yulesmith aleI am looking dubious because the making of holiday ales is reserved for the Winter months-at least for the most part. Holidays. In Summer. Summer IS holiday, right?

Well…no, not since 1995 for me. So I’m taking the holidays where I can get them. Still, it feels a little strange to have a holiday ale in September. Most people go for Summer ales, with ‘holiday’ ales being their default winter selection- perhaps my stumbling block is just a frame of mind instead of an actual issue.

Because Alesmith tells me on the back of the bottle that this beer is for Independence Day and in America that means one thing, no matter where you are: fireworks. The obvious translation for beer is hops and this holiday ale is a hoppy sonofagun.

If Widmer made an imperial version of their Drifter ale, that’s what you’d have here. For those of you who never had Drifter; think really good pale ale with tangerine scented hops and a back end bitterness polished to a shine. In Alesmith’s Holiday, there’s a gently slick quality to the end; not distracting but notable. Not sure what it’s from though; perhaps I need to find out. Still, at 8.5% it’s on the lower end of imperial IPAs; this is a beer you can still have with dinner and maybe have an after dinner drink.

Speaking of, BBQ is on–gotta go!

Whatever you say #3

I really love the Slingshot. Monday night and not a tv in sight. Along with a general vibe of awesome. And to my right is two men, one of whom is having vodka Red Bull and the other a shot of Jager and a Hamm’s tallboy .

slingshotThis is why I have done this. To have drinks I just wouldn’t. The man drinking the Jager is named Jake and tells me that the last time he had Jager warm, he was on his way to Cali, and they smoked weed and drank the whole way down. “Day went by real quick,” he says with chuckle. His friend is Bill and has a skull tattooed to his face. They’re into the punk rock coming over the speakers and while moderately friendly, have no reason to speak to me.

But I have to admit, good night to wear my NoMeansNo tee. Thanks little sister.

Holy crap, there’s brownies here for dessert! Man, I have to have one. I’m resisting because I’m not hungry and beer and brownies do not mix in the belly of the author.

Jake tells me that Jager should be followed with Sprite. I’m going to have to take his advice someday, as I like the Jager. In the meantime, he’s telling Bill that he punched a guitar player in the face because he told the player that the next time he saw him, that’s what he’d do. There seems to be a woman involved but I’m trying to listen while not listening. While I can’t approve of just punching someone, I do approve of following through on your word, so it’s a mixed bag, I guess.

I wish I’d been able to connect to the punks more in my hometown. I was probably too metal for them and too sensitive for the metalheads. I never really fit in and I suppose it shows no matter where I go.

As I get ready to leave, I introduce myself and they invite me to The Vern. I tell them I’ll meet them there and ¬†when I show up, I have a Rogue Dead Guy and wait.

But they don’t show and I need to get home: I have a blog to post to and work tomorrow. Missed opportunities, I guess.

The Glories of Open Source

There was a statement running around MtG circles for awhile that insisted ‘information wants to be free’. Read it for at least a year at Star City Games in one column after another a few years ago. The basic idea was; people want to share information and after that, it’s up to you to execute the plays needed to win. The internet is kind of the mega-extension of this idea; the info is out there, now all you have to do is the work.

So in that spirit, I was thrilled to see Hopwork’s Gigabit IPA be open source. Sure, I get recipes all the time from books or the local store but how often to I get a crack at one vetted by pros? (This is not to cast any discouragement on my fellow homebrewers, many of whom work a hell of a lot longer and harder than I do to get interesting beers made but I can’t think of any reason to pass up ideas from professionals when they’re offered.) Thus, I made it-or at least, as best I could approximate given my finances and available resources. Recipe follows:


Steeping: .5 lb Munich
.25 lb C15
.25 lb C40
.25 lb C60

Fermentables: 3 lb Amber malt, powder
7 lb LME

Handful of Golding @ 60
Magnum .25 oz @ 60
.5 oz Rainier, Simcoe @ 15
.75 oz Rainier, Simcoe @ 5

IG: 1.065

TG: 1.01

Gigabit closeSo this beer was at about 7.21% ABV-which is one of the higher-alcohol brews I’ve made. And let me tell you, it’s fantastic. The end notes aren’t too bitter like many NW IPAs tend to be, there’s a nice head on the beer (as you can see from the pic) so the citrus elements can be smelled when you pour, plus it’s carbonated like it ought to be, the malts aren’t overpowering. I mean; despite not being able to exactly re-create the original, I was able to make a pretty drinkable ale and so full credit to the Hopworks guys for coming up with and sharing the recipe.

And a little pat on the back for myself for adapting their recipe and pulling off a pretty good beer. What the hell, I deserve it. If there’s a drawback to this one, it’s that it’s so drinkable that I’ve gone through it way too quickly!