No kidding. Sorry about that. I have a video and a pdf I’ve been trying to post all week, but technical problems prevented my doing so.
Suffice it to say that I feel bad for not updating your beer world when so many things have happened.
I’ll go into these more next week, as soon as I get these technical problems worked out, but there is some big news on the beer front, including local news.
Barley prices have gone through the roof and are expected to continue to rise. Hops are not holding steady, they are in fact rising in price as well. What does this mean for fans of big beers? We’ll find out next week.
When I woke up there was snow on the hills around Missoula. I think I’ll be reviewing stouts real soon.
Anyway, I’m sorry about not posting for the last four days. We’ll make things up this week.
Please consider joining GrizzlyGrowler.com at Bayern Brewery Sunday at 6 p.m. for a toast to beer maestro Michael Jackson.
Oh, and just so I don’t have to tell anyone else, Michael Jackson was a great beer and whiskey writer from England. He does not wear one glove, burn his hair in Pepsi commercials, dangle babies over ledges, give wine to children, sing the ABC song, grab his crotch and screech, do the moon walk, and, to my knowledge, he’s never had a nose job.
I know that when I say I want to have a tribute to Michael Jackson on Sunday, I’m going to get whithering looks from behind glowing screens all over Missoula. But some of you, all of you really, should know the roll this man played in giving us not just good beer but creative, evocative, conversational, wonderful, beautiful beer.
Please meet Michael Jackson:
Now that you’ve met the man, why don’t you join me to toast his life and to benefit the National Parkinson Foundation on Sunday at Bayern Brewery. We’ll meet at 6 p.m. and raise a toast to Michael Jackson at 7 p.m. to coincide with the national toast.
See you there,
I don’t mean the kind of fins that Jimmy Buffet sang about. I mean the kind from Finland. These wonderful people have some of the most dramatic idiosyncrasies I’ve ever encountered, like a love of coffee that borders on obsession and an ability to visit for prolonged periods of time that could rival your great aunt Mildred.
Turns out the Finns do beer like they do everything else, with depth and complexity.
Baltic Porters have a long history inexorably tied to imperial stouts and 18th century British porter exports. But it took a little more than 50 years for the Finnish to make their own unique version.
Here’s a description from allaboutbeer.com:
“Brewed in Helsinki, Finland, by the country’s oldest surviving brewery, founded in 1819 by Russian Nikolai Sinebrychoff. It is believed that “Koff” has been a porter brewery since its inception. Substantial in strength at 7.2 percent ABV, the brew is malty, with a nice bitter, roasty finish. Black as night, with a long-lasting creamy brown head. This beer survived Finnish prohibition.”
I love the Finns. In my life I’ve been privileged to know a few well, and I’m proud of that fact. I know my mom counts some of her best friends among the Finnish, and now that I’ve tried their beer, I have to say they may be a complete society.
My wife and I spent the day at Playfair Park reminded of our old home in Oregon. The rain came down steady and cold, each drop seeming to sear the skin before an involuntary shiver ran up the spine.
In anticipation of the chilling rain and muddy, musty smelling kids, I cooked up a huge pot of lentil soup.
It did the trick.
Unable to move from the table as the lentils digest along with the crusty baguette from Le Petite Outre, I day dreamed for a moment about a rich, chocolaty porter for dessert.
My wife reminded me that there were a dozen bottles of Love Potion #9 somewhere in the garage, the remainder of the last beer I brewed with my buddies Marcus and Amos back in Salem.
A frantic search led to my reunion with this sweet, sweet beer.
We brewed it using copious amounts of fresh-ground chocolate and chocolate malts, while balancing it with a sturdy hop structure. Still, this beer is like dessert in a bottle. The rich smell of dark chocolate comes off the top as soon as you poor it in the bottle, and even now, a year after we brewed it, the beer is rich, deep and dark, beautifully balanced.
This isn’t to toot my own horn either, beer has long been an experiment for me. I usually don’t use a recipe, so this batch will never be repeated.
