Plans can change

rockin_babyPlans can change, especially when you have a baby. I didn’t get to brew last Sunday but that was not necessarily a bad thing. Instead we spent some quality family time together. We introduced our baby daughter to the wonderful world of music festivals, and she loved it! There was a family-friendly music festival and the sun was shining so the brew kettle stayed in the shed.

This past week was pretty fruitful even without brewing or grilling. Noskos over at BBQ-NL sent me a bottle of Plowboy’s Yardbird rub that I won in a BBQ lotto of sorts. I am looking forward to trying it out. Now I just have to figure out what I want to try it out with. So many things I’d like to throw on the smoker. I also received some hops I ordered from the people at the hopshopUK. They are hop varieties which I can not find in mainland Europe. 100 grams of Amarillo (USA) and 100 grams of Nelson Sauvin (NZ). I am very interested in both these varieties. Amarillo for its citrussy orange and grapefruit and Nelson Sauvin for its supposed grapey, sauvignon-blanc aroma. Also on the beer front,  I talked with Chad over at The Brettanomyces Master Project Blog (who is working with Brettanomyces at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland, and has a fascinatining blog for beer geeks interested in Brett). Chad has graciously offered to send over a sampler of some pure brett strains he’s been culturing up. Some commercially available and some not. I have been itching to play with more funky yeasts and bacteria in my beers. Now I hope the beers turn out well so I can repay Chad with tasty samples!

The new plan: The experimental brew I was going to do last Sunday has been changed to a not so experimental IPA (not a west-coast hop-bomb, I’m looking for balance). It is made with only Munich malt though, so that is new for me. I will be hopping it with a combination of Amarillo and Nelson Sauvin hops and doing a split ferment with US-05 and S-04. Should be tasty!

Beer Mail!

beermail090423Another box landed on my desk at work today. This time I knew what it contained and I was very eager to open it up! These little postal distractions at work are quite nice. This box concludes my first forray into RateBeer beer trading. I entered into a trade with a pretty seasoned trader, WeeHeavySD. I sent a nice box of treats that I picked up during this years Pre-ZBF festival at Alvinne Brewery. The treats included beers from Alvinne, De Struise, De Molen, and upcoming Pipeworks. So what did I receive? Well, a bottle of Alesmith’s 2006 Barrel-aged Old Numbskull, Lost Abbey’s 2008 Cuvee de Tomme and 2008 Angel’s Share, 2007 Kuhnhenn Raspberry EisbockBell’s Hopslam and Expedition Stout. I am really looking forward to all of these. The trading worked out pretty well. I was reminded though how cheap beer in Belgium is. Some of the beers I sent were quite complex brews that took a lot of time, effort, patience, skill, and costly ingredients to make but only cost me a few euros. Unfortunately for the brewers, Belgians just won’t pay much for beer, wine yes, but beer no. In the US, brewers can be more fairly rewarded for their effort, but I’ll stop here before I begin a long rant. Anyways, trading was fun and I am sure I will do it again. Its a great way to get beers that I can’t normally get.

Beery people are Good people

While slaving away in front of the computer at work today a small yellow package landed on my desk. Eager for a distraction, I quickly grabbed it and started picking at the tape that was guarding the contents. Opening the box I see four short cylindrical shapes, each wrapped in brown paper. On top was a business card from Shaun O’Sullivan. I was surprised and very happy! Four cans of beer from the 21st Amendment brewery.

Last week while reading the beery blogs that I check everyday, I read that Shaun was in Belgium. I emailed him to see of he was going to be in the area because I wanted to buy him a beer for all the entertainment he has given me on The Brewing Network. In the end our schedules didn’t work out, but instead Shaun asked me where he could send some of his cans that he had with him. He was willing to stop during his vacation and package up a few beers for someone he has never met. I am very grateful to be able to try these beers that I would never be able to get over here.

As I have always said, beery people are good people.