Our final selection of American Craft Beer Week 2009 was not without debate. Ultimately, the Day 7 selection became an obvious one: Homebrew. The spirit of homebrewing lives in almost every craft beer brewer. Even Jim Koch of the industry's largest craft brewery, Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams), brewed the first batch of Samuel Adams Boston Lager in his kitchen.
Brewing beer is a delightful combination of ingredient experimentation, research, chemistry, hard work, and cooking (and cleaning... ugh). Each batch is cooled and stored for a week to a month (or more) while fermentation occurs. By the time the finished beer has reached a bottle or keg, it represents the painstaking, but rewarding, job the brewer carried out (keeping precise temperature control, sanitizing equipment, etc.) all while throwing a few back during the process.
Want to get started homebrewing? John Palmer's online book is a great place to start. You will also want to Google my 1st round draft pick in The Ferm's Anything Mock Draft, Charlie Papazian. He is the godfather of homebrew and craft beers. He also authored what is considered "The Guide" for homebrewing, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing.
Seven days of celebrating American craft beers and still not pumped? Check out the video below. This was shown during keynote speech by Greg Koch of Stone Brewing Co. at the 2009 Craft Brewers Conference. It is sure to get the juices flowing.
May 17, 2009
Champagne Brut De Pimps (homebrew)
I won't go into a lot of details about the champagne beer that K-Dub and I brewed for his wedding, since most of you can't try it for yourselves. However, let me say this sweet and light amber colored beer is one of the best I've reviewed this week. The beer is complex in flavor and as pleasing cold as it is warm, although not quite as tasty as the Day 5 Golden Monkey at room temperature.
Typical of a homebrew, the entire process did not go off without a hitch. Half of the bottles made did not get primed (for non-homebrewers, a sugar solution is added at bottling which is fermented by the residual yeast causing the beer to carbonate after bottling). I volunteered to sample a few bottles from each case made to check for carbonation problems, but never found any... quite a rewarding quality control job I might add.
The final product is fantastic, but the beer was fun to make as well. I won't bore the casual reader with the details, but if you are interested, be sure to check out the recipe. The Maltose Falcons also published a great writeup covering the process for the Methode Champenoise and a picture narration of them making the beer.
This lovingly crafted homebrew is a medium golden color, a little hazy at first pour due to the yum-yums at the bottom of this beauty. Once the fog settles it looks crisp and clear. It doesn't taste hoppy, in fact it's just this side of Belgium-y. It leaves your pallet with a clean finish. In fact the warmer it gets, the Belgium flavors begin to explode (did I mention before that I love Belgians?) This beer is for me. There is great carbonation to this bottle aged brew.
The Champagne Brut De Pimps is not one you can go out and buy, so you'll just have to take my word for it. It's DELICIOUS!! For such a fine tasting beer one doesn't even realize it's stabbing you in the back with its high alcohol content (well, at least not until it's too late... see Mr. Smokey Pants for details). I mean seriously, double digits on this one at 10.2%!! Highly recommend... two pints up to this one. I'm just sorry we can't share it with the world. Two pints up to K-Dub and SirRon for brewing up this baby. You two make beautiful beers together. Now I'm going to go back to enjoying this prized and LIMITED possession.