Racking Our Wine

wine1Today we racked our wine that we picked grapes for on September 27th. We got what was left at the vineyard which turned out to be a mix of Prairie Star and Delaware grapes.

The specific gravity has dropped to a .996 but the wine still has a bit of tartness. We added 2.5 campden tablets and 4 ounces of lightly toasted oak chips. In a month we will have to see how it tastes and then decide if it needs any sweetening. wine2

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Reinheitsrevolt! Homebrewing Contest

Reinheitsrevolt_Poster_Proof-1Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace Presents

REINHEITSREVOLT

Homebrewing Competition

During Madison Craft Beer Week 2014 Tex Tubb’s went out on a limb and collaborated with five local breweries to produce six amazing brews using unique ingredients once forbidden by the German Purity Law known as Reinheitsgebot. Tex Tubb’s is now challenging the Greater-Madison Homebrewing Community to brew with two or more of the ingredients we used in our 2014 brews.

Judges will choose a Best-in-Show entry based on adherence to base style and proper incorporation of one or more of the special ingredients. The Best-in-Show winner will then go on to assist Next Door Brewing Company Lead Brewer Bryan Kreiter in brewing a three barrel batch of the winning beer.

The winning beer will be released at Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace Friday May 1st during Madison Craft Beer Week 2015 and subsequently on tap at Next Door Brewing Company while supplies last.

More Details About This Contest Can Be Found Here: http://textubbstacos.com/events/?title=home-brew-contest

 

Check out Brewsconsin

Apologies for those who follow the blog. I haven’t written much as I have spent the last 6 months working with 5 breweries to create six unique beers for my restaurant. Please check out my other blog if you are interested in knowing more. We made the following beers.

Barrigon Barril Cafe:

We collaborated with our friends and neighbors at One Barrel Brewing Company to create this Imperial Brown Coffee ale made with Tex Tubb’s special blend of Just Coffee beans. After primary fermentation, we aged half of the batch in firkins on maple wood and Costa Rican cacao nibs from Tabal Chocolate in Milwaukee. One Barrel Brewing Co. will be aging the other half of the batch on oak and another cacao liqueur and then releasing it simultaneously at their brewery two doors down from Tubb’s.

Enrique Sucio:

At 5:30 we will tap the first custom beer in our House of Brews double feature: Enrique Sucio. Enrique Sucio is an Imperial IPA aged on lightly toasted/Scorpion Mezcal-soaked oak chips that boasts a strong yet subdued malt backbone, while featuring the citrusy aromatics and flavors of Amarillo hops. With notes of oak and smokiness, reminiscent of Clint Eastwood’s voice, this sweet-finishing brew begs the question: “Do you feel thirsty? Well, do ya, punk?”

Pancho:

Pancho is a bold yet refreshing Mexican IPA featuring cirtusy hops from New Zealand and zested lime peel. The brew is named after revolutionary general and Mexican hero Pancho Villa. While Pancho is the featured brew, Hydro Street might dazzle us with one or two of their other creations. Brewmaster Aaron will be on hand to chat beer with all of our beer-curious friends and patrons. The first 100 customers to order Pancho will receive a free commemorative pint glass. ¡Viva la revolucion, viva Mexico, y viva la cerveza!

Saison De Cilantroctus:

Saison De Cilantroctus is a traditional Franco-Belgian Farmhouse Ale featuring fruity/spicy esters in the forefront. Traditionally farmers brewed these beers in the winter with whatever ingredients were on hand. We took a similar approach using roasted cactus paddles and cilantro from our kitchen. The only difference between us and traditional farmhouse brewers is we won’t be waiting until summer to indulge in this brew.

Rey Rye:

Rey Rye is a malt-forward Imperial Rye Vienna beer with low hop bitterness and a spicy rye finish brewed for us by  Next Door Brewing Company. Rey Rye was brewed with German Pilsner, Vienna and Rye malts and features German hops from Gorst Valley in Wisconsin to give the brew a distinctive hop nose. Brewmaster Keith will be on hand to address the masses. The first 50 royal subjects to order Rey Rye will receive a commemorative pint glass.

