Build Your Own Kegerator

Aldo Baker sent me a link to this short guide to building your own kegerator out of a small refrigerator.  I thought you might find it interesting – if I build my own I’ll document the process at Technically, Brewing.  Sometime.

Source: PartSelect.com

Inaugural Lansing Microbrew & Music Festival Coming Up April 18-19

microbrewandmusic

Lansing, MI – Craft brew, music and culinary lovers will gather at Adado

Riverfront Park in downtown Lansing for the inaugural Lansing Microbrew & Music Festival scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 18 and 19.

The festival will feature 50+ carefully selected Michigan, national and international craft breweries, 250+ craft beers, ciders, meads and wines as well as more than 100 musicians, marching bands, Homebrewer’s Challenge, food and brew pairings, rare and sour beer tours, and local food vendors.

Rockville, Maryland, band O.A.R. and reggae and hip hop musicians Dirty Heads will headline the Lansing Microbrew & Music Festival, festival producers announced today. Dirty Heads will play on Friday, April 18, and O.A.R. will perform on Saturday, April 19.

To celebrate the eleventh Microbrew and Music Festival, the popular regional event will tour to Lansing to host the event on the banks of the scenic Grand River. VIP and GA tickets include five 8oz. pours and custom tasting glass and feature 50+ carefully selected Michigan, national, and international craft breweries, rare beers including a unique festival edition, representatives and brewers from each brewery, 250+ flavors of beers, wines, ciders and meads, live musical acts, including headliners O.A.R. and Dirty Heads, marching bands, a silent disco DJ dance tent, and local food vendors. Festivities are scheduled to take place from 5-11 p.m. daily. In addition, VIP ticket buyers will gain early admittance and have access to entertaining lawn games, a heated VIP area, private restrooms, a dining area, hydration station, and custom food and beer pairings.

Microbrew & Music Festival will be working in conjunction with the Greater Lansing Food Bank and Xero Waste Events to bring you a wonderful event. 100% of proceeds from alcohol sales will benefit both of these non-profits. GLFB provides emergency food to individuals and families in need in Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Shiawassee, Clare, Isabella and Gratiot counties. Food is distributed through an extensive network of food pantries and community kitchens located throughout the region. The Food Bank annually serves tens of thousands of people, many of them seniors and children. Our recipients also include the “working poor,” those individuals who are employed but don’t earn enough to meet housing, health, transportation and food needs. Xero Waste Events, is a Michigan non-profit organization providing comprehensive recycling services and educating communities on sustainable event practices. With the help of XWE, the 2013 Traverse City Summer Microbrew & Music Festival helped raise over $20,000 for Traverse City non-profit CherryT Ball which directly supports local food banks and Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center. We are proud to partner with Xero Waste, as they also contribute an annual portion of its revenues to local charities.

Sam Porter, founder of the Microbrew & Music Festival, anticipates the festival will provide a burst of energy to the central Michigan region. “We’re excited to launch our eleventh festival as the first annual Lansing Microbrew and Music Festival. We have welcomed over 50,000 ticket buyers to ten [Traverse City] Microbrew and Music festivals over the past five years to experience the craft brew culture and great music of Michigan. Our goal is to have another sold-out festival and help drive thousands of residents and visitors into area businesses, bars and restaurants during an otherwise slower week in April,” he says. Porter adds that after-parties at downtown establishments will further connect festival attendees with the retailers.

The Microbrew & Music Festival at Adado Riverfront Park will take place under a 4,000 capacity mobile tent – the first of its kind in the US. It will house the main stage and provide cover and protection from the elements, if needed. Previous patrons have compared this spectacular structure’s appearance to the Sydney Opera House. Visit Tent Venue’s Facebook page for more information.

The Microbrew & Music Festival educates, celebrates, and inspires community collaboration through the joy of craft brew and great music while raising funds for non-profits.

Tickets and festival details are available at www.microbrewandmusic.com/lansing-tickets. Festival announcements, giveaways, and other information can be found at www.facebook.com/microbrewandmusic. Attendees are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets in advance, as the festival has sold out in past years.

