Friday, August 29, 2008

Upland Brewing Company Samples

Upland is a brand brewed in Bloomington, Indiana. I was first introduced to Upland when we moved here and went to a party where some of this was in the fridge. I think I had a Pale Ale. I thought it was good, especially for "being brewed in Indiana."

That's not the last time I would say that. It's funny, though, because I think there are some really great brewers in Indiana. Indiana was also 2nd in the amount of hops grown prior to prohibition, only second to New York. So that phrase is really kind of an insult.

About a year ago, I decided to try the Upland Maibock, and I don't know why I haven't bought any more. I remember thinking how great and malty the beer was. I think it was because it was around the fall, and the date on the beer was at least six months old (Thanks, Jewel, for rotating your stock!). The beer tasted fine, though. I think I saved quite in my fridge until there was nothing else to drink, so that I might enjoy them.

The Shoreline Brewery did some kind of trade last month with Upland and a couple of other brewers as part of some spotlight on Indiana beers. One of them was the Upland Infinite Wisdom Tripel. While this beer wasn't as golden as some of the Tripels I've had in the past, the smell of monk basement was there, which is what I look for in Belgian beers (it's actually the yeast), and it packed a wallop, without leaving a hot alcohol aftertaste. It was very nice, again, "for being brewed in Indiana." I just haven't had many tripels brewed in American breweries.

I'd been wanting to try the Dragonfly IPA, since I like IPAs and the Upland brand had not let me down. So my wife called me from the store and asked if I wanted any beer. Fortunately, the Wiseway had Dragonfly on sale. Pure destiny. This beer doesn't get the highest ratings on ratebeer, which is a shame. Overall, it's a decent IPA, but the great thing about it is that there's some sort of smokey flavor to it. I won't say it's like the smokiness you get from a Rauchbier, but there is some smokiness or some kind of spice combination there.

Either way, it's definitely moved it's way up my list of beers that I would like to keep in the fridge on a regular basis.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Paulaner Salvator

When I was a teenager, I lived in Germany. To cut to the chase, we had access to all the great beer over there, but mostly, and quite honestly, we were purely interested in getting hammered. At least I was. So I missed out on a very educational opportunity. During my time during high school, I basically knew about three kinds of beer: Pils, Export, and Weizen. Pils took a lot of time to pour, and it was more bitter than Export, so generally, I just stuck to Export until I found out about Weizen beer.

When I returned during my college years to visit my folks, who had moved back over, I was a bit more educated. I knew about Pilsner Urquell, the original Budweiser (Budvar) and I liked those, but I also discovered Dunkel Weizen, which was very nice.

One style I never really got into was Doppelbock, or bock beers. Which is a damn shame, because right now, those, along with Schwarzbier, are my favorite kinds of German beer. I really like the maltiness of the bocks. A foremer classmate of mine from Germany reminded me of this style on a forum post when he mentioned "Salvator" being strong. I think I had a few of these at a Bush Party over there and got completely hammered. I was lucky enough to find this at King Richard's over in Michigan City. The guy gets it all the time.

Pours a dark gold, or golden brown, with a nice head. Smells biscuity and caramel, and tastes the same, but I detect a slight licorice flavor as well. The alcohol is there, but it's not "hot" tasting. This thing is all kinds of yummy.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Hops Update - August

I started out the season growing five different kinds of hops. While all of them are sending out bines, the best of the bunch is definitely the Zeus. You may have seen some brewers using CTZ hops. CTZ stands for Columbus, Tomahawk, Zeus, since I guess they're all pretty much the same kind of hop with the same level of alpha acid. You can click on the photo there and see the hop cones, or flowers starting to form. They haven't become "papery" yet, so they still have a few weeks to go.

I was told not to expect much from the first year harvest, but I still thought that with the way these things are growing, I would get something from each one. Unless things start picking up these last couple of weeks, though, it looks as though I'll only have enough hops from the Zeus for a couple of batches of beer. The recipe I've created for the Magic Hat Jinx clone should only require half an ounce, total, of CTZ hops. They've got the bittering units (IBU) set at 20, which is pretty low for using such a high alpha acid hop.

Please leave your recipe suggestions for Zeus hops in the comments section.