Archive for February, 2009

Bottling Kegs

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

So the other day I pulled off a couple bottles from the current kegs on tap.


Again, right now I have an American Stout, California Red, and a Pale Ale on tap. So far it has by far been he easiest to bottle multiple beers at the same time, and since I had three go on about the same time that meant I could bottle three. I pulled 8 bottles from each reserving two each for the yearly Fool Circle Beer Tasting. So that left me with six each. Theoretically I could use them for competition, but I doubt I will – maybe with the American Stout. The Pale Ale is out of category and the CA Red is “uncategorizable” if you know what I mean. What evs!

Hey check out that bottle, a 1 Liter swing-top, pretty sweet, like a half a growler.


Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

So I just recently finish Beer Advocate Magazine Volume III Issue 1 (even though the next issue is already in the mail) and this is what I have to say.


First I need to address the new appearance and format. I know this has been addressed on the website and I know that the Alstrom Bros address it in their Beer Smack section, I’ve listened and there are some good points, but I must say I still don’t like it. The new format is approximately 3/4″ smaller all the way around when held up to previous issues, and the issue appears slimmer, though that could be to the new paper. The paper is now newspaper print and no longer glossy magazine pages, plus the cover (still glossy) is of a lesser quality too. I understand why they have made these changes (being greener, superficial, scalability), but as a paying subscriber and a founder subscriber it hurts a little. It’s like when they slapped the word ‘free’ on the front cover, ouch. I agree the content is the same high caliber beer rag it has always been, but I just wish now I could pick it up for free too. Looking for a Mid-Atlantic (specifically Delaware) distributor of your free magazine, we may be able to make arrangements.

On to the real magazine . . . The BYOB section (the homebrew section) had an interesting article on brewing with science. Basically it threw down like three basic experiments that you can run on a batch of beer to test yourself, like finding out what the absolute lowest attenuation possible is with your specific wort and yeast or determining how stable your wort really is. Once again my favorite section was the 9 Steps to Beerdom where there was an interview with a brewer and brewery I had not heard of, Tonya Cornett at Bend Brewing Company. Sounds like a great right-place-right-time and I-love-my-job double wammy, plus they won Small Brewpub of the Year at 2008’s GABF. A new section (along with the new format and paper) is From the Source where they appear as if they are going to showcase a brewery or brewpub. This issue was 5 Seasons Brewing which I know is one of my buddy Garrett’s all time favorite brewpubs. Seems like a great place, but who knows when I’ll next be in Atlanta. I typically bitch and complain if I mention the beer reviews, so instead this time I’ll draw attention to another new section, the Featured Beer section. This appears to be a one page throw down on a single beer with some extra information besides just tasting, I enjoyed this read much better than the regular tasting notes, this months feature was Jack D’Or from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project (and yes that’s their real name).


Monday, February 23rd, 2009

A couple days ago on Friday I was invited to a “free” happy hour event at ZoT restaurant in Philadelphia.


My friend Sharon won a “free” happy hour for her work by putting her business card in one of those things on the bar, but she doesn’t remember putting one in there. Anyway, the happy hour was from 6:30-8:30PM and included free mussels and 1/2 price drafts – at a Belgian bar – you know I’m there! Basically the deal worked out that it was 1 free kilo of mussels (however you’d like them prepared, and they had like 30 preparations) for every 4 people that came. We had 10 people show up and kind of had to pry a little to get the third set of mussels to come out. Plus, I was surprised that they advertised over 150 beers but only had like 6 drafts, 3 beers from Belgium and like 3 American-style Belgian beers – whatever still cool.

All-in-all it was a really fun time and we didn’t leave until like 12:00AM. I would totally go back there again. And not to compare it to Monk’s (as I am sure every other Belgian bar in Philly is), but in comparison to Monk’s 😉 it was much easier to get into, much more room, and the wait-staff seemed less douchey. If you’re in the Philly area and what to check out another Belgian bar, check out ZoT! Thanks, Sharon.

War of the Worts XIV

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Yesterday, February 21, 2009, was the War of the Worts XIV homebrew competition in North Wales, PA.


I was able to judge this event yesterday but not able to participate. I’m a slacker when it comes time to signing up for these things so I always seem to miss the deadlines of when the entries are due. Typically they will allow judges to bring their entries day of the event, but the trick to that is that all of their paperwork has to be received prior to the deadline, oh well.

