Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hitachino Nest Sweet Stout

“It takes a lot of beer to make wine.” That’s the way the saying goes among homebrewers. As one must patiently sit by as wine ferments, clarifies and ages in fermenters originally intended for beer, life seems to be on hold for a while. The thoughtful brewer will have enough beer laid up beforehand to last through the tedious waiting time that is wine making.

Tonight was wine bottling time at our house, marking the end of the fruity stuff’s monopoly of my equipment. My next batch of beer will soon be on the way.

As Sandy siphons the wine into bottles in the background, I pass the time with an extraordinary beer. Hitachino Nest Sweet Stout has an amazing aroma of malted barley that is, in itself, half the pleasure. Lactose sugars, which don’t ferment, are added in the brewing to keep this stout sweet and smooth as promised. 

Another surprise hit from Kiuchi Brewery of Japan.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hitachino Nest Real Ginger Brew

This was surprisingly excellent! Perhaps I am too suspicious when I see on a label that fruits or flowers, vegetables or spices have been added to the beer. It usually makes me suspect they are just trying to cover up the taste of beer so as not to offend those with weak senses. But this Japanese brewery has added a little extra to a good beer and produced something fun and flavorful. There's a strong foundation of caramel malt and mild hops. The ginger is noticeable but not overpowering, adding pleasant spicy notes to the beer’s smooth harmony.

As of today there is a broader selection of ingredients I could find in my beer, and still be happy.  As they sang in the beer halls in colonial America:
            “If barley be wanted to make into malt,
            We must be content and think it no fault,
            For we can make liquor to sweeten our lips,
            Of pumpkins and parsnips and walnut tree chips.”

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dundee Kolsch-Style Ale

These lazy dog days of summer allow me time this afternoon with little else to do than read on the deck. Bob Vander Plaats' book is accompanied by this refreshing, German-styled ale. There is a tartness to the flavor that reminds me of apple cider. I am no expert on Kolsch, but maybe it's not supposed to be so cidery. Overall, the happy dog server on the label convinces me to overlook any slight flaws.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cane and Ebel

I am thankful that my employer provides me and my family with health insurance. The organization they've chosen to provide this insurance, however, is manipulative and ornery, forcing me to go see the doctor even when I am not sick. Today I had the uncomfortable experience of going into the clinic for a mandated checkup. I felt as though I needed to try to come up with some reason why I wanted my good Doctor to check me over, look in my ears and into throat as I said "Aaaahhh!" As it turned out, I'm fine. Doc tells me my cholesterol  is 186, my TRG is 136 and my blood pressure, pulse, and HDL are each some other seemingly random and unexciting numbers. So, cheers to my good health!

To toast my well being, I opened this Red Rye Ale . It was nice, sweet and tangy, adding yet more reasons for me to be glad to be alive. It appears as though I have some more days to live here on earth, to serve my Lord and my neighbor and to be served by good neighbors at Two Brothers Brewing, Warrenville, Illinois.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Einbecker Pilsner

We ended our short family vacation with an overnight stop in the Amana Colonies of Iowa.  At the Ox Yoke Inn we had a fantastic family-style German meal. My Wiener Schnitzel with Sp√§tzle noodles was a great accompaniment to the Einbecker Pilsner. Sandy and I were happy to share this place with our kids, giving them a taste of the food and life of times past.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dundee Iowa Pale Ale

We had a memorable, fun day at Cedar Point. Our whole family was together along with Sandy’s sister’s family. We rode all the rides, took in a couple shows, and enjoyed the beautiful weather for a family outing.

Beer inside the park is limited to three varieties of American Light beer. They wanted $9.95 for a plastic cup of the stuff, so I could easily pass it by, knowing that the next offering from the Dundee sample pack was chilling in my brother-in-law’s fridge.

This IPA had interesting floral and piney hop flavor, balanced well with dark copper malt that made it overall, a very refreshing end to a very wonderful day.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Dos Equis Azul

In Ft. Wayne we picked up a pack of Mexican beer and a lime at a market a couple of blocks from the hotel. Away from home, we didn't have all the conveniences of our own kitchen. Scratching our heads we searched our room, luggage and car for a knife with which to slice the lime. But we got nothing.

Pictured here Cameron is working on our ultimate solution, successfully slicing the lime with the license plate from the rear of the Suburban. Our beers are about to be garnished with these rough hewn slices.
As it turns out, Dos Equis Azul is sweet, flavorful and refreshing, with agave nectar and other additives; it doesn't really even need a lime.

Dundee Pale Bock

At Aaron and Niki Koch's wedding I'm enjoying a bock as the happy couple dances in the background. Groomsman Nathan Harms also gets in the shot while Caleb Koch was asking "Wait. Do you want me in the picture?"

Dundee's Bock has malt sweetness and a strong alcohol flavor. I'd drink it again but the winner in the Dundee sampler pack so far was the Stout we had yesterday.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dundee Stout

Gathering as a family together in Ft Wayne to attend a wedding here tomorrow, we're sitting around drinking a sampling of beers from Dundee Brewing Company in Rochester,  New York. The Stout was excellent--dark and drinkable as the label promises.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Blue Moon Summer Honey Wheat

This Sunday is craft and hobby day at our house.  The women and our youngest visitor work on a designed T-Shirt. My friend Aidan (see the entry on Bitburger.) and I worked on getting our fishing poles ready for an outing tomorrow. And I worked a little more on my beer book.

Blue Moon Summer HoneyWheat shows what good things honey can do to a beer.  When you first hear the words honey beer, it may sound like something so thick and sticky sweet that it’s hard to swallow. But in reality, the simple sugars of the honey work with the yeast to make the beer light and crisp, an excellent example of which is this Summer Honey Wheat.