Sunday, March 10, 2013

Winter Brewing Adventures

Sun. 10 March 2013

My brewing has typically gone in fits and starts. When people ask how long I have been brewing I always have trouble answering because I started in 2007, but I’ve taken three year-long breaks. The first two were because I was deployed to Iraq and then Afghanistan where I had other things to occupy my time. Then last year I lived in an apartment that was too small to brew. But last August my wife and I moved into a new house.
Two Saturdays ago I brewed a Saison (The Flying Fish Baby Saison Farmhouse Ale from Charlie Papazian’s Microbrewed Aventures). One of my friends stopped by to see the process. It is always fun to have a friend over when brewing since a good half of brewing is sitting around waiting for biology and chemistry to take place. I explained the brewing process over some slightly over-caronated pints of pumpkin porter. (Digression – an important part of the homebrew process is to have a homebrew from the previous batch. As you enjoy the yummy previous batch, you are reminded not to worry – a few mistakes go into every homebrew). This is the third time that I have made this Saison and it is fun to experiment with a known success. It has about 6-8 oz of acidulated malt that give it a nice spice.

Today I brewed a Magic Hat No. 9 inspired beer. I will confess that No. 9, while a fine beer, is not one I usually go to in the store. But a friend of my wife had a bunch of frozen peaches that she did not think she could use. I said we could probably handle them. I like it when there’s a story behind a particular batch.

During the brew another friend stopped by for an hour to check out the process. We had some pints of a poblano stout that I bottled two weeks ago. This one was inspired by a poblano stout that my wife and I had at Big Choice Brewing in Broomfield. I put five roasted poblanos in the secondary and let them sit there for a month. It came out with great flavor and not too much heat – in my humble opinion.

The Peachy Magic Hat (as I’m calling it) is now sitting in the carboy. I will add the peaches in a few weeks. Winter Sunday afternoons are pretty awesome.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Exploring wine in the heart of beer country

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Like the protagonists in He Said Beer, She Said Wine, my wife has tended towards wine as her drink of choice. She has humored me over our months together by going to more brewpubs than wineries (okay, many more). So this year we decided that we were going to learn more about wine. I agreed and then we put the idea on the shelf until this Saturday when we were at the homebrew shop getting beer ingredients. Then my wife told me “we’re going to visit Boulder Creek Winery”.  I generally go along with plans like these, so we found ourselves on an impromptu wine tasting.

There was one guy manning the counter. We did the self-directed tour first. This was rather well put together. This is a small enough winery that you can pretty much walk into the production room and see everything. They have some neat informative boards about the wine-making process. The tasting itself was $5 a person – and well worth it.

Then we went and checked out the Bookcliff Winery in Northern Boulder. I had stopped by the Upslope Winery before but had never gone next door. It was pleasantly busy for a Saturday, but not too crowded. This tasting was also $5. We liked their Viognier (just a bit of sweet French oak) and their Riesling enough to go home with a bottle of each (with the bonus of making the tasting free). We’ll call it a good start.