Sunday, June 26, 2011

Being One, but not the Same (to quote Bono)

It occurred to me on Father's Day that if I have a Doppleganger, he lives in Belgium.  A Doppleganger is a body double (someone who looks just like me), but more like an evil twin.  I imagine my Doppleganger as not so much evil as unwitting.  Perhaps he is not my evil twin, but rather, I am his.

I imagine my twin living a quite provincial life amongst the farms in West Flanders or maybe a diamond merchant in Antwerp.  He is probably, like me, a quite boring fellow, but I am certain he has a beautiful shock of hair....not that he is concerned with it in the least.  He favors wine, you know, and considers himself quite a connoisseur. Living so close to France makes it easy.  He speaks Dutch, but understands French, English, and German.

Yes, this little fellow is so similar, yet different.  On this peculiar Sunday (Father's Day in the United States) we could find our hero in a quiet spot rediscovering a beverage from his past.  Usually, on summer days like this, he would favor a Bordeaux but his mind was on Burgundy, but feeling somewhat misplaced, he instead settled on a nice beer from his home country.  It was something that he was quite familiar with as he was raised on it, a specialty of his native Flanders, a somewhat sour beer with the flavor of dark fruits.  It was this beer that introduced him to the mellower and rounder flavor of wine as this beer, made the old way, was so much like wine, almost like a Burgundy's Doppleganger....similar, similarly made, aged in oak for over a year and often blended for the right consistency, similarly complex, similarly flavorful, but different, almost evil in its attraction, and made with a blend of bacteria and yeast natural to this unlike beer, so like perfect on this end of Spring day.

As he sat thinking of this evil twin of a beer, a somewhat dim witted fellow in the States was considering his options for a special treat this Father's Day.  He almost for no reason at all parted with almost $50 bucks for a four pack of Oud Bruin and another 4 pack of a beer demurely named The Duchess of Bourgonne, both beers of the Flemish Style (brown and red).  An unusual choice for this self described beer guy.  A guy who doesn't tend to like extreme beers, and tends to frown upon beers that don't taste like beer.

Truth be told.....Flemish Red and Oud Bruin have been a favorite of mine for a while.  I don't tend to get them (even when/where offered) as they are expensive, and don't satisfy my taste for beer.  They are my un beer beverages of choice.  They have a tartness from the bacteria but a fruitiness that make them refreshing.  At 6-8% ABV coupled with the expense, it is difficult to keep them around.  If you are not into sour beers, you may or may not enjoy them....I didn't immediately like them, but over time (approximately 5 years now) of hanging out at my local Belgian beer bar....I have begun to have an affair with the Duchess, and she introduced me to her Flemish cousin.

Now I dream of them at night....

Damn my Doppleganger....damn him to hell.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Brewin' w/Bigfoot!

Tomorrow is the first day of the National Homebrewer's Conference in San Diego, California.  I sit here, in my basement hideout sipping on an Oak Aged Yeti, feeling sorry for myself as I really, really, really, really wanted to go.....I should have.  My brother was in.  I have a job and money to do wife might have not been crazy for the idea as our 18th wedding anniversary falls on Sunday, but it could have been a father's day the way, I didn't think the whole wedding anniversary thing falling on Father's Day weekend through way back in 1993....I never thought I would be a father, I guess.....but this sucks (sort of).  Don't get me isn't the marriage or the kids....but it is like agreeing to have your birthday on December 25th.

Anyway, San Diego.  I don't have much interest in the city, but I should have gone to the conference.  I have never been to one....actually, this might sound funny.  I have never been to any conference for any reason.

So, as I sit feeling sorry for myself, I checked the web to see where the 2012 conference will be held.  The 2012 34th Annual NHC will be June 21-23rd in Bellevue, Washington near Seattle.  If your name is David, are a Red Wing fan, have a security clearance, and hair....your mission is to join the AHA.  If you don't....I ain't buying you tickets....your other mission is to sell this to my wife.  If you are some random homebrewer or beer lover (or my brother in law)....feel free to join me in Seattle.

After 16 years of this hobby, I think I deserve it.  Skeptical Brewing Company is Brewin' with Bigfoot in 2012!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

neither here nor there

I have been tinkering with my keggerator since I replaced my gas.  I have learned some valuable and one expensive lesson.

I spilled all but 1 gallon of my prized oktoberfest into the bottom of my freezer.....but drank every last drop of my not so good brown ale.  If that isn't the definition of ironic.....I don't know what is.  The real lesson is, to tighten all of your fittings, and check the inside of your keggerator often.  It might be worth putting a moisture sensor in the bottom for a fail safe....but for now, I will tighten and double check.

I have tapped into my summer beers...(wheat and blonde), and have decided that they are too similar to serve at the same time.  I actually prefer the blonde, which is simpler and cheaper to brew.  I could abandon the wheat for awhile....maybe altogether.

I have a wicked chill haze problem with the blonde.  A chill haze is a haze that is more pronounced (or only evident) when the beer is cold.  It clears as it warms.  It degrades the enjoyment of the beer somewhat, as you drink with your eyes....I was having the same problem (with haze) on our West Coast Red ale...I surmised at the time that it was from the hops, but I am not sure if it is something in our process (perhaps coupled with our yeast).  The Oktoberfest cleared after about 3 weeks.....I still have hope for the blonde, but need to do more research.

Next beer looks like something a little different....I have my eye on a couple of historical from the 1800's one from the revolutionary war (except that I will use hops).  More about these later.