Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bottle bombs and gushers, hazards of homebrew

Last night I was trying to relax after a rough day at the office. I was startled by a loud pop that almost sounded like an explosion. It turns out a bottle of leftover Pennant Race Pumpkin Wheat blew up worse than Clay Buchholz blew up on the mound.

This is aptly called a bottle bomb. It is the worst case scenario when you bottle condition, or naturally carbonate your beer inside the bottle. Luckily my bottle bomb from last night was contained inside a 12-pack box located on a landing. All in all it was like a Wade Miley start: scary but mercifully quick.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Back from Beercation! Atlanta, Chapel Hill, and Delaware

After leaving Asheville after what felt like all too short of a stay, we headed further south to Atlanta to make it to Turner Field for Braves opening night. We traded in the cold and rain in Philadelphia for mild temperatures and torrential rain in Atlanta. Thankfully, unlike Fenway Park where beer vendors only serve spectators in premium seats, the Ted had plenty of them. During the rain delay they set up shop in the middle of the concourse and it was easy to grab a quick can while waiting out the rain. We grabbed and shared Sweetwater IPA and 420 Pale Ale. Both were quite enjoyable, reading the descriptions on Sweetwater's website there is plenty of Munich malt flavor that came through to more than balance the hops. Terrapin's Hopsecutioner had a more pronounced hop flavor, but still wasn't quite as hoppy as beers available locally.

The lack of a sign was the only negative at Cypress Street Pint & Plate.

After the rain delay and waiting an eternity for a cab, we went back to our hotel to crash after the game on Friday night. We had all day Saturday and part of Sunday to check out the city and the beer scene. Downtown Atlanta is walkable, but the breweries are spread out. There is no Industrial Way or Old Port like there is in Portland. We started at Max Lager's brewpub as it was a block from our hotel. As the name suggested the lagers in particular were excellent, especially What the?! Helles. Helles is a lightly hopped German lager, perhaps the antithesis of an IPA, and I love when I find a quality example. Locally, Jack's Abby House Lager is also worth checking out.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Back from Beercation! Philadelphia and Asheville

Admit it, you guys missed me! I was away on vacation last week. I was on an epic baseball and beer road trip. If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Swarm, and/or Untappd I hope you enjoyed the ride with me.

You could smell the malt from the parking lot. It was intoxicating.

The first stop was Yards in Philadelphia. As we pulled into the parking lot you could smell the malt, and let me tell you it was glorious! We split a flight of their Signature Ales and Ales of the Revolution. English Mild is one of my favorite styles and I really enjoyed Brawler. In a theme that would continue throughout the trip, the IPA was a traditional East Coast IPA with plenty of nutty and bready English malt flavor to go with the American hop flavor. We enjoyed several more of these as we closed the hotel bar.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Brew Day: Blueberry Wheat Ale

A few weeks back I had an appointment in Woburn that happened to be around the corner from Beer and Wine Hobby. You know what they say, "When in Rome!"

My girlfriend has wanted to brew a fruit beer for a long time. Last year we even started to brew one, but never got around to buying the actual fruit which turned out to be something of a problem. The wort ended up sitting in the fermenter for several months before I finally got around to dumping it.

I enjoy fruit beers. I might not enjoy them as much as stouts or IPAs, but I do enjoy them. Last year I ordered an entire flight of fruit beers at Lowell Beer Works and thoroughly enjoyed it. That said, it wasn't a style I was particularly motivated to brew. Most fruit beers have a base beer that is either an American Wheat or Blonde ale that gets out of the way of the fruit flavor. It didn't feel like the type of beer I could put my own spin on.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Buy my beer! Would-be Brewmaster kits delivered to your doorstep via Kit Lab

Well, you can't exactly buy my beer. I am not a licensed commercial brewer so I can't sell my beer. A start-up called Kit Lab will be selling kits of my beer. With the click of a mouse, your favorite Would-be Brewmaster beer will arrive at your doorstep with all the ingredients and instructions you need to brew like me.

I stumbled upon this project a few months back when founder Ryan Sanders was still conducting surveys to determine the viability of the project. I then received an email when he decided to move forward with the project asking me to contribute and what recipes I would share. Initially I volunteered to share two or three recipes. I will only share recipes that meet or exceeded my exceptions like Curly's Milk Stout and Walk-off White.