Tuesday, May 29, 2007

This just in

A week or so ago, I combed through the beer list at Liquid Solutions and picked out the beers that aren't already on my beer list. I hadn't placed an order in quite a while, so the four boxes that arrived today were pretty hefty:

  • Gosser Dark

  • Morland Tanners Jack

  • Eel River Organic Amber

  • Eel River Organic Porter

  • Eel River Organic Extra Pale

  • Eel River Organic IPA

  • Jack Russell Farm House

  • Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA

  • Dogfish Head Burton Baton

  • Hebrew Messiah Bold

  • Big Sky Crystal Ale

  • Anchor Bock

  • Pike Old Bawdy Barley Wine 2006

  • Mad River Double IPA

  • Fiddlers Green Amber

  • Fiddlers Green Blond

  • Fiddlers Green IPA

  • Shipyard Old Thumper

  • Shipyard IPA

  • Shipyard Export

  • Avery Mephistopheles Stout

  • Cooper's Extra Strong Vintage

  • Big Sky Summer Honey

  • Bridgeport Beer Town Brown

  • Unibroue 16

  • Rogue Horse Brass 30th Anniversary

  • Flemish Primitive Pin Head

  • Blaugies La Moneuse Saison

  • Zinnebir Blond

  • Sint Pieters Zinnebir XMas

  • De Proef Slaapmutske

  • Golden Valley IPA VS Brut

  • De Proef Saison Imperiale

  • Jolly Pumpkin Calabaza Blanca

  • Jolly Pumpkin Maracaibo Especial

  • Pelican Bridal Ale 2005

  • Full Sail Old Boardhead 2006

  • Rogue Monk Madness

  • Main Triple Dipsea

  • Morland Hens Tooth

  • Eel River Ravens Eye

  • Eel River Triple Exultation

  • Hebrew Lenny's RIPA

  • Midnight Sun Arctic Rhino

  • Midnight Sun Conspiracy

  • Bison Gingerbread Ale

  • Bison Barley Wine

  • Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA

  • Coopers Dark Ale

  • Hair of the Dog Blue Dot

  • Roots Woody Organic IPA

  • Deschutes Buzzsaw Brown

  • Deschutes Cinder Cone Red

  • Eisenbahn South American Pale

  • Full Sail LTD 02 Lager

  • Full Said Nugget

  • Golden Valley Geist Bock

  • Hale's Troll Porter

  • Hebrew Jewbelation

  • Lagunitas Lucky 13

  • Lagunitas Undercover Shutdown

  • Moylan's White Christmas

  • Oregon Trail Bourbon Porter

  • Stone Old Guardian 2007

  • Val-Dieu Winter

It's all in the cellar now, each bottle awaiting its turn in the beer fridge upstairs.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Last week, and today

Where the hell did last week go already? Looks like I need to do a little less drinking and a little more typing.

Tomorrow: Clean the draft lines. Clean 25 half-barrels, 4 quarter-barrels, and 28 sixters.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Graduation Day, and a Beertopia run

Today was Graduation Day for the area schools, and lots of people had ordered kegs of root beer for their parties. Sunday is the busiest day of the week at Dusters because of their terrific brunch buffet, and the kitchen staff doesn't have time to carry kegs out of the basement, so I went in to take care of them. All went well except for the paint I scratched on one guy's pickup truck when I lifted the keg in. I gave him my business card and told him to send me the bill.

Paris flies back to New Jersey today, so I took her to the airport. On the way home, I stopped by Beertopia to restock my beer fridge. Here's what I picked up:

  • Boulder Mojo Risin'

  • Sapporo Imported Premium Beer

  • St Peters Golden Ale

  • Van Honsebrouck Casteel Gouden / Triple / d'Or

  • des Rocs Blanche Double

  • des Rocs Grand Cru

  • des Rocs Ambree

  • St-Bernard Grotten Flemish Ale

  • St-Bernard Pater 6

  • Achouffe Houblon

  • Achoufe N'ice

  • du Bocq Blanche de Namur

  • de Koningshoeven Dubbel

  • Odell Double Pilsner

  • Ridgeway IPA

  • Inveralmond Lia Fail

  • Coniston Premium XB Bluebird Bitter

  • JW Lees Harvest Ale 2006

  • Spoetzl Shiner Hefeweizen

  • Samuel Adams Black Lager

  • Samuel Adams Summer Ale

  • Samuel Adams Boston Ale

  • Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat (2 bottles, for some reason)

