Please forgive me for my absenteeism, we had a baby on November 7, 2011, and she is my overall priority. I will continue to try to get posts up and hopefully I will stop neglecting the fabulous blog. Thanks!
I am just trying to enjoy beer responsibly, and hope others enjoy the same that I do.
I went from living in Central PA, to downtown Baltimore, and now I moved back to Central PA/bought a house/got married. I still work in Baltimore, which allows me to be open to obtaining the precious beer that I love, but it introduces me to others that cannot be found in Baltimore. I am now in search of my new home bar and perfecting my new hobby- homebrewing.
What does a beer geek do for the beer selection when getting ready for his wedding? I pondered that question for a long time. Then while talking to my brother (an experienced homebrewer), we decided to brew for the wedding. Then, what style do we brew? The answer came in the form of when the wedding was taking place (October) and what can we make (ale)... this turned into our own Oktoberfest style ale (we also brewed a basic Witbier to give another option for the reception). Because of time and simplicity, we chose to go with a partial malt recipe, we didn't have and entire day to devote to the beer.
The Lighting of the Kettle
My brother lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan for a couple of years. Down the street from where he lived were a group of guys who love beer, and all brewed together. This helped my brother out trremendously, as their knowledge helped develop his skills. He, in turn, is helping me learn the art. (It was great having someone who knows what is going on, and why everything works- as well as his equipment.)
The day turned out to be a nice brewday. A bit chilly in the morning, high in the mid 70's, with little breeze.
Sometimes you have to wait
My brother and I started the day by both grabbing a variety pack from the distributer. He showed up with Troeg's Anthology (one of the greatest mixed packs out there- in my opinion). I decided to give the Magic Hat variety pack a whirl.
Magic Hat's beer is good, but I always thought it was somewhat basic. Their #9, very popular with many of my friends, is good, but I can't get into it like others. I always thought that Blind Faith was very good, and loved buying a pint, but then they stopped making in (yes, I am happy they just brought it back). They just released Vinyl, which is a Amber Lager, something you can drink all night, but not go out of my way for. What I do appreciate, is their Odd Notion series. Not always my favorite beers, but sometimes they bring on a great beer- the American Sour was absolutely amazing.
In the two mix packs were:
Troeg's- HopBack, DreamWeaver, Pale Ale, and Java Head.
Magic Hat- #9, Hi.P.A., Hex, Odd Notion (Green Apple Wit)
The Hex (and Oktoberfest) and the Odd Notion made alot of sense on the day, as we were brewing both (although no green apple). All of the Troeg's were delicious, as usual. The Odd Notion had a strong Green Apple smell, but was very mellow when drank. All the beer was very drinkable, and perfect for an early Autumn/late Summer day.
Some of the other guys came around for the brew, one guy (my former roommate and Max's drinking partner) brought his leftover 21st Amendment Brew Free or Die IPA- can't go wrong.
We decided to get spring water, chosing to avoid the hard water found at the house. After firing up the kettle, we were able to use the first of my brother's toys that he brought along. The 7lb. Barley Crusher grain mill ripped the malt apart for us. The chocolate malt and pale malt then went into the pot.
We were originally going to feature only Hellertau hops in the Oktoberfest, but instead chose to use the Hellertau in the boil and help it out with some Saaz towards the end.
The Witbier used wheat flakes as well as some pale malt flavored with coriander. We also utilized Hellertau and Saaz hops for the witbier to match the Oktoberfest.
It just smelled so good.
We will be kegging the beer into corny kegs after the fermentation in complete. Overall, we are looking for these beers to be enjoyable by both craft drinkers and macro drinkers. The fact that remains is: it is a wedding, people will drink whatever is available. Maybe one of these people will say, wow, this has more flavor than Bud Light. Then the next time they are out, they order something new. Who know? It could happen.