Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Our First Year Anniversary of Homebrew Club

Tonight, we celebrated our first year anniversary at as a homebrew club by hosting Bill Kroft of Marzoni's Brick Oven & Brewing and his good friend and homebrewer Mark Dellinger. We met at 7pm at the Coney for our monthly meeting, with 11 regular club members in attendance.

We started with introductions and a brief history of Marzoni's (and Bill's brewing history). Next, we sampled some homebrews from three of our members: Ray S. brought a Honey Porter, an extract recipe that had a pound of honey in five gallons; Pat S. brought a 'normal' IPA, then followed with an apricot extract infused IPA - both all-grain recipes; and Eli brought a year-old, very dry cider. All four contributions were delicious.

After those, we cracked open two of Mark's homebrews, which included a heavily hopped smoked porter (awesome Rauchbier) and the one that I have been waiting for ... a saison with tons of Brett! Both were very tasty, but the 2005 "bretted" saison was absolutely outstanding!

Last, but not least, we cracked open the four different beers that Bill brought along: the Belgian Witbier and Oktorberfest (seasonals) and the two year-round offerings, Stone Mason Stout and Avalanche IPA.

Finally, as a rare and special treat, Bill brought along a bomber full of his very special and not-available-to-the-public Eis-Barleywine. In short, he took 10 gallons of the five-year anniversary barleywine (around 11% abv), froze it, and extracted 4 gallons of liquid from that. The result was an intense and very HOT alcoholic barleywine concentrate that was phenomenal tonight ... and what will turn into what I can only imagine as Heavenly in a few years. Kudos, Bill!

In all, quite a successful meeting!

Homebrew Club 1st Anniversary

Hard to believe, but tonight our Indiana Homebrewers Club celebrates one year of official existence. Well, not official in terms of being recognized by any actual authority, but at least official to those of us who run and attend the meetings, and official enough to The Coney, who graciously hosts our meetings every month.

Looking back, it's been a successful year. Our membership is modest but fairly steady, and quite satisfactory for a town of this size. We usually have between 10-15 members at each meeting. We try each time to have a point of discussion, whether its different styles of beer or tips & tricks of homebrewing or the hop shortage. And of course, we have a couple of homebrew samples each time to enjoy.

For our first anniversary, we've invited Bill Kroft, the brewer at Marzoni's Brick Oven & Brewery to come over to talk to us and bring a few samples of his terrific beer. It'll give the members a chance to talk to a professional brewer (who started as a homebrewer) about brewing, and hopefully get the Coney interested in tapping into some local micros!

For the coming year, perhaps we can start to cook up some more activities as a group. Helping Scott at East End hand bottle beers, or have some of us help out at the 2009 Pints for Pets (tentative date: May 30), or perhaps even get something started in Indiana. Only time will tell.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I've Been A Lazy Blogger!

Apologies to those of you who check in on a regular basis. I've been a lazy blogger these last few months, but it's not been for lack of wanting to blog. As the pictures below will show, I've had a little project going on during weekends here at the house. In hindsight, I could have started much earlier in the summer, before classes started, and been further along. C'est la vie! I've been doing all of the work myself, though I did have to call in a plumber recently to do some reworking of old copper drain pipe and moving from a vanity sink to a pedestal sink (it was well worth the expense!).

In terms of brewing - that also has been on hold for a while. I still have the Leffe Blonde clone sitting in secondary in the basement waiting to keg, and I probably won't brew until the bathroom gets done.

In late August, I did get to travel to Bethesda, MD for a one-day conference, so I went down the day before and hit up a few brewpubs: Brewer's Alley in Frederick; Rock Bottom in Bethesda; and Barley & Hops in Frederick.

In September, our homebrew club 'exec board' got together at my house for a grand tasting and send-off for our good friend, Jon. Jon has accepted a position at the just-opened Earth Bread + Brewery. We're sure going to miss him around here, but we're also very happy for him and Autumn in their new endeavors.

I was able to get some East End beers recently, including a nice Cherry Dubbel. I'm looking forward to some more Fall offerings, including the Bourbon Barrel Aged Black Strap Stout ... my keyboard has drool on it just from typing that!