You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category.

fried bacon, biscuits and gravy!The title says it all… 😉 Something to try and say you’ve done it.

We usually make a soup to have around during the holidays. I had some time off and had a lot of hints passed my way that it was time to make a pot of Gumbo. Being a fan of James Spencer at Basic Brewing Radio I remembered his friend Steve Wilkes did a really fantastic Brown Ale Gumbo Ya-Ya. I cut the recipe in half and would further recommend not adding any additional salt considering the seasonings (Creole and Louisiana Hot Sauce) are mostly salt based.

Food pr0n!

Most of the ingredients laid out...

Most of the ingredients laid out...


Roasted Chicken, diced

Roasted Chicken, diced

Gumbo Served over Rice

Gumbo Served over Rice

Happy Holidays! Lesse Le Bon Temps Roule!

Happy Holidays! Lesse Le Bon Temps Roule!

What has pork salivary glands, lymph nodes and fat (cheeks and tongues), chili pepper, vinegar, pork, salt, spices, flavorings and sodium nitrate? Why, it’s chorizo!! One of my comfort foods that I rarely get to eat.

Carmelita Pork Chorizo

Carmelita Pork Chorizo

Add some eggs, scramble, melted grated cheese

Add some eggs, scramble, melted grated cheese

This is good stuff

This is good stuff

12/15/2008 The December meeting of The Society for the Pursuit of Hoppiness will be a Hoppy Holiday Party at the Avery Tap Room

The Hoppy Holiday Party will be a chance for Society members to celebrate the holiday season with some custom Avery brews (exclusive to the Society of course) and reconnect with like-minded individuals.

I was very impressed with what the Guy’s at Avery did for this ostentatious occassion – the Society Meetings are always a blast, this time it was a hosted party! On tap was the Brett IPA, Night Walker (Redstone Ale with Farmhouse Yeast), Dry Hopped Ale to the Chief and Cask Conditioned Hog Heaven (first time ever).

The food was really good, an unexpected treat! There were hot trays with Chicken breasts, meatballs in a really good brown mushroom gravy, egg plant parmesan, pork tenderloins in sauce, salmon, salad and desserts!

We were also treated to a presentation by Scott Kerkmanns, Chief Beer Officer, Four Points Sheraton (if you missed that appointment, you are truly out of touch!) The presentation was titled “Certified Cicerone Program” and covered the different levels of certification available: Beer Server, Cicerone, and Master Cicerone.

Well done!

So where were the kool-kids on Friday, November 14? We were at the KROCvemberfest at Helga’s! Okay, it was a little late for an Oktoberfest, but October was a busy KROC month and who needs the crowds? Four club members showed up – Jim Fixari, Mick Burgeson, Rich Krahl and Rick Hagerbaumer. Two significant others joined us – Tina and Carol. Helga’s has a seating policy that requires all members of the party be there, so we had a chance to belly up to the bar and sample some really great German biers on tap – Ayinger, Spaten, Franziskaner, Warsteiner, Paulaner, etc. High alcohol, high malt biers that are sure to give you a nice gemutlikeit feeling – if only for the night. The Octoberfest was the beer I settled on for the evening although the Bock was exceptional as well (yes – I’m being intentionally vague because I forgot to take notes.)

Once we were seated, we found our party next to another group at a long table. I was glad I wasn’t trapped in the corner – something to think about when you are strategically choosing your chair! The food menu was extensive. We shared the Bratwurst Sampler as an appetizer which featured several types of bratwurst, German mustard and for a dollar extra – a big pretzel. For the main course, Carol and I shared the Beef Sauerbraten which is marinated beef roast served in a sweet & sour brown sauce. Recommended sides, kroketten & red cabbage. The red cabbage was exceptional!

Jim picked this specific Friday because there was live music. Rich Krahl accepted a challenge and showed us his trumpet skills by actually making the alpenhorn make sound. Think of the massive long horns on the Ricola cough drop commercials. The female performer was truly talented with that horn! There were several Bavarian dancers there in full outfits – lederhosen, knee socks, suspenders and hats. The women dancers were decked out in their long dresses. Rick was pulled out on the dance floor by a very pretty, albeit very young Fräulein. One man had business cards proclaiming himself Prinz Alex, T.E.V. Edelweiss Fasching Prinz. He had a hat and cape I wouldn’t be caught dead in, but hey, he was working it! They were preparing for their Fasching Opening the following night. Please visit for more details.

It was a very fun evening. I hope more KROC heads go next year. The GABF is in September, so perhaps we can go in October!

Please visit Helga’s German Restaurant and Deli website at


I was recently fortunate enough to be at the Avery “A Decade of Hog Heaven Barleywine Style Ale: 1998 to 2008“. Adam Avery was hosting the evening and the cellared beer came from his personal supplies. We wiped out his 1999 inventory. It was a remarkable beer tasting – not many US craft breweries can offer a 10 year vertical of their product.

