Friday, November 27, 2015

In Memoriam: Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project

Massachusetts brewing company, Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project announced they were ceasing operations on Tuesday. Some were shocked, but followers of the brand should not have been. The company was purposely called a "project" instead of "company" because projects are by definition not permanent. As a fan, it was a day I knew could happen at some point, but was saddened that it happened now.

Pretty Things was my favorite Massachusetts brewer. Every year I would always grab a bomber of Fluffy White Rabbits, Our Finest Regards, American Darling, and the rest of their beers as they were released. I also loved their Once Upon a Time series of historical brews they made in collaboration with brewing historian Robert Pattinson.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Brew Day: Pa's Video Board Lager

Last year I brewed two versions of this beer: a ten gallon all-grain batch at Andy's, and a simplified malt extract version for Learn to Homebrew Day. When I tasted the beers side-by-side, the all-grain version was better, if a bit lighter in alcohol than the extract version.

Sample wort looking good.

The recipe was a slightly modified version of a Charlie Papazian recipe from The Complete Joy of Homebrewing. I imagined the beer as a bigger and hoppier version of his recipe. Seeing how alcoholic the extract version tasted, and how crisper the all-grain version was, inspired me to scale back the recipe a bit for this year. The all-grain was supposed to be similar in alcohol to the malt extract version. Improving our efficiency, the amount of fermentable sugars we extract from the grain, and maintaining a consistent level of efficiency on  Andy's system has been a challenge. As it was,  our all-grain beer not finishing as heavy as intended was probably fortuitous.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tasting Notes: Midlands Mild

When I started brewing I thought the first beer I made was world class. It blew my mind I could make something that good at home. Over time I became increasingly critical of my beer, but every once in awhile I brew something that brings back that old feeling from my early batches.

That is a gorgeous pint!

When the cap is popped the beer makes a very light hiss hinting at the low carbonation in the bottle. Midlands Mild pours espresso brown with a ruby hue. The off-white head is thin and frothy. I poured the beer mostly in the middle of the glass to help the head rouse. The retention isn't great which is to be expected in a lightly carbonated beer.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Brew Day: Sierra Nevada Celebration Clone (American IPA)

The first year Andy and I brewed Pa's Video Board lager, our family kicked the five gallon keg in a few hours. Last year we brewed a ten gallon batch to make sure we had enough. As it turned out our family Christmas gathering was on a Sunday and people didn't have the same beer-drinking vigor knowing they had to work on Monday. We had a ton of leftover beer. By the time all that Pa Lager was gone I think we were all bored of it.

This year I brewed a three gallon batch in honor of Pa Chalifour, but I also decided I wanted to brew another beer the family could enjoy during the holidays. My thought was to brew a West Coast IPA for my hop-loving cousins.

Name a more iconic beer. I'll wait.

As a beer drinker seasonal creep drives me nuts. I loathe it to the point that I developed the definitive guide for seasonal beer. Usually seasonal creep is an annoyance. I can still wait to buy a beer like Samuel Adams Octoberfest at the seasonably appropriate time. However, when a seasonal beer is an IPA that is best enjoyed fresh is when seasonal creep becomes problematic. The hop flavor and aroma in will diminish as it sits on the shelf.