Season 2, Episode 13 - This week, we’re drinking some pretty rad sours while John gets serious about bottle dates.
Welcome to the fourth show, that is, the fourth show of session 14 of Four Brewers. In case you’re unfamiliar with how we record shows, we get together every three weeks and record three shows in a four hour session, which we broadcast live on Google Hangouts and our YouTube channel. The shows are then edited in post-production and released weekly.
Due to scheduling conflicts, we had to record four episodes during our last session (that’s a lot of beer…). This leads us to this week’s episode. The discussions get a little heated and a bit off the rails, and our deepest inner beer geeks come out to play. Now that you know what you’re in for, let’s dive in!
We start off with a beer thats new to all of us that was provided by Temecula’s [self-proclaimed] Beer Ambassador, Mr. John Ryti, Destihl Brewery’sHere Gose Nothin’. The best way to describe this beer is clean, refreshing, and cleansing. It has notes of tangerine and clementines, and packs a big and salty sour punch. We all enjoy the beer, but all agree that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the awesome sours that Destihl became known for a few years ago and is still currently making.
Cascade Brewing is up next with Figaro, a “northwest-style” ale made with white figs and lemon peel and aged in Chardonnay barrels. It has a rough, but balanced sourness, and is quite savory, to say the least. This is the first time we’ve all heard of white figs, and we find out that there are actually many different varieties of figs out there. TIL.
Next up is a tasting of three different vintages of The Dissident from Deschutes Brewery; 2008, 2012, and 2014. This beer is a sour brown ale that is made with cherries, and is meant to age in the bottle…by design. What this means is that Deschutes specifically designed this beer to age and sour in the bottle, much like beers that are bottle conditioned with brettanomyces. In fact, it even has an “enjoy after” date printed in the back of the bottle. It’s this “enjoy after” concept that sparks a debate on the show. Should a brewery release a beer that isn’t ready for consumption when it’s fresh? Is the brewery catering specifically to beer geeks who plan to cellar this beer? Is the brewery right to put the burden of aging a beer to its prime on the consumer? These are all brought up during the debate, and makes for an interesting and lively discussion. As far as The Dissident goes, it’s a great beer that changes a lot, mostly for the good, over a few years of cellaring. Deschutes knows sours, and it shows with this beer.
Season 2, Episode 12 - This week’s show is live from the one and only Firkfest, in Anaheim, California.
The day is upon us. The time has come. Firkfest is here! Undoubtedly, you’ve heard our cute little ads before each show for Greg’s annual festival in celebration of cask ale, and for good reason–it’s a rad event. Cask ale is a style of beer that is easily overlooked and somewhat misunderstood. Is it a beer that is flat, warm, and flavorless? Is it a beer with a bunch of stuff thrown into it to make the base beer taste different? On this week’s show, we hope to provide some clarity on the topic. Yes, traditional cask ale is generally served at a certain temperature and conditioned with yeast inside the cask to attain a certain volume of carbonation, but at the same time there’s also an offshoot that incorporates firkins of beer, flavored with other ingredients to give beer inside of it a different flavor, aroma, and overall experience.
The panelists provide a lot of insight on what cask ale is and how the definition and translation of the style has mutated over time. This is a truly traditional style of beer that represents the history of beer as we know it today. You’ve got to know where you came from to know where you’re going…
Photos from Firkfest can be found in the Photos section of the site. Big thanks to everyone who attended the event, those who went out of their way to say hello to us, and of course, Mr. Nagel for organizing another great festival.
BREW THE SHIT OUT OF IT.
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Season 2, Episode 11 - This week’s show is all about our new favorite brewery from Alaska, Anchorage Brewing Company.
This week it’s all about Anchorage Brewing Company. They’ve taken the beer world by storm as of late with their tasty brettanomyces saisons, IPAs, and tripels. Anchorage has a very unique take on beer that can be quite inspirational to homebrewers.
The first beer up (03:05) is Galaxy, a white IPA made with Galaxy hops, corriander, kumquats, and peppercorns. The beer is fermented with wit yeast in French oak, dry hopped with another dose of Galaxy hops, and then bottle conditioned with brettanomyces and wine yeast. Damn. There’s a bit of a debate on the show as to whether or not this beer should be classified as an IPA.
