Friday, March 29, 2013

The Grass is Getting Green!

With the outside temperature pushing 20 or more degrees above that of my quickly emptying keggerator, my thought turns to summer beers.  I am needing to brew, and now is the time to put some hot weather beers in the can.

I actually got a request (rare) to brew my wheat beer.  It is a beer that while I never fell in love with was light and non-wheaty and served a nice twist on the lawnmower beer.  In recent years I have been experimenting with watermelon in it (which has been well recieved by all but me), but maybe it is time again to brew a naked version.  I don't know.

My summer brewing schedule is needing to start taking shape, however.  So far, if we hold to tradition, we have only the watermelon wheat, which is a late summer brew (watermelons ripen in June, so the beer is ready in July/August.  I need a plan.

So, what should we brew this summer?

We have loose plans to brew a Gratzer (in German) or Grodziskie in my family's native tounge, which is a smoked wheat beer indiginous to Poland.  For me, it is about getting back to my roots, and interesting, but not sure how I will like it.  But it is different, and I know a guy with a smoker, so I may be able to smoke my own wheat malt, just to make it a little more interesting.

I have been enjoying the Helles style, but there isn't much to it and my window of opportunity for lagers is kind of closing.

I am interested in a Steam Beer again, but I have been disappointed with my attempts at this style compared to a fresh beer on tap from that certain brewery in San Francisco that owns the trademark.  Perhaps I need to find my own version of this beer away from the clone.

Sour Mash something.  After tasting the Sour Mashed Red Saison from Black Shirt Brewing, I am aroused by the thought of trying a sour mash to impart a tartness in a beer.  But which beer should I choose?  I am not sure I am up for a full-on Berliner-weiss.

Saison.  I have fallen in love with some local examples of this style, but each of them is so different.  I thought I would wait until mid summer and ferment this beer relatively warm, but haven't given a thought as to the type or variety that I could employ.  Saison translates to season, so it is a beer made from the fresh ingredients on-hand.

Mild Ale.  Being a malt forward kind of guy, this style has not gone well for us, and there are not many commercial examples to point to.  Locally, Pike's Peak Brewing keeps theirs as a regular offering, and Dry Dock and Copper Kettle have them as one-offs or occasional seasonals.  Our last example was a 2nd runnings from our Barley Wine, and I had a love-hate relationship.  I though it was okay when I just poured one, but I thought it was awful when I poured one after having something else.  It doesn't inspire confidence in me, but I feel like it (along with Brown Ale) is a style that could be a nice choice in the session beer catagory.

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