30 June 2009

We Throw Good Parties

You are formally invited to the Hoosier Beer Geek Third Anniversary Roundtable, to be held at Sun King Brewing on Saturday, August 22nd, at 6PM. As with any HBG event, the idea is to overwhelm, and we're currently doing our best to do just that.

We've got 100+ tickets for this event, and our goal is to sell them fast. So we're making a deal - the first 100 tickets will be $30. After those tickets are gone, we'll slowly increase the price until the day of the event.

Part of the idea behind the event is to help create a little buzz for Indy's newest brewery, Sun King. But we're also working with the friends we've made over the past three years to have beer from a wide variety of brewers and distributors. We've currently got commitments from our friends at Upland, Schlafly, Cavalier Distributing, and World Class Distributing.

In addition, we'll have various food options from Chef JJ - we're thinking small tastes that will match the beer selections. Of course the food is included with your ticket.

All of this is in the works, and it's still early. We plan to make this event as good or better than any other we've thrown, and we think it's safe to say that people rarely leave a HBG event disappointed. So buy now (or soon!), and share in the excitement with us as details roll in.

To buy tickets, click here.

And thanks for your patronage.

Jason, Jim, Mike, Matt, Gina, Rod, Chris, Jess, and Matt
The Hoosier Beer Geek Knights of the Beer Roundtable

29 June 2009

KOTBR #77 - The Socratic Beer Method

For the latest roundtable, the KOTBR convened at the downtown location of Scotty's Brewhouse on a busy Thursday evening to enjoy a few pints, recession-buster style (pints on Thursdays go for $2.50). Our objective: to review a few beers well-suited to the warm weather months.

Those of you who are regular readers may know that I'm an educator by trade. Upon our arrival at Scotty's, we discovered that a number of my students were blowing off steam on Scotty's outdoor patio. A few of them even stopped by our table to say hello, while my fine colleagues did their best to embarrass me in front of them (to no avail, of course).

My students have worked very hard this past school year. Therefore, I've decided to dedicate my review to them by putting it into a format with which they're very familiar: the Socratic method, with a Paper Chase twist (imagine Professor Kingsfield's in-the-classroom style and you get the idea). So fasten your seat belts--it's required under Indiana law--and enjoy.

The students settle in their seats in a classroom, opening laptops, poised to take notes. The professor imperiously enters and strides to the lectern. He places a worn portfolio on the lectern, opens it, and locates the page he's looking for: a seating chart of the classroom. He then reaches behind the lectern and places a bottle of Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier on top of the lectern for the class to see.

PROFESSOR: Okay, class. Let's begin today's beer discussion. Rodney?
Q: What can you tell us about this beer?
A: Well, it's a refreshing--
Q: No, no, no! Have you already forgotten where you're supposed to begin? Tell us what style it is.
A: Oh, um, sorry. You see, I don't like putting labels on things or placing them in categories because that's arbitrary, and the world isn't an arbitrary place, so--
Q: My word, you're as useless as usual. Have you ever met a tangent that you didn't like? Christopher, what style of beer are we looking at here?
CHRISTOPHER: A hefeweizen.
Q: Correct. Brewer?
A: Weihenstephan.
Q: Nice pronunciation.
A: Thanks. You know, I spent a semester abroad in Germany.
Q: Good lord, there's no need to be such a suck up. Just engage me in a dialogue. Understand?
A: Sure. Sorry.
Q: Apology not accepted, but we'll move on anyway. Since you're such an expert on Deustchland, tell me why the brewer is significant.
A: I think it's the oldest brewery in the world.
Q: WRONG! Michael, why is he wrong?
MICHAEL: Technically, Weihenstephan is the oldest operating brewery in the world.
Q: Precisely. Since when?
A: Historians think that the brewery dates back to the late Eighth Century, but the brewery actually obtained its license in 1040, so that is the date that is typically referred to when discussing the founding date.
Q: Excellent. Rodney, you see what happens when you stay focused? You actually give answers germane to the subject under discussion. In other words, you'd actually know that this beer has been around since before the Norman Conquest.
RODNEY: Whatever.
Q: Insolence will get you nowhere, which is where you seem to be during each class meeting. Jessica, tell us about this beer's characteristics.
JESSICA: As the benchmark beer for the style, it pours cloudy because it's unfiltered. The color is golden and the head is cream-colored with a lot of staying power.
Q: Correct. Nose?
A: Again, true to style--clove, banana, and bread notes.
Q: Precisely. Gina, what's the taste and mouthfeel?
GINA: Mouthfeel is crisp and refreshing. Taste follows suit with the nose, with emphasis on the banana and clove characteristics.
Q: Excellent. Anyone else have anything to contribute?
RODNEY: Can I say something?
PROFESSOR: If you must.
RODNEY: You know, I really don't understand vegans. I mean, what's the deal? If you're really that upset about chickens being mistreated, why not just get free-range eggs?
PROFESSOR: What in God's name does this have to do with our discussion about this beer?
RODNEY: Jess and Gina started talking about bananas, and that made me think about apes, which made me think about Jane Goodall--you know, that lady from Gorillas in the Mist--who I heard was a vegan, and so--
PROFESSOR: And so remind me never to allow you to register for any elective course that I teach in your two remaining years of school. Class dismissed.

Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier
Rodney 4.25 Mugs | Jess 4.2 Mugs | Gina 4.1 Mugs | Jim 4.3 Mugs | Chris 4.3 Mugs | Mike 3.0 Mugs
KOTBR Score - 4.02 Mugs

I'm not going to pretend to really understand what happened in the review above. In fact, I'm still decifering many of the lessons I learned so many years ago when I was spending my 5.5 years at SIUE. But regardless of all that, the main lesson I hope I've passed on to my students (I don't have any students) is that there's more to life and knowledge than what your professors may teach you.

That's not to say that academia is a waste - in fact, I'll pass along this bit of Socratic knowledge that many of my students (I still don't have any students) are familiar with:

Click here for a YouTube video, email readers

To be honest, I don't even have any notes on this beer. I was taking pictures, and my thoughts... well, if dust in the wind was good enough for Socrates, it's good enough for me.

The other sites will tell you that Mad Anthony IPA is a slightly better than average IPA. I'll tell you that some might say it's a syrupy looking beer with a nice foamy head. Others say it's rich and finishes smooth. I'll tell you that many of the Knights are fans, and that this beer is another example of why drinking locally makes sense.

As for Scotty's - if you were been paying attention to comments on earlier posts, we'll admit that sometimes the beer prices there can be a little high. But take it from a group of people who buy a lot of beer in a lot of bars - the Thursday $2.50 pint special is worth taking advantage of. Or even abusing. We did.

Mad Anthony IPA
Chris 4.6 Mugs | Rodney 3.75 Mugs | Jim 4.0 Mugs | Jess 3.8 Mugs | Gina 3.7 Mugs | Mike 4.0 Mugs
KOTBR Score - 3.97 Mugs

Beer Diary - Matt R

FFF/DogFish Head - PopSkull
Beer Style: Brown Ale
Cost: 12$
Available: One time release

A collaboration brew that was available for purchase on Dark Lord day this year, and I just have not gotten around to drinking one. This is a very big brown ale clocking in at 10% ABV.

This beer poured a very dark chestnut hue with a very minimal head on it. The nose is quite complex. A lot of ins, a lot of outs, a lot of what-have-you's. (Do you know the movie I was watching when I was drinking this?) I get plenty of wood (from DFH), caramel, cocoa, chocolate, and even a touch of vanilla hanging around in the background. The flavor profile matches the nose nicely with main flavors of chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, and dark fruits. The carbonation was a bit much for me and I hoped it would be a little more "chewy" on the mouthfeel. This was a big and boozy brown ale, but overall I liked the collaboration between these two brewers.

2007 Deschutes - The Abyss
Beer Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Cost: 10 - 12$
Available: Roating once a year/Winter

I had my first Abyss right after the 2006 version came out and now I am constantly trading for more of this beer, and I would say that this beer is in my top five of all time beers. I served this beer very close to cellar temperature.

This beer pours an impenetrable dark black with a fingers worth of tan head on it. The nose is a wonderful balance of roasted malt, chocolate, dark fruits, molasses, liquid smoke, a touch of the barrel aging, and spicy vanilla. The myriad of scents that float in and out are wonderful. The flavor profile delivers on the nose with the initial sip delivering loads of roasted malt, bitter chocolate, a light oak character, caramelized dark fruit, and some black licorice. The mouthfeel is thick and full but is still very silky. This beer was heavenly, and if we reviewed this beer in an actual roundtable this would get my only 5 mug rating I've ever given. I would love for anything from Deschutes to make it this far East, but I will continue to trade for this as often as I can. If you have any of the 2007 version it is drinking very fine right now.

