The Brewer’s Barrel

It’s been thirteen months since I have brewed a beer.  It’s been approximately twenty-five months since I have brewed a successful beer.  Yeah, the last one just, sort of, kinda, well … exploded.  I had planned an awesome Winter of Brewing, beginning in October of 2012.  This did not occur.  Life conspires.  Time expires.

As with most home brewer’s, however, creating Art In A Glass is in my blood and eventually I shall return to it just as the Jedi returned to a galaxy far, far away.  And whence I do I’ll begin with old recipes that I have stored on my computer.  Once I need more I’ll be looking online.  Like I haven’t been doing that anyway.

Some brew recipe sites are difficult to navigate.  I like this one at the moment:  The Brewer’s Barrel.  It’s a clean site, nice fonts, good colors, easy to read.  Those are seriously important factors for me.  The site does not allow you to create your own recipes.  It is a compendium of recipes from home brewer’s around the country.  The home page lists popular recipes and newest recipes.  You can also choose to see all recipes.  They are grouped by style and indicate if they are All Grain or Extract recipes.  This site is a great starting place for a Brew Day.

While it doesn’t let you craft your own specialized recipe it does have a practical option that other similar sites seem to lack.  Once you’ve found the recipe you like you can click “Buy Ingredients.”  The Brewer’s Barrel is connected to a home brew supply company in Chicago called Brew Camp.  Once you click their link you can buy the exact ingredients in that recipe.  Now, it sends the order immediately to Brew Camp.  You’ll get an email confirming your order.  Make sure you’re ready to order when you click the link and enter your information.  The guys at Brew Camp will send you a confirmation email within a few hours and contact you for payment.

The homebrewing community is a social place and Brewer’s Barrel capitalizes on that.  Go on, check it out.  Add your own recipe.  I hope to get around to brewing it one of these days.


A Glass of Friday – Shiner Marzen-Style Oktoberfest by Spoetzl Brewery

Word is that the Spoetzl Brewery, maker of the Shiner line of beers, took some medals at this little beer fest we call the Great American Beer Festival.  Wish I could’ve been there.  That implies that I wasn’t there.  That implication is utterly veracious.

Upon reading that my favorite Texas brewery (for now, since I haven’t really had other Texas beers – what a horrible phrase to have written!  My very knuckles feel cursed after keyboarding such heresy!) won gold medals, I forthwith decided it was time for a series of Friday Glasses featuring the Shiner beers.

Even though this is November I will be drinking a beer named after two other months, namely March and October.  Livin’ on the edge!

In Appearance …
It be looking like perfection.  It seems that for many years the mainstream image of a beer is a fizzy yellow libation in a mug.  But for Crafters* I believe the image is different.  I think it’s this beer, or, to be more specific, this style of beer.  It’s mango-tango or clementine in color, a beautifully clear orange kind of color.  A slightly off white head sits atop it, like some kind of giant mushroom.  And it’s in a pint glass.  Orange is the new yellow, to corrupt a stupid modern saying.

That Smell …
Did some M&Ms take a dunk in this beer?  And were they loaded on brandy?  And there seems to be a small aroma of, maybe, Roman Meal – I mean, bread.

But The Taste …
Dang, it tastes yellow.  No, more caramelly than yellow.  Does that even make sense?  No.  All right, fine, I got nothing.  I am totally without inspiration right now.  Fine, it’s like the Dallas Cowboys.  I hear people say they are spectacularly talented, just like the judges say this beer is medal worthy.  I want to believe.  I taste hints of greatness within the beer.  There’s a suavity it gains as it warms.  Sometimes it seems mediocre, though.  Unlike with the Cowboys, however, I will trust what the judges of GABF say – this is a good beer, I just ain’t educated enough to dig it yet.  As far as the Cowboys, well, whatever, I still watch cuz I am Texan, but …

Join Me For A Plate Of …
I have no idea.  Sorry.

The Conclusion of the Matter Is …
Will I drink this again?  Duh, of course I will.  Was it worth drinking this time around?  Duh, of course.  Let it warm up before you drink, because, seriously, this drink gets way better the warmer it is.

*A note on the word “crafters.”  You know how Star Trek fans are sometimes called Trekkies?  And the so-called hard-core Trekkies insist that they should be called Trekkers, because, I guess, it sounds more “official” or what-not.  So, using similar logic, I will call craft beer drinkers and enthusiasts “Crafters.”

Kingman’s Beer and Brat Festival

Being less than impressed by my visit to this festival last year it is surprising I find myself here once more. I blame my sister. She wanted to go this year. Since it is a beer event (loosely) and I am slightly attempting to keep tabs on these things in Kingman, and it seems decent to preserve consanguineous relations, well, here I am.