Ticket buyers must be 21 years old.
More Information: http://microbrewandmusic.com/
Contact: Sam Porter, CEO: (231) 499-4968 / sam@microbrewandmusic.com
Katrina Jenkins, Brew Director: (904) 537-0336 / katrina@microbrewandmusic.com

 

Beer. From Georgia.

GAHopsIt’s a wonderful time in Georgia.  We have an explosive growth rate for beer brewers in the state and there doesn’t seem to be any slowing down.  In celebration, I’m going to do my best to go the entire month of March drinking beers exclusively from breweries in the state of Georgia.  So far I’m off to a good start, having gone to the Secret Stash Bash in Atlanta where several local breweries showed up.

The Georgia Craft Beer Fest is March 22 (the FIRST ANNUAL, by the way) and there are already 25 breweries committed to showing up.  To tell the truth, I couldn’t name 25 of them. I think that may be dangerously close to 100% participation.  Last time I looked, the Brewers Association counted 63 breweries in Georgia, and over half of them were breweries in planning.  Enough said.

However, off the top of my head here are the Georgia breweries I’m aware of:

That’s 16.  I’m ashamed of myself that I may be forgetting 9 of my own state’s breweries. Of course, there’s no brewery around my part of the state.  If there were one to start, I’d be the one to start it.  There are many decisions to make…

I, subject to allotted time, will be updating this list with Georgia Craft Breweries as I come across them.  I hope to see all of them at the Georgia Craft Beer Fest in a few weeks.

Updates:

If you know of a brewery in Georgia I haven’t mentioned here yet, please let me know!  You can find me on Twitter or just put one in the comments!

Epic Brewing Hopulent IPA (Release #79)

1-IMG_2221I’ve just opened this and I can’t stop sniffing it.  Hopulent IPA from Epic Brewing in Salt Lake City, UT is part of their Elevated Series of beers, and this one certainly smells so.  I can barely detect some sweetness in this low-carbonated copper-colored IPA over the  delightfully clean hop aroma (Centennial finishing hop, I’m guessing.  I’m probably wrong).

But I guess I should taste it.

And – Wow.  There is absolutely nothing excited on the front of my tongue.  This one’s pure hop juice – all over the center and back of the palate, where the sour and bitter tastes are detected (okay – I just learned that the Tongue Map has been disproven many years ago, but I seriously don’t taste any of this on the front of my tongue.)

That isn’t all Centennial or Cascade hops though.  Let’s have a look at the label (thanks, panoramic iPhone capability):

Epic Hopulent #79

Well, nothing.  However, when I looked at their site I discovered I’d overlooked one detail on the label: the release.

The release details give the beer a very personal view.  This bottle is from release number 79, of which I can see the details of that specific batch:

hopulent_release79_detailsI was right – Centennial hops on the nose (disclaimer: I grow Centennial on my front porch and simply got lucky at guessing what I smelled).  There are no Cascade hops to my surprise.  Columbus, Chinook, Centennial, and Simcoe.

I don’t know what to tell you – try this one, no matter what release.  I will say that the “release” stuff is no bullshit.  #77 was 0.1% higher ABV, and #78 was brewed in a different city (Denver).  That personal touch really does it for me.  I like small batches of hand-made quality beer, and I believe I’ve found it in Epic Brewing.  Knowing that these details are kept and that I can easily find the nitty-gritty on what exactly is in this bottle is enough for me to get another brew from Epic just so I can think about what all went into making that beer.

That’s partly (read: mostly) what my other new blog is about, by the way.

Some details about my particular bottle:

Epic Brewing Hopulent IPA

Style: India Pale Ale

Delivery: 22oz bomber

Brewed: September 18, 2013

Bottled: October 22, 2013 (this IPA was in the bottle for 69 days)

IBU: Not published and not available on BeerAdvocate, but I’d guess in the mid-to-high 80s.

Enjoy this one.  Just reading the BA reviews, it seems to keep getting better with each iteration.  Cheers!

Founders Backwoods Bastard

This is a first review in a long time.  I scored a few bottles of Backwoods Bastard a couple Backwoods Bastard bottleof weeks ago and decided to have it today.  Backwoods Bastard is Founders Dirty Bastard aged in oak bourbon barrels and offered as an annual limited November release.

