All posts by Benjamin

Music for Beer Lovers with Ashton Lewis

On the night of the final TAG/Beer Buzz podcast, Ashton Lewis, Brett Johnston, and I spoke about music at length.  As we discussed music and beer, I thought it could be a fun experiment to try and combine music, food, and beer together.

As the podcast wound down and this site spun up, I emailed Ashton and asked him to pair some music with some beer, and then throw in some ideas for food, as well.

Although he found it challenging, Ashton came up with some great combinations.  After each one, he offers what he calls his “liner notes” for the combination.

Continue reading Music for Beer Lovers with Ashton Lewis

Feature Article – Beer Clean Glassware

If you’ve listened to the show for a long time, or if you’ve spoken to me in person about beer, you probably know that I take my glassware pretty seriously.  Choosing the right kind of glass for your beer can enhance your appreciation of the beer in it a great deal.

Frosted glasses kill aroma and shaker pints are rarely good idea, but the worst sin you can commit, in my opinion, is to pour your delicious craft beer into a dirty glass.

Let me rephrase that: The cleanliness of your glass is far more important than the type of glass you are using.  Even if you’re drinking your beer out of a red solo cup, you should, at the very least, make sure that solo cup is as clean as possible.

We all appreciate the hard work brewers put into producing high quality beers for us to enjoy. The clarity and carbonation of the beer take a lot of planning, foresight, and execution by your brewer. There’s nothing like beads of condensation sliding down the side of a crystal clear beer with big champagne-like bubbles clinging to the side, struggling not to float to the top and become part of that everlasting foam. That carbonation clinging to the side of the glass and the lingering foam are signals to us that you are about to taste a very high quality beer.

So, don’t pour your beer into that glass unless you’re positive that your glass is clean. Not just clean, but “beer clean”.

Science Time!

A clean glass can make all the difference in the world when you pour and drink a beer, and just because it looks clean doesn’t mean that it is clean. Don’t believe me? Let’s do an experiment:

1. Take a nice glass and put some milk in it.

2. Drink your milk.

3. Rinse your glass and wash it with hot water, but no soap.

4. Pour a beer in the glass. (You like this experiment, right?)

5. Make a note of what the beer looks like. How long did the foam last? Are there bubbles clinging to the side?

6. Taste the beer and feel the bubbles on your tongue and make notes about the flavors.

7. Drink the rest of the beer. (Don’t waste it.)

8. Wash the glass again. This time, use baking soda.

9. Pour another beer.

10. Look at the beer and take notes.

11. Taste the beer and take notes.

Does it look different? Did the foam last longer? Was the carbonation or flavor different? It’s because your glass wasn’t completely clean the first time.

It’s an old salesman’s trick. If you’re selling glassware, make sure the competitor’s glass is dirty, but not visibly dirty. When you show them how well the beer retains its head and aroma in your glass, it looks like your glass is simply better made. In fact, it’s just clean.

Foam, by its nature, is relatively stable. If you pour your beer and your beer foam is not lingering very long, there’s something in your glass reacting with the foam and killing it, and that means you probably need to clean your glassware really well. Try the baking soda method if you only have a few to wash.

Here are a few tips to keep your glassware clean at home:

1. Clean all of your beer glassware with baking soda to get them clean.

2. Never use your beer glasses for anything except beer. Using them for anything else may leave a residue.

3. Don’t wash them with soap. Use a glassware detergent or baking soda.

4. Wash them carefully after every use with very hot water. Again, don’t use soap. It can leave a film.

5. Let your glassware air dry in a dish rack or on a hanging glass rack. If water droplets cling or spots show when your glass dries, it’s not clean.

6. Don’t wash them in the dishwasher, especially with other dishes. The food, oils, or residues from the other dishes will cling to your clean glasses.

At Home versus out and about:
It’s pretty easy to control the cleanliness of your glassware when drinking at home, but much harder to do when you’re out and about.  For this reason, it’s important for you to let your favorite watering hole know that this is important to you.  If you can, ask them how they clean their glassware.

If it’s a solid craft beer bar, they should be ready and willing to answer the question, but you have to know what to expect from establishments that don’t specialize in craft beer.  Many of them will likely say, “In the dishwasher.”  And that’s fine, but remember that the craft beer you drink there will never be at its best.

And if you order a beer and a water and they come in identical glassware, you can bet they also serve tea, soda, and maybe even cocktails in those glasses, as well.  If that’s the case, they will certainly never be “beer clean”.

For the Pros:
If you are a bar or restaurant owner and you’re serious about your beer, these tips apply to you, too, but you can also utilize your dishwasher by doing the following:

First, gather all the glasses you use for beer. Inspect them for wear and damage. Any older glasses with etches or scratches in the inside need to be tossed. Those harbor foam-killing substances and act as nucleation sites for flattening your beer faster.