Templo:

Templo. Templo is a Smoked Chocolate Chipotle Porter featuring roasty character and a complex layering of Bolivian cacao nibs and chipotle warmth that will set your heart on fire! Kali Ma… Kali Ma… Shakti de!

Craft_Beer_Week_Posters_Set-1

MobCraft

Henry Schwartz realized when he was 19 years old that it was legal for him to buy brewing ingredients, but not legal to buy beer. A few years later he and two friends (Giotto Troia and Andrew Gierczak) started MobCraft and recently released its first commercially available beer: Participation Pale Ale. The malt-forward heavily-hopped pale ale was the result of crowd-sourcing which differentiates MobCraft from the rest of the pack.

Each beer brewed by MobCraft is the result of an online vote where fans can submit votes and even recipes for which beer they would like to see brewed next. But, the video can probably explain it better than I can.

Currently, MobCraft is brewing at the House of Brews off of Stoughton Road in Madison, Wisconsin where they lease space for the tanks they bought from brewmaster Page Buchannan. MobCraft hopes to be able to build their own brewhouse in the near future when they plan to add a subscription option tho their beer distribution.

MobCraft-beerThe subscription would involve a three, six, or 12 month commitment where subscribers would get a four-pack of 22oz bottles of each brew delivered either to a local pick-up location or to their home. The home delivery option would be a bit more expensive as it would involve the beer being (for legal reasons) back to their homes. The beer will cost an estimated $25 per four-pack before shipping charges, but Schwartz says the crowd-sourced beer will be worth it.

“The focus of the company will be to make really cool beers,” said Schwartz. “Not just Ambers and Pale Ales, but indigenous beers with non-traditional brewing ingredients.”

Currently MobCraft’s Participation Pale Ale is Available at Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace, the Majestic, 8 Seasons Grille and the Lakefront Pub in Whitewater. MobCraft only made seven barrels, so I recommend trying this beer while you can, because before long the beer will be replaced by the highest vote getter. The Most Mobbed Double IPA is next on their brewing schedule.

Who is Wisconsin Brewing Company?

There is a lot of speculation in the craft beer community about Wisconsin Brewing Company (WBC) and what they will be bringing to the increasingly crowded craft beer marketplace.

During my hardhat tour a few weeks ago, Marketing Coordinator Jessica Schulter didn’t give away much information about branding strategies saying, “We don’t want to be pigeon-holed…it is basically whatever Kirby feels like brewing really.”

While longtime Capital Brewery Brewmaster Kirby Nelson is known for his world class Dopplebocks and strong German-style brewing background, Schulter thinks that Nelson will embrace the freedom in his new role and produce some really great beers.

Nelson recently brewed a 10-barrel test batch at the Great Dane nof what will eventually be WBC’s American IPA. While WBC had expectations that the beer would sell out in a few weeks, it in fact shocked them selling out in just a few days. The American IPA along with a Golden Amber Lager released earlier are the first two sneak-peeks the public has gotten an opportunity to try.

Currently, there is a tasting set for their third trial beer which will be released at the Great Dane and the Vintage Brewing Company on Tuesday July 16th, but WBC isn’t saying what style of beer it is yet, but they are certainly building intrigue amongst craft beer seekers which is clearly part of their marketing strategy.

Wisconsin Brewing CompanyI asked Schulter what the risks were in opening a multimillion dollar brewery capable of producing 100,000 barrels of beer annually right out of the gate and she seemed more than confident that WBC will be successful.

“We’ve got guys who have been in the brewing industry since they legally could be,” said Schulter referring to Nelson and former Capital Brewery President Carl Nolen. “Think about it…Wisconsin…Beer…Perfect! How could it go wrong?”

