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Alekeep

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    http://www.backstagebrewing.com
  1. Rich, Thanks for having us here. What a great time. I didn't know what to expect when I signed up for this but I figured it couldn't be too difficult. I'm not unaccustomed to talking about beer with beer drinkers. What caught me off guard is the questions from a different perspective than I am used to. I had to step back, scratch my head, and think about things differently. Thanks too to everyone else who participated. As I mentioned in a response to a post from malarkey, I had no intention of trying to convert anyone from grape to grain but if anything I said gives anyone cause to consider beer where they wouldn't have before, I'm satisfied. Cheers!
  2. Greg, Sorry, I missed your question earlier. My 15 minutes of fame has technically expired on this forum but I would like to throw in my opinion anyway. According to the web site you "focus on making a premium pilsener that Canadians could be proud of". Just to nit-pick a bit, it's technically a Pilsener STYLE beer since it is not brewed in Pilsen. None the less, if you are looking to expand you must be doing something right. You are currently producing a traditional German style of beer using Canadian ingredients. I see no difference in doing the same with Australian ingredients. One recommendation I would make is, if you are going to refer to a beer by style, then make sure the beer fits the guidelines for that style. If you put a your beer beside, for example, a Pilsner Urquell, then they should be recognizable as the same style of beer. I don't mean that there shouldn't be any difference, just that they should have similar characteristics. I have been to Australia twice and it is my experience that the beer palate in that corner of the world is rather sweet. To echo my above style comment, a beer described as a pale ale should not be overly malty, and certainly shouldn't have added sugar. Is Steam Whistle available in Montreal? I will be there in a couple of weeks for Mondial de la Bière. I'll have to keep an eye out for it. Best of luck on your venture!
  3. Just an observation... In your eGullet profile under demographics you have these choices: Culinary Professional, Restaurant Owner, Other Food Related Profession, Food Journalist, and Food Lover.
  4. Alekeep

    Beer & food

    What a difference a couple of days makes! I have no intention as a guest on this forum this week of trying to convert anyone from grape to barley. I just believe that beer deserves a prominent place on the table as well. I know this is a tough crowd. Thank you. You have made my day... and so close to quitting time. Sante
  5. Yes, I have heard of keg stands: put a hose from the keg in your mouth while someone holds you up in a hand stand over the keg. How many seconds can you drink before beer starts running from your nose. I also worked at a convenience store in not one of the best neighborhoods. I sold bottle after bottle of Night Train, MD 20-20, Thunderbird, and other stuff that loosely fell under the category of wine. The problem is not exclusive to beer. I see the problem of binge drinking and the stereotypes that we are all familiar with is due to lack of education. People learn to drink with peers and not in a responsible environment. In most of the US, it is illegal, even for a parent, to allow anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol. You are not allowed to teach children and young adults to respect alcohol to drink responsibly. At 21 years of age these adults have pretty much cut the apron strings and are on their own. They are free to experience the forbidden fruit that has been dangled in front for most of their life. Advertisers are not stupid. This is the group that they are marketing to. Even if everyone is drinking some bland industrial lager, the picture they paint in a 30 second TV spot looks a lot better than the gray walls in this cubicle. How much should you drink? There are a number of medical reports showing that moderate alcohol consumption, a couple of beers a day, can be beneficial. (Okay, wine and spirits show similar benefits.) How much do I drink? I drink on more days than I abstain. Often, since I frequently have beer on tap at home, I'll have a half a glass or so instead of a bed time snack. Other times I may have a couple with or after dinner. At parties or other occasions I tend to drink a bit more, and while traveling (not driving) I want to try as many new beers as I can. I have allowed myself to be overserved but that is not the objective when I drink. I was in college. I have shopped for beer by price. I have tequila stories. Not everything learned in school has to come from the classroom. That pretty much beats the dead horse of disgust and frustration. Amusement and tolerance are a little tough. It is so easy for them to cross back to the negative categories. Is a kegload worse than a caseload? Usually, a keg is parked. You don't often see folks tossing empties from car windows.
  6. Alekeep

