Sunday, September 4, 2011

Year of Brewing

2011 has shaped up to be quite the year for homebrewing. So far, I have brewed 11 batches. A few have stood out from the rest. They are:

Backhouse IPA - Inspired by Northern Brewer's Chinook IPA recipe, and brewed in the Backhouse on Erie Road, this one is the big winner for me. I adjusted the recipe for ingredients I had on hand, but it was pretty true to the original. 3oz of Chinook hops brings a nice floral, yet bitter flavor. I am enjoying one as I write this post.

Phat Tyre - a recipe that pays homage to the famous brew from Fort Collins, CO, this one is a real crowd pleaser, particularly if you live somewhere that the original is unavailable. I first brewed this when Northern Brewer sold the kit with the actual yeast from New Belgium. This one was good, but there is no substitute for original ingredients.

Clementine Hefeweizen - Easily my wife's favorite beer I've cooked up this year, combining a favorite fruit with a favorite beer style. This is a wheat based malt fermented with a kolsch yeast so it combines characteristics of wheat beer with lager smoothness. This one will make the regular rotation of beers when Clementine's are back in season.

California Common - a true American original, this one was my first attempt at lagering and controlling fermentation temps. I don't have a lagering fridge yet, but this brew prepared me for the upcoming Buffalo winter and lagering beer the way mother nature intended. It's also nice and hoppy so fit my palette well.

North American Wheat - Inspired by NB's American Wheat recipe, but brewed in Canada and adjusted for ingredients on hand, this was the favorite beer this summer at the beach. The name reflects it's International Heritage. It was flavorful and drinkable, enjoyed by all. This will be a regular addition to my summer brewing rotation.

Brookmoor Lager - My take on Rocky Racoon's Crystal Honey Lager, this was the last brew I contemplated brewing on Brookmoor Drive. It is a homage to the 18 months we spent in Maryland. Almost equal parts malt and honey plus Cascade hops give this brew a crisp, smooth, but bitter character. While delicious, I will continue to refine this recipe to arrive at a house lager.

Other brewing efforts focused on the British Isles: English Bitter, Breakfast Stout and Irish Red. These are great beer styles that I like to brew early every year.

Also tried my hand at my first Belgians with a Wit and Petite Saison. More to come on those.

Beers on order: Nut Brown Ale (think New Castle) and Bavarian Hefeweizen (to be ready just in time for October settlement on our new house!).

This Fall I also plan to try my hand at kegging my beer.