It pours darker than a brown ale but not completely opaque.  It is heavy on the charred-oak smell and the taste of wood is prevalent.  A friend described it as “very bourbon-ey,” and I can’t find any other word for it.  It’s a mouth full of bourbon without the burn.  I can detect the sweet malts and a hint of chocolate, but the woodiness is almost overpowering.

At 10.2% ABV, Backwoods Bastard is beyond a session ale; the palate just can’t take the beating from the oak and alcohol.  The 50 IBU comes from some hops, but they are also smothered by the redneck whiskey.

Backwoods Bastard in a tulip glassI must say it’s hard for me to appreciate, but if you like bourbon and the sweet taste lent to the beverage from the oak barrel, this one may be for you.  I do believe I have enough of it to keep for next year and compare it to 2014′s batch.  Wouldn’t that be something!

For what it’s worth, I’d still drink it again – but just one at a time.  It’s not a bad ale, just perhaps woodier than I expected.  I believe the last scotch ale I had was Monday Night’s Drafty Kilt, which I remember as being very heavy and sticky, with a highly alcoholic finish.  Backwoods Bastard isn’t as sticky or thick, but still finishes alcoholic with a lot of wood.  We’ll see if Founders changes the algorithm next year, and I won’t fault them if they don’t.  The name says it all – it tastes like it might belong in the trunk of a car headed down the mountain at night with no lights on…

Cheers!

World Beer Festival – Raleigh 2013

This won’t be an organized collection of thoughts.

I went to the World Beer Festival put on by All About Beer magazine in Raleigh, NC a couple of weeks ago.  It took a lot to get me to go – it was a very expensive trip, and the drive (one-way) was twice as long as the festival itself.

I’ll say it was an experience. It wasn’t awesome, but it wasn’t terrible either.  Overall, however, I was disappointed that I didn’t get to carry out my mission at a festival of craft beer: talking to brewers and brewery representatives.  I spoke to just a few.  The big guys weren’t really there – New Belgium was so damn busy they were just slinging beer and moving the line.  Same for Mother Earth Brewing, Oskar Blues, and Sierra Nevada.  When I finally discovered that Dogfish Head was there (booth 42), the fest was nearly over and they were out of beer.  One person was at the table packing it up and didn’t seem like a conversationalist.

Pabst Blue Ribbon had a huge booth to sling PBR and sell anything from hats to PBR pajamas.  No kidding.2013-04-13 12.56.14

Most of the booths were staffed with volunteers.  While I don’t mind volunteers (it’s time-consuming and thankless work), it would have been nice to have knowledgeable folks at each booth (preferably from the brewery) to talk to about their beer.

I will say that Sierra Nevada was an exception – they had someone (a fantastic-looking woman) out front to plug their new North Carolina location and how they’re doing it all green and sustainable and tending to the needs of outdoorsy people.  Apparently you’ll be able to visit the new location via kayak.

I got to taste a lot of local-ish beers since they had a North Carolina brewer’s tent.  I knew I’d find a lot there I hadn’t had before since most of them don’t distribute in Georgia.  One memorable brewery was Raleigh Brewing, a downtown production brewery that has an on-site homebrew store.  Their head brewer, John Federal, gave a talk about starting a brewery:2013-04-13 15.19.51_halfsize

I approached him after the talk and told him I loved his House of Clay Rye IPA (one of his own creations).  We spoke briefly about starting a brewpub – something my drinking club is mulling over – and he wished me the best of luck.  It was by far the best interaction with a brewery that I had at the entire festival.  I went back to Raleigh Brewing’s booth and bought that same red shirt you see Mr. Federal wearing above.

I remember it being crowded:

2013-04-13 12.48.25

 

That part I didn’t enjoy.  It was so loud and full of people seemingly on a mission to drink as much beer as they can, even if it was two ounces at a time.  I found very few people interested in the breweries, quality, ingredients, or the brewers themselves.  In short, it was more of a drunk-fest than a quality beer event.

In retrospect, I can’t say I blame anyone for my displeasure except myself. These festivals serve only a couple of intentional purposes, and neither of them have anything to do with Ben on Beer getting one-on-one with breweries:

  1. Breweries want to get out to the market and get their beer in as many hands as they can.
  2. All About Beer magazine wants to generate more interest in craft beer and gain an increase in readership.