Next up (13:37) is The Tide and Its Takers. This was Matt’s second beer ever from Anchorage brewing, Love Buzz being the first. This beer is based around the tripel style, and has notes of oak, pineapple, funk and fruit. It isn’t nearly as bitter as Galaxy, which explains why they may have chosen to label Galaxy as an IPA.
The final beer (22:47) is definitely a contender for #WednesdayWhalezday, a barley wine-style ale called, A Deal with the Devil. This massive barley wine had a starting gravity of 37º plato (1.164 SG), and a post-fermentation gravity of 10º plato. That equates to a big beer with big body. The beer was aged for eleven months in cognac barrels, and is rich and boozy–definitely a sipper. Candied sugar, burnt brown sugar, and candied walnuts and almonds all come thorough in a big way when tasting this beer. It’s great, and the hype is real!
See you next week, and as always…
BREW THE SHIT OUT OF IT.
Side note: This week’s Firkfest ad was inspired by Radiolab, an awesome public radio/podcast that all the cool kids listen to.
Season 2, Episode 10 - This week, we’re geeking out to AleSmith and Mikkeller radness.
A couple episodes ago when we did the blind bourbon barrel-aged stout tasting, we got some feedback pertaining to why we didn’t include any of the barrel-aged variants of AleSmith Brewing Company’sSpeedway Stout. The reason is that Speedway Stout itself is a coffee stout, and the barrel-aged variants of Speedway have flavorings added to them in addition to coffee. We wanted to keep the stout tasting as pure as possible by excluding any beers with flavoring and/or aroma additives (by the way, we heard you, internet…they’re NOT called “adjuncts”…), hence the reason Speedway Stout was excluded.
BUT…since we were accused of erroneously “snubbing” AleSmith, we decided to dedicate an ENTIRE SHOW this awesome beer and brewery. You want the Speedway Stout? Well, now you’re gonna get it. In addition to AleSmith beers, we thought it was appropriate to include another brewery known for making imperial stout whalez, Mikkeller. You may have read in recent news that Mikkeller is partnering up with AleSmith to start brewing beer in the United States. That’s awesome. Mikkeller recently brewed a collaboration beer with AleSmith called Beer Geek Speedway, so we thought the addition of Mikkeller to the show was appropriate.
In case you didn’t already know, the brewery, Mikkeller, is what’s known as a “gypsy” brewery, meaning the brewery itself doesn’t have its own brewing facility, rather they use other breweries’ facilities to brew their beers. It’s a great way to get your product in the market if funds to build a brewery aren’t available.
We start with Mikkeller’s Beer Geek BreAKfast, which was brewed at Anchorage Brewing Company in Alaska. We had some issues with this beer. Usually, it’s a great brew. But, this batch was really, REALLY over-carbonated, and the extra CO2 really destroyed the overall experience of the beer. Seeing how this was brewed at Anchorage Brewing, who’s known for its stellar beers made with brettanomyces, we presume that maybe some brett made its way into the batch. Again, this is typically a great beer, but this bottle was a disappointment.
Next up is what many consider to be one of the best imperial stouts in the world, AleSmith Brewing Company’s Speedway Stout. This beer is a classic from AleSmith. It’s a rich beer with tones of dark fruit and coffee. In fact, it’s made with Ryan Bros. coffee. It’s usually always available and easy to overlook, but it’s definitely worth picking up.
So what do you do with two awesome imperial stouts if given the opportunity? Blend them together, add some Kopi Luwak coffee, call it Beer Geek Speedway, and blow some minds. That is exactly what AleSmith and Mikkeller did. Both of the beers in this blend were brewed at AleSmith in San Diego. Unbeknownst to the public, owner and brewer at Mikkeller, Mikkel Borg Bjergsø used this opportunity to give the AleSmith’s brew house a test drive. After the beer was released, it was revealed the Mikkel would be taking over the AleSmith facility on Cabot Drive, after AleSmith moves into their new brewery, which is currently under construction. How rad is that?