2009 Two Brothers Hop Juice
Beer Style: Double IPA
Cost: 8 -11$
Available: June 2009 at better liquor stores in Indy

Two Brothers has a release party for this beer, and then you will find it in the stores shortly after the release party. I have enjoyed this beer for the last two years, and now let's see how this years batch stacks up.

This beer pours a glowing amber color with a thick and frothy fingers worth of bone white head on it. The nose came to life upon the pour with big scents of earthy and piney hops on the nose. There is a big toffee scent coming in as well with the citrus punch finally coming to life after the beer warmed for a little bit. The flavor starts with the initial blast of bitter hops. I get pine, ripe grapefruit, orange peel, and grassy undertones. This has a good malt backbone to back up the hops as well. The malt is slightly sweet and has a toasted caramel quality to it as well. This is a very easy to drink DIPA, and I had no problems with a bomber of it. I think the 2009 version of this beer has been my favorite thus far. If you like DIPA's this one is around town right now, and I would recommend picking up a bottle of this one as it is quite fresh and drinking nicely.

Three Floyd's - Apocalypse Cow
Beer Style: Double IPA
Cost: 10.99
Available: Limited, but it is around Indy right now

I picked this one up the day it hit Indy, but waited to drink it for some reason. I love the label art on this one. It is from Dan Grzeca. I am really curious about this beer. It is a double IPA, but they have added lactose sugar to the beer. I also like the fact that I know this beer is fresh.

This pours a rather hazy rustic orange color with a fingers worth of head that left good spotty lacing on my snifter. The citrus takes full force on the nose with plenty of orange, citrus, mango, and passion fruit. This is almost a dead ringer for dreadnaught on the nose. I can keep my nose all day in a pint of dreadnaught, so I am alright with this. The flavor profile is full again of all those citrus and tropical fruit flavors with a sizable sweetness from the caramel malt. The mouthfeel is main difference between this and dreadnaught. The mouthfeel is thick and full, and I would say one of the biggest mouthfeels in a DIPA that I've personally encountered.

You can tell this beer has most of the qualities of dreadnaught, but it has some other differences that I actually liked better than dreadnaught. The mouthfeel was something I've never encountered in a DIPA before and it was most welcomed. I can see how the malt sweetness would be a turnoff for some people, but I like the big malt sweetness balancing out the hop profile.

A keg of this will be tapped downtown at BW3's on Thursday July 2nd.

28 June 2009

26 June 2009

Random Beer Roundup - The short edition

I think everyone is busy this week preparing for festivities, so the news is quite short. So we'll just get right to it, what do you say?

If you have any news, reviews, info, etc. to share for our next Random Beer Roundup, contact us at hoosierbeergeek@gmail.com. Stick your head in the cooler and cool off, this is the Random Beer Roundup.

Hoosier Beer Calendar
Events are subject to change

Saturday, June 27th on Mass Ave in Indianapolis:
Indy Brew Ha-Ha - Stop by, say 'Hi', and purchase a Hoosier Beer Geek T-Shirt

Friday, July 17th at Optimist Park in Indianapolis:
Brewers of Indiana Guild VIP Dinner

Saturday, July 18th at Optimist Park in Indianapolis:
14th Annual Indiana Microbrewers Festival. You can purchase tickets online here.

Saturday, August 22nd:
The Hoosier Beer Geek 3rd Anniversary Party, Sun King Brewing Co. Stay tuned for more details.

Saturday, September 12th, from 7-10pm at the Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend:
Zoo Brew, beer tasting event, tickets on sale August 1, $30 in advance; more info here.

What's Brewing

From Mike at at Granite City in Carmel:

Granite City at 96th & Meridian is tapping it's Wag's Wheat Mon. June 29 at 5pm. This will be a year-round addition to the regular line-up. It is named after founder Steve Wagenheim who loves wheat beer. It is an American Wheat. A Mug Club Party which includes a free buffet will begin at 5 for Mug Club members and 1 guest. The restaurant will be open to the public at that time. A live band will be playing in the parking lot. Mug Club memberships are half-price on Mondays($10) and can be purchased at the door.

At the Bar

From Dustin at Spencers Stadium Tavern:
July 15th The Tavern, Sun King Brewery, Chef JJ Boston, and Goose The Market will be joining forces to blow your minds and palates. CHEF JJ will be grilling on the BIG GREEN EGG food from GOOSE THE MARKET and we will Drinking the first beers from SUN KING BREWERY. Tickets are available now from Chef JJ.

