April 18, 2009

New Beer at Friar Tucks

It is the invasion of Summer which essentially means it is the invasion of wheat brews.

The new brew at the Tuck this week is:

Southern Tier's Uber Sun, an Imperial Wheat. Summer is the time for the invasion of wheat. Brews aplenty that feature this grain from almost every brewer in many different configurations. Southern Tier themselves offer Hop Sun as their standard wheat but out now they have an Imperial Wheat which comes in at a hefty 8% alcohol. Sold in 22 ounce bombers, it packs quite a punch but share one with a friend as a sipper and it should be mighty fine while enjoying a nice sunset.

As an aside, it has been brought to our attention that a new shipment of the Rochefort 10 has arrived. Fresh beer is paramount to full enjoyment so if this one is on your favs list, pick it up.

April 16, 2009

Beer Wars Live!

The Beer Wars Live event is tonight at Showplace West @ 7pm. It is a 2.25 hour documentary about the struggles of starting and running a craft brewery in todays market. There will be a live telecast discussion immediately following the event featuring some of the craft brewers featured.

Beer Wars Live!

April 14, 2009

The beers that were new this week at Friar Tuck

This should have gone out sooner but I'll blame Easter and the emphasis on wine in Christianity for that.

Schlafly has decided to switch their Kolsch, which was their Summer seasonal, to a year-round beer. If you loved this former Summer seasonal, it is out now and will be out all year.

Schlafly's Raspberry Hefeweizen is now out. This is one of their Spring seasonals and should be very, very fresh. It is also very, very tasty if you happen to like wheat beers. This is one for lovers of Blue Moon and/or raspberries.

Toohey's New, a tropical light lager, has made its way to Springfield. It is according to Toohey's website an all-natural Lager made from Water, Cane Sugar, Malted Barley, Yeast and Hops. It's a light lager so it might be worth a try if you have a taste for those.

And as a last note of interest, a new supply of Westmalle Trippel has arrived at the Tuck. If you are already a fan or interested in trying it out, now would be the time to pick some up.

April 8, 2009

Odd Beer Flavors

I am sorely tempted to make the brew for dogs!


Craft beer and losing weight

I weigh too much. It's not news to me but I weigh about ten pounds heavier than I expected and significantly more than I really should. My usual reaction is to consume less of what am already consuming. The simple hacker's guide to dieting. It works for me.

This will be the first time I have ever thought to factor in beer though. I enjoy learning about, trying out and making my own beer. It has, sort of, become my thing. However that extra consumption of calories have taken its toll and it is time to arrest the rate increase and reverse some of my gains. I don't want to give up good beer though so I decided to do some research to help myself out.

I enjoy beer when I am out to dinner and on the rare occasions I am at a pub or bar. This site will help me to get a general sense of what I am consuming:

Real Beer's Calorie, Carbs and Alcohol

It is neither comprehensive nor perfect but it will allow me to get a generalized sense of what I am drinking. Further investigations may get me specifics but the general knowledge I came away with was:
General full-flavored beer ales and lagers alike tended to come in at around 200 calories.
Most were less but if I budget 200 calories per beer then I can keep an easy mental note. It also builds in a general leeway in my daily calorie count to accomodate for overruns. Bigger beers cause bigger hits, so if you enjoy Double, triple or Imperial anything, expect to budget accordingly.

Homebrewed beer though is not calculated on any lists and most homebrewers probably are not in a position to have their product tested. There are a multitude of calculators out there that can help a concerned brewer out.

The first calculator is a standard recipe calculator. A brewer simply inputs their materials list and the calculator will output standard info about their beer such as: original gravity (OG), final gravity (FG), bitterness in IBUs, coloring in SRM and alcohol content.

Tastybrew's Recipe Calculator

The second calculator will help a brewer calculate calories and carbs simply by inputting the original gravity (OG) and final gravity (FG). A brewer really should be determining their original and final gravities but it is sometimes easy to forget. The recipe calculator can help you estimate the original and final assuming you know the attenuation of your yeast.

Mr. Goodbear's Calorie Calculator

I'll give you an example for comparison:

I often make a 'Pale/Amber' out of 6 lbs of Light Dry Malt Extract and steep with 1 lb of Crystal 60L. That is my base extract recipe and I manipulate hops to obtain different tastes. The recipe calculator indicates an OG of 1.056 and an estimated FG of 1.014. My measured was about 1.015 so it was fairly close.

