In January I set forth with my partner Sara on an epic 6-week cycling trip across Middle Earth, and while we sampled some tasty beer, our trip was admittedly less about "hoppy drank" and more about escaping the depressive horror of a bone-chilling Canadian winter. Oh, that and finding Hobbit meat. They were not home.
"Where is all the Hobbit meat?", wondered Sara.
Fortunately, before returning home we did manage to score a kilogram worth of New Zealand's highly regarded and sought after Riwaka hops - a hop variety that's currently unavailable in North America (unless you're exceedingly well-connected).
Homebrew Con is an annual homebrewer's conference and celebration organized by the American Homebrewers Association. The event takes place every June and is perhaps best described as a sort of "homebrewer's Mecca" to where thousands of devotees and clubs from across the world (but mostly the United States) travel for three glorious days under the banner of delicious homebrew. The purpose: learning, drinking, and celebrating all things beer and homebrew.
A personal and professional goal of mine is to bring more visibility to women in the brewing industry. So the when the words International Women's Day + Collaboration + Brew + Unite + Exotic were all used in one tweet, my eyes lit up! Yes ? yes ? yes ? yes ? yes! What a great initiative by the Internation Women's Collaboration Brew Day.
Note: post updated March 10th, 2018 with batch 2 revision and notes.
Writing to you live from Silly Sir Brewery/a tiny apartment somewhere in Toronto it's me again - here to share with you the fantastic learnings we had drinking beer and visiting breweries in Berlin and Munich, Germany. Yes: we went to Weihenstephan and and sampled fresh Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier and yes, it was the best part of the trip.
We were stoked when Doug Appeldoorn of People's Pint Brewing Co. asked us to take part in their annual Small Batch Beer Festival – Sept 23, 2017.
But how is this different than another Toronto beer festivals?
With small batch, mostly homebrews, this is exclusive stuff! Only 5 gallons exist. That means once it's gone, it's gone. It's not mass produced. There is a certain charm and craft that goes into small batches. You can really taste the love in each drop, can't you?
A couple weeks ago at my BJCP Study Group we sampled various IPAs from the United States and Canada. One of my favourites was a limited release Black Rye IPA from Amsterdam called Demon Host. It was bright and complex with a touch of roast with a very slight spicy heat that I really enjoyed. As such, I was inspired to try my own interpretation of a Black IPA and submit it to competitions for feedback. I was happy to learn that I received a score of 36.5 at the Cowtown Yeast Wrangler's Homebrew Competition. While I didn't medal, I consider that to be a good score for a first go at the style. I fermented high with a kveik strain, and was pleased with its surprisingly low phenolics and pleasant rummy profile.
Most Malaysians go absolutely crazy for this perplexing, stinky fruit called durian. Its creamy fruit centre is encased in a hard, spiky shell, and its distinctive sulphuric stink immediately envelops its surroundings in a foul, garbage-like wave of offence. It is said that consuming alcohol and durians together will result in an instant death. Sara's younger cousin insisted that I not drink any beer while consuming the controversial fruit as I'd immediately keel over and die.
I was skeptical. Being the experimental brewer that I am, I bet against this notion and almost took it as a challenge. 'I'll show you!' I thought, 'I'll even craft a durian beer to in order to falsify this silly myth!' (though I'd give it to the suckers in my local homebrew club to try first, of course, just in case).
Top o' the mornin' to yeh! Or evenin'... ♩ Lar-de-dar-de-diddle de-dum de-dee! ♩ *clicks heels in the air*
*ahem* excuse me... sorry. I sometimes (err...often) get carried away. I was typing in an Irish accent if you didn't follow. I hope you read it that way. If not, I'll give you five seconds to go back and read it again with an Irish voice in your head... Done? Good. The Irish always seem so chipper, with St. Paddy's Day finally here, there's much to be chipper about. For instance, Silly Sir Brewing Co. (a.k.a. me) is proud to announce the release of it's second Irish Red ale: Klifferd the Big Red Ale. It's big, it's Irish, and it's a whole lot of deliciousness capped and trapped in a bottle.
Rapidly chillin' the wort with copper coils
Man, I've typed so much, yet said so little. Alright, let's get down to brass tacks, shall we?
Giggle Splash is my first attempt at a highly aromatic American IPA. American IPAs are marked by their bright, citrusy hop aromas, and high bitterness. Giggle Splash sits at around 57 International Bitterness Units (IBU) which is considered moderate according official guidelines. For comparison, Budweiser and Molson Canadian sit at around 10 IBU or so (plus or minus a few units). So yes, it's quite hoppy.
Head diminished quite quickly but left some good lacing…
Special thanks to Brulosophy's Marshall Shott for the awesome recipe and name. This beer is a damned good simple, and inexpensive beer to brew. Very clean, and surprisingly crisp. I think the low fermentation temperatures were key to this. I wish there was more head retention, and it may have to do with carbonation levels at this point (they're still a bit low) but I'm wondering what I can do to up the head retention without adding wheat.