For all the years that I used to drink beer en masse with the masses I never once seriously considered brewing my own. I've been on numerous brewery tours, I see and understand the process, and hell, I even really like to bake and cook - there's no reason why I shouldn't really enjoy brewing. I should be one of those people that's all down to experiment with flavors and styles and drink beer with my buds. I should want to spend all my extra cash on homebrewing supplies and ingredients and concoct mysterious brews of delight. However, in all my life I've never been all that motivated. I mean, why try to reinvent the wheel that Foothills, Terrapin, and Dogfish have done so well? I mean, it ain't broke; I can get beer of all kinds and styles at my local beer store, why fix it?
But now that I'm still in this gluten intolerance limbo area, I really want to stop spending all my money on one beer at the beer store. And knowing people that I know, I have weaseled my way into a homebrewing group's somewhat regular brewing schedule. My goal through this manipulative manner of mayhem is to get some apprentice-like education on brewing and begin brewing gluten free beer for myself to enjoy. I want to be the person who can actually BYOB again to parties. I want to be able to go out to enjoy other beverages because I've got all the beer I could want to myself.
Plus, at some point I really want to make a gluten free sour or double IPA for myself. Because, if you do drink gluten free beer, the biggest problem with gluten free beer is the lack of variety (imho). I hardcore, vehemently believe that the best gluten free beer I've ever had is the New Planet Off Grid Pale Ale. We even did some taste-testing between it and the Tread Lightly they make and it's obvious the difference between the two. The Off Grid gives you more body and more flavor-memory of being a real beer while the Tread Lightly is sweet and thin. Tread Lightly ALMOST comes across as being a watered-down beer. And this isn't a ding to New Planet because I'm just happy to have options. But I do drink beer and that's my general thought of it. Plus, that's why brewers brew options...everyone's taste buds are different.
So prepare to read about the chronicle of me brewing a gluten free beer. The first step is getting the ingredients. I've reached out to New Planet and drank a bunch of beers (two important steps when trying to mimic a beer you like) and I'm waiting to hear back. I plan to head to Bull City Homebrew to talk with Kyle (my new brew buddy) about getting the rest of the ingredients, but as I just learned, the ratios are what's important. Not only do you need to know what hops & malts & stuff are in your beer, but the ratios of each too. That way you know how much you'll need of each.
I also learned something peculiar about yeast strains. Not all yeast strains are gluten free either. So, if you have celiac you need to make sure you have gluten free yeast too. Thankfully, I don't think I am a celiac, so I'll settle for what's most convenient. For the remaining ingredients in your beer that you can't get at the Homebrew store, you can always get off Amazon.
Are you a homebrewer? Do you have any other tips for a noob on brewing beer? Leave 'em in the comments!
For the craft beer drinkers: skip it, move on.
For those that like sparkling wine & cider: try it out.
I would not call this beer, but I think that's the overall problem with sorghum beers. And this my plan to home brew... I'm working on what appears to be a complicated recipe. Does anyone know where I can find amaranth and quinoa seeds in bulk?
I have stumbled across an important revelation in my life - I like to geek out with my friends. Honestly, it's gotten so bad that I don't have to know anything about the subject to want to chill with friends and discuss. To drive that point home, here are some of my all time favorite topics (guess which ones I know nothing about):
craft beer, hipster music, cooking, pr0n, comic books, tattoos, needlepoint and knitting, Paid Search and SEO.
update edit:: I also like to talk about vintage memorabilia & clothing - especially from the 50s and 60s and 90s.
But, it doesn't seem to matter, if I have some intelligent (on that subject) conversation around me, I'm pretty happy. So go figure that I readily accepted an invitation to Broads Who Tweet - Beech Mountain. Go ahead and like us, especially if you are a broad...who tweets.
If you've been following along, you'll know I tweet more than blog. Plus, apparently I'm really smart on subjects and people wanted me to join in on the fun! I guess that's what happens when you constantly put yourself amid smart people...(nudge nudge wink wink to all my friends...I accept Amazon Gift Cards for that shoutout).