So in the morning I judged Spice/Herb/Vegetable beers which a lot of people do not like to do. I actually prefer to judge the S/H/V, Fruit, or Specialty categories because there is so much diversity in each category and I never know when I’ll try a beer that may inspire. For example, last competition I tried a great Chocolate Mint beer that I was absolutely surprised that it worked and this time I tried a beer labeled as a Sweet Habanero beer which is a total contradiction – but somehow he made it work. We had 27 beers and 7 judges in the morning, so we broke it out that each pair of judges (actually 2/2/3) would do about 9 beers. After that each pair picked their top 3 beers and they moved on to a mini-best of show round for that category, you can see the results in the picture above. I’d say we roughly had 3 coffee type beers, 3 pumpkin type beers, 2 chocolate type beers, and a spicy one. The winners were a Chocolate Hazelnut for first, and two different coffee beers for second and third.

Later in the afternoon I judged Strong Beers Table 1. What the hell is that? Basically there were so many entries (over 500) that some of the table groupings weren’t BJCP categories per se but groups of beers that could be judged for what they are (ie an Imperial Stout is still judged as an Imperial Stout) but would still make sense to be grouped together. We had 20 beers and 4 judges in the afternoon, so roughly 10 beers per pair. Fortunately the table had 10 Imperial Stouts, 7 Imperial IPAs, and 3 American Barelywines. I was on the IIPA and B-wines. Right out of the gate we had like 3 great IIPAs so I was stoked, it’s a category with a wide range that a lot of people just kind of muddy up. When we finished our 10 the other 2 judges still had 4 beers left so we hopped in and did 2 Imp Stouts too. Afterward there was another mini-best of show with 4 Imp Stouts and 3 IIPAs moving on. The winners were an IIPA for first (the first beer we drank that afternoon), an Imp Stout for second (one of the two we judged), and another Imp Stout for third.

All in all it was a good afternoon that ran smoothly, but started to run a little long. The awards ceremony was supposed to be at 5PM, they were just starting the official Best of Show judging at 5PM which can take up to an hour easily. Oh, this year they had it in a new location too. Previously it was at the Iron Hill in North Wales, this year it was in an empty store in the same location with the awards at IH. This worked out really well – we had all the space we needed and there were not any interruptions. On the down side (nothing major) the heat was very weak in the store we were in and lunch wasn’t as “nice” as when we are actually at a restaurant location, but we all lived. You can check out all the results here.

New Ingredients

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

So I ordered, and received some new ingredients, and I can’t wait to get behind the mash paddle again!


So I ordered from Northern Brewer again, whom I have been quite happy with recently. Two of my biggest complaints with the other major online company I was using was the delay between order placed and order in hand, up to and over 10 days, and almost always something small was messed up or forgotten. With Northern Brewer it is typically less than 5 days and usually they accidentally include “extra”. For example, this time I ordered two gaskets for the internal parts of the quick disconnects, I received four instead, cool.

I got ingredients to make a few new batches, many of which were on my mind for this Spring to drink, but I guess they’ll be good whenever. The main batch is going to be a split 30 gallon batch of Scottish 70/- Garrett and I are to brew next weekend, should be fun. I also order stuff in to make an American Brown Ale, another Pale Ale, an Irish Red, and an Oatmeal “Cookie” Stout. Realistically all of these will be ready to drink by Summer. I guess these should have been more American Wheat’s, and Hefe’s, and Saison’s – oh well – I’ll drink anything.

Iron Hill Mug Club Renewal

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

So yesterday was the Iron Hill Wilmington location’s Mug Club Renewal Party. I’ve got to say, Iron Hill’s Mug Club is a great deal!


Per usual, I brought my camera with me and forgot to take any pictures. Instead, here’s a picture of my past mugs, pretty cool. I think my favorite ones are the 2006 and 2008 mugs, but they’re all good.

I also finally talked Robert into joining. Every year he says he wants to but misses the sign-up date or doesn’t have the cash or something, but this year he’s in. It was actually perfect timing when he walked in; he got in line to sign up, a waitress went by with beer samples, then another with appetizer samples, and he was like ‘oh, yeah, I can get used to this’ and all I could say was ‘welcome to the V.I.P. club’ because that’s exactly what it felt like.

I tried Iron Hill’s newest beer their Imperial Pilsner last night, plus I had their Hopfection IPA, and sips on the Bourbon Imperial Stout and Bourbon Porter – all were delicious! Plus they had the included buffet lined up which included all sorts of goodies, soft pretzels, fries, pizza, hot wings, hummus, crab dip, and bruschetta – blazin’!

