Dale Helps Me Say Goodbye to New York 

New York has done well for me and my addiction to good beers. Whenever those cravings started to kick in, New York was there for me with a bar just around the corner. If I needed a bit of hops with my dinner, New York had me covered with at least one IPA for every occasion. And now it’s time to say goodbye. And what better way to say our farewells than to pop into Whole Foods and pick up one last drink. One last drink to salute those beers that have been consumed and enjoyed:

Oskar Blues Deviant Dale’s IPA

While the Dale’s Pale Ale is a beer that can be enjoyed and enjoyed again, the Deviant Dale is a one punch knock out. Where the pale ale is balanced and refined, the IPA is a chainsaw to the palate, slaughtering everything within its reach. And, of course, I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.

From the can, the Deviant Dale pours a burnt orange colour with a golden tinge and a thick off-white head into a cup that tells me what to do with the beer: Enjoy. The first indication of enjoyment (apart from the joy of finding a Deviant Dale in the supermarket) comes through in the aroma - a big malty presence accompanied by overtones of grapefruit and alcohol.

The flavour is a big battle between these three elements as well. The thick caramelly malts have decided to wage a war against the big motherhops, leaving you with a flavour that is a syrup-like nectar of excellence. The hops are full of astringent tea like bitterness, citrusy fruits and a big resinous piney wallop to the side of the mouth. Surprisingly, the alcohol is quite prevalent in this whole experience (I say “surprising” only because most of the big alcohol players have hidden their ABV so well, making it seem like the norm). The lingering bitterness leads to a thirst quenching dryness, lulling you into thinking it’s safe to take another sip. As the temperature rises a bit, grassy notes erupt from the nose and into the flavour, almost as if a park grew out of the warmth, adding yet another complexity to this astonishing beer.

Thank you New York. You’ve given me a plethora of astounding drinks, and a reason to come back.

Until next time.


Homebrew Number Two

So it seems that I have too much time on my hands despite being too lazy to post up some more beers from my trip. Due to the fact that I’ve still got no word of a start date for my new job, I thought I’d do something productive and make some more beer. As the old adage goes: “Gotta make beer while the sun shines, and you don’t have to go to work”.

My first IPA has just been sent to the bottles, and it comes out to be about 5.9%, with a big hit of bitterness. In a few weeks I can crack one open and see if all the effort paid off!

This time round, I’ve gone with a 2 gallon Dog Fish Head 60 Minute IPA clone (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f69/dogfish-head-60-minute-clone-ag-extract-25709/) with a few modifications. I didn’t have access to any Warrior or Simcoe, so I scaled up some Cascade for bittering (instead of Warrior), and used Citra instead of Simcoe. 

I learnt from my first IPA and had the brew supply shop mill the grains (what a massive effort that was to smash the grains with a rolling pin!) and went straight from the boil to chilling. Also, because I’m brewing in a bag, to bring the wort up to the required boiling volume, I did a makeshift sparge step, pouring a few litres of hot water through the bag. I know this isn’t normally required with BIAB, but I thought it might help things along.

In the end, the ‘beer’ was big on the sweet malts (think that non-alcoholic malt beer you can buy from the shops), with a nice hoppiness and bitterness too. In about five days time I’ll dry hop with Citra and Amarillo, and hopefully I have an absolutely awesome beer! 


Heading Back to Brooklyn Part III: Waiting for the Ferry

The story of our day in Brooklyn has come to a long and drawn out close. The posts have been few and far between, which pretty much comes down to laziness on my behalf, but this only builds the suspense…right? Anyway, our day has involved tornados, markets, great bites to eat and, of course, epic beer. And here’s the last installment of our amazing day in Brooklyn.

It’s finally time to catch the ferry back to Manhattan. Time to say goodbye to the Hipsters and their fixies. Goodbye to the plethora of bars and pubs. All the cafes and restaurants. Bye to all those botiquey clothes and trinket shops.

As we walk towards the pier, with the sun shining down on our heads, we see our ferry in the distance. It’s not coming towards us, and it’s not stationary either, it’s churning up the water, making it’s merry way without us. Damn. However, all hope is not lost. Oh no. The time between ferries is timed so perfectly that it gives me the chance to run to the corner shop and buy something to quench the thirst that I’d just conjured up.

I come back with three things. An icecream and iced coffee for my girl, and something righteously thirst quenching for myself. A Sixpoint Righteous Ale.  

Sitting on the end of the pier with the wind dampening the heat, the can pours a deep amber brown into a plastic cup, with a sizable fluffy tanned head sitting on top. Apart from the whiffs of river water brought with the breeze, I’m presented with a grassy aroma, along with a slightly burnt malt in the background. It’s definitely got that raw rye earthiness to it too.