Carry Out

From Kirk at Mr. G's Liquors in Noblesville:
New this week
Breckenridge Mighty Brown 22 oz $7.99
Breckenridge Imperial Porter 22 oz $7.99
Sea Dog Raspberry Wheat 6nr $9.99
Sea Dog Blue Paw 6nr &9.99

News, Reviews, and Gossip

The folks organizing the Brewers Cup are looking for a few volunteers on Sunday to help organize submissions for next months event. Lunch and beer will be provided.

Contact Chief Steward, John Morrical at jmorrica@sbcglobal.net or 317 283-6344 to volunteer.

From Mat at Cavalier Distribution:
New in in the warehouse late Thursday (so late that none made it on trucks for Friday deliveries) the Thirsty Dog Labrador Lager. Look for it next week on shelves in places that sell better beer. This traditional German Lager is brewed with all German grain & yeast. Very drinkable. ABV=6%, IBU's=27. This thirst quencher will be available all year round and joins Old Leghumper (porter), Hoppus Maximus (amber) Siberian Night (imp stout) and Raspberry Ale in the everyday Thirsty Dog Brewing line up. Expect Barktoberfest and Pumpkin Ale (brewed with pumpkins grown locally in Northern Ohio) to be seasonal releases in bottles this fall as well. http://www.thirstydog.com/

Brew Ha Ha Line up:

Cavalier will have lots of goodies on draft at the Brew Ha Ha this year:

Founders Cherise mmmmmmm Cherries
Founders Old Curmudgeon at 4:30 - will need a golden ticket for a chance to get a sample of this beer
Mad River John Barley Corn Barley wine
Breckenridge Vanilla Porter
Dupont Moinette Blond
Dupont Moinette Bruin
St. Feuillien Triple - will tweet the time on twitter 15 min to pouring time - will also need a golden ticket for this beer
Stone Levitation - GABF Gold medal winner and new to Indiana Plenty of other surprises as well!

Be sure to stop by the Cavalier Table early to get your golden raffle ticket for a chance to sample the Founders Old Curmudgeon from a 5 gallon keg and St. Feuillien Triple form the gigantic way cool 9 liter bottle. Must be present to win!

More notable Cavalier affiliated tables will include:

Pat Helsel from Clipper City Brewing Company all the way from Baltimore MD!
Tony from Indiana's own Warbird Brewing Company
Mike Walters from Left hand Brewing Company will be pulling up in the Moo Mobile as well

Mass Ave Wine Shop - Jill will be pouring the Stone Arrogant Bastard as well as other goodies
Parti Pack - They will be pouring Founders Double Trouble and more

The Brew Ha Ha looks like the place to be on Saturday! For more updates and info from Cavalier be sure to follow us on Twitter at "CavalierBeerIN"!

25 June 2009

Updated AGAIN: Volunteers needed Sunday

Okay, so instead of the beer sorting for the Brewer's Cup occurring in Bloomington, it is being moved to Sun King Brewery in Indianapolis, 135 North College Avenue. It will still be on Sunday, June 28th. But the start time has moved back to 9am, but I'm betting they will take volunteers later in the day too.

If you are interested, please contact John Morrical at jmorrica@sbcglobal.net. This activities are usually a fun time and a great chance to meet other like minded craft beer enthusiasts.

And hopefully this will be the last change...

24 June 2009

Re-posting: Volunteers needed this Sunday


Mr. Wizard Goes To Irvington

Regular readers of this site will know that we aren't above tomfoolery. In fact, you might say that on occasion we can be downright buffoonish. I wouldn't have you believe for a second that we aren't aware that our wanton disrespect for common sense is anything more than a ploy to entertain ourselves and those reading.

Our experiments don't always start out with folly in mind - in some cases we're actually trying to prove something. But when a group of us gathers, the chance of hijinks is multiplied exponentially. It all started out like this:

Hey Jason,

I was wondering if you ever followed up on that coffee/beer infusion thing - I just read about a place doing an Oberon through blood oranges tapping and I'm thinking maybe a french press kinda thing might work... anyway... what did you do?


* * * * *

The short of the coffee beer is I took a french press, filled it with porter, and pushed coarse ground coffee through it. Turned beer (Wabash Cannonball Porter) into better beer.


* * * * *

I'd like to try that technique with a few other things, so if you'd like to make it into a longer experiment, let me know....

The result? A beer and food blending experiment of what some might consider epically stupid proportions. We just thought it was fun. And in a few cases, tasty.

