Sunday, October 14, 2012

He's still around??

Yes, I'm still around my beloved southern Illinois.  Not that long ago my voice graced the beer fest held in Hanger 9's parking lot.  I felt I needed to draw some attention to Mayor Joel Fritzler tapping a firkin (thanks Matt for the pic) and to try to boost sales for tickets for the Big Muddy Monster Brew Fest going on Saturday, October 20.

 (That's me there in the beer shirt.  The mayor is the one with beer on his shirt)

So, are beer fests on the rise?  You tell me.  49,000 in attendance.  Tickets selling out in 45 minutes. Is this some rock concert?  Heck no.  It's the Great American Beer Fest out in Denver.  580 breweries, 2,700 different beers, 36,000 gallons of beer!!  Oh my!!  You can read the details here on NPR. 

I hope to see many of the local beer people at the Big Muddy Monster Brew Fest next weekend where once again I will be giving the blessing of the beer.  I've been thinking and refining a blessing to make it sound actually... well... church like.  What do you expect from a Minister of Perpetual Consumption? 

Monday, August 13, 2012

New Beginnings

Brother Chris is off in OK getting ready to deploy overseas.  Brother Charles is in beautiful downtown Southern Illinois until Saturday when he goes off to Afghanistan.  Is this the end of the Monks??  Heck no!!  I even told Brother Charles that I'm going to keep brewing (I'll have to get the rest of my gear from his house).  I plan on entering something in the Big Muddy Monster Brewfest under the name of the group.  And there are a few folks that are interested in brewing with the Reverend.  So it's a new start with new people but I look forward to my brothers coming back.

And then there is Kindling.  Today they are closing their packaged liquor store.  Larry Emery reported a decline in sales and a change in their business model as the reasoning.  With craft beer doing so well in southern Illinois I can see that the store that was the ONLY store with good craft beer having sales decline.  And the folks there want to change Kindling to more of a restaurant/bar model.   It makes sense to close down the package store for a space for the bar.  No matter how much is makes sense, it's a little sad.  I helped get Kindling started with the packaged liquor store.  It's kinda sad to see something I help start going away.  Regardless, I wish everyone there the best of luck.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

What's happening with the Monks?

Things are going to get a little slim with the Monks.  There are three regulars - the founding members: Brother Charles, Brother Chris, and yours truly, the Reverend.  Brother Charles is shipping over seas to Afghanistan for a year to help reforest parts of the country.  Brother Chris is headed off to parts unknown with Uncle Sam.  That leaves the Reverend to keep the brew kettle boiling.  We had send offs for both of them.  Out at Giant City, I shared some Arcadia Loch Down Scotch Ale.  Talk about rich, sweet flavor!!  At Brother Chris's send off (knowing that Brother Charles was going to be there), I broke out the Utopias!  I poured a shot for each of us and toasted them.  I pray to the Great Brewmaster that they come back safe and sound, inspired by their world travels, and ready to brew.  I'm going to miss them and look forward to their return. 

What's the Reverend been drinking?

Hmm...  Let's see...

On the 4th of July I started off with a little Chimay Première (Red) as I had to use a splash or two in a BBQ glaze.  I remember drinking that and thinking "What the heck am I doing?" as I was barbequing pork tenderloins with a chocolate glaze sauce while it was 109.5 degrees on my deck.  That was some darn good pork!!  When it was all said and done, my family and I headed over to friends of ours.  We've been going over there for the past three years for a 4th of July gathering and swimming.  While there I had something from my favorite American Belgium style brewery - Brewery Ommegang.  Now, it was HOT on the 4th this year.  I have three bottles of their limited edition beers.  I did bring two but only had one - Aphrodite.  This was perfect for a hot day.  On the pour it looked a little red and the head had a rosy tint.  Brother Chris said he could taste the pear but for me the raspberry came across.  That might have been due to the tartness imparted from the Brett yeast.  Refreshing to drink but could hit hard if you drink the entire 750 ml as it weighs in at 8.9% ABV.  I'll comment more on Ommegang's Limited Edition releases in another post.

A few parties ago I finally decided to open up my Samuel Adams Utopias!  Oh my!!!  Zero carbonation, smooth going down with a little alcohol burn.  Some people have said it was more like drinking bourbon.  I'm glad we had a shot!  Oh...  The we?  I'll say something about that in my next post.  Regardless, I then took Brother Chris through all three colors of Chimay: Première, Triple, and Grande Reserve. 

