Posts Tagged ‘cantillon’

apricot lambic shootout

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

pouring fou' foune

after a couple of months in the bottle, it was finally time to try out my apricot lambic.

 

  • cantillon fou’ foune 2008
  • appearance: great carbonation, turbid, white head that quickly fades to lacing
  • aroma: intense, complex, dirty barnyard funk
  • taste: bracing acidity, slight sticky stone fruit evident on finish
  • overall: enjoyable, but the high acid level made this beer far from sessionable.

 

  • house apricot lambic
  • appearance: light straw color, crystal clear, solid carbonation, quickly vanishing head
  • aroma: sweet ripe apricot, lingering funk
  • taste: assertive complex funk with tart apricot and a tangy, dry finish with a fresh, complex acidity.  very drinkable.
  • overall: I can’t think of a tastier beer I’ve made to date, really happy with this one.  I’m excited to take my first solera barrel pull soon to experiment with other local fruit.

 

my apricot lambic

 

another pour               best friends

banning II, bkyeast

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

last weekend I put together the second incarnation of banning, my wild blonde that I bottled the week before.

  • the grain bill was the same as last year’s batch, but I switched up the hop additions toremove later hops that I feel would be underrepresented anyway after a year in the fermentor (13 gal batch):
    • 26.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 94.55 %
      1.50 lb Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 5.45 %
      3.00 oz Aged Saaz [1.00 %] (60 min) Hops 3.7 IBU
  • I also added a pinch of raw wheat berries, mashed higher (158F), and hit an OG of 1.068 (16.5 brix).  after a few days on just the slurry from the previous batch I pitched a single vial of WLP655, which took off shortly thereafter.

while I was brewing, the mailman delivered a much anticipated package from the east coast.

  • a few days earlier I had come across bkyeast’s blog via a post off embrace the funk’s facebook page.  dmitri, the man behind bkyeast, is a cell bio PhD student who isolates and banks yeast strains in his spare time.  he was generously sending out brettanomyces isolates as a community service, and I managed to score two isloates from cantillon iris dregs and one from WY3191.
  • after finishing up banning, I split two gallons of the wort into four sanitized gallon jugs, and each was inoculated with a different bkyeast isolate (I pitched my vial of WLP644 into the fourth jug).  banning’s neutral character, low hopping, and diverse sugar chain makeup should make it ideal for comparing the performance of the four different yeasts.  check in soon for an update!

 

imperial stout tasting, beer bargains

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

 

after being sidelined with a nasty head cold last week, I celebrated getting back on my feet by cracking open a bottle of my imperial stout for a tasting.

  • after experiencing some carbonation issues, I hit the bottles with some wine yeast and set them down for a couple of weeks.  the new yeast did the trick, eating up the residual bottling sugar I had added earlier and carbonating up the bottles in a heartbeat.  my latest gravity reading indicates that the beer’s FG didn’t shift (it stayed at 1.02), so hopefully I won’t have to worry about the wine yeast eating some unfermented sugars and overcarbing the bottles (I’m still planning on testing a bottle every week for the next month though).
    • appearance: pitch black, even when held to the light.  1″ tan head fades to 1/4″ after a few minutes but sticks around.  a great looking beer.
    • aroma: intense roastiness with a bit of booze on the back end, slight hint of sweetness
    • taste: creamy mouthfeel with a sharp, dry finish and carbonic bite.  great roasted malt flavors but not a ton of complexity.
    • overall: this beer still isn’t my favorite, but the champagne yeast worked great and really transformed this beer.  it’s amazing how strong carbonation can completely change a beer’s profile.  hopefully the finishing bite created by the wine yeast carbonation will mellow over time.  I’m looking forward to comparing this to the version I finished with brett in the keg.

 

while kicking back with the aforementioned brew, I got to thinking about the frenzy surrounding “elite” beers here on the west coast – beers that are either exceedingly hard to find locally or costly when they do come around.  I know I’m not alone in feeling envious of locals of prominent foreign breweries who can cruise by their neighborhood watering hole at their leisure and pick up some extraordinary beverages for a song.  however, I have also come across consistent beer “bargains” on a weekly basis that (in my opinion) match the quality and complexity of their elusive style counterparts, often for a fraction of the price.

