The first Yeti Home Brew Competition was held over the weekend at Higherground Brewing Co. Homebrewers were asked to drop off three 12-ounce bottles in one or more of the following categories: Light Beer, Amber Beer, Specialty and IPA. Jared Robinson of Summer Sun Garden & Brew passed along a note of the winners. Congratulations to all.
1st Cole M.
2nd David Fox
1st David Fox
1st Dan Lee
2nd Clint N.
1st Matt Miller
2nd Clint Nissen
1st Matt Miller
2nd Dan Lee
- Matt Pritchard
Higherground Brewing Co. in Hamilton is teaming up with Summer Sun Garden & Brew to host a “brotherly competition around beer.” The Yeti Home Brew Competition is set to take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at Higherground Brewing. There will be about $400 worth of prizes up for grabs and they’re taking more specific prize suggestions from fellow brewers.
The categories are Light Beer, Amber Beer, Specialty and IPA. If you’re interested, drop off three 12-ounce bottles along with $5 at Higherground or at either Summer Sun in Missoula (128 W. Alder St.) or Hamilton (310 N. First St.) between Dec. 8-14.
Prizes will be handed out at 5 p.m. on Dec. 15. If you have question, send them to Beer@HighergroundBrewery.com.
- Matt Pritchard
You know craft beer has fully hit the mainstream when the Leader of the Free World has two beers brewing at the White House.
Last week, the White House released the recipes for a Honey Ale and a Honey Porter, both brewed with honey from the White House. Supposedly it is “the first beer brewed on White House grounds.”
Inspired by home brewers from across the country, last year President Obama bought a home brewing kit for the kitchen. After the few first drafts we landed on some great recipes that came from a local brew shop. We received some tips from a couple of home brewers who work in the White House who helped us amend it and make it our own. To be honest, we were surprised that the beer turned out so well since none of us had brewed beer before.
Here’s a video about the beers from the White House:
I’m sure Obama was probably looking for a pint or two of these after his DNC speech, I know I would be.
- Matt Pritchard
The Big Sky Community Brew project is all about creating great hand-crafted beer for a cause.
This year’s winner is a Chocolate Coconut Imperial Porter called Missoula Five-O, brewed by Bill Ruediger. It was hand-picked from around 30 Imperial Porters – the 2011 style of choice – by Big Sky Brewing Co.’s head brewer Matt Long and others over at the brewery. Long said it was a close call this year, but the extra ingredients put Missoula Five-O over the top.
Ruediger has been brewing for the past four years and said he’s been working pretty hard over the past three to win the contest. His inspiration this year was Maui Brewing Co.’s CoCoNut Porter, after a visit to Hawaii in August. He brewed 10 different variations of his Imperial Porter, and it turned out that his first batch was his best.
In its sixth year, the Community Brew is chance for members of the Zoo City Zymurgists to show off what they can do with certain beer style. After a winner is chosen, the recipe is handed over to Big Sky Brewing, which then churns out a commercial batch, about 17 barrels or 34-35 kegs. The beer is then sold out of the Big Sky Brewing taproom and proceeds, after the cost of production, are divided between the club and a charity.
There’s a private release party for the brew on Thursday evening, so unless you’re a member of the Zoo City Zymurgists or have a connection to this year’s charity, AniMeals, you’ll have to wait to try Missoula Five-O. Growlers will be available Friday for $10.
- Matt Pritchard
These questions and others filtered through our heads and our conversations on Sunday, as we brewed our first mega batch of Belgian Dubbel, one of three such batches that will fill our 55-gallon French oak Merlot barrel soon. As every brewer knows, drinking beer while brewing is a must. Mostly because the inspiration in a glass of ale is limitless, and the quaffing of such beverages helps pass the time and the arduous tasks associated with brewing.
Normally a session beer would be appropriate for brew days, but this was an abbreviated brew day being that it was Sunday. So we broke out a stash of big beers to inspire us to completely new heights. I brought over a Mikkeller/Struise Imperial IPA I’d found for sale at John’s Market recently, and beer buddy Jon brought out a Dogfish Head 120-Minute IPA.
