Saturday, July 28, 2012

MIkkeller Monk's Brew

There's something awesome in Denmark.  The Mikkeller Brewery is a Danish beer maker and server that travels the world like a band of brewing gypsies, slinging their libations at those fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time.  Currently, the gallivanting brew masters have taken up with local Austin brewery Jester King to create and collaborate on some great beers.  The Monk's Brew is a dark ale, bustling with a high alcohol content and the sweet flavors of caramel and toffee.  There's a little bit of spice along with the sweet, but the sugary feeling prevails.  Enjoy this one post-meal (maybe as a desert).  While it's probably not the most summery of brews, keep a bottle handy for when the fall finally rolls around.

Visit the brewer.

Alaskan Birch Bock

And so, a good buddy saw fit to send good tidings my way from the Northwest in the form of the Alaskan Birch Bock, a Doppelbock brewed with Alaska birch syrup from the Alaskan Brewing Company.  I love their beers, but see as i live in Texas, my options are limited, and i certainly don't have access to a limited edition brew.  So thanks John.  I owe you one.

As for the beer itself, welcome to desert.  The added syrup makes this a really sweet number.  You can taste the malts and caramel and honey flavors throughout.  I imagine the beer would be fantastic with a piece of cake and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Yeah.  That would hit the spot.  Be wary though, as the 8.5% ABV can hit you if you're not careful.

Visit the brewer.

Testing Testing Pale Ale, or How i learned to stop worrying and love my own brew

My own delicious creation
After a brief hiatus due to some technical difficulties, we are back, and drinking beer like always.  This time around, i thought i would do something a little different, and write about my first foray into home brewing.  And so, i bring you the Testing Testing Pale Ale.  My wife and i had a lot of nervousness going in to this.  I was positive it would be awful.  I was wrong.  The beer was (we drank it all) pretty damn tasty, if i do say so myself.  Pouring the brew out of a 22 Oz. bottle, the first pint was super crisp and hoppy, pretty much what you'd expect from a pale ale.  Working our way through the bottle though, the second half seemed to get a little murkier (seeing as it's a home brewed, unfiltered concoction, there was nothing to worry about).  This second half was sweeter and not as hop flavored, but still good.

So, all in all, way to go us.  I highly encourage anyone with an interest in beer to give home brewing a try.  It was like doing a science experiment.  A lot of fun, and the end result is delicious.

Since there's no brewery to visit, check out Austin Homebrew Supply for everything you'll need.

Friday, July 6, 2012

512 IPA

Who doesn't enjoy some spicy hops during the long summer days?  Quite a few people from what i've deduced.  The kick in the palette that can come with an IPA can sometimes be a bit much.  That being said...i am a fan of kicks in the palette.  And so we have Austin's 512 Brewing Company and their fantastic 512 IPA.  As far as the India Pale Ale goes, this one's actually pretty smooth.  The hops are there, but they're not overpowering, and there's an added citrus punch to the brew that makes the beer go down way easier than it probably should.  It's the perfect compliment to pretty much any kind of food pairing you can think of.  I had two with my dinner tonight, and my only real regret was not ordering a third.  It doesn't come in the bottle though, so it's off to the bars with you.

I may bitch about Californian transplants in Austin, but these cats have done alright.

Visit the brewer.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Brewery tour: Jester King

 I work most Saturdays during the year (because i'm a sucker), but every now and then, i manage to squeeze a full weekend off, and when i do, i inevitably end up at a brewery imbibing the local wares.  And so, two days ago, i made my way to one of my favorite Austin brewers, Jester King.

To begin, we could not have gotten a better day for it.  It was warm, but overcast, so it was pretty comfortable out at the ranch/farm that is Jester King Brewery.  There were some people out, but plenty of picnic tables, a live band, three tours of the facility, and six different brews to taste.

Barrels and barrels of deliciousness.
 Here are the beers we tried (as described by the loving brewers themselves):

- Le Petit Prince (Organic Farmhouse Table Beer) - A clear and simple expression of the delicate interplay between noble hops and farmhouse yeast.  Throughout Northern Europe, light-bodied, well-hopped, low alcohol table beers were often the beverage of choice with all meals at times and in places where the water wasn't always safe to drink.  2.9% ABV

- Noble King (Organic Hoppy Farmhouse Ale) - Medium strength, dry, golden ale brewed with our farmhouse yeast, and , as its name suggests, an abundance of noble, European hops.  Thoroughly hoppy, yet elegant, dry, balanced, and drinkable.  5.9% ABV

- Drink'In The Sunbelt (Organic Hoppy Wheat Beer) - This collaboration with Mikkeller (a travelling European brew master) is a flavorful citrussy-hoppy wheat beer partially inspired by one he previously brewed in Europe called Drink'In The Sun.  3.9% ABV

- Boxer's Revenge (Organic Wild Ale) - Full-flavored, dry, champagne-like farmhouse ale, matured in oak whiskey and wine barrels with naturally occurring wild yeast and bacteria from the Texas Hill Country.  Look for lots of tropical fruit and funk, with a tart, earthy edge.  9.4% ABV

- Weasel Rodeo (Imperial Oatmeal Stout) - The second collaboration with Mikkeller is brewed with smoked malt, chipotle pepper, and the infamous Kopi Luwak coffee (you'll have to look up why it's infamous).  Despite the broad range of ingredients, one should find a balance in the subtle complexities of rich earthy flavors and aromas.  10.1% ABV

- Haandbryggeriet (Norwegian Wood Smoked Ale) - Once, every farm in Norway was required by law to brew its own ale.  All of that ale had a naturally smoky taste because the malt was kilned by fire, and most of it was spiced with juniper berries.  Norwegian Wood, a recreation of that traditional style, is made by the "Hand Brewery," four guys brewing in their spare time, on an absurdly small scale.  6.5% ABV

Look at him...He loves it.
 While i enjoyed all the different beers, my top three were the Drink'In The Sunbelt, the Weasel Rodeo, and the Haandbryggeriet (Norwegian Wood).  I can't wait to go back (the beer lineup changes every week).

What an awesome Saturday.

Visit the brewer.