IPAs are the bread and butter of most American craft breweries. It’s the style I’m most likely to order when I’m at a bar or restaurant, as most breweries have a handle on the style by now. Since I have chosen to brew many different styles, I’ve only brewed a straight-forward IPA once, and never from all grain. One of the side-effects of this deficiency is that I don’t feel comfortable with my knowledge of hops. Additionally I usually don’t have any hoppy beers on hand, despite that often being just what I’m in the mood to drink.
I’ve been interested in adding fruit to my brewing, but with only one fermenter, I can’t commit to a long aging period. This has focused my attention into quicker fruiting methods, such as using pomegranate molasses. While at the Cambridge Beer Festival, I had a beer spiked with beet root, which got me thinking about vegetables in beer. Around the same time I spotted some vibrant stalks of rhubarb at the market and happened to come across this recipe for rhubarb syrup. I couldn’t ask for a more appealing confluence of inspirations – I had to seek out this tart vegetable to try brewing with it.
Six months have passed since I was last in the States. It was a long time without brewing. I came back feeling a bit apprehensive, somewhat doubtful that my brewing abilities didn’t atrophy. Nonetheless I was eager to turn around something quick, and so just a few hours after my return, I walked over to Bitter & Esters to pick up ingredients to brew a new version of my summer session ale, now named Lazy Day Ale. While I might enjoy this beer on such a day in just a few weeks, brew day was anything but lazy, exercising my new knowledge of brewing water as well as trying out some new beer body building techniques.
Welcome to Night Vale – Episode 35: Lazy Day
After the better part of a year, I’m ready to face my only big mistake of a brew. I had originally planned this as the other face of Colleen’s beervatar, a duo of low gravity beers that would suit themselves to the season just as the seasons so closely govern Colleen’s own tastes. However, since Colleen didn’t care for the first of those two brews, I’ve left her to claim rights to whichever brew of mine suits her fancy. Instead this beer finds itself installed in another series, my developing seasonal porter series. Starting in the autumn with Peanut Porter, we come now to Coffee Porter for the winter.
The final entry for my autumn-inspired brews harkens back to high school. Not because of the beer I was drinking in high school (which is not worth recreating in my kitchen), but because of where I was spending those nights — at bonfires. Autumn always brought a return to burning leaves, branches, and wooden pallets stolen from the local grocery store. The scent still holds a special place in my memory, and I relish driving through Southern states where people dispose of leaf-litter by fire.
September is peak harvest for honey in many apiaries, and in my continuing quest for Autumn flavors that aren’t pumpkin, my mind now bears upon this ingredient. The recipe is for a simple saison, similar to my Saison du Pom, but instead of pomegranate molasses as an adjunct, I’ll be using honey. Also, to keep the beer from drying out too far and to boost the honey flavor, I’ve also added some honey malt to the grist.
Fall seems to be arriving just in time in New York City. While the leaves are still green on the few trees I encounter, the streets no longer remind me daily of sweaty afternoons of soccer or four square on the blacktop at recess. Colleen has been entering a pumpkin flavor frenzy, seeking out pumpkin in beer, baked goods, and even yogurt. For the time being I’m refusing to make a pumpkin beer myself, but nonetheless my thoughts turn toward the flavors of the season. Nuts are a key component of many of my favorite Fall foods, and peanuts seem well-suited to capture the transition of summer into fall. Continue reading