  • Leinenkugel Creamy Dark

  • Boulevard Zon

  • Boulevard Lunar Ale

  • New Belgium Mothership Wit

  • New Belgium Skinny Dip

  • Great Divide DPA / Denver Pale Ale

  • Highfalls JW Dundee American Pale Ale

  • Cuauhtemoc Sol

  • Breckenridge Summer Bright Ale

  • Guinness Smithwick's

  • Kulmbacher Premium Pils Edelbier

  • Sierra Nevada Stout

Of these, the Sierra Nevada Stout was the only one that was already on my beer list.

Tomorrow, clean lines and brew some Hefeweizen.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

New beer on tap

Went in early and filled a couple of kegs of Uncle Ivan's Dunkelweizen and hooked them up to the bar. The first few pints were pretty foamy; I guess I got a little ambitious with the CO2 pressure and overcarbonated it a bit. It'll calm down after a while.

Paris flew back from New Jersey today, and I went to Omaha to pick her up. It happened to be our 12th anniversary today, so we celebrated at the Crescent Moon Alehouse. And next door at Max & Joe's. And a few blocks away at Dundee Dell. And at nearby Dario's Brasserie. Whew.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Rack the Dunkelweizen and give a tour

Uncle Ivan's Dunkelweizen moved from its fermenter to the cellar this morning. I'll carbonate it overnight and keg some and put it on tap tomorrow morning.

A bunch of kids ranging from five to eleven years old, along with their teacher, came down from a school in Stanton this afternoon for a tour of the "root beer factory". Unlike the last tour, I wasn't making any root beer today, so all they got to see was some empty tanks. But they drank a bunch of samples anyway, and the teachers bought a few growlers.

Tomorrow, tap the Dunkelweizen, then go pick up Paris in Omaha.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Madison, Wis. Tops Google Searches for Beer

Like damn near everywhere in Wisconsin, you can't spit without hitting a bar in Madison. Sounds like these people need to get off the Internet and onto State Street!

Madison, Wis. is looking for beer, according to Google. The “Google Trends” tool shows the capital city uses the search engine to find beer more than any other city.

The complete Top 10 List:

  1. Madison, Wisconsin

  2. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  3. Boston, Massachusetts

  4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  5. St. Louis, Missouri

  6. Minneapolis, Minnesota

  7. Denver, Colorado

  8. Austin, Texas

  9. New York, New York

  10. Toronto, Ontario

Australia is the #1 beer-searching country, and as far as languages go, Irish leads the way.

Read the entire (very short) article at MyFox Twin Cities.

Mmmm, pizza beer

Flashback to August 2000. I was in the third year of my first brewing job, at Egan Brewing in De Pere, Wisconsin. Trying to come up with something new and interesting, I brewed a Saison, spiced it with thyme, and gave it the extraordinarily clever name Thyme of the Saison, after the song by The Zombies. As my notes will attest, Thyme of the Saison was a remarkably nasty beer, and it pretty much cured me of any desire to ever brew with spices again. But there were some who really liked it, and they referred to it as my "pizza beer".

Now, in 2007, enter homebrewer Tom Seefurth of St. Charles, Illinois. Tom's Mamma Mia's Pizza Beer won a recent homebrew competition at Walter Payton's Roundhouse, and that brewpub scaled the recipe up and brewed a twelve-barrel batch. There's more to Tom's pizza beer than thyme:

...a barley-based beer that’s flavored with tomato, basil, oregano and garlic.


Walter Payton’s agreed to make up 24 kegs of the pizza beer, using about 30 gallons of canned tomatoes, tons of spices and many pounds of red beets for color in the 930-gallon vat.

