Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hump Day Drinkin' Songs- Halloween Edition

Happy Halloween! Halloween, of course, means trick or treating. We'll be braving the cold to take our 4 little munchkins out tonight. Everyone knows all the cool houses will have a cooler of something cold for the dads. (Subtle attempt to influence behavior- I'm talking to you Bethel). It's only right. Something to warm the cockles on a wind driven night. You might ask what beer goes best with trick or treating. The best answer is free. If you're paying, I'd suggest something with a bit of winter warmer in it. It's gonna be cold in Ohio. No matter what you end up getting into, or not getting into, here's you're Halloween themed Hump Day Drinkin' Song. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hump Day Drinkin' Post- Totally Random Edition

Going to be quick tonight. This has nothing to do with the World Series, or the debates, or Donald Trump, but it is a pretty good song. Enjoy!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The debate we should be having

It’s debate night in America again. That means people every where will be drinking at the mention of Benghazi, tipping one back at the word centrifuge, licking the salt at the words fast and/or furious, or finishing their beverage of choice when someone properly pronounces the word nuclear. And the presidential candidates from the two major parties will be at each other's throats on foreign policy tonight in South Florida, in my experience a region unfortunately devoid of any real beer options. Being a beer blogger, a home brewer, and a man of with definite ideas about the kinds of people he trusts with important issues I wonder if we should explore the candidates’ views on the world of hops and barley. I’ll try to spell out, briefly and as without bias as I can.

We’re all well aware that Governor Romney, as part of his religious beliefs, is a teetotaler. He even joked at the recent Al Smith dinner that he’s there as the designated driver. So I suppose it’s fairly obvious that he’s not going to be kicking back any home brews any time soon. Even if I still had any in the basement, it wouldn’t do me much good to offer. Still though, every good party needs a guy that’s willing to drive home. He’s the kind of guy that probably wouldn’t be there if he wasn’t willing to take the keys and haul everyone else to their door steps. But, can you trust a guy that doesn’t enjoy a beer?

Then there’s President Obama. There’s been much made in recent months about the president’s link to home brewers as one of their own. But you have to ask yourself- did he actually brew it, or was it staff? This article from CBS news seems to point toward the kitchen staff creating the White House brews we’ve heard so much about. I think a fair question tonight might be to have the president explain IBUs or degrees Plato to us. While there’s something admirable about a White House that’s making its own brew, is there something disingenuous about leading us to believe the president had a hand in it?

So I’ll put it to you, loyal NGB readers, where do you fall on the real presidential debate- a teetotaler, or a wanna be homebrewer? Discuss.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ranting and raving about Food Network's "Beer" recipe

Was cruising the internets tonight and ran across this. I'm not much of a fan of the food network for whatever reason. I'm a fan of food, and a fan of TV, but don't really get the allure of food on tv. But to each his own. That being said, I picked up some star anise at an Amish shop awhile back and now is the perfect time to brew a winter beer, probably a stout or porter, with that crisp licorice flavor. So I went searching for inspiration. Needless to say, I didn't find it on the food network site. The idea of making a syrup and adding it to beer, for some reason, has me perplexed. If you're going to buy the beer, why not buy the beer you're trying to get to? If you're going to make beer, why not just make the beer from scratch. We all know those food network folks can boil water and follow a recipe. If we're being honest, that's really all there is to beer brewing, at least on the most basic level. The more I type and think about this suggestion, the more offended I am as a brewer. You'll never see me suggest that you go buy a frozen pizza and add truffles to it to make the pizza you were trying to get at. So, it doesn't seem right to me that they'd suggest you add some sort of syrup to a beer someone else brewed. I know I'm ranting there, but am I wrong?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

How did this happen?

I've known it was coming. I knew this day would be upon me all too soon. I just didn't expect it today. Earlier this afternoon I went to the beer cellar (OK, so it's a set of shelves in my garage) and pulled out the last 3 home brews I own. The last 3. How? Why? Where have I gone wrong? This has a couple of implications. First, I need to keep a better eye on my supply of commercial brews because I don't currently have a backup plan. Secondly, and more importantly, it's time to brew. Probably twice. At least. I'll take suggestions. What should I brew? Probably looking at something darker for the winter. I've got some star anise that I want to experiment with, so that's definitely in play.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hump Day Drinkin' Songs- Influencing the next generation edition

I've always had hopes that my boys would grow up with good taste in music. I can't stand the thought of hearing a bunch of ridiculous pop songs coming from their rooms when they reach the teenage years. To that end, I spend a lot of time exposing them to music from days gone by. From when music was music. So this week, in honor of my 5 year old's latest favorite song, here's Levon Helm and The Band.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pressin' some cider

I have to admit, I really struggled with the title of this post. I know there's a pun there somewhere. It's probably somewhere between some sort of Cider House Rules reference and a quote from an athlete about how they suck because they're pressing too hard. But I blew it.

You may remember that last month I became the proud owner of a cider press. Well, yesterday I joined up with our friends over at Redsneck and a few other family members and put it to use. Turns out this year's weather has been rough on apples like it's been rough on just about everything else- my hops included. So my lovely wife was able to procure for us a whole bushel of apples (sensing sarcasm?). There's a fine mix here of golden delicious and Granny Smith's. The woman at the orchard suggests mixing a sweet and a tart and since that's all they had available, that's what we went with.

Making cider is actually a pretty simple process. We took it in two steps.
1) Pulverize the apples. 2) Press the juice out. It's really that simple. If you have the right equipment. To the left is a picture of the crusher my brother in law built using mostly parts he had laying around the workshop. You might be able to make out the spinning drum. It's lined with stainless steel screws that stick out about an eighth of an inch. These do most of the crushing. It's a pretty clever little contraption that as you can tell is somewhat portable. I'm sure he'd be willing to sell you some plans. If he had any. Right below is a video of the thing in action. It's pretty cool actually. Nice weekend project. The kind of thing I wish I had time/patience/skill to do and am glad to know people that do.

So that's step 1. Now that the apples are crushed, you put them in the press and push the juice out. We used a brewing bucket to catch our treasure.

From this point it's just a matter of filtering- I suggest cheesecloth and bottling. We moved from one bucket to another to filter and then back to the bottling bucket because it has a spigot. I used the spigot to fill cleaned out gallon jugs and we were all set. I half filled these jugs because we were splitting the haul 4 ways. For $26 we turned a bushel of apples into 3 gallons of cider. So we've got some refining to do to beat the store prices, but it was a fun time and there's nothing like fresh cider.

Since this is a brewing site and I do enjoy the opportunity to tip one back, I'll throw in a bonus tip. If you mix 3 parts cider with 1 part bourbon you will not be disappointed. Trust me.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Humpin' a Little Early- Post Season Edition

Just got done watching my Reds drop game 3 of the NLDS to the Giants. If ever there was a need to drink... But tomorrow's another day. Think we'll be hearing this one at GABP Wednesday afternoon? Hope so.