The weather is decidedly worse this year. Heavy gray clouds are threatening to bring forth a downpour of some kind of precipitation. The temperature is too low. At least it’s not raining yet.  It’s about a quarter to five and so far there are approximately twenty people here.  My sister and I just missed the polka band. Good or bad?

One big improvement his year is: I made it in time for the good beer. Beck’s Octoberfest and Mudshark’s Oktoberfest is not sold out yet.  Of course, I did not realize that Mudshark had a presence at the Octoberfest until I’d ordered a Beck’s.  Ah,well; I’ve got cash for more beer.  The Beck’s had a good head. It was orangey in color. It was a little thin. However, it was better than other choices. Bud Light, Budweiser, Shocktop Pumpkin.

But Mudshark’s Oktoberfest was the best. Who’s shocked? Really? I chose a seat in the sun to try to keep warm but the downside is that it was near the road,  The aroma of the Mudshark beer was masked by exhaust. How lovely. But the taste was present. Bread, caramel, cigarette smoke – what the?  Stupid smokers.

It’s more brown than I expected.  But, I am looking at it through a mildly opaque plastic cup.

Still, it was enjoyable.  Two cups worth.

What else happened?  Well, I learned that Budweiser has a presence in Fort Collins, Colorado.  I can’t say I was thoroughly happy with that.  My sister visited the brewery when she lived in Loveland.  I realized that I hate that there are some nice locations in this town and they are ruined by various things:  trains, people.  That’s right, Locomotive Park downtown isn’t bad, just not utilized right.  The cursed train rolled through at least three times.

The event is still boring.  I mean, the beer was decent this time.  But there was too much downtime.  We waited way too long for the next band to setup with nothing to do but listen to pre-recorded Bryan Adams and watch some people make googly eyes at each other – and they weren’t young enough for it to be cute.  Neither activity was exciting.   Two hours in, maybe forty people have arrived.  The googly eye couples, as noted, some older people (rotary club members?) and a couple of groups of young people who seemed to be enjoying their socializing.  The event organizers expected four grand in total attendance. Wonder if it will happen?

There was a big police presence; didn’t notice them last year. Makes me wonder if something happened last time around.

My sister had a good time because she was introduced to Mudshark. and got to talk.  Those young people seemed to have a good time.  This thing might be better if you had more friends with you.

Kingman’s Oktoberfest wasn’t the total waste of time it was last year, but it still needs more beer.  Much, much more beer.

Samuel Adams Octoberfest – One of Those Beers, the Kind that Turned Me Into a Beer Enthusiast

Yes, back in the day – almost fifteen years ago now – the great beer, Octoberfest, was introduced to me and I to it.  An old friend and I were in the mood for a marzen and we found the Sam Adams version and there was great rejoicing.  It’s a beautiful beer.  We used to have a big party two or three times a year wherein his family and ours and a couple of other would hang out, eat good food and drink beer.  Octoberfest was almost always on the menu if the party hit late in the year.

I think what I love about Octoberfest, and marzen’s in general, is how easy they are to drink.  They are like the ultimate beer style.  For example, Octoberfest does have hops – you can smell that noble green product hovering in the creamy head – but they don’t overpower or dominate the brew.  And Boston Beer has a penchant for hops.  The hops have found their place, they are the gorgeous backup singers in this band.

The roasted malts are sublimely balanced, they taste sweet, just slightly caramelized, a hint of their roasted nature.  The malts provide a medium body, not too thick, not too diluted.  The malts are the band here, a tight band, one that’s played together for years and understands the direction each are taking and they all contribute to the finished product.  The caramel malts help give it the brilliant red-amber glow.  Those Munich malts probably donated the bready aroma.   And they all pitched in for the yeast to provide an alcohol content of5.%.










Talk about a session beer, I think marzen’s are the best.  They don’t require strenuous thinking to dissect their discrete parts.  The beer doesn’t fill you up, it doesn’t assault you with alcohol.  It is everything a beer should be, refreshing, tasty, eminently sharable.  It’s my favorite Sam Adams beer.

I like Boston Beer Company more and more, too.  Now that the malignant Budweiser is no longer and American brewery, Boston Beer has taken over as the largest domestic brewery here.  At least, I believe that’s the case.  (If I am wrong, please, someone notify me).  It has waged war with the bigger breweries, never surrendering, always pressing forward, brewing with honor.  I’m gonna go drink another pint and read another book.