Friday, March 26, 2010

Samichlaus 2006

This is a follow-on from my post last year (check out last year's post for all the delicious details) about the 2006 Samichalus that Meg and I were gifted for our wedding. This was the final one left in our wedding gift 4-pack.

Much like in the financial markets, 2009 was hard on the 2006 batch of Samichlaus. A lot of the "complexities" from last year mellowed out even futher making the beer taste like a root beer tootsie pop with a little alcohol sting on the back end. I wish there was more to describe, but that was pretty much it, a sugary brown alcohol laced perma-flavor across the palate. Great if you forgot what tootsie pops taste like, but not so great if you were expecting beer nirvana.

Oh well, the 2008 and 2009 tastings were pretty nice, so 2 out of 3 ain't bad.


PS - Stop by Norm's (in Vienna) tonight, to try some Yards beers from Philadelphia!
The brewery’s sending Chris down to pour some samples between 5-8pm.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

In the Land of Beer

I labeled the Maibock this evening, now dubbed the MarzBock (translation: March Bock). Most people wonder how I make the labels and get them on the bottles. Pretty simple, I design them on Excel and then glue stick them on the bottles. Hard to screw up.

I also bought some stick on letters this weekend and emblazoned my growlers with "HolzBrew."


PS- I got confirmation today that the beers I entered into the National Homebrew Contest arrived safely in Zanesville, OH. Judging starts next week, fingers are crossed.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pour of the Day

What to do when you can't eat meat on a Friday? Drink beer. Specifically, The Bruery's Saison de Lente.

It's Friday Baby!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Quick Update

I don't really have time to formulate a witty and intriging post, but I thought I'd let everyone know what's up in the HolzBrew homebrew world. I brewed a Imperial Belgian Wit (the OG was 1.066, does this really qualify as Imperial? I say yes), this weekend that I am pretty jazzed about. The plan is once it gets through primary fermentation to add some french oak cubes that have been soaking in Gran Marnier, and most likely I'll add some additional Gran Marnier as well. I'm looking to accentuate the orange flavor in a Belgian Wit.

I also bottled the maibock I brewed back in December. Its really turned out well and I'm pretty sure I am going to enter it into the upcoming national homebrew competition . I am considering entering my holiday ale (tripel) as well as the Old Woodie Ale (specialty wood aged beer). This would be the first competition I've ever entered my beers in and certainly some of the steepest competition. Regardless of winning any awards I think it would be cool to get back some constructive criticism.

That's it for now.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

10 Questions for a Sweet Brewer

It's been a few weeks since the last post, largely due to a busy work schedule. It's not like I stopped drinking beer, don't worry. I haven't had time in the last month to brew anything, but I've got some ideas kicking around. A few weeks back I had sent out some questions to Nick Funnell, the head brewer at Sweetwater Tavern. He was nice enough to get back to me. In case you haven't been there Sweetwater Tavern operates three locations in Northern Virginia: Merrifield, Centreville, and Sterling. It's one of the best restuarants near me in the Merrifield area, with a great food selection ranging from steak and fish to more casual offerings like sandwiches and salads (think Outback Steakhouse, but with good food and service). Also, the beer is made in-house and pretty darn good to boot. Nick has amassed some hardware from the Great American Brewfest over the years and it shows. Here goes:

Holz: First, can you give my readers an idea of how you got started in brewing? Were you originally a homebrewer?

Nick: I got started in brewing after getting a degree in Chemistry and finding an apprenticeship in a brewery. I have only ever homebrewed once, without distinction.

Holz: Did you attend any school to study brewing or did you start right out working at a brewery?

Nick: I studied brewing as part of my apprenticeship.

Holz: Sweetwater Tavern always has a nice selection of year round and seasonal offerings, how do you approach the creative process of crafting a new brew?

Nick: When we create a new beer we look for a gap in our portfolio that needs filling.

Holz: I believe Great American Restuarants (owner of Sweetwater Tavern) won two medals this year at the Great American Beer Fest, congratulations. Which beers won?

Nick: We won a Bronze medal in the Belgian Wit bier category for Wits’ End and a Gold in the Rye beer category for Crazy Jackass Ale.

Holz: Were you able to make it out to Denver this year for the festival?

Nick: I was lucky enough to be in Denver for the festival.

Holz: Occassionally, I see Great American beers available at the store, do you guys bottle your beers? Any plans to ramp up bottling production?

Nick: We do not bottle any beer for stores. We concentrate our efforts on getting people to come to us where we are able to fully guarantee the flavor and freshness of our beer. We do sell growlers of beer to go and they are filled on a counter pressure machine that ensures quality.

Holz: Which breweries and/or brewpubs inspire you?

Nick: Almost all breweries and brewpubs inspire me as there is something to be learned from each one.

Holz: Besides drinking the final product, what do you enjoy most about brewing?

Nick: The satisfaction of producing a great product that has developed a passionate following.

Holz: Which beer style do you enjoy brewing/drinking the most? The least?

Nick: All beers are equally satisfying to make as the process is essentially similar. As a brewer it is important to not favor one style over another when it comes to making the beer, or some will be better made than others. That wouldn’t be fair to the drinkers.

Holz: Is there any Sweetwater Tavern news (major or minor) that you want to share with my readers? New beers, locations, etc.?

Nick: Keep checking the website to see what we are up to.

Eat and Drink at Sweetwater. It is so ordered.