Anyway, BWT weekend was super fabulous - we had ab0ut 17-ish women in The-Middle-Of-Nowhere-Beech-Mountain, NC in a huge log cabin to discuss geektastic things. We talked about mobile SEO and QR codes (like, if you're gonna use a QR make sure it lands on the right effing page!). We chatted about how to balance your personal and professional life (I learned most of us actually don't have enough time to update our own sites instead of our clients'). And we talked, of course, about SEO and Facebook (not together, but separately). I walked away with a brand new appreciation of being a professional and a woman on the Internet and I vow (starting now) to stop being so incredibly bitchy about my fellow women. I won't say there won't be a slip here and there (after all, I am quite bitchy) but I'm gonna do my best to be nice.
Prime example of my being nicer: On a recent 2 hour flight there was a screaming baby. Had I not been at BWT this weekend I probably would have gotten really aggravated and thought "Stupid woman, why would you bring an infant on a plane ride? Drug that kid pronto!" Which of course is seriously bitchy and borderline evil. HOWEVER, because of the awesome chicks at BWT I realized two important things: 1) She probably had to fly for whatever reason and she shouldn't be condemned simply because she has a baby, and 2) she probably doesn't want the baby screaming as much as I don't want the baby screaming.
So, my point folks is this, conferences aren't simply about the subject matter they promote. There's always networking and learning really important things (usually done outside of the sessions and while people are drinking) at every conference. So, shout-out to Fullsteam, Olde Hickory, and Foothills for providing us with the good beer of the weekend! I won't say which two disappeared first, but they were all supremely loved by every chick! Thank you thank you thank you!!
Which brings me to another point...
It's something I don't want to face...
But all fears can be conquered by facing them head on, right?
I am gluten intolerant.
Now, while this is a pretty common ordeal (like 1 in 130 people suffer from gluten intolerance or wheat allergies) it's just not something you hear from a die-hard, craft beer loving nerd. And after a weekend of loving on craft beer from Foothills, Fullsteam, and Olde Hickory and eating sweets baked by some of our talented ladies, I had to admit because my body really forced me to...I am gluten intolerant. This means that I can't eat wheat (pizza, pasta, soy sauce) and I can't drink most beer. And well, I've tried gluten free beer before, but I've never been happy with any of it. I mean, when there are four ingredients in something and you're gonna mess with one of them...then it's 25% different and therefore NOT THE SAME THING! But, I suppose now I have no choice, so I'm on a new quest to find and taste the gluten free beer options around me. I also plan to start mixing up some cocktails too since wine & liquor are gluten free. We'll see how it goes. This blog just might evolve into something else. I hope you stick around, I promise to do my best to make it interest (even without the bitchiness and beer).
My grandmother's father, Solomon Roskind, used to do the bottling for Long Island, NY. As I know it, he bottled everything from Coca Cola to beer. Ballantine Ales were one of the brands he bottled. I'm super proud and glad to have Fullsteam hanging his memory in their bar.
Update from Sue Polinsky, who has obviously never heard of the comments field:
Solomon Roskind founded and operated Amityville Bottling Company for more than 50 years in Amityville. His wife, your great-grandmother Gussie, was Nana’s mother.
He drank like a fish. You’d have loved him. He was short, wiry and cranky. An orphan. Had a brother. He hauled and schlepped cases of soda and beer all over the county. Grew that business and gave it to Uncle Hermie (z’’l), Nana’s older brother, who operated it for more decades. Fed his family all their lives. His wife, your great Aunt Bea, still lives on the property.
I have thousands of stories.
Miller Coors is about to be forced to pull 39 brands of beer from every bar, restaurant, and store in Minnesota. Score 1 for the craft brewers.
