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New Zealand Pseudo Pilsner

This delightful beer, in my super cool new Bellwoods Brewery (Toronto) snifter

This delightful beer, in my super cool new Bellwoods Brewery (Toronto) snifter

For several weeks, my friend Joe and I had been planning a brew together.  Joe and I both really dig the New Zealand hop varieties, and agreed on brewing a sort-of Pilsner, loaded with a variety of fruity NZ hop goodness.  The thinking being that it would be a fairly unique brew, and would be just perfect and in-time for summer after its extended cold aging (aka lagering).

In addition to the NZ hops, Joe was kind enough to part with some of his Pils base malt, which, form Malteries Franco-Belges, is of higher quality than I typically purchase.  Pending the outcome of this brew, I may have to rethink that.  Add to that a small percentage of Belgian CaraPils and some Vienna, and you’ve got yourself a grist.

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Salt of the Earth APA #2

Updated 4/29/13

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Several months ago, I brewed an American Pale Ale that I named Salt of the Earth.  I thought that was a clever name.  I also wrote about it here.

That was a delicious beer.  The keg only lasted me about 2 weeks, because I was so excited to share it that I took growlers just about everywhere I went.  I loved it, it was everything I wanted it to be.

Fast forward six months or so and spring is coming around.  I’ve brewed a lot of different styles in those few months and I’m anxious to have another APA on tap.  I decided to rebrew Salt of the Earth, but I’ve had several beers in the past few months that have … realigned what I want out of it, slightly.

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Sap, Syrup & Wood – Imperial Maple Porter

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The WNY Sugar Shack that our Sap and Syrup came from

The Northeast gets knocked quite a bit for the colder parts of the year. While I don’t love winter, something unique to the colder climates, is the presence of sugar-producing maple trees. While Vermont and Canada are known for their Maple Syrup economies, WNY does have some maple producers.

After reading about some Maple Beers produced in the Northeast (and getting my hands on some), I got pretty curious about how I might make one. There’s several ways to get maple into a beer, but the one that interested me the most was using sap as your brewing liquor (instead of water). After talking with my friend Tom, who luckily has some excellent connections, we put together a plan to make our own maple beer.

Part of the inspiration for this is a bottle of Lawson’s Finest’s Fayston Maple Imperial Stout, which I’m excited to compare to our brew. Read more…

Biere de Miel – Saison with Local Honey

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Over the past few years, Saison has become one of my favorite styles.  The history of the style (farmhouse ales for farm workers) was always interesting to me, and there’s so much room for interpretation under the Saison, or Farmhouse Ale, stylistic umbrella.

The style seems to have become more popular in the craft beer world over the last few years, but personally I don’t find a lot of differentiation between those available.  There are certainly some good and inspired ones – Hill Farmstead’s Arthur was a revelation for me, and I’ve heard their others are just as good, if not better.  Boulevard’s Tank 7 is another that is worth seeking out.  Baltimore’s Stillwater Artisanal specializes in the area and are quite good at what they do.  Looking abroad, Saison DuPont is the absolute classic.  I’ve also recently had the pleasure of trying Hopfenstark and Crooked Stave Vielle, which were unique and delicious.

More after the jump. Read more…

American Oat ESB

My last several brews have been big, bold beers that will be (or are) bottled and cellared.  I’ve always had a fair sized cellar of homebrews, but I spent most of the last year focusing on hoppy and sessionable beers (which don’t age well), and the cellar has become depleted.  The timing and opportunities were right to make these beers, so I rolled with it.

With this in mind, I wanted to get another beer ready for kegging.  This should be tapped right as spring settles into WNY (probably late March), so I wanted something to go well with the warming weather.  Increasingly, I find that exercising restraint and striving for simplicity can yield wonderful results.  This is primarily in respect to recipe formulation.  My brewing technique is constantly evolving as I learn and develop an identity.  More after the jump…

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Ales of the Scottish persuasion

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Kind of a double post here.  Although I haven’t posted in a few weeks, I’ve certainly been busy brewing.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve rebrewed “Fruition” (an American Wheat, the only beer I’ve brewed more than twice), a session Scottish Ale, a Big Scottish Ale (aka Wee Heavy), an Imperial Stout and an English-inspired, but very definitely American Pale Ale.

I won’t get into Fruition, as the recipe is back in the archives somewhere.  The English-American will get its own post shortly.  This post is all about Scottish Ale(s).

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