We plopped down on Jason's porch in Irvington and lined up the following victims:

Wabash Valley Cannonball Porter vs. Kroger Private Selection Medium Dark Roast Coffee
Upland Wheat vs. Strawberries
Harpoon UFO Hefeweizen vs. Bananas
Brugge White vs. Oranges
Brugge Black vs. Cherries
Brugge Black vs. Red Stag Whiskey
Bell's Oberon vs. Blueberries
Founders Cerise vs. Hershey's Extra Dark Chocolate
Bell's Expedition Stout vs. Bell's Double Cream Stout
Bell's Hopslam vs. Grapefruit
Erdinger Weissbier vs. Cucumber
Three Floyds Alpha Klaus vs. Whoppers Malted Milk Balls

One thing worth noting -- running beer through a French press might automatically make it worse. Every beer blend seemed to be under-carbonated - an effect that was either caused by the blending or the tools used. Since we didn't try any beer straight through the French press, we don't really know. So much for the scientific method.

The bad pairings:

Wabash Valley Cannonball Porter w/ Kroger Private Selection Medium Dark Roast Coffee - Tastes like the bottom of a day-old pot of decaf.

Jason's note: When I did this previously, I seemed to remember it tasting better. I think maybe fresher coffee would be good (this coffee was ground at least 3 months ago).

Upland Wheat w/ fresh strawberries - The most bizarre result. Smells and tastes like warm bologna. Disgusting.

Gina's note: I didn't get bologna out of the Upland Wheat/strawberry combination.

Harpoon UFO Hefeweizen w/ fresh bananas - Much worse than expected. Tastes like a banana that's been sitting on a shelf in the basement, gathering dust for a few weeks. We added fresh oranges to the mix later. No improvement. If anything, the mix tasted crappier with the oranges in it.

The "meh" pairings:

Mike's note: The Annoy Ted Division

Brugge White w/ fresh oranges - Disappointing, but not terrible. Tastes like a flat Belgian wit with a touch of orange juice.

Brugge Black w/ fresh cherries - Sort of chocolately with a little hint of cherry zip. Not great, but not bad.

Jason's note: I thought this was a winner of a combo. I suggest that Ted takes this idea and runs with it. Seriously. I also mixed the Black with a Jim Beam Black Cherry Bourbon. Better than any boilermaker I've ever had. Also, better than any Boilermaker ever to come out of Purdue (but that's not really saying much now is it?).

Bell's Oberon w/ fresh blueberries - The blueberries produce no effect. Tastes like a regular Oberon.

The good pairings:

Founders Cerise w/ Hershey's Extra Dark Chocolate - Tastes like a chocolate-covered sour cherry. And the chocolate from the bottom of the French press tasted heavenly after being steeped in the beer.

Bell's Expedition Stout/Double Cream Stout Blend - We didn't do this in a French press; we simply mixed the two beers in a pitcher for a reprise of a blend that Bell's has done at beer festivals. Brown sugar, licorice, and pecans in the nose; hoppy and sweet flavor with chocolate, vanilla, and brown sugar notes. The blend nicely subdues the licorice whomp of the Expedition Stout. I may have to make this at home.

Bell's Hopslam w/ fresh grapefruit - Tartness of the grapefruit melds well with the piney/peachy hop character. If you mixed a DIPA with a Belgian sour ale, this is what it might taste like.

Gina's note: With all of the pairings, the carbonation of the beer disappeared almost completely in some cases, so it makes sense that the higher alcohol beers, like Hopslam, were able to stand up to the additions.

The bizarrely good pairing:

Erdinger Weissbier w/ fresh cucumber - Hey, it's beer gazpacho! Think of getting a buzz from a cucumber salad; that's what you have here.

Jason's note: A week after we did this, I was at a trade show where a booth had jars of ice water for our enjoyment. One had lemons in it. One had strawberries. And one had cucumbers. I love fresh cucumbers. And the flavor that the cucumbers add to beer or water is phenomenal. Is there a cucumber soda?

The grand champion:

Three Floyds Alpha Klaus Porter w/ Whoppers malted milk balls - Lovely. Tastes like a really sweet milk stout with a hoppy bite. Fizzed up like a nitro stout when we mixed the two.

23 June 2009

Beer sorting fun

Those who homebrew probably know that the Brewer's Cup is coming up and submissions are due soon (details on their website). Those submissions will be sorted and organized in advance of the judging. And the organizers need around 20 volunteers.

The organizing work will occur on ****Sunday, June 28th****, starting at 9am, in Bloomington. I have it on good authority that food and beer will be included. If you are interested, please contact John Morrical at jmorrica@sbcglobal.net.

This activities are usually a fun time and a great chance to meet other like minded craft beer enthusiasts.