    Beer & food

    I had waited to respond to malarky's comment on foie gras. I was hoping to find a copy of the menu from a beer dinner at Monk's Cafe in Philly a while back. Five courses, ten beers. I had hoped to recall the beers that accompanied the foie gras dish that Adam presented. Unfortunately, I am only able to pass on the suggestions from Garrett Oliver's book. Any wine suggestions for carrot cake? The rostiness body of an imperial stout work well... like a strong cup of dark roast coffee, or the hoppy bitterness of a double IPA contrasts the sweetness of cream cheese icing and cleanses the tongue in anticipation of the next bite. I admit that I am uninformed about wine. We all make choices based on our knowledge and experience. There is no right or wrong, just preferences.
  7. Alekeep

    "Flavored" Beers

    How should we classify "flavored" beers? There is the banana/clove flavor of a Bavarian hefeweizen, the spicy warmth of a Belgian style trippel, and the sweet roastiness of an imperial stout. Yeast is the source of the flavors in the hefe, malt for the stout, and in Belgium you are never sure. Rauchbier (smoke flavored) too gets it's distinctive flavor from one of the basic ingredients, malt. Kriek (cherry) is flavored with fruit or syrup added during or after fermentation. There is the argument that that is an adjunct rather than an ingredient. Flavoring, regardless of the source, can be acceptable whether it defines the style or is added just to be different. What I don't care for is when the beer no longer tastes like beer. Different beer styles can tolerate different levels of flavor additions. A strawberry flavored light lager or wheat beer can be a good summer thirst quencher but it shouldn't taste like Kool-Ade. Stout is hearty enough to enhance with coffee or chocolate. Likes: Young's Double Chocolate, Liefmans Kriekbier (old bruin w/cherry), Dogfish Head Punkin, Alesmith Speedway Stout (coffee). Too much of a good thing: Rogue Chocolate Stout (sorry Seb), Lindemans Kriek (lambic w/cherry).
  8. We are life members of CAMRA and I fully support their mission. I disagree with some of their methods though. Real ale must be naturally carbonated in the vessel (keg, cask, bottle, or any other container) that it is served from without the introduction of other gas. Real ales are served by gravity feed or by pump (beer engine) depending on where the vessel is relative to the glass. It can't be served using pressurized CO2 like is used for what is commonly referred to as draught beer. This is all well and good but as the beer is served from the container the void is filled with ambient air. The oxygen and bacteria in the air will begin to affect the flavor of the remaining beer. If the beer is served from a bottle or even from a cask that is emptied within a couple of days, this is not a problem. The publican that can't turn over beer that quickly is stuck with a few options: - dump the beer because it is no longer at it's best (expensive) - serve the beer anyway to save money (yuk) - quit serving real ale altogether (say it ain't so) There is another option that CAMRA does not accept. There is a device called a "cask breather" that allows CO2 to replace the beer served from a cask. Why does CAMRA not accept the beer served with a cask breather as real ale? This does not artificially carbonate the beer or affect the taste of the beer in any way. It just extends the shelf life which makes it feasible for more pubs to serve real ale. This provides greater access to real ale and more people drinking it so breweries will produce more of it and... Okay, I'll step down from my soap box now.
  9. If you find it hard to drink these as a session beer, then don’t! There are many other styles of beer available. I am an unabashed hop-head. India Pale Ale is probably as close as I get to a session beer, and I really like Double IPA’s. Usually, I don’t drink more than one or two of the same beer before moving on to something different. Variety! If you are suffering from “hop fatigue” then try something malty like a Scottish or Old Ale. Cleanse the sweetness from that with the tartness of a Lambic or Berliner Weisse. Choose each beer to fit your taste at the moment and enjoy!
  10. Alekeep