Mr. Goodbeer calculated 185.5 calories and 19.9 carbs. That places it squarely in the realm of commercial full-favored beers.

For my own purposes, I will start cutting down on my dry malt extract. I have made one pale ale before that used only 3 lbs of Light Dry Malt extract and steeped with 1 lb of Crystal 60L. It turned out very well and did not lack for flavor.

Mr. Goodbeer estimates this to be 95.3 calories assuming an OG of 1.029 and a FG of 1.007. We'll see how those numbers actually pan out.

The point of all of this is that monitoring your weight does not mean you have to sacrifice full flavored beers or homebrews. Budget for taste and you will succeed.

Prairie Schooners Homebrew Club meeting on Thursday

The next meeting of the Prairie Schooners Homebrew Club is Thursday, April 9th @ 7pm. The meeting will be held at The Brewhaus. Please join us for homebrew sampling and discussion.

April 3, 2009

New beers this week:

I'd like to make a regular feature that is of interest to me and, hopefully, of interest to you.

New beer releases for Springfield

At Friar Tuck:

Bell's Oberon - An American wheat ale brewed with Saaz hops. This is their Summer seasonal. I think this will be one of their most awaited seasonal releases since returning to Illinois.

Dark Horse Brewery's Double Crooked Tree IPA - Their IPA recipe except doubled. It's a big beer clocking in at 13.6% abv. I imagine the hop taste will kick in the nethers and take your lunch money too. it is however the perfect type to share in snifters on a cool night.

Founder's Cerise - A cherry fermented ale. According to the Beer Spot news, this recipe has been tweaked over some time while being on tap but is now being released as a possible replacement for Rubaeus, their raspberry ale. Of course, if you can find both cerise and rubaeus, perform a taste test and let us know which you prefer.

April 1, 2009

Tornado Ale

The crew got together on March 8th to brew a couple of batches. It wasn't only for our group to get back on the wagon and semi-regular brewing but it was also to invite Dan Naumovich along to observe. As you may remember that was the day a weather system hit. I had part of my roof fold up but brewing was more important so fixing it had to wait. My brew was a pale/amber ale that I threw together using mostly Cascade hops (a general homebrew fav). On the spot, I decided to call it Tornado Ale (Later I decided on Notus Ale. Notus is the Greek god of the Southern wind). It went to press as Tornado Ale so Tornado Ale it will be. Justin and I plus my neighbor got together to bottle it this past Sunday. We consider it ready to drink two weeks after bottling.

However I cracked on open tonight both out of curiosity and out of notoriety. I highly doubt it had time to consume all its new sugars but it was carbonated and had about a fingers worth of head which is normal for the type of glassware I use. Here is my thoughts on the Tornado Ale.

It pours easily with a nice amber color. The head is a few shades off white and resulted in about a fingers worth of foam after the pour. It dissipated in nice fashion leaving a thin lace across the surface.

The nose held hints of bubblegum which is usually due to high fermentation temperatures leading to a higher amount of esters in the beer. There might be a hint of banana too but I could be imagining that. I don't smell enough of the citrusy Cascades in there but they may have blended well with the other sweet scents.

Taste is near the solid middle of malt v. hops perhaps leaning towards maltiness with a slight to moderate bubblegum and sweet flavor. Now I hope that the priming sugars have not all been consumed and that time will reduce the sugar somewhat. I fermented at my house which lacks a cellar and my fermentation closet is normally around 74 degrees. I imagine the taste might have been different a cellar temperatures, between 55 to 65 degrees.

Overall I consider it to taste slightly Belgian-y. I really hope that mellows out and it might considering I popped one open after 3 days of bottle conditioning and at room temp. If not, it isn't a real loss since the wife says she loves it and Justin is fond of that Belgian crap.

I'll open another this Sunday and then bring around six to the next homebrew meeting on April 9th. Show up if you want to try it then. I'll definitely save another six for the Big Brew on May 2nd but that may be the end of it.

Off Topic

I know this has nothing to do with beer, but I was just searching the web and no one seems to be noting that today is the 5th anniversary of the spectacularly ill-timed announcement that Gateway Computers was closing all of its Gateway Country Stores.

I worked there for 4 years and ended up running several service centers. We made our mistakes and made a lot of people mad. On the balance, however, I think we made a lot more people happy (or at least a little bit less afraid of technology.) Also, I was lucky enough to make some great friends, meet some great people, and have some great times.

So I give you a comments section to post your memories/grudges and lift a beer (I would suggest a Milk Stout) for the spotted lady. L'chaim