It's a new age and new era to be in love with craft beer. It's also good to know that the government doesn't let the big guys off easy, just because they have more money. With all the griping about the approval processes and forms to fill out I hear from the local breweries, it almost makes one think that the government is eyeing these small brewers in order to make their lives...full of paperwork. But sure enough, Miller-Coors is stuck in the battle of paperwork with the state of Minnesota and it's really possible that
Minnestans Minnesotites Minnesotians have had the good sense to eliminate Miller-Coors brand beers from their stores, restaurants, and bars.
Well, at least until the government renews Miller's liquor license. It looks like some Senators aren't down with a government shutdown (again, for the second time in six years).
Various citizens, mainly bar owners and liquor stores, are desperately worried about what'll happen to their precious Miller cases.
"Throughout the state of Minnesota, the local tavern, bar and grill are kind of the social hub," Pallansch, 65, said in a telephone interview from Grey Eagle, a town of about 320 where he owns the Double "R" Bar and Grill. "If they're locked up, it's going to be a big outcry."
But I don't get it. Isn't this the time to educate your consumer to a better beer? That more expensive beer is actually a lot better than, dare I say, piss water that the macrobreweries produce. I see this as an opportunity to move forward, to move on. Just because Miller isn't available doesn't mean that a) Budweiser isn't available either or b) that there's MUCH better beer out there. Support your local brewer, stock his beer and get your clients interested enough to buy it. Let's take a look at what these poor, unfortunate Minnesotians are going to lose:
- Miller Lite
- Miller Genuine Draft
- Miller High Life
- Miller MGD 64
- Miller Chill
- Coors Lite
- Blue Moon
- Extra Gold Lager
- Steel Reserve High Gravity
- Old English 800 Malt Liquor
- Magnum Malt Liquor
- Molson Canada
- Milwaukee's Best
- Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat
- Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve
- Killian's Irish Red
- Pilsner Urquell
- Peroni Nastro Azzuro
And now, let's look at the craft brewers brewing some authentic Minnesota craft beer:
Obviously, there's no local supply of anything other than Miller-Coors available to those bars & restaurants and their patrons are just gonna have to go sober for awhile. Or we could teach them to CrossDrink!
Burger King has announced that they'll be building Whopper Bars that will sell not only their tasty Whoppers (with additional toppings) but also some cold, cold beer. Now this isn't new for fast food restaurants, anyone who's traveled overseas could get beer in McDonalds, Burger King and many other places before America adopted fast beer drinking. Some of the main arguments against such an action are:
- When people are trying to get in & out in a hurry they don't need to be chugging down beer.
- Drinking beer at a fast food joint in front of children is bad.
- Beer in a fast food restaurant will make the youth of America belligerent.
Only one of those seems like a valid argument at all. Yes, chugging a beer is certainly not a good idea right before you get into a car to drive you & your previous loved ones home. But chugging a watered-down beer while you're taking in a crap-ton of Calories can't be all that bad. I don't have exact data about how quickly a 220-pound guy can process a craft beer, but I suppose it takes longer than processing a beer that's primarily water. Let's face it, Burger King isn't going to start brewing its own beer, they're partnering with AB and Miller Coors to contribute to their new Whopper Bars. Burger King is uniform, consistent, and far-reaching, they need a beer that is uniform, consistent, and has mass-appeal to their average customer.
Stop bitching and realize I'm not directing that last comment to most of my readers. I don't frequent Burger King now and I don't even think they're marketing this to me. I do think they should have gone the craft route and market their new Whopper Bars to craft beer drinkers, but no one at Burger King asked me.
Reading the Burger King article in USA Today notes that the beers will be served their Budweiser and Miller "in aluminum cans to keep them extra cold." As we all know, cold doesn't have taste. Breweries that sell their beer touted with the "extra cold" message aren't creating a tasty, high in flavor, high in alcohol content beer. They want a consistent flavor so that they can appeal to a mass market. Burger King seems to be satisfying a niche market of people who want to quench their thirst with beer instead of tea or soda and, in as far as that being true, I think this will actually be a successful venture for them. Budweiser isn't high in alcohol content so I don't believe consuming one, or even two, will actually effect a 220-pound man while he's eating a Whopper Combo 2 with cheese.
