Wednesday, May 25, 2011

So Many Breweries, So Little Time

It's been a while since I last posted, but its not due to a lack of beer drinking.

Southern Tier

On April 30, I joined an eager bunch of Ontarians on a quest to visit Southern Tier brewery in New York. The excursion was organized by the Ontario distributors for Southern Tier, Roland + Russell. An excellent blow by blow can be found on the Great Canadian Beer Blog. In this photo you can see John shoveling hot spent grains which have since been devoured by some farmer's lucky cows. Yay!

Izumi Sake

Earlier this month, the first sake brewery on the East Coast of North America opened up nearby. Izumi, the Ontario Spring Water Sake Company, is located in the Distillery District. I stopped by to try out (and buy) as many varieties of sake as I could. The sake is unpasturized and extremely fresh - an experience one rarely has in these parts. I tried out their Nama Nama, Genshu Nama Nama, Teion Sakura, and a rather interesting variation that was the result of their first brew called Demondori Musume (during which they were still getting to know their new chilling equipment). There are rumours that they will occasionally offer Kassei-Nigori - which is taken directly from the vat during fermentation when the sake is just right, resulting in a slight effervescence.

Amsterdam Brewery Open House

And just this past weekend I hopped over to the Amsterdam Brewery for their open house to promote their current seasonal, Oranje Weisse. It was a wonderful low key event with perfect weather. Nibblies were available as were samples from the tap, and a demonstration was given by several cyclists on optimal loading of a 25 pack onto a bike.

With all of these brewery visits (and purchases of fermented products) I am afraid that I haven't had a chance to play around with my beer much. Stay tuned, however, for even more experiments with coffee and beer, including comparisons of different beers with coffee and different coffees (and brewing methods) with beer.

Your Beerista

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dockyard Brewing Company, Bermuda

Last month my significant other got a chance to wander around the facility at Dockyard Brewing Company in Bermuda (alas I was at work and had to miss this opportunity). This February they had a seasonal offering, something I hope they continue the rest of the year, of Imperial Stout.

For those who don't know, Dockyards Brewing is where the North Rock brewpub moved its brewing operations to in 2006 once they outgrew the space available at the pub. It is currently the only brewery on Bermuda soil or rock (although there is a bit of a homebrew community there). Their beers can only be sampled at North Rock Brewing Co. and at the Frog & Onion (which is right next to the brewery) in Bermuda.

In case you're worried about the kegs above -- Bermuda is cool in February, averaging about 17 degrees Celsius.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Beer Experiment 1: Success

We have a winner here. Adding cold brewed espresso to my Péché Mortel brings out the coffee aroma even more, making the beer reminiscent of the cask conditioned version of itself. There is no mistaking the coffee in the modified version of the beverage.

The recipe for this experiment follows:

3 tablespoons cold brewed espresso
1 bottle Péché Mortel (the drink of gods)

I added the espresso into the glass before pouring the bottle, so as to get an even mixture without having to use a spoon. The imbiber may adjust the amount of espresso added to suit their taste.

My recipe for cold brewed espresso can be found in my last month's post. I recommend using a cold brewing technique in order to reduce the amount of bitterness and acidity introduced to the beer by the coffee.

Drink and enjoy!

(Notice my favourite church key which sneaked into the photo.)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Beer Experiments

I guess some people call them "beer cocktails" but that just sounds too frou-frou for true beer geeks. I call them "beer experiments".

Experiment One
An experiment will be carried out where a shot of cold-brewed coffee is added to a glass of Dieu du ciel! Péché Mortel. Will the result be more like the casked version of this ambrosia?

Details will be posted.

To cold brew coffee (my super easy way):
  1. In a Bodum, add one cup of course freshly ground coffee, cover grounds with water.
  2. Set the Bodum plunger just at the top of the water in the Bodum and leave overnight at room temperature.
  3. The next day, plunge the coffee.
  4. Using a manual one-cup drip coffee maker and filter, pour the coffee through the filter in order to completely filter out all grounds and sediment. (of course, put something under the coffee maker to catch the filtered coffee.

If you wish to drink this coffee, you can either mix a shot with water and ice or milk and ice. I plan to add mine to my beer.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Lucky 13 Grand Cru

After many months of bread making followed by many months of frozen dinners, I have found an old calling in the world of food. Way back in 1993, in those crazy days of university, a neighbour and I hooked up to do a multitude of projects, ranging from painting and furniture refinishing to... beer making. Over that school year we always had a batch brewing (I continued brewing occasionally over the next several years, but never with such frequency), my favourite being a grand cru with honey, coriander and orange peel that we made roughly following Papazian.

Well, the time has come again. I discovered that Fermentations had moved close enough to our home, making it feasible to transport beer from their facilities. (Our current place has snazzy floors that I'd hate to spill wort or beer onto in any large quantity.)

Lucky 13 Grand Cru was conceived on the weekend of our 13th anniversary. It was made with some new fangled pasteurized wort-in-a-box, rather than with malt or malt extract (a bit disappointing, as I love cooking up wort). We did not reserve a liquid yeast in advance (it has to be proofed for several hours), so we used a fancy new cake yeast. We also forgot to bring Papazian, so we guessed the recipe, using brown sugar instead of honey b/c they were out of honey.

The result isn't bad, although it has an almost perceptible tinny quality to it that I think is caused by the yeast. Our friends raved, and we're still drinking it - and planning how we will modify the recipe for our next batch.

Here are the changes we are planning for our next batch:
  • increase the amount of coriander
  • decrease the amount of orange peel so that the coriander to orange peel ratio is 3 to 1
  • use liquid yeast
  • add 2 lbs. of dark honey (instead of 1 lb. of brown sugar)
  • collect more crown cap bottles
Pictures to come.