We sipped the Mikkeller/Struise while we doughed 40-pounds of grain. Our stir stack, canoe paddle rather, stuck straight up in the the gruel-like mash. But the smell was divine. As was the Mikkeller for that matter. This huge Belgian/Northwest IPA combo had about as much chutzpa as any beer I’ve had, somehow balancing an amazing amount of hops on top of layer of sweet malt complexity. In the end, we decided the Mikkeller/Struise was indeed beer. We decided that it didn’t necessarily push boundaries other than geo/political boundaries of course, and it was definitely fun. In some ways, Belgian yeasts and Northwest hops go together beautifully in a literal fruit-salad of a nose and with all kinds of candy on the tongue.
About midway through the mash, we unleashed the Dogfish Head 120-minute IPA, which tends to surprise me every time I try one.
This, we decided, is not a beer. At least not in the traditional sense of grains, hops and yeast co-mingling in that familiar bready, grainy, bitter combination. We also decided that 120-minute IPA does push the boundaries, but in and of itself, this is not a bad thing. What boundaries are you really pushing if your product has more in common with Sauternes than an India Pale Ale? And lastly, we decided that this beer is just plain fun. We closed our eyes and imagined this beer being served with a bunch of dessert wines, and we realized we’d hardly pick it out as beer, what with all the jammy sweetness present and that whiny plum center that absolutely mesmerizes the palate.
Much like a Sauternes, the Dogfish Head 120-Minute IPA is sweet without being cloying, as if the brewers somehow managed to sprout their grain with the addition of Botrytis cinerea, that beautiful agent that allows for a fine balance of acid and sugar in that most noble of French wines.
Even the burnt-umber color had a whiny look to it when held up to a perfectly gray Missoula sky. We sipped and talked on and on about big beers and their place on the social pecking order of the brewing world. I for one am glad that brewers like Mikkeller and Dogfish Head are willing to brew beers that push boundaries without really pushing anything but our own taste imagination. Their beers are just plain fun.
Now we’ll see how our experimental Oak-Aged Belgian Dubbel turns out.
My buddy Beau is a really good home brewer. His passion for good beer and dedication to beer experimentation is really outstanding in a town with a great bunch of home brewers. I’ve enjoyed every batch of Beau’s beer that I’ve tried so far, and this isn’t usually the case for homemade beer, which can suffer greatly due to sanitation issues.
Last night Beau brought a couple bottles of his homemade barley wine over for the Super Bowl. This is one of the few of his beers I hadn’t tried yet, and I was really looking forward to it. This one blew me away. Like I said, I haven’t had a bad Beau beer yet, but this bad boy was not only one of the best homemade beers I’ve ever had, it was one of the best barley wines I’ve ever had.
When I say it was like Nilla Wafers in a glass, I do not exaggerate. Sweet caramel and toffee with vanilla and tropical fruit are simplistic ways of describing a very complex and exciting beer. The yeast characteristic in this beer seriously has a cookie-wafer taste to is, which really brings out the vanilla and some sweet dried pineapple and coconut.
So why am I writing about a beer that you will probably never have?
Because I think Beau, and the other homebrewers around here deserve a little notice once-in-a-while. It’s easy to focus on the craft beer industry and forget that if it weren’t for homebrewers, well, we wouldn’t have much of an industry.
So the next time your neighbor or homebrewing friend offers you a bottle of something they made in their garage, take it and pour it in a good beer glass. You never know, you just might be drinking the best thing you’ll ever drink.
And if you have an inclination to brew something amazing yourself, join the Zoo City Zymurgists. There are plenty of people like Beau out there who will be glad to help you get started.
That’s because these guys know how to get down to the art and science of beer parties. The brew club’s annual Christmas party is this weekend, and if you want an invite, it means you have to join today. Membership in this great club is a whopping $5 at joining and then $5 every December, and the parties are legendary. So, if you have not joined the Zoo City Zymurgists yet, join the brew list, or contact them for membership at email@example.com.
Saw this as I perused the monthly newsletter from Blacksmith Brewing Co. Thought you might be interested.
Do you brew beer? Have you wanted to learn how to
If so, be here at the brewery the first Tuesday of every
month at 5pm. Head Brewer Mike will be leading the
meeting and sharing his knowledge.
Please sign up in the brewery or give us a call and let us
know that you will be joining us. #777-0680