Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Beer Beginnings, Issue 3 - Blackberry Wheat Ale

by Alan

I'm trying to take my small amount of home brewing to something I can put more of a personal touch on, however, I still had a few more Mr. Beer Hopped malt extracts. It may not be the degree of difficulty of other brews, but my Mr. Beer experiences have ended up with some pretty good beer. The Blackberry Wheat experiment was fairly odd, and from the start I wasn’t sure what I was going to end up with. Here's how it went down:
  • 1 Can 19.4 oz Mr. Beer Golden Wheat Malt Extract - 5-minute boil with 1 liter water
  • 1 Can 19.4 oz Mr. Beer "Whispering Wheat Weizenbier" added after boil
  • 1 Can 15 oz Oregon Fruit Blackberries - Pureed with a hand mixer added after boil
  • 1 packet SafBrew WB-06 Dry Wheat Yeast
It was a very simple recipe to work with, and the fermentation was fun to watch. It was bubbling and foaming like crazy - it even bubbled out the top of the keg. It clogged-up the airlock a bit, which was slightly difficult for bottling, but it all worked out in the end.

I've tried a couple bottles now, and it’s certainly different. I'm surprised how much blackberry nose and flavor came out. I know there are a lot of purists out there that wouldn’t dare use fruit, but I'm just a beginner and I enjoy the odd experiment or two. This was my fourth batch of homebrew and I’m having a ton of fun!

Wife's Notes:
It turned out fruity, but held a good beer flavor. I will definitely drink this again - it will be great on a warm afternoon!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Penne with Burrata

This recipe was an experiment, but how can you go wrong with garlic, tomatoes, basil, and cheese? The light sauce sticks to the penne, and makes every bite a very special treat!

Like most of my pasta recipes, this starts out by sauteing garlic in a bit of butter and olive oil, but in the end, you mix in chopped Burrata Mozzarella in with the warm pasta and sauce!

  • 3-4 Garlic Cloves - sliced thin
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 5-6 Tomatoes, chopped
  • Splash of White Wine
  • 8 oz. Burrata Mozzarella, roughly chopped
  • 1 lb. Penne Pasta
  • 10 Basil Leaves, sliced

Saute the garlic in the butter and olive oil while the pasta water is heating up. Saute the garlic for about 10 minutes - don't get it get brown or crispy. Add in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Let they tomatoes saute and simmer for about 5 minutes before putting the penne in the water - which usually cooks for about 12 minutes.

Once the penne goes in the water, pour a decent splash of white wine in the tomatoes. Bring them to a boil, and continue their simmer until the penne is done.

Toss the sauce with the pasta, then add the Burrata - miss it all up until combined. Stir in the basil leaves before serving.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Island Brewing Company Blonde Kölsh style Ale

by Alan

Before our horrible Sant Barbara weather hit - two days of light rain - I stopped by to pick up a few brews for the weekend. Given our nice warm weather at the time, I was feeling summery and went for something lighter and local. 

Island Brewing Company's Description:

A Kolsch-style ale brewed from five different types of malt, with a liberal dose of Czech Saaz hops. The result is one of our most popular ales and a nice balance of lingering malt flavors and a subtle hop finish. So light and smooth the first glass invites a second.

1st Place, 2004 CA State Fair
4.8% Alcohol by Volume

My tasting notes 
  • Appearance - Golden clear yellow with a nice foamy white head, fizzy
  • Smell - Crisp slightly spicy smell of the Saaz hops, slightly sour and somewhat earthy
  • Taste - Crisp, lightly hopped with some citrus/lemon character and a sweet malty flavor
  • Mouthfeel - Nice and light, with a somewhat dry finish
  • Drinkability - Easy-drinker, great for a summer day at the beach, or head to the Carpinteria for a few pints. Would be a great session beer
I think I need to head down to Carpinteria to try some pints on tap. This was an easy-drinker, and I cant wait to try some more Island Brews.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Green Flash Hop Head Red Ale

by Alan

One of my first stops at the 2010 Santa Barbara Beer Festival was the Green Flash tent. I was still plenty sober and the already-long line early in the day looked like a good sign. The couple  beers I tried were excellent, but it’s awfully hard to judge things from a day with so much beer. Since then I've been on the lookout for any Green Flash beer on tap at restaurants or anywhere else I might be able to find it. One of my favorites that I keep coming back to is their Hop Head Red Ale.

This San Diego Brewery appears to be on the forefront of beer trends. I've also seen some of their Belgian inspired Ales around, but Green Flash seems to be known for having very hop driven beers. I'd say it's somewhat like Stone Brewing or a number of other San Diego beers. Being somewhat of a hop head myself, I'm all for it.

Green Flash's Description: 
"Resinous hop character and bitterness balance the rich caramel malt base. We took it a step further and Amarillo dry-hopped the brew to 45 ibu's, creating refreshing and savory hop flavors and aromas. Is it red IPA? That's your call."

My tasting notes:
  • Appearance - Deep red-amber beer with some nice carbonation; pours with a thick foamy medium tan head
  • Smell - Powerful hoppy with its strong Dry-hopped Amarillo right up front; nice malty smell behind all those hops
  • Taste - Wonderfully bitter with hops all over the place; nice smooth malty backbone behind the hops; you can taste all the layers of hops within
  • Mouthfeel - Thick, bold but goes down quite smoothly; the bitterness from the hops leaves a nice dry finish
  • Drinkability - I love hoppy beers and I could easily drink a few of these. Not super high, but not exactly light at 6% alcohol, I'll probably be doing most of my drinking firmly planted on the couch (newsflash, I do that anyway)
Overall, this is one of my favorite regular drinking brews. The only problem I have is that this was the last of my 4-pack.