Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ah brewing...

It was good to be back out at the brewhaus once again.  We currently have a slightly augmented robust porter going - boosted with extra chocolate malt - and a jazzed up honey weizen beer with cranberry honey from the Neighborhood Co-Op.  Both buckets are sitting comfortably in Charles's basement.  The airlock on the honey weizen was already showing life before I left.  Because of some busy scheduling going on, we may not get to bottle until late September.  Oh, if only we could brew beer for a living...

We lived by our principal of "It takes beer to make beer" by enjoying Samuel Adams Summer Ale to help close out the summer, Samuel Adams Octoberfest to welcome the soon to come cooler season, and one of my all season favorites O'hara Irish Stout

Now we also live by our principal of The Little Red Hen - "If you put in, you get out."  Three of us were at the brewing session.  Ten gallons split three ways is still a lot of beer.  I hope some more folks come to the bottling session. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

The most wonderful time of the year...

Ok... It's not exactly what you are thinking.  But, come on, this is a beer blog!!  Today is International Beer Day!!  From this article on Fox News:

Like most great holidays and celebrations, International Beer Day evolved naturally. The group of friends decided to celebrate the day on August 5 and managed to convince their local pub to celebrate it with them. They posted a small web site to thank the beer industry for bringing this nectar of the gods to all and got back to drinking.
But, of course, when the internet grabs a hold of something good, it goes global.  If you visit the International Beer Day site you can find places all over the globe (although I am a little surprised to not see any in Australia).  The closest listed party is over at the Da-Nite in Murphysboro.  None listed in Carbondale?!?!  Ok... Marking my calendar for next August and sending my beer contacts an E-mail.  This will not due.  The beer friendly town of Carbondale must have a party!!

Regardless, remember the misattributed quote, "Beer is proof that God exists and wants us to be happy."  Go have a good one.


     -Rev. Bobby Beerman
          Blessed be the brew!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


What's this??  A post?? 

I know, I know...  I'm one of those people that allows life's priorities direct what is important and what is not.  For a while this blog was not.  I have a little more time so I'm revisiting this blog. 

So... where to start...  How about the stats. 

April stats had me at 14 beers for the month which boils down to a beer every 2.14 days.  It would have been lower except I went to the Schlafly special release party at Hanger 9 in Carbondale and had a few more than expected.  I had a couple and Ken Householder, the Schlafly representative, was kind to me and somehow another Hop Totty and another cask conditioned Pale Ale were in my possession.  That was some good beer.  I thought it was cool when Carbondale Mayor Joel Fritzler helped tap the cask.  A lot of people came out for the party.  Let me try to put into perspective on just how cool it was to have a Schlafly special release part here in Carbondale.  There were three parties – two of which were in the St. Louis area.  The only party outside of the St. Louis area was right here in Carbondale at Hanger 9.  It was a real treat.  Ken even commented that it was going to be a good party when he noticed that the Beer Philosopher, Shawn Connley, and yours truly were present and accounted for.

Next up in the drinking statistics was May which found me at 11 for the month – one every 2.8 days.  This month was HEAVY with new beer tastes.  Of the 11 beers 7 were new beers.  A couple of them, Dogfish Head Sah'tea and Left Hand TNT, were tea-based beers that harkened to my attempt with my Marsala Nirvana – Chocolate Chai Cream Stout.  The thing I found with the professionally produced beers is that they suffered the same problem I had – too much cloves.  Now I don’t feel too bad that it took me two attempts at making it to get it even close.

Most recently June found me at 10 beers – that’s one every 3 days.  I did keep up with my New Year’s resolution of trying a new beer every month with two from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel.  At the end of the month I found myself in Florida where my old friend Yuengling Black and Tan was available.  It was good to get reacquainted with Yuengling.  What was really interesting is where I purchased the beer.  Right across from the hotel where I was staying was a grocery store with a liquor store right next door.  They were managed by the same company – Publix – and they had mostly the same stock although the liquor store had a little more in the way of liquor.  This brought to mind the debate in Carbondale about grocery stores being able to sell alcohol.  If alcohol sales in the grocery store were high enough to support them having it in stock and sales in the liquor store were high enough to support keeping them open then I don’t see where grocery stores being able to sell alcohol would hurt liquor stores.  I’ll comment on that in a different post.

So, at the half way mark, I’m at 71 beers so far.  71 beers over 181 days leaves me at one beer every 2.55 days.  So, what does that all mean.  Well… Good question.  Time to do some research and post on why I’m keeping track of it all.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I know... I know...

