Tuesday, October 29, 2013

29 Things You Should Know About Beer, For National American Beer Day (INFOGRAPHIC) - Huffington Post

From the Huffington Post

October 27 is National American Beer Day (which sort of begs the question, why would it be anything other than "National," but we digress)! To celebrate we are, of course, going to drink some beer. Perhaps a craft beer, perhaps a beer cocktail, but definitely not a Hello Kitty Beer.
If you, like us, love to celebrate this brilliant invention whenever you get the excuse, it may help to know some little-known facts about beer, to show off. For example: do you know why beer frequently comes in brown bottles? Do you know who was the first American President to brew beer in the White House? Do you know how much beer the average American consumes in a year? Find out the answers to all these questions and more in the infographic below. Happy beering!
29 interesting facts of beer
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Thursday, October 24, 2013

BTB Sweet Auburn Tripel

Not being wary of the deep end of the pool (maybe I should be), I followed Kevin into grain brewing.  After an attempt with the Oatmeal Stout kit, I felt the need to up the ante to something really challenging: Tripels.  Of whole grain brewing Tripels (Belgian) are some of the most difficult but have very distinctive flavors and are not as hop centric as most craft Ales and lagers can be.

Below is a good description from Beeradvocate.com
  • The name "Tripel" actually stems from part of the brewing process, in which brewers use up to three times the amount of malt than a standard Trappist "Simple." Traditionally, Tripels are bright yellow to gold in color, which is a shade or two darker than the average Pilsener. Head should be big, dense and creamy. Aroma and flavor runs along complex, spicy phenolic, powdery yeast, fruity/estery with a sweet finish. Sweetness comes from both the pale malts and the higher alcohol. Bitterness is up there for a beer with such a light body for its strength, but at times is barely perceived amongst the even balance of malts and hops. The lighter body comes from the use of Belgian candy sugar (up to 25% sucrose), which not only lightens the body, but also adds complex alcoholic aromas and flavors. Small amounts of spices are sometimes added as well. 
  • Tripels are actually notoriously alcoholic, yet the best crafted ones hide this character quite evil-like and deceivingly, making them sipping beers.
  • Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 8.0-12.0% 
After doing some homework I began my journey into home brewing a Tripel using a recipe from Beer Smith called She Devil.  I began brewing in late August and was very excited to begin.  The recipe called for 16 lbs of grains (14 lbs of 2 row and 2 lbs of caravienne malt).  Which is a lot and a single infusion approach which for me was water at a similar temperature is infused through the grain bag as you pull it out of the pot.  The grain is cooked to about 168/170 (any hotter would burn the grain releasing tannins which makes the beer taste extremely bitter and undrinkable) in about 3 gallons of water.  The infusion picks up any remaining good beer stuff while adding 2-3 gallons of water back to the pot.  Whenever doing whole grains it takes about 75 minutes from start to finish so be prepared, cause the boil has not even begun yet.

For the first batch I did not let it reach a rolling boil (220 degrees or higher) but kept the temperature between 190-200.  I added molasses, cane sugar (instead of Belgian Candy Sugar) and Northern Brewer hops at the beginning of the boil. Towards the end I added Mt. Hood hops and clove.  I recently did a second batch with ginger and clove that smelled awesome cooking but there was a slight mishap in transferring the batch to the fermenter that may cause it to be lighter in both body and ABV than I would want.  

I really enjoyed making this brew and I will continue to refine the Sweet Auburn Tripel in the coming months for both ABV, flavor and balance.  The first batch came out well and was my first keging attempt.  Although I did not give it enough time for CO2 infusion, it still came out pretty good. Instead of sharing what I thought of it, I'll ask my Brothers That Brew cohorts to share their opinions.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Tour of Three Taverns Brewing Company - Decatur, GA

1011/13 - Corby, Kevin and I (along with friend Jason) had the opportunity to attend one of there openings of the tasting room at Three Taverns Brewing near downtown Decatur.  We had tried Three Taverns Single Intent and A Night In Brussels at various spots in Atlanta (Drafting Table, Augustine's, Porter Beer Bar, etc.).  The owner, Brian Purcell, who started home brewing years ago, is a huge fan of Belgian style beers and brewing so he wanted to bring that to Metro Atlanta.  He is such a big fan, he even imported a brewmaster from Belgium.  He also gave visitors a really good tour as well.

