Thursday, November 20, 2008

Russian River Comes to Western PA

I guess that title may be a bit misleading. I guess I should specify, that through trade, I procured one bottle each of Russian River's new-to-bottle West Coast Hop Bombs. Yes, that is right, you're looking at a bottle of Blind Pig IPA and the highly coveted and critically acclaimed Pliny the Elder Imperial IPA.

I have been trying to get my hands on these for a long time, and with that comes a preconceived notion of outright superiority, very similar to the "I wish I dated a supermodel" theorem. This usually leads to disappointment. In this case, though, the River delivered, as expected.

The only previous exposure I've had to RR was through their bottled Belgian-style/sour beers which Justin procured while in San Fran. This brewery is considered to be one of the best in the nation, and unfortunately, isn't readily available in this area.

About the beers? Well, as foreshadowed, both were excellent, and lived up to expectations. The Pliny had an amazingly complex nose for one that focused mainly on hops and was deceivingly quaffable, even if it was a touch lacking in mouth feel as compared to other IIPAs. The Blind Pig was no where near as hoppy, but contributed a fuller mouth feel.

If so inclined, you can check out my Ratings.

Blind Pig.



Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dingbats Now Open

The long-awaited Dingbats location in the Indiana (PA) Mall finally opened for business this past Saturday after unforeseen licensing delays. I had been eagerly awaiting said establishment after visiting the Pittsburgh Mills Mall location over the summer. That location had boasted a rather extensive tap list, with the likes of Stone, Troegs, and other micros having a prominent place on it. Plus the food was decent and reasonably priced. I had hoped that the Indiana location would follow suit, giving us beer geeks another option for good beer.

Alas, this did not come to pass. It looks like the Bud rep pushed a ton of product on this location, which has 21 taps. The only non-bud distributed products, that I could see were Miller Lite, Coors Light, Sam, Sam Seasonal and Great Lakes Eliot Ness. Now it's not just BMC central, they did include two Red Hook offerings, the ESB and Long Hammer IPA, Shock Top, and Rolling Rock. Oh, and they did go hometown with Yuengling and Yuengling Black and Tan (non-Bud affiliated).

Overall, I'm extremely disappointed. I was hoping to see more variety. Hopefully we will in the future and this was just due to a "starting stock order", and the management can free themselves from the InBEVweiser monster soon enough.

Oh, yeah . . . the place has pretty decent food and a helluva lot of flat screen TVs, so it should be Steeler Central in there on gameday.



Thursday, November 13, 2008

Yes, the Show Will Go On!!

There have been some questions from the Beer Blogosphere whether or not the Across the Aisle Ale Series will still be brewed. The answer is a resounding yes, even though my beloved Commonwealth did go Blue. The Bipartisan Porter, as stated, will be brewed in the upcoming weeks, so keep an eye out for more information.

In other homebrew news, the Saison du Muqunee (MB0022-AG1) was a hit at the Indiana Homebrew Club meeting the other night, much to my delight. It's unfortunate that it won't be able to be reproduced exactly since we used a seasonal Wyeast strain. Tis life, though.



Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Homebrew Club Meeting Tonight

Yes, it is that time again. . . Indiana Homebrewer's Club is meeting this evening at The Coney at 8 PM. And the best part. . . I can actually attend. This will be the first time in the last three months that I am able to, because I'm actually in town. I think we're taking some of the Saison du Muqunee (MB0022) to share. If you're in town, stop by.



Friday, November 7, 2008

Dark and Mysterious Update - a Beer Review

Oh, lord, there's still some of this abomination around? Ok, I guess that was harsh. A few weeks ago Justin dropped off a sixer of the remaining cache of the Dark and Mysterious Cinnamon Porter (MB0012-T2). Personally, I had chalked this one up to experimentation a long time ago, thinking that it was completely gone until it showed up at my door, and with this, I knew I had to give it one more shot. Time for another homebrew review.

A bit over carbonated. Pours black with shades of red and a HUGE non-dissipating, khaki head. The beer took 5 minutes to pour it. The head retention is insane. It's sticking together an inch above the top of the snifter. Nose is still a mixture of Close Up Toothpaste and Big Red chewing gum. The cinnamon taste has subsided and mildly degraded. It was too much, and still is at this point. There's some mild malt character, along with some hop flavor and a decent bitterness (mild to moderate), but it's still all cinnamon, basically bordering on undrinkable. it is much better than before with great lacing. This may still improve, but I don't think it's going to get passed the overwhelming cinnamon flavor. Maybe in a few months. Watery mouth feel.

Yup, once again a reminder of what can happen when one doesn't follow the recipe.



Monday, November 3, 2008

The Rising Sun Twins Bottled - Fermentation Pipline Empty

That's right, dear reader, Justin and I finally got around to bottling the Rising Sun Ginger-Sesame Red Ale v1.1 (MB0023) and the Rising Sun Oiwai Ginger-Peach Red Saison (MB0024) yesterday afternoon. The process went smoothly. The Ginger-Sesame tasted as it should, with maybe a touch more ginger in the nose and taste than the previous version. The Oiwai Red Saison reached a FG of 1.007, which took away any of the sweetness the peach and apricot would have imparted. There is an interesting, slightly sour feel to this dry quaff, and I'll be extremely interested to see how it turns out after a few weeks in the bottle.

The issue now is that there's nothing in the pipeline at the moment. I will be attempting to brew this weekend, but time constraints may cause it to be moved until the 15th. Said brewing day will mark the 25th Muckney Brew, and will be the Bipartisan Porter collabo-brew with Bearded Brewing. Seeing how I'm a big fan of double brew days, I may have to work something else up.

On a completely unrelated note, I beat Justin in our head-to-head Fantasy Football matchup this weekend.