A very short SB&WF review

I volunteered at the Spring Beer & Wine Fest for the Oregon Brew Crew on Friday night. The event seemed a little less active than in previous years and I wasn’t sure why. Other volunteers suggested that it was because we were having our first truly nice day in four months and I suppose that’s as good a reason as any.

But I wasn’t going to let something like the sun get in the way of free beer tastings. So with my tokens for volunteering, I went around and checked out a few breweries I’d never heard of before.

Goodlife Brewing had an interesting beer in their 29’er India Brown Ale. I didn’t dig on the combo because I got more pine notes than I would’ve liked but I think it could be done.

Harvester Brewing had an amazing dark ale that had roasted chestnuts in it. Whatever they’re doing next, I want to try.

Mt. Tabor Brewing had a cascadian dark ale that everyone else loved but I hated. It was everything I don’t like in a CDA: hops with a acrid coffee flavor at the end.

Flyer’s Brewery had a Peacemaker Porter I liked.

Long Brewing did a kolsh that I thought was solid.

And that’s that.

7pm That’s weird

I’m drinking Beer Valley‘s Heavy Sugar’s Braggot, which has a spicy flavor at the end, not unlike a beer that has been given a jalapeno kick. It’s not quite as intense but it’s certainly notable to me, as I’m sensitive to such flavors.

I don’t think it’s supposed to be like that. It’s so unusual, I have to go back up and make sure I was served the correct beer. I was. Geoff has a sample of the beer. The look on his face tells me a lot but I ask anyway: “I’m not crazy, am I?”

“No, you’re not,” he says with a shake of his head.

So now I’ve got a mystery on my hands. I was served the correct beer, we’ve verified that. Still, something is wrong and nobody has a description of the beer or what’s going on with it so…everyone is at a loss.

I kind of love this. Nobody knows anything and all there is to do is wait until other sources talk to the people at Bailey’s and give more data.

But in the meantime, I kinda hate this beer. I have said before: I do not drink beer to get spicy flavors, I drink it to kill spicy flavors. On top of that, there is the jarring moment between what I’m expecting and what I’ve gotten that I can’t get around. Let’s get something else, because I’m certain I can do better than this beer.

On the other hand, there’s a chance I’ll be able to talk about this beer again later when more information comes up, which means I’ll have something else to write about. That’s always cool.

The best beer I should never pour

So, for anyone who wants to know how the dunkel I made turned out…it’s pretty much in the title.

Sad but true. There’s some awesome flavors in the actual beer itself; coffee and chocolate, very smooth and it’s a lighter beer, very drinkable from a mouthfeel perspective.

But if you pour it, as I have done here, then you’re in for a bad time. There’s a very strong sulfur note there and there’s just no getting around the fact that this is very, very offputting to anyone who wants to, say, drink it.

Now, on the upside, I bottle my beer. So if I don’t put this into a glass, voila! Problem (mostly) solved. It’s almost all upside. And it’s way better than the last lager I attempted to make.

Still, it’s not quite there and, though I tried to give the yeast a diacytil rest to cut down on the sulfur note, it was to no avail. Still, there’s always next year.

Recipe:

Brew Date: 2.8.12

.75 lb 2 row
.25 Cafka 2
.25 Caramel

7 lb LME

1 oz Crystal @ 60
.75 oz Hallertauer @ 15

McPolander yeast from Wyeast-this yeast was acquired from Europe and is part of an experiment done with the Oregon Brew Crew.

OG: 1.064

FG: 1.016

TG: 1.024

ABV: 6.25%

Additional notes: Made a starter using 1cup dry malt extract, 4cups water, boiled, put into growler and set aside for a night.
Pitched yeast when wort was approx 54 degrees, set into dark room, hoped for best. No action so after 24 hrs I put it into laundry room: 4 days later it had gone up to 60 and started to get active, put back into subbasement.
3 days in subbasement, sulfur coming off brew (at about 58 degrees) so moved into slightly warmer climes for 2 days, until I didn’t smell sulfur coming off and then back to subbasement, temps got down to about 56.

3.11.12-bottling day
Still a strong scent of sulfur as I put it into the bottling bucket. I’d put it into the laundry room two days prior in order to work off some of those flavors but it doesn’t look like that worked.

I (sorta) bought this VI

What we have here is the Stratofortress by Wingman Brewers and a brownie.

In many ways, this should tell you all you need to know about this beer: drink it with a brownie. The earthy elements of the cedar and rum give this beer enough bitterness that a brownie is really the best compliment. If you can convince a loved one to make that brownie with dark chocolate chips so you get the sweet with the bitter, then all the better.

Because that’s what I was lucky enough to do and let me tell you: it’s pretty high on the awesome.

Also, if you can convince a friend to go to (or come from) Tacoma with a growler of the Stratofortress? Do that too. (See the previous paragraph for why.)

It’s pretty much a tiny slice of heaven and you probably won’t even realize this ale is 11%. Which it is, so drink carefully, my friends. But drink it. I eagerly await my next trip to Tacoma to try more of Wingman’s stock, because this beer is a damn fine one and poured from a keg? I can hardly wait.

Added bonus: interview with a co-owner of Wingman.

7pm The Forest and the Trees

This beer is adequate. The nose is citrus-y with a slight touch of sourness? The afterbite isn’t too harsh for an IPA; definitely NW influenced but not nearly as crazy as some IPAs I’ve had. The bite hits on the sides of my tongue, in the back and less at the hinge of my tongue.

So it’s drinkable and I wouldn’t refuse it. Which, for a new-ish place, is a good start. I’ve been told-and I agree-that nobody should judge a brewery based on the beers they produce in the first year. With that as the standard, if this IPA-endearingly entitled, ‘Rusty Truck’-is where the baseline is, then that’s a pretty solid start.

A little over a week ago, I had the honor of meeting a regular reader of the blog who liked my stuff. As a writer, I can’t tell you how cool that was, especially since it happened on my birthday. I toil (well…sorta) on this by myself with inspiration from wherever I can get it. It’s not always easy and talking, however briefly, to a reader is very rewarding. My regret is that I was so astounded by my good fortune that I forgot to do a proper introduction and so did not get his name. Wherever you are sir, thank you.

I do remember that he said to me, “I wish you talked a little more about beer,” and I get that. Hell, I wish I talked a little more about beer, sometimes. There’s so much to learn however that I, even after eight, or is it nine?, years of brewing, feel like I barely have the right to talk on styles, much less be an authority. On top of that I still have a regular life I’m trying to have, too. Then again, if I cannot take confidence in my own work, why bother? So this is a reminder to stride boldly into the world, faithful in my own abilities, eager to learn more where they may fall short.

At the same time, I’m not really here just to talk about beer, am I? And this is not to critique my readership in any manner: I’m happy that someone else is along for the ride, you know?

I am here, especially on Mondays, to talk about the world, to interpret the world and to dream about the world in a better way. And I want you to come with me.

Look; this Rusty Truck might be amazing and I’m just missing it. However, without someone to see the little touches I’m missing, I’ll likely always miss the qualities that make it special.

Well, shit. Where’s the fun in that? Kurt Vonnegut said, “we’re here on Earth to fart around.” And while I don’t like the idea of wasting time very much-I never have, even as a small child and had, one might consider, a great deal of time to waste, I do think that it’s best not to take things too seriously. The best way to do that is to have a people around you bringing the new to light, chiding the dark with a smile and suggesting that not only can we be better -and drink better- but we can have a pretty good time doing it.

Which is why I’ll be here, next week, 7pm…give or take a few minutes. Because I want you to come with me and I want you to tell me something cool.