Three taverns has been selling in bars and craft been stores for the last 6 months at over 60 locations across metro Atlanta.  So the site has and will continue to produce beer but the only thing lacking was a tasting room, which is standard in all micro-breweries across the county.  Quite a bit of time and effort went into the building of the tasting room.  Real expose brick pillars were built along with some other custom elements.  An upper level to provide a hawks view of all the folks waiting in line down below was a nice touch.  The tasting (6 washers) and tour was $12.00 not including tax.  Tickets had to be ordered in advance instead of allowing people to walk up and purchase like the vast majority of breweries in Atlanta.  Those tours are typically $10.

Belgian style beer was traditionally brewed by Belgian Trappist monks and is exemplified by the emphasis on lively flavors instead of hoppiness. On tap for the 2nd Opening (they had one for investors a few days earlier) included the ones we knew, Single Intent (5% ABV light bodied blond ale) and A Night In Brussels (a 7.5% ABV Belgian style American IPA).  They also were pouring Thoephan the Recluse (9% ABV Belgian style stout) and Rye (bottom) which they will begin selling in the near future along with a Belgian Quad that they hope to have in bars and craft beer stores for christmas.  We tried them all at least once and a few (Recluse and Rye) twice.  Complex but very good flavors.  The Rye was a little sour for Jason's taste but I had another one as it was a good change from the other beers being poured.

Of Atlanta's brewery tours, Three Taverns is one you should definitely check out.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mother Earth Smoked Lager

I (William) decided to grab a bite and brew tonight at the Drafting Table, a good watering hole near MLK, Jr. MARTA station (in the Pencil Factory Lofts commercial space at the corner of Decatur Ave. SE and Hill St. SE). Tonight's special is the Mother Earth Smoked Lager (Kinston, NC). I've hadthe  ME Endless River Kolsch and Sisters of the Moon IPA which are really good.

A great flavor beer for those who like smokey things. Although it is a first for me, I liked it. Excellent clarity with a light amber color. Good lacing from the head and carbonation. Great smokey scent and very little hops. Clean taste with smoke on the back end on the tongue.  At 6.4% ABV a good first step for me into smoked flavored beer.  

If you want to try something new that's not over the smokey edge, head by the Drafting Table and try the ME Smoked Lager. Ran into an old friend, Jim Brooks, too. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Intown Market - Pencil Factory Lofts

On a Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago I (William) saw a sign stating "200 Craft Beers" across from the MLK Jr MARTA station and decided to head into the Intown Market at the corner of Decatur and .. I had heard good things about their hand made sandwiches but this time I was only there for the beer. 

As I walked in the back door, that you access from the parking garage, I was pleasantly surprised to see a growler station with 8 taps. This is good news
For the craft beer drinkers on the southeast side of the city because to get a growler you have to head a little north to get one.

As I rounded the corner, I saw a very good selection of wine with diverse price ranges and quality. There were some craft beers spread around but much to my pleasant surprise there was much more in the back and in the cooler. From Singels to Tripels, Bochs to Stoudts, Lagers, IPAs, and many more. Intown Market has a really good selection and  they have hit a sweet spot that was lacking in Intown East Atlanta.

And they have two of my favorites, Golden Monkey and Arrogant Bastard.

Check out Intown Market for a growlers or to take care of your craft beer fix. I certainly have and will.

Hop City Home Brewing Class

Enjoying Hop City's home brew class with 15 aspiring home brewers. Very good class by Keaton who's an avid home brewer and has experimented with most styles. He made a Wit today, that had mixed grain with oats, Pilsen light and Bavarian wheat. He did a quad malt that had caramel, wheat, chocolate and victory malts. Hops included pacific jade and a Soriachi Ace that has a good dill flavor and aroma with a hint lemon. Keaton added some tangerine peel at the end of the boil. Yeast used was forbidden fruit. I'll have to come back in a month to taste. The beer will be kegged which we will be attempting to do soon if we can find a barrel keg.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Jalapeno Red - Chilled, Ready and Tasted

Okay, I (William) pushed the envelope with a pepper style right out of the gate.  The previous posts showed the process and that home brewers have free license to experiment in creating beer flavors and style.  The Jalapeno Red was an adventure into into the unknown.  We added the jalapenos with 15 minutes left in the boil to give the beer flavor and heat.  And we also added about 2 cups of brown sugar as well to give the yeast something good to eat to boost something later in the process.

We used a box mix for Red Ale with between 5 - 5.5% ABV.   The beer had very good color and head.  We bottled it just right to get that carbonation solid.  The beer had a distinct jalapeno aroma but little malt and hop.  That was an early sign that the Jalapeno bum rushed the party.  So we all tasted, including Derick from next door, and had similar reviews.

