Friday, November 28, 2008

Trip to Southeast Ohio

Sorry about not posting last week. I was in meetings all day for two solid weeks and then I had to go on a business trip to the southeast Ohio/West Virginia area.

I flew into Columbus and rode with some other people to Marietta. At the airport, there was a Columbus Brewing Company restaurant just outside my gate. I had two hours to wait for my co-workers, so I decided to see what kind of beer they were serving.

They had two offerings from Columbus (as well as offerings from Budweiser and Miller), a pale ale and a porter. I got the pale ale but wish I would have tried the porter. I was feeling like something hoppy, though. I thought the pale ale was reminiscent of the Sierra Nevada pale ale. Good, but not very original.

Marietta is a cool, little town. There are lots of good restaurants and it's sort of an "artist's town" if you know what I mean. Two rivers run next to it, the Muskingum on the west, and the Ohio River to the south. Very hilly, and lots of cool bridges. Across the way in West Virginia are small towns, curvy two-lane highways, and a good bit of industry. Still, this is small town, rural Ohio and West Virginia, and the fridges of the people around here are like most small town fridges in the U.S., full of Bud Light.

During the trip, I had the opportunity to eat at the Marietta Brewing Company. It would appear that they don't keep their website up to date, or they had a massive turnaround of their beer since last Tuesday. At the time, they had 5 beers of their own on tap, plus Woodchuck Cider. The beers, as I remember, were the Marietta Pale Ale, McLaren's Scotch Ale, a raspberry wheat, a smoked porter, and a "weiss" beer. I was able to sample each of these.

The MBC knows the people in the area, and having to stay in business, caters to these tastes. I was told the place was packed on the weekends, and it was doing good business on Tuesday night.

The MBC pale ale was similar to the Columbus pale ale, in the way it tasted pretty much like Sierra Nevada pale ale. In my opinion, it's pretty much the standard for American pale ale.

I didn't care much for the Raspberry Wheat. I like a good fruit beer, but this reminded me too much of the raspberry tea that I've had in certain chain restaurants while travelling.

The Scotch Ale was dangerous. No alcoholic aftertaste. This batch was 7.8% ABV, and I was told by a person I was eating with that it had been higher. I told one of my co-workers to be careful with this one. Sweet and malty, and disguising the higher than average ABV. He didn't listen, and subsequently was looking around the opposite end of the hotel parking lot the next morning for the car. He didn't drive the night before.

The smoked porter was very smokey, almost had a "hammy" taste to it. This was very nice.

The "weiss" beer tasted like a Belgian Wit, even though the waitress said it was a German weizen beer style. The ingredients are pretty close in those style of beers, but the yeast tasted to me like a Belgian. Whatever. My palette hasn't always been as true to me as I've wanted.

The food at MBC was excellent. I can't recall any specifics other than decent burgers, even a buffalo burger, other sandwiches, and full entrees. I know it was pretty standard stuff, but solid.
Definitely support the local brewer if you're in this area. Also check out The House of Wines up 3rd Street, as they have over 400 beers in the shop, but no "Make your own 6-pack" option.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Special Thanksgiving Post

Seeing as I was out last Friday, I decided to make it up to the couple of you who come here. If you're here on Thursday, let me wish you a safe and hangover-free Thanksgiving.

I thought I would pass this awesome article from The New Yorker on to you while you drink your coffee. It's long, but it will give you some insight into the minds of a couple of Craft Brewers, especially Dogfish Head owner Sam Calagione.

The regular Friday post is back tomorrow. Enjoy!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Rocka Rolla Woman for a Rocka Rolla Man

Here's another Magic Hat beer that was a pleasant surprise. The Roxy Rolles smells so good, I thought that maybe I mis-judged amber ales altogether. While that might be a little out of hand, this is really a good beer.

In fact, it is so good, that I thought I would like to clone this and keep some around. The ingredients from the Magic Hat page are simple: Pale malt, Caramunich, and crystal malt. With an ABV of 5.1% and the gravity of 14.5 Plato (1.059 SG), I determined that the FG would be 1.022. Is that right? I would think you could get the FG down to at least 1.016, if not 1.012. Maybe my ABV calculator spreadsheet is incorrect. If anyone has a simple method of determining ABV from OG and FG, that would be helpful. I'm using two equations to get there.

It would appear from this fellow beer blogger, that they have changed the recipe, though. Looking at the hop profile, which is 20 IBU, the same as the Jinx, I was kind of confused. They use CTZ hops in the jinx, and Brewer's Gold and Simcoe for the hop profile on the Roxy Rolles. It only takes about 0.75 oz BG hops and 0.25 oz of Simcoe (at 15 minutes) to go over 20 IBU. Then I remembered how hoppy the aroma was and thought maybe they dry-hopped the beer with Simcoe. The above article confirms this. Also, I can make more sense with the older recipe's IBUs.

Rocka Rolla Ale (a Magic Hat Roxy Rolles clone - sorta)
5 gallon boil

8.0 lbs Pale Malt
2.0 lbs Crystal Malt 90*L
1.0 lbs Caramunich

1.00 oz Brewer's Gold @ 60 min.
0.25 oz Simcoe @ 15 min.
0.50 oz Simcoe dry hop in secondary

California Ale V Yeast

O Gravity: 1.058
IBU: 35
SRM: 23

I went with the California Ale V yeast because I like the American style yeast more for hoppy beers. I will check how my Jinx clone turns out, though, and if I like the London Ale yeast, I will go with that. Oh, and the name of the beer is a play on the original as well as the title of a Judas Priest song and album.