Yes, I know I use "220-pound man" in the most sexist of ways. I assume that any man eating at Burger King would be heavier than the average American and that since the family has gone out to eat the man would not only be the beer drinker but the driver too. Welcome to America and the world of corporate beer in my mind.
As for the other points of argument, people drink in front of their children all the time. What about having a glass of wine or a mixed drink at a fancy restaurant makes it any better than a beer at a Whopper Bar? And if people bring their underage kids to Whopper Bars and those kids see people not abusing the beer, odds are it will only benefit them to understand one doesn't have to drink to the point of inebriation every time they open a beer. It seems to me that having a beer with your meal is a pretty fucking normal thing to do. If I have kids I want them to learn responsibility, moderation, and respect. If it means that I have to drink a beer at dinner every night, by golly, I'll just have to make that sacrifice!
However, if CP+B is still the agency that represents Burger King and its King character, the commercials for the Whopper Bars could basically ruin any sort of positive outcome they could have had. If you don't know what I'm talking about, click here or watch this:
Go ahead and love the post title. I've tried to forgo all the beer that came my way. For the last 20 days I've had one beer and one sip and I'm so incredibly sad about that. Yeah sure I've expanded my taste palate to whiskey and bourbon, but damnit, nothing is as satisfying as an ice cold craft beer. So today I make a change to my diet - one beer a day is now allowed.
For the last 20 days I've done my best to eliminate all carbs from my diet and focus on a high fat, high protein sort of diet. The immediate effects were awesome - I lost weight (especially my beer belly), my clothes fit better, my back felt better, and I had tons more energy. But the cons of not being able to socialize with my friends at beer tastings, cask events, and just generally at the bar, while great for my wallet, was really killing my social life. It was a great chance to take a look at my drinking habits, which I didn't realize were a little more hardcore than I ever intended them to be. I like to drink good beer; I'm not looking to get drunk every night on craft beer.
And, to be honest, these last two days I fell off the wagon. Some things happened and I'm emotional eater (I mean, c'mon, who's not?) and I went out for ice cream and I had sushi. The immediate effects of eating both those carboloaded items was proof to me that my ordinary diet was just not the best thing for me. After eating the ice cream I felt awful - cramps, shooting pain, and extreme lethargy. After the sushi, I just wanted to take a nap (and I eventually did). If carbs affect me that much, maybe it's worth it to really cut back and monitor my intake.
So that's what I plan to do, I mean if the Rapture never came and we're all still alive, that's got to be a sign, right?! So for my new, post-Rapture Fail life, I'm going to remain eating few to no carbs, but allow myself the happiness of one beer a day. If I fall off the wagon for a party or special event, I'm not going to beat myself up over it. Life happens.
But why are you all right? I mentioned my "no beer diet" to a few people and every one of them said it's a bad idea if my goal was to be able to taste beer better. I think they are right. While I sit here and drink an Abita Turbodog I realize that I can taste some of the bitter from the hops, but it's only slightly more bitter than I remember it being. However, I know that I really want some spicy jambalaya now too. The other week I tasted Big Boss's Monkey Bizz-ness and that was sweet and fruity and delicious. But instead of noticing the unique flavors that make up the beer, I noticed how bitter the Abita was and how sweet the Monkey Bizz-ness was. And instead of denying myself something that makes me happy, I think trying a combination of moderation and dieting might work out best. Now each beer is something to savor and enjoy, not just drink. I can take the time to think about the beer and remained focused about it, instead of consuming so many in one night that I'm not able to differentiate between each. If I want to be a better taster, I should follow the advice of The Beer Wench and "taste, taste, taste."
Now raise your glass high and cheers to happiness!
It's been about a week now that I've tried to eliminate carbs from my food. I also planned to increase my protein & fat intake, thus causing my body to operate on ketones instead of glucose, which I think has been a culprit for a few of my problems. Since I've passed through the stages of "OMGINeedSugarNow" and the dreaded "brain fog" where I forgot all the pertinent information going on in my life, I think I have the energy now to explain what's been going on.