The evening started with an open bar. I didn’t take detailed notes on these, but the special taps I remember included a brett IPA, an oaked Samael, and a dry hopped Ale to the Chief (out of this world good!) The food was exceptional. Heavy hors d’oeuvres – olives, many hard and soft cheeses, caprese salad, salami, roast beef, a cheese sauce drizzle on fresh veggies, crackers, etc. It was a very nice spread.

The Avery staff were hustling! I felt like offering to help – Adam, CV, Peter, Ted and Clarice were busy setting up the flights. CV provided us with a really nifty hand out “What happened to my bottle of Hog?”. It goes into depth regarding the science of what happens as beer ages… heat/alcohol decreasing due to ethanol conversion to acetaldehyde, hop aroma and bitterness decreasing, sweetness and toffee flavors increasing.

The flights, with my tasting notes, is as follows:
August 2008 – Dank, Herbal. A real hop bomb. 122 IBU, fresh hop aroma. All columbus hops – bittering, midboil, finish and dry hopping. 1.082 OG, 1.016 FG.
January 2007 – Bottled with new bottling line, reducing oxygen levels. Still very hoppy. Malts more prevalent. Starting to develop dried fruit character.
March 2006 – Hops starting to fade. Smoother, not as aggressive.
June 2005 – Sweetness starting to develop. Some oxidation characteristics noted (low levels of cardboard.)
June 2004 – Approaching english style barleywine. I noticed more heat, or a higher alcohol presence. Creamy mouthfeel. Smooth character.
March 2003 – Caramel flavors approaching molasses. This was a favorite for some at our table. Less nose then previous, increasing creaminess in the mouthfeel. Increasing oxidation characteristics.
June 2002 – “real sweet”. Okay, my notes are starting to fall off here.
February 2001 – Fruit prevalent. Some smokiness coming through. Darkest in color of all the samples. Hoppier then ’02.
June 2000 – Soft. Sweet. Oxidation increasing – noticeable cardboard. Malt forward. Fruitiness including plum and raisin.
November 1999 – “Dry” according to my notes, but it had a higher finishing gravity then todays standards (1.098 OG, 1.030 FG.) Sherry taste prevalent.

My favorite of the evening was the fresh hog – I love the hop bombs and Adam admitted that if they were naming the beer now, they would call it an Imperial IPA. Ten years ago that wasn’t a common beer style though.

There was some news regarding Avery’s release of Brubant – this is a Baltic Porter that has Orval Brett and the house Brett (same as was used in the 15th Anniversary Ale) which is aged in Norman Vineyard Zinfandel barrels. 600 cases will be released in January or February.

Avery brews 17,000 BBLs annually. They make 8000 cases of Hog which is brewed every 3 months. To quote Adam “without hog, we’re out of business.”

Wow, I haven’t updated the local scene since September!?  Bad me.  I was crazy busy the entire month of October with friends in town for the GABF (Dick and Mike from, then back in town for the Gorilla Run (Dick and his wife Christy). 

Boulder Beer Company is off of summer “vaykay” and have restarted the Beer School.  Novembers curriculum included a presentation by Brewmaster David Zuckerman and “Sales Tool” Dan Weitz.  We dove into a few Winter Seasonals including Sam Adams Winter Seasonal, Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale 2008, Full Sail Wassail, ODell’s Extra Special Red and the perennial favorites Never Summer and Killer Penguin from BBC.  It was mostly a light hearted evening the day before the Presidential election.  Thankfully no politics were brought up, except for the politics of beer!  I might be alone on this, but I really like spiced beers during the winter months.  None of these beers had much by wayof spices, although I did get a little bit of cinnamon in one beer (it turned out it wasn’t an additive).

Upcoming Posts: my brewery upgrade over the summer.

Upcoming Events: Avery’s 10 years of Hog Heaven party.

For the first time I racked beer from a 6.5g carboy to a keg using a ss racking cane, a carboy cap, a beer ball lock disconnect, a bleeder valve and a CO2 cylinder.  I’ll post pics soon.  Pretty cool!!  The target keg was sanitized, CO2 purged and partially pressurized so the beer should not have been exposed to any air at all.   The rubber cap popped off once with a fairly large bang.  After giving myself a precordial thump to restart my heart, I put the cap back on and everything went fine. 

In the past I’ve been purging the keg with CO2 and using an autosiphon.  I’m pretty sure there was some amount of aeration going on.

I have to give props to Rick Bobbitt for getting me off my duff and doing this.  Thanks Rick!

June 11th, 2008

This evening was hosted by C.V. Howe, and brewers Andy Parker and Fred Rizzo.

Avery brewing company uses 6 different yeast strains and cover a broad spectrum of beer styles and flavors.  The tasting emphasized the flavor profiles and characteristics of each strain.  We were also given samples of filtered and unfiltered beer to allow us to taste the yeast cells themselves.  Deviation was not available.  Also, Avery’s lager, Kaiser, was not available as it had just been brewed.

Flight 1: Milder European Ales and Lager

1. 14er ESB – filtered. (Avery house English ale yeast.)  Clear in color.  More hop aroma.

