Throwback: Origins of the Brew Brothers

Let’s talk about origins for a moment.  There’s a really nice home-brew club in Colorado Springs, Colorado called the Brew Brothers.  The history of that club and how it started is described nicely in the previous link!  The three guys pictured in the logo above were the founding members–me (James C (beermentor), Mike B, and Ray C … hence the name BC2 Brewers.  We started the first brew session at my house in Colorado Springs …

 

If I remember correctly, we actually started our discussions about brewing in 2002 but waited until 2003 to brew the first batch (we needed a good weather day!).  It was great fun — we started with partial mash brews (using malt extract).

 

This allowed us to start without a huge initial investment.  We had all brewed previously but we were all pretty rusty at it.  We didn’t have a lot of equipment at the time so the extract brewing was cheaper because we could use cookware we already owned.  As we got into it we obviously had to have some brews to sample (as well as a smoke).  You can tell in these pictures we were really enjoying ourselves!

  

The nice thing about brewing together is that everyone brings their own ideas, skills, and equipment.  There’s a lot of synergy in this type of activity!  We had three different recipes–I made a DoppelBock, Mike made a Porter, and Ray made an Oatmeal Stout.  Here are the labels I created to use on our bottles!

  

Another great thing about brewing together is the sharing of the brews!  Since we all made 5 gallon batches, we ended up with (typically) 2 cases and a spare 4 or 5 bottles.  We each gave the other two a couple of six packs each.  So you had a case of your beer and a case of the other two guys!  What a great experience and a wonderful origin to a great brewing tradition!  I will post more pics, recipes, and tales of the BC2 Brewers past …

Stay Tuned!

Beer Mentor

The Kama Sutra of Beer Drinking: 36 Ways to Maximize Your Enjoyment!

Imagine you are reaching for the door of your beer fridge (you do have a beer fridge, right? If not, this “book” is definitely for you!  If you do have a beer fridge this book is definitely for you too!)  You pull open the door and you hear the clinking of the bottles.  Pavlov!  Ha ha! Your response is probably to start drooling because you know the enjoyment that is coming next.  I would ask you to close your eyes for this next section but then you couldn’t finish reading what I’m writing. So read this first without closing your eyes!  You reach in and wrap your hand around the cool bottle relishing the feeling of the condensation on the sides as you pull it out.  You reach for your opener and anticipate the sound as you pop off the cap.  You grab your waiting glass and gently fill it to the brim again finding pleasure in the sound of the pour and the sight of the bubbles rising to the surface.  Lazily you check the color holding it to the light.  You bring your penultimate sense into play by sampling the aroma of fresh hops possibly or a strong malty character.  You lift the glass to your lips engaging the last sense into this love fest.  That is pure, unadulterated pleasure in a fantastic beer.

How does the Kama Sutra fit into this?  Quite nicely I might say.  Kama is the enjoyment of appropriate objects by the five senses of hearing, feeling, seeing, tasting, and smelling, assisted by the mind together with the soul.  The ingredient in this is a peculiar contact between the organ of sense and its object, and the consciousness of pleasure which arises from that contact is called Karma.  Hearing those bottles clinking raised your Karma … “music to your ears” as it were.  All your other “organs of sense” had this peculiar contact with the “object.”  I would assume, also, that your mind was also involved.  For many of you the soul probably was too—for the rest of you? Well, just wait!

Most of you, when you hear the words “Kama Sutra” already have an image in your mind of what that is … however, the Kama Sutra is actually aphorisms on love.  For the sake of the beermentor (me), it will be aphorisms on Love of Beer Drinking!

Now, as I was perusing the Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana, I noticed there were 36 chapters.  In honor of this I will be writing about 36 ways to maximize your enjoyment of beer.  Don’t be afraid to embrace all the positions I move you into as you build upon your beer drinking experience.  I will start easy … trust me.  You will move from beginner all the way through master beerdrinker when you finish AND put this “book’s” concepts into practice.

Are you ready?  Chapter 1: “Beginners should begin at the beginning.”

Enjoy!

Beermentor

Grant’s Farm … St Louis!

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In November of 2011 I flew to St Louis to visit some friends … of course, you know what that means–Tour the Anheuser-Busch Brewery!  Actually, we went to two A-B related activities: 1) Grant’s Farm, and 2) the Brewmasters Tour at the brewery.

First … Grant’s Farm. Words from their page:  The 281-acre ancestral home of the Busch family, located just south of the city of St. Louis, is home to more than 900 animals representing more than 100 different species. More than 24 million guests have visited this popular family attraction since it was opened it to the public in 1954.  The Farm takes its name from Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States. In the 1850s, Grant founded and farmed a portion of the 281 acres.

This is a cool place to visit once (to see the Clydesdales for sure!) … and it’s free.  Oh, and you get two beers at the end of the tour … free.  You only have to pay for parking.  haha.  Here’s some photos from my “excursion.”

IMG_1630 Grant’s “homestead.”IMG_1632 Grant’s “Wagons.”  Probably not.IMG_1633 IMG_1634 Cool.

