Thursday, October 29, 2009

What will $20 get you?

Nowadays a twenty spot doesn't go far. Maybe you can get a half a tank of gas or possibly an XL pizza.

Twenty dollars WILL get you a pack of cider yeast and three gallons of organic (code word for foolishly expensive) apple cider. That right folks, I've decided to brew up a batch of fermented apple drank. I really have no idea what I'm doing, but sometimes that works out, surprisingly. I hope the yeast will do most of the walking, so I can do all the talking (I'm not sure that makes sense here, oh well, when in Rome).

See the first day of HolzBrew cider bubbling away.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Scenes From The NOVA Brewfest

Well it was a muddy one for sure, but great beer was enjoyed by all who made it out to this fall's NOVA Brewfest. I poured for awhile at Lagunitas and Sierra Nevada. I always forget how darn good that Lagunitas IPA is, seriously, its world class stuff. Other notables included: Mad Fox Wee Heavy, Williamsburg Bourbon Amber, St. George Fall Bock and Star Hill Saison.

Keep the great beer flowing,


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

2009 NOVA Brewfest

HolzBrew and friends will be pouring beer at this weekend's NOVA Brewfest on Sunday afternoon from 2pm to 6pm. The fest is both days, Saturday and Sunday, out at Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville. Tickets are still on sale, see all the details at the official site:

The list of brewer's and beers can be found here. My favorite Oktoberfests this year will be available, Left Hand and Flying Dog.

If you've never been to this fest you've got to come out for it. Or even volunteer for it.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fest Rundown 2009

While most Oktoberfest celebrations are dwindling, lots of Oktoberfest beers are available in the bars and on the shelves. I've done my best to try as many as I can and to take notes. When I tried some of them, I did not have pencil and paper around to record my thoughts, so the summary on some of these is limited. My favorites this year were Flying Dog Dogtoberfest, and Left Hand Oktoberfest (several years running now). Drink'em if you got'em.

Here goes:

Left Hand

This one has been my fave three years running and there is a reason for it. Left Hand knows what they are doing and they need to keep it up.

Look: Pours an orange-copper color with a thin cream colored head.

Smell: The aroma is downright malty, sweet, and some toffee.

Drink: As always this one is sweet all the way through. Not a cloying sweet, but big time caramelly goodness. Some noticeable hop bitterness in the finish to balance out the sweetness some.

Overall: As always, A.


Meg liked this one last year and was excited to see it on the shelves. Unfortunately, I think she was a little disappointed.

Look: Pours up a fairly clear bright golden orange body with a small white head which disappears quickly.

Smell: Some sweet malt smell and little hop bitterness

Drink: Initially caramel maltiness, but something here just ain't right. There is an odd sourdough bread thing going on here, then a little fruitiness. Finishes off with some hop bitterness.

Overall: The thing that threw me about this beer was the sour-tart thing going on. Its almost like they brewed it with an ale yeast strain instead of a lager yeast. Not my cup of tea, D.


Had some of this early on in the Ok-fest season and then again this weekend. Definitely my favorite German example.

Look: Pours up a deep orange-almost brown color with marginal head.

Smell: A nice mixture of caramel - toffee maltiness with touch of nuttiness.

Drink: Brown sugar, and spiciness up front. A little bit of some orange flavor and it finishes with the expected German hop crispiness.

Overall: I definitely like this one and it was easy drinking, B+.


Overall: Forgot to take notes with this one. I don't remember it blowing me away, but I remember it getting the job done. B-

Sam Adams

The BBC continues to disrespect this the style by spelling it with an Oct- instead of Ok-, I kid. I had a love jones for the '08 batch of Sam O-fest, but this year back to just liking it. I like to think that the beer keeps changing from year to year, but maybe its me.

Look: Amber color with a nice thick white head.

Smell: Smells malty, not much in the way of hop aroma.

Drink: Lots of munich malt up front. Sweet caramel with some roasted peanuts through the middle. Slightly thicker mouthfeel in comparison to some of its brethren. Finishes with a nice crisp bitterness.

Overall: B

Hacker Pschorr

Look: Bright and clear maple syrup color, with a thick ring of lacing.

Smell: Biscuit and nutty aroma.

Drink: Nice toasty malt and biscuit flavor upfront. Ends with a tart bitter finish.

Overall: B-

Flying Dog

Look: Pours up a a copper color, topped off with a thick foamy off white head.

Smell: Great mixture of caramel and bready aromas, blended with a pleasantly fresh floral hop aroma.

Drink: Great malt body, consisting of caramel, toffee, and something sweet like graham crackers. The body is somewhat thick with medium level of carbonation. The floral hops round out the back end with some bitterness.

Overall: I really liked this. Since flying dog moved from Colorado to Frederick, MD, I've found their beers more appealing, must be freshness. A

I also tried Paulaner this year, but I didn't take notes and I don't remember it being notable. Not sure where that puts it, but most likely in the B to C range.

Get'em while you still can,