Schulter also says that with the new brewery being a little more automated, Nelson will have more time to be the face of the brewery.

“I wish we could have Kirby give every tour,” said Schulter. “He is so knowledgeable and passionate about beer and the beer business.”

The brewery plans to give tours of their Verona complex which features a Wisconsin-made brewhouse ideally on November 1st (which also happens to be Nelson’s birthday). Until then, the beer-curious can stay tuned for information at wisconsinbrewingcompany.com.

Former Brewmaster Returns to Capital for Brewing of Second Annual Wisconsin Common Thread Collaboration Brew

DSC_0010Former Capital Brewery Brewmaster Kirby Nelson returned to the Capital brewhouse on Saturday representing Wisconsin Brewing Company for the brewing of the second annual Common Thread beer, which this year is a collaboration between ten Wisconsin breweries.

 

Nelson didn’t miss a beat as he casually got behind the controls at the brewery, where he was brewmaster for 25 years. His return to Capital for the collaboration efforts shows the immense sense of community and brotherhood craft brewers have with one another and exemplifies what Common Thread is all about.

 

“It is meant to be a big rally for Madison and Wisconsin brewers,” said Vintage Brewmaster Scott Manning. “We got a crazy notion last year, that a group of ‘competing’ craft brewers could get together, invent a tasty new beer, have a blast brewing it, and release it in celebration of both Madison Craft Beer Week & American Craft Beer Week. The idea was to toast our town and it’s beer culture, to support local agriculture and industry, and to brew as a tribute to our common bond as scientists and artists in the cause of Great Beer.”

 

While Common Thread’s 2012 inaugural brew was California Common (steam-beer) beer was a collaboration between six local breweries, 2013’s will be a Biere De Garde and feature ten breweries including:

  • Capital Brewery
  • Vintage Brewing Company
  • Great Dane Brewing
  • The Grumpy Troll Brewery
  • Lake Louie Brewing Company
  • House of Brews
  • Karben4 Brewing Company
  • One Barrel Brewing Company
  • Potosi Brewing Company
  • Wisconsin Brewing Company

DSC_0017

“We’ve bolstered our ranks and we’re aiming even higher this year- more local pro brewers, bigger batch size, bigger soapbox…same feel-good, local, crafty mission,” said Manning. “Let’s work together to make a beer to make Madison (and Wisconsin) proud. And let’s lead the charge for Wisconsin’s craft brewers to work together, buy and support local, and to elevate our state’s brewing culture beyond its gilded history, into a future of relevance leadership, and prestige.”

 

While the logistics of the brew are being handled by Capital Brewery, all money made above and beyond the costs of producing the beer will be donated to the Wisconsin Brewer’s Guild. 2012’s Common Thread raised more than $4,000 for the organization, which benefits small brewers across the state.

 

Each brewery has allocated a certain number of barrels to be sold on their premises, and the rest of the brew will be available through General Beverage for restaurants and bars during Madison Craft Beer Week which takes place May 3rd through May 12th.

Single Hop Beers – Ale Asylum’s Approach to American-Style Beers

Isthmus beer writer Robin Shepard recently wrote an article about the Ale Asylum‘s new Blood Red Ale which is a hoppy red ale served exclusively at the Ale Asylum. While I haven’t been in to the brewery to try it as of yet, I think the fact that the brewery uses Citra hops exclusively is an interesting example of how the Ale Asylum is doing something really unique with their American-style brews.

