I’m starting to nitpick the IPA/dIPA categories these days. Several basic IPA’s out there are bland. Insipid. Ordinary. One-dimensional. I’m looking at you, Redhook. You too, Pyramid. Dechutes, your Cascadian Dark Ale (black IPA) was a good beer, but the hop profile initially screamed at me. Must have been too citrusy, quite possibly the Citra hops.
Don’t get me wrong, I like IPA’s as well as Imperial IPA’s. When done well, it’s an exhilarating taste experience. First, the hops hit your nose with a beautiful bouquet. Then they assault your tongue with pleasant bitterness. Then the malt backbone washes it down. The alcohol warms you. Repeat.
Typically, a substandard IPA just kicks your tongue in the metaphorical nuts. Sorta like a bad beer paired with greasy pizza. Sure it’s bitter. I’m bitter too, but it’s because that beer is one dimensional. The problem is that there is too much mediocre IPA out there. You could bottle condition it. You could inoculate it with small bit of brett. Just make it interesting!
I read a few reviews (yeah, I know…) of Brewdog’s Punk IPA. I’ve really not desired to seek it out. But Nate over at THFB has peaked my interest. Apparently, Hardcore is not Punk. Cool. I’ve found it difficult to find any offerings from Brewdog, but then again I don’t seek out brew shops (unless we’re talking about brewing equipment and ingredients). I’ll look for it.
Incidentally, I do share the sentiment that the next greatest beer is brewed in my back yard or is sitting in my keg-o-rator. And more to the point, my kegs are filled with an Imperial IPA that give you that exhilarating taste experience.
Turning a hobby into a career. At some level, it seems like that is a desire a great many of us share. Some of us are already living the dream. Others are still dreaming. Then there are those dreamers that are taking concrete steps towards living out their dreams. For instance, take Mike and Nate from ThankHeavenforBeer.com. They have just embarked on the road to owning their own brewery. Yesterday, they started fundraising for the new brewery. Their future is bright. Creativity is on their side.
Check it out, and help out a couple of great guys!
In what appears to be the first acquisition of a craft brewery by one of the beer giants, Goose Island has been acquired by Anheuser Busch Inbev. Several bloggers are already weighing in, and the opinions seem to be leaning negative. Add my voice to the negative cacophony. I suspect that the Goose Island brews will decline in quality. Why? Because of Mr. Hall’s discussion of capacity and distribution. It reminds me of another brewery in the Craft Brewers Alliance: Red Hook. According to my friends who have lived in Seattle for nearly 50 years, Red Hook started small (down in Ballard, methinks). Over time, though, they got bigger (ABI also has a stake there now) and wider and quality began to suffer. I’ve been in the area only 6 years, so I don’t have anything to compare current products to, but that’s what my food critic friend tells me. Personally, I’m not a big Red Hook fan… I see their beers as somewhat mediocre.
I also understand why many in the beer-geek community are disappointed to disgusted. It seems as if we have a romantic view of this business (and yes, craft beer is a business). The brewers are our rock stars. They do what many of us want to do: make beer for a living. We celebrate their limited releases. We revel in the exclusivity of certain brands. We often have access to these folks are tours.
I don’t begrudge the Goose Island owners the right do as they see fit with the company they have built. In the end, it seems to be about money, not about the craft (as we romantically view it). I hope I am wrong, and the Goose Island maintains a strong brand without suffering in quality, but I’m not holding my breath.
When breweries open their doors to the general public, one of two things may happen. You may get dynamite tour, up close and personal with the brewing equipment, or you may get a lackluster event full of “free” beer and stories, but not much of a tour. Up until this past weekend, I thought this was the case. The Washington brewing community offered us something new: the Washington Beer Open House.
Grab your craft beer buddies and make an afternoon of touring around to sample some of your favorite local WA breweries.
Participating breweries are opening their doors so their adoring fans can catch a peek behind the scenes of what makes them great. And wait, that’s not all… They’re also cooking up some fun and unique treats for visitors.
Sweet. And with my parents in town for the weekend, I knew exactly what we were going to do. So, we packed up the kids and all headed out to two local breweries: Scuttlebutt Brewing and Diamond Knot Brewing. Both breweries held their open house festivities at their primary brew house as opposed to one of their pubs. And aside from both offering tastes of some good beer, they offered very different but still enjoyable experiences.
Scuttlebutt’s main attraction was a tour of the brewing facility. The owner and proprietor was on hand to guide us around the facility and describe the brewing process. My parents, especially, enjoyed this aspect of the tour. They’ve heard stories of my homebrewing experiences and sampled some of my own creations. I’ve even had my father present at a brew day before. I’ve tried to explain it before, but having the explanation in a relatively short time frame with the equipment and ingredients right before you is probably the best way to explain the process. That, and I tend to get wrapped into too many details when I explain things! In a certain sense, my parents were able to better understand one the things that makes me tick: beer!
The setup over at Diamond Knot’s B2 brewery was less formal. The tasting room was open pouring samples and selling pints. One of the owners was on site as were the head brewer and at least one assistant brewer. Upon entering, we were greeted by the head brewer and immediately grabbed a sample of beer. The brewery was open for walking around and perusing the equipment. (This was when things got really fun!) The kids really were in awe of the fermenters in their shiny stainless steel glory. So as I’m talking to them about what these things are and what they are for, the head brewer and his assistant come over and start chatting it up with us. They immediately picked up on the fact that I am a beer lover and homebrewer. They offered some basic explanations to us, but I also had the chance to really “geek out” with them regarding process, ingredients and more. My mother commented to me later that she couldn’t understand what we were saying in beer talk, and that she needed a translator!
An interesting twist on the history of the world. Not bad… not bad at all.