In case you didn’t know, well, now you know – here’s what is included in the Iron Hill Mug Club – oh, and it’s good at like all 53 of their locations 😉

Mug Club Loyalty Card Perks

  • Drink from an exclusive 24 ounce signature handmade beer mug
  • Any-time filling of the mug for the same price as the 16 ounce pint
  • Use of your mug during any Iron Hill pint promotion
  • Invitations to exclusive mug club events throughout the year
  • Direct contact via email with the head brewer regarding upcoming releases and events
  • Earn a $25 reward certificate for every 300 points accrued
  • 200 free points credited at time of sign-up
  • Take home collectible mug at the beginning of the year

Mug Club Loyalty Card Rules

  • Cost of membership is $35 per year
  • Mug club and loyalty cards must be renewed each year
  • Mug design changes each year
  • Membership expires January 31, 2010
  • Unused points roll over at time of renewal
  • If you choose not to renew, unused points will be forfeited
  • Membership and card are non-transferable
  • Points are accrued for each dollar spent, excluding tax and tip and the purchase of gift cards

Come to think of it I suppose I only have one minor beef, I’ve noticed on the check that the Mug price appears to be higher than the 16 oz price sometimes – I must question / investigate into that one. I stand corrected, I was correct in noticing the “normal” price and the Mug price are some times different, and here’s why from someone who knows: Wanted to follow up on your “beef”. Mug Club members get the 24 ounce mug filled at the pint price. Several of our seasonals, however, are not served in pints, but 12 ounce portions. In these cases, the price associated with the Mug Club mug are in the computer as prices we would charge if we were serving the beer in a pint. This is why on some beers, mostly the strong ones, a difference in the price from the featured beer list and the charged price. However, the list will always show the price and the quantity it is served in. Hope this clears it up.” Thanks! Otherwise go for it, some of their locations are still having there renewals.

It’s a Wrap

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

It’s a wrap, or whatever such nonsense they say when all the shooting for a film is done. So, now time to celebrate!


We actually finished shooting yesterday, Monday, February 16, 2009. We were suppose to finish on Sunday, but we had technical difficulties and had to re-shoot a scene on Monday. The good news is the Monday footage was even better. Still, I’m not going to say much about the film. But, it is due to DFH by March 1st and the Film Fest is the first weekend in April, so probably between those two dates it will become available to all to watch. Now it’s time to finish the editing, focus on the soundtrack, and add some sound effects. It’s going to be sweet, though more of the burden has been shifted to Erik and Sharon now. Break a leg, or some other such nonsense 🙂

What’s On Tap?

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

So, what’s on tap? I thought you’d never ask!


So right now I have the following beers flowing: an American Stout, a California Red, and a Pale Ale. The stout is very much like your “typical” brewpub stout, hoppy and bitter with the roast to follow, pretty drinkable. The red is both a little sweet and a lot hoppy and way in your face in that good way. The pale is super mild, on purpose. I purposefully avoided C-hops and didn’t dry hop, so this beer is a little earthy, a little mellow – but totally drinkable. Just thought I’d tease you all a little, enjoy!

It’s coming, it’s coming, it’s coming

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

I don’t even know where to begin . . . especially since I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag too soon. But let’s see here, maybe just a tasty morsel to help us all out . . .


Again, I don’t want to say too much, though all will be revealed in due time, but basically we’re making a movie – sort of. Let’s just say that DFH has an Off Center Film Fest that we have talked about entering for the last four years – well, we’re finally doing it and today was the first real day of filming, and it went really well in my opinion. Hopefully only a few more major scenes to film and some editing, and then the whole world wide about can see how moronic we really are. Enough . . .

Letting Things Slide

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

So I had two kegs kick in two days with the third one easily going to kick this weekend. So I realized a few things: One I was going to have to cut the handle off another keg, bummer, the keg I chose had a solid handle instead of a hollow one, suckage, after replacing all three kegs (inevitable by this weekend) it will leave me with only one full keg and zero full carboys and needing to order ingredients. I think I may have let things slide a little too far.

Also, don’t mess with important keg stuff when you are apsolutly exhausted and should have been in bed an hour ago (I know it is still early, whatever). One of the new kegs lids started to “leak” when I put it on, I messed with it a little and it appears to have stopped, but I normally wouldn’t have compromised were I not so tired. We’ll see if I still have gas by the end of the weekend.