Getting back to the beer…of course, it’s great. The Beer Geek Breakfast part of the blend mellows the dark fruit tones of the Speedway Stout, and makes for a silky smooth mouthfeel. The coffee addition in this is just right. This beer is really the best of two different worlds coming together to create something spectacular. This beer isn’t a gimmicky money grab at all—it’s the real deal.
Next, we open up a Beer Geek Brunch Weasel from Mikkeller. This beer is made with vietnamese coffee beans, and was brewed in Norway at Lervig Aktiebryggri. It’s inky-black, and has notes of maple, fig and dark fruits.
The final beer of the show is AleSmith’s own [Bourbon] Barrel-Aged Speedway Stout made with Vietnamese Coffee. Holy. Shit. Damn, is this beer good! Silky, creamy, chocolately, coffee…this beer is basically bourbon barrel-aged M&Ms in a bottle. It’s amazing, and a fine example of how awesome AleSmith Brewing Company really is. When tickets for this beer were sold online, they sold out instantly, and with good reason. Beer geeks throughout SoCal creamed their shorts. The gushing about this beer is legit—it is truly amazing.
Season 2, Episode 9 - This week, we’re going back to the hops with homebrew from Nagel and hoppy radness from Noble Ale Works, Alpine Brewing, and Societe Brewing Company.
Now that we’re all fully recovered from last week’s epic stout tasting, we’re back with a homebrew from Greg, and some beers from some of SoCal’s best breweries: Noble Ale Works, Alpine Beer Company, and Societe Brewing Company.
We kick the show off with a unique homebrew from Greg that’s kind of saison, and kind of a pilsner. Weird, right? The beer was intended to be a saison, and technically speaking, it is. It was brewed with Belgian pilsner and rye malts, and fermented with White Labs WLP568 Saison yeast. What makes this beer different was the utilization of whole leaf Saaz hops. The beer was bittered with Nelson Sauvin in the boil, while the Saaz hops were used in a custom hopback made by Greg. The Saaz come through so much in this beer that it’s reminiscent of a Czech pilsner. All in all, it’s a tasty, easy drinking beer and an example of how experimentation with homebrewing can lead to unintended, yet interesting results.
Next up is yet another attempt to convince Matt that Sorachi Ace hops aren’t just extract from an old lady’s perfume bottle, Noble Ale Works Sorachi Ace Showers. Matt was given this beer from the brewer himself, Evan Price. If you aren’t familiar with the “Showers” line of beers, it’s a series that Noble Ale Works has been doing for quite a while now, that focuses on one specific hop. This beer is a great example of how to utilize the characteristic of this hop. The malt profile on the beer has a unique, malty, savory flavor, almost like candy, and the hops back it up with a balanced, lemony bitterness. This beer doesn’t smack you in the face, and it’s quite refreshing. Interestingly enough, Matt kind of digs the beer, while Jason is simply not a fan. Thanks for the beer, Evan!
The next two beers are from Alpine Beer Company. Jason picked up a couple of growlers from Green Flash Brewing Company, who is now brewing Alpine beers at their facility in San Diego, California. Alpine Beer Company is a very small brewpub out of Alpine, California who is known for their spectacular beers, most notably their hoppy beers. They were recently purchased by Green Flash Brewing Company to help expand the brand, get the beers to a bigger market, and help Alpine Beer Company keep making the truly unique brews that they are so well known for. The two beers we have on this episode, Hoppy Birthday and Nelson, are two classics from Alpine. Both of these were brewed at Green Flash, which in comparison to Alpine’s brewhouse, is enormous. There are certain recipe scaling issues that come about when stepping up a beer to a production run of this size. We discuss those issues on the show, and whether or not these beers are truly accurate iterations of the beer Alpine is known for.
The final beer of this episode is The Miser from Societe Brewing Company, by way of our good friend and “Ruler of the Underworld” at Societe, Mike Sardina. This beer is made with Amarillo, Simcoe, Mosaic and El Dorado hops, and boy does it show on the nose. This beer smells absolutely delish. Coming in at 10% ABV, the body on this beer is really nice, and not just a vehicle for hop delivery. Societe very much prides themselves on making a unique, quality product, and it really shows in this beer. Expect an on-location episode from Societe in the near future…