Here’s your free beer options!  The ladies were very nice and poured a nice mug!IMG_1636 IMG_1637

This is a trip worth making …

IMG_1645 IMG_1646 IMG_1648

And now … for some Clydesdales!  Really cool farm layout … such a beautiful area.IMG_1653 IMG_1655 IMG_1659 Yeah. I was there. haha.IMG_1661 Hey! I have some friends!IMG_1662 IMG_1663 IMG_1666 IMG_1669

 

Any beer geek who visits St Louis really needs to add this to your “to do” list … true American Beer/Brewing history.  Enjoy!  Beer Mentor

Victory: Whirlwind Witbier!

Tonight’s brew? Victory Whirlwind Witbier.   I started with high expectations for this beer and couldn’t decide if I wanted to keep the high or not.    After the first sip, I was trying to decide if a witbier can be too light.  The color is nice — that’s not what I mean by too light.  The aroma is spot on for a Witbier.  Even when I taste it … excellent!  But the finish just seems to be a little too light … and then I think, could I be trying to change the style?

Today I was given a lesson on American-style Hefeweizens … and I realized I judged another beer in my mind based on the wrong style.  Was I trying to do this to a Witbier?  Isn’t it supposed to have a light finish?  Well, I went to the experts: The BJCP (The Beer Judge Certification Program)–I was right.  What I’m calling light, they call thin … and it shouldn’t be.  But if that’s the only flaw I find in this brew … well … ok!  It’s a good one then.

Enjoy,

Beer Mentor

Another Nice Radler

I really like the German Radler — if you are unfamiliar with this combination let me explain — typically it is either one half of  a Pilsner or a Weizen beer and then one half of a Lemon-Lime flavored Cola (think Sierra Mist).  So, you have a 1/2 and 1/2 combo.  The reason it is called a Radler is because Radler means “Cyclist.”

This drink was “developed” for a Cyclist to drink after they were finished riding (or part way through their ride as I’ve had it before <smile>) … it provides just enough carbs and not too much alcohol.

The one I had today was from the Stuttgarter Hofbraeu: Lemon Gold.  Very palatable…

Beer Mentor

Beer Apprentice – “Beer Consuming” Track #1 Syllabus

Are you ready to be an Apprentice?  Then here’s the Syllabus to confirm your apprenticeship.  beer-consuming-track-1.doc This Syllabus covers the first 20 hours of your training.  A follow on entry will have the appropriate test to confirm your progression with the associated certificate.  For the “Learning Objectives” and “Samples of Behavior,” see the attached document.

Here are the Lessons laid out for you:

Lesson A. Identify a “good” beer. (Time: 5 Hours) (Easy)

o   Go to BeerAdvocate.com and Review the first seven (7) entries in Beer 101: The Basics (1 Hour)

o    Review the different Beer Styles at the Brewer’s Association web page (2 Hours)

o   Purchase at least one of each of these styles and sample them: India Pale Ale, Brown Ale, Pilsner, Amber Ale, American Pale Ale, and Wheat Beer. (2 Hours)

o   Reflect on these beers, determine the style you most prefer, and continue to refine your list (Extra Credit – 1 Hour).

Lesson B. Identify “right location.” (Time: 7 Hours) (Medium)

o   Pick up to 5 different locations in your area (you may be limited on locales … but choose no more than 5) to sample “Beer.” See recent post for how to find these places (1 Hour)

o   Travel to each of those places and sample 1 or more of the styles previously sampled. (5 Hours)

o   Take time to reflect on each of the places and determine what was good and/or bad about those locations.  Strike the bad ones off your list.  Keep the good ones on it. (1 Hour)

Lesson C. Identify “right people.” (Time: 7 Hours) (Hard)

o   Think about who you might like to go drinking with.  Your decision will obviously be influenced by what you expect to get from this experience.  (1 Hour)

o   Invite the “right people” to go with you to those establishments identified in Lesson B. (6 Hours)

o   Take time to reflect on each of the individuals you went drinking with and determine who was good or bad.  Strike the bad ones off your list.  Keep the good ones on it. (1 Hour)

Beer Mentor

Beer Apprentice – “Beer Consuming” Track #1

As an apprentice on the “Beer Consuming” Track (see this link for why this is important), there are 3 basic things on which to focus as you begin your training: 1) Picking a good beer, 2) Finding the right location to consume that beer, and 3) Finding the right people with which to drink that beer.

I will be publishing a syllabus in the near future for this track but in this post I wanted to focus your attention on step #2 … the right location.  There are several options available for you to find this information.

bmplogo1.jpg#1: Beer Mapping Project:  “They find the beer. You drink the beer.”  This site does exactly what it says.  It is focused on helping you find where the beer is located, whether that is a store, a pub, a tour, whatever!  This is a good starting point for your search.

bbb-2001.jpg#2: Brookston Beer Bulletin:  Jay has an extensive website devoted to the Craft Brew industry — populated on his site are breweries all over the U.S.  Check out what he has to offer in the way of finding good brews … and many other

These two sites should keep you busy in your first lesson towards your apprenticeship.  Stay tuned for the syllabus and the test for passing the first stage of your apprenticeship!

Beer Mentor