To sum it up: Remember the triple-hops brewed Miller Lite commercials? Yeah, it is kind of like that (because that is how most styles of beer are brewed) except the Ale Asylum likes to use one hop varietal exclusively for each beer giving beer drinkers an opportunity to understand how that particular hops bitters, flavors and aromatizes beer.

asylumAle Asylum brews exclusively use the following:

Hopalicious – Cascade

Ballistic – Amarillo

Satisfaction Jacksin – Centennial

Blood Red – Citra

Below is Shepard’s article and following that is the response I posted on the Isthmus web page.

http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/article.php?article=39027#articleComments

Citra might be the most grapefruity of all hops surpassing the Amarillo Ale Asylum uses in the Ballistic IPA. One of my favorite things about Ale Asylum’s hoppy brews is their use of a single hops in each beer to help distinguish that flavor exclusively. A great way to learn about American hops is to sit down with a Hopalicious, a Satisfaction, a Ballistic and put them next to the Blood Red. Four American style hops featured exclusivel in four beers is pretty awesome.

The Americanization of Beer Styles

Below is a link to an interesting article by Charlie Papazian explaining how homebrewers and craft brewers in America have altered classic beer styles, and in many cases, invented their own. I would agree with most of the article except I think Papazian fails to mention that most of the Americanization involves making beers with higher original gravities leading to higher alcohol content than the beers Americans were originally trying to mimic.

http://www.examiner.com/article/the-americanization-of-beer-styles

2012 Big Beard Brewsconsin Beer Awards

I’ve been re-Tweeting “best of” beer lists a lot lately and figured it was time I made my own awards. With that being said, here they are.

 

MOMMA SAID KNOCK YOU OUT

LAKE LOUIE

WARPED SPEED SCOTCH ALE

warped

The Warped Speed Scotch Ale is one of those beers that not only taste great every time, but one which also really packs a punch. It has been a staple of my diet for a few years now and I suggest it at work to patrons who “don’t have to do anything for the rest of the day”. Brewmaster Tom Porter easily could have won awards for “Nicest Guy in Wisconsin Brewing” or “Brewmaster with the Coolest Guitar Collection,” but the Warped Speed Scotch Ale is truly his most generous gift to those of us who like a little extra bang in our brew without having to fork over extra cash for a beer that only comes in four-packs. Thanks Tommy!

HONORABLE MENTION: CENTRAL WATERS – SATIN SOLSTACE

 

GATEWAY BEER

NEW GLARUS

SPOTTED COW

spotted-cow-e1307666991566

Finally, a beer that I can drink with my mom! Once Miller Genuine Draft Light switched to the 64 calorie version my mom needed a new brand and found solace in Spotted Cow. She has since branched out to a few other craft and imported beers, but I will always remember Cow as the beer which eased her transition to the wonderful world of craft brewing. I recommend this to all beer-curious people at the bar as a good craft beer to try to get their feet wet. It must be working because it is one of the few craft beers that regularly outsells macros in certain pockets of Wisconsin.

HONORABLE MENTION: CAPITAL SUPPER CLUB

 

WISCONSINNOVATION

LAKEFRONT

WISCONSINITE

Wisconsinite-sticker_NoDie

Lakefront took local ingredient sourcing to a whole level with Wisonsinite. Not only are the water, grain and hops all from Wisconsin, so too is the yeast which was developed by Jeremy King from Northern Brewer. Lakefront says “their new strain is believed be to the only North American-grown yeast in commercial use today as well as the first native brewing yeast from Wisconsin.” And to top it off, the Summer Weiss is a very refreshing and tasty summer beer.

HONORABLE MENTION : CAPITAL – ETERNAL FLAME

 

GROUP HUG

COLLABORATION

COMMON THREAD

IMG_0680

Everything about this beer was great. A collaboration between six brewmasters (Tom Porter – Lake Louie, Scott Manning – Vintage, Kirby Nelson – Capital, Rob Lobriglio – Great Dane, Page Buchannan – House of Brews, and Mark Knobel -Grumpy Troll), the Common Thread was a great-tasting example of a California Common with wonderful marketing and a brilliant logo that really made me appreciate what Wisconsin Craft Brewing is all about. None of these guys ever say anything bad about each other, and in fact work together more than the public might be aware. The mindset is not every craft brewery for themselves, but every craft brewery together against the InBevs and SABMillers of the world.