It had a strong jalapeno flavor, there was only a little hint of malt and hops.  I personally felt it was unbalanced, that the jalapeno had jumped everything else and beat them up, badly.  The interesting thing about pepper beers is that there is no heat like you would get from eating a Jalapeno in a food dish or fresh.  It is a pepper taste on your tongue that you feel and I must say that was a plus.  All in all it wasn't bad but it wasn't that good either because it was out of balance.  However, it went real well with the nachos I prepared for the family later.

Corb and Kev suggested the next attempt we use a brew mixture that can fight back, such as a stout or double IPA, with strong malt overtones to give it greater balance.  Hops add bitterness and that would probably not work with the jalapeno.  Corb even suggested possibly introducing habaneros to the next attempt.  Corb mixed it with an IPA we had which give it greater balance and you could still smell and taste the pepper.

I have to agree and those other combination would also give it a higher ABV.  We'll keep y'all posted on our next jalapeno beer attempt.  We'll jump into habaneros one day too.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Double IPA #2 Bottling

This week we bottled a repeat of the Double IP with orange and bourbon chips that we brewed a few weeks ago that had two fermentation cycles.  This was one of our first brews that we all liked but we added some citrus to see how the flavors mix.  In Corb and my  enthusiasm to get it bottled, we forgot the priming sugar which is key to helping the beer keep its carbonation when bottled.  Fortunately, we only bottled 4 before Kev saved the day with the priming sugar.  With a good bottling rhythm with the help of Derick next door and storage in a cool place (around 70 degrees) we will be ready in 2 weeks for another tasting of the 50 bottles we prepared today.  

Hit us up if you would like to become one of our volunteer tasters. Our vision is to make great beer for y'all, not just us.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Jalapeño Red Ale Bottling Day

The Brothers experimentation phase 2 is bottled. After a 14 day 2nd fermentation we are excited to unleash something new. You can smell the jalapeño everywhere. It will definitely have a different flavor and taste.

The crew is getting everything ready, sterilizing bottles, etc. for another first: Jalapeño Red. We'll have some taste testers trying it out that will post about it this coming week.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bros Toured Monday Night Brewing

Kevin, Corby, and William visited Monday Night Brewing to taste, tour and meet some new prospective members of the Brothers that Brew community. When we arrived, there was multiple alumni events going in and a whole bunch a people. 

Initially there were long, but fairly quick line that were unusual for a Thursday.  Monday Night rents out the place for events so this is to be expected sometimes.  Good people interacting and William ran into an old friend as well.

On tap was a Scotch Ale, Double IPA, IPA and a Serrano Pepper IPA.  Of all we tasted the Double IPA stood out as being the best of the bunch. Good hop flavor and aroma, the double is something we would all try again. However the Serrano pepper ale, had a little pepper feel at the end but was a little to light for William 's taste. Corby liked the 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Corby's Back

Corby's back from the San Francisco Bay Area and its brew pubs. He visited Moxy Beer Garden in Berkeley  visited Jupiter Brewing. Beer Revolution with 48 beers on tap, most California.  He even ran into someone familiar with Brothers Brewing, the 2nd African American brewery in the country.  He'll be posting about it soon.


Monday, June 3, 2013

6/2 Brew Day - Double IPA

While Corby was in Oakland having fun, Kevin and William decided to keep the brewing going with a Double IPA. We are getting the hang of home brewing because each time it gets a little easier and we're beginning to branch out on flavors.  In brew #4 Kevin added 
Oranges to the steeping process and molasses to the boil.

The rain almost got us, but we got it done and brew #4 is now fermenting.  

The Jalapeño red ale, got transferred to begin it's 2nd ferment and looked and smelled excellent. Bottling brew #3 in about a week.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Fire Tiger Red Ale

On Sunday, May 26, 2013, William decided to go out of the box we his first brew.  It was our second recipe innovation after Kevin's Jackson Stoudt with Bourbon chips. William added... JALAPEÑOS for heat and flavor during the last 12 minutes of the boil. At the end of the boil we added 3 tablespoons of brown sugar for added sweetness and possibly boost the abv. We are measuring the abv with this brew as we want to get the next batches between 8-9% abv.

According to Kev (who lets the beer ferment at his crib), the brew smelled good during the first week of fermenting. Now we're gearing up for the 2nd ferment that will take about 2 weeks before we bottle and unleash pin he world. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bros Beer Night Out - Porter Beer Bar in L5P Part 2

Round 2 for me and round 3 for Corby. He'll post about his experience with the Allagash Curieux. It is  triple aged in Jim Beam barrels.  'Nuff said

My 2nd round was Breury Tradewinds Tripel from California. All I can say is that of the ones we tasted tonight it is my favorite. Tradewinds is made with rice in place of candy sugar and some Thai basil was added for spice. Not to dry and very smooth texture. Slight hop and with minimal malt overtones. With an 8% abv it goes down way too easy. One of the most exotic beers on PBB's list but I must say that C and W like very much.