The flavour is very warm and smooth, with sweet toffee like malt combined with a more roasted malt. Along with this, honey and molasses notes seem to emanate from the beer, with citrus fruits coming through the background to finish things off nice and bitterly. 

The Righteous is definitely worth a try. It’s not one I’d always go back to, but it did prove to quench my thirst on a hot day, as well as get my tastebuds hopping around, so it’s ok in my books. 


Heading Back to Brooklyn Part II: Brouwerij Lane

Before we boarded our ferry back to Manhattan, we let Brooklyn treat us one last time and indulged ourselves at the tap-and-bottle-laden Brouwerij Lane. This quirky bottleshop-come-bar has 6 fridges full of beer, while sporting another 20 or so taps that intimidate you as you walk in. As you can imagine, the usual onset of overwelming-ness set in as I’m left to decide between a whole range of Founders, Sierra Nevada’s Beercamps, Cigar City, etc etc. So I revert to the good old technique of delegation - get the staff to choose for me.

Captain Lawrence Imperial IPA

First up is this tasty IIPA from the tap. It pours a golden straw colour with a decent fluffy white head. The aroma has the usual suspect of grapefruit, as well as floral notes and some malt in the background for good measure.

The flavour is deliciously full and hoppy, yet still really crisp. Big citrus notes start out at the beginning with some smooth malt. As this malt subsides, you’re left with a dominant alcohol push and an amazing pineapple juice-like flavour that sends this beer into the realms of tastiness maximus. Therefore, this is a beer you’ve just got to try.

Founder’s Devil Dancer Triple IPA

I couldn’t just stop at one. Not when my taste buds were begging for more. So off I go to look in the fridge and deliberate about the all-important beer I’m to have next. This time, however, I’m more prepared. I’ve had some time to ponder, and the only logical choice would be to take things up a level. More alcohol, more hops, and more malt! Bring on the Devil Dancer.

From the bottle the beer pours an amber mahogany hue with a mass of off white fluffiness that sits on top. The aroma is an absolute olfactory bomb - sporting thick and creamy caramelled malts, a butt load of pine, and an extra measure of resinous hops.

While the nostrils are left to recover, the tastebuds are now exposed to the onslaught, because the flavour is a mouth melter of amazing proportions. This is thanks to the 12% alcohol, which destroys your tastebuds, and the hops, which obliterate anything that’s still alive. However, this is a thrashing I’d take any day of the year. A full toffee malt starts things off, which combines with an apricot nectar that keeps things smooth for the time being. As the smoothness is torn away, you’re left with a hop delight of grapefruit and pine, which take the beer to a very full bitterness that lingers on and on.

Being 12%, the alcohol is quite well hidden. It’s bloody strong, yes, but not so overpowering that you’re left wondering why you’ve just been hit by a truck. And the 112 IBU’s? Well, the malt and the alcohol act to balance things out quite nicely. It’s not an even balance, but it does equal the scales a tiny bit.

The Devil Dancer is a beer to share. A beer to enjoy. A beer that will blow your fucking head off. Get some now!


First IPA Homebrew

I’ve been pining to do an IPA homebrew for a while, and have finally found enough time to embark on such an endeavour. I took a basic IPA recipe from the net, did some research and added in my own changes. I also decided to do a small batch, which ended up at about 3.5 L of wort in the end, just for the sake of convenience.

So I thought I’d post up the recipe, and some final thoughts/concerns from the brew. To all the homebrewers reading this, scrutinise and advise to your heart’s content!

32 cups water
1 lbs/450 g Carapils malt
1 lbs/450 g Grain Export Pils malt
0.5 lbs/225 g Munich malt
0.5 oz/14 g Cascade hops at 60 mins to flameout
0.25 oz/7 g Citra hops at 10 mins to flameout
0.25 oz/7 g Citra hops at flameout
10.5 g Sulfale US 05 Dry Ale Yeast

I also left the wort to sit for about 45 minutes before cooling and pitching the yeast. Tasting the wort after getting the OG (which was 155), it was all bitter - none of that Citra aroma or flavour to it at all.

Using a rolling pin to crush the grains is a pain in the ass! Don’t know if it’s worth getting a Corona Mill from now on?

Leaving the wort to sit for 45 minutes after flameout was silly, in hindsight. I have a feeling that this led to the absence of aroma and flavour in the wort. Would this be a correct assumption? I may try to dry hop it in the secondary to overcome this.

Anyway, it was great fun, and if it turns out terrible, I’ll have hopefully learned what not to do for next time. And if it turns out good, well then… I’ve got some good beers to drink!

Comment away!