 

 

  • for example, anyone even remotely interested in craft beer has at one time lusted after a bottle of westvleteren 12, a limited-availability belgian quad that is admittedly delicious.  however, instead of shelling out $20+/bottle online or booking a flight to belgium, I recommend heading down to your local and grabbing a bottle or two of st bernardus abt 12, an equally tasty quad that goes for $4.99/bottle around here.  the similarities between the two beers are striking, which makes sense when you consider their shared history.
  • additionally, it seems that everyone and their cousin has a hard-on for anything cantillon these days.  it doesn’t help that the van roy’s creations are nowhere to be found in the state.  I have to admit, they might be my favorite foreign brewery and put out some incredible beers, but instead of chasing down cantillon’s geuze and paying a mint for it, I recommend nabbing some bottles of drie fonteinen’s oude geuze instead.  in fact, although cantillon’s kriek is safely in my top five beer list, I have to admit that I prefer drie fonteinen’s geuze to its cantillon competitor (and I’m not the only one). plus, I can easily get 375s of it (seasonally) for just $9.99, which in my opinion might be the best beer deal out there these days.
  • further, I know of a ton of guys who love orval with a passion.  however, it’s kind of hard to get behind spending $5-6 a bottle for a session beer during a barbecue.  plus, I’m never too sure how long my bottles have been sitting in some hot truck or warehouse on their way over.  as an inexpensive local alternative I recommend checking out green flash’s rayon vert, which is less than half the cost and tastes to me what I would imagine orval would be like from the source.  I reviewed both earlier HERE. 
  • other beers I could generally label as “bargains” when considering quality, price, and accessibility would have to be rodenbach grand cru ($9.99/750mL), old rasputin imperial stout ($8.50/4 12 oz.), and bigfoot barleywine ($14/6 12 oz.).  again, this is only on the west coast, so your results may vary.
  • as much as I like hitting the road to hunt down an elusive regional favorite, it’s reassuring to know that many world-class beers from around the globe are readily accessible from my own back yard.  enjoy!

freakin frog las vegas, pellicle update

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

last weekend my buddy EH and I hopped on a plane to vegas to meet up with some old friends for some catching up.

  • unfortunately, our hotel was a hike from my go-to beer spot on the strip – burger bar.  that, and a rigid weekend schedule prevented much exploration once we set up shop at the hotel.  if only I had time for rosemary’s
  • the only answer was to stock up on some quality brews straight from the airport and stash them in the hotel for the weekend.
  • a few minutes on beerfly netted a couple promising spots – aces and ales and freaking frog.   the latter’s close proximity to the airport and supposedly extensive beer cooler clinched it, and as soon as we could grab a cab we headed over in the triple digit heat.
  • unfazed by the lack of windows and goofy exterior signage of the frog, we slipped in and were immediately welcomed with a decent draft selection.  however, the real action was in the frog’s walk-in cooler, where a fantastic variety of brews from all over awaited our perusal in a refreshingly cold environment.
  • after poring over the selection, a bottle of fantome’s saison was popped for immediate gratification, and bottles of DFH fort (boozy, sweet, and fruity, would do well with a few years on it) and olde school (warm, fruity, and full-bodied; great with a padron ’64 anniversary exclusivo), as well as a bottle of cantillon kriek (easily in my top 5), were nabbed for weekend enjoyment.
  • after checking out the impressive whisky attic at the frog (which supposedly stocks the largest variety in the US), we grabbed our stash and headed for a nearby liquor store, where significant quantities of swill were picked up for those in the party with less discerning palates.  that’s not to say a few crown-embossed tabs weren’t popped by yours truly that weekend…

 

  • upon returning to LA on sunday, I was greeted by a dramatic increase in the pellicle crowning my cuvee de blanc (possibly due to the recent increase in temps).  AP’s reaction was less enthusiastic than mine – hopefully she’ll forget about it next year come bottling time…

stuffed sandwich

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

last weekend AP and I found ourselves in san gabriel to meet up with EH and CH for our first stuffed sandwich experience.