I figured the chocolate would disappear but it’s there in all it’s glory.
No, you can’t buy this in a store, but I enjoyed drinking it so much today I just had to tell you about it.
You can’t say blogs are worthless, that they don’t accomplish anything.
A few posts back, a reader complained that local brewers don’t keep their websites updated with which beers are currently on tap.
Well the good folks at Big Sky Brewery have answered.
It seems the employees at the brewery maintain a Myspace page that keeps people in the know about what’s new.
So who’s next?
Al, Mitchell, Cheyenne, Jurgen, Greta?
Think your favorite watering hole is old? This pub has been serving beer since Shakespeare wrote a few poems and a play or two. Read the whole story here.
A head is a rocky outcropping on a coastline. In Oregon, where I spent 27 years, the coastline is all beaches and heads.
A head is that globular thing on your shoulders generally with two eyes, two ears, a nose and a pie hole.
A head is the foamy goodness that should cap each and every beer you drink.
And a Dogfish Head is God’s own version of an IPA.
Although I’m much more intrigued by the 120-minute version, the 60-minute has its place.
Dogfish Head IPA also comes in a 90-minute version.
Here’s the breakdown: 120-minute IPA = 20 percent abv and 120 IBUs; 90-minute IPA = 9 percent abv and 90 IBUs; 60-minute IPA 6 percent abv and 60 IBUs.
Yeah, that 120-minute has been called the true king of all beers. It’s really a monster, and probably a blog post all its own.
But for those of us who live down to earth, the 60-minute IPA is probably closer to our daily bread.
I tried the Hemptober Spliff at Kettlehouse yesterday, my first round with their line of hemp beers. I know, I know, I’m a little stuck on the Double Haul IPA. I’ll need to go back in for another round to really review the new stuff, but I thought you all might like to know it’s on tap, along with another seasonal, Zula Stout.
Oktoberfest is pouring at Bayern Brewing in both filtered and unfiltered. Remember, do as the Germans do, and leave the driving to someone else if you’re going to party with the Oktoberfest.
There are some exciting things brewing over at Big Sky these days too. Aside from the Powder Hound Winter Ale, which is due out in November, Biere de Noel, a Belgian-style ale, Old Bluehair, a barleywine, and a Flathead cherry strong ale will round out a big winter selection from the west side of town.
Bring on winter,
Some of my first memories of
I remember the dark wood of a local pub, the gleam of a brass rail around the bar and a cross on the wall made by light coming through a window.
I remember granite cliffs and trees and a well-worn trail with smoothed-down rocks. I remember a medal I got for participating in a community walking day.
It was the way of life that I missed after several years in the
I don’t remember thinking about beer in any intellectual way at seven, but I do remember the colorful umbrellas touting the region’s beer that popped up in the park each summer. I remember the colorful signs in local windows proclaiming the age and history of the beer and the coat of arms on the beer coasters. I remember watching my father drink beer out of tall Pilsner glasses, and the idea of beer was romantic, associated with warm feelings of good conversation, good food and individual expression.
This never changed, and as my family worked our way north from a
We moved in the dead of winter, but even then, in the mid 1980s, the beginnings of the microbrew explosion could be felt as some brave winemakers turned their never-say-no attitude toward brewing. After all, it’s long been said that it takes ma lot of beer to make wine.
And so I came of drinking age in
But what I liked about
Beer wasn’t just something newly discovered; it was an old conversation returning to the lips of the people. Beer represented what we wanted to be, individualistic, of high quality and representative of place. Each little valley in the
One could spend years tasting the different Austrian beers, and one would need weeks, at least, to decipher the small differences that characterize beers from different regions. But to tour Austria and to drink its beer is to know its way of life beyond all of the hullabaloo of the 19th century, the reign of the Habsburgs and back through those clouds of history.
I won’t bother with fancy descriptions of
Some of the memories I take back with me are of dark wood in pubs, the gleam of brass rails and the crosses etched on walls by light through windows.
Here’s a little raw video from the Tour de Fat. Enjoy.