A friend and a person I consider a mentor talked to me about blogging.  He said something along the lines of "Sometimes you own the blog and sometimes it owns you."  Nothing owns me.  That is apparent because of my lack of posts here of late.  It doesn't mean I'm not still being beery.  I'm still pushing forward with my plans for a cancer/craft beer benefit.  I'm still tasting and questing for certain ones.  I've made a few good contacts for my sampling pleasures.  I still tract what I drink and when I drink it.  Will all the other irons in the fire (from the other hats that I wear in storm torn southern Illinois) things get a little busy.  With this being a long weekend, I will make an effort to catch up on some posting. 

Just know that we are planning a brewing session soon.  All will be made clear soon.

     Rev. Bobby Beerman

Monday, April 4, 2011

March Maltiness...

I know, it's not March Madness.  I was trying to be cute.

The numbers are in for March.  Drinking 19 beers for the month gives me a beer every 1.6 days.  In March I was on a porter kick.  I still drifted toward the darker beers (no big surprise) but I wasn't afraid to go lighter.  I have received some questions as to what it is I drink.  Ok... you asked for it (all links are to the Beer Advocate pages for the beers).  In order of consumption:

Belhaven Scottish Stout
Wells Bombardier
Young's Double Chocolate Stout
Hoppin Frog Silken Porter
Guinness Extra Stout
Bell's Two Hearted Ale
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
O'Fallon Black Hemp
O'Fallon Smoke
 Murphy's Stout
CUF Monks' Robust Porter
CUF Monks' Dry Irish Stout
Fuller's London Porter
O'Fallon 5-day IPA
Schlafly's Coffee Stout
Steelhead Scotch Porter

Now I know what some of you are saying.  "That's not 19 beers."  True.  I did have some duplicates this month as I purchased a 4-pack of Murphy's Stout and shared a couple of the Sierra Nevada Pale Ales with Brother Charles during the bottling session at his house.  This month did herald the drinking of the latest two batches of beer brewed by this group (good stuff).

I got into a conversation with someone about beer and I started saying some of the good things about good beer (not that American lite fizzy moose urine).  They commented, "Of course someone who likes beer will say good things about beer."  I was tempted to say something making fun of that statement and finish it off with "Here's your sign."  Of course I'm going to say good things about good beer.  However, I'm going to also be the one that says there are bad things about beer (besides bad beer).  It is all about balance.  With some beers as well as with wine, one drink a day can be good for you.  It's when you cross over and keep drinking that there are negative effects - alcoholism, damage to your liver, etc.  I'm still where there are more days than I've had beers.  I don't ever plan on being at a 1:1 ratio or ever cross over where the beers have the advantage over the days.  I have and always will say good things about good beer but have a cautious undertone to everything.  I am enthusiastic and exuberant about beer but never to the point of harm.  Moderation and balance can lead to enjoyment of good things.

Blessed be the Brew!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

I find this... Disturbing...

Have you seen this article in the Southern?  Anheuser-Busch is buying Goose Island.  You can also read about it from the Anheuser-Busch webiste.  I thought this was an eventual outcome when AB started helping out with distribution back in 2006.  Is this a good thing or bad thing?

AB has said that the craft beer industry is just a fad.  They have helped out with some, in my opinion, bad craft beer.  Then from a different branch of the company, Michelob, they produce craft beer that has received average to slightly above average ratings.  Kind of hypocritical in my opinion.  But it's business.  So back in 2006 they start assisting in distribution for Goose Island.  It drives the sales up.  This might be a good thing.  However, they cannot keep up with production.  Instead of going the way of New Glarus or, apparently, Dogfish Head and just reduce distribution, the folks up at Fulton Street Brewery decide to further the partnership with AB.  Is this a good thing?  I'm not 100% sure.  This is one of those things we just have to wait and see.

     -Rev. Bobby Beerman

PS - I haven't forgotten about the class.  I'll bring that up soon.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

That's the stuff...

Brother Charles brought some bottles to sample this morning to the Fellowship.  After a couple of sips I decided I had to try more than just a sip.  I had already planed on trying them today - one week after the bottling - and had a couple of bottles in the fridge.  The samples this morning cinched it!!  I'm surprised that I waited that long.  Both beers taste delightful.  We have a Robust Porter and an Irish Stout.  Both weigh in at roughly 4% ABV.  Some people would cry, "What a weak beer!!"  However, I feel that a good stout should be a social beer that you can drink all night long and not get totally drunk off your butt.  When I poured I got slightly better head retention off of the stout.  Both are good roasty beers that are flavorful.  Both are easy on the mouth and drinkable.  Given one of the beers I made (the first try at the Chocolate Chai Cream Stout), noting that a beer is drinkable is a major thing!! 

Now some of you fellow Monks or even some visitors might ask, "How can I try some of these beers?"  Well, for this batch you have to rely on the generosity of Brother Charles and myself - I think I'd be generous as I appreciate the feedback to make improvements on the next batch.  The better way is to show up to the sessions.  We believe in the little red hen principle - you get out what you put in.  If you help brew or bottle, you get some of the batch.  Simple as that.  Where I like sharing beer with my friends, I find the fellowship of the brewhaus to be deep and meaningful.  Brother Charles and Brother Chris I think would agree that it is fun to hang out with friends and drink some beer while making beer.  If you haven't already, try making it to a session and find out what it's all about.

