Wednesday, October 31, 2007

How Many Homebrewers Are Out There?

I pose this question not as a survey, though you're welcome to comment and share information, but rather as the rhetorical thought that popped into my head when some friends and I were contemplating a homebrew club in our little town.

As it turns out, a lot.

The inaugural meeting of our Indiana Homebrewers Club met last Tuesday at The Coney here in Indiana. Other than word of mouth and a few fliers posted at perhaps two establishments in town, we had done no real advertising. Despite that, the attendance was amazing.

Most people had done some brewing, a few had not yet brewed. The majority were doing extract, and a few of us are familiar with partial mash and all-grain. There seemed to be a current of excitement in the room as people mingled and met fellow enthusiasts; almost a bit cathartic to find out that "hey, I'm not the only person who likes to homebrew".

Our first 'regular' meeting will be in a few weeks, and one of our more experienced brewers is going to give a presentation on the basics of extract brewing. Several of us are going to bring six-packs of homebrew to share at a small tasting.

I hope that attendance will keep around this level, and that we can craft a club that meets everyones needs. It promises to be quite an adventure.

PS - don't forget that this coming Saturday is Teach A Friend to Brew Day!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Happy Mole Day

Yeah - for any of you chem or science geeks out there - Happy Mole Day (10/23)! I plan to have several moles of "beer molecules" tonight to celebrate.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


What a beautiful fall weekend in western Pennsylvania. A tad too warm for me, considering we're 3/4 through October, but a great time to be on a trip. The leaves are turning, the sunlight is crisp and bright, and beers are rotating. The last of the summer beers are kicking, the oktoberfests are just past their peak, and the winter warmer beers wait just over the cold horizon.

We found ourselves pulling into Marzoni's in Duncansville about 2:30 yesterday afternoon. Hadn't been there in quite a while and it was killing me ;)

We walked in to find the Oktoberfest and German Hefeweizen on tap as the specials. I'd had both before in seasons past, and it was nice to see some old friends. Speaking of old friends, we found James & Jo at the bar, whom we've not seen in ages. They're getting married in a few weeks and it promises to be a good celebration. We kicked some pints back while reminiscing.

The Oktoberfest was even better than I'd remembered and hit the spot - just the right balance of malt and dry nutty hops in the finish. Unfortunately, as I was about to order up another, they announced it kicked. I wasn't the only one disappointed! The man who got half a glass down the bar from me was David Cassidy, the co-owner of Cassidy's Brew Zoo in Altoona - a retail distributor from which I've bought a fair amount of beer. James introduced us, and we chatted about the beer scene in Altoona, the challenges of running a retail vs. wholesale outlet, and the somewhat restrictive laws that affects everyone in the beer chain. As we talked, the other co-owner, Rick, arrived to join the conversation.

After another hefeweizen, I settled the tab and walked out with a growler of the Avalanche IPA for the game tonight - which I enjoyed (the beer, not the game since we lost by a field goal in the last 2 seconds).

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ground Pepper, Sir?

Last night I cracked open a bomber of Voodoo White Magick of the Sun - a Belgian wit brewed with tons of spices (including 12 types of peppercorns) and fermented with a house Belgian tripel yeast. Odd conglomeration of elements, but a fairly decent brew.

Without a doubt, the most peppery beer I've tried to date. It was in the nose, and it was on the tongue. In fact, when pouring the dregs, the yeast was black-ish from the pepper. Interesting.

I can see how many will miss the more subtle notes of this beer; very delicate. As it warms up a bit, sitting in a snifter, the aromas blossom a bit more. First, there is the pepper. Undoubtedly, the strongest pepper/peppercorn aroma I’ve ever encountered. The juniper berries come next, with the sweet gin tang. A bit of orange blossom and light coriander, though not a lot. Definitely a delicate nose and easy to miss. Mild tripel sweetness and light honey. Pours with a pale dull copper-amber, hazy, with non-descript off-white head. Very little lacing. Medium watery body with medium carbonation, thin but also quenching. Starts with medium tripel-wit sweetness, wheaty yet with a chalky yeastiness. Peppercorns and sweet orange essence attack next. A spicy beer, for sure, but not overbearing. Mild watery gin taste, light coriander. Overall, a bit watery with carbonic tang. Fruity juniper and pepper finish, with light chalky tripel-yeast-sweet after. I like this, but could use a bit more body to it.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

East End Brewing Article

Here's an interview I did with Scott Smith of East End Brewing in Pittsburgh.

This link goes to the article on

A Step in the Wrong Direction

Pennsylvanians already pay 81% tax on their alcohol .. Allegheny County wants to tack on another 10%.

For more information, see Stop Drink Tax.

Why, you ask, does Dan Onorato want this approved by the State? Because of the Pittsburgh Port Authority and it's clusterf**k situation, which you can read about here.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Step in the Right Direction

A further step towards being able to buy 6-packs at the distributor rather than whole cases...

Post-Gazette article