We also tasted the Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet which was very light, and had a strong fruity/flowery aroma (pear and cloves).  We both felt it lacked a any hop aroma or flavor. However, it was really light, dry, and clean after taste. With a 9% abv and because it is a high fruit aroma/flavor beer, it is going to sneak up on some folks.

Bros Beer Night - Porter Beer Bar L5P

Corby and William are out at one of America's top 100 beer bars: Atlanta's own Porter Beer Bar in Little 5 Points. With 30 craft beers on tap you got every style and flavor to try to your hearts content. You can also sample the drafts to find the right one for you.

Tonight we sampled a Nongne Two Captains from Norway, Van Steenberge Gulden Draak from Belgium, Left Hand Twin Sisters from Colorado, Left Hand Week Sauce from Colorado and an Alagash Curieux from Maine. Big shout out to Joe And Justin for taking care of us tonight.

We both picked the Two Captains (below) to start with. Awesome color and great aroma. You can smell the grapefruit, cherry, brown sugar and a slight hint pine. Excellent over the tongue. I like the slightly sweet aftertaste while Corby enjoyed the bitter finish. It was all good going down with an 8.5% abv.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

April 7 Brew Day

 Brew days: Tend to be a  long days but well worth it. The following pictures were from the 2nd fermentation phase and bottling. The "Hair of the Dog" batch, an American ale,  was a medium body ale with some citrus tones. Could have some more hops for a solid kick but was pretty good for a first batch. The 2nd brew was a dark ale we called "Jackson Blue 4 Thirteen." This was a dark ale but not quite stout and had carmalized smokey coffee tones with a little kick ...bourban chips.  

Friday, May 10, 2013

Lost Years - Red Brick Brewing

When I first smelled this, I thought I smelled Jim Beam and I was right. Red brick decided to take a red ale and age in Jim Beam soaked barrel. Great flavor for Jim Beam fans and a 9 abv. Strong overtones of Jim Beam and great aroma. Very other dry/smooth over the tongue, no tartness and a slightly bitter kick in the back of the tongue. Overall a very good beer, so good that we had 2.

Red Brick Brewery Tour

Corby and I checking out Red Brick this week. Opened 1993, 1st brewery to open after prohibition. Moved from Williams St. In 2005.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Corby's Hair Of the Dog

Trying Corby's Hair Of The Dog pale ale. Don't ask why it's called the hair if the dog. Pretty good hop aroma and solid carbonation. Great start for the Brothers that Brew. Good flavor, no bitterness, good texture so smooth on the tongue, little hazy. Easy drinking 5.5% abv Pale Ale.

Corby's Birthday Dinner

After beer tasting and tour at Red Hare, a stop for Red Ale Recipe at Hop City, grabbing some pie at Antico.

Red Hare Brewery Tour

Getting schooled on Red Hare's brewing process. Walking us through brewing. Canning and kegging. One of the few craft brewers that cans. Cans recycled more than bottles.

Red Hare Brewing

Kev, Corby, and I visited and toured Red Hare Brewery in Marietta, GA. Trying different brews.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday at Octane

Sunday enjoying some craft brews @Octane in Grant Park. First is the Founder's Red Rye and amber ale that has a great flavor. Second is the Finch's Fascist Pig and at 8% alcohol is more high gravity than the Red Rye. Very flavorful and great aftertaste. Red Rye is available on draft and will be available in bottles seasonally. Between the three of us both are good and good amber beers but Facist Pig is a must try .

Corby visited Asheville which has dubbed themselves as Beer City USA. Asheville has a growing craft brewing seen and Corby visited 5 breweries that made interesting and complex brews.

He'll share more about his visit soon.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Welcome to Brothers (and a Sister) That Brew

Anita, Corby, Kevin and William (me) are gearing up to share our craft beer experience for men and women of color that are interested in learning more about craft beer, brewing, tasting and what makes beer cool.  As African American craft beer lovers, we wanted to connect with others that share our love of beer and our dream to one day open a brewery of our own.  Please join us on our journey to share the wonders of beer and possibly (cross our fingers) to opening of our own brewery.  This is a open post blog so we want to hear from you all on what you like about beer and your brewing experiences.

Each week, we'll share our thoughts and feel free to share yours on different craft beers, different tastes of beers, and local beer spots that highlight craft beers.

This photo is after one of our brew sessions. Corby is making an American Amber Ale and we'll let you know the results next week.