HONORABLE MENTION: MIDWEST HOPS AND BARLEY COOPERATIVE – FIVE BEER RELEASE from SPRECHER, CENTRAL WATERS, LAKEFRONT, BULL FALLS, SOUTH SHORE

 

OUTSIDE THE BOX

ONE BARREL BREWING CO

MAD TOWN BROWN (Chai Spiced Brown Ale)

OBBC_k_fWith a touch of lactose for a creamy sweetness coupled with fresh homemade Chai Tea Spices, this beer was the most interesting brew I tried in Wisconsin. I am not normally a fan of Chai Tea and honestly thought I would hate the beer, but I have got to give credit to Dan and Peter who really put together a winner here. A must-try if you are in the Madison area.

*For full disclosure, I do work at the One Barrel Brewing Co, but I had nothing to do with the formulation of this beer. I just appreciate its uniqueness.

HONORABLE MENTION : NEW GLARUS – SERENDIPITY

 

GO BIG OR GO HOME

ALE ASYLUM

NEW BREWERY LOCATION

Ale-Asylum

Ale Asylum’s $8 million brewery expansion is probably the biggest move in Wisconsin brewing last year. The new location is beautiful, with tons of space to expand, windows where patrons can watch beer being made and packaged, and, oh yeah, it’s really close to my house. More space coupled with efficient bottling and kegging lines ensures better quality and easier distribution which will allow Ale Asylum to enter markets in entire state of Wisconsin in one fell swoop. With quality product and incredible branding, I foresee Ale Asylum becoming a household name in all of Wisconsin and potentially on a larger scale in a very short amount of time.

HONORABLE MENTION: KIRBY NELSON LEAVES CAPITAL TO START WISCONSIN BREWING CO.

 

¡MUY CALIENTE!

SWEET MULLETS

JORGE

mullets

This jalapeno ale is the most drinkable I have had to date. It has the taste of jalapenos without being to spicy to enjoy and entire pint. Ordinarily, I would never had considered such a category for an award since pepper beers are often too peppery for my pallet, but Sweet Mullets really nailed this one. If you are ever in Oconomowoc, stop by the brewery and give Jorge a taste and tell them Brewsconsin sent ya.

HONORABLE MENTION: GREAT DANE – TRI PEPPER PILS

 

MODEL CITIZEN

HOUSE OF BREWS

COMMUNITY SUPPORTED BREWERY

House of Brews Logo

With CSA’s being all the rage these days I love the idea that House of Brews was created with a similar business model. The idea of creating a community of beer enthusiasts that all share in the bounty of brewing through a subscription system is one of a kind as far as I know (didn’t bother to Google it though). Page Buchannan built House of Brews as a place where not only can customers drink the beer, but talk about beer and have some influence on what is brewed. As a brewer and beer-lover, I like the idea that we no longer have to sit at home and drink whatever the brewery decides to make, I like the idea that I can “subscribe” to a beer or series of beers, and I sincerely like Page and House of Brews and appreciate that they bring something new to the table.

HONORABLE MENTION: ONE BARREL – NANO BREWERY

 

FAVORITE WISCONSIN BEERS BY STYLE

AMERICAN PALE ALE: NEW GLARUS – MOON MAN

AMERICAN IPA: POTOSISNAKE HOLLOW

IMPERIAL IPA: ALE ASYLUM – SATISFACTION JACKSIN

AMBER: SPRECHERAMBER

RED: LAKEFRONT – FIXED GEAR

PORTER: O’SONITE TRAIN

STOUT: HOUSE OF BREWS – SNUG OATMEAL STOUT

IMPERIAL STOUT: SPRECHER – RUSSIAN IMPERIAL

LAGER: LAKEFRONT – HOLIDAY SPICE

FRUIT BEER: VINTAGE – RASPBERRY HIBISCUS SAISON