In the weeks since my last post I haven’t been able to pull off a brew day. However, I’ve…
- Purchased two bottles of Dogfish Head Hellhound On My Ale and consumed one of them.
- Happened to watch a Bulls vs. Pacers Saturday afternoon playoff game over pizza and beer at Piece with a few friends. This is not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I recommend it.
- Spent roughly 20 hours in Madison, Wisconsin, along with my brother, which broke down this way:
2 hours – Checking in and relaxing at the hotel after the drive.
1 hour – Monty’s Blue Plate Diner. Artichoke sandwich and New Glarus Spotted Cow on tap. FTW.
3.5 hours – The Malthouse. A tale of two bartenders. Bartender A was a frowning, bored and depressed fellow that seemed about as happy behind the bar serving beers as he would behind bars serving his cellmate. The only thing we could gather was that guy got dumped by the love of his life right before work. Bartender B was about the nicest guy in the world, talking beer with everyone, giving a regular a birthday round on the house and allowing a local brewer from Pearl Street Brewery in La Crosse to pour some free beers from a few growlers he had brought with him. It happened to be Madison Craft Beer Week, by the way. I was happy to partake and tried a Barleywine, a heavily dryhopped Pale Ale (I think) and something else. It was 3 hours in and a few Tyranena Scurvys, Ale Asylum Porters, Potosi Snake Hollow IPAs, Ale Asylum Hopalicious IPAs, etc. had been had by then.
1.5 hours – The High Noon Saloon. Stopped by mainly to see an old friend that works there. Had a couple of New Glarus Moon Man Pale Ale’s and saw a pretty good meathead tough guy metalcore band that happened to be playing there that night…pretty good as far as that stuff goes anyway. They had a song about their favorite football team, a song in which they repeated the name of their own band a bunch of times which was also about drinking a lot of whiskey, and a song about fighting. The riffs were there though…and sometimes that is all I ask. It wasn’t bad after multiple hours bellied up to the bar.
5 hours of sleep @ the Sheraton. Priceline negotiator.
5.5 hours hanging out in line in a residential neighborhood near the Wine and Hop shop beginning at 6:45am. This, of course, was to score tickets to the Great Taste of the Midwest in August and was the whole reason for the trip. Mission accomplished. Luckily, there was a decent coffee and bagel hookup nearby.
1 hour eating lunch at a Rocky Rococo’s. I am not too proud.
1 hour picking through vinyl at Mad City Music. Left with some T. Rex.
10 minutes buying six bottles of New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red to bring back home.
- Back in Illinois: Tapped two kegs of my homebrew: A Surly Furious clone and a dunkelweizen. More on these beers soon.
- I joined my local homebrewer’s club. Monthly meetups at a bar with 30+ taps of the good stuff and the brewers are allowed to bring their homebrew into the bar. Hopefully I’ll pick up a few tips and maybe get around to entering a few competitions. I’ve already tried a few good homebrews from some of the other members and got a little feedback on my Furious clone. Win/win.
- Had dinner and drank a few beers at the Onion last weekend. A very nice Double IPA out there in Lake Barrington. It used to be called the King Paddy. Now it’s called the Hop Slayer. Definitely a more Metal name. Whatever its name, I call it damn good. The Paddy Pale is nice as well. Don’t sleep on the Onion Pub and Brewery.
- Planned out my next three brews in Beersmith and ordered the ingredients. Coming soon: 5 Count IPA (my house IPA recipe, hopped with Chinook, Centennial and Cascade), a Rye IPA hopped with Magnum and Simcoe, and a batch of the same Founders Breakfast Stout clone that I mentioned in the previous post. The schedule is to brew that sometime in the next six weeks or so, give it a nice long secondary fermentation in a nice cool, dark corner of my basement and then keg it and forget it until sometime around thanksgiving.
- Chicago Craft Beer Week (which is actually creeping up on two weeks worth of events) is almost here. I’ve got a little vacation planned right after Memorial Day that will take up most of the fun budget, so I’ll have to sit most of the events out, but I did nab tickets to the closing night late session at Revolution. A night of Chicago brewed beers. I’ll be getting a primer later tonight at the grand opening party for Finch Beer Co. at their brewery. I’m sure I’ll return from that with something to write about.
So outside of working too many hours, having to pull too many weeds, too much rain and watching too much basketball and hockey, that’s what has kept me off the blog and out of the garage making beer for the last few weeks. This weekend’s projected bad weather might postpone brew day yet again…we shall see. I’m holding out a sliver of hope for Sunday.