It’s just worth it.

New Joint.

Just wanted to let y’all know that I have created a brother site to the Gournal called The Original Gastro Bub, where I will document my gastronomic adventures and things beer-related as well. That’s wassup.

Tired of using the word snow.

It was mostly this crazy snowstorm that covered the car in a solid two feet of snow, but one of our neighbors created a snowbank right next to the car so massive that it didn’t even make sense.  There was no real reason for me to attempt vehicle extraction and I didn’t have anywhere to go by car but it was a challenge thrown down by some d-bag with a snow blower and I had to prove who is the better man.  By proving who the better man is I mean spending a solid 1.5 hours snow shoveling and cursing.  Results below.

C’mon bro, seriously?  Who does that. Anyways, time for me to kick ass.


BOOYAH.

Bassline be bumpin’

For real can’t stop listening to this and just needed to let someone know.  Someone like the internet.

Secret twist, that girl is Aesop Rock’s wife.

 

Just yesterday I completed my long delayed kegerator.  I can now get drunk more efficiently and with fewer spills than ever before.  In fact, I’m half in the bag now with less effort and less drenched in beer.  Not really, but I could be.

beer box

While my friend Dan was supposed to be the foreman on this job, his help eventually came in the form of a tool loan, including a jigsaw (maybe that’s what it’s called, I only recently became a man) and a 2 1/8″ drill bit.  I kind of halfheartedly followed this picasa photostream from ‘Shanman’ for the same model fridge I have and I say halfheartedly mostly because it’s just pictures and a few captions.  The project had a few snags, but overall it dispenses my homebrew easily and keeps it cold.  What more can you ask for?

I’ve been hard at work on the Christmas 4-pack samplers that I’m going to give out as gifts.  I’ve chosen a two subtle light beers, one a Belgian and one of two American ales, and two dark ales. One is a specialty porter that has been aging for a while now and the second is an award winning milk stout that I brewed.  My timeline for fermentation is cutting it close for the Christmas cutoff, but what are the holidays without a little stress.

Tomorrow is straight up exciting as I’m brewing my first beer to put on tap at my parents’ newly purchased neighborhood bar in Pennsylvania.  I think my first foray into commercial brewing, at least in this case, should be something easy to drink and approachable, so I went with a cream ale.  It’s similar to the the American mass market lagers out there, only fermented like an ale at higher temperatures.  It uses a fair amount of adjuncts (maize, rice, and/or sucrose) in the grist but results in a clean, refreshing and easy-drinking “lawn-mower” beer.

Booyah.

Beer Googles

I recently started brewing beer at home.  Backed by the support of AEB and my parents, I dove into the deep end pretty quickly.  The first beer I brewed was an American pale ale that turned out drinkable but had it’s flaws.  The second was a Belgian saison that required the continued application of a heating pad taped to the fermentor and a frustrating and futile attempt to get full attenuation out of a finicky yeast known for stalling.  After that first extract batch and the second extract with partial mash batch, I went to all grain.  All grain is how almost every commercial beer is made, in fact I don’t know of any commercial brew made with extract, but there might be.  Anyways, all grain is where I’m at now and I’m nearing batch ten I believe. AEB helped me set up a spreadsheet to track and evaluate each homebrew, but for now here is a simple list of beers I have brewed thus far in order:

Cinncinati Pale Ale, Belgian Saison, Dirty Water Brown Ale, Denny Conn’s Rye IPA, Lazy Man’s Lager, Witstorm Witbier, Denny Conn’s Oaked Vanilla Bourbon Imperial Porter, Left Hand Milk Stout Clone.

I’ve been slowly learning how to taste and evaluate beers according to style guidelines but my recent realization that I’m allergic to one of the three main ingredients in beer (malted barley, hops, and yeast) has stunted my development as a beer assessor. My workaround has been liberal doses of Afrin nose spray right before a brew worth reviewing. My allergy hasn’t stunted my desire to seek out the most bangin’ brews (and frankly it probably never will) and that’s what I did yesterday.  I took a train to Bierkraft and got my brain blowd out.  I was like a little kid in beer store. I spent a ludicrous amount of loot on “research & development” but regardless, here is the spread:

From left to right: Ayinger Celebrator, Green Flash West Coast IPA, Paulaner Salvator, Ithaca Cascazilla, Fuller’s 1845, Left Hand Milk Stout (AEB’s favorite beer), Ithaca Flower Power IPA (my favorite beer), Left Hand 400lb Monkey English IPA, Firestone Union Jack IPA, Allagash White, Reutberger Bock, Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, Schöuramer Saphir Bock.

All of the homebrewers that I have talked to mention ‘the beer’ that got them into homebrewing. For my mentor and homebrew guru Dan P. it was his first taste of Schneider-Weisse Aventinus that hooked him.  My first beer epiphany was the discovery of Unibroue while living in Chapel Hill.  I would scoop a four pack of the rotating stock of La Fin du Monde, Trois Pistoles, Don de Dieu, and Maudite at my local beer store, Harris Teeter (yeah for real).  These beers opened my eyes to the world of craft beer, but the most recent epiphany in close correlation with my decision to home brew was Flower Power by Ithaca Brewing Co.  I had it at the first meeting of the Malted Barley Appreciation Society, a group of beer nerds who hold a monthly meeting here in Brooklyn.  I have searched for it ever since  and finally came across it at Bierkraft.  I tasted it again last night and it’s still mind-blowing and still makes me want to produce a beer this brilliant and delicious.  Pineapple and citrus aroma with a slight malt sweetness and nice solid hop bitter finish.  A good thing I got two bottles.  It’s a shame for the rain today otherwise I think I would start brewing the New Belgium Fat Tire clone recipe I have ready and continue this plummet deeper into my new beer brewing passion.

Mackincheese.

I have been on a bit of an adventure lately.  My goal is to create the perfect mac n’ cheese to go on the menu at my parents’ newly acquired bar/restaurant in Pennsylvania.  The control mac n’ cheese I’ve been using has been the delicious creamy version at Bar Matchless here in Brooklyn.  The best cheeses to use seem to warrant intense debate, and while my only attempts thus far have been gruyere & NY white cheddar and NY cheddar & pecorino romano, I feel the need document both tastings before I forget. If you need a recipe for mac & cheese, I have been using a modified version of Martha Stewart’s recipe. My main modification has be to increase the amount of milk used in order to up the creaminess factor, but I think decreasing the flour would also help. I think the quality of the cheese needs to be upped in order to satisfy my tastes, but I’m also unsure of the quality of cheese that can be acquired from vendors in PA.  I bought all cheese from a nearby grocery store to see what could be done, but as AEB correctly stated when reviewing the first batch, “there’s nothing special about it”.

I’m going to source some bangin’ local cheese today and give it another go.