Then, run your dishwasher with nothing but detergent in it (a normal cycle with no dishes). This will clean the inside of your dishwasher. Then, load it with only beer glassware. Run it, and then run it again.

Once you’ve done this, never ever wash your beer glasses with other dishes. Ever. Oh, and don’t use those beer glasses for anything except beer. Ever.

Want to go for extra points? Do what the Belgians do. Right before you pour a beer, submerge it in cold, running water.

It might seem a bit obsessive, but it can make a big difference to the right beer and beer drinker. Oh, and make sure you choose the right glass for the beer.

 

What’s on Tap! 5/1/2014

May 2nd First Firkin Friday at Mother’s Brewing Company
Not sure what it will be, but this event coincides with the 5th Annual Queen City Beard and Moustache Competition Meet and Greet, so be prepared to be amazed at the facial hair present.  They are making a special firkin for the occasion, so get there early and have a blast.

May 3rd is Big Brew Day (National Homebrew Day) at The Homebrewery in Ozark, Missouri.
This Saturday, meet lots of area homebrewers and join the Homebrew ZOO and The Homebrewery in celebrating American Homebrew Day.  We’ll have brewing demonstrations, homebrew sampling, and even some meadmaking demonstrations.  It runs from 10 am to 3 pm, so stop by any time.  It is a family-friendly event, and it is free to attend.

Also May 3rd, but at Mother’s Brewing Company
The Mother’s Intern National Wiffle Ball Tournament will happen in the back yard while the 5th Annual Queen City Beard and Moustache Competition will occur in the tasting room.  The wiffle ball games start at 10 am, 2-4 players per team, limit of 30 teams.  The event benefits the YMCA downtown, and it should be pretty fun.  There will be Cecil’s Go-To there, and Mother’s will, of course, be pouring their beer for all attendees.  Come to play or come to watch, you’ll still have a good time.

May 10th is the Craft Beer Fest at the Brown Derby Wine Center.
Proceeds to benefit the The Doula Foundation. VIP Early Entrance tickets (12:30-1:30pm) are available in advance for $25 per person (limited to the first 100 sold). Regular Entry tickets (1:30-4pm) are $15 and will be available on the day of the event. They’ll have around 100 different craft beers to sample, both out of bottle or can and on tap. For VIP Early Entrance, RSVP to (417) 883-4066.

May 12th-18th is American Craft Beer Week.
Mother’s is holding a ton of events that week.  They are listed on the Mother’s website.  In addition, watch this site for more information on events, such as the Core Brewing launch in Springfield that week.

May 17th is 4th ever Mother’s Day Fest.
2PM to 8PM in Mother’s Back Yard. (215 S Grant Spfd, MO). $5 at the gate, kids under 15 get in free. Bring lawn chairs, blankets, etc. Live Music, Local Food, Local Art, and Local BEER. (Including Love Factory Mark 2). Afterwards, there will be an official after party at Patton Alley Pub featuring Speakeasy.

Springfield Brewing Company:
Thursdays from 8-10pm, 180 degrees featuring Kristi Meredith.
Friday Nights, 6-9pm, The Johnny Stricklar Trio
Saturdays from 4-7 pm, The Ryan Talbot Experience

Wednesday is Happy Hour Live at the University Plaza Hotel Lobby.
Even though TAG Media is not longer around, their legacy lives on in the best networking opportunity in town.  Each Wednesday from 5:00-7:30 pm, the UP Hotel Lobby hosts live music, local beer, food samples, and some very cool people.

Have an event you’d like to have included in our What’s on Tap! posts or calendar?  Let us know through our Contact Us page.

#HaikuBeerReview – Urban Chestnut Zwickel

Commercial description:
Reverence Series #1: Our first beer in our Reverence series of traditional European-style beers, is a sessionable German lager known as a Zwickelbier – a very old ’classic’ with a heritage traced back to the Middle Ages. Zwickel, pronounced ‘zv-ick-el’, is unfiltered, unpasteurized and finishes as a smooth-drinking, vitamin rich (from the yeast), naturally cloudy beer. Hops: Hallertau Malts: Two-Row Pilsner. Target stats (final stats TBD): 19 IBU, 4.8% ABV, 11.8 Original Gravity

Haiku:
Zwickel
Urban Chestnut Brewing Company


Light golden nectar
Balanced, refreshing, simple
And so delicious

 

The Homebrewer’s Corner – Evaluating a Hop

I like hops.  I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.

When I find a new hop, I love trying it out to find out what it can do.  There are a lot of really good ways to try hops out, but my favorite method is brewing the same pale ale recipe and using the hope throughout the entire brew.  Not only do I get five gallons of delicious brew out of it, I also get to see what the hop does throughout the brewing process.