Now, for the teaser...  More information about the pending class next time.  Until then...

Blessed be our brew!!!!
     Rev. Bobby Beerman

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Road Trip

Today the family and I went to Paducah to watch the Alice in Wonderland Follies at the Carson Center.  On the way back, I stopped by Roof Brothers to pick up some things I know I can't get here in downtown southern Illinois.  I, of course, tried to get some Dogfish Head Theobroma.  They didn't have any in stock.  They normally get six cases and a person will buy up four of them.  The other two get bought up quickly in general sales.  My quest to try this ancient recipe replica lingers on...  Maybe if I give them a heads up of when I'm passing through they might help the good Reverend out. 

I did, however, pickup some good beverages.  I picked up Dogfish Head's Namaste (Beer brewed with coriander, orange, and lemongrass) and Sah'tea (Ale brewed with Black Chai tea and juniper berries).  The Sah'tea really interested me as another chai tea inspired beer like my Marsala Nirvana (Chocolate Chai Cream Stout).  I also nabbed a bottle of Brewery Ommegang's Cup O' Kyndnes (Traditional Belgian-style Scotch ale - brewed with heather).  Ommegang doesn't have it referenced on their website so I had to pull information from other sources.  Now, I'm not totally ignorant of what day it is (I am half Irish) and so I picked up a four-pack of Murphy's Irish Stout.  I can hear my friends now, "What??  No Guinness??"  I had some Guinness at Hugh and Judy's St. Patrick's day party this past weekend. 

Another interesting bit of beer gossip...  Some of us are aware that Dogfish Head is currently not in our area.  When I asked the local stores about Dogfish Head, they tell me that it's being worked on but not to expect it any time this calendar year.  According to the gentleman at Roof Brothers, Dogfish Head has pulled out of Indiana and Ohio.  With this disturbing news I'm beginning to wonder if we will see the Extreme Brewery's beer back in Illinois.  I can hope and pray but I will not hold my breath.  Thankfully Kentucky still has them for the time being.  With some really good programs at the Carson Center coming up, I have opportunities to pinch some Dogfish Head while I can. 

  Blessed be the brew!!
      -Rev. Bobby Beerman

P.S.  I'll provide an update on the latest batches from the Monks.  It's getting late and I need to wake up at 4am.  Ugh!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Presidential Beer!!!

In February of 1979, Jimmy Carter signed into law the repeal of federal restrictions on homebrewing.  However, there has never been a homebrewer in the White House.  Until now...

Even in this NPR article they note that George Washington, a noted homebrewer, never lived in the White House.  But now, President Obama is not only serving craft beer in the White House, he's making it (well kinda)!!  From the NPR article:

During this year's Super Bowl, President Obama created a stir by offering guests at the White House beer that he'd brewed himself. And now the president reportedly plans to have another batch of his homebrew on hand March 17 — that's right, for St. Patrick's Day
There is a lot more information about the homebrewing efforts at Obama Foodorama. Now I never thought that President Obama was steeping the grains and such.  But I wonder to what extent he's involved. 

How cool is this??   I remember when President Obama had a Bud Lite and how some people said that Bud Lite sales were up because of the Presidential bump.  I wonder what this will for the craft beer industry (and yes that is a Goose Island 312 in his hand in the pic) and the homebrew movement.  I think it would be cool to see his recipe on the American Homebrewers Association web site.

The numbers are in (part 2)...

I did a post like this last month detailing January.  Here's what it looked like for February.

I did keep with one of the craft beer New Year's resolutions and try a new beer each month.  I wasn't 100% sure if I had tried Arcadia Ales London Porter before or not but I know I had not tried their Sky High Rye Ale before.

Eight beers in the month left me with the average of one beer every 3.5 days.  I did have repeats this month because I bought a six-pack of Arcadia's London Porter.  Still leaning to the darker side of beers but that is normal for me.  None of them were on tap this month.  One (Negra Modelo) was at a restaurant.  Normally I drink more at home but this month the place I had the most was at Brother Charles' house (three different beers) during our brewing session. 

So far in March I'm averaging 1 beer every three days.  But it's only the 6th...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Thus beginith the lesson...

Or at least the planning for a possible lesson.  Let me start at the beginning.

Back in October I started talking with the Co-Op on the possibilities of a beer brewing class.  I had liked to have it in conjunction to Learn to Homebrew Day.  I was told that I would be followed up with the following week.  Nothing.  I reached out to them.  There was some concern about having alcohol at the event.  I indicated that we didn't have to have beer there.  I also pointed out that until the yeast has time to convert the sugars to alcohol then there will be no alcohol for anyone to complain about.  Again, I was told that I would be followed up with the following week.  Again nothing.  After going round and round more than a couple of times I decided that they would contact me if they wanted it to happen and to not push the subject. 