This is capitalism, and I am not against it.  I think it would be wonderful for a brewery to come away from the festival with 300 more customers who know the beer is good, and will remember that when they see it in the store.

The challenge is getting that crowd to remember anything after the event.

I guess a decent thing to do would be to list my thoughts here so maybe someone reading will have some direct language to consider:

It was a drunk-fest.  I said it before, and there’s really nothing I can do about it.

The talks were awesome, but if I wanted to attend all of them there would be no time before or after to visit the booths.  I guess I wanted more time, or maybe a separate day for beer nerd talk.

The restroom situation couldn’t have been handled any better.  Hats off to that one.

I can’t carry everything.  No backpacks allowed, but where do I put all my stuff when I have to pee?  I went alone this year.  I collected as many artifacts from the brewers as I could, and ended up loading myself down almost to the point that I couldn’t move about.

Well, that’s it for now.  Maybe if things come back to me I’ll update this post.  I most likely won’t go again unless I move much closer to the Raleigh/Durham area.

Ben on Beer Episode 13 – Indio Is a No Go

In this episode, we taste test a beer that was sent to Ben. It was Indio. Sorry to say, it didn’t meet our standards and we had to drink something else to get a good taste out of our mouths!  Please note we wrapped up this run of the Ben on Beer show with this 13th episode.  We want to thank Continue reading

Arcade Brewery Launches Its First Label Design Challenge

I received an e-mail from Lance Curran at Arcade Brewery today:

For Immediate Release

Arcade Brewery, a soon-to-open Chicago craft brewery, recently launched their first Public Brew challenge; a crowdsourced beer line. The Public Brew series engages Arcade Brewery’s community to help create aspects of the beer from naming the beer, label design, and even suggestive aspects of recipe formulation. The first Public Brew will be a Scotch Ale.

Arcade Brewery recently polled their community for beer names on their Facebook page. More than 150 submissions were reduced to 7 finalists and over 470 votes determined the Scotch Ale’s future name: William Wallace Wrestle Fest.

Arcade Brewery is now accepting label design submissions for the newly named beer through March 15th, 2013. The artist of the winning design will be awarded $300 and have their design printed as the beer’s label. More information on the label designchallenge can be found at http://www.arcadebrewery.com/forum/design-challenge/

Arcade Brewery will also be launching 6 Pack Stories (a comic across 6 bottles of beer)  his summer. 6 Pack Stories is written by Jason Aaron (Scalped, Thor, Wolverine) and  designed by Tony Moore (The Walking Dead, Venom, Fear Agent, Deadpool)

Please feel free to email info@arcadebrewery.com with questions or for more details on the challenge.

Cheers!

My Own Angry Orchard

As you may be aware from reading a previous post, I made a good hard apple cider recently and bottled it three weeks ago today.  This being my first fruit-based product and containing lots of sugar and active yeast, I was weary of bottling them in glass.  When my babysitter was to arrive this morning, I contemplated moving them to the shed from the kitchen floor where nothing would ruin if one popped or a cap came loose.

“Nah,” I told myself.  “…it’s been three weeks already.  It has to be settled by now.”

At 11:28 this morning, I got a text from the babysitter: “…one of the bottles in the box in the kitchen busted….”  Great.

No one was in the kitchen and no one was injured.  For that I am thankful.

I came home today to find the bottle, expecting to see a bottle broken at the neck with the cap still attached.  I did not find what I expected:

2013-02-18 17.06.12 2013-02-18 17.06.19

They had swept up the rest, including the cap.  There are still glass shards around the inside of the box.  This wasn’t a bottle popping, it was an alcoholic grenade.  I had originally thought they’d be under some pressure, but I guess I was wrong about them being safe after a few weeks.  Now I’m going to keep them outside somewhere they won’t get too much sun for a while and check on them later.  I don’t think I’m comfortable with shipping these quite yet.

I’ll report later if there are more incidents (and start drinking them tonight).  I’m just glad I didn’t give too many away so far – someone could have had a bad day.

Ben on Beer Episode 12 – First Hangout

This episode is the first to be carried out via Google+ Hangout and was a success after some trial and error. We talked about the status of Ben’s cider, some news in Decatur, Georgia, and the prospect Continue reading