Bacon is the meat equivalent of candy. I figure out ways to add bacon to whatever I'm eating. When I want a snack? Bacon. When I want fruit? Bacon. I eat bacon all the time. And trust me, I know if it's not bacon. If you have any recipes that are bacon-heavy or alternative ways to cook bacon (I pan fry right now) then I'd love to have them. Bacon is my staple. On top of that (literally) I eat eggs, beef, chicken, seafood, cheese, and the occasional green vegetable like spinach or broccoli. Overall, I've felt some major improvements in areas that I never thought would be affected, for instance, I used to have some anxiety issues. Nothing serious, I just tend to worry about things that I have no control over. Since I've stopped eating carbs, I've noticed that my anxiety (and my road rage) have gotten a lot less noticeable, if not gone altogether. I can consciously tell myself that there's nothing I can do and I truly stop worrying. That's been super nice.
Also, as part of my "research" I've noticed that my back doesn't hurt as much. I have arthritis as well as two herniated discs in my lower back and since going almost "carb-free" I've noticed that the pain is less and sometimes actually goes away. Usually people find me hobbling around until my joints loosen up, but I believe that the increase in fats and oils in my diet, along with regular exercise, has given me a few days free of pain. That on its own makes me a believer in this way of eating.
But, as any test goes, there are some cons. Let's not beat around the bush here, I miss drinking good ol' craft beer (and I miss my Untappd badges). Even if Fullsteam makes a bacon flavored beer, I can't drink it. Drinking liquor when I go out at night makes my bar tab exponentially higher than what I'm used to, so I've had to curb the night scene for most of the last week. I've tried to rationalize this with another experiment - does a carb-free (or nearly) diet give me a better tasting palate? At the end of the month I plan to test this theory out with my friends in LA. Before this dietary change I could drink a beer and know whether or not I enjoyed it, but I was having a difficult time distinguishing the flavors of the hops, malts, and yeast, which, as a beer blogger & lover, I really want to be able to do. I specifically remember having a conversation with Erik about a seasonal beer late last year and I couldn't detect anywhere near the same amount of flavor that he could. I chalked it up to a stuffy nose in order to not be embarrassed, but that wasn't it entirely. It just tasted like beer to me. I know that it takes time & experience to get as good as Erik is about tasting beer, but I want to make sure I'm running on all cylinders before I even try to drink with him again. I think this is because my palate has been desensitized to the sugars of the world. By the time my trip rolls around, I should be glucose-free for about 25 days. I'm so excited to see what beer tastes like again! If I can figure it out, I might try to do a video of that moment. I'd love to capture my thoughts about that.
Has anyone else gone carb-free and then reintroduced beer into their diet?
Two weeks and counting until beer time.
So it's been awhile since I've written something fascinating for you all to read. Well, in order to make up for it, I thought I'd try something new. I recently watched the movie Fat Head and after some more research and discussion, I am going to try to live a low carb lifestyle. That means not only giving up deliciously starchy foods like chocolate and bread, but also the less obvious ones like fruit and many vegetables.
- lose weight
- increase lean muscle
- increase energy
- reduce joint pain
- improve my digestion
I'll keep a diary of both my food and my moods to see if this test is working. I'd like to give it 30 days, but I have a trip planned to Los Angeles to visit my friends and go to the 3rd Anniversary of The Bruery so it's really only going to be a 20 day experiment.
In a severe over-simplification an anabolic diet is a no-carb diet. There's really a lot more to it (research it if you want to know more) but the easy explanation is that in order to burn more fat and build more lean muscle, one must remove carbohydrates from her diet. Now, I'm a craft beer lover. I attended the Beer Bloggers Conference last year. I co-host a weekly beer meet-up group. I am known by my friends as a "beer snob." How am I supposed to give up one of my favorite things?!
