Thursday, January 31, 2019

Brewery 85 Clockworks Beers Are Released

Your attention please!
Today's topic of discussion is SRM. (And you should pay close attention cause there might be a quiz!)
SRM is an abbreviation for Standard Reference Method and, simply stated, is a description of a beer's color. And why should I care, you ask. Well, lunchbox, let me tell you why.

One, if you're wanting to join our Cicerone family you'll need to be familiar with the term cause it's on the test, and, two, it will help explain the cleverness of Brewery 85 and Thomas Westmoreland's new Clockworks release program of beer styles and schedules, two a month for the entire 2019 year. Darker days of winter will feature dark beer styles. For example, this week's release is a Baltic Porter which easily has an SRM of 30+. Mid-year, on the Summer Solstice, the beer will be light in body and color, more like SRM 2-4. Looking at the chart photo I posted below, you get a good idea of what future releases will look like.

IPA lovers will note that most of them fall into a 6-14 range, tho a Black IPA could easily be 30+ SRM.
Isn't this fun!!

Note that the beers are named after the hours of the clock; 24 hours and 24 beers. AM and PM. Clever and quite logical. Spock would approve.

All of these beers are Thomas' own recipe, brewed to match the style's BJCP (a future topic) criteria, perhaps slightly modified to reflect his brewing experience (he studied in Berlin for a year, you know).
The other thing to know (remember the quiz?) is that these beers are and will be very small batch brews. I missed the 1 A.M. release cause I delayed and the 3/4 keg kicked quickly. The current release, 2 A.M., the Baltic Porter I mentioned, was released yesterday at 5pm and judging by the way I and a group of local brewers were downing the pints, it might be all gone as I write this. My advice is get on their mailing list so you'll get the notifications for the release date.

The next releases will be in February and the first (3 A.M.) will be a Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, with an SRM value of 10-25 degrees. Having learned my lesson with the first release, I'll make haste to get to the brewery in time for this one!

You should too.

Some fitting fotos follow:

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

7th Annual Barley's (Greenville) Biggest Little Beer Fest Fun As Ever

Were you there Sunday?

At Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria (Greenville) for the 7th Annual Biggest Little Beer Fest? If you missed it (it did sell out), well cheer up buttercup, I was there sampling an amazing assortment of beers and took lotsa photos; many of them in focus! So, grab a brew, get comfortable and off we go!

(Next group will feature Trappe Door pix)

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Et Tu, Brut?

Et tu, Brut? (Cliché of the day)

IPAs have been the most popular craft beer styles for several years now with new variations being released weekly it seems. In my case, I'm drinking a lot of NEIPAs, aka New England or North East style, with its characteristic haze, tropical flavors and moderate ABV.
So now here comes another new one: Brut IPA.

As you may know, brut is a term used to describe sweetness in champagne or sparkling wines. Brut in this case means dry. So the Brut style is a very dry, light colored Champagne-like beer that is low on bitterness but very high in hop aroma.

This style is credited to Kim Sturdavant, brewer at Social Kitchen in San Francsco, who brewed it first in 2017.

The grain bill will consist of a light base malt with slight coloring from an adjunct. Friend of mine made one using pilsner malts and flaked corn. A properly chosen malt can also help clarify the wort which is a desirable style point.

Yeast likes sugar. Converts it to alcohol. If you want a dry beer, you help the yeast convert as much sugar as possible. In this brut scenario where extreme dryness is the goal, an enzyme is added to the wort (preferably during early fermentation stages) which makes the yeast convert the remaining sugar/carbs more efficiently. There are very technical terms for this which I will leave to you to research.
The yeast used is usually a fairly neutral ale tho I have had a brut which used a champagne yeast. To me, a noticeable difference in flavor results.

Then come the hops. Lots of hops. Mosaic is a common choice as is Amarillo, Nelson Sauvin, Huell Melon, all dry hopped and double dry hopped sometimes. By keeping the specific gravity at 1.00 or lower, the perceived bitterness usually associated with hops is actually more than the final IBU readings.
The result is a very dry, very drinkable hop forward beer, hopefully with extra carbonation to complete the champagne-like experience. Go try one for yourself and report back!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

The 48 Beer Project

t's a well known fact that when you head to a favorite taproom (brewery or otherwise) you invariably meet interesting people.
Such was the case yesterday while having a new beer at Birds Fly South Ale Project. Met and talked with Heidi Geist who is in the midst of an "insane goal" type of campaign called the 48 Beer Project. Heidi, a graphic artist, intends to collaborate on a beer label design with a brewery in each of the lower 48 states. That brought her and her traveling bus home to BFS which has become the SC representative. You can learn more about Heidi and the 48 Beer Project at her website.

The Studio of the Collective Unconscious.

Cheers and safe, successful travels, Heidi.