitro-kegging dulled any subtle flavor it had to offer.

Oyster Stout: A deft combination of a dry, roasty stout and salty oysters. Further evidence that stout and oysters are a natural combination. Unfortunate nitro-kegging. Why, why, why?

An Brainblasta: Supposedly the brewery's top of the line. Seemed to me that the malt, hops and yeast were fighting each other instead of complimenting. Not awful, just meh.

TSB: A 3.7% ABV bitter. An excellent session with a very English balance of malt and hops. Moreish. The Porterhouse's best beer is its lowest strength beer.

Due Up for Part III: Beer not from brewpubs.