However, I was speaking with another member of the Co-Op at their Harvest Picnic.  I'm not using his name because I'm not sure if he wants me to.  Regardless, he told me that if the class didn't work out at the Co-Op then he had an alternate venue.  Well, recently I saw him at the Co-Op and started the conversation.  He still likes the idea of the class.  We are aiming for spring - sometime in April - for the class to happen.  We both feel that there are people out there wanting to homebrew but are hesitant for whatever reason - uncertain about the process, ingredients, equipment, etc. We hope to be able to show interested people that it isn't really complicated and can be really fun.

Anyway, more on this as the day approaches.  Now, to spend more time on my other project...

Monday, February 14, 2011

The numbers are in...

As an experiment I decided to track my beer habits over the course of the year.  It's nothing to use a particular E-mail/calendar program to add entries indicating what you had to drink, when, and where.  The stats are in for January and I'm not too surprised. 

In January I had 14 beer tastes.  That's about one beer every two days.  Mostly I drink at home - a beer with dinner.  I did not have any repeats - all beers were unique to that month.  Three of the beers were new to me (Traquair 2010, Summit Imperial Pumpkin Porter, and Bell's Batch 10,000) and they were consumed early in the month.  I favor dark, rich flavored ales (black ales, porters, stouts).  Three of the beers were on tap (Guinness, Bell's Two Heart Ale, and Rogue's Mocah Porter). 

Looking at February so far I am behind - one beer every five days.  But we do have a brewing session coming up...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's Time...

I'm already getting a little flack (all be it in jest) about the quantity of my postings.  I mean, come on...  Only two days old and you expect me to have a blog that can rival Wikipedia?  In time... Maybe...

First of all a little business.  We are planning a brewing session at the Brewhouse ( Brother Charles' cabin) on the afternoon of Sunday, February 20th.  We will be working on at least two recipes.  I know Brother Charles wants to work on his porter and Sister Marika and I would like to work on a stout.  Two reasons why the brewing session isn't the 13th: 1) Valentine's day weekend and 2) the inaugural meeting of the Southern Illinois Brewers group at Kindling from 2:00pm - 5:00pm.  I know a lot of people are working at getting this new group off the ground and I wanted my fellow Monks to attend if they wanted to.  If you head out there, say hi to Larry from the Reverend. 

I feel that a couple of shout outs are in order.  A virtual tip of the cap to those who came before me and inspired me.  First of all, my mentor and friend in beer - the guy who taught me homebrewing at his house - Shawn Connelly but you know him as the Beer Philosopher.  You can check out his blog or his social network - the Aleuminati (of which I am a member).  Secondly, another kindred spirit in beer and a real joy to brew with - Marika Josephson.  You can find her blog here.  Lastly (for now) a brother in beer and the real deal when it comes to religion - Chris Tessone.  You can find him here.

Sorry to say but that's it for now.  I have other activities to get to this evening.  For those of you who are prodding me with the blogging cattle prod, there will be more to come.

-Rev. Bobby Beerman
     Blessed be our brew

Monday, January 31, 2011

And so it begins...

You would think that a person who is a computer network engineer by day would embrace technology eagerly.  For some reason I'm not like that.  I have been sending out E-mails to a group of friends to let them know of events in the homebrewers group know as the CUF Monks.  At one point I had thought about blogging as a way to make it easier.  Recently, one of the members said, "It looks like a blog would be the perfect venue for these updates. And hey, they're free."  Thank you Grant.  That was the nudge that I needed. 

So, it is with a little hesitation that I finally enter the realm of blogging.  It sounds like something that belongs next door to the Bog of Eternal Stench.  I jest.  You'll get that a lot.  I don't really want to put too much here in the first post.  I'm just trying to get my feet wet. 

What is this blog going to be about?  Most importantly it will be about the activities of the homebrewers group that my friends of mine and I put together.  Are we the biggest in southern Illinois - no.  Is that our goal - no.  Our goal is to get together from time to time and brew some beer and... drink a few.  It takes beer to make beer!  I might also use it to highlight some of my beer efforts in the area and also some beer events.

I think that is enough for now.  There are times when the spirit moves me and I get a little long winded.  Any of the people on my normal E-mailing list can attest to this.  But for now, this will do.  There are lots of things going on but I will leave that for my second posting to this.

Go have a good, not so cold one.  If you like it, tell me about it.  There are many beers out there that I have yet to try (not many).  I'm always looking for something to try.

-Rev. Bobby Beerman
     Blessed be our brew!

PS. I will change the layout!!  I just clicked Preview and saw what it was like.  I have to change it!!  Maybe something nice and stout related.