I'm feeling kind of bad because I've not really been keeping up with my "study" of what I drink, when I drink it, and where I drink it.  I'd been doing that to track my habits and preferences.  Plus, as various as my tastes are, sometimes it's good to have something to prompt the memory.  For example, I knew I had a Samuel Adams Porch Rocker (similiar to Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy) and a few others but I'm not sure what the others were.  I do remember Grant's peppers lined with cream cheese wrapped with bacon and smoked!!

Well, that's enough for now.  More later.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

What's the Reverned Drinking?

Last night I had the pleasure of drinking a bomber of Epic Brewing's Brainless on Peaches.  The label says it is a part of their Exponential Series.  Wha?  From their website:

Epic’s special line of ales and lagers for the accomplished consumer or the ever-curious.  This is where the Epic journey never ends…
 Hmm... Ok.  More specifically about the beer from the site:
We took our double gold medal winning Brainless® Belgian, added organic peach puree and aged it in French Chardonnay casks from Sawtooth Winery. Drink from a Pinot glass, serve on the warm side of cold, it develops nicely as it warms displaying more fruit and wine.
 They even have notes broken down based on the batch.  The batch that this one came from was #8.  You can read their notes here.

 With the weather hinting (like a sledgehammer) of being warmer, sometimes my tastes go a little lighter in color and I like exploring the fruit adjuncts.  The pour was angry.  Even as gentle as I could, I got 1/3 beer, 2/3 head. But what beer I got was a nice golden color with lots of carbonation.  The taste was good.  The peaches didn't overwhelm the flavor.  And at 10.5% ABV there wasn't an alcohol burn.  Bombers would be better to share with friends than try to tackle on your own.  Nothing against it but for a session beer, this one is good spread around.

Now, I know some of you in the southern Illinois area might be saying, "We can't get that around here. Where'd you get it?"  Good question.  My day job sent me out east to Richmond, VA.  Since I was driving (12 hours one way, UGH!) I made sure to do a little shopping.  Not far from where I was working, there is a nice store called Corks & Kegs.  Imagine a store the size of some of the bigger liquor stores in Carbondale but it dedicated to beer and wine.  The bigger bottles of beer are laid out in racks like you see most wine bottles.  They had a good selection and, as expected, stuff that I could not get around my beloved southern Illinois.  I made sure to make a few select purchases and will have the pleasure of trying them.  Although, with as many big bottles as I purchased, I'm more tempted to have a tasting at my house.  It's a little awkward to tell my wife that I'm having only one beer and then down a bomber of a high alcohol beer.  Regardless, if you find yourself in the Richmond, VA area, make sure to stop by and check out Corks & Kegs. 

Anyway, that's it for now.  I've got chores to do around the homestead.  Maybe I'll have one to help the work go quicker.  Until later, have a good one.


Well, Brother Charles and I were thinking about brewing this weekend (in light of some changes coming up) but it dawned on us that this Sunday is Mother's Day.  Duh...  We AREN'T brewing on Mother's Day.  But something will be coming up soon (like maybe NEXT weekend) because we have a need to brew!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tales From the Hopvine

The ol' hopvine has interesting news.  I mean... Um, what?  Oh, the hopvine?  It's the beer version of the grapevine.  You mean what I know...

Anyway, first of all, Kindling is working on expanding in terms of a brewery.  A certain old friend of mine is going full time there and they are trying to work it up where they will have a brewery.  This isn't a new idea.  Larry was talking about a brewery years ago when I worked there.  But with my old friend there, I'm sure they will gain momentum with it.  They are also planning on cutting back the amount of the big name beers and making more room for craft stuff.  They were leaders of craft beer back in the day but now everyone is carrying it.  They want to be able to improve on the craft beer scene instead of fighting the others.  My prayers go out to them.

Next on the list is the possibility of a major midwest brewery opening up something here in Carbondale.  Schlafly is looking to open up a new brewery.  They are doing a lot of "contract brewing" where they lease space from other breweries to help keep up with production.  They are looking at three possible locations to open up a brewery to help bring brewing back in-house.  The attractive thing about southern Illinois is the possibility of also acquiring farm land so they can grow some necessary ingredients - helping reduce costs even further.  Heck, if they need an IT guy, I'm the man!!  While I won't work for beer - I do have bills to pay - I will accept beer as a perk.

That's it from the hopvine for now.  Until later, have a good one.  I just had some Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA.  That will count!!

Blessed be the Brew!!

UPDATE: With some other conversations I've had, this MIGHT be going to the Champaign, IL area.  I say MIGHT because things are always "in discussion" so it MIGHT change.  I'll keep you updated.