The article also says that "Seefurth says he might be the first person to have added garlic to beer". I've got him beat by about 16 years, with a homebrew batch that took a prize at a competition in California. I thought that one was pretty nasty too, but there you go.

All in all, it sounds like Tom's beer is quite a bit better than my attempts at spiced beer. I'm probably not going to make it to Illinois to give his a try, but I'd enjoy hearing from anybody who does.

Read the whole story at beep.

For brewers, taste is the test of a good beer

I get the feeling these guys could teach a thing or two to the guy in the previous article.

For Todd Hansen and a half-dozen others here, drinking beer in the afternoon is a vital part of the job.

But it's way more involved than simply kicking back each day and popping open some cold ones.

Call it hands-on quality control.

Hansen and a select group of Anheuser-Busch employees taste each ingredient that goes into making the beer, plus whatever else might sway quality. They do it daily.

"Absolutely everything that touches the brewing process will get tasted," said Hansen, resident brewmaster at the Anheuser- Busch Inc. brewery here.

The members of the "taste panel" sip "teas" brewed from rice and beechwood chips to make sure the ingredients are up to snuff. They chew on grains of barley malt.

Read the whole story at Rocky Mountain News. It's a good overview of how brewers gauge the quality of their beers, regardless of the size of their breweries.

Brewer must pay alcoholic beer taster

Personal Responsibility runs smack dab into Occupational Hazard:

A Brazilian court has ordered local brewer Ambev to pay 100,000 reals (US$49,400; euro36,400) to an alcoholic beer taster who drank about a liter and a half (3.2 pints) of beer each day.

The unidentified employee alleged that the company did not provide the health measures needed to keep him from developing alcoholism, a labor court in the Rio Grande do Sul state said in a statement Friday.

The employee said in his lawsuit that for more than a decade, he drank between 16 and 25 small glasses of beer during his eight-hour shifts at the company

The employee said he also received a bottle of beer after each shift.

Read the whole story at Yahoo! News.

Beer-loving Aussies are turning to a softer brew

Apparently it's not only American beer that's "like making love in a canoe":

VB, with its distinctive green label, has since 1894 been a staple of hard-drinking backyard barbecues, student revels and football games, not to mention healthy overseas exports.

Now brewer Foster's has decided for the first time to produce the beer in a weaker yellow-label version with 3.5 percent strength, down from 5 percent, as Australians abandon it for scores of more upscale "boutique" or craft beers.

Read the whole story, courtesy of Reuters.

Kegs kegs kegs kegs


  • Root Beer

    • 14 quarter-barrels

    • 7 five-gallon kegs

  • Beer

    • 7 half-barrels of 1916 Irish Stout

    • 1 half-barrel of All American Gold

    • 1 half-barrel of Bugeater Brown Ale

    • 1 half-barrel of Harvey's Märzen

    • 1 half-barrel of Impromptu Pale Ale

    • 1 half-barrel of Jack of Spades Schwarzbier

    • 1 half-barrel of Stüvenbräu Maibock

    • 2 half-barrels of Tin Lizzie Hefeweizen

    • 1 quarter-barrel of Tin Lizzie Hefeweizen

    • 1 half-barrel of Toil and Trubbel Dubbel

Also cleaned, sanitized, and pressurized the tank that held the Stout; that's where the Dunkelweizen will go tomorrow.

All of these kegs of root beer (one is actually full of Tin Lizzie Hefeweizen) are destined for graduation parties this weekend.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Not brewing after all

I had planned to brew some All American Gold today, but I realized this morning that I'll need to use all of the spent grain tubs as ice tubs for the root beer kegs this weekend. So nix to today's brew, and also to tomorrow's planned Tin Lizzie Hefeweizen.

Instead, I cleaned a couple dozen kegs and made sure everything will be ready to go for tomorrow's keg-filling marathon.

Clean lines and new root beer

Cleaned the draft lines this morning, just like almost every Monday morning.

Moved 14 barrels of root beer down to the cellar and started it carbonating. This weekend is Graduation Day for the local schools, and lots of kegs are on order for the parties.

