Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Russian River & Sierra Nevada Collaboration: Brux Domesticated Wild Ale

The Brux is a collaborative brew between the Cilurzo family at Russian River and the Grossman family at Sierra Nevada.  I know the Brux is meant to be aged for years to let it develop, but I couldn't wait.  I do have one in the basement already, so maybe I will review an aged Brux in a few years.  The Brux is refermented in the bottle with Brettanomyces bruxellensis.  This belgian style "wild" yeast is what will cause it to evolve and give it different flavors over time.

The color is a very nice light golden shade that is very clean and crisp looking.  It pours with a quickly dissipating fluffy white head.  It doesn't have much smell at all, if you really stick your noise in there you can get a sweet smelling yeast, but there are obviously not any hops in the smell.

The taste is sharp, it is a bit high on the carbonation side, which works nicely with the sharp flavors.  Right now it is most like a classic belgian triple, but not too spicy, just in the mouth feel and the yeast.  There is a little bit of sourness that lingers on the back of the tongue, maybe a promise of what is to come with some aging?  Either way I really am enjoying it and I have had some trouble getting into Belgian style beers lately, so this is exciting.

Before I get to the rating let me pause for a station identification.  This month's post is brought to you by Movember.  For more information and chance to donate to the cause, go here.  As you probably know, Movember more than just a charity, it is a chance to grow a mustache, and the picture below is just a teaser of things to come.

In honor of Movember and my crafty baking skills, I give the Brux 7.5 out of 10 Mustache Cookies.  I really like it, but I have to leave some room for improvement due to aging.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

My Kegerator Setup

I updated my kegerator setup today from one to three kegs, so I thought I would post some pictures of my new setup.
First, I put the CO2 tank outside of the fridge in order to make room for three kegs inside. I drilled a hole in the side and luckily didn't hit any cooling coils.
Then, I mounted a splitter inside the fridge, that splits one CO2 line to three.
There are only two kegs inside now, but the third one will fit. I am still re-purposing it so I haven't used it yet. Right now the two kegs hold my Black Eyed Peas A (a Black IPA) and a Chocolate Rye that doesn't have a silly name, yet.
The tap on the front remains unchanged, but now it will be very easy to switch between any of the three kegs in the fridge. Also, I bought a party tap so it will be easy to tap another keg inside that can be accessed by just opening the door and pouring a pint!

Friday, February 17, 2012


Welcome to the first ever Beers We Try BATTLE ROYALE. Today we have two of the best in the business: Ithaca's Flower Power IPA vs Dogfish Head's 60 Minute IPA. The Flower Power is more of a regional favorite here in Central New York, going up against the internationally renowned IPA standard that is the 60 minute IPA.

Flower Power: The Underdog
The Flower Power has really developed a following over the last several years here in Central
New York, and rightly so. It pours with a slightly hazy golden color and only a slight trace of
head. It smells mostly of grapefruit with maybe a hint of pine. The Ithaca website lists Simcoe, Amarillo, and Chinook as the finishing hops, the source of these wonderful aromas. The hops are
really the highlight of this beer. This hop depth and complexity is more comparable to a double IPA than most singles. This IPA is very well balanced, even if the rest of the beer doesn't really add much more to the palate. Ithaca has come out with a really strong showing for a challenger, and has a chance at unseating...

The Champ: 60 Minute IPA
The 60 minute pours a light golden color and very clear. Some breweries use some kind of clarifying agent in their beers to make them clear up during fermentation. It does not effect the taste or consistency of the beer, just makes it a little bit nicer to look at. My guess is Dogfish Head does this, and Ithaca, a smaller brewery, does not. A nice touch by DH. The aroma of the
60 is actually slightly acidic, with a subtle trace of hops. I am taken aback by the lack of aroma compared to the Flower Power, and after a few sips I am even starting to wonder if I have a bad bottle. I have had this beer before and really enjoyed it. Is it possible the hops from the Flower Power are completely overwhelming? Let's let it warm up a bit, have some nice aged Gouda, and then try again......The Sabres are playing right now, it is the third period during a game against the Canadiens in which they are down 3-2. For a team that had so much momentum going into the season, they have been such a huge disappointment. So much so that I am starting to have the same old "Bills problem": Would I rather have a meaningless win or a loss that gets us closer to the #1 pick? Sigh.......Back to drowning my sorrows in drink. After trying again with the 60, nothing has changed. It is really hard to say much about the flavor this beer offers. I suppose it is possible that the Flower Power's powerful hop presence has dwarfed whatever the 60 minute IPA has to offer, and crushed it under its thumb. Is it also possible that Wegmans has sold me an older bottle of beer? I believe the answer to that is a resounding YES. I have not been overwhelmed with the freshness of the beer on the shelves at my local Wegmans. Interestingly enough Dogfish does not offer any sort of Enjoy By date on their bottles, which would help.

Whether the Flower Power overwhelmed the 60 minute IPA or I got a bad bottle, maybe it doesn't matter. I fully expected the 60 minute IPA, the favorite, to crush the Flower Power. In fact the exact opposite was true. In the end the brewery is responsible for the beer in the bottle. In this BATTLE ROYALE, the local hero defeats the global goliath. Flower Power is an excellent IPA I would up against almost any other out there. Until it is challenged, it will reign supreme as the BATTLE ROYALE REIGNING CHAMPION.