While not necessarily apologetic, Stone did play the role of the apologist with their recent collaboration Unapologetic IPA:
I have had 45 beers from Stone, 16 being some variety of IPA. So yes, it is “another IPA,” “another Stone IPA” at that. Do I view this as a bad thing?
Biscuit and brown bread from the malt, sugary sweet orange and white grape from the hops, expected clean finish and masked abv. Will be perusing draft lists to try this on tap soon.
I’ve been sick for the past week and a half, which didn’t stop me from making a run to Spirited last Saturday, though it did stop me from having any of the beers until last night. Space Cake from Clown Shoes has a sweet malt backbone for its plethora of juicy hops - orange marmalade, tropical fruit, and grapefruit. Definitely going to have to try this again when not on the tail end of being sick.
After several months of discussion and a month of planning, I finally got the chance to brew on my friends’ computer-controlled all-grain homebrewing setup. The picture above shows the power of their system - the pot on the left contains water that is held at mash temperature, the pot on the right is the mash tun, with the tubing connecting the two continuously recirculating the mash for increased efficiency.
Everything is connected to and controlled by a computer, which checks the temperature to the hundredth of a degree every second and adjusts the power fed to the heating element as necessary. After the mash, it only took 15 minutes to reach a full boil. This system absolutely SCHOOLS mine.
The day was not without a few hiccups - after all, it was my first time doing all-grain, their first time helping brew a recipe with such a large hop bill, plus there was a mistake in transferring from the mash. These three factors resulted in less wort than intended and a more difficult time chilling. I had the choice of hitting my intended gravity at a lower batch volume and spending extra time chilling before pitching, increasing the risk of infection as well as oxidation, or topping off with cold water, accelerating the chilling process while lowering gravity and hop utilization; I opted for the latter.
Don’t let the last paragraph fool you - I am more excited for this beer than I have been for any other batch I have brewed. Homebrewing is a learning process and we all concluded the brew day with ideas to improve future batches. With a few tweaks, I cannot wait to brew on their system again!
I don’t always like the nitro version of beers, but this definitely worked well.
As noted in a ous homebrew post, living in an apartment building has prevented me from trying all-grain brewing for the ten batches I have brewed so far. While the counter-top partial mash method gave me my best results to date, it also made me want to do all-grain even more.
Enter two friends - RPI science/engineering smarty-pants - who split the cost of a computer-controlled all-grain system, capable of maintaining mash temperatures to the degree, boiling eight gallons down to five (90 minute boil), and chilling the wort in under half an hour. The plan is to brew on their system, seal it up, drive home, pitch the yeast starter, and then let it ferment at my place before kegging. Gypsy homebrewing, yo.
The brewing process should take about four hours. These are the three beers I am bringing to share while brewing. Definitely psyched to brew again!
Grabbed a bottle of Lagunitas A Little Sumpin’ Extra! and ended up buying a six-pack the next day. A hop bomb of grapefruit, orange zest, and pineapple sweetness balanced by dank piney and herbal notes. Definitely will be having a few more of these while still fresh.
Split a massive post three ways (first part here) and am skipping the second part. Outside of the Luminous release, the two big highlights of the trip came from my two stops on the way home. I had wanted to check out The North Brewery and was happy to find out that it did not add much time. He had five beers on tap, all solid, nothing standard - including a double milk stout, American dark mild, and double Irish red. I ended up trading a bottle of Luminous for a God Complex, a bottle that I shared at Beef and Beer Fest. I will be stopping in on my way to Ithaca
today last Thursday, hoping to make a trade, so I am sure you will see more about The North in the future (and past).
Finally, my stop at Galaxy for lunch and a flight (left to right: Andromeda, Valence, Omega, PANIC!) was well worth it. Most of my experiences with brewpubs are like those
earlier in this post omitted via skipped second part: standard line-up, hit or miss and/or lower quality in general, sometimes with food that is the only good part. Not so with Galaxy - it is not only better than most brewpubs but would be an above average brewery were they to bottle their beer (I’d buy it). The food was great too - spicy chili oil wings made extra hot - but I’m glad it wasn’t the highlight of the stop.
Since my first visit, which I have yet to write about, I have been a big fan of The North Brewery in Endicott, NY. It is a nanobrewery that produces an insane amount of different types of beer - the five beers on tap when I stopped in Thursday afternoon had all kicked and been replaced with different beers by the end of Saturday night. The highlights on tap were The Mexican, a smoked wit brewed with limes that doesn’t sound like it would be good but was delicious, and Havoc, an imperial stout brewed with scorpion peppers but is balanced in a way that prevents it from being overly hot.
It happened to be a good time to stop in as Imperial Cerberus (Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged) and God Complex bottles were available. There is always plenty on tap (and on deck) for growler fills, but bottles are only released every month or two, and he usually only has a hundred or so bottles of each type. I shared God Complex at Beef and Beer Fest and can’t wait to try a larger pour.
Since I will be leaving soon to visit family in Ithaca, I thought I should finally catch up with the nine breweries and brewpubs I hit on my last trip - though after typing up a massive post I’ve decided to split it into three parts. I started with Cortland Beer Company on my way there, a brewery that sees some distribution in my area. While the number of beers and range in style was impressive, many were simply not for me.
Naturally I hit Ithaca Beer while in Ithaca, this time being for the Luminous release I wrote about before. Later that night, the restaurant we tried to go to was closed for a private party so we went a bit further to Rogue’s Harbor Inn, a brewpub that I did not know about. Their beers were OK and fairly standard, but the food was great. My second trip to Bandwagon Brewpub was much better than my first and while I still contend that their beer is hit or miss, the hits are getting better.
Over the weekend, a few friends suggested not drinking Belgian beers because of the USA vs Belgium World Cup game. I decided to take the logic one step further while watching the game by drinking beers from American breweries taking on the Belgian style. I started with Apex Predator from Off Color Brewing, a beer I had a small amount of at The Bier Abbey and wanted to try again. Citrus as well as a general fruitiness, barnyard funk, lemongrass, and earthy, herbal hops. Especially after recently trying Troublesome, I am impressed with this brewery.
Next was the Stochasticy Project - Quadrotriticale from Stone. Figs, dark fruits, but not very sweet, rye-like spice plus earthy notes (from the triticale?), and Belgian yeast providing spice as well as some fruity esters. Stone FTW
I visited friends in Jersey last weekend and stopped by Rushing Duck Brewing Company on the way. I have had many of their beers but had never been and was pleasantly surprised to find out that it only added twenty minutes of driving. I grabbed a growler of Honey Seeker (that I shared in Jersey), two glasses, and three bottles of Bauli Saison with Brettanomyces. The bottle notes…
…and that’s why I planned on getting three bottles in the first place: one to drink fresh and two to sit on. Cheers!
Four bottles of Mexican Cake - one for a friend, one to split at a party in Jersey tomorrow, one to trade, and one to drink to my face. I had it at The Bier Abbey for their ACBW event a month and a half ago and loved it. Sweet chocolate upfront with a good amount of spice that builds as the beer warms but never becomes overpowering. Awesome stuff right here.