    Triples

    I'm not sure of the history of the use of Quadruple as a style of beer or any official guidelines for it. I personally think of "Belgian style" beers that are blonde or amber in color, well carbonated, with little hop character, some light fruit and/or spice character, and 10% abv or above, as Quadruples. I can only think of a few beers that use "Quad" or "Quadruple" in the name but there are others that fit the category. - Victory V-12, Victory Brewing, Downingtown, PA, USA - Bush de Noël (Scaldis Noël in the US), Brasserie Dubuisson Frères sprl, Leuze-Pipaix, Belgium - Mother of all Beers, Port Brewing, Solana Beach, CA, USA - Urthel Samaranth, Brouwerij De Leyerth, Ruiselede, Belgium P.S. I won't try to describe "Belgian style" beer. That is a lot like saying "European style" wine. Belgium is a small country, about the size of Maryland, with hundreds of breweries and even more styles and variations of beers. Many towns have their own brewerys with beer like you will find nowhere else. You'll have to spend a couple of weeks there and find out for yourself!
  11. Alekeep

    Homebrew

    I have been to brewpubs where I have been offered "homebrew". No, if it's a commercial brewery, regardless of size, it's not homebrew. Homebrew is beer that is produced at home in the kitchen or garage and can not be sold legally since it is not taxed. Sorry Chris. I know that you know. Just a clarification for anyone that is not familiar with the term. I do get the opportunity to try homebrewed beers on occasion and can't remember ever having a bad one during my travels. Maybe it's because I hang with a pretty tough crowd. I am selective about which of my homebrews I share under what circumstances as I'm sure you and other homebrewers are. I have been brazen enough to share one of mine with friends that have since judged at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) and World Beer Cup -- two well respected beer competitions. Others I only share with folks closer to home and I have had homebrew that I only shared with the critters in the back corner of the yard. So, how does homebrew compare to commercial beer? A member of our local homebrew club has an unbelievable barleywine that would stand up to virtually any commercial product. Another member has some meads that are exceptional (and mead is not my first adult beverage choice.) On the other hand, two breweries come to mind, one in Oregon and one in Philladelphia, that don't produce a beer that I would drink or serve. (Don't worry, there are plenty of great brewers in both states.) A commercial brewery or a home brewery are equally capable of turning out bad beer. There are many in each category that produce very good beer. There is an elite subset of each that produce world class beer. The chemistry behind the creation of beer has not changed in the several thousand years since it was first produced. Whether you are Anheuser-Busch or Second Fiddle Brewing, you start with grain and make beer. The difference (other than volume) is the level of control that can be maintained over the entire process until it reaches the glass. Can a homebrewer produce Coors? Maybe something close, but no. It requires more control than can be maintained on a small scale. Will there ever be a Budweiser Double IPA? No, it's too expensive to make and there is not enough market for the bean counters to ever let it happen. Can a smaller commercial brewery produce a Double IPA? Obviously. There are recently added awards for the category at GABF and World Beer Cup. We, as homebrewers, have the ability to brew whatever we want and, with enough dedication and attention to detail, can produce excellent examples of more beers that will ever be commercially available.
  12. Alekeep