  • in the same vein as toronado, stuffed sandwich has been around for decades and has achieved an almost legendary status.  like bars such as toronado and zeitgeist, stuffed sandwich is not for wimps, but those that stick to their guns, do their research, and follow the prescribed routine are greatly rewarded.
  • as we walked in the door, I got a text from EH reminding me of rule #1: order food first.  there are two lines (one for beer, one for food); if you get in the beer line first you are in for a rude awakening.
  • AP and I handled rule #1 without breaking a sweat, but got stuck at rule #2: bring your own glass.  luckily, EH brought enough glassware for the whole group, so I was only paper cupping it for a minute or two.  alternatively, we could have bought a glass from the wall of glassware inside.
  • aside from a minute or two of staring dumbfounded at the diverse and deep cooler selection, everything else went smoothly, and soon I was digging in to a tasty italian sub on the back patio and chasing it with an exceptionally killer bottle of fantome saison.
  • an hour or so later I was talking homebrew with marlene, one of the proprietors, and nabbing a bottle of cantillon geuze to finish up the afternoon.  I could have spent all day there grabbing unique bottles and knocking down sandwiches.
  • with the best bottle selection in the area, great deli selections, and very reasonable beer and food prices, stuffed sandwich is near the top of my list of go-to spots in socal.  did  I mention any of their beers can be purchased to go? now I just need another excuse to get up to san gabriel…

city beer store

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

at the taps

City Beer Store is one of my favorite places to grab a beer, mainly because I can sip on one of six taps while perusing an impressive bottle selection.  I wish more bottle shops were able to do this.

  • if you’re claustrophobic, I would recommend coming here at an off time or during the week.  the place isn’t that big and can get super crowded.  yesterday night (tuesday) all tables were full, but there were some seats available by the taps.  it’s not a big deal though, as I’m usually on my feet checking out their fridges or shelves.
  • I have also noticed that city beer has good prices compared to their competition.  many times I will go here to price out somewhat hard to find beers that are going for a few bucks more at other places.  the owners are great too, very friendly and accomodating.
  • CB started with the bruery’s hottenroth berliner weiss, which is a great example of the style.  word on the street is that they are planning on bottling this one, so that is something to keep an eye out for.
  • I ordered up a mini-flight of dogfish head palo santo marron 2008&2009.  the ’09 was a little hot, but not overwhelmingly so.  I dont normally drink  a lot of browns, but I’m glad these guys got poured, they were definitely tasty.
  • to finish off the night, a bottle of allagash victoria 2009 was popped.  when we ordered up the bottle, CB asked me what style it was, and I told him we’d have to figure it out firsthand.  However, after a few sips, I was still at a loss.  beer advocate labels it a “belgian strong pale.”  it was very drinkable (kinda sweet and fruity) with a floral aroma, but I  don’t think I’m gonna be stocking up in the near future.
  • the best part about drinking at city beer? I left with a fresh bottle of fantome saison, cantillon cuvee des champions, new belgium la folie, Brouwerij Van Steenberge’s monk’s cafe, and ichtegem’s grand cru!

palo santo flight

back fridge

allagash victoria

burger bar las vegas

Monday, August 31st, 2009

view from the back bar

view from the back bar

In Las Vegas for a close friend’s bachelor party, I happened to stumble across Burger Bar in Mandalay Place on the strip.  Well, more like “actively seek out as a result of BeerFly research” than “stumble across,” but you know what I mean.  This place emerged as an oasis in a desert of aluminum budweiser bottles and foot-tall plastic margarita glasses.

  • don’t fret if mandalay place (the building between mandalay bay and luxor) seems far.  a tram at excalibur drops you off less than a 5 minute walk from where you need to be.
  • when I got there, the place was packed, and there was a line to get in.  however, bar seating is first come, first served, and there were open bar seats the entire time i was there, so if you are in a group of 2-3 I would recommend that option.  they are also open until 2am on weekends, so you can always go in at an off hour to avoid the rush.
  • if the front bar is packed, check out their back bar – it seemed less crowded to me and was where I got a seat the first time I was there.
  • over the course of the weekend, I visited this place multiple times.  I started off with a favorite, stone’s 13 anniversary, while picking out a burger.
  • they also have an impressive dogfish head selection here, bigger than I have found in SF.  I had a DFH raison d’etre with my burger, and had them pour a draft DFH 90 minute IPA in a cup to go.
  • later that weekend, I rolled in for another burger.  I started off with another favorite, Cantillon Iris (in a 375ml bottle), and left with a DFH 120 minute IPA in a cup (ask for it, I don’t think it’s on the menu).  I think I can safely say that I was the only guy rolling through the casino with that beer in his hand.
  • Everyone working at burger bar was very friendly (and incredibly busy).  I had a good conversation with Dean, the resident “beer guide” at burger bar.  He’s the guy to look for for good beer stories and recommendations.

Also, another burger bar will be opening in the city in macy’s sometime soon, so hopefully theire beer list will come with it and we can all enjoy yet more beer variety here in SF.

p.s. for some decent shots of the interior of burger bar go here.

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