For a primer on how hop additions work, let’s talk about timing.  There are a lot of times when a brewer can add hops to brew.  Typically, bittering hops go in at the beginning of the boil, flavor hop go somewhere in the middle, and aroma hops go in at the very end (or as dry hops in secondary fermentation).

When I get a new hop variety to try out, I brew a very simple pale ale that uses the hop at each of these stages, including dry-hopping.  This will let me evaluate the following:

Bittering addition: Is the bitterness of the hop harsh or mellow?  Most of the time, there’s not much difference in perception for hops added early, as all of the volatile aroma and flavor substances tend to be vaporized by long boiling, but I always include the hop at this stage so I can get a full picture of what the hop is like.

Flavor addition: Using a flavor addition in the middle of the boil allows you to get a better picture of what the hop tastes like.  Keep in mind that you’ll also pick up some aroma and bitterness in this addition, so be sure to include it in your calculations.

Aroma addition (flameout): Just as you’re killing the heat to your kettle, you stir this one in.  This is the aroma addition in the boil.  It is very similar to making a hop tea, as you’re essentially steeping the hops without boiling off the volatile compounds.

Aroma addition (dry-hopping): This is more like cold-brewing your coffee than making a hop tea.  This preserves more of the delicate hop aromas, which provide that “fresh” hop character you can pick up in locally-brewed IPAs (shipping and storage tend to oxidize these compounds somewhat).

Using a hop at each one of these stages in a brew is a very good way to getting a full picture as to how you’d like to use that hop in the future.  I recommend finding a pale ale recipe that you really like and can brew consistently.  It will allow you to compare the hop varieties against each other without other changes in recipe affecting your perception.

Because this is a written article and no longer on the radio, here is a recipe that I use to brew my Single Hop experiments.

Evaluation Experimentation Ale

Grain Bill
8.5 lbs 2-row pale malt
1.5 lbs Crystal 20L
.5 lb CaraPils

Hops
7.5 AAU Hop* for 60 minutes
.5 oz Hop for 15 minutes (flavor addition – some people prefer 30 minutes)
.5 oz Hop at flameout
1 oz Hop in secondary (5-7 days)

Other Ingredients
Irish Moss (1 tsp at 15 minutes until end of boil)

Yeast
Fermentis Safale US-05, Wyeast 1056, or White Labs WLP001

Mash at 152 degrees until all of the starches are converted, mash out at 170 degrees.  Bring it to a boil and add the first addition.  After 45 minutes, add the second hop addition and the Irish Moss.  As the hour runs out, turn off the heat and add the last hops.  Whirlpool, chill, and ferment.  Rack to secondary after fermentation stops and add the 1 oz of dry hops.  After 5-7 days, bottle or keg and sample.  Best served fresh.

Extract Version:

Replace the 2-row base malt with 5.1 lbs of Light Dry Malt Extract.  Steep the other grains in a cheesecloth sack at 152 degrees for 20 minutes, then remove them, allowing them to drip back into your kettle.  Add your malt extract and bring to a boil. Proceed from the first hop addition as above.

 

The Rundown #1

Welcome to The Rundown.  Each week, we’ll post new beer releases, special editions, and seasonals that you can find here in Springfield.  If a beer has not yet been released, we’ll also let you know the release date. Mother’s Brewing Company Tasting Room: Chocolate Thunder – Stout brewed with Askinosie Chocolate. Pulp Fiction – Saison with Blood Oranges Imperial Three Blind Mice – Big brother to three blind mice, this one’s big, bold, and delicious. Grow Cukes not Nukes – Cucumber Saison, cool and refreshing with a hint of black pepper from the yeast.  Should be out next week. Love Factory #2 – Not out yet, but you should be thinking about it.  Launches on May 17th at the 4th Ever Mother’s Day Festival. Springfield Brewing Company: Hellbender Hellerbock – Pale golden bock beer with a healthy helping of fruity hops. Del Fuego! – An SBC favorite, this stout is dosed with smoked Chipotle Meco, Pasilla, Ancho  and De Arbol peppers.  Don’t fear the heat, though.  It’s well balanced and not too spicy. Quencher in the Rye(PA) – A newer addition to the SBC family, this RyePA is crisp and bright with some peppery notes from the hops and rye. White River Brewing Company: Ole Mill Ale – You can still find this in a few stores around town.  It’s big, bold and delicious.  A big malt backbone and some warming alcohols make this an ideal companion for sipping next to a fire on a chilly spring evening. Buck Hollow Blond – A Missouri take on a Belgian blonde, this should be hitting stores next week.  Once I have a firm date, I’ll let you know. Leaky Roof Meadery: Berry Picker – Four berries in a mead?  Yes, please.  The sweetness of the mead is well balanced by the tart addition of four berries.  A very refreshing change of pace for when you want something completely different. (Available on tap only) Around and about town: Boulevard Grainstorm: A “double black rye IPA”, expect big malt, big hops, and the darkness of a storm at night.  Big beer. Tallgrass Brewing: Halcyon and new variety packs hit stores this week.  Halcyon is a refreshing wheat beer made from Kansas wheat and a healthy handful of hops.  Nice citrusy beer, and it comes in cans for your outdoor adventures. Deschutes: Fresh Squeezed will be back in town this week.  It’s an IPA made with citra and mosaic hops, lending bright citrus and tropical fruit in large doses without the addition of actual fruit. Not The Stoic is a Belgian dark strong ale (Read: a quadrupel) from a Deschutes.  It releases in town next week, so keep a sharp eye out for it.  I’m not sure how much will be around. Abita Andygator Doppelbock – This beer looks pretty intense.  It’s a high-gravity beer fermented to a dry finish using German yeast and Liberty hops.  It’s a clear straw color with a bit of sweetness, bread, and spice, but it finishes dry.  It’s back in stores in SGF and now available in 6 packs. Anchor Brewing Company – The California Lager (Part of their Zymaster Series) is out.  It’s a single-hop beer that uses cluster hops “from a long line originally grown in California.  They are actually doing a lot of local sourcing, using water from Yosemite, their own California yeast strain, and the Cluster hops. Anchor IPA is also out and about town.  It’s a well-balanced IPA with a solid malt backbone and an intense hop bitterness. Other Quick Hits:

  • Cathedral Square Belgian White is now available in 6 pack bottles
  • Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout (seasonal)
  • Stone Sprocket Bier (Black Rye Kolsch)
  • Sierra Nevada Hoptimum (limited time)
  • Founders All-Day IPA (a personal favorite) is coming in 15 pack cans for the same price as 12.
  • Odell Loose Leaf Session Ale (session IPA)

What’s on Tap! 4/24/2014

White River Brewing Company Tours – White River offers tours of their brewing company every Saturday, but you must make an appointment. Email Elonzo@whiteriverbrewingco.com to reserve your spot. Tours are every hour and are limited to 12 people.

Live music at SBC every weekend:
Tonight from 8-10pm, 180 degrees featuring Kristi Meredith.
Friday Nights, 6-9pm, The Johnny Stricklar Trio
Saturdays from 4-7 pm, The Ryan Talbot Experience

Sundays and Mondays at the brewco, they have my favorite special ever.
Appetizer and a pitcher for $13. Can’t beat a pitcher of pils and some pulled pork nachos, in my opinion.

Wednesday is Happy Hour Live at the University Plaza Hotel Lobby.
5:00-7:30 pm or so. Live music, local beer, food samples, and the best Networking opportunity in town.

May 3rd is Big Brew Day (National Homebrewer’s Day) at The Homebrewery in Ozark, Missouri.
Admission is free, and The Homebrewery and the Homebrew ZOO will be offering demonstrations on homebrewing and meadmaking, there will be a potluck and barbecue, and a lot of homebrew to sample. IF you’re a homebrewer or are interested in the hobby, you should stop by and visit with us for a while. If you’re interested in brewing as part of Big Brew Day, please contact todd@homebrewery.com and make sure he has room for you. Let him know which recipe you’d like to brew and how much, and he’ll have your ingredients ready for you when you get there.

May 10th is the Craft Beer Fest at the Brown Derby Wine Center.
Proceeds to benefit the The Doula Foundation. VIP Early Entrance tickets (12:30-1:30pm) are available in advance for $25 per person (limited to the first 100 sold). Regular Entry tickets (1:30-4pm) are $15 and will be available on the day of the event. They’ll have around 100 different craft beers to sample, both out of bottle or can and on tap. For VIP Early Entrance, RSVP to (417) 883-4066

May 17th is 4th ever Mother’s Day Fest.
2PM to 8PM in Mother’s Back Yard. (215 S Grant Spfd, MO). $5 at the gate, kids under 15 get in free. Bring lawn chairs, blankets, etc. Live Music, Local Food, Local Art, and Local BEER. (Including Love Factory Mark 2). Afterwards, there will be an afterparty at Patton Alley Pub.

Welcome to Beer Buzz.

Welcome to our new Beer Buzz site.  We are currently working on the site in preparation for our new launch.  Thank you for your patience.

Beer Buzz was originally a blog and radio show under the TAG Media umbrella.  With the end of TAG Media at the end of April, 2014, SGF Beer Buzz will begin a new adventure as your independent source for craft beer news and information in Southwest Missouri.

We look forward to providing you with in-depth insight into local and regional breweries, special events, and more.

Thank you for being a part of craft beer in Missouri.