Well, it's not going to be easy for sure. We all know that beer is made of malt, yeast, hops, and water. Fermentation turns malt into sugar, so malt is just the evil carbohydrate in delicious liquid form. After some basic math, I figure craft beers contain on average 13-20 grams of carbs per 12-oz serving. Those really watered down, tasteless light beers average 4-9 grams of carbs. Stouts are more, sometimes getting into the mid-20s for carbs. This just all depends on the amount of malt used in the beer. So, while I plan on consuming less than 30 grams of carbs per day, I could theoretically have 1 summer ale or two Bud Lights, but why tease me and ruin a perfectly good test? So, just like one man only drank beer during Lent, I'm only going to NOT drink beer for a month.
Thank g-d I'm a crossdrinker. Whiskey, tequila, gin & vodka (but not coconut rum!) are allowed on an anabolic diet since distilled liquor is naturally carb-free. Beer and wine however are fermented and not distilled and therefore have carbs. I would like to hear from my beer loving friends, do you think I'm crazy? Do you want to join me? Do you think I'll break down by Saturday and go have a Guinness? (Well, you're wrong, I'm not a big Guinness fan.)
So, it's the end of Passover and I get to drink beer again. And what could be more fitting than one of my favorite breweries with one of their super-special brews. The Double Feature by Terrapin (or Dubbel Feature if you're looking for it on Untappd) raises money for the Georgia Theater in Athens - the brewery's hometown. I bought my Terrapin awhile back in honor of my UGA alumnus brother coming to visit me - and it's been stored in my "cellar" since. I think I bought it back in the Fall of 2010. I still see boxes of this stuff up on the shelves at Sam's Quik Shop, but I know that Terrapin has released three other styles that I never saw around here. Anyhoo - beer stored away, anxiously awating my brother's arrival. Only to see he him come and go.
And since Danny did not drink his special beer when he arrived before Passover, I got to watch it sit in my fridge for an entire week. So now, I drink it - in honor of him, Athens, and Terrapin!
First - I'm going to ignore the fact that the box my Terrapin Double Feature came in seems to have been previously opened. There's a glue tack mark inside the box that I clearly did not break. If the box isn't lying, and there really is a "golden ticket" potentially inside some of these boxes, I'd like to go ahead and be Florida and ask for a recount. Then, once I unwrapped the gold foil from the cap, I'm going to ignore the rust around the cap. There are many reasons a properly sealed beer bottle cap could have rust on it, right?
So, down to the beer. As far as Belgian Dubbels go, this one isn't too bad. It seems to have soured a bit over time, but I guess that's part of the aging process. In fact, it kind of gives an interesting taste to the beer that I wouldn't have expected if it were drunk fresh. If I were to compare it to other famous Belgian Dubbels, like Chimay Red or Ommegang, this beer is much more malty and less carbonated. There's definitely hints of spice - like clove or cinnamon - and a sour aftertaste. I'd easily say this is a great representation of the Belgian Dubbel style and quite unintentionally the Flanders style! I'm not going to be too harsh about the carbonation since I did let the beer sit for almost 8 months before drinking it.
But it's that overall sweet, malty, warm taste that I can't get over. As soon as I'm done with my sip my mouth waters for the next one. But the sour taste of the beer is a real contrast to that sweet, sweet malt. There's no real fruit flavor, which I've come to recognize as an "abbey ale," but instead the Terrapin style goes for sweet & spice and everything nice. Man, this is one of those beers I wish I had bought two of - one to have fresh and one to age!
Some fun facts about the Georgia Theatre -
- 1889 - The famous structure at the corner of Clayton and Lumpkin streets is built as the first YMCA in the South
- 1926 - The Masonic Temple Association of Athens buys the building
- 1928 - Sears, Roebuck and Co. leases the ground floor
- 1967 - United Theatre busy the buildling and names it the Georgia Theatre
- 1978 - The B-52s pay to perform at the Georgia Theatre
- 1979 - The Police play as a part of the band's first US tour
- 1991 - Widespread Panic films "Widespread Panic: Live from the Georgia Theatre, Athens, GA" directed by Billy Bob Thornton