Beer Style: Extra Special Bitter
Hop Variety: Bullion, Fuggle
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, caramel 120L
OG: 1.048 Alcohol By Volume: 5.0% IBU’s: 37
Color: Copper

2. 14er ESB – unfiltered. (Avery house English ale yeast.) Cloudy.  Muted aromas.

3. Trumer Pils – Berkeley CA.  (Unknown lager strain.) Mystery beer! Brewed in Berkeley. Packaged in green bottles. It’s hard to make a good pils because they are delicate – it’s easy to hose them up.  Tasting notes: solid white head, very clear. Sweet up front, dry finish.  Sulfur/mineral nose.

Flight 2: Milder Belgian Ales

1. Karma Ale – Filtered. (Rochefort Belgian Strain.)  Light, crisp, filtered. Copper in color. Low phenolic bite hinting at medicinal spiciness.  Fermented warm at 75°F.  Karma is lightly malted, lightly hopped and very yeast forward.

Beer Style: Belgian Ale
Hop Variety: Sterling
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, Belgian special B, cara 45, aromatic
OG: 1.048 Alcohol By Volume: 5.2% IBU’s: 10
Color: Amber

2. Karma Ale – Unfiltered. (Rochefort Belgian Strain.) Cloudy.  Sharp flavors. Almost orange in color.

3. White Rascal Belgian Wheat Ale (Belgian Wit Strain) – yellow in color.  Very fine white bubbles.  Fruit esters. Banannas, coriander and bitter orange peel and citrusy hops.  The yeast is the same strain as is used in Hoegaarden.

Beer Style: Belgian White Ale
Hop Variety: Czech Saaz
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, Belgian wheat
OG: 1.050   Alcohol By Volume: 5.6%   IBU’s: 10
Color: White

Flight 3: English vs Belgian

1. Old Jubilation – (Avery house English Ale yeast.)  Roasted malt.  Aromatics include toffee and mocha.  Dark mahogany in color.

Beer Style: English Strong Ale
Hop Variety: Bullion
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, special roast, black, chocolate, victory
OG: 1.074   Alcohol By Volume: 8.0%   IBU’s: 30
Color: Mahogany

2. Oude Deux (Rochefort Belgian) – SAME WORT, different yeast!  Oude = Old, Deux = Second.  Medicinal alcohol bite.  Finished higher (1.016) so the ABV is lower then the Old Jubilation, but it seemed “hot”.

Flight 4: Bigger Belgian Ales

1. Salvation Belgian Golden Ale (Avery house Belgian Abbey yeast) Amber, phenolic, spicy, peppery.

Beer Style: Belgian Strong Golden Ale
Hop Variety: Styrian Goldings
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, cara 8, cara 20
OG: 1.080   Alcohol By Volume: 9.0%   IBU’s: 25
Color: Golden

2. Collaboration, Not Litigation Ale (Abbey yeasts from Avery and Russian River) Copper, hazy, fruity.  Large amount of yeast in finished product.

Beer Style: Blended Belgian-style Strong Ale
OG: 1.079   Alcohol By Volume: 8.72%
Color: Cloudy Dark Amber

Flight 5: Yeast on the edge

1. Fifteen Anniversary Ale (unclassified brettanomyces strain) Pale with shades of pink.  Light in color.  Very dry.  This beer is a pure brett beer, which is very rare.

Beer Style: Brewed beyond any known category
Hop Variety: Sterling
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, Belgian wheat
OG: 1.064   Alcohol By Volume: 7.68   IBU’s: 19.2
Color: Hazy Sunset
2. Samael’s Oak Aged Ale (Avery house English ale yeast) Same yeast as the 14’er, which is a mild ale. Samael’s is a huge intense beer.  No information on whether they had to do anything special to the beer, although they did share that it was a MASSIVE pitch.

Beer Style: Oak Aged English Strong Ale
Hop Variety: Columbus, Fuggels
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, caramel 150L
OG: 1.140   Alcohol By Volume: 14.5   IBU’s: 41
Color: Copper

3. De Vogelbekdieren (Rochefort, Belgian Abbey, brettanomyces, unidentified bugs) Dutch for Platypus.  Dark bronze in color, dry, “horse blanket” with strong acetic acid character.

Our treat for the day was a chance to go into the back room and look at the Barrels that Avery has beer aging in.  The beer is 15 + oude deux + some other stuff.  The barrels are giving the beer an oak vanilla character with a sweet after taste.  This is probably going to be released as Brubant if I remember correctly… my notes are unclear at this point – guess that happens after 5 flights of beer!

I finally won a chance to buy tickets to the Great Taste of the Midwest!!  This is an annual charitable event held in Madison, WI by the Madison Homebrewers and Tasters Guild.  Tickets are insanely hard to get – you have to mail for them on a specific date (May 1st) with a self addressed stamped envelope and a check.  If they aren’t post-marked that day, you don’t get into the drawing.  3000 tickets are sold in person around Madison.  2000 are drawn from the qualifying envelopes.  I’ve tried several years in a row to get these and finally made it!  I’m smiling like a fool.


GTMW tickets for 2008