    Triples

    Single, Double, Triple. These are relative terms. A Quadruple is not equivalent to two Doubles. Single is a light session or table beer, Double is generally a darker malty (sweet) beer, Triple is usually a stronger blonde, and a Quadruple would be an even stronger amber. Although these styles are progressively stronger there is no linear scale for strength or color. There is no double fermentation unless you count the refermentation in the bottle for conditioning and natural carbonation. This, however, is done for Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, homebrew, English ales, many other beers, and is not specific to these styles. All of the malt and other sugars are usually in the wort (unfermented beer) when the yeast is added to begin the transformation into beer. Quantity and types of ingredients and brewing techniques determine the how much sugar (potential alcohol) and how attractive (fermentability) these sugars are to the strain(s) of yeast used, and therefore the resulting alcohol content of the finished beer. There are exceptions with beers such as Sam Adams Utopias or Dogfish Head World Wide Stout that break the scale at over 20 percent. These may start with a fairly high concentration of sugars (original gravity) but during fermentation additional sugars, yeast nutrients, oxygen, and more yeast are added to coax the alcohol level up. Does this help develop flavor? Of course. Alcohol is only one of the flavor components in beer. A lot of the flavor and body of a beer comes from the unfermented sugars and the by-products (other than alcohol) of the yeast. You may also have flavors, depending on the style of beer, from hops, spices, herbs, vegetables, fruits, and any number of other ingredients that have been used in beer production over the centuries. The first Triple that comes to mind from my favorites list is Tripel Karmeliet from Brouwerij Bosteels, Buggenhout, Belgium. Tripel in the name is actually for the three grains (wheat, oats, and barley) used to brew the beer. It still fits the Triple category with a light blond color and an alcohol content of 8 percent. Thanks for your question. I hope this makes sense to someone other than me after a couple of beers!
  13. Every style of beer has it's place. I don't drink industrial lagers very often but if that is what someone else likes then I have no problem with them drinking it. I prefer imperial stouts and barley wines but I don't expect everyone to and that's not what I am going to choose for a summer day at the lake. What really scorches my brew kettle is alcopops, malternatives, RTD's, or whatever the accepted term is today. I'm not going to use the "marketing to under age drinkers" argument. I am going to use the "marketing to uninformed trend followers that are not really drinkers" argument. They are a sugar coated alcohol delivery media for people who haven't learned to appreciate the taste of alcohol as beer, wine, or spirits. Naïve stereotypes that give responsible drinkers a bad image. My worst experience with this beverage category is with what was labeled as "Romulan Ale". A Tidy-Bowl blue liquid that stained the clear glass bottle it was poured from. Four of us split one out of curiosity but no one ventured past the first taste. It took some serious tooth brushing to bring normal color back to our mouths.
  14. In addition to Ray's comments on motivation to win the title, I really wanted to be the first woman to win. I can't explain why - just one of those things we want in life. And, at this time I am still the only woman to make the final three. As previous winners, we now serve as judges. I would really like to see more women submit resumes. There have been very few and I know there are women beer enthusiasts out there who easily qualify as a "Beerdrinker of the Year". (Oops! I forgot to log Ray out and log in as beergirl.)
  15. I would like to get the digression out of the way so maybe the rest of my comments will be more relevant. First, thanks for dragging us into this forum. We are always willing to talk about beer, much to the chagrin of some audiences that don’t share our enthusiasm. Cornelia currently finds herself “job free” so it is already apparent that she will address many of the questions before I see them. We often share similar views on many things beer and alcohol related so I will refrain from posting redundant responses. I will definitely voice my opinion when it differs. Now, back on topic… Motivation for the competition… Cornelia has been the historian in our relationship. She is the one who has kept a diary of our travels since the beginning. Very early in our relationship I had enough freaky flyer miles for two international flights so she planned a trip to Europe for us. Yea, we were beer drinkers then but St. Pauli and Becks were exotic to us at that point. We were warned about warm, flat beer in England but still didn’t figure we would have to go thirsty. Well, that was the catalyst for what has become less of an obsession than a lifestyle… restaurants chosen for their beer list; hotels for their proximity to good pubs; vacation destinations for the number of brewpubs within reach by public transportation. Fortunately, we have been able to share all but a few of the experiences along the way. If you look at our resumes (the links are in the post with our bios) they are largely summaries of our travels. We didn’t have to dig up things for our resumes. We just simmered the travel logs down to fit the three page limit to enter the competition. Actually, Cornelia did most of it. Since we almost always travel together, I got by with plagiarizing a lot of it. The motivation for entering the competition was really just having an opportunity to read through some of those travel diaries and reminisce. We have had some great times, seen great places, and met great people, and oh yea, had plenty of great beer along the way. Probably my favorite quote is from Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. “Good people drink good beer.” I couldn’t agree more. We have met quite a few of them! Okay, I digressed a little more. Sorry. If you stayed with me to see this apology then maybe it wasn’t too bad. Cheers!
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