Tomorrow: Brew some All American Gold.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Pubcrawling in Lincoln

Paris has to leave town again on Sunday, so we thought we'd get out of the house and do something fun today. We got gift certificates for some bars in Lincoln at a recent festival, and this looks like a good time to use them up.

Our first stop was Buzzard Billy's Armadillo Bar at 247 North 8th Street. (It's actually about a block and a half north of the location on that map.) They had some interesting Cajun food and about a dozen draft beers; we had a pint or two from Lincoln's own Empyrean Ales.

Next up was next door: Brewsky's Food & Spirits. They also had about a dozen draft beers, but they also had a two-door cooler full of bottles. I had a pint of the new Anheuser-Busch Spring Heat Spiced Wheat, a quite tasty interpretation of the Belgian Witbier style. (My notes say that "it's not Celis, but it's not bad".) They also have a number of Goose Island beers, and I enjoyed a bottle of Oatmeal Stout.

Further down Eighth Street was Doc's Place. We didn't have a gift certificate for Doc's, but it didn't matter. This place has the best beer selection of any bar I've seen in Nebraska outside Omaha's Crescent Moon. A six-door cooler behind the bar has bottles from all over the world, including some fine Belgian ales including Lindemans fruit lambics, Westmalle 8, and the beer we started the session with, Delirium Nocturnum. We had a couple more beers at Doc's, and we would have had lots more if we hadn't had two more stops to make before the hour-and-a-half drive home.

Lazlo's is right around the corner, at 710 P Street. Nebraska's original brewpub is still going strong, and I always enjoy a pint of their ESB along with dinner.

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Ten half-barrels need to go to Norfolk today. Went out to Duncan to get the truck, but found the building locked, so I couldn't get the keys for the truck. Drove back to the brewery and loaded the ten kegs into the van, then drove them to Norfolk. Picked up the dozen-or-so empties and unloaded them at the brewery. Scrubbed the pallet jack tire tracks off the mill room floor when I got back.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Good(ish) news, and kegs

After the recent chiropractic fiasco*, I finally got to talk to my Medical Professional about my back problems this morning. She sent me over to the hospital for some X-Rays and an MRI. The good news — and it confirms what I've thought all along — is that the MRI detected no soft tissue problems, so it's strictly a mechanical spinal-alignment issue. So the next step will either be physical therapy, or a chiropractor that sticks to traditional, effective, rational methods.

*I certainly don't mean to impugn all practitioners of the chiropractic arts. It's just that this particular guy was a nutjob.

Afterward, I cleaned a pile of kegs and filled some for the Grand Island and Norfolk wholesalers.

Tomorrow: deliver kegs to Norfolk.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Uncle Ivan's Dunkelweizen

Finally, a chance to make some Real Beer again! (I'm so sick of root beer I could puke already.) Today's brew is five barrels or so of Uncle Ivan's Dunkelweizen. This beer was surprisingly popular when it was on tap a year and a half ago, and I've received several requests this week to bring it back.

I decided to brew five barrels instead of the usual seven because I had given some of the yeast to Adam Daake of Platte Valley Brewing. Besides, we'll go through five barrels faster than seven. The problem is, with this particular mash tun, a brewlength less than seven barrels doesn't sparge as efficiently as it could. So instead of 14.5°P, I got 12.5°P; not bad, considering.

Tom Kus, growler-collector extraordinaire, stopped by this morning to buy a couple of growlers. Gottberg was one of some eighty breweries he's visiting on this trip.

While the wort was post-whirlpool-settling, a group of about 15 seniors came through for a brewery tour. Once they were gone, the beer got to make its way to the fermenter.

Got a note from the Norfolk wholesaler saying they had forgotten to order ten half-barrels of root beer. So I'll be filling those tomorrow and delivering them on Friday.

Tomorrow: clean and fill kegs for the pub and the wholesalers, along with some retail orders. Also catch up on some phone calls.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Root beer for Norfolk

Spent an hour or so this morning filling 30 five-gallon kegs of root beer for our Norfolk wholesaler. Went out to Duncan to get the truck, loaded it up at the brewery, got some lunch, drove to Norfolk, back to the brewery, back to Duncan, and back to the brewery.

Tomorrow: brew some Dunkelweizen, and give a tour.

Line cleaning

Cleaned the draft lines, worked out a schedule for the rest of the week. Whee.

Adam Daake from Platte Valley Brewing in Kearney had some problems with his Hefeweizen yeast, so he called to ask if I had any he could borrow. I just happened to have a quarter-barrel full that I was saving for Wednesday's Dunkelweizen brew, so he drove out and filled a few growlers from that keg. He was kind enough to give me a couple growlers of his Altbier and IPA in trade!

Tomorrow: fill 30 five-gallon kegs of root beer for the Norfolk wholesaler, and deliver them.

Dario's Brasserie, Omaha

Paris and I discovered this magnificent Belgian restaurant in Omaha this weekend. Dario's Brasserie is located at 4920 Underwood Avenue in the Dundee section of town.

The food was incredible: mussels baked in cheese, spinach, and garlic, a roast duck shepherd's pie, beef in sauce béarnaise, and crème brûlée.

Even better than the food was the beer selection: seven Belgian beers on tap, with several dozen more bottled. We enjoyed a Cantillon Bruocsella 1900 Grand Cru with our meal. Check Dario's web site for a beer list; it's incomplete, because they're bringing in new beers all the time, but it will give you an idea of the quality they're carrying.

Monday, May 7, 2007

New feature: Nearby Breweries

There is a handy new link on each of the "Beer Me!" brewery and index pages. Clicking on [Nearby Breweries] will bring up a map of the 20 breweries closest to the one you selected.

The new [Nearby Breweries] link is circled in red.

It's not perfect, but it's better than what I had before, and I'll be smoothing out the features in the coming days.

Thanks to Boris Georgiev for the idea and to Jonathan Surratt of beermapping.com for the technical tip that makes it work!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Root beer, Tour, Kegs, Malt

I'm still staying ahead of the root beer orders during this busy month. To keep staying ahead, I had to make another 28 barrels (868 gallons) of the stuff today. Fortunately, my dad stopped by and was able to lend a hand.

A first-grade class from a local elementary school got a tour of the "root beer factory" this morning. They were remarkably well-behaved and attentive, especially after I told them I'd wrap them in duct tape and leave them in the cellar if they got out of line.

The Grand Island wholesaler added some root beer kegs to his order for next Monday, so I filled them this afternoon.

Just as my dad and I were sitting down for some beers and lunch, I got a call saying my latest shipment of malt had arrived, and that I needed to go pick it up. That wasted more than one hour of my drinking time, but at least I have the ingredients for a new batch of the much-requested Uncle Ivan's Dunkelweizen. (One of the requests came from Uncle Ivan himself.)

Next Monday: clean the draft lines and figure out next week's schedule. I'll fill kegs and deliver them to Norfolk on Tuesday, and I'll probably brew the Dunkelweizen on Wednesday.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Kegs, Root beer, Tour

Filled beer kegs for the pub and root beer kegs for wholesalers.

Moved 14 barrels of root beer into the cellar.

Did a brewery tour for a busload of seniors.

Tomorrow: make more root beer and do another tour.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Mold no more

Tedious, back-breaking, but it had to be done: I scrubbed all the mold off the walls and the tanks in the cold room in the cellar. I think I'll start spraying the whole room with a sanitizer solution once a week to see if that keeps it from coming back.

Also, I did the monthly state and federal tax reports this morning.

Tomorrow: Clean and fill kegs, transfer some root beer, and give a tour.

Root Beer to Skeeter Barnes

Skeeter Barnes in Council Bluffs, Iowa, asked for six half-barrels of root beer, so I loaded up the van and hit the road. I picked up their seven empty kegs, then made stops at three different liquor wholesalers in Omaha, picking up wine for the pub. The whole trip took about 5½